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File 159244338965.jpg - (266.42KB , 800x1067 , Beneath the Shifting Steel and Stone.jpg )
969963 No. 969963 ID: d63ea8

Previous Thread: >>/quest/960828

My name is Ashley Peterson, and I think I’m lost.
I often go for walks, my job is stressful, and I like the cool feel of the night air.
This night hasn’t been different from any others, slightly cloudy, with a faint wind from the northeast.
Yet the wind has died down, and there isn’t any activity... anywhere I think.
Sure, I see lights in some of the windows, but no people.
No cars.

I always take the same path, turn left on 87th and then right onto Acheson.
It isn’t the most direct route to the park, but I find that tenement districts are a lot quieter than the major roads.
Acheson Road has also become the URC’s newest project, and you never know when you might see something.
There’s a bridge that overlooks one of the park’s rivers, the way that the water quietly snakes between those rolling grassy hills…
Serene.
103 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 971159 ID: d63ea8
File 159357885283.jpg - (264.11KB , 800x1067 , Your Choice.jpg )
971159

>Also tell it that the phone isn't a secure method of communication.

“The URC, they can access my phone and read my messages.”

I would not worry. This time it is within my domain.
You are linked into a frequency without a number, talking to a ‘thing’ that does not exist.

Reception can never be certain, and the odd bugs that appear and vanish within code cannot be anticipated.

Your words are safe.


>Ask?
>Accept?
>Refuse?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 971170 ID: b1b4f3

>>971159
So this creature used to be aligned with the fear of darkness or the unknown, but is now more aligned with... computer glitches? A clever niche. Hardly anyone fully understands these devices nowadays.

Ask how exactly you will be helping it. You're going to what, carry a trash bag home, evading the police? Then... leave it in your room somewhere? It said that it could offer little in return. What *can* it offer?
>>
No. 971190 ID: adb916

((Interesting, a self promise))
We still have yet to be told what exactly we would need to do to help it. Though, something about how it said "I Promised to Myself" feels oddly final, compelling, trustworthy, and... above all: binding
((>>971151 "...lost." lost is part of the title, and is spoilered like it was in the choice.
Ahhhhh I can't help myself! As much as I want to know what Etzil needs from Ashley so we can, almost certainly, accept I also gotta know what a title drop will do.))
((After our 'how are we to help?' question has been asked and responded to, then add this next thought.))
I want to stop being so Lost in the Present.
>>
No. 971222 ID: d63ea8
File 159365196242.jpg - (97.06KB , 800x1067 , Incoming Transmission.jpg )
971222

>So this creature used to be aligned with the fear of darkness or the unknown, but is now more aligned with… computer glitches? A clever niche. Hardly anyone fully understands these devices nowadays.
Seems like an odd jump, but it does kind of make its own sort of sense.
It’s not like there are really any ‘here be dragons’ on maps anymore.
But electronics?
Ald.
Yeah, I can picture that.

>We still have yet to be told what exactly we would need to do to help it.
It’s been dancing around the question, and didn’t try to bring up that question itself.
I need to ask it directly.

“What do you ‘need me to do’?”

The static quiets again, and for a moment I think I hear…
beeping.
Sort of that faint electrical trill that…



I remember!
>>
No. 971223 ID: d63ea8
File 159365196796.jpg - (226.12KB , 800x1067 , Message Received.jpg )
971223

It’s-

What I ‘need you to do’ is find me a place where I won’t be found by random strangers. You could do that by taking that trash bag from the dumpster or putting your bag down and looking out onto the street for a little over a minute.

There are also… other ways, but it wouldn’t be pleasant for either of us.


>Ask how exactly you will be helping it. You’re going to what, carry a trash bag home, evading the police? Then… leave it in your room somewhere?
I’m almost dumbfounded.

“So I need to smuggle a trash bag full of ‘something’ home in order to ‘help you out?’”

Essentially.

Transmission Start: >>/questdis/133301
>>
No. 971224 ID: d63ea8
File 159365197032.jpg - (213.00KB , 800x1067 , Worry Behind that 'Smile'.jpg )
971224

I-
well…

That completely derailed my train of thought.

I glare at the glitch-thing.
It’s ‘almost-face’ seems amused.

“And why couldn’t you have just told me this?”

Because I needed to hear how you would rationalize it. You were able to state the sequence of actions I need you to perform without having to know… other elements…

As I said, if you come across other pieces that fit in the right way, there might be… issues with your safety. The less I give the less likely that is to happen.

>>
No. 971225 ID: d63ea8
File 159365197534.jpg - (300.86KB , 800x1067 , The False Confidence Falters.jpg )
971225

>It said that it could offer little in return. What *can* it offer?
“What can you give to me? Because right now it seems like I’m going to be putting myself in danger for no reason. Or is this ‘I’ll be able to walk away with my life’ situations?”

No! No.
I…

I don’t want to threaten you-


“That hasn’t stopped you.”

...

You’re right. It hasn’t.

Right now I’m very weak, and a lot of the things I could offer you…
might hurt you down the line.

I can try to protect you, if the worse were to happen, but I’m not sure if it will do much good.

I could, when I am stronger, try to help you further.
But it might be better and safer that I disappear and never re-enter your life once we part ways.


I don’t like that answer, but I think it’s the best I’m going to get.
>>
No. 971226 ID: d63ea8
File 159365198317.jpg - (201.28KB , 800x1067 , Little Choice.jpg )
971226

>Though, something about how it said “I Promised to Myself” feels oddly final, compelling, trustworthy, and… above all: binding
That statement was the most human thing I heard from it.
I would find it reassuring, except…
‘I do not want to force this.’
‘But I will if I must.’

That means there isn’t a way for me to refuse.
It won’t let me.
It can’t let me.

I’m frustrated.
I’m tired.
And while I know that won’t help me…
I can’t stand being trapped like this.
Being pushed from one choice to another with no real say on the matter.
Only the illusion of choice.
>>
No. 971227 ID: d63ea8
File 159365200751.jpg - (490.99KB , 1932x2576 , Succumbing to 'It'.jpg )
971227

But most of all…

>...

I want to stop being so Lost in the Present.
>>
No. 971228 ID: d63ea8
File 159365201247.jpg - (359.76KB , 800x1067 , Falling into 'It'.jpg )
971228

I feel dizzy and start to fall forward into the static.
The pressure in front of me starts to grow thicker.
As though it’s trying to desperately push me away.
I try to move, but my limbs are too heavy.

I hear buzzing and blaring, but I’m too lost to hear them fully.
>>
No. 971229 ID: d63ea8
File 159365201766.jpg - (194.44KB , 800x1067 , (Lost to Oblivion).jpg )
971229

Even as my eyes close I can still see some of those strange shapes shine onto my retinas.
>>
No. 971230 ID: d63ea8
File 159365205306.jpg - (144.86KB , 800x1067 , 'It' Refuses the Offering.jpg )
971230

And…

and…
>>
No. 971231 ID: d63ea8
File 159365205729.jpg - (40.68KB , 800x1067 , Called Back to Reality.jpg )
971231



*wuh*

*aek*

*...*

*uh*

*puh*

*...*

>>
No. 971232 ID: d63ea8
File 159365206427.jpg - (91.40KB , 800x1067 , 'It' feels Spongy beneath the Plastic.jpg )
971232

Something moves…
No, squirms beneath me.

I…

Wake up face down on a garbage bag.
The garbage bag.

>React.
>Panic?
>((Even the most stoic can have their moments.))

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 971233 ID: b1b4f3

>>971223
((INTERESTING THANKS FOR THE WARNING))
>>971224
((IS HE ALRIGHT?))
>>971225
((DOES HE 'KNOW' ABOUT ME?))
>>971227
((ASHLEY
WAIT!))
>>971228
((IS
STOP!TOOCLOSE!STOP!STOP!))
>>971229
((LOST
NO!NO!NO!NO!NO!))
>>971230
((I REFUSE YOU. LIVE. LIVE! I'M SORRY I BROUGHT YOU TOO CLOSE.))

>>971232
Yeah freak out and jump away from the dumpster, check yourself over for any pieces of trash stuck to you and get rid of them.
After you're done freaking out check your phone. Ask it what the hell just happened.
>>
No. 971248 ID: adb916

>>971233
seconding, but not violently
>>
No. 971256 ID: adb916

>>971248
oh and don't run away
>>
No. 971295 ID: e51896

Yeah, probably best to panic, but not too much. Keeping it bottled inside will just make any future panic attacks worst down the line probably.
>>
No. 971494 ID: dce46f

DON'T PANIC! What the fuck is happening to us? Have we gone mad? We're sleeping in fucking trash heaps having conversations with techno-ghosts!
>>
No. 971503 ID: d63ea8
File 159392935050.jpg - (73.52KB , 800x1067 , Getting up off of the Trash.jpg )
971503

>Yeah freak out and jump away from the dumpster.
And with that, the spell breaks..

“Fuck! Shit! Ald! AAAh-ah-ahg…”

I push myself up, tears welling in my eyes.
Why?
Why?
Why?
>>
No. 971504 ID: d63ea8
File 159392935359.jpg - (112.93KB , 800x1067 , Getting away from 'It'.jpg )
971504

>What the fuck is happening to us? Have we gone mad? We’re sleeping in fucking trash heaps having conversations with techno-ghosts!
“Ald-damn! Fuck’n- AAAAAAAAAAASS!”

“Why me! Why the fuck did it have to be me?!”

“I just wanted to walk through the cool night air and visit the park- but noooooo!”

“Instead I get this concrete cul-de-sac from hell, passing out on fucking trash bags and having my phone be haunted by a trash-demon-ghost.”

“This is unreal! I want to wake up.”

“I WANT TO WAKE UP!”

>>
No. 971505 ID: d63ea8
File 159392935687.jpg - (145.50KB , 800x1067 , Folding in a Heap.jpg )
971505

>Oh and don’t run away.
I kneel down, the tears already running down my face.
My breath goes in and out through ragged sobs.

“I-”

“I’m a good person…”

“I shouldn’t have to deal with this.”

“What-”

“What did I do to fucking deserve this.”


My head shakes as I cry and I feel something dislodge from my hair and land on my shoulder.
>>
No. 971506 ID: d63ea8
File 159392936652.jpg - (160.74KB , 800x1067 , Another One.jpg )
971506

In an instant I grab it and…

my stomach turns.

“AND WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ALD-DAMNED WORMS EVERYWHERE!”

>Check yourself over for any pieces of trash stuck to you and get rid of them.

I madly start running my other hand through my hair and along my clothes.
I can feel them everywhere, feel the wriggling-

But my hand comes back empty.

No, this is the only one.
>>
No. 971507 ID: d63ea8
File 159392936963.jpg - (176.21KB , 800x1067 , Just Leave 'It'.jpg )
971507

>But not violently.
It’s like something breaks.

Instead of crushing it, stomping on it, or doing anything that might exact my frustration on this thing I…

Just… drop it.
>>
No. 971508 ID: d63ea8
File 159392937241.jpg - (135.24KB , 800x1067 , Collapse.jpg )
971508

And with it, I lean against the wall and slowly slide down myself.
>>
No. 971509 ID: d63ea8
File 159392938166.jpg - (66.21KB , 800x1067 , Crying out to the Heavens.jpg )
971509

>Keeping it bottled inside will just make any future panic attacks worst down the line probably.
I look up to the dreary night and just scream.
No words.
Just the primordial anguish and rage that now boils to the surface.

It is long and drawn out, punctuated only by the occasion muted wail or gasp for air.

It’s ruinous, destructive.

Goading the world into acting, but it doesn’t listen.

Despite the lights above, there are no people there, or anywhere at all I imagine.

I’m… alone.







And with that I breathe, and breathe again.

I can only rely on myself right now, and while this was a cathartic release, I need to work to get out of here.

I’m good now.

I needed that.
>>
No. 971510 ID: d63ea8
File 159392938872.jpg - (242.33KB , 800x1067 , Blunted Reaction.jpg )
971510

>After you’re done freaking out check your phone.
My phone immediately opens up to the messenger app.
I don’t even question it.
Nor do I question the morse code that now fills the majority of the screen.

No.
I ask...
>>
No. 971511 ID: d63ea8
File 159392939248.jpg - (235.30KB , 800x1067 , What Happened.jpg )
971511

>...

What the hell just happened.

>Question.
>Act.
>React.

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 971512 ID: b1b4f3

>>971511
((more morse here.
GOOD.
GOOD.
HE ONLY KNOWS ME AS ETZIL. I'D PREFER IF YOU KEEP IT THAT WAY.
MY INTENT IS TO KEEP THIS MORTAL ALIVE IF IT IS POSSIBLE.))
Sudden shock, disturbed questioning of how and why and how can you avoid almost dying again please. You *just* had one freakout so you don't have the energy for another one.

Your phone's at 5%, wasn't it at 10% before? Something drained it, you should warn the creature that the phone won't survive another drain like that.
Also ask what's with the morse code. You didn't type any, is it communicating with someone else through your phone somehow?
>>
No. 971513 ID: b1b4f3

What other apps do you have on the phone?
>>
No. 971519 ID: adb916

>Your phone's at 5%, wasn't it at 10% before?
It was, something to keep an eye on.
>Something drained it
We don't know how many events happened while we were passed out, it could just be passive battery usage. ((or Clock could be upset and doing the draining or even the spyware fighting Etzil.))
>>
No. 971538 ID: d63ea8
File 159399808183.jpg - (233.79KB , 800x1067 , How.jpg )
971538

>Sudden shock, disturbed questioning of how and why and how can you avoid almost dying again. You *just* had one freakout so you don’t have the energy for another one.
Almost died…
It does catch me off-guard, but no. I won’t freak out again.
At this point I need to roll with the punches.

Breathe.

I need to focus.

I need to ask questions.
>>
No. 971539 ID: d63ea8
File 159399808529.jpg - (243.36KB , 800x1067 , That's not good enough.jpg )
971539

I’m sick of being led around, I want answers.

Again with these stories…
>>
No. 971540 ID: d63ea8
File 159399808837.jpg - (252.84KB , 800x1067 , Why.jpg )
971540

But again, I need answers.



It’s dancing around the question.
>>
No. 971541 ID: d63ea8
File 159399809134.jpg - (251.91KB , 800x1067 , Again, Unhelpful.jpg )
971541

I don’t think I’ll get a more direct answer from it.



I’m not sure how to feel about my phone being haunted by two ghosts.
>>
No. 971542 ID: d63ea8
File 159399816180.jpg - (252.21KB , 800x1067 , My Phone.jpg )
971542

>What other apps do you have on your phone?
>((Going from left to right.))
I close the messenger app, still processing the ‘answers’ I’ve been given.

I look over the other apps I still have, maybe looking for some other hope of escape.

-First is the map app that came with the phone. All it has is that cul-de-sac.
-Second is the radio, on my days off I used to listen to the various night broadcasts.
Haven’t had any days off recently.
-Then there is the messenger app of course.
-Then music.
-I haven’t touched the camera app.
-Email.
-Phone setting… maybe that might have something…
-Photo album next, I never got why it’s separate from the camera app.
-Then is the official URC Announcement app.
-Transit app. Had to sell the car about a month back.
-Notepad. Also untouched.
-Calendar app.

-Next is an old meditation app I downloaded ages ago... or at least my mom downloaded it ages ago before giving me her phone. I haven’t really touched it, but I can’t bring myself to delete it.
-Internet. Might actually get a connection.
-The next is an app that has a bunch of pre-recorded sounds like birdsong or rain, it helps me sleep.
-The URC work-log app, in case I get a ‘priority job’ from them.
-And then the call app.
>>
No. 971543 ID: d63ea8
File 159399816861.jpg - (243.31KB , 800x1067 , More than just Battery Life.jpg )
971543

>Your phone’s at 5%, wasn’t it at 10% before?
>It was. Something to keep an eye on.
I didn’t pass out that long, did I?

>We don’t know how many events happened while we were passed out, it could just be passive battery usage.
No, I’m certain that it couldn’t have been longer than a few seconds. The plastic of… that trash bag was still cool when I came to.

>Something drained it, you should warn the creature that the phone won’t survive another drain like that.
I need to make sure that this ‘safe’ way of communicating remains open.



“...more than just..?”
>>
No. 971544 ID: d63ea8
File 159399817373.jpg - (122.38KB , 800x1067 , Begging.jpg )
971544

I’m about to shoot a response when I suddenly hear the rustle of plastic and…
something else…

It is wet and… heavy. Like an avalanche of gelatin.

*pla*

*eEEee*

*zz*



*heh*

*lpuh*


The bag shudders.
My blood runs cold.

I’m not scared. I’m focused.

And this thing seems…

Unsteady.

>Act?
>Message?
>Fight?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 971549 ID: b1b4f3

>>971540
You were the air in this metaphor. It breathed you in, and almost stole your energy. Your life. It is some kind of predator that stopped killing people. It could have killed you, but didn't, and since the battery went down, and is linked to "more than the battery", that implies that the creature was somehow drained by sparing you. Can you think of a bigger show of trust than that?

>>971544
A show of weakness. It needs your help, it has shown it can be trusted, it is desperate. Do you have an ounce of kindness? You should help it.
Use the phone to say that you will help. How can you get more power in the battery? Normally you'd charge the phone, but... no outlets here. Also, can it see your other apps? It knew your clock was there. Which ones are safe to use? If it can't see all of them, you can list them off.
Worms around the bag... it's made of worms? Like oogie boogie, but worms instead of bugs.
>>
No. 971552 ID: adb916

((ah keeping her alive seems to have costed 5% while the fight with clock before we defeated it cost 55%, assuming that 'more than just that' is Etzil's 'battery' life))
>“...more than just..?”
Almost like it is implying it is somehow tied to that number too =/ 5% is rather low as far a percents go. You would be unsteady if you were at 5% too.
"Where to? Map says there is nowhere else."
"Is it safe for me to check the internet app here?"
>>
No. 971694 ID: d63ea8
File 159417884039.jpg - (143.30KB , 800x1067 , 'It' Wavers.jpg )
971694

>You were the air in this metaphor. It breathed you in, and almost stole your energy. Your life. It is some kind of predator that stopped killing people. It could have killed you, but didn't, and since the battery went down, and is linked to "more than the battery", that implies that the creature was somehow drained by sparing you.
But… it…

...

The bag starts to collapse a bit as the thi-
As… they start to sway side to side.

>Almost like it is implying it is somehow tied to that number too, 5% is rather low as far as percents go. You would be unsteady if you were at 5% too.
I wouldn’t know, it feels like I haven’t dipped below 110% because of the adrenaline.

But I… get the idea.

>Can you think of a bigger show of trust than that?
No.
No I can’t.
I’m sure that if I thought about it, I could manufacture reasons why they would spare me, only to try and kill me later…
But that would just be rampant paranoia.
That… weird, dark, staticy… emptiness, felt like it could swallow me whole.
And… if they wanted to kill me, that place was probably their best chance.

>A show of weakness. It needs your help, it has shown it can be trusted, it is desperate. Do you have an ounce of kindness? You should help it.
I…
...

I’m a good person.
I take a moment to swallow that worry, that hopeless fear, that rage.
And take out my phone.
>>
No. 971695 ID: d63ea8
File 159417884494.jpg - (244.33KB , 800x1067 , More Strange Signals.jpg )
971695

More morse code, but I try my best not to look at it.
>>
No. 971696 ID: d63ea8
File 159417884820.jpg - (239.24KB , 800x1067 , Offering Mercy.jpg )
971696

I let them know that I’ll agree to help them.

>How can you get more power in the battery? Normally you'd charge the phone, but... no outlets here.
I have my normal charger on me, but the only door inside of these buildings was… the weird one.
>>
No. 971697 ID: d63ea8
File 159417885263.jpg - (244.59KB , 800x1067 , How to Escape.jpg )
971697

>Where to? Map says there is nowhere else.
I ask how to get out of this… cul-de-sac.



What?
>>
No. 971698 ID: d63ea8
File 159417886661.jpg - (247.40KB , 800x1067 , The Right Wrong Way.jpg )
971698

That doesn’t make any sense.
But I guess that fits with the theme of tonight…

>Also, can it see your other apps? It knew your clock was there. Which ones are safe to use?
>Is it safe for me to check the internet app here?
I ask if it can see everything in my phone.
Part of me hopes the answer is no.



But that sort of luck wouldn’t fit with tonight either…

At least I know what sort or resources I have access to… sort of.
>>
No. 971699 ID: d63ea8
File 159417887199.jpg - (248.81KB , 800x1067 , What of Worms.jpg )
971699

>Worms around the bag... it's made of worms?
I remember the texture of…
I shudder a bit.
There was a larger mass beneath that garbage bag.
But it felt like it was made up of a lot of smaller wriggling masses.



Their answer seems both menacing and vaguely reassuring.
>>
No. 971700 ID: d63ea8
File 159417887444.jpg - (146.21KB , 800x1067 , 'It' Almost Looks Pitiful.jpg )
971700

I look over to the ba-
Them.

And they are right.
The worms are gone…
For now.

So do I just…
pick it up?

>Message?
>Act?
>Use App?
>Try to Leave?

>Something Else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 971704 ID: adb916

>>971700
ask how we are to transport it, or will it just move itself.
((b1b4 please come in with that dank Morse translation))
>>
No. 971705 ID: b1b4f3

>>971695
((morse:
THERE ARE A LOT OF ACTIVE FORCES PRESENT WITHIN ABBOT'S LIFE, AND NOT ALL OF THEM CAN BE SEEN.
I ONLY TRUST MY FRIEND, AND THE DOOR WILL NEVER BETRAY ITS NATURE.
I AM STILL UNSURE ABOUT YOU.
BUT I WILL REMOVE ALL TRACES OF MY PRESENCE FROM THIS DEVICE ONCE WE REACH THE MORTAL'S ROOM.
(are promises valid over morse?)
I HAVE NEVER TRIED IT, BUT I BELIEVE THEY WOULD BE.))

>>971700
>pick them up?
Ask permission before doing so. Also, while they're in your apartment, what kind of food should you get for them?
>use app?
Could try radio, see what you get while you're in this weird place.
Also, read the emails from Natasha, they might have useful information for traveling through the streets once you leave the cul-de-sac.
Tempting to take a picture of Errant Signal but you probably don't want any lasting evidence of this encounter.
Check the settings.
See if anything's already in photo album.

Then try to leave.
>>
No. 971707 ID: dce46f

I don't see much point in dawdling, clearly day-to-day linear logic is out the window here so its time to immerse our selves in bizzaro logic. Walk out backwards and make the three turns. Maybe pat the techno-trash monster on the head on the way out if you think you can avoid making it seem demeaning; sounds like its having almost as bad a day as we are.
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