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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.
Expand all images
>>
No. 969964 ID: d63ea8
File 159244343346.jpg - (142.96KB , 800x1067 , The Signs are Bare.jpg )
969964

But...
Something went wrong, I took my left, I’m sure I did.
It’s the street right after 86th.
I just thought…
Maybe some kids had defaced the signs, just to make the URC’s job a little bit harder.

It would only be a slap on the wrist, if the police even investigated at all.

I… didn’t pay it any mind.
>>
No. 969965 ID: d63ea8
File 159244347626.jpg - (157.18KB , 800x1067 , The Lights are Harsh.jpg )
969965

But I’ve been walking, and walking, and walking. For what feels like a very long time.
I turned back of course, after I didn’t recognize any of the surrounding buildings.

Yet…
I can’t seem to find my way back onto 122nd avenue.
It’s just more lights, and more buildings.

...and no people.

I’m not scared, not yet.
But it feels like something is very wrong.
>>
No. 969966 ID: d63ea8
File 159244351227.jpg - (132.66KB , 800x1067 , I am Lost.jpg )
969966

I would go into one of the nearby buildings, maybe ask someone for directions.
But I haven’t seen any doors for a while either.

And that worries me.

Interlude Guidelines:
- You are not Icon here, but are instead the worried thoughts of one Ashley Peterson. Therefore while you may discuss the information surrounding Stauf G. Abbot, Ashley Peterson cannot act upon such insights, as her mind would not contain them.
But the information you do learn from this Interlude may be used in the next chapter.

- Ashley Peterson, like most people is Uninitiated in the world of Beings and Ways, while she is by no means a skeptic, she will be blind to most hidden dangers.
But you can warn her if something seems ‘off.’

- Ashley Peterson is Woefully Mortal and does not have access to anything stronger than the can of pepper-spray in her bag. She has no powers, Potency, or great insights, and will likely die if she were ever to face a hostile or hungry Being.
Though running might be possible.

- Ashley Peterson is also a Very Calm and Collected Person and can remain clear-thinking in even the most dire of circumstances.

- Ashley Peterson is also Just Coming Away from Her Night Shift and will have some of the useful tools from her job.
You may freely choose what that job is, but it cannot be from a Police, Military, or URC profession.

>The Interlude will end when Ashley Peterson returns home.
>Or dies.

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 969969 ID: 094652

Knock on the apartment doors and ask for help. You need to stay off the streets any way possible or you could get pneumonia. Consider waiting it out in an apartment hallway or renting at a hotel.
>>
No. 969971 ID: 2bd15b

Did you consume something during your night shift, like pills or some other strange substance or are you just tired? You are returning from a workplace that you probably visited much time, there has to be a reason why you don't recognize your surroundings.
>>
No. 969972 ID: b1b4f3

This place looks like the territory of Avenue, who we know is not too terrible.

>>969966
Try looking down alleyways.
>what job?
I'm having trouble thinking of jobs that let you take home any tools... Let's go with Electrician.
>>
No. 969976 ID: dce46f

Clearly she's a plumber! Perhaps try entering a building, someone in a lobby could probably give you directions.

What is the URC?
>>
No. 970004 ID: e51896

so how was today? Anything interesting happen?
>>
No. 970005 ID: e51896

((Also, i support electrician))
>>
No. 970011 ID: adb916

Can we seek higher ground? Perhaps try to locate some landmarks.

((>>969972
>This place looks like the territory of Avenue, who we know is not too terrible.
No need to try and shove such thoughts into Ashley Peterson just because it can not contain them, little reason to stop using (()). In fact, her mind not being able to contain them may mean they are forcibly ejected for whoever else is listening to hear them.))

((>>/quest/968965 I suspect we are using Icon's power that Abbot described as:
>But it feels like I am able to reach out to things.
>And perhaps see and hear what others cannot.
So we are not Icon per-say, but we are reaching out to Ashley Peterson. Possibly manifesting as a less malevolent mental 'impurity' that does transmit back to Icon proper, as per "The information you do learn from this Interlude may be used in the next chapter." and "seeing and hearing what others can not." With Abbot's impurities not necessarily being made by our power, they may not be able to report back. However, like Abbot's impurities we have no real power other than to preserve ourselves against direct attack.))

((>>969969 Kome, that would have already been done if not for: "I would go into one of the nearby buildings, maybe ask someone for directions. But I haven’t seen any doors for a while either."))

((>>/moo/4947 is this just the sign or is it looking warped and worm like intentional?))

((Seeing as my options are tie us between plumber and electrician or ensure electrician and I do not particularly see how plumber would help us here)) I support electrician.
>>
No. 970016 ID: d63ea8

>((Speculation on the territory.))
((The main reason why the guidelines are there is to let you know that Ashley Peterson can’t act on certain pieces of information, even if you speculate outside of (()) the comment ‘This place looks like the territory of Avenue’ will not be reacted to.))

>((The sign looking warped))
((Ashley Peterson has noticed that the street signs have been progressively more warped as she’s traveled further. At first the signs were just missing their street markings, but now they starting to become more and more twisted.))
>>
No. 970022 ID: adb916

((>>970016 still if we are likely to encounter Beings, who have demonstrated mental powers before, I see no reason to put information our avatar can not use out there where other things might still pick up on and use it against us))
>>
No. 970035 ID: d63ea8
File 159252483584.jpg - (223.27KB , 800x1067 , Buildings and Clouds that Blot Out the Stars.jpg )
970035

>Did you consume something during your night shift, like pills or other strange substances or are you just tired?
Neither.
The only thing I had was some lukewarm thermos-coffee that I brought from home. I try to have a big supper before starting my shift, and I’m wide-awake right now, adrenaline notwithstanding.

>There has to be a reason why you don’t recognize your surroundings.
That’s the thing...
A couple of blocks after the turn I recognized that I must be heading in the wrong direction.
There's usually a little cafe that I pass, or the newspaper stand that’s across from the bus shelter.
But when I turned back and walked…

I’ve been moving in straight lines.
I don’t know why I can’t get back to 122nd.
It doesn’t make sense.
>>
No. 970036 ID: d63ea8
File 159252483836.jpg - (197.65KB , 800x1067 , A Sturdy Box Full of Many Things.jpg )
970036

>((Ashley Peterson is an Electrician.))
Toolbox is starting to feel a bit heavy, I didn’t imagine that I’d be hauling it around for so long.
Can’t afford to leave it at work though, ‘budget-cuts’ have been making it harder for the city to supply us with replacements, and I think some of my colleagues are starting to get desperate.

>So how was today? Anything interesting happen?
It was alright I guess. Took a couple of calls here and there.
Worst thing was getting a ‘priority assignment’ from the URC when a squirrel managed to fry itself on the power lines and blew out a transformer. Wasn’t even that hard of a job, but it meant that I had to drop what I was doing and leave the irate mother of five in the dark for the next three hours.
But the ‘priority assignment’ didn’t stop her from yelling.
Or the kids from crying.

Maybe it hasn’t been an alright day.

>What is the URC?
The URC stands for the ‘Urban Restoration and Civility’ project. A wonderful committee that so generously wastes the bulk of the city's budget to “perform public outreach and foster community ties during these times of change.”
It’s effectively an excuse for the interim government to spend money that isn’t theirs in an effort to crush civil unrest and displace anyone who gets noisy about the new rules.

Their first job was to pave over the old memorials in an effort to “provide low-income housing to the destitute.”

Of course that glosses over the fact that most of those people are destitute because their homes and businesses were blown to smithereens.
The less said about the URC and their ‘humanitarian efforts’ the better.

>Can we seek higher ground? Perhaps try to locate some landmarks?
Maybe??
Hard to tell with all these tall buildings around, but I’m sure if I can get inside one of them I might be able to see the Old-town, or at least one of the major roadways.
>>
No. 970037 ID: d63ea8
File 159252484237.jpg - (132.66KB , 800x1067 , I am Lost.jpg )
970037

>Knock on the apartment doors and ask for help.
>Perhaps try entering a building, someone in a lobby could probably give you directions.
Would if I could, but there aren’t any doors anywhere.
Not that I can see at least.
It’s really odd, honestly.
You think it’d be a fire-hazard.

How are people getting inside of the buildings to begin with?
I mean, there’s lights on, right?
>>
No. 970038 ID: d63ea8
File 159252484604.jpg - (150.81KB , 800x1067 , Maybe Down that Way.jpg )
970038

>Try looking down alleyways.
I look down the closest alleyway.
The smell isn’t great.
Rotting garbage litters the ground and it looks like one of the bags has torn.

And it looks like something is starting to leak out of the dumpster.
It looks syrupy and… blek.

WAIT-
>>
No. 970039 ID: d63ea8
File 159252487973.jpg - (93.36KB , 800x1067 , A Door at Last.jpg )
970039

I rush over to the door, being careful as I step through the trash and broken glass.
I knock on it, trying to be loud, but not… intimidating I guess?

“Hello?”

“Anyone there?”

“I-”

“I think I’ve gotten turned around. Can you let me in?”



No response.

There’s no sign of a buzzer or a doorbell nearby.
Why would they have doors that lead into the alleyways?
And… no numbers on any of the buildings?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970040 ID: 2bd15b

Well, you do have the toolbox filled with tools that can probably be used to open that door, but that would be illegal. Simply use the toolbox as the doorbell instead, but if you really feel compelled to enter that door then just use your tools to take apart that door pice by pice.
>>
No. 970041 ID: adb916

Just try the handle? Perhaps it isn't locked? We have done our best to announce our presence so we shouldn't surprise anyone, though it seems no one is around these parts, and we are primarily looking for higher ground or directions.
>>
No. 970042 ID: b1b4f3

>>970039
Jiggle the handle to see if it's locked or not.
Then go check out the newspapers, see what they say.
>>
No. 970090 ID: d63ea8
File 159261793606.jpg - (118.59KB , 800x1067 , The Door Opens Effortlessly.jpg )
970090

>Just try the handle? Perhaps it isn’t locked?
>Jiggle the handle to see if it’s locked or not.
I turn the handle and the door starts to open of its own accord.
Odd that they would have powered doors, but no buttons anywhere.

*squelch*
*pop*
*splat*


As the door presses itself against the wall there is a series of… unpleasant noises.
Like the sound of someone stepping on a meaty balloon.
A dark film is smeared across the floor of the entryway.
My skin crawls a bit.
Why is this place so filthy?
>>
No. 970091 ID: d63ea8
File 159261794261.jpg - (298.65KB , 800x1067 , Of the Current Times.jpg )
970091

>Then go check out the newspapers, see what they say.
I carefully pick up the least damp newspaper article and begin to read it.

TOWERING SUCCESS: High-rising developments sweeping the nation! It was only a short three months ago that percentage unemployment was in the forties and homelessness was at an all time high. But thanks to the Peoples’ Reconciliation Government and their work with the URC, housing has now been provided for everyone in our great city! With luxurious and efficient accommodations, people have taken to the streets in song, celebrating the start of a great era. Keeping with the joyful times, Interim Mayor Douglas Fowl has announced a new worker registration program. “I believe that with this new piece of legislation, we will be able to make unemployment a thing of the past! All who apply will be able to access training in the field that they’re best suited and have the chance to better themselves and our great nation!” The announcement was met with thunderous applause, and many lawmakers argued for the program to be made mandatory. While the Interim Mayor declined to comment on this possible development, a recent poll from prominent business owners have shown unanimous support for such changes to be made, citing: “If we wish to move beyond the mistakes of the past, we need to look to the future, and the future must be guided by a government willing to unite everyone and provide every person with work and shelter.” Public Security Services report that crime is at an all-time low-

I can read anymore of this, I find this more rotten than the garbage I fished it out of.

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970092 ID: b1b4f3

>>970090
How about no. Anyone in a place that filthy would not be someone you'd want to talk to. Also it sounds like something organic got crushed by the door, which implies someone died trying to escape. That's a one way entrance.

Check another alleyway.
>>
No. 970093 ID: adb916

>>970092
That is NOT how building are supposed to be made. Lets remember where this is as a sort of last resort.
>>
No. 970094 ID: adb916

((FUCK >>/quest/965907 we are already in the Beyond. We are probably better off on the 'inside' because there we atleast have some experience there. But, even more so it sound like the only winning move is not to play, IE)) stop trying to go anywhere.
>>
No. 970098 ID: b1b4f3

(if we're in the Beyond why is there trash?)

...that red stuff around the edge of the dumpster...
Open it. Just a little.
>>
No. 970100 ID: adb916

Better yet we should turn around and go back the way we came and wait. (Unless the signs show no signs of becoming more sign like then it is pointless and just wait)
>>
No. 970118 ID: adb916

((>>970090 more unhappy realizations those look like Etzil's worms. Meaning we probably have to follow them or something if we want to find him, unless this is the end of the trail in which case he would be in the dumpster I think. This also explains the real world things being here because Etzil does that.))
>>
No. 970119 ID: 094652

>>970091
Great, you've somehow entered a police state. Where and when said police state is located is also a serious matter.

They might have domed the city, but at least security is low in this area. Start walking in one direction and don't stop until you reach the edge - one way or another.
>>
No. 970192 ID: d63ea8
File 159271411276.jpg - (105.38KB , 800x1067 , Facing the Way I Came.jpg )
970192

Transmission Start: >>/questdis/133194

>How about no. Anyone in a place that filthy would not be someone you’d want to talk to.
>That is NOT how buildings are supposed to be made.
Something’s not right about this place. I knew the new tenements were bad, but this looks like the kind of place that would harvest someone’s organs. I’ll keep looking around for now.
The door stays open as I turn back right.

>Also it sounds like something organic got crushed by the door, which implies someone died trying to escape. That’s a one way entrance.
Now that is a stomach-turning thought. I might have to actually call the PSS, the bastards.
But I can’t tell them where I am.
Or get a signal in this area.

>Let's remember where this is as a sort of last resort.
I take a moment to heft the toolbox and check that the can of pepper-spray is still in my bag.
I think I could take on a mad-doctor if I had to, hopefully it won't come to that.

>Great, you’ve somehow entered a police state.
Why does that have to be the most normal thing I’ve found thus far?
Four months ago, Ald. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but no.
Now there’s the Interim government, the URC, the PSS, and all of their other stupid three-letter ‘programs’.
I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that we lost, or the way the URC is trying to make it sound like we ‘won’.

>But at least security is low in this area.
Small miracles.
>>
No. 970193 ID: d63ea8
File 159271411461.jpg - (40.58KB , 800x1067 , Looking Closer.jpg )
970193

>...that red stuff around the edge of the dumpster…
Oh Ald-
Fuck.
Shit.
ASS.

That sure looks like dried blood.
And I was even joking about organ harvesting…

>Open it. Just a little.
Urg.
I feel like a stupid teen from a slasher film.
>>
No. 970194 ID: d63ea8
File 159271411877.jpg - (73.90KB , 800x1067 , Opening it a little.jpg )
970194

I…

*whsk*
*huhakh*
*aeit*


My phone begins chiming and buzzing like it’s about to explode.
>>
No. 970195 ID: d63ea8
File 159271412249.jpg - (38.51KB , 800x1067 , Jumping Back.jpg )
970195

“ALD!”

I jump back and slam down the lid.
What.
The.
FUCK.
Was.
THAT.
>>
No. 970196 ID: d63ea8
File 159271415236.jpg - (101.42KB , 800x1067 , Nope, Lets Go Somewhere Else.jpg )
970196

>Better yet we should turn around and go back the way we came and wait.
Nope. Not dealing with any radioactive badger-spider-raccoons today.
Not paid enough, not qualified.
Just let the thing bite the face off of a PSS officer and be done with it.
I’ve got better things to be dealing with.

Like getting out of this freaky place.
>>
No. 970197 ID: d63ea8
File 159271415964.jpg - (189.81KB , 800x1067 , Still No Signs.jpg )
970197

>Start walking in a direction and don’t stop until you reach the edge - one way or another.
Yep.
Plan A was perfect as it was, just pick a direction and keep going till it makes sense.

>(Unless the signs show no signs of becoming more sign-like then it is pointless and just wait.)
I head over to the next street sign and-
Crap.
There aren’t any signs on it anymore, they’ve just been torn off and the entire post is twisted and…
Ald.
What is up with this place?
>>
No. 970198 ID: d63ea8
File 159271416429.jpg - (145.32KB , 800x1067 , Another- No, Wait.jpg )
970198

>Check another alleyway.
I turn into another alley and-



WHAT?

>Check Phone?
>Check another Alleyway?
>Panic?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970201 ID: b1b4f3

>>970194
Oh hi Etzil!

>>970198
((there's a worm peeking out... but maybe we should let Etzil do what he wants with this fresh mortal. She's trapped already, there is no escape from the Beyond, and we don't know anything about the streets outside of Labyrinth. We definitely do not want to enter the Labyrinth, so we're stuck out here with Etzil anyway, and attacking Etzil isn't going to get us anywhere. Better to ask for mercy, and potentially make a bargain. Our man Stauf could use another mortal on the outside with knowledge of Beings, after all...))
Check your phone. It sounds like it finally got a signal, so you should try using it.
>>
No. 970204 ID: e51896

take care not to use Aldemire's name in vain so often.

check the phone and see it is alright, but make sure you don't get too distracted by it.
>>
No. 970220 ID: adb916

Check Phone. Most likely to have some link to SOMEONE.
>>
No. 970225 ID: adb916

Also: That scared of spiders? You expect it to be THAT much different from the ones you find in walls when doing wiring?
>>
No. 970234 ID: d63ea8
File 159277317519.jpg - (190.57KB , 800x1067 , Checking for the Signal.jpg )
970234

>Take care not to use Aldemire’s name in vain so often.
My mind immediately jumps back to evening prayers when I was a kid.

Mom: “Do not take Aldemire’s name in vain Ashley. He is always listening.”

I don’t remember how I responded.

Mom: “Come on, let’s get your candle next.”

>Check your phone. It sounds like it finally got a signal.
>Check the phone and see if it is alright, but make sure you don’t get too distracted by it.
>Check Phone. Most likely to have some link to SOMEONE.
Maybe I’ve gotten onto someone’s wifi. I slip the phone out of my pocket, but keep glancing over to the dumpster.

Wha-

Something’s messing up the clock. My phone is still pretty new. It shouldn’t…
>>
No. 970235 ID: d63ea8
File 159277318158.jpg - (274.75KB , 800x1067 , Oh What Now.jpg )
970235

Well, no wonder my phone was about to explode.
Fifty-five messages.

Suddenly a notice pops onto the screen.

A new-
What?

Okay, I think my phone is broken.

>That scared of spiders? You expect it to be THAT much different from the ones you find in walls when doing wiring?
No, not scared.
The what-ever-it-was just surprised me.
Most spiders aren’t that big.
Or glow in the freaking dark.

I think I could squish it with my toolbox.
Or pepper-spray it.
Can you pepper-spray radioactive spiders?

>Restart?
>Not Now?
>Check Alerts?
>Something Else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970237 ID: b1b4f3

>>970235
Not Now, check messages first.
>>
No. 970242 ID: adb916

((From the author I have word that a watch in the Beyond would be BadTM
>Me:"lets say i bring a mechanical watch (fully so) into the beyond (same way the flashlight got in) would it not tick"
>Doors:"I would say that something very bad would happen."
Lets not try to bring time here, at least till we better understand what brand of "very bad" it would be))
Check Messages. Lets not risk a restart in this weird place, it still seems to be working. No reason to throw that away with a restart.
>>
No. 970252 ID: d63ea8
File 159279821065.jpg - (285.57KB , 800x1067 , Time Remains Clouded.jpg )
970252

>Not Now.
>Let's not risk a restart in this weird place, it still seems to be working. No reason to throw that away with a restart.
Well… as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t fully broke don’t fix it.’
I obviously don’t follow that when it comes to my work, but…
At least the thing is kind of working.
Best not to jeopardize that.

I tap ‘Not Now’ and my heart sinks a bit as my phone gives off a faint pained whine.
Two for two on jokes that seem to be coming true.
PLEASE don’t explode and take off my hand.
>>
No. 970253 ID: d63ea8
File 159279821351.jpg - (230.42KB , 800x1067 , But Time is not the only thing that can Run Out.jpg )
970253

>Check messages first.
>Check Messages.
I quickly open my messenger app and…

What?

These…
These aren’t from me.

I keep scrolling down.

None of these are from me.
And what’s with the weird… static on the screen.

Is this some sort of spam bot?
I don’t know what these dots and dashes are.

Should I respond?

Ald, I’m going to have such a phone bill...

>Respond?
>Check Email?
>Check Maps?
>Check other apps?
>Check… the dumpster?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970254 ID: b1b4f3

>>970253
Looks like that last message said "Wait, I won't hurt you"
Respond, ask if they're the thing in the dumpster, and if you can communicate without the phone. It's glitching out and wants to restart to correct something with the time zone, you don't know what will happen then.
>>
No. 970287 ID: adb916

((Good, confirmation that Etzil and Errant Signal are one and the same. Bad, phone battery is draining real fast.))
Check dumpster, while keeping an eye on phone messages. Also not spam, Morse Code, ya know, the thing the old telegraphs used rendered as dots and dashes covered early in electrician school. Also 'spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them' probably goes for glowing ones too.
>>
No. 970423 ID: dce46f

Oh maps! Obviously our trusty phone compass will work even without street signs, open that baby up. Also you don't happen to have an external spare battery do you? Looks like your phone is a mighty power hog.
>>
No. 970425 ID: b1b4f3

Not resetting for time zone might be why the battery is draining so fast.
>>
No. 970505 ID: d63ea8
File 159296580532.jpg - (232.97KB , 800x1067 , Where is It.jpg )
970505

>Looks like that last message said “Wait, I won’t hurt you.”
I’m not sure if that makes me feel better, or worse.
Has this person been following me?
Do they have anything to do with my phone getting... hacked?

>Also not spam, Morse Code, ya know, the thing the old-
Ah damn it yeah. Ald, those classes were boring.
Don’t have the sequences memorized…
I’ll have to see if I can translate it at home, or once my phone isn’t going ballistic.
I think the wiring is starting to overheat.

>Respond, ask if they’re the thing in the dumpster.
As soon as I hit send, my phone gives off another (very warped) chime.

I squint at the distorted text.
‘Yes, I am.’

That’s… disheartening.
>>
No. 970506 ID: d63ea8
File 159296581048.jpg - (240.47KB , 800x1067 , Can we 'talk'.jpg )
970506

>Can you communicate without the phone?
My phone gives off another noise. It doesn’t sound like my sound preset.
If I were to try and compare this new sound to something, it might be…
The sound of a dying animal.
Shit this thing is creepy.

‘It’s hard. I’m hurt.’
Well, that might explain the blood.

>Also ‘spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them’ probably goes for glowing ones too.
I don’t think it’s a spider…
But that thing had three eyes.
>>
No. 970507 ID: d63ea8
File 159296581546.jpg - (246.77KB , 800x1067 , Time Still Fights.jpg )
970507

>It’s glitching out and wants to restart to correct something with the time zone, you don’t know what will happen then.
Save for my phone literally exploding, I’m not sure it can get much worse, but I send the message anyway.

No!!! Delete the Clock, I’m too weak to properly fight it.

Delete the… what?
How would-?
Nevermind. But at least I have something that this thing seems to be afraid of.

>Not resetting the time zone might be why the battery is draining so fast.
ASS.
I can see the percentage dropping second by second. No wonder it’s getting so hot!
This what-ever-it-is is overclocking my phone and chewing through the battery.
My phone’s going to be dead in less than a minute.
>>
No. 970508 ID: d63ea8
File 159296582015.jpg - (283.65KB , 800x1067 , Closing the Messages.jpg )
970508

>Oh maps! Obviously our trusty phone compass will work even without street signs, open that baby up.
YEAH! I have a signal now, come-on phone, just a bit longer.

I quickly close the messenger app and my phone shakes more violently.
Come-on just get it-
>>
No. 970509 ID: d63ea8
File 159296583915.jpg - (219.64KB , 800x1067 , Space has already been Slain.jpg )
970509

open…

I-
wh-
n-



I’m…
No.
NO!
This-
This isn’t possible.
I can’t…

>Also you don’t happen to have an external spare battery do you.
no…
no I don’t…
>>
No. 970510 ID: d63ea8
File 159296584409.jpg - (162.73KB , 800x1067 , Reapproaching the Dumpster.jpg )
970510

>Check the dumpster, while keeping an eye on the phone messages.

I walk back over to the dumpster, almost in a haze.
This is surreal.

Phone: “YoU haVe arrrriVED a-at YoUrrrrrrrrrr-”

My phone growls again. A new message.
I swipe over to the notification.
But my eyes don’t really see it.
They’re locked on that dumpster.

This…
It can’t be real.
>>
No. 970511 ID: d63ea8
File 159296584948.jpg - (74.40KB , 800x1067 , Opening-.jpg )
970511

No.
You know what?
Fuck it.
I’m not going down without a fight.

Whatever this thing is, I’m NOT going quietly.

I slip the sweltering phone back into my pocket and grab the pepper-spray.

I’m not going to die in some shitty alleyway.

With my left hand I pull open the lid and-

Nothing’s there…

>Suggest an action.
>And also maybe a reaction.

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970512 ID: dce46f

Alright, we're past "just lost" here and this vague menace stuff is getting really tiring. We know that creepy bug is in there somewhere so you tell it to come out nice and slow or you'll just mace the whole dumpster. If it tries to jump you spray it and run, if it plays nice then maybe we can work something out.
>>
No. 970513 ID: b1b4f3

>>970511
It's hiding. Afraid. The correct reaction is to feel pity for a wounded animal. That blood on the side of the dumpster might belong to Errant Signal.
Also don't leave your overheating phone in your pocket unless you want a burn. In fact, see if you can delete the clock app. Your phone shouldn't have one in the first place, and it's not like you need to know the time right now.
>>
No. 970578 ID: adb916

Try to delete Clock. ((Oh, that is probably why Abbot's clock was broke, it probably came into the Beyond with us.)) It probably has that, like, 6th sense many animals seem to have, try approaching with spray ready but not the intent to use it unless it tries something.
>>
No. 970622 ID: 2bd15b

>>970512
Yeah I think that we are dealing with something that is beyond a simple person spray. The more I look at the situation the more feels like we are the cornered animal and that somebody else is stacking us. I sujest we just start running until we find somebody.
>>
No. 970623 ID: b1b4f3

>>970622
Pay attention. We've seen the map, the road loops in on itself. There is nowhere to run.
>>
No. 970767 ID: d63ea8
File 159322578335.jpg - (75.57KB , 800x1067 , Show Yourself.jpg )
970767

>Alright, we're past "just lost" here and this vague menace stuff is getting really tiring. We know that creepy bug is in there somewhere so you tell it to come out nice and slow or you'll just mace the whole dumpster. If it tries to jump you spray it and run, if it plays nice then maybe we can work something out.
No more running away, this thing is the cause of whatever is happening.
I raise the can and get ready.

“Show yourself. And do it slowly or I swear that I will mace the whole damn dumpster.”

>It probably has that, like, 6th sense many animals seem to have, try approaching with spray ready but not the intent to use it unless it tries something.
My breaths are long and deep, and my hands are steady.
This thing won’t be able to surprise me again.
I will use it, but only if it looks like it is about to attack.
>>
No. 970768 ID: d63ea8
File 159322578705.jpg - (75.17KB , 800x1067 , It Grows Larger.jpg )
970768

*shff*

*shff*


I hear the crinkling of plastic as one of the garbage bags starts to slowly shift.

>It's hiding. Afraid. The correct reaction is to feel pity for a wounded animal. That blood on the side of the dumpster might belong to Errant Signal.
Hmm. That’s looking more and more like the case.
Still, this thing is stopping me from leaving.
While it might be hurt, I won’t let my guard down.
It could try to lash out at me.
>>
No. 970769 ID: d63ea8
File 159322579168.jpg - (283.77KB , 800x1067 , Removing the Phone.jpg )
970769

*shff*

The trash bag starts too… inflate?
That’s the best way I can start to describe it.
At first it was crumpled in, but now it is getting… larger.

I’m ready to spray it when-
>Don't leave your overheating phone in your pocket unless you want a burn.
“Shit!”
-my leg starts to burn.

I quickly fish the phone out of my pocket and nearly drop it in the process.
It’s now hot to the touch. I can hear hissing and popping as it sounds like the circuits are fusing.

>In fact, see if you can delete the clock app. Your phone shouldn't have one in the first place, and it's not like you need to know the time right now.
Anything to stop it from actually exploding.
>>
No. 970770 ID: d63ea8
File 159322579688.jpg - (273.89KB , 800x1067 , The Last Chance.jpg )
970770

I press and then hold the clock’s icon, I can even feel the heat coming through the touch screen.

Another pop up.

My phone shudders again, with more force than it should be capable of.
>>
No. 970771 ID: d63ea8
File 159322580070.jpg - (294.13KB , 800x1067 , Killing The Clock.jpg )
970771

>Try to delete the Clock.
I do.

And for a moment.
A single terrifying moment.
I feel like I’ve made the wrong choice.
>>
No. 970772 ID: d63ea8
File 159322580422.jpg - (254.93KB , 800x1067 , Counting Reconstituted.jpg )
970772

But then that moment passes.

*KzT-ZzT*

I hear a faint electronic crackle from the dumpster, and my phone chimes again.
But this time, it’s normal.
Not twisted, or warped.
Just the normal sound.

The phone starts to cool down too.
>>
No. 970779 ID: d63ea8
File 159322611965.jpg - (213.00KB , 800x1067 , Messages Open.jpg )
970779

I look at the dumpster suspiciously as I open the messenger app again.
Something flickers in the corner of my eye.
I don’t fully see it but-

Transmission Start:
>>
No. 970780 ID: d63ea8
File 159322615091.jpg - (235.22KB , 800x1067 , Messages Altered.jpg )
970780

I take a second to glance at my phone.

Something happened.

I didn’t send any messages.

Transmission End:

>Question it?
>Check a different app?
>Mace it?
>Take a different action?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970781 ID: b1b4f3

>>970780
Ask what it needs help with.
Also check those other two apps with alerts on them.
>>
No. 970785 ID: adb916

Key take aways from the message: not you or it said: place is 'Not Numara' and the thing is 'A intelligent not human'
Listen to what it has to say, it sounds like it wants out of wherever here is too. So long as that leaving includes you leaving too, goals align.
((I would expect 4 emails if they are the maps, which will be entirely mysterious to Ashley, but ))lets check our notifications(( anyway))
>>
No. 970788 ID: adb916

Phone background has lost color. All pale shades of green now.
>>
No. 970857 ID: d63ea8
File 159331335453.jpg - (241.13KB , 800x1067 , What Does It Want.jpg )
970857

>Ask what it needs help with.
The response it gives seems pre-prepared, as the reply is near-instant.



I don’t trust it.

>Key takeaways from the message: not you or it said: place is 'Not Numara' and the thing is 'A intelligent not human.'
So what-?
I’m on another planet with the exact same buildings?
That this thing is an alien of some kind?
Or…

And here I thought my mom was just using her religion to cope…

>Listen to what it has to say, it sounds like it wants out of wherever ‘here’ is too. So long as that leaving includes you leaving too, goals align.
But it sounds like this thing wants more than just me taking it out of here…
It wants a place to stay…

Mom: “Take care of what you invite into your home.”

Mom: “A devil can wear the kindest of masks.”


Things that shouldn’t be possible are happening…
>>
No. 970858 ID: d63ea8
File 159331335751.jpg - (254.07KB , 800x1067 , Closing Messages and Looking at the Green.jpg )
970858

>Let’s check our notifications.
>Also check those other two apps with alerts on them.
I quickly close the messenger app, as a wave of dread starts to wash over me.
No. I have to stay focused. I will get out of here.
This thing won’t stop me.

>The phone background has lost its colour. All pale shades of green now.

I suddenly wonder if it can watch me through the camera on my phone.
And what other things it can do…
>>
No. 970859 ID: d63ea8
File 159331336184.jpg - (203.94KB , 800x1067 , A Worrying Sign.jpg )
970859

I open up the mandated URC Announcements app on my phone.
Even if I could delete it, I’d probably get arrested.
I’ve heard rumors that the app itself is spyware…
What if it is reading my messages right now?



Curfew.
That’s not good.
>>
No. 970860 ID: d63ea8
File 159331337434.jpg - (253.16KB , 800x1067 , URC Alert Closed.jpg )
970860

I close the URC app.
I’ve heard horror stories of what happens to people if they are caught outside of a curfew.

I need to get back home.
NOW.
>>
No. 970861 ID: d63ea8
File 159331337841.jpg - (258.93KB , 800x1067 , Emails without time-stamps.jpg )
970861

Opening up my email, I see a few new messages.
Natasha’s alright.
That’s good.

>Open emails?
>Message/Talk to the demon?
>Mace it.
>Panic?
>Another action?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970865 ID: b1b4f3

>>970861
>creature needs a place to stay
>need to get home asap due to curfew
>announcement of a wild animal
>could be spyware
Well shit. Tell the creature you're in big trouble because of this delay. You want to be compensated for the time lost, and for any further work required helping it. You're especially worried about the announcement you got on your phone about a wild animal on the loose; you don't want to be suspected of being responsible for that. Also, why you? What's special about you?
And what's with the creepy door?

Your battery isn't draining super fast anymore, you have time to talk. Or... does time even exist here anymore? Hmm, you have one estimate for how long you've been stuck here. 4 hours since you left that customer. When was that?
>>
No. 970876 ID: adb916

There is much we still lack understanding of here. Still little better available plans than to hear it out.((fully aware we can not evoke, curious what if any effect that formatting has when evocation is not possible.))
>Your battery isn't draining super fast
Or possibly at all.
((>>970859 >>/quest/969356 I'm seeing a LOT of visual parallels here.
the symbol is similar, and the background landscape image on the phone is similar to the landscape seen though the void portal.))
>>
No. 970912 ID: d63ea8
File 159339990401.jpg - (75.17KB , 800x1067 , A Moment to Reflect.jpg )
970912

>Your battery isn’t draining super fast anymore, you have time to talk.
I suppose I do.
But…

This thing-
creature-
whatever it is-

I find it unsettling on a fundamental level.
I’m not scared, but something feels inherently wrong about this creature, and this place.

>Does time even exist here anymore?
No… I suppose not.
And I think I might’ve thrown away my only bargaining chip.
Or maybe my only line of defense.

>Hmm, you have one estimate for how long you’ve been stuck here. Four hours since you've left that customer. When was that?
That was… much earlier in the day.
Yes, I was called away by a ‘priority notice’ from the URC and had to deal with that transformer.
I think I got back at around 8 pm, and from there…

I went back to the office to clock out.
That was at 9.

And then…

I wanted to stop by the park before heading home.
The walk should’ve only taken about twenty minutes, but it feels like much longer than that.

I should be able to at least estimate, but suddenly it’s like all that time is blurring together.
>>
No. 970913 ID: d63ea8
File 159339990767.jpg - (70.31KB , 800x1067 , I Just Don't Understand.jpg )
970913

>There is much we still lack here…
>Still little better available plans than to hear it out.
My breath slows a bit.
I’m angry.
I’m trapped.
I can’t do anything but listen.

>Well shit.
It’s like everything has come crashing down at once.
I want to lash out.
I want to scream.

But that won’t help right now.
I just need to wait, and look for the right opportunity.
>>
No. 970914 ID: d63ea8
File 159339991153.jpg - (56.03KB , 800x1067 , ___Just Don't___.jpg )
970914

>Understanding.
But more than anything I need to know what is going on.
>>
No. 970915 ID: d63ea8
File 159339991483.jpg - (31.55KB , 800x1067 , Lost in Darkness.jpg )
970915

The world suddenly fades around me.
And I am thrown into darkness.

I take a step back, but there’s nothing there.
Nothing below, nothing above.

I would almost say that I’m falling.
But there isn’t even the sound of air rushing past me.

...

No.

The only sound I hear is-
>>
No. 970916 ID: d63ea8
File 159339994599.jpg - (264.11KB , 800x1067 , Faint Signals.jpg )
970916

The loud crackle of static.

I see shapes, but my eyes can’t quite make sense of them.

I see what I think is a face…

But it looks wrong.

“WHERE AM I?! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME!”

I try to shout, but my words nearly die in my throat.

I haven’t done anything.
Part of you, even on a subconscious level, wanted to reach out to me.
Don’t worry. You are still on Numara.
It's just that…
Your mind has gotten lost.
And that you need answers.


>Tell the creature you're in big trouble because of this delay. You want to be compensated for the time lost, and for any further work required helping it.

“What do I get out of this? You’re the one who trapped me here!”

I’m afraid that you’re mistaken. I called in a favour with a friend.
A needed a way out of… a really bad place.
And they gave me an opening.
But there are still those here who might want to… hunt me down.
I asked if they could do anything, if they could send someone.
And that someone turned out to be you.

As for what you would get out of this…
I’m afraid that I can’t offer much.

>>
No. 970917 ID: d63ea8
File 159339995221.jpg - (688.63KB , 800x1067 , Building Static.jpg )
970917

But I also cannot afford to let this opportunity slip me by.

I feel pressure building around me.
As though the -not air- is getting thicker.
And suffocating.
>>
No. 970918 ID: d63ea8
File 159339999286.jpg - (192.70KB , 800x1067 , The Noise Quiets.jpg )
970918

But then it recedes.

I do not want to force this.
But I will if I must.


>You're especially worried about the announcement you got on your phone about a wild animal on the loose; you don't want to be suspected of being responsible for that.

“If you keep me out here for much longer I might as well be dead. The Piss Officers will put a bag over my head and I will turn into another ‘missing persons’ report.”

I am aware of those… forces, and I wish to avoid them as well.

“There’s also word that a wild animal is on the loose.”

I’m afraid that you’re looking at it.

>Also, why you? What's special about you?

“Why me?! Of all the people in the world why did you pick me?”

“I’m not special! I’m just another person.”


Exactly.
You aren’t special.
You aren’t remarkable.
You aren’t aligned with anyone or anything.
And if we’re lucky, this night will just turn out to be a bad dream, and you will be able to continue living your normal life without any more interference.

>>
No. 970919 ID: d63ea8
File 159340000417.jpg - (256.28KB , 800x1067 , Light or Dark.jpg )
970919

>And what's with the creepy door?
“And that door.”

For the first time, this… being seems to hesitate.
And for a moment I can feel the hints of things…
The concrete under my feet.
The cool metal of the pepper-spray.
The weight of my toolbox.
This might be my opening.

I can either give you the truth.
Or something that resembles it.

You don’t want the truth.
You won’t be able to unhear it.
And you will never be safe.


>Question it further.
>Mace it.
>Try something.

>Or…

>Agree to help it.

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 970920 ID: b1b4f3

>>970919
>won't be able to unhear it
>and you will never be safe
Sounds like an infohazard. Go with the almost-truth. Also tell it that the phone isn't a secure method of communication.

As for what to do, let's look at this logically. It's not responsible for trapping you here. Its "friend" is. That means if you attack it and by some miracle defeat it or drive it away, you'll still be stuck here. You'd have to find its friend, and so far there's no indication of who or what that might be, and by all indications, that "friend" is nowhere near as weak as this creature, who believes it is strong enough to force you to cooperate. So you don't have a choice really. If you attack, things most likely won't go well, and even if they do go well you're stuck until you fight an even greater foe to escape.
Question it further, before you agree. What is it? Why is it in this situation? Who is its friend?
>>
No. 970922 ID: adb916

(Remain silent on the door question, let HER decide.)
Before you agree to help you need to know what you would be doing to help.
>>
No. 970923 ID: adb916

If it works the almost truth keeps you safe from the risks and satisfies some curiosity. On the other hand... If it doesn't, it's the worst of both worlds, you are considered 'knowing' with the risk involved but don't have complete/accurate information.
>>
No. 970927 ID: 094652

"Is this 'truth' a dynamic virus, or will it stay dormant if it is simply written into code and forgotten? Put the truth on my phone in two pieces as a one-time pad encryption key and message. Let the URC choke on their true enemy."
>>
No. 971148 ID: d63ea8
File 159357868793.jpg - (156.93KB , 800x1067 , Losing the Will.jpg )
971148

>Let's look at this logically. It's not responsible for trapping you here. Its "friend" is. That means if you attack it and by some miracle defeat it or drive it away, you'll still be stuck here. You'd have to find its friend, and so far there's no indication of who or what that might be, and by all indications, that "friend" is nowhere near as weak as this creature, who believes it is strong enough to force you to cooperate. So you don't have a choice really. If you attack, things most likely won't go well, and even if they do go well you're stuck until you fight an even greater foe to escape.
My grip loosen a bit on the toolbox. Yeah…
It was a dumb plan.
I don’t know if my flashlight would have even worked.
I just thought…
No. I didn’t think.

I sigh inwardly. Even though there is nothing but static to breathe.

This thing actively wanted to hide from me.
It made me wonder if...

But I guess that doesn’t matter now.

>Sounds like an infohazard. Go with the almost-truth.
>If it works the almost truth keeps you safe from the risks and satisfies some curiosity.

“Will I… be safe if you tell me the ‘almost-truth?’”

I cannot offer any guarantees, but it should be ‘safe.’
It will hinge upon whether or not you pursue such answers in the future.
If you choose to remain uninformed, you should avoid the eyes of those ‘who know.’

But if you look at these answers too closely, or come across others that fit in just the right way…

As I said, I cannot offer any guarantees.


>Is this ‘truth a dynamic virus, or will it stay dormant if it is simply written into code and forgotten?

“Is this ‘truth’ alive? Will it hurt me even if it is written in a way that I couldn’t understand it?”

No. But the past has shown me that such knowledge has a knack of being found, or becoming too tempting to ignore.

>Put the truth on my phone in two pieces as a one-time pad encryption key and message. Let the URC choke on their true enemy.

“Put it on my phone with a coded message and key, I’ll send it to that bitch Maxine.”
>>
No. 971149 ID: d63ea8
File 159357871368.jpg - (4.02MB , 1932x2576 , Anger and Static.jpg )
971149

No.

The static is stifling again.
>>
No. 971150 ID: d63ea8
File 159357872697.jpg - (211.78KB , 800x1067 , You Ask too Much.jpg )
971150

And then pulls back.

I won’t be giving you a grenade to throw through someone’s window.
If you’re fortunate, they would only die.
But there are fates far worse than death.

And… those forces should not be toyed with so carelessly

>>
No. 971151 ID: d63ea8
File 159357873345.jpg - (172.88KB , 800x1067 , Drawing Inwards.jpg )
971151

>(Remain silent on the door question, let Ashley Peterson decide.)
I just need a…

...breath.

...moment.

...chance.


I just feel so…

...trapped.

...helpless.

...lost.

I just need to…

...breathe.

...focus.

decide.

>>
No. 971152 ID: d63ea8
File 159357877888.jpg - (73.57KB , 800x1067 , A Glimpse of a Warm Memory.jpg )
971152

Mom: “Listen, even when the world is dark and terrifying, there is also good.”

Mom: “Even if it is the smallest thing, like holding open a door for your neighbor, that little thing can brighten someone’s entire day.”

Mom: “And with enough little lights, even the darkest cave can be made to shine.”

Mom: “You don’t need to know everything, only enough so that you can choose to make the right decision.”

Mom: “Believe in yourself enough not to be led astray.”


I had left for trade-school nearly a week after that.
How could I have forgotten it..?
>>
No. 971153 ID: d63ea8
File 159357878287.jpg - (76.71KB , 800x1067 , The Signal is Surpised.jpg )
971153

“I… believe that stories, as made up as they are, can have truth to them…”

“...”

“Tell me what this door is meant to be.”


For a moment, the static quiets entirely.

Even now, people like you continue to surprise me.
I will try my best…

>>
No. 971154 ID: d63ea8
File 159357878806.jpg - (272.42KB , 800x1067 , A Bit of a Jab.jpg )
971154

But I think that someone else will be a tad disappointed by your choice.
>>
No. 971155 ID: d63ea8
File 159357879288.jpg - (264.37KB , 800x1067 , Of the 'Door'.jpg )
971155

That door is like a web.
It is beautiful and intricate.
To some it is invisible.
To others it is alluring.
And more still think that it is something that can easily be broken.

But all of those people are blind to the true danger.
They think that the spider in the centre of the web is asleep.
That they can look and prod and wander…
And not get caught.
But the spider is delicate in her weavings.
And the flies don’t realize that she has sewn webs into her webs.
That within every empty pocket, there is a net so soft and inviting that you don’t even realize that the spider is pulling you closer.

The only way to escape is to cut the web, or freeze it in place.

And the spider hates that.

I only escaped because I had help.

But that help could only get me so far.

>>
No. 971156 ID: d63ea8
File 159357883970.jpg - (271.63KB , 800x1067 , Of 'It'.jpg )
971156

>What is it?

“What… are you?”

I am old, and tired.
I was once like others.
Young and vibrant.
Thoughtless…
Careless…

People were afraid of me.

And I liked that.

I would pursue people.
Have them doubt.
Make them question…
when they were.
where they were.
and why they were.

I was that uncertain journey that the brave or the foolish would take in the dead of night.
That under the trees, under the stone, under the brick…
They would wander eagerly into my grasp.

Those who pleased me…
would eventually return.

Those who did not…
would not.

But as the world became brighter, and safer.
My world became smaller.

I did not die.
There would always be the uneducated, or oblivious.
I could persist.
Yet every passing year I faded.

The unknown was recorded.
The long nights banished with new light.
Now every person walks with a map in their pocket.

Sure…
I tried to adapt to it.
But there was no coming back to those youthful days.

And looking upon that past era, I am made bittersweet.
I was impetuous and wild.
My ‘fall’ has allowed me to reflect.

On both my actions, and the actions of others.

I will not go back to that old life.
And I will not ‘impose myself’ just because it opens the way most easily.

As for what I am right now…

I am that spottiness.
That even in this advanced world, maps can still fail.
And that these ‘dead zones’ can make even the most informed blind.

Lost.

>>
No. 971157 ID: d63ea8
File 159357884358.jpg - (274.05KB , 800x1067 , Of Its 'Situation'.jpg )
971157

>Why is it in this situation?

“Why… What caused this?”

I fell in love with the prey.
They spoke to me like no one else did.
Gave me something no one else had.

I needed to fight to be what I am now, to sacrifice, to…
kill.

But they gave me a new form -a new voice- without a second thought.

I Promised to Myself that I would look out for them.

They had given me kindness that I had never seen.

A few decades spent watching would be no large cost to one such as me.

But another hunter found my ‘prey’ too appealing, and stole from them when I could not follow.

And that same hunter, spoke to the hound-master and she let loose a mastiff that tore apart my only window inside, and much of my skin as well.

I fled to the web, because it cannot hold what isn’t there.
But the spider was waiting.
She grabbed what little pieces she could and threw them across her many threads.

I could collect those pieces in time.
But that would be measured in centuries.

I need a way back.
And a way to regain my strength.

>>
No. 971158 ID: d63ea8
File 159357884811.jpg - (266.40KB , 800x1067 , Of Its 'Friend'.jpg )
971158

>Who is its friend?
“Who is this friend of yours?”

He is a mason and carpenter.
Porter and millwright.

He builds and builds, and when he is bored, he changes things.
He wishes to invent new shapes, and baffle onlookers with wondrous new designs.
We compliment each other.

He builds the set, I build the experience.

If he were here and able to speak I’m sure he would ask ‘how you liked it.’

But he is not a fighter. Quite the opposite.
He will sell his talents to the highest bidder.

The only reason why he chooses to help one as destitute as me is because of nostalgia and pity.
That I was once the stronger, and the leader.
But as the world changed…
His designs became more robust and intricate, while my tricks became less effective and mystifying.
He feels guilty for having a hand in my downfall.

I do regard him as a friend, even if I grow jealous on the rarest occasion.

>>
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.
>>
No. 971896 ID: 44b1b5

Do the thing where you leave your bag open, presumably letting it transfer itself from its trash-bag. I suspect Errant Signal can't freely move if we're observing them. Once you have them secured in your bag, do what they suggested; walk backward out of the alley, then turn right three times.

Avoiding the calendar seems obvious; maybe they can choose to disconnect from the passage of time, effectively making them immortal, until something that observes it causes them to "unpause" in the worst way? I suggest avoiding the radio and the internet; various stations and websites can have a knack for displaying/announcing times and dates.
>>
No. 971903 ID: be330d

>>971896
Pretty much this.
>>
No. 971984 ID: d63ea8
File 159452321205.jpg - (240.86KB , 800x1067 , Corrupted Colours.jpg )
971984

It feels like I’m missing out on a lot.
>>
No. 971985 ID: d63ea8
File 159452321826.jpg - (152.17KB , 800x1067 , 'They' Get Closer.jpg )
971985

>Ask how we are to transport it, or will it just move itself.
>Ask permission before doing so.
I look back to the ba-
Them.

A shiver runs up my spine. I really don’t want to touch them…
But it’s the only way I will be able to get out of here.

>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 it's having almost as bad a day as we are.
Now that makes my stomach seize up.

All that wriggling I felt when I was on it.
Even for a second it felt like-

I shudder.

It was like if a fleshy ball decided to grow limbs, except it didn’t know how many fingers and toes people had, or where the elbows bent.
>>
No. 971986 ID: d63ea8
File 159452322288.jpg - (164.20KB , 800x1067 , Hard to Reconcile.jpg )
971986

The blood drains from my head as I dwell on those thoughts for too long.

Instinctively I react to my phone which is already buzzing.

Feeling the warm plastic in my hand feels…
>>
No. 971987 ID: d63ea8
File 159452322628.jpg - (237.04KB , 800x1067 , There is more Certainty with what's In-hand.jpg )
971987

Grounding.
>>
No. 971988 ID: d63ea8
File 159452323032.jpg - (237.68KB , 800x1067 , What do 'They' Eat.jpg )
971988

>Also, while they're in your apartment, what kind of food should you get for them?
There might be some day-old casserole in the fridge.

I was meaning to grab some take-out tonight but...

...stuff happened.

I suppose it couldn’t hurt to ask.
>>
No. 971989 ID: d63ea8
File 159452323573.jpg - (239.15KB , 800x1067 , 'He' weighs the cost of the Truth.jpg )
971989

They seem to be taking a while for the thing to respond.
It’s kind of concerning.
>>
No. 971990 ID: d63ea8
File 159452323901.jpg - (235.15KB , 800x1067 , 'He' Pays it.jpg )
971990

Air.



I…
>>
No. 971991 ID: d63ea8
File 159452324306.jpg - (252.16KB , 800x1067 , And might regret it.jpg )
971991

I close the messenger app, a knot forming in the pit of my stomach…
>>
No. 971992 ID: d63ea8
File 159452324769.jpg - (158.69KB , 800x1067 , 'He' Makes 'Himself' smaller.jpg )
971992

And then look back to the trash bag…

The plastic creases and crumples softly, but I am overcome with a second chilling realization.

Staring at the bag I can hear the faint crackle of folding plastic.

But when I was looking away, it didn’t make a sound.
>>
No. 971993 ID: d63ea8
File 159452325109.jpg - (200.26KB , 800x1067 , No Landmarks to Speak of.jpg )
971993

>Tempting to take a picture of Errant Signal but you probably don't want any lasting evidence of this encounter.
My thumb hovers over the app…
Part of me is curious.
But I think better of it.
I think I’m already going to have nightmares about this.
I don’t want to add to them.

>See if anything's already in the photo album.
Still empty.
It actually calms me down quite a bit.
At least one thing hasn’t changed.
One thing is normal.
>>
No. 971994 ID: d63ea8
File 159452325550.jpg - (196.59KB , 800x1067 , Distorted Calls Back and Forth.jpg )
971994

>Could try the radio, see what you get while you're in this weird place.
I open the radio and…
>>
No. 971995 ID: d63ea8
Audio Utterances.mp3 - (355.49KB )
971995

I hear a mixture of voices.
Unintelligible buzzing and…

*...surrounded and locked down…*

*...come in! We’ve lost contact with…*

*...to maintain positions. Nothing in, nothing...*

*...anyone who is found hiding outside their…*

*...possible 1097 in the roadway leading…*

*...we’ll looping back around for another sweep…*


Is this radio dispatch?

PSS radio dispatch?
>>
No. 971996 ID: d63ea8
File 159452326309.jpg - (252.74KB , 800x1067 , Fleeing from Greater Forces at Work.jpg )
971996

I quickly close the radio.
People get killed when they try to mess with the PSS’s systems.
>>
No. 971997 ID: d63ea8
File 159452327202.jpg - (258.90KB , 800x1067 , Seeking Mortal Comfort and Guidance.jpg )
971997

>Also, read the emails from Natasha, they might have useful information for traveling through the streets once you leave the cul-de-sac.
Yeah…
I’ll be lucky if I can get through tonight without being shot at.
>>
No. 971998 ID: d63ea8
File 159452327818.jpg - (217.78KB , 800x1067 , A Reminder of Mortal Struggles.jpg )
971998

First email…



Heh, maybe I should’ve checked this earlier and avoided this entire mess.
>>
No. 971999 ID: d63ea8
File 159452328314.jpg - (189.84KB , 800x1067 , A Way Inside the Shelter.jpg )
971999

Now for the second…



Okay, so I’ll be able to get in through the alley behind the apartment.

Hopefully I can dodge the squad cars.
>>
No. 972000 ID: d63ea8
File 159452328980.jpg - (252.99KB , 800x1067 , More Pondering.jpg )
972000

Now what else..?

>Avoiding the calendar seems obvious; maybe they can choose to disconnect from the passage of time, effectively making them immortal, until something that observes it causes them to "unpause" in the worst way? I suggest avoiding the radio and the internet; various stations and websites can have a knack for displaying/announcing times and dates.
I’ll… yeah.



I’m worried about what might happen if the battery reaches zero.

Will they just die?
Or will something worse happen?
>>
No. 972001 ID: d63ea8
File 159452329547.jpg - (210.69KB , 800x1067 , Walls and Doors.jpg )
972001

>Check the settings.
I open up my phone’s settings and it also seems normal.
But I hesitate on what to change, or if I should touch any of the settings at all.
>>
No. 972002 ID: d63ea8
File 159452330061.jpg - (238.42KB , 800x1067 , The Choice is Made.jpg )
972002

>Do the thing where you leave your bag open, presumably letting it transfer itself from its trash-bag.
I quickly flip back to the messenger app to convey my decision.
This is probably the best choice.
Even if...
>>
No. 972003 ID: d63ea8
File 159452330485.jpg - (229.39KB , 800x1067 , 'He' Moves Unseen.jpg )
972003

...it feels like a great shadow has been cast over me.

I’m calm. I’m making myself calm.

But my body is rigid with fear.
The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
And the unnatural quiet is palpable.

As though it was a sound unto itself.

>I suspect Errant Signal can't freely move if we're observing them.
Maybe.
I mean, there has to be a reason why they wear the trash bag.

It unnerves me…
I just…

It feels like there’s something beneath it that shouldn’t fit.

And… that it… could suffocate me.

I can’t entirely describe it…
But it’s an almost instinctual dread.
>>
No. 972004 ID: d63ea8
File 159452331058.jpg - (237.77KB , 800x1067 , And is Gone.jpg )
972004

But that moment passes.
>>
No. 972005 ID: d63ea8
File 159452331535.jpg - (161.94KB , 800x1067 , From the Bag.jpg )
972005

And those feelings vanish.

>I don't see much point in dawdling, clearly day-to-day linear logic is out the window here so it's time to immerse ourselves in bizzaro logic.
Yeah. They're gone, and are in my bag, even though it feels like my back is lighter than it was a moment ago. I’m going to have to turn the wrong way in order to face the right direction. I can’t let myself get lost.

I can’t.

I need to be certain.

This is the way home.
>>
No. 972006 ID: d63ea8
File 159452331973.jpg - (196.94KB , 800x1067 , Right and Right and Right.jpg )
972006

>Once you have them secured in your bag, do what they suggested; walk backward out of the alley, then turn right three times.
>Walk out backwards and make the three turns.
>Then try to leave.
I breathe, and then take a step back.

But my foot catches on something.

Something solid like a cinder block, and I start to pitch backwards.

I desperately try to right myself, but it is like the ground is buckling beneath me.

As though I am falling sideways.

I stumble and turn and twist in a deranged corkscrew until I am-
>>
No. 972007 ID: d63ea8
File 159452332389.jpg - (143.37KB , 800x1067 , To Where it All Began.jpg )
972007

Right where it all started.

I’m…

I’m back!

>Actions?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 972011 ID: a9af05

>>972007
Go home and don't look in your bag.
>>
No. 972025 ID: b1b4f3

>>971984
((morse:
(asking about repairing the door)
AN OFFERING TO IT MIGHT BE ABLE TO RENEW THE DEFENSES.
WAS IT ONE OF THE CORE THREADS?
SO LONG AS THOSE ARE INTACT THE DOOR WILL NOT YIELD.
(Thk's message about other stuff in the room)
SAVE THE DRAWER, THOSE ARE JUST OBJECTS, RIGHT?
I HAVE SEEN ABBOT TALK TO THEM, AND HAVE EXAMINED THEM MYSELF.
IT IS WHY SHE HID AS ONE OF THEM TO INFILTRATE ABBOT'S LIFE. BUT I CAN SEE HER.))

>>971995
((There's probably some hidden stuff in the audio here but I was never good at separating voices like that.))

>>972007
Not out of the woods yet. You need to find a marked street. That's the first priority, so pull up your map to find one. It was "safe" to do so in the culdesac so it should be safe on the boundary. If it gives you some nonsense just get moving.
>settings
Can you turn your phone into low power mode, once you're on a marked street? Reduce energy consumption, like for instance by turning the light down. Also turn the sound setting to vibrate so it won't give you away, but will still enable Errant Signal to alert you.
>>
No. 972027 ID: adb916

>>971995
Yea I'm just going to go with spooky voice effect and leave it at that.
Energy saver mode definitely sounds like a good idea, unless It says something. We seem to be back in the normal world where things like 4% battery mean 4% battery.
That primal dread, was, probably, primal because this WAS the monster in the dark, retired as it is now.
>>
No. 972030 ID: dce46f

>>972025

Just doubling down on everything this guy said
>>
No. 972036 ID: 36784c

If they’re hitching a ride in your bag, would you even be able to pull any of your belongings out of the bag? Would you be able to get your pepper-spray if you needed it? You should ask if it would be safe for you to reach into your bag while they’re in there, that way you’ll know if you need to do something special or if you shouldn’t even attempt it at all.
>>
No. 972174 ID: d63ea8
File 159469256610.jpg - (103.82KB , 800x1067 , The Path Forward is Blocked.jpg )
972174

>Go home and don't look in your bag.
I need to get off of the streets as soon as possible.

>Not out of the woods yet.
Shit.
I see a PSS cruiser slowly creeping in this direction. They haven’t seen me, but it looks like they are scanning their surroundings.
>>
No. 972175 ID: d63ea8
File 159469257183.jpg - (250.30KB , 800x1067 , Rolling Forward.jpg )
972175

I take out my phone. The car is getting closer.
>>
No. 972176 ID: d63ea8
File 159469257639.jpg - (283.21KB , 800x1067 , At Your Disposal.jpg )
972176

>If they’re hitching a ride in your bag, would you even be able to pull any of your belongings out of the bag? Would you be able to get your pepper-spray if you needed it? You should ask if it would be safe for you to reach into your bag while they’re in there, that way you’ll know if you need to do something special or if you shouldn’t even attempt it at all.
That didn’t cross my mind before.
I-
I might need to defend myself.
I won’t be dragged into one of those vans.
>>
No. 972177 ID: d63ea8
File 159469257986.jpg - (77.84KB , 800x1067 , Hunkering Down.jpg )
972177

Shit.

I’m running out of time.

>That primal dread, was, probably, primal because this WAS the monster in the dark, retired as it is now.
That thought seems to resonate for a while, even now.
Not a monster.
The monster.

I’m glad that it’s on my side.
Especially since light will lead to my death.

The fear is still there, crackling beneath the surface.
But it’s hardened.
Sharp.
>>
No. 972178 ID: d63ea8
File 159469259783.jpg - (268.24KB , 800x1067 , The Network Holds.jpg )
972178

>You need to find a marked street. That's the first priority, so pull up your map to find one. It was "safe" to do so in the cul de sac so it should be safe on the boundary.
>Just doubling down on everything this guy said.
Okay let’s-



Crap. I must be too close to the boundary… or too far.

>If it gives you some nonsense just get moving.
I need to move.
But where?!

>>
No. 972179 ID: d63ea8
File 159469260183.jpg - (158.97KB , 800x1067 , Lights Out.jpg )
972179

>Energy saver mode definitely sounds like a good idea, unless It says something. We seem to be back in the normal world where things like 4% battery mean 4% battery.
>Can you turn your phone into low power mode, once you're on a marked street?
I-
I don’t think I have time to ask.
Four percent isn’t great, but I think I have bigger problems.

I turn on energy saver mode.

>Reduce energy consumption, like for instance by turning the light down.
Shit-
The light might give me away.

I set the phone’s brightness to its lowest setting.

>Also turn the sound setting to vibrate so it won't give you away, but will still enable Errant Signal to alert you.
Done.
>>
No. 972180 ID: d63ea8
File 159469260497.jpg - (111.48KB , 800x1067 , Crossroads.jpg )
972180

It’s getting closer.
What do I do?

>Fight
>Run
>Hide

>Converse
>Grab something
>Try something

>Ask them for help.

>Something else entirely?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 972182 ID: 094652

Try to sneak onto the roof of the police car.

If you get caught, just say you've had enough wine at [Insert High Ranking Officer Name here]'s little 'escort' party and you'd like to go home. Now.
>>
No. 972183 ID: b1b4f3

>>972175
((morse:
CORE THREADS ARE THE PRIMARY ELEMENTS THAT COMPRISE THE KNOT. IF IT WAS JUST THE BOTTOM PLANK THEN THE WARD SHOULD BE FINE. (that color might be wrong)
ABBOT SHOULD HAVE WATER IN HIS ROOM. I WOULD BE CAREFUL OF ANYTHING SHE HAS GIVEN.
BUT THROWING AWAY THE PLANT WILL PROBABLY INCITE HER ANGER.))
((welp, I guess we can either water it and hope it's not something too bad, or not water it and hope she thinks we just forgot.))

>>972180
Hide behind something. Run to cover if you have to. You're on an unmarked street, so just don't duck into an alley. Anything else should be fair game.
>>
No. 972197 ID: adb916

((>>972183 If nothing else I trust her own interests, she has no desire to kill Abbot, it would spoil her own fun))
If they find you, tell them you got lost on account of the signs being all blank.
>>
No. 972515 ID: d63ea8
File 159495443896.jpg - (104.55KB , 800x1067 , Rushing Over.jpg )
972515

>Try to sneak onto the roof of the police car.
There isn’t any cover that would let me get close.
I need-

>Hide behind something.
There! But it’s so far, I can’t-

>Run to cover if you have to. You’re on an unmarked street, so just don’t duck into an alley. Anything else is fair game.
Yeah, I need to get out of the open.

I can make it.

I won’t go back.
>>
No. 972516 ID: d63ea8
File 159495444507.jpg - (129.22KB , 800x1067 , Hiding.jpg )
972516

I bolt for the car and slide behind it, my heavy work jeans scraping hard against the pavement.
My heart is racing as the headlights draw closer.

But I am focused.

I will make it out of this.
>>
No. 972517 ID: d63ea8
File 159495445485.jpg - (141.01KB , 800x1067 , The Forces Draw Close.jpg )
972517

The light is getting brighter.
Did they see something?

>If they find you, tell them you got lost on account of the signs being all blank.
Not a lie, not confrontational…
It could work.
I hope it doesn’t come to that though.

>If you get caught, just say you've had enough wine at [Insert High Ranking Officer Name here]'s little 'escort' party and you'd like to go home. Now.
*Ghk*

I think I’d rather get shot.
>>
No. 972518 ID: d63ea8
File 159495446116.jpg - (98.83KB , 800x1067 , But Pass on.jpg )
972518

The light gets closer and closer…

I hold my breath…

...as it passes.

They didn’t see me.

They didn’t see me!

Now that was a rush.
What should I do?
Is this my chance?

>Wait?
>Head out?
>Look around?
>Check phone?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 972520 ID: adb916

>>972518
the patrol just went by now is the time to get moving.
>>
No. 972522 ID: 9166e6

No time to lose, book it out of here as fast as you can, preferably away from the cruiser. Use your phone camera first though to look over the edge of cover and make sure the cruiser is gone.
>>
No. 972525 ID: b1b4f3

>>972518
Peek out to make sure it's gone, then start searching for a marked street. No idea which direction to go so just pick one randomly I suppose. Keep an eye out for any landmarks or... other things that stand out.
You could ask Errant Signal if they know which way to go, but do so while moving (but don't try to cross the street while staring at your phone)
>>
No. 972544 ID: 44b1b5

Check with Errant Signal whether they're truly gone. If so, then get looking for a marked street.
>>
No. 972890 ID: d63ea8
File 159529872304.jpg - (103.60KB , 800x1067 , Standing Up.jpg )
972890

>The patrol just went by, now is the time to get moving.
Yeah, this is my chance, I can’t afford to stick around.

First find a marked street, then get home.
>>
No. 972891 ID: d63ea8
File 159529872682.jpg - (98.63KB , 800x1067 , Checking the Edge.jpg )
972891

>Peek out to make sure it’s gone.
>Use your phone camera first though, to look over the edge of cover and make sure the cruiser is gone.
I catch the tail end of the cruiser disappearing around the next corner.

87th.
Tch.
Well, at least I kind of know where I am.
This isn’t 86th, but I might be able to find my way home from here.
>>
No. 972892 ID: d63ea8
File 159529872973.jpg - (149.50KB , 800x1067 , Checking the Signal.jpg )
972892

>Check with Errant Signal whether they’re truly gone.
Shit. What if it can’t reach me anymore.
I click on my phone again.
It’s still… weird, so that’s a good sign.
>>
No. 972893 ID: d63ea8
File 159529873609.jpg - (138.46KB , 800x1067 , 'He' is still there.jpg )
972893

I ask ‘Errant Signal’ if they are still there.



Good.
>>
No. 972894 ID: d63ea8
File 159529873986.jpg - (138.88KB , 800x1067 , Fear of Being Seen.jpg )
972894

Better yet, is the PSS cruiser gone? Or are they circling back around?



Well, no flashing lights or sirens, so I guess I haven’t been spotted.
It’s odd that Errant Signal doesn’t call them the PSS.
>>
No. 972895 ID: d63ea8
File 159529874145.jpg - (142.11KB , 800x1067 , Which Way Now.jpg )
972895

>No idea which direction to go so just pick one randomly I suppose.
>No time to lose, book it out of here as fast as you can, preferably away from the cruiser.
‘Away from the cruiser’ might be the best idea right now.
It’s also the way I came from, so I shouldn’t get lost again.

>You could ask Errant Signal if they know which way to go, but do so while moving.
I quickly send the message, and the reply comes back quick.



Okay, somewhere familiar.

...somewhere familiar…

>(But don’t try to cross the street while staring at your phone).
Ald wouldn’t that be the worst.
To make it through all this, just to get run over by a car.
>>
No. 972896 ID: d63ea8
File 159529874560.jpg - (153.57KB , 800x1067 , A Familiar Place.jpg )
972896

>Keep an eye out for any landmarks or… other things that stand out.
Well, I wouldn’t call it a landmark, but I know this gas station.
It’s about five blocks from my apartment.
I definitely know where I am now. I should be able to get home, provided that there aren’t any more…
Weird turns…

The road seems quiet. I hope that’s a good sign.

>Check phone?
>Retrace steps?
>Enter store?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 972900 ID: b1b4f3

>>972896
Actually go over to stand directly next to the gas station before checking your map application again. Then visually confirm that it's pointing you in the correct direction, and get going.
Try not to let the gas station attendant see you; you are outside past curfew, and that can be reported.
>>
No. 972908 ID: e51896

>>972900
support
>>
No. 972932 ID: adb916

>>972900
If it is after curfew why would the station be open? Wouldn't that mean the staff would be in violation of the curfew too? Regardless a quick map check beside the station would probably be good. Then purposefully (quick walk, not run) go home.
>>
No. 972937 ID: ce39da

"I assume by the familiar way you talk about them that the PSS's shittiness goes deeper than a mortal like myself could have imagined?"
>>
No. 973072 ID: adb916

((>>972937 I do want to know this, but shhhhh your connecting the dots.))
>>
No. 973116 ID: d63ea8
File 159565198401.jpg - (150.90KB , 800x1067 , The Way is Lit.jpg )
973116

>Actually go over to stand directly next to the gas station before checking your map application again. Then visually confirm that it's pointing you in the correct direction, and get going.
>Regardless, a quick map check beside the station would probably be good.
>Support.
I duck over to the side of the gas station (after checking both sides of the road). The shadows should hide me well enough. I’m relieved to see that the map has returned to normal.

I’m almost to my apartment, maybe-
No.
I’m certain that if I stick to the roads that it will be another six blocks.
But… they’ll probably have more patrols.
>>
No. 973117 ID: d63ea8
File 159565198720.jpg - (127.32KB , 800x1067 , But the Road is Treacherous.jpg )
973117

I look up to the city ahead.
The PSS headquarters sticking up into the sky like a nail.
Sick bastards.

No matter where you stand in town, that steel tower is an ever-present reminder of our loss.
And how they are always watching.

>...
"I assume by the familiar way you talk about them that the PSS's shittiness goes deeper than a mortal like myself could have imagined?

My phone vibrates in response.
>>
No. 973118 ID: d63ea8
File 159565201839.jpg - (162.72KB , 800x1067 , It Always Seeks to Rule.jpg )
973118

Well, I seemed to have gotten an answer.



Camouflaged in our history?
How could that work?

What we count as…

Hmm.
>>
No. 973119 ID: d63ea8
File 159565202269.jpg - (167.56KB , 800x1067 , The Force is Deadly.jpg )
973119

>If it is after curfew why would the station be open? Wouldn't that mean the staff would be in violation of the curfew too?
>Try not to let the gas station attendant see you; you are outside past curfew, and that can be reported.
No… it shouldn’t be open.
Why are the lights still on?

I carefully peak into the nearby window and…

Ald.

I see bullet-holes in the far wall.

And blood on the floor.

>Then purposefully (quick walk, not run) go home.
Staying here is a risk.
I need to get home before I’m found.

>Follow the roads home?
>Attempt to use side-streets?
>Risk investigating the gas station further?
>Ask Errant Signal more questions?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 973120 ID: b1b4f3

>>973119
You can use side streets once you're back on marked roads.
No reason to go into the gas station unless you want to risk two lives for potentially saving whoever got shot in there. There's enough blood on the floor there that the chances are against the injured person being alive. Especially since you didn't hear gunshots on the way here.
>>
No. 973126 ID: adb916

>>973120
You already got one bagful to deal with, no need to add more, lets let whatever that is be someone else's problem.
>>
No. 973135 ID: 094652

Let the police deal with it. Badly.

Keep going, but make sure you count each block carefully and keep notes using your phone.
>>
No. 973146 ID: ce39da

Side roads should be (relatively) safe now that you're away from terra incognita.
>>
No. 973149 ID: adb916

((I believe that blood is supposed to be an opportunity to help Etzil recover, however it is in a well known, well lit space, probably with cameras, all are bad for Etzil and Ashley; also as far as Ashley knows Etzil feeds on 'air'. We let this go.)) Be sure to avoid any cameras the gas station might have.
>>
No. 973284 ID: dd42eb

It's rough but we're really not equipped to fight whatever orwellian death squad shot up that place if they choose to come back. Lets get back home, stick to the side-streets.
>>
No. 973351 ID: 2bd15b

Hmm, I would really be up for more observation but leaving this area seems like a more sensible solution.
>>
No. 973377 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, it might be safe to explore the store if you can get Errant Signal to turn off the lights via a glitch. I'm just not sure there's any point, and if Errant Signal really has changed its diet away from eating people then we should not tempt it with a dying person or fresh corpse.
>>
No. 975519 ID: d63ea8
File 159910498805.jpg - (122.13KB , 800x1067 , Spotting Hidden Eyes.jpg )
975519

>No reason to go into the gas station unless you want to risk two lives for potentially saving whoever got shot in there. There's enough blood on the floor there that the chances are against the injured person being alive. Especially since you didn't hear gunshots on the way here.
And I don’t have first aid training either. The only thing I could do is maybe call a hospital, but the PSS would stop them if they have this place blocked off.

Sorry who-ever-you-are.

>It's rough but we're really not equipped to fight whatever Orwellian death squad shot up that place if they choose to come back.
Yeah, this is about survival now. Going in might only encourage the PSS to finish the job.
...and tie up any loose ends.

>You already got one bagful to deal with, no need to add more, let's let whatever that is be someone else's problem.
>Let the police deal with it. Badly.
I can see the headline on TNN now;
“Local clerk gunned down by anarchist thugs. How you can do your part in stopping these crimes.”

Anything to get the PSS more informants.

>Be sure to avoid any cameras the gas station might have.
Shit!

I catch a glimpse of one through the window. But… it doesn’t move.
I don’t think I’ve been caught by it, but I’ll need to be careful and give the door a wide berth.

>Oh, it might be safe to explore the store if you can get Errant Signal to turn off the lights via a glitch.
To be honest, I could shut down the power as well. If I could get to the fuse-box, or heck- I probably have keys to the substation for the block. Maybe then I could-

>I'm just not sure there's any point, and if Errant Signal really has changed its diet away from eating people then we should not tempt it with a dying person or fresh corpse.

Yeah, bad idea. I don’t want to be an accomplice to murder. Or (cannibalism??)
>>
No. 975520 ID: d63ea8
File 159910499254.jpg - (190.24KB , 800x1067 , Signed Certainty.jpg )
975520

>Hmm, I would really be up for more observation but leaving this area seems like a more sensible solution.
I better get going. The longer I wait the more likely that cruiser might come back.

>You can use side streets once you're back on marked roads.
But first…
I need a street sign.

Okay.
78th and 122nd.

I am here.
I am certain.

I shou-
I will be able to navigate my way home.

>Keep going, but make sure you count each block carefully and keep notes using your phone.
Alright. 77th… 76th… 75th…
>>
No. 975521 ID: d63ea8
File 159910499516.jpg - (206.22KB , 800x1067 , Approaching the Light, Yet Denied.jpg )
975521

I check my phone periodically. I’m definitely heading in the right direction.

All I need to do is cross the highway and-

I see the dull flash of a red light. And the sickly orange paint of…
Damn it.

They’ve blocked off the road.

In the distance I see the searchlights of the PSS headquarters sway back and forth.
It’s an intimidation tactic. Try to scare people into staying home.
But even with the best cameras, I doubt they’d be able to see across the city.

But still…
I’ll need to find a way around the checkpoint.
>>
No. 975522 ID: d63ea8
File 159910501137.jpg - (97.70KB , 800x1067 , Backroads.jpg )
975522

>Side roads should be (relatively) safe now that you're away from terra incognita.
>Stick to the side-streets.
I double back.
56th… 57th…

The alleys are a lot more winding, but I still know where I am.
I just hope that I get home before morning.

Just then my phone vibrates.
>>
No. 975523 ID: d63ea8
File 159910501524.jpg - (124.29KB , 800x1067 , Life-Line.jpg )
975523

I look at it expecting Errant Signal but-

Natasha!

I-
>>
No. 975524 ID: d63ea8
File 159910505528.jpg - (103.46KB , 800x1067 , An Open Line.jpg )
975524

But the gloom is suddenly split between light and shadow.
Wait- no.
It’s just a coincidence-

My bag starts to shift.

What do I do?

>Answer the phone call?
>Decline it?
>Use the Messenger?
>Hide?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 975525 ID: b1b4f3

>>975524
Messenger. Tell her you can't talk right now.

Also either duck behind a trash can or try the door.
>>
No. 975538 ID: 5cb1b2

The phone is on vibrate, thus the first priority will be hide. (between the two trash cans on the right, just in case this is some nightmare world where they pass both sides of the ally at the same time) Once hidden, decline the call (sends a different message than the call just expiring, they know how PPS is at night too). Then once the light passes call back, they might be able to help guide you in.
>>
No. 975555 ID: 2bd15b

I am also for the idea to hide, as for the phone it doesn't look like it has much battery left and conserving power might be recommended
>>
No. 975585 ID: a1c44a

Decline call, hide between trash cans.
>>
No. 975659 ID: 5cb1b2

((>>975555 It is ok, it is already in power saver mode, and is representative of Etzil's health, should be ok so long as we don't actively try to drain it))
>>
No. 976086 ID: d63ea8
File 159987720829.jpg - (144.93KB , 800x1067 , Duck and Cover.jpg )
976086

>Decline call.
>Decline the call (sends a different message than the call just expiring, they know how PPS is at night too).
I tap the red icon as I run forward.
Sorry Natasha.

>The phone is on vibrate, thus the first priority will be to hide.
The hairs start to raise on the back of my neck.

All at once I feel very… insignificant.

I need to hide now.

>Either duck behind a trash can or try the door.
I immediately rush for the door.

*chick chick*

SHIT!
Locked.
>>
No. 976087 ID: d63ea8
File 159987721275.jpg - (146.13KB , 800x1067 , Occupied Response.jpg )
976087

>(Between the two trash cans on the right.)
>Hide between trash cans.
>I am also for the idea to hide.
I hunker down between the two, pulling my legs up to my chest and making myself as small as possible.

>Messenger. Tell her you can't talk right now.
I open up th-

The messenger app is already open and… someone else has already responded for me.
>>
No. 976088 ID: d63ea8
File 159987721522.jpg - (202.42KB , 800x1067 , Combat Between the Lines.jpg )
976088

But I don’t have time to process that as my phone suddenly jolts from side to side and starts heating up.

The graphics start to fragment and come apart as blinding white light begins to leak out from the cracks.

It’s too bright.

I can’t-
>>
No. 976089 ID: d63ea8
File 159987721954.jpg - (224.79KB , 800x1067 , Encroaching.jpg )
976089

I look as the searchlight moves overhead.

And…

And…
>>
No. 976090 ID: d63ea8
File 159987722364.jpg - (235.65KB , 800x1067 , The Eyes___ The Eyes.jpg )
976090

...starts running down the walls.

Ald.

ALD.

>(Just in case this is some nightmare world where they pass both sides of the alley at the same time).
This doesn’t feel real.

But nothing else has tonight.

I press the phone against my chest, smothering the light with my thick jacket.

I won’t be caught. Not this close to home.
>>
No. 976091 ID: d63ea8
File 159987725123.jpg - (232.78KB , 800x1067 , Combat Outside the Lines.jpg )
976091

But then-
>>
No. 976092 ID: d63ea8
File 159987725420.jpg - (201.98KB , 800x1067 , But He Chooses to Hide.jpg )
976092

Something’s pulling me down I-
>>
No. 976093 ID: d63ea8
File 159987725786.jpg - (98.01KB , 800x1067 , And He Will Hide Her too.jpg )
976093

-harder to breathe! I can’t-
>>
No. 976094 ID: d63ea8
File 159987726023.jpg - (49.62KB , 800x1067 , The Eyes Do-.jpg )
976094

It feels like I’m choking… but not.
The air is thick and watery like a steam room, but there is no taste or warmth.

When I move it feels like there is a delay to it.
Maybe a quarter of a second.

Even my eyes have a stutter to them.

Their motion both starting and stopping is slightly too late.

>>
No. 976095 ID: d63ea8
File 159987726389.jpg - (46.46KB , 800x1067 , -Not See.jpg )
976095

I’m not scared.

I feel like I should be scared. But I’m not.

No…

I feel… relief.

>>
No. 976096 ID: d63ea8
File 159987730170.jpg - (66.55KB , 800x1067 , And Pass You by.jpg )
976096

I blink.

The searchlight is normal again.

And moving further away.

>>
No. 976097 ID: d63ea8
File 159987730623.jpg - (82.07KB , 800x1067 , Free and Gasping.jpg )
976097

The darkness pulls away from me and I start to sputter and gasp.

Ald that felt awful.
>>
No. 976098 ID: d63ea8
File 159987731003.jpg - (144.19KB , 800x1067 , Check-in.jpg )
976098

>Then once the light passes, call back, they might be able to help guide you in.
But I can’t let that stop me.

I need answers.
I need to get home.

Maybe I could get Natasha’s help.
>>
No. 976099 ID: d63ea8
File 159987731506.jpg - (142.15KB , 800x1067 , Options.jpg )
976099

>As for the phone it doesn't look like it has much battery left and conserving power might be recommended.
It’s already on low power mode.
The only other thing I could do is turn it off maybe?

Would that be safe?

My eyes start to readjust and I see Errant’s new messages.

Should I ask him more questions?

>Ask questions?
>Call/Message Natasha?
>‘Way through the door?’
>Continue home?
>Look for a vantage point?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 976102 ID: 5cb1b2

The cruisers have passed, unless that is a door to our building, why would we want in that door specifically. Trusting strangers feels risky (assuming this is not your building, you say close, I assume that means you have not arrived)
Continue home, any deviation from just trying to get home adds red flags and risks you don't need.
>>
No. 976103 ID: b1b4f3

>>976099
Way through the door... hmm, that might be useful. If you can get in, you can find an outlet and see if charging the phone does anything. Ask Errant Signal if there's any chance of that working.
The building will most likely be empty, so you could hide there for a little while if charging the phone will invigorate Errant Signal via the battery.
You can also check your map to see if going through the building would result in a shortcut. What building is this, anyway? Map should say.
>>
No. 976115 ID: ce39da

[No need; just the first hiding option I tried.]
[Let’s focus on going home. THEN we talk.]

Wait until the light has completely passed.
>>
No. 976124 ID: 2bd15b

Looking for a vestige point sounds like a good idea.
>>
No. 976130 ID: 5cb1b2

>>976124
Why this isn't some unknown location, we are close to home.
We have been told to be sure of the way we are going, this building ((if it isn't our home building)) would be a unknown detour.
I doubt trying to turn off the phone would help, the same way turning off the UI in a game doesn't make you take less damage or use less energy/mana, and as an abstraction of it's health/power, charging the phone likely wouldn't help, but it wouldn't hurt to ask on this point.
>>
No. 976132 ID: 36784c

Do we even have our phone charger with us? Or is it at home? If it’s at home, then we need to get there quickly! Sure, charging the phone might not do anything, but it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?
>>
No. 976133 ID: 5cb1b2

>>976132 Or we could ask the thing that would probably know and save time and risk
>>
No. 976142 ID: e51896

vantage point
>>
No. 976777 ID: d63ea8
File 160057001959.jpg - (67.49KB , 800x1067 , What are the Options.jpg )
976777

>Wait until the light has completely passed.
I hold my breath and don’t move.
Bright surroundings start fading back into gloom.

What was that exactly?

Light shouldn’t bend like that.

It was kind of like how it was with Errant before…

But rather than feeling that primordial dread…

I felt so... small.
Insignificant.

I…
I probably shouldn’t be asking these questions, should I.

>Way through the door... hmm, that might be useful. If you can get in, you can find an outlet and see if charging the phone does anything. It might be good to get off of the streets.
I don’t think the PSS are doing a building by building sweep.
Heading in might be the safest option.

...

But there was that gas station.

>The cruisers have passed, unless that is a door to our building, why would we want in that door specifically. Trusting strangers feels risky (assuming this is not your building, you say close, I assume that means you have not arrived).
My building is still a couple of blocks away. Going in here would be a risk, we’re getting into the Old-town, so they might not call the PSS on me, but they might not be friendly either.

And there might also be security cameras...

>Do we even have our phone charger with us? Or is it at home?
No, I have my charger on me, and seeing as we’re back to normal streets, it should be easier to find an outlet.
>>
No. 976778 ID: d63ea8
File 160057002322.jpg - (141.15KB , 800x1067 , The Path will Remain Open.jpg )
976778

>...
The main worry is drawing attention. I’ve already had a couple close calls.
I don’t want to push my luck.



But I suppose the option is open to me if I reconsider.
My head is still spinning from… whatever that was.
I need to get my bearings.
>>
No. 976779 ID: d63ea8
File 160057002639.jpg - (136.64KB , 800x1067 , Almost Within Spitting Distance.jpg )
976779

>You can also check your map to see if going through the building would result in a shortcut.
Unfortunately no, it is on the wrong side of the alleyway. Going into it would be heading in the wrong direction.

But I should be able to avoid the patrols if I hunker down in there.

>What building is this, anyway? Map should say.
It looks to be some kind of tenement, kind of like my own place.
So not very likely to have cameras since we are effectively in the Old-town.

I only know people from my own building, so I might have to be careful around the tenants.
>>
No. 976780 ID: d63ea8
File 160057002933.jpg - (141.31KB , 800x1067 , What About a Boost.jpg )
976780

>Sure, charging the phone might not do anything, but it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?
>The building will most likely be empty, so you could hide there for a little while if charging the phone will invigorate Errant Signal via the battery.
Most people should be asleep. If I’m quiet they should be none the wiser.
It could be worth it.

>Or we could ask the thing that would probably know and save time and risk.
>Ask Errant Signal if there's any chance of that working.
If this lockdown extends into the morning then I want to get home before dawn.
Otherwise I’ll be a sitting duck.

I need information.
>>
No. 976781 ID: d63ea8
File 160057003249.jpg - (142.34KB , 800x1067 , He is Getting Slower.jpg )
976781

Errant is taking a while to type...
>>
No. 976782 ID: d63ea8
File 160057007962.jpg - (141.66KB , 800x1067 , What About Getting Lost.jpg )
976782

I was hoping for a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Should I really be taking risks when I’m this close?

>We have been told to be sure of the way we are going, this building would be an unknown detour.
I don’t know this building.
If going in would get me trapped in another loop then it isn’t worth it.
>>
No. 976783 ID: d63ea8
File 160057008896.jpg - (142.64KB , 800x1067 , Much Slower.jpg )
976783



Should I be worried?
>>
No. 976784 ID: d63ea8
File 160057009737.jpg - (140.44KB , 800x1067 , We Need to Get Home.jpg )
976784

Alright. So I won’t need to count anymore.
I’ll probably still do just to be safe.

>Continue home, any deviation from just trying to get home adds red flags and risks you don't need.
I can’t afford any more distractions. I need to get home, then I can use my high-speed charger and…
Figure out what happens next...

>...
Errant Signal replies a bit faster this time.

But that brings up a big question…
What happens when we get home.

I should try and figure out what I might need to do.

But first.
>>
No. 976785 ID: d63ea8
File 160057010474.jpg - (261.59KB , 1111x1482 , Kinder Streets.jpg )
976785

I’m back on Range Road.
There should be way less PSS patrols here.
But if previous events are anything to go on, that might not be what I’m dealing with.

I know these blocks like the back of my hand and shouldn’t have any issue making it home.

But every minute I spend out here is another chance that I might get caught.

And I really want to avoid that searchlight.
>>
No. 976786 ID: d63ea8
File 160057011196.jpg - (216.24KB , 800x1298 , Familiar Territory.jpg )
976786

>Looking for a vantage point sounds like a good idea.
>Vantage point
It might be good to get my bearings.
I still have my gear on me, and…
I could try to get Errant some more direct current.
A lot of people don’t look up when they’re walking or driving and I without my hazard vest I should be hard to spot.

>Why this isn't some unknown location, we are close to home.
Most of the buildings here are lower to the ground, so I might be able to see the lights from any cruisers in the area. Or even that helicopter that Natasha mentioned.
But it would be a risk.

Maybe I should head straight home.

>I doubt trying to turn off the phone would help, the same way turning off the UI in a game doesn't make you take less damage or use less energy/mana, and as an abstraction of its health/power.
Yeah, I’d just be cutting off my best line of communication.
I don’t want to… drift off like I did before.

>Head back home taking direct streets?
~3 to 6 minutes.
>Head back home by sticking to alleyways?
~8 to 12 minutes.
>Survey surrounds from power pole?
~2 minutes to gear up and climb.

>Head back to the tenement door?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 976788 ID: b1b4f3

Continue as you had before. Travel on main streets, duck into an alley if a car is coming. Or the searchlight.

Next time you duck into an alley, consider hiding in a dumpster, or empty a trash can into another to make room.
>>
No. 976798 ID: 5cb1b2

>>976788
getting in a dumpster sounds good, but I would doubt having time to empty a trash can.
Fuck that patrol was heading the way you want to go. But main roads are still the best plan. Home should be safe. If it isn't you got much bigger problems the back streets haven't shown to be much better, PPS seems to be trying to be thorough.
>>
No. 976807 ID: b1b4f3

I just had an idea that I'm not sure is good.
Cut the power. Cause a power outage on purpose. Without street lamps it will be a lot harder for anyone to see you.
>>
No. 976834 ID: 5cb1b2

>>976807
seems real unnecessarily risky, and they don't know where we are, this plan would give them a disturbance location, and their lights are not using the power grid (I assume given they are using cars and helicopters)
>>
No. 977803 ID: d63ea8
File 160169200067.jpg - (179.98KB , 800x1067 , Nearly There.jpg )
977803

>Continue as you had before. Travel on main streets.
>Main roads are still the best plan.
I start to move at a light jog.
Just a little bit further and I’ll be off the streets.
Ald, I’m going to be sore in the morning.

>Home should be safe. If it isn't you got much bigger problems the back streets haven't shown to be much better, PSS seems to be trying to be thorough.
This is sounding more like the post-war crackdowns my dad used to talk about, when the PSS were still with the Renajre forces.



They…
He said that they changed people.

>Fuck that patrol was heading the way you want to go.
Shit.
Alright, going to make it a light run.
Natasha mentioned someone getting grabbed outside of the apartment, hopefully the emergency exit is still open.

>I just had an idea that I'm not sure is good.
>Cut the power. Cause a power outage on purpose. Without street lamps it will be a lot harder for anyone to see you.

It could work… I have my flashlight and tools on me, and it would take a lot of the PSS by surprise.

>Seems really unnecessarily risky, and they don't know where we are, this plan would give them a disturbance location, and their lights are not using the power grid (I assume given they are using cars and helicopters).
I steal a glance back at the looming silhouette of the PSS headquarters. The searchlights scan back and forth, almost street by street…

I might be able to take out the surrounding lights, but the PSS have their own grid, and they definitely monitor ours.

*chuff* *chuff* *chufF* *CHUFF* *CHUFF*
...what is-?
>>
No. 977804 ID: d63ea8
File 160169200389.jpg - (139.40KB , 800x1067 , Danger from the Sky.jpg )
977804

FUCK

>Duck into an alley if a car is coming. Or the searchlight.
How did I not HEAR it?!?!
It a fucking helocopter!

The searchlight starts to pan across the street and I rush into the nearest alley.
>>
No. 977805 ID: d63ea8
File 160169200796.jpg - (127.56KB , 800x1067 , Temporary Shelter.jpg )
977805

>Next time you duck into an alley, consider hiding in a dumpster, or empty a trash can into another to make room.
>Getting in a dumpster sounds good, but I would doubt having time to empty a trash can.
I toss open the lid of the nearest dumpster and vault into it.
Trying not to think of what I might be standing in, I hold my breath...
The rush of blood in my ears is almost deafening.

...it…
>>
No. 977806 ID: d63ea8
File 160169201895.jpg - (67.08KB , 800x1067 , Another Close Call.jpg )
977806

...passes…

At least it was heading away from my apartment.



I should’ve been able to hear that helicopter coming.
And I should be able to hear it right now…

But it’s quiet.
>>
No. 977807 ID: d63ea8
File 160169202003.jpg - (52.08KB , 800x1067 , Outside the Fire Exit.jpg )
977807

Shaking off the worst of the grime, I finish the last block and duck into the alley behind the apartment.

I see a familiar tacky bookmark sticking out of the emergency exit.

You’re a lifesaver Natasha.

But… is it really over?

>Head up to Ashley’s room?
I’m tired and I need a shower.
If I’m in bed then the PSS shouldn’t have a reason to grab me.
>Head to Natasha’s room?
Maybe I should return her bookmark.
Or let her know I’m alright.
>Talk to Errant Signal? (Before or after stepping inside.)
I… I need to know what happens next.
What exactly they want from me.

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 977808 ID: b1b4f3

>>977807
I feel like Natasha might notice Errant Signal's presence, so... return the bookmark later.
What's that dark spot in front of the door?

Once you're in your room, then you can talk to Errant Signal again, ask them what happens next.
You should be able to just text or call Natasha once you're in your room and your phone is on charger.
>>
No. 977809 ID: 87a01c

>>977807
If it isn't over now is the time to find out. sleep would be good if possible, but our friend will need to be placed first probably. Lets get inside and re-assess.
>>
No. 977811 ID: 094652

This is the last leg of the journey, so be extra careful before you drop your guard.

Check the room and breach it like a SWAT officer, then look around for any cameras or bugs. Finally, cover anything you can't check in detail.

Then make yourself a giant dinner and sleep it off, or whatever you do for fun.
>>
No. 977934 ID: d63ea8
File 160187044690.jpg - (54.35KB , 800x1067 , False Alarm.jpg )
977934

>What's that dark spot in front of the door?
Kneel down next to the dark stain in front of the door, it looks harmless enough.
Carefully poking it, my fingers come away sticky.
If I were to guess, it’s a stain from spilt soda or beer.
>>
No. 977935 ID: d63ea8
File 160187044979.jpg - (183.74KB , 800x1067 , Touch of Whimsey.jpg )
977935

>I feel like Natasha might notice Errant Signal's presence, so... return the bookmark later.
I take the bookmark that was wedged in the door, quickly catching it with my other hand so it doesn’t close and lock.

Looking over the awful bookmark, I give a weak chuckle.
Natasha just loves these sorts of things.

I can’t put her in danger…

>You should be able to just text or call Natasha once you're in your room and your phone is on charger.
A few more minutes shouldn’t hurt, then we’ll talk.
>>
No. 977936 ID: d63ea8
File 160187045785.jpg - (197.63KB , 800x1067 , Staircase Up.jpg )
977936

>This is the last leg of the journey, so be extra careful before you drop your guard.
>If it isn't over now is the time to find out.
I can’t get sloppy now.
Just a few more minutes.

...just a few more.

>Check the room and breach it like a SWAT officer, then look around for any cameras or bugs.
I slip peak through the door -nothing out of place- then I duck in.

Taking the back stairs two at a time I make it to the second floor.

At least the maniac is quiet for once…
But the unusual silence keeps me on edge.

Why was today the day that the building manager finally did something?

>Once you're in your room, then you can talk to Errant Signal again, ask them what happens next.
>Sleep would be good if possible, but our friend will need to be placed first probably. Let's get inside and re-assess.
Alright.
Deal with Errant, food, Natasha, shower, bed.
Easy.

>Then make yourself a giant dinner and sleep it off, or whatever you do for fun.
I’m going to eat the shit out of that casserole.
>>
No. 977937 ID: d63ea8
File 160187046136.jpg - (194.76KB , 800x1067 , A Change.jpg )
977937

>Finally, cover anything you can't check in detail.
I’ll have to check the door to make such that the PSS haven’t broken in or-
Well if that happened then I’d already be dead.

I’ll just need-

Wait.

That mirror wasn’t there this morning.
>>
No. 977938 ID: d63ea8
File 160187047670.jpg - (163.18KB , 800x1067 , Creeping Dread.jpg )
977938

I slowly make my way towards it.
Of course it had to be right next to my door.



There is something… off about it.
The frame looks new and freshly varnished.
But the mirror itself is cracked and dusty.

And… feels very old…

Just staring at it makes my skin crawl.

...

I should just get inside.
Or…

>Head into Ashley’s room?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 977939 ID: e7c7d3

What's that paper sticking out?
>>
No. 977940 ID: b1b4f3

>>977938
Don't touch anything. Ask Errant Signal what this is.
>>
No. 977942 ID: 094652

Get inside, lock the door, check your apartment, plug your phone in, casserole.
>>
No. 977943 ID: d63ea8
File 160187505185.jpg - (241.85KB , 800x1067 , Almost Fell for Her.jpg )
977943

>What's that paper sticking out?
It looks like a folded piece of stationary tucked behind the frame, I-

>Don't touch anything. Ask Errant Signal what this is.
I hesitate.
This is too weird.
I better check with Errant first.

I’m halfway through typing when-

>Get inside, lock the door, check your apartment, plug your phone in, casserole.
((Action banked.))

>React.
>>
No. 977944 ID: b1b4f3

>>977943
MOVE YOUR ASS
>>
No. 977946 ID: 36784c

>>977943
Get inside right the fuck now!
>>
No. 977957 ID: 87a01c

((the crack makes me suspect grey gash, if so fuck off please))
Bolt for your door, just get inside YOUR apartment
>>
No. 977961 ID: ce39da

Swipe the lodged paper and bolt for your room. Don't actually look at the paper unless Errant gives you the go-ahead.
>>
No. 977966 ID: b1b4f3

The paper is a lure, do not touch it.
>>
No. 977971 ID: a9af05

>>977943
Do not touch the paper! Just ignore it and get inside right now!
>>
No. 977980 ID: b1b4f3

Also don't forget to charge your phone.
>>
No. 978042 ID: d63ea8
File 160203821805.jpg - (148.32KB , 800x1067 , Fumbling with Keys.jpg )
978042

>Swipe the lodged paper and bolt for your room.
>The paper is a lure, do not touch it.
>Do not touch the paper! Just ignore it and get inside right now!
Part of me wants to know.
NEEDS to know-

Pulling away takes a lot more effort than it should.

>Get inside
>Bolt for your door, just get inside YOUR apartment.
I fumble for the keys in my pocket, nearly dropping my phone.
Need to get inside.

>Get inside right the fuck now!
*crick* *crink*
Crunching glass behind me.

Shit. Shit. Shit.
>>
No. 978043 ID: d63ea8
File 160203824007.jpg - (127.60KB , 800x1067 , Rushing In.jpg )
978043

>MOVE YOUR ASS
Door’s open-
>>
No. 978044 ID: d63ea8
File 160203825987.jpg - (191.36KB , 800x1067 , Buying Time.jpg )
978044

>Lock the door.
*SLAM*
*click*
*click*


Lock.
Deadbolt.
>>
No. 978045 ID: d63ea8
File 160203826609.jpg - (97.06KB , 800x1067 , Partial Substitute.jpg )
978045

>Plug your phone in
>Also don't forget to charge your phone.
Charging-
>>
No. 978046 ID: d63ea8
File 160203827513.jpg - (122.17KB , 800x1067 , She is Looking for a Way In.jpg )
978046

I can hear scratching from the door.

Clenched fists.
Grit teeth.

I need to do something.
Now.

>Check your apartment.
Something to barricade or fight with?

>Casserole.
I think I have bigger prior-

*Knock* *Knock*

???: “You have something you shouldn’t, child.”

It’s a woman’s voice-
But there’s… an uncanniness to it…

???: “A lot of people out there, looking for an old mutt.”

>Look for something?
>Barricade door?
>Respond?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 978047 ID: b1b4f3

>>978046
Barricade the door. You've got some shelves right there, and a table.
Not sure how you'd go about fighting that thing... got anything sharp? A spear is best, since it will be vulnerable as it tries to break down the door... *if* it tries to break down the door.
Also if you have any other mirrors in your apartment you should cover them up, or barricade the rooms they're in.
>>
No. 978049 ID: 87a01c

We will need to ask Errant Signal what to do about this. We should be able to turn of power saving mode now that we have charging.
>>
No. 978050 ID: ce39da

Whatever it is, physical resistance may well be futile. Say nothing. Neither confirm nor deny. The less you reveal, the more that remains Unknown. Hide. Take the bag and hide in the most obscure place within this apartment that you can recall. A crawl space (whether in the wall or ceiling) would be ideal.
>>
No. 978056 ID: 894419

Prop the door closed by wedging the coat rack under the handle, then swing that dresser in the way as well!
>>
No. 978071 ID: 094652

"Are you an agent of the URC?"

If they aren't of the totalitarian government that has enslaved your country, you refuse to acknowledge them as the scariest thing in your life.
>>
No. 978148 ID: d63ea8
File 160221431669.jpg - (238.06KB , 800x1067 , Implements Must Gathered.jpg )
978148

>We will need to ask Errant Signal what to do about this.
I spin back around and grab the phone, the messenger app is already open.
The response is almost immediate.

String? Why would I-

Don’t question it. No time.
>>
No. 978149 ID: d63ea8
File 160221432107.jpg - (222.93KB , 800x1067 , Removing the Shackles.jpg )
978149

>We should be able to turn off power saving mode now that we have charging.
I thumb back over to the settings.
The phone jerks in my hand when I turn off energy saver mode.
But it isn’t violent this time.

It’s more like a rumble…
Or a growl.
>>
No. 978150 ID: d63ea8
File 160221432442.jpg - (138.21KB , 800x1067 , Hasty Defences.jpg )
978150

>Barricade the door. You've got some shelves right there, and a table.
>Prop the door closed by wedging the coat rack under the handle, then swing that dresser in the way as well!
Setting my phone on the ground I grab the coat rack first.
It’s too big and awkward to wedge under the door handle, so I instead set it across the doorway like a bar, bracing it with the shelves.

Piling on the table and chair doesn’t take long.
I’m not sure how much it will help, but the effort does help me steady my breathing.
I can take this on.

>Not sure how you'd go about fighting that thing... got anything sharp? A spear is best, since it will be vulnerable as it tries to break down the door... *if* it tries to break down the door.
I have a pocket knife on me, and a larger selection to pick from the kitchen.
If I really needed a spear I could tape one to a broom from the closet.
I have plenty of electrical tape on me and some duct tape somewhere around here.

>Whatever it is, physical resistance may well be futile. Say nothing. Neither confirm nor deny. The less you reveal, the more that remains Unknown.
Fuck them. They’re not getting anything out of me.
And I’m not going down with a fight.

Yet…

>...
"Are you an agent of the URC?"
>>
No. 978151 ID: d63ea8
Audio Her_Amusement.mp3 - (142.49KB , Her Amusement.mp3 )
978151

>>
No. 978152 ID: d63ea8
File 160221434556.jpg - (74.78KB , 800x1067 , Other Doors.jpg )
978152

Fuck that.

A shiver runs down my spine.
There is something deeply wrong about that… thing.

>If they aren't of the totalitarian government that has enslaved your country, you refuse to acknowledge them as the scariest thing in your life.
Yeah, fuck that.
I have to deal with a crushing hellscape every day.
I can deal with a senile hag.

>Also if you have any other mirrors in your apartment you should cover them up, or barricade the rooms they're in.
Ald.
What if it can use them to get in?

Turning right from the entryway I bolt for the bathroom and bedroom.
>>
No. 978153 ID: d63ea8
File 160221434913.jpg - (258.92KB , 800x1067 , She is Warping the Fresh Glass.jpg )
978153

The bathroom is too dark to see into, so I flick on the lights.

The medicine cabinet has that same dusty look.
>>
No. 978154 ID: d63ea8
File 160221435419.jpg - (259.00KB , 800x1067 , It Won't Last Long.jpg )
978154

I pull off my jacket and toss it over the mirror.

Ald, I hope that helps.
>>
No. 978155 ID: d63ea8
File 160221435896.jpg - (136.21KB , 800x1067 , He is Hopping Across the Grid.jpg )
978155

Next is my bedroom.
When I push open the door there is a flash of green light.
>>
No. 978156 ID: d63ea8
File 160221438107.jpg - (115.93KB , 800x1067 , But Doesn't Want to Overwhelm You.jpg )
978156

It came from the T.V. I think-

No.

Mirror first.
>>
No. 978157 ID: d63ea8
File 160221438605.jpg - (115.46KB , 800x1067 , She Can Fit More Easily Through This One.jpg )
978157

The surface shimmers darkly with swirling clouds.

There isn’t even a reflection anymore.
>>
No. 978158 ID: d63ea8
File 160221438935.jpg - (116.03KB , 800x1067 , She Will Get Through.jpg )
978158

Yanking the sheet off of my be I toss it over the full length mirror.

I’m about to run back outside when I catch something out of the corner of my eye.
>>
No. 978159 ID: d63ea8
File 160221439485.jpg - (155.31KB , 800x1067 , About to Reach the Hidden Channel.jpg )
978159

The channel changes on it’s own.

>Hide. Take the bag and hide in the most obscure place within this apartment that you can recall. A crawl space (whether in the wall or ceiling) would be ideal.
There's a loose panel in the back of the cupboard under the kitchen sink, I could wedge my bag back there.

Or I could try to remove the vent here in the bedroom

I-

I don’t know where to hide.
There’s the closet here, or maybe the one in the entryway-

Why do these apartments have to be so cramped?!

>Get thread?
I think there is twine in the kitchen-
Or did I leave it in the closet with the broom?
Would floss work?

>Make a spear?
I’ll need something to defend myself.
I still have pepper-spray, that could help too.

>Take out my flashlight.
I can’t see anything- it’s so friggin dark.

>Something else?
I don’t have much time.

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 978165 ID: b1b4f3

Take out your flashlight so you can see to look for things without stubbing your toe or something (since that would kill you), but be careful where you shine it. Wouldn't want to hurt Errant Signal with it. Is he still in your bag?
Go for the twine, since he specified string or twine. Something to secure it with... I don't know what that means. A lock? Don't you usually just tie knots?

>spear?
No. You might cut yourself. It's more dangerous to you than it. Pepper spray will have to do.
>>
No. 978171 ID: 094652

Text Errant Signal again, ask for detailed instructions (make sure you disable audio and vibration).

>Why do these apartments have to be so cramped
Fascist 'arbitrage'; the smaller your apartment, the less ambitious the employee, and the more money saved. Never mind how that creates unrest and health issues in 20 years, because the 'game' ends when the leader dies, post-game efforts be damned.

>What do
Vent.
>>
No. 978193 ID: ce39da

First and foremost; CALM DOWN. Rushing and panicking leads to injury, and ES has made it clear we do NOT want to injure ourselves. Set your priorities, and execute them with calm certainty.

Priority 1: Turn off and cover the TV. It's on for a reason, and that reason isn't good, whatever it is.
Priority 2: Get string - check the closet first because it's close, then the kitchen if you don't find it. I assume he meant to secure the mirrors with it?
Priority 3: Tie up mirrors. Focus on the standing mirror in your bedroom - that one seems most active. Then tie up the TV because it's close, followed by the bathroom mirror, then any others you can think of (including the window maybe).

Again, DON'T RUSH IT - take ES's advice about not injuring yourself seriously.
>>
No. 978209 ID: b1b4f3

>>978193
No, the TV is on because Errant Signal is using it. Obviously.
It would be better not to interfere with the TV, and probably doesn't matter if we're looking at it or not since Errant Signal is aware of what's going on around us.
>>
No. 978284 ID: 87a01c

Avoid sharp things, but like more than normal, that paper against the mirror may have just been there to cause a paper-cut, which, according to errant signal, would have been lethal.
When he says 'secure it with' I believe that means places to anchor the thread/twine to, so something like tape or, probably better, eye hook screws. (though 5 of them would be the wrong number to use)
I have the sneaking suspicion you will find string/twine in your bag, at the top even, if not 'something to secure it with' too. You don't remember where it was, might even be in your bag, and Errant Signal said they would keep whatever you need nice and handy at the top of your bag.
The TV should be fine, as that probably just Errant Signal tuning your TV to the Errant Signal channel, same way your texts were.
Don't rush, you may find yourself more error prone right now. Just use the level of caution you would use on high voltage lines on everything you do right now. A risk of certain death just isn't worth going a little faster.
>>
No. 978348 ID: d63ea8
File 160247702663.jpg - (91.86KB , 800x1067 , Recentering.jpg )
978348

>First and foremost; CALM DOWN. Rushing and panicking leads to injury, and ES has made it clear we do NOT want to injure ourselves. Set your priorities, and execute them with calm certainty.
Focus.

I take a moment to breathe.

I am in control.
Whatever that is outside, I will beat it.
It doesn’t scare me.

And I haven’t come this far just to lose.


Just make a plan, and do it.

>Avoid sharp things, but like more than normal, that paper against the mirror may have just been there to cause a paper-cut, which, according to Errant Signal, would have been lethal.
It’s just like before with the road loop.
The world is different and I can’t expect it to play by normal rules.
I’ll need to be exceedingly careful.

>Don't rush, you may find yourself more error prone right now. Just use the level of caution you would use on high voltage lines on everything you do right now. A risk of certain death just isn't worth going a little faster.
All it takes is the right mindset, and the proper patience.
Just like I do every day.

>Pepper spray will have to do.
It will.

>Fascist 'arbitrage'; the smaller your apartment, the less ambitious the employee, and the more money saved. Never mind how that creates unrest and health issues in 20 years, because the 'game' ends when the leader dies, post-game efforts be damned.
When I make it through tonight I am going to tear Maxine a new one.

I will overcome this.
I am Determined.
>>
No. 978349 ID: d63ea8
Audio Accidental_Blare.mp3 - (72.29KB , Accidental Blare.mp3 )
978349

>Priority 1: Turn off and cover the TV. It's on for a reason, and that reason isn't good, whatever it is.
The noise is sudden, but I don’t flinch.

I’m about to press the power button when-

Transmission Start: >>/questdis/133918
>>
No. 978350 ID: d63ea8
File 160247703338.jpg - (251.26KB , 800x1067 , Almost Removing the Connection.jpg )
978350

>No, the TV is on because Errant Signal is using it. Obviously.
>It would be better not to interfere with the TV, and probably doesn't matter if we're looking at it or not since Errant Signal is aware of what's going on around us.
>The TV should be fine, as that probably just Errant Signal tuning your TV to the Errant Signal channel, same way your texts were.
-the screen blinks and text appears.

Errant already said that he could mess with computers, and that morse code was a dead giveaway.



Check my bag?
>>
No. 978352 ID: d63ea8
File 160247706241.jpg - (124.98KB , 800x1067 , Light and Twine.jpg )
978352

>I have the sneaking suspicion you will find string/twine in your bag, at the top even, if not 'something to secure it with' too. You don't remember where it was, might even be in your bag, and Errant Signal said they would keep whatever you need nice and handy at the top of your bag.
When I reach over my shoulder, I feel the spool sticking out of the bag.
For now I don’t question it.

But I’m not so lucky with the ‘something to secure it to.’
>>
No. 978353 ID: d63ea8
File 160247706680.jpg - (277.95KB , 800x1067 , Further Instructions.jpg )
978353

>Take out your flashlight so you can see to look for things without stubbing your toe or something (since that would kill you), but be careful where you shine it. Wouldn't want to hurt Errant Signal with it.
I quietly open my toolbox and retrieve my flashlight.
I’ll try to keep it mainly pointed at the ground.

>Is he still in your bag?
I gingerly prod the side of my bag, and I feel it shuffle in response.

The text on the T.V. changes.


>Priority 2: Get string - check the closet first because it's close, then the kitchen if you don't find it. I assume he meant to secure the mirrors with it?
>Priority 3: Tie up mirrors. Focus on the standing mirror in your bedroom - that one seems most active. Then tie up the TV because it's close, followed by the bathroom mirror, then any others you can think of (including the window maybe).
>Text Errant Signal again, ask for detailed instructions (make sure you disable audio and vibration).
I need to be working with a better picture.
The phone is still back in the entryway, I’ll have to go get it.
>>
No. 978354 ID: d63ea8
File 160247707167.jpg - (221.17KB , 800x1067 , Back to the Enterance.jpg )
978354

>Again, DON'T RUSH IT - take ES's advice about not injuring yourself seriously.
Making a conscious effort to move at a slightly slower pace, I scan the hallway with my flashlight.
Nothing seems to have changed.

Yet.
>>
No. 978355 ID: d63ea8
File 160247707545.jpg - (259.26KB , 800x1067 , She is Getting Closer.jpg )
978355

>Something to secure it with... I don't know what that means. A lock? Don't you usually just tie knots?
I have a gym lock in the bathroom, might want to take it just to be safe.

The mirror seems darker, even with the light shining on it.
>>
No. 978356 ID: d63ea8
File 160247708335.jpg - (178.91KB , 800x1067 , A Focus for the Ritual.jpg )
978356

The lock is here, same place as I always put it.
>>
No. 978357 ID: d63ea8
File 160247708936.jpg - (244.74KB , 800x1067 , This Door Will Corrode.jpg )
978357

Taking the turn to the entryway, I am greeted with the sickly sweet smell of rotting meat and wood.

If I wasn’t so used to the smell of burnt hair, it might have upset me.

No.

What does catch my eye is the discolouration with the wood of the door.
Like it’s been decaying for nearly a decade.
>>
No. 978358 ID: d63ea8
File 160247711083.jpg - (251.34KB , 800x1067 , More Morse.jpg )
978358

Grabbing my phone I quickly scroll past the wall of morse and start typing.
>>
No. 978359 ID: d63ea8
File 160247712008.jpg - (248.68KB , 800x1067 , Some More Information.jpg )
978359

As unspecified as always.
>>
No. 978360 ID: d63ea8
File 160247712748.jpg - (246.06KB , 800x1067 , Condolences.jpg )
978360

>When he says 'secure it with' I believe that means places to anchor the thread/twine to, so something like tape or, probably better, eye hook screws. (though 5 of them would be the wrong number to use).
I have plenty of electrical tape on me.
There are some tumbtacs in the kitchen, but it might be better to avoid those.

At least the lock was a good call.

>Head back to the T.V.
>Ask more questions?
>Look for something else to use?

>Attempt something else entirely?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 978362 ID: e51896

thats good, the Phone is charging up pretty fast... unnaturally fast... WAY TOO FAST! quick! remove phone from charger or it might overcharge and catch fire or something!
>>
No. 978364 ID: 87a01c

>>978360
If you have gloves the tacks should be usable when combined with deliberately selecting one tack at a time. (no blind reaching) Ask Errant Signal if we can start with tape and upgrade to tacks. As that would likely be best.
>>
No. 978365 ID: 87a01c

>>978362
no no no, signal just charged it, even told us they were done.
>>
No. 978373 ID: b1b4f3

>>978358
((translation:
THE "ONE ABOVE" WAS HIRED.
THE "DRAWER" IS WITH THE URC.
MY WEAKNESS IS THEIR OPPORTUNITY.
THE POWER IS STOPPING MY DESIRE TO CONSUME THIS MORTAL.
NOTHING MORE.))

>>978360
Power bill? Oh dear. Well, hopefully your living arrangement with ES can help pay for it.
How about you use nails(if you have any), but hold them with pliers while hammering them? No risk of bruise. That or very careful use of thumbtacks.
>>
No. 978376 ID: 894419

Do you have gloves anywhere? Even wool ones? Put them on, it'll help protect you from unexpected hand injuries.
>>
No. 978388 ID: ce39da

Just start with tape - no need to risk it until we're clear of the "injury means death" zone. Ask errant if it's safe to move the mirror out of your room first, and if that will make it sufficiently "safe" to use as our sealed room. (Like, is any reflective surface dangerous? It'd suck if we'd have to forgo the tv and phone.) If he gives you the go-ahead, move it into the bathroom and face it towards the vanity mirror - probably won't work, but even confusing our intruder for a moment if and when it comes in could be vital.
>>
No. 978492 ID: d63ea8
File 160264942362.jpg - (247.36KB , 800x1067 , Could it be Moved.jpg )
978492

>Ask Errant if it's safe to move the mirror out of your room first, and if that will make it sufficiently "safe" to use as our sealed room.
I needed to keep that mirror in my periferie when I was in my room, like turning away would’ve made it much worse.

I could probably throw both the bed sheet and fitted sheet on the mirror before moving it.
Or even the extra blankets from the bedroom closet.
>>
No. 978493 ID: d63ea8
File 160264944992.jpg - (255.04KB , 800x1067 , Echoes of the Abyss.jpg )
978493

>(Like, is any reflective surface dangerous? It'd suck if we'd have to forgo the tv and phone.)
I shiver runs down my spine.



Alright. At least the phone and tv should be good.

>If he gives you the go-ahead, move it into the bathroom and face it towards the vanity mirror - probably won't work, but even confusing our intruder for a moment if and when it comes in could be vital.
Heh. It’s a funny thought, but I think might count as reflections within reflections.

It’s a really good thing I asked.
>>
No. 978494 ID: d63ea8
File 160264946240.jpg - (251.25KB , 800x1067 , It Cannot be Changed.jpg )
978494

>That's good, the Phone is charging up pretty fast... unnaturally fast... WAY TOO FAST! quick! remove phone from charger or it might overcharge and catch fire or something!
I carefully disconnect the charger, just in case.

>No no no, signal just charged it, even told us they were done.
At least the charge seems to be sitting steady at 96%.
And unlike before, the phone isn’t buzzing or overheating in my hand.

>Ask Errant Signal if we can start with tape and upgrade to tacks. As that would likely be best.
Yeah. Set up everything with the tape first, and then try to use the thumbtacks.

???: “Come now, there’s no need to be difficult.”

The woman’s voice-
I glance over to the door but stay quiet.
>>
No. 978495 ID: d63ea8
File 160264946896.jpg - (113.63KB , 800x1067 , Self Defence.jpg )
978495

>Do you have gloves anywhere? Even wool ones? Put them on, it'll help protect you from unexpected hand injuries.
>If you have gloves the tacks should be usable when combined with deliberately selecting one tack at a time. (no blind reaching)
I pull out my work gloves and slip them on like a second skin.

These should help, especially if I’m going to be moving that damn mirror.

>Power bill? Oh dear. Well, hopefully your living arrangement with ES can help pay for it.
I…
Try not to think about that for now.

???: “You shouldn’t be having to do this you know?”

???: “You're just a pawn to him.”

???: “He will sacrifice you if it means that he’ll survive.”
>>
No. 978496 ID: d63ea8
File 160264950092.jpg - (162.36KB , 800x1067 , Towards the Kitchen.jpg )
978496

>How about you use nails(if you have any), but hold them with pliers while hammering them? No risk of bruises. That or very careful use of thumbtacks.
I don’t think I have nails anywhere, over even a hammer.
It was usually my dad that tinkered with that stuff.

But I do have a couple of plier-

???: “Child…”
“...ild…”


I think I’m starting to hear it from the bathroom…
or bedroom.

???: “You shouldn’t be here, fighting.”
“...ighting...”


???: “This is his battle, not yours.”
“...urs…”

>>
No. 978497 ID: d63ea8
File 160264950727.jpg - (114.49KB , 800x1067 , The Lesser to Nails.jpg )
978497

>Just start with tape - no need to risk it until we're clear of the "injury means death" zone.
I grab the box from the cupboard, just in case.
But it might be better to not even use them-

???: “Just hand Him over…”
“...Him…”
“...him…”

>>
No. 978498 ID: d63ea8
File 160264952821.jpg - (197.23KB , 800x1067 , Are There More Provisions.jpg )
978498

???: “And you will be left alone.”
“...lone…”


???: “Free to live a quiet life.”
“...ife…”






>Search for something else?
>Check your T.V.?
>Check your phone?
>Remove the standing mirror?

>Insult her?
>Hand him over?

>Something else?
>>
No. 978500 ID: b1b4f3

Move the big mirror into the hall. Face it towards a wall or the floor.
Or... it would be really nice if you could detach the bathroom mirror and put it in your bedroom instead (facing away from the bigger mirror; don't forget to make sure it's not pointing towards it when you're carrying it in too) so you could take the TV out into the hall and thus have access to both bathroom and food supplies. Two sealing designations are probably manageable. Can you remove the bathroom mirror?
There must be some long term solution; the URC could just send human enforcers to your apartment and they'll be much harder to keep out, ironically.
>>
No. 978536 ID: 87a01c

Why face the wall? Lets have gravity help us. Have it face the floor. Do we have paint? If so, ask Errant about painting the mirror.
Also turn off the bathroom light. Light is what enables reflections, might be giving it power. Also lets drag it by the stand from the bedroom to the bathroom then remove the stand if possible so it can lay flat. ((>>/questdis/133980 for map))
>>
No. 978556 ID: 094652

>Give me the VIP and I'll send you somewhere that isn't a police state
Don't listen. Even if she wasn't lying out of her ass, notice how she doesn't explain how this will benefit others or how her agenda might align with yours. Once she has him, she might destroy the entire world, or worse, give immortality to whichever dictator is running the show.

Start by taping the edges. Use .25 inches of thickness for each small mirror, and if you have any tape left over, use it on your appliances and base reflectives. If you have any glass containers, twine the cupboards containing them, but come back if you find more tape. Try to craft some tape yourself - do you have anything sticky? Mix it over plastics and papers and stick it on the mirrors directly. That should buy you some favor with any attack dogs on the other sides. Sorry about the spoiled mess but you want to see tomorrow.

Your phone is a reflective surface, so get some quicksilver and turn your gloves into touchscreen handlers. It will take longer to chat, but if the enemy overloads your comms to explode into an eldritch mess, you'll have armor equipped.
>>
No. 978620 ID: ce39da

She said, "a quiet life," not a happy one. Even if you'll be left alone after this, your status quo here is hell. Maybe you ARE helping him for your own sake, and you don't mean whatever benefits he could bring when you think that.

Move the mirror; that'll be now or never, I think. Throw sheets onto it first, and throw a long-sleeved layer onto yourself if you don't have them already. Oh, and remove any clocks you might have from this room while you're at it.

After that, get down to business. Tacks are stronger, but we can go faster with tape, and time literally isn't on our side here. Don't forget to ask where the best spot to put the lock is.
>>
No. 978765 ID: 87a01c

>>978620
I might argue for keeping clocks as a sort of possible anchor.
>>
No. 978811 ID: d63ea8
File 160299609767.jpg - (254.97KB , 800x1067 , Diminishing Returns.jpg )
978811

>Don't listen. Even if she wasn't lying out of her ass, notice how she doesn't explain how this will benefit others or how her agenda might align with yours. Once she has him, she might destroy the entire world, or worse, give immortality to whichever dictator is running the show.
Fuck her. I’m not going to give her or the URC an inch.

>Your phone is a reflective surface, so get some quicksilver and turn your gloves into touchscreen handlers. It will take longer to chat, but if the enemy overloads your comms to explode into an eldritch mess, you'll have armor equipped.
I don’t have any mercury.

I’ll have to rely on Errant for a warning.

>Do we have paint? If so, ask Errant about painting the mirror.
I pull out my phone and tug off one of the gloves.

Dad did help me repaint the walls so they weren’t that suffocating blue from the hallway.
I think he took all the paint cans with him, but I’m not sure.

Hopefully Errant can fi-

*Clunk*
>>
No. 978812 ID: d63ea8
File 160299610134.jpg - (199.62KB , 800x1067 , Possible Coating.jpg )
978812

I look down and see a half-empty paint can.
The lid is missing, but this is definitely a win.

There might be enough inside to cover the standing mirror.
>>
No. 978813 ID: d63ea8
File 160299610451.jpg - (96.85KB , 800x1067 , An Adherence.jpg )
978813

>Try to craft some tape yourself - do you have anything sticky? Mix it over plastics and papers and stick it on the mirrors directly.
Ald. I don’t think I really keep much paper at all.
The URC have been pushing a ‘paperless campaign’ in order to ‘save costs and protect the environment.’
But I do still have some high strength glue.
I grab it from the cupboard and put it into my toolbox.

???: “Well?”
“...ell…”


>She said, "a quiet life," not a happy one. Even if you'll be left alone after this, your status quo here is hell. Maybe you ARE helping him for your own sake, and you don't mean whatever benefits he could bring when you think that.
Fuck her.
I’m going to climb out of this pit. Even if it is just to spit in the eye of Maxine, I will make it through this.
>>
No. 978814 ID: d63ea8
File 160299610945.jpg - (64.64KB , 800x1067 , Ambush Avoided.jpg )
978814

>If you have any glass containers, twine the cupboards containing them, but come back if you find more tape.
Shit.
I should’ve thought of that before.

Quickly rushing Carefully moving around to all of the cupboard doors I tie their handles together.

It isn’t the most secure job, but I still have plenty of twine remaining.
>>
No. 978815 ID: d63ea8
File 160299611566.jpg - (256.09KB , 800x1067 , Boundries Are Weakening.jpg )
978815

Making my way back to the hall, I pick up the paint can and glance back at the door.
I can hear faint but determined scratches from it, and there are already some edges being gouged through.

The septic smell is getting stronger, and the door is becoming…
Wet?
>>
No. 978816 ID: d63ea8
File 160299611840.jpg - (191.64KB , 800x1067 , Ocean of the Abyss.jpg )
978816

>Or... it would be really nice if you could detach the bathroom mirror and put it in your bedroom instead (facing away from the bigger mirror; don't forget to make sure it's not pointing towards it when you're carrying it in too) so you could take the TV out into the hall and thus have access to both bathroom and food supplies. Two sealing designations are probably manageable. Can you remove the bathroom mirror?
The hinges are attached inside the medicine cabinet, and I do have my screwdriver.
Or I could try to tear it down from the wall.

Continuing down the hall, I peer back into the bathroom.
The reflection-
Isn’t.

>Also turn off the bathroom light. Light is what enables reflections, might be giving it power.
Turning off the light sharpens the image.
The re-

The mirror holds the image of a starlit ocean, stormy and rough with waves.

Emitting its own light.
>>
No. 978817 ID: d63ea8
File 160299612244.jpg - (107.78KB , 800x1067 , Keeping Her at Bay.jpg )
978817

Closing the door to the bathroom I power walk back into my room.
I notice again that the light of the T.V. actively dims as I head in.
>>
No. 978818 ID: d63ea8
File 160299613794.jpg - (190.85KB , 800x1067 , Nearly Through.jpg )
978818

The smell is even worse here.

Like rancid meat and… puke.
>>
No. 978819 ID: d63ea8
File 160299614693.jpg - (185.95KB , 800x1067 , Ire.jpg )
978819

>Move the mirror; that'll be now or never, I think. Throw sheets onto it first, and throw a long-sleeved layer onto yourself if you don't have them already.
I throw the fitted sheet overtop, and that helps with the smell quite a bit.
Luckily I’m wearing a long-sleeve shirt.

Ald, it’s starting to leak into the rug.

???: “You are testing my patience.”
“...ast warning…”


It’s not even pretending now.
The voice definitely came from the mirror and the hall.
>>
No. 978820 ID: d63ea8
File 160299614985.jpg - (185.45KB , 800x1067 , Safety Straps.jpg )
978820

>Start by taping the edges. Use .25 inches of thickness for each small mirror, and if you have any tape left over, use it on your appliances and base reflectives.
I quickly tape up some makeshift handholds on the mirror, I have plenty left.
Already there is an acrid stench.

>That should buy you some favor with any attack dogs on the other sides. Sorry about the spoiled mess but you want to see tomorrow.
Fuck Her.
>>
No. 978821 ID: d63ea8
File 160299615329.jpg - (144.05KB , 800x1067 , Back of the Room.jpg )
978821

>Oh, and remove any clocks you might have from this room while you're at it.
I look over to my nightstand.

Someone-
Errant looks to have covered it with a spare t-shirt.
>>
No. 978822 ID: d63ea8
File 160299615778.jpg - (158.00KB , 800x1067 , Time Remains Discarded.jpg )
978822

>I might argue for keeping clocks as a sort of possible anchor.
My hand hesitates as I reach for the power cord.
Maybe it would be better to keep around.
>>
No. 978823 ID: d63ea8
File 160299616157.jpg - (129.95KB , 800x1067 , Moving the Most Dangerous Door.jpg )
978823

>Also lets drag it by the stand from the bedroom to the bathroom then remove the stand if possible so it can lay flat.
Setting down the paint can and my toolbox, I carefully start pulling the mirror out into the hall.
It’s much heavier than I remember and I can already tell the bedsheet has a lot more ‘give’ than it should.

>Move the big mirror into the hall. Face it towards a wall or the floor.
>Why face the wall? Let’s have gravity help us. Have it face the floor.
The smell is already starting to come back, maybe I should leave in the hall, rather than the bathroom, but then I won’t have access to the kitch-
>>
No. 978824 ID: d63ea8
File 160299616638.jpg - (133.75KB , 800x1067 , Splintering.jpg )
978824

*SMASH*
That was the front door.

???: “You are OUT of time!”
“...ime…”
“...ime…


>There must be some long term solution; the URC could just send human enforcers to your apartment and they'll be much harder to keep out, ironically.
Maybe they already have.

>After that, get down to business. Tacks are stronger, but we can go faster with tape, and time literally isn't on our side here. Don't forget to ask where the best spot to put the lock is.
I need to act while I still can-

>Move mirror to bathroom?
>Ditch the mirror in the hallway?
>Head back to the T.V. right now?

>Splatter something with paint?
>Insult her?

>Mace the intruder?

>Something else?
>(Time is now limited.)

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 978826 ID: b1b4f3

>>978824
Well you definitely won't have access to the kitchen now, since the front door is breached and you can no longer ward it. Ditch the mirror in the hall.
Splash paint on the mirror if the... "tinted" speech came from it. If that's the case then the enemy can enter most easily through there, so if the paint ruins the entry point then you're buying more time to ward the door.

Then get into your bedroom and close the bedroom door, begin warding it with Errant's instructions.
>>
No. 978831 ID: 87a01c

Unfortunately the hall is lost, with the mirror gone from the bedroom and as the closest secure room, it is time to ward the bedroom door from the inside. Add glue to the tape when you apply it. Spill the paint on the mirror before you leave for good measure though.
>>
No. 978866 ID: ce39da

Ditch the mirror in the hall. You remembered to swipe your charger, correct? Use the bedroom as your space - if food becomes an issue later, I'm sure Errant can figure something out. Just look at the TV for instructions - he knows what resources you've collected at this point (the twine, the tape, the paint, the glue, the cloth from your clothing, the lock), so he should have the best knowledge of how to apply each. Unplug the clock after you're done.
>>
No. 979115 ID: b1b4f3

>>979108
The TV is in the bedroom.
>>
No. 979225 ID: d63ea8
File 160333694507.jpg - (155.89KB , 800x1067 , Putting the Door to the Side.jpg )
979225

>Well you definitely won't have access to the kitchen now, since the front door is breached and you can no longer ward it. Ditch the mirror in the hall.
>Ditch the mirror in the hall.
Propping the mirror against the wall, I take several steps away from it.

I’ve given you enough chances.

This ends now.


The sound is coming from the mirror. It doesn’t sound human.
Even the fitted sheet is starting to stain.
>>
No. 979226 ID: d63ea8
File 160333695097.jpg - (147.04KB , 800x1067 , It Couldn't Hurt.jpg )
979226

>Splash paint on the mirror if the... "tinted" speech came from it. If that's the case then the enemy can enter most easily through there, so if the paint ruins the entry point then you're buying more time to ward the door.
>Spill the paint on the mirror before you leave for good measure though.
I whirl around and splash the paint all across the mirror.

Really?
>>
No. 979227 ID: d63ea8
File 160333695482.jpg - (103.53KB , 800x1067 , Momentary Reprieve.jpg )
979227

>Then get into your bedroom and close the bedroom door,
*Slam*

>You remembered to swipe your charger, correct?
No, but I should still have the high-speed charger in my room.
>>
No. 979228 ID: d63ea8
File 160333700285.jpg - (269.65KB , 800x1067 , The Threads Must be Set.jpg )
979228

>Just look at the TV for instructions - he knows what resources you've collected at this point (the twine, the tape, the paint, the glue, the cloth from your clothing, the lock), so he should have the best knowledge of how to apply each.
Moving over to the T.V. I see the text on screen rewrite itself.

I’ll have to- okay.
>>
No. 979229 ID: d63ea8
File 160333701435.jpg - (267.33KB , 800x1067 , The Knot Must be Tied.jpg )
979229

The screen blinks and changes again.
>>
No. 979232 ID: d63ea8
File 160333714788.jpg - (109.77KB , 800x1067 , Time to Act.jpg )
979232

>Unfortunately the hall is lost, with the mirror gone from the bedroom and as the closest secure room, it is time to ward the bedroom door from the inside. Add glue to the tape when you apply it.
The extra adhesion should help, and I won't have to worry about pricking myself.

>Use the bedroom as your space - if food becomes an issue later, I'm sure Errant can figure something out. Unplug the clock after you're done.
>((Action banked.))

>Begin warding it with Errant's instructions.
Right. Just focus on the ward for now.

>Use tacks?
>Use tape with glue?
>Use both?
>Add lock?

>Barricade for good measure?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 979233 ID: b1b4f3

>>979232
Follow the directions given precisely. Tape, then tacks, then the lock on 1-2, then fasten the last thread.
>>
No. 979234 ID: 094652

Errant didn't say anything about making the bends extra pointy, so don't worry about that.
Use tape over the twine, then add tacks to reinforce it.

If you need to count, be sure to start from zero. Keep working on cutting pieces of tape while your eyes are closed.

Once you're done, ask Errant the following:
Is it ready? How long does this buy me?
Should we use the leftover twine to make another one?
What did you mean by lock of twine?
Which threads go over and which go under? [=] for over please.
>>
No. 979239 ID: 894419

>>979233
I concur.
>>
No. 979256 ID: ce39da

"It's fine if each string goes over - not under - the ones before, right?"

Just use tape and focus on simply getting the design itself exactly right (at least until you get to the lock part); only add tacks if Errant thinks you have time after that.

I doubt glue will be too effective; it takes a bit to set. Maybe smear some over the taped parts (again, assuming you still have time).

Remember to use the lock after you secure Point 4 (but ask him to clarify whether you also thread line 4-5 through it, too). On that note, make sure each line is taut (especially the first line - enough that even the weight of a padlock won't cause it to sag), but be extra careful not to pull hard enough to rip the tape off.
>>
No. 979427 ID: 87a01c

If and when the blare happens, be sure to count aloud, and just say them as slow as feels natural.
>>
No. 979590 ID: d63ea8
File 160368375134.jpg - (89.13KB , 800x1067 , Tape & Glue.jpg )
979590

>Follow the directions given precisely. Tape, then tacks, then the lock on 1-2, then fasten the last thread.
>I concur.
Alright.

Just… focus.

I have to remove my gloves to put the glue on the tape, and going two thirds of the way up the door frame I attach the first length of twine.

>On that note, make sure each line is taut (especially the first line - enough that even the weight of a padlock won't cause it to sag), but be extra careful not to pull hard enough to rip the tape off.
Gently pulling the thread, I make sure that the line is straight. I’m not sure if I can get ‘taut,’ but I'll make sure that the lines are as strong as possible.
>>
No. 979591 ID: d63ea8
File 160368375490.jpg - (101.92KB , 800x1067 , First Line.jpg )
979591

>Errant didn't say anything about making the bends extra pointy, so don't worry about that.
I’ll try to eyeball it as best I can.

The glue is starting to stick to my fingers, but it won’t slow me down.

*crink*

*crink*


*CRASH*


That sounded like the mirror-
Ah. There you are-

The smell of boiled and rotting meat fills the air.
>>
No. 979592 ID: d63ea8
File 160368375747.jpg - (89.03KB , 800x1067 , Second Line.jpg )
979592

>...
"It's fine if each string goes over - not under - the ones before, right?"

My bag russells.

*ffhh*

*ieeenn*


At least that’s-

What are you-

The Dark, are we really doing this again?


*SLAM*

The door audibly groans and buckles.

Always hiding behind Your patsies. Promised this one that “It’d be alright?”
>>
No. 979593 ID: d63ea8
File 160368377771.jpg - (48.82KB , 800x1067 , Blaring.jpg )
979593

*BZZART*

I close my eyes instinctively as something with the texture, but not the sound of wind rushes past me-

*krikzZztkshhh
zhAikcrahaKcvh*


The sound is almost deafening- why can’t anyone else-

>If you need to count, be sure to start from zero. Keep working on cutting pieces of tape while your eyes are closed.
“zero.”
>>
No. 979594 ID: d63ea8
File 160368378019.jpg - (33.98KB , 800x1067 , Solidifying Time.jpg )
979594

>If and when the blare happens, be sure to count aloud, and just say them as slow as feels natural.
“One.”



“Two.”

It’s like I’m trying to push the sound back, and I think it’s working.

“THREE.”

It’s harder to work with my eyes closed, but I have the tape-

“FOUR!”

I’m shouting now, there isn’t any noise now.
All I can hear the sound of blood pumping in my ears.
>>
No. 979595 ID: d63ea8
File 160368378307.jpg - (134.17KB , 800x1067 , Battle Behind It.jpg )
979595

“Five.”

The tape and twine is secure above the door.
But as soon as I stop counting the sounds return-

*kZzAhKKiRrCiikHVzR
rIiiPzhhaKRiSHHvh*


I-
>>
No. 979597 ID: d63ea8
File 160368380348.jpg - (208.95KB , 800x1067 , Lacking Information.jpg )
979597

>Once you're done, ask Errant the following:
>Is it ready? How long does this buy me?
>Should we use the leftover twine to make another one?
>What did you mean by lock of twine?
>Only add tacks if Errant thinks you have time after that.
>Remember to use the lock after you secure Point 4 (but ask him to clarify whether you also thread line 4-5 through it, too).
Well that’s not really helpful!

>Just use tape and focus on simply getting the design itself exactly right (at least until you get to the lock part)
Yeah.
Just Focus.

Focus on getting this done.
>>
No. 979598 ID: d63ea8
File 160368380675.jpg - (131.09KB , 800x1067 , Tacks Added.jpg )
979598

>Use tape over the twine, then add tacks to reinforce it.
Gloves back on.
Added the tacks.
>>
No. 979599 ID: d63ea8
File 160368380997.jpg - (131.89KB , 800x1067 , Lock Added.jpg )
979599

Added the lock.

It hangs there not even causing a dip in the twine.

There's-

It feels like something is holding its breath.

I sigh quietly. Maybe it was me.

*CRasHHHvtSHIkcK
zhzcrUNCHh..*


>I doubt glue will be too effective; it takes a bit to set. Maybe smear some over the taped parts (again, assuming you still have time).
Glue is added liberally.

Okay now just-

*BZzack*

Wait-

>Attach last line?
>Close Eyes?
>Count?
>Check T.V.?

>Something else?

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 979603 ID: 5cb1b2

Attach last line, close eyes, and count.
>>
No. 979604 ID: 094652

>Attach last line?
Lock is in place, so YES.
>Close eyes and count?
Quietly this time, but you may as well.
>Check TV
And your phone, and your body, and your room, and any sharp corners that you can use your tape scraps on, and...
>What else?
Start moving furniture. Re-arrange the room to fit your tactical needs.
>>
No. 979608 ID: b1b4f3

>>979599
Wait, Errant is still out there. Tell him to get inside, the ward is almost done! Look at the TV to get a response.
>>
No. 979609 ID: b1b4f3

Put your backpack at the seam under the door to let him get back in without you having to close your eyes.
>>
No. 979625 ID: 894419

Yup, attach that last line.
>>
No. 979648 ID: 5cb1b2

>>979609
Not sure trying to do that is the best plan. I think we want consistency right now.
>>
No. 979652 ID: 894419

>>979608
shit wait you're probably right now that I've slept on it, I change my vote to yours.
>>
No. 979714 ID: 5cb1b2

((>>979652
We already told him directly >>/questdis/134196))
>>
No. 979718 ID: 894419

>>979714
well dang then, I double change my vote back to what it was originally.
>>
No. 979760 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, so just sending a morse message is enough, we shouldn't wait for him to get on this side of the door?
What kind of logic is that?
>>
No. 979797 ID: d63ea8
File 160385919037.jpg - (139.12KB , 800x1067 , Final Warning.jpg )
979797

>Attach last line, close eyes, and count.
>Lock is in place, so YES.
I re-
>>
No. 979798 ID: d63ea8
Audio Another_Blare.mp3 - (158.41KB , Another Blare.mp3 )
979798

The sudden sound from the T.V. almost has me jump out of my skin.

Wait- that’s morse code!
>>
No. 979799 ID: d63ea8
File 160385920230.jpg - (366.06KB , 800x1067 , Urgency.jpg )
979799

>Wait, Errant is still out there. Tell him to get inside, the ward is almost done! Look at the TV to get a response.
Shit.

“Get back inside!”

I glance over to the T.V.

*SLAM*

*KRISHIKn*

>Put your backpack at the seam under the door to let him get back in without you having to close your eyes.
>Not sure trying to do that is the best plan. I think we want consistency right now.
That thing’s trying to get in-
I need to-
>>
No. 979800 ID: d63ea8
File 160385920553.jpg - (30.00KB , 800x1067 , Counting Once More.jpg )
979800

>Close eyes and count.
>Quietly this time, but you may as well.
Focus.

...

“zero.”



“one.”



“two.”


Running away already?

“three.”

I feel… something run over me.

“four.”

It’s soundless, but heavy…
and wet.
>>
No. 979801 ID: d63ea8
File 160385921117.jpg - (152.70KB , 800x1067 , Finished the Ward.jpg )
979801

>Yup, attach the last line.
“Five.”

I grab the last string, pull it tight and-

Now fo-
>>
No. 979802 ID: d63ea8
File 160385927635.jpg - (192.38KB , 800x1067 , 'It' Will Seal the Door.jpg )
979802

There is a thunderclap.

Light traces along the string and the door blinks at me.

ACKNOWLEDGED.
>>
No. 979803 ID: d63ea8
File 160385928101.jpg - (142.95KB , 800x1067 , Silence.jpg )
979803

Then it’s quiet.



And then I Remember.
>>
No. 979804 ID: d63ea8
File 160385929109.jpg - (137.04KB , 800x1067 , Lined in Blood.jpg )
979804

>Check TV
>And your phone, and your body, and your room, and any sharp corners that you can use your tape scraps on, and…
OH ALD OH ALD OH ALD!

Blood runs all along my arms, my legs -I think I might have some in my hair- maybe my face!

It’s warm and gritty-

Like sawdust-

And the smell-
>>
No. 979805 ID: d63ea8
File 160385929939.jpg - (131.20KB , 800x1067 , Time is Suspended.jpg )
979805

>((Banked action.))
>Unplug the clock after you're done.
I slowly make my way over to the alarm cloak and unplug it…

I’m not scared…
I’m not angry…
I’m not… tired.

I just…



I just...
>>
No. 979806 ID: d63ea8
File 160385931107.jpg - (247.35KB , 800x1067 , Safe at Last.jpg )
979806

I check the T.V.



And I breathe

...

At least it’s-
>>
No. 979807 ID: d63ea8
File 160385931576.jpg - (219.19KB , 800x1067 , But Life Ebbs Low.jpg )
979807

over…

-!

I can feel that same dread coming back.
That suffocating pressure-

>Wait! I need to-
>Ask something.
>Call Natasha.
>Call my parents.
>Change into something cleaner.
>Tape up any sharp edges.
>Do SOMETHING.

>What happens next?
>((Move towards a conclusion.))

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 979811 ID: b1b4f3

>>979807
Ask Errant where he's going to stay, where can he recover best? How can you help him? He almost died fighting that spook.
...what are you going to do next? How long does the ward last? Won't the URC just send some people to cut through your wall or something?

Also yeah get some cleaner clothes, and send Natascha a text telling her you're safe.
>>
No. 979818 ID: 894419

>>979807
Change your clothes, don't make any phone calls right now.

Remember, its okay to cry.
>>
No. 979863 ID: 5cb1b2

Before you change your clothes, don't forget to sweat and then let Errant out.
Before you collapse be sure clarify with Errant if you can sleep first before we need to figure all that out.
>>
No. 979872 ID: 094652

Twine up your phone, then ask Errant to look for any remaining reflective surfaces other than the television. Tie that up as well when you're ready.

Sleep, relieve tension, do something to calm down.
>>
No. 980077 ID: d63ea8
File 160411480143.jpg - (92.87KB , 800x1067 , Other Fabrics.jpg )
980077

>Yeah get some cleaner clothes
>Change your clothes.
“I need to change into something clean.”

DON’T look.”

I feel the pressure around me immediately abate as I make my way over to the dresser.

>Don't make any phone calls right now.
I feel on the verge of breaking down, I’m not scared, but I’m exhausted…

Too exhausted to even try and talk...
>>
No. 980078 ID: d63ea8
File 160411480833.jpg - (104.79KB , 800x1067 , A Change of Covering.jpg )
980078

>Don't forget to sweat.
Peeling of my bloodsoaked shirt and pants, I use a spare t-shirt to towel off the blood, grime, and sweat that still sticks to me.

My arms are shaking and my head is cloudy, but I breathe through it.

I toss the t-shirt somewhere, I lose sight of it as soon as it enters the crushing gloom.

This situation is so fucked.

I grab another t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants before kicking off my work boots.
>>
No. 980079 ID: d63ea8
File 160411481508.jpg - (245.75KB , 800x1067 , I'm Okay.jpg )
980079

>And send Natasha a text telling her you're safe.
I let her know…

Standing there...
One second.
Ten seconds.
Fifty seconds.

...nothing.

It…
>>
No. 980080 ID: d63ea8
File 160411482134.jpg - (248.70KB , 800x1067 , I'm okay now.jpg )
980080

It…
>>
No. 980081 ID: d63ea8
File 160411482594.jpg - (196.22KB , 800x1067 , He is Genuine.jpg )
980081

>Remember, it's okay to cry.
It’s all too much.

I-
>>
No. 980082 ID: d63ea8
File 160411483516.jpg - (48.05KB , 800x1067 , It's Okay to Cry.jpg )
980082

I just want to curl up and hide, I want to be safe-
I don’t want to hunted by Ald-knows-what in my house helping some sort of sad shadow demon, all the while having to worry about the FUCKING URC and PSS and all those FUCKING three letter police-state FUCKS who came into our city- our country and started killing and blackbagging everyone who didn’t fall in line!

I’M SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF BEING SO ALD-DAMNED POWERLESS ALL OF THE FUCKING TIME!

I just… want…
>>
No. 980083 ID: d63ea8
File 160411483890.jpg - (161.87KB , 800x1067 , Stress Relief.jpg )
980083

...to live.

>Relieve tension, do something to calm down.
*WHAM*
>>
No. 980084 ID: d63ea8
File 160411484303.jpg - (157.18KB , 800x1067 , He is Patient.jpg )
980084

*Tunk*

That…

That helped.
Shit I hope I didn’t break my alarm clock.

Okay, deep breaths.

*Inhale*



*Exhale*

Okay.

...

I think I’m ready for more crazy.
>>
No. 980087 ID: d63ea8
File 160411491655.jpg - (339.39KB , 800x1067 , Being Comforting.jpg )
980087

>Then let Errant out.
I put my bag down when I was changing clothes. I think they’re already out.

>How long does the ward last? Won't the URC just send some people to cut through your wall or something?
“How long is the twine good for? And can’t they just saw or shoot through the walls?”


My phone and T.V. blink in unison, but show different messages.

...

I guess that’s one less thing I need to worry about.
>>
No. 980089 ID: d63ea8
File 160411495261.jpg - (290.41KB , 800x1067 , But He is Also Direct.jpg )
980089

>Ask Errant where he's going to stay, where can he recover best? How can you help him? He almost died fighting that spook.
>...what are you going to do next?
Ald. I guess I have a one-room roommate now.
“So where are you going to be staying? Do I need to pile up some clothes..?”

Even now it still feels bizarre.

>Twine up your phone, then ask Errant to look for any remaining reflective surfaces other than the television. Tie that up as well when you're ready.
“And should I twine up my phone and T.V., just in case?”

>Before you collapse be sure to clarify with Errant if you can sleep first before we need to figure all that out.
>Sleep.
“Also, can I please have a nap first?”



Less lucky with that I guess…

>Wait, I need to...
>Ask something.
>Call Natasha.
>Call my parents.
>Change into something cleaner.
>Tape up any sharp edges.
>Do SOMETHING.

>...what happens next?
>((Move towards a conclusion.))

>Please Continue.
>>
No. 980091 ID: ecb3d0

What part am I to play here, and can my phone still do phone things? The top bar is gone.
Are bruises still lethal? (If so lets get taping)
She could still be OK, URC could have just taken her phone away for some fucking reason.
>>
No. 980093 ID: b1b4f3

You could try asking him if it's still dangerous to know things, or if you're well past that point by now.
You could ask what the fuck that thing was out there. Is it even possible to make phone calls and texts now; will those go through the ward?
You can ask if it's possible to fight back against the URC.
>>
No. 980120 ID: 094652

This situation is going to Hell in a progressively anti-social way, specifically because your current enemy has already broken too many laws of physics to worry about a code of honor, especially when it comes to revenge by proxy.

Do not call your parents, your friends, or anyone that she could target. Even if they've been deemed made-people by the URC, she can easily 'convince' them with her supernatural assets (yep) to fudge the database.

The worst part is, while the URC is playing "Police State Simulator", she's busy playing "Hunt the Boi" within the same map and she happens to have PSS cheat codes. If they collaborate, even through a cut-out, you're screwed. But there might be a way to get through this: You need to pit them against each other.

Start by reviewing some information on the URC's mid-level lieutenants, then set some bait by asking for help. Keep acting like you've chosen the URC as the lesser evil, and you could very well become the toxoplasma that turns them into silver-bellied fish for her to gobble up. If you can convince the government that this supernatural entity is planning to kill-and-replace their heads of government, they'll overreact.

Get them to fight a war they cannot win.
>>
No. 980136 ID: ce39da

>>980120
That's definitely something we'd want to consult ES about, and not while we're sleep-deprived. Let's take some time to sleep and mentally recover - the concept of time is an illusion, apparently, so we can take all the "time" we want as long as we're careful not to keep track of it.

However, before we sleep, we need to address the ground rules from here on, like ES said. Let's start with: "Okay, so, regarding your recovery and the roles I can play in it; what are our options?"
>>
No. 980158 ID: ecb3d0

((>>980120
Fun idea, but she is doing this at the behest of the URC, she has her own desires for how she wants to deal with Errant. See >>/questdis/134024 and context))
>>
No. 980331 ID: d63ea8
File 160446441869.jpg - (291.71KB , 800x1067 , The Phone is a Phone.jpg )
980331

>Are bruises still lethal?
“Will I still get killed by bruises or scrapes?”

>Can my phone still do phone things? The top bar is gone.
“And can I still use my phone?”

The screen blinks quickly, and my phone returns to normal.
New morse code.
Shame that my laptop is still in the kitchen.
>((A pathway has been unlocked.))
>>
No. 980332 ID: d63ea8
File 160446442568.jpg - (356.96KB , 800x1067 , Not Too Far Gone.jpg )
980332

>You could try asking him if it's still dangerous to know things, or if you're well past that point by now.
>You could ask what the fuck that thing was out there.
“Is there any point to hiding anything now?”

“I mean- what was that thing?


The T.V. blinks again.
Errant’s still being cagey.

But they can’t be serious, the URC would just leave me alone?
Part of me really doubts that.
>>
No. 980333 ID: d63ea8
File 160446442855.jpg - (209.71KB , 800x1067 , She is Bound.jpg )
980333

>This situation is going to Hell in a progressively anti-social way, specifically because your current enemy has already broken too many laws of physics to worry about a code of honor, especially when it comes to revenge by proxy.
Yeah, I don’t fucking buy it. The URC are just dictatorial assholes, they’ve blackbagged people way more important than me. They’d just turn me into another ‘missing persons’ report. Or just disappear me in a more literal sense -since they have fucking magic apparantely.
>That's definitely something we'd want to consult ES about.
>((A pathway has been unlocked.))

>You can ask if it's possible to fight back against the URC.
“Is there a way we can fight back?”

The text changes.

The pressure starts to slowly return.
>>
No. 980334 ID: d63ea8
File 160446443307.jpg - (244.75KB , 800x1067 , Questions on Life-Fluids.jpg )
980334

>And not while we're sleep-deprived.
I’m not going to get the chance to sleep until I ask Errant ‘what happens next’ first.
They feel insistent.

>However, before we sleep, we need to address the ground rules from here on, like ES said.
I need to know what’s going on- what I’m getting into.

>What part am I to play here.
>Let's start with: "Okay, so, regarding your recovery and the roles I can play in it; what are our options?"
I talk a few slow breaths to center myself again.
This dread isn’t mine.

“So what do I contribute?

“Do I have any choices to pick from?”


The screen blinks.

That isn’t a real answer.
So I can either go to sleep and pretend nothing is going to happen, or ask and probably get nightmares about it.
Great.
>>
No. 980335 ID: d63ea8
File 160446444464.jpg - (294.96KB , 800x1067 , Phone a Friend.jpg )
980335

>Is it even possible to make phone calls and texts now; will those go through the ward?
“Can I even get in touch with my family or friends. or does the ward block that too?”

Errant seems to sense my growing hostility and backs off.
Good.

>Natahsa could still be OK, URC could have just taken her phone away for some fucking reason.
It could be a media black-out, though… my phone registered the text as sent.
No- don’t focus on it.
She’s okay.
She has to be.
>>
No. 980336 ID: d63ea8
File 160446444861.jpg - (185.63KB , 800x1067 , Time to Ruminate.jpg )
980336

>(If so lets get taping)
I need a chance to think.

“I’m just going to tape up any corners in here.”
>>
No. 980337 ID: d63ea8
File 160446445231.jpg - (74.32KB , 800x1067 , Menace and Anger.jpg )
980337

>Let's take some time to sleep and mentally recover - the concept of time is an illusion, apparently, so we can take all the "time" we want as long as we're careful not to keep track of it.
Yeah, and I think I have a lot to go over.

So Errant eats people, or used to, and might need to… do the same to me…
Though they ‘say’ that it won’t hurt. Still don’t like the idea.

And of course that’s missing the bigger point that monsters/demons/whatever are apparently real and are maybe being used by the interim government, the URC and the PSS?

And that me of all people got personally selected for all this?

Am I missing anything?

I finish taping the dresser’s corners.

>Do not call your parents, your friends, or anyone that she could target. Even if they've been deemed made-people by the URC, she can easily 'convince' them with her supernatural assets (yep) to fudge the database.
Honestly it might be better for me to cut contact.
Ald what if Natasha tries to pop by tomorrow?
Won’t she see the door broken in?
Or the barricade?
What if she get disappeared because of me-


I finish taping up the edges around the closet.

>The worst part is, while the URC is playing "Police State Simulator", she's busy playing "Hunt the Boi" within the same map and she happens to have PSS cheat codes. If they collaborate, even through a cut-out, you're screwed. But there might be a way to get through this: You need to pit them against each other.
What can I even do? I’m just an electrician. I can’t fight this.
Friggin demon-magic-bullshit.
But they can’t all know right? The URC is way too massive to have kept the secret of literal monsters hidden from public knowledge.
Maybe I could use that.

>Start by reviewing some information on the URC's mid-level lieutenants, then set some bait by asking for help. Keep acting like you've chosen the URC as the lesser evil, and you could very well become the toxoplasma that turns them into silver-bellied fish for her to gobble up. If you can convince the government that this supernatural entity is planning to kill-and-replace their heads of government, they'll overreact.

I could try and call my uncle. Dad said to delete his number from my contacts, but I memorised it just in case. He’s not URC, but I know that he was into a lot of the conspiracy junk, even before the war.

Maybe he wasn’t crazy after all.

>Get them to fight a war they cannot win.
I mean if people knew what was going on, they’d do something about it, right?

I finish taping up my nightstand.
>>
No. 980338 ID: d63ea8
File 160446445594.jpg - (183.69KB , 800x1067 , At the Crossroads Again.jpg )
980338

I turn back to the T.V. stand and tape up its corners too.
Maybe I can do something about this.

>Wait, I need to…
>Ask something.
>Call Natasha.
>Call my parents.
>Call Uncle Tom.
>Change into something cleaner.
>Tape up any sharp edges.
>Do something else.

>Or ask: ‘What happens next?”
>((Move towards a conclusion.))
>>
No. 980339 ID: b1b4f3

>>980338
Call Uncle Tom. Find out of his conspiracy theories say anything about forces NOT aligned with the URC. At the very least you can tell him monsters are real, you've seen them, and got attacked by one.
>>
No. 980356 ID: 094652

>Battery
If Errant Knight is dying, you'll consider it. But you're not letting yourself get eaten alive by anyone.

... Still, it might not be so bad in the right context. Ask Errant Knight if you can... romp in the meadows while he does his thing with the thing.

>Call Uncle Tom
No? Don't risk compromising the ward or your jamming signal, don't risk Tom's life by giving her a trace, and don't let the URC realize something's up.

Your uncle might be crazy-prepared against the URC, but that means he'll be blind to everything else, especially the supernatural. Pitting him against a monster made of lies he has trained himself to ignore will likely end in his death.
>>
No. 980360 ID: ce39da

If Errant Signal says that survival is our priority right now, then survival is our priority. Don't call anyone - again, we shouldn't make any moves while sleep-deprived, and the outside world won't necessarily keep turning without us - but maybe ask him in passing if it's possible to end what binds her to the URC, as like a long-term goal.

For now... ask him if knowing what he's going to do to us will open up options - if there's any pros to it which we can compare the cons with. If it does open up a better way for us to contribute, then learn the hard truths.
>>
No. 980365 ID: ecb3d0

>>980356
>Battery
Eat is the wrong word, this would be a much more symbiotic relationship. More the consumption of byproducts of terror, which are of no value to you, and can be produced while you are asleep.
>Call Uncle Tom
Errant Signal is saying they can do it without compromising the ward.
Probably less 'call' and more 'Errant slips them a message' also the URC and monsters are one and the same, they just also employ people.
If Tom has lived this long, he will probably continue to do so.

Message to Tom: So the URC is made of monsters with people under them. Now they want me, who or what can I turn to?
>>
No. 980472 ID: d63ea8
File 160472022699.jpg - (179.91KB , 800x1067 , He Can Wait a Bit Longer.jpg )
980472

>Call Uncle Tom.
>No? Don't risk compromising the ward or your jamming signal, don't risk Tom's life by giving her a trace, and don't let the URC realize something's up.
>Errant Signal is saying they can do it without compromising the ward.
Errant seems confident…
But part of me is unsure.

>Probably less 'call' and more 'Errant slips them a message.'
Maybe a text would be better.

“I’m going to be messaging a relative.”

The screen blinks.
>>
No. 980473 ID: d63ea8
File 160472024744.gif - (1.98MB , 800x1067 , Burden of Proof.gif )
980473

Taking that as my cue, I slowly punch in the long-distance number.
>((A pathway has been unlocked.))

If it weren’t for this exhausted detachment I felt, I might’ve worried about the charges.

As soon as my message is sent the ‘Unknown Contact’ ID starts glitching out like crazy.

Someone with a blank profile responds in all caps.



Callsign?

Wait…
>>
No. 980474 ID: d63ea8
File 160472027703.gif - (2.13MB , 800x1067 , Correct Answers.gif )
980474

I Remember...

When I was still in grade school Uncle Tom would come over once a month to help Dad with the car, on breaks he’d take out this old shortwave radio and let me play with it.

He even showed me how to take it apart and put it back together.

It’s why I got into electronics…

I chuckle.

I was First Private AP, after punching Uncle Tom so hard he fell over.
I’m pretty sure he faked it but… the name stuck.

Ald... It’s been so long since I’ve talked with him.
>>
No. 980475 ID: d63ea8
File 160472030366.gif - (2.22MB , 800x1067 , Fearful Plea.gif )
980475

>Message to Tom:
Focus.
Now’s not the time to get caught up in old memories.

That thing is still out there with the URC.



What the woman-?
No, he’s right.
>>
No. 980476 ID: d63ea8
File 160472036326.gif - (2.20MB , 800x1067 , Somewhat Correct.gif )
980476

There was this smell of rot and decay, like being in a butcher shop that hadn’t been cleaned in weeks.

But Uncle Tom knows! That’s fantastic.
Maybe he can help me do something about it-
though…

Was that really an… alien?

Wait- they have more?!
>>
No. 980477 ID: d63ea8
File 160472038183.gif - (1.65MB , 800x1067 , The Connection is Stable.gif )
980477

>Find out of his conspiracy theories say anything about forces NOT aligned with the URC. At the very least you can tell him monsters are real, you've seen them, and got attacked by one.
I mean there’s Errant, maybe there’s more out there.
Would they be willing to help?



Mesmer…

Oh no.
Natasha!
>>
No. 980478 ID: d63ea8
File 160472043920.jpg - (241.22KB , 800x1067 , Another Exit.jpg )
980478

Maybe he can send someone or-

>Your uncle might be crazy-prepared against the URC, but that means he'll be blind to everything else, especially the supernatural. Pitting him against a monster made of lies he has trained himself to ignore will likely end in his death.
...what if I get him killed.

There is a flash from my phone and the Contact ID stops glitching.
Westwatch..? Like the old campground?
>>
No. 980479 ID: d63ea8
File 160472045066.jpg - (262.56KB , 800x1067 , Little Hope.jpg )
980479

I lower the phone for now.

We used to go on camping trips every other summer up until highschool.
Camp Westwatch is about an eight hour drive from here.
But it got closed down due to some security concerns.



Errant doesn’t seem to have much hope either.

I don’t want to get Uncle Tom arrested… or worse.

>If Tom has lived this long, he will probably continue to do so.
Maybe. He does seem to know a lot about these ‘aliens.’
>>
No. 980480 ID: d63ea8
File 160472045929.jpg - (264.96KB , 800x1067 , Never Safe.jpg )
980480

>We shouldn't make any moves while sleep-deprived, and the outside world won't necessarily keep turning without us.
Yeah. Maybe I can take the time to find out ‘what happens next’ and make a plan from there after sleeping on it.

>If Errant Signal says that survival is our priority right now, then survival is our priority.
Yes.
Just Focus on the here and now.

>If Errant Knight is dying, you'll consider it. But you're not letting yourself get eaten alive by anyone.
>For now... ask him if knowing what he's going to do to us will open up options - if there's any pros to it which we can compare the cons with. If it does open up a better way for us to contribute, then learn the hard truths.

“Would knowing give me any options on what might happen?”

“Both for the battery part and the world in general.”


The text changes.

The answer seems to be a definite ‘no.’

>... Still, it might not be so bad in the right context. Ask Errant Knight if you can... romp in the meadows while he does his thing with the thing.
PASS.
>Eat is the wrong word, this would be a much more symbiotic relationship. More the consumption of byproducts of terror, which are of no value to you, and can be produced while you are asleep.
AAGH! SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!!!
Don’t think about that stupid brain!


Wait, no. Maybe the ‘terror something’ might’ve been closer.
I mean-
Maybe consuming fear is what Errant does?
>>
No. 980481 ID: d63ea8
File 160472046510.jpg - (222.63KB , 800x1067 , Something for Someone Else.jpg )
980481

>Maybe ask him in passing if it's possible to end what binds her to the URC, as like a long-term goal.
“Could we do anything to unbind that thing?”



Looks like another no.

But…
>What should I do..?
>Ask something?
>Give Uncle Tom my address?
>Is there a way to check on Natasha?
>Ask about what Errant ‘eats’?
>Do something else?

>Or ask: ‘What happens next?”
>((Move towards one of the possible conclusions.))
>>
No. 980482 ID: ecb3d0

You were able to locate Tom, can you do the same for Natasha?
Probably need to be clear with Tom that you have one of the aliens with you,(who seemed to be the actual target) helping you, and another (different one) might have sealed your bedroom, in any case you made a shape in string on the door added a lock and the assailant stopped. (These would not be ideal things to learn if/when a possible extraction team arrives.)
Then lets see how Tom responds to that.

((This nano-swarm thing is interesting, as it would require fine measurement, but as >>/questdis/134113 tells us such measurements should defeat or weaken the effect))
((Would have been interesting to have started the quest as Tom and have these scientific explanations to what is happening, and (probably) learn the reality, or are both true))
>>
No. 980483 ID: b1b4f3

((heh, funny how "extra-terrestrials" is close to the truth of things. They are not from this world.))
>>980480
If he plans to feed on fear, why would that work while you're asleep? Unless he can give you nightmares? Even if that's the case, knowing wouldn't make it more awkward. It's probably something a bit more personal.
Regardless, don't ask. It won't help you or him any to know, and whatever he's going to do won't hurt you so who cares what it is.

>>980481
You should tell him more about your situation before agreeing to a rescue attempt. First, he needs to know you were attacked because you're sheltering a wounded monster who saved your life twice now, maybe three times depending on how you count it. Would he be willing to protect him, too?
>Is there a way to check on Natasha?
Hmm, maybe... I'd suggest trying to get Errant to retrieve your laptop so you can check the news, but it has a clock on it doesn't it? One you can't turn off. Maybe Errant can hack into something in Natasha's room to get a visual on her status? Or maybe he'll need to recover some strength first. Heck, maybe once he's recovered a bit he can disable the laptop's clock so you can use it safely.
Oh wait, maybe you can ask Uncle Tom to check the news. Just tell him not to tell you anything regarding the time or maybe even the date.
>>
No. 980485 ID: 094652

Tell your uncle that you're not comfortable being 'rescued' at this moment; the ET Type-A is roaming right outside your room and barely kept away with 'cyber'-wards. Your new cracker friend is really good at his job, but he's been forced to work alone for a long time and the URC is fixated on him. Maybe tomorrow morning the alien &!+(# will leave. Maybe.

In the meantime, give him Natasha's address. Tell him to send a disposable drone first, see if she's still alive.

Most importantly, make sure he stays away unless he can save someone; this whole situation is a nightmare.

Ask Errant Knight what he thinks about the ET Type-A classification.
>>
No. 980488 ID: ecb3d0

>>980483
>Just tell him not to tell you anything regarding the time or maybe even the date.
I think dates that are for sure the past are ok, Time is probably something of a superposition till something collapses it or reduces it's possibility space. 'Now' could currently be anywhere from when we got off work onward, so any times and dates before that should not narrow the possibility space.
>I mean if people knew what was going on, they’d do something about it, right?
People who know are treated like Tom.
Speaking of, it seems like if you are to remain unknowing it is going to have to be increasingly willful ignorance. Is it even going to be worth it anymore?
>>980485
>In the meantime, give him Natasha's address. Tell him to send a disposable drone first, see if she's still alive.
Yea lets hold on that, this is someone with whom we have mutual trust, immediately going against that trust seems like a bad idea.
>>
No. 980685 ID: ce39da

Again, we should sleep before we make any life-changing decisions. We have all the time in the world to make these decisions, so long as we don't keep track of it.

The only question that is at all pressing is whether we should learn before we let ES do what they're gonna do. And to that, I say...

"... I don't think I'll be safe at this point even if I stay ignorant. I dunno if I can stand by even if I would... Fuck it; I want to know the true face of our enemy, and if I'm going to give you anything, I want it to be because I gave my permission knowing full-well what it was. I'm willing to permiss quite a bit right now if it means we both make it out of this, by the way. If I were fine with retreating to my 'safe' life, I would've given you up to that hag."
>>
No. 980707 ID: b1b4f3

>>980685
How does it feel to be so wrong?
>>
No. 980794 ID: d63ea8
File 160507097323.jpg - (223.02KB , 800x1067 , He Will Reach Out.jpg )
980794

>You were able to locate Tom, can you do the same for Natasha?
>Maybe Errant can hack into something in Natasha's room to get a visual on her status?
“Can you please find Natasha -hack her phone or something- she needs to be safe.”

Errant responds, but it doesn’t put me at ease.
>>
No. 980795 ID: d63ea8
File 160507099385.gif - (2.22MB , 800x1067 , Overwhelming Dialogue.gif )
980795

Suddenly the screen erupts with a wash of blurring colour.

I think I see letters and patterns, but they change too quickly for me to fully process.
>>
No. 980796 ID: d63ea8
File 160507100373.jpg - (217.18KB , 800x1067 , He is Called Away.jpg )
980796

Wait- what?
>>
No. 980797 ID: d63ea8
File 160507101393.jpg - (240.65KB , 800x1067 , Please Stand By.jpg )
980797

As the screen flickers I feel a shiver run through me

I can’t tell if it’s because of a change in the air, or perhaps something less specific…

But I now know I’m alone.

Transmission Start: >>/questdis/134297
>>
No. 980798 ID: d63ea8
File 160507102208.jpg - (245.34KB , 800x1067 , But Will it be Believed.jpg )
980798

>Probably need to be clear with Tom that you have one of the aliens with you,(who seemed to be the actual target) helping you, and another (different one) might have sealed your bedroom, in any case you made a shape in string on the door, added a lock and the assailant stopped. >(These would not be ideal things to learn if/when a possible extraction team arrives.)
>You should tell him more about your situation before agreeing to a rescue attempt. First, he needs to know you were attacked because you're sheltering a wounded monster who saved your life twice now, maybe three times depending on how you count it.
I should probably fill Uncle Tom in on the situation. Errant might give him or the extraction team a scare.

>Tell your uncle that you're not comfortable being 'rescued' at this moment; the ET Type-A is roaming right outside your room and barely kept away with 'cyber'-wards. Your new cracker friend is really good at his job, but he's been forced to work alone for a long time and the URC is fixated on him. Maybe tomorrow morning the alien &!+(# will leave. Maybe.
And I owe him the truth.

>Then let's see how Tom responds to that.
Part of me feels a pang of worry as I hit send.
>>
No. 980799 ID: d63ea8
File 160507103835.jpg - (242.72KB , 800x1067 , Doubt.jpg )
980799

What if he doesn’t believe me?
>>
No. 980800 ID: d63ea8
File 160507104447.jpg - (245.08KB , 800x1067 , Persistence.jpg )
980800

>Oh wait, maybe you can ask Uncle Tom to check the news.
Yes! The URC should be fronting the same cover story!

His response is a lot quicker this time.

I mean if people knew what was going on, they’d do something about it, right?

>People who know are treated like Tom.
No. People wouldn’t...
I always thought it was weird that I saw less and less of Uncle Tom as I got older.
Now it’s starting to make more sense why…

Uncle Tom responds again, asking a question.
I…
>>
No. 980801 ID: d63ea8
File 160507105573.jpg - (259.28KB , 800x1067 , Still Absent.jpg )
980801

Errant still seems to be gone.

>If he plans to feed on fear, why would that work while you're asleep? Unless he can give you nightmares? Even if that's the case, knowing wouldn't make it more awkward. It's probably something a bit more personal.
And that just makes me worried. Feeding off of fear almost seems normal in this circumstance.
So what would Errant want to keep hidden?

>Regardless, don't ask. It won't help you or him any to know, and whatever he's going to do won't hurt you so who cares what it is.
They have been going out of their way to comfort me, even if it isn’t the most effective…

I hope I can trust him.



It feels like I should trust him.
>>
No. 980802 ID: d63ea8
File 160507105954.jpg - (136.77KB , 800x1067 , He is Setting Up Shelter.jpg )
980802

I turn around, looking back into the rest of my room.

Either way, I’m going to be stuck here for a while…

>Again, we should sleep before we make any life-changing decisions. We have all the time in the world to make these decisions, so long as we don't keep track of it.
Heh, ‘all the time in the world.’
Guess I won’t have to worry about work anymore…



Part of me wonders how long I’ll be stuck here.
But I don’t think speculating will help much at all…

I think I’ve already made too many life-changing decisions, and some of those decisions were made for me…
>>
No. 980803 ID: d63ea8
File 160507106411.jpg - (251.28KB , 800x1067 , Diet.jpg )
980803

The answer seems easy.

Yes, Errant’s dangerous.
But I’d be in a lot more danger if they weren’t here.

>Would he be willing to protect him, too?
I think it would be more of a question of whether Errant would protect Uncle Tom and me.



Uncle Tom was quick to respond, but the statement doesn’t shock me.
Errant did try to tell me in his own way.
>>
No. 980804 ID: d63ea8
File 160507108815.jpg - (241.11KB , 800x1067 , Vouching for Him.jpg )
980804

And Errant has been honest with me.
Even if it would take him forever to get to the point.

I vouch for them.
>>
No. 980805 ID: d63ea8
File 160507109726.jpg - (240.35KB , 800x1067 , Isolated.jpg )
980805

Uncle Tom starts typing again.



No way… the URC have locked down the entire city?

>Most importantly, make sure he stays away unless he can save someone; this whole situation is a nightmare.
It looks like Uncle Tom doesn’t have a choice, but yeah. The situation is just getting shittier and shittier.

A shiver runs down my spine and a message appears at the bottom of the screen.
>>
No. 980806 ID: d63ea8
File 160507110724.jpg - (249.81KB , 800x1067 , Mesmerized.jpg )
980806

I look up and see-
The inside of Natasha’s bedroom.

I can see a shadow in the adjoining living room, but the back wall is lit up like a dance club.

The pattern swirls in the most dazzling display before the image freezes.

Text appears.

What does Errant mean by ‘placated?’
>>
No. 980807 ID: d63ea8
File 160507112250.jpg - (242.77KB , 800x1067 , Charting the Unknown.jpg )
980807

>Ask Errant Knight what he thinks about the ET Type-A classification.
“What’s a Type-A ET?”

Errant dodges the question.
>>
No. 980808 ID: d63ea8
File 160507113407.jpg - (310.02KB , 800x1067 , What Happens Next.jpg )
980808

>Hmm, maybe... I'd suggest trying to get Errant to retrieve your laptop so you can check the news, but it has a clock on it doesn't it? One you can't turn off. Or maybe he'll need to recover some strength first. Heck, maybe once he's recovered a bit he can disable the laptop's clock so you can use it safely.
Getting my laptop in here would be really useful, but we’d have to wait until that thing outside was gone. I’ll be sure to ask them once we’re both in better shape.

>Speaking of, it seems like if you are to remain unknowing it is going to have to be increasingly willful ignorance. Is it even going to be worth it anymore?
>The only question that is at all pressing is whether we should learn before we let ES do what they're gonna do. And to that, I say...
Enough is enough. I’m in too deep.
>((A pathway has been removed.))
"... I don't think I'll be safe at this point even if I stay ignorant. I dunno if I can stand by even if I would... Fuck it; I want to know the true face of our enemy, and if I'm going to give you anything, I want it to be because I gave my permission knowing full-well what it was. I'm willing to permit quite a bit right now if it means we both make it out of this, by the way. If I were fine with retreating to my 'safe' life, I would've given you up to that hag."

The screen blinks.

Alright, so maybe ‘what happens next’ isn’t as ominous as I first thought, it’s just…
Figuring out what happens next.

Ald-damnit Errant. Why couldn’t have you made that clear from the beginning.

>Finally get some answers from Errant?
>Talk more with Uncle Tom?
>Contact someone else?
>Do something else?

>Discuss what happens next.
>((Explore the available ‘conclusions.’))
>>
No. 980817 ID: b1b4f3

>>980808
>((A pathway has been removed.))
((GOD DAMN IT CAILLOU... well, I just hope that "pathway" was the "sleep then wake up and it was all a dream" thing ES mentioned earlier. I didn't want to do that either.))
>pacified
That's the mesmer Tom was talking about... I wonder how Tom didn't immediately get knocked out by it and had a chance to filter it?

Ask Tom if he thinks he has much of a chance of getting to you with the whole city on lockdown.
Ask ES if he thinks Tom has any chance of getting to you.
>>
No. 980821 ID: ecb3d0

Natasha will (probably) be fine, I think this is basically just mass hypnosis.
Lets get some answers and discuss what happens next.
>>
No. 980860 ID: ce39da

It's time to finally get some answers from Errant. Errant Signal can start with what he is (though he can talk more about the broader spectrum of beings if he doesn't want to be specific about himself) and what we're going to consent to while we're sleeping. If we're not too tired, we can talk about the bigger picture, too - the URC, the hag, what we're dealing with here.

As for how to proceed: "We've secured our immediate survival, I'm pretty sure. Next is stability- I mean, I already threw the most stable option out, but you know what I mean; sustainable sustenance for both of us and enough metaphorical breathing room that we don't have to worry for our lives at every waking moment. I'm... pretty sure you'll have a better idea of how we might go about this than I would at this point."
>>
No. 980964 ID: d63ea8
File 160533088064.jpg - (269.00KB , 800x1067 , The Odds are Unlikely.jpg )
980964

>Ask ES if he thinks Tom has any chance of getting to you.
“Do you think Uncle Tom could make it to me?”

The screen changes, and my heart sinks a little…
>>
No. 980965 ID: d63ea8
File 160533088505.jpg - (245.33KB , 800x1067 , But Tom is Willing to Gamble.jpg )
980965

>That's the mesmer Tom was talking about... I wonder how Tom didn't immediately get knocked out by it and had a chance to filter it?
That's the first question I send, because if he can find a way to fight back against these monsters, then maybe I can too.



Hmm, it looks like we can equip ourselves to fight it.
Maybe I can show him the ward.

>Natasha will (probably) be fine, I think this is basically just mass hypnosis.
It would explain why no one has come to check out the noises.
Have I been hit with this and not known?

>Ask Tom if he thinks he has much of a chance of getting to you with the whole city on lockdown.
Uncle Tom would know his capabilities more than I would.



I think Uncle Tom used to have some friends in the army, it’s why he became such a gearhead.
But how did he get his hands onto bulletproof glass?
>>
No. 980966 ID: d63ea8
File 160533089046.jpg - (258.43KB , 800x1067 , A Needless Question.jpg )
980966

>Lets get some answers and discuss what happens next.
“Can I get some answers now?”

The screen blinks.

“YES”

We’ve already been through so much, why would they even ask that at this point?
>>
No. 980967 ID: d63ea8
File 160533089515.jpg - (202.38KB , 800x1067 , He Needs to Reshape.jpg )
980967

Part of me wonders if Errant’s stalling.
>>
No. 980968 ID: d63ea8
File 160533090010.jpg - (159.48KB , 800x1067 , And He Doesn't Trust Himself.jpg )
980968

But I do so, being careful as I step back, as to not trip or bump into anything.

The screen changes, the font getting bigger.
>>
No. 980969 ID: d63ea8
File 160533091902.gif - (1.93MB , 800x1067 , Filling in the Wires.gif )
980969

And then…

I feel the dread return with a vengeance.
As dozens-
Maybe hundreds of worms slither past me and…

...behind the cabinets that are flush with the wall.

The screen glows brighter and brighter until suddenly it flashes-
and then goes dim.
>>
No. 980970 ID: d63ea8
File 160533095173.jpg - (138.45KB , 800x1067 , Errant's Name.jpg )
980970

Then there is static, as something starts to emerge.

It hunches low, slowly pressing itself up from the ground…
>>
No. 980971 ID: d63ea8
File 160533095982.jpg - (121.69KB , 800x1067 , Partially Formed.jpg )
980971

Until it fully sits up.

T.V. screen flickering with sporadic waves.

Errant: “Alright then Ashley, what do you want to know?”

The voice is garbled and electronic, like a microphone with the gain way too high.
But I can understand it.
I breathe in...
>>
No. 980972 ID: d63ea8
File 160533097108.gif - (720.60KB , 800x1067 , What He is.gif )
980972

>It's time to finally get some answers from Errant. Errant Signal can start with what he is (though he can talk more about the broader spectrum of beings if he doesn't want to be specific about himself).
Finally.

“What are you?”

Errant: “I am many things. But to put it broadly, I am an Outer Being.”

Errant: “Your uncle is half-right in his understanding of us, we are aliens of sorts.”

Errant: “But rather than another planet, we are from a different dimension.”

Errant: “A place called The Beyond.”

Errant: “Before it fell under specific rule, The Beyond was a primordial nothingness.”

Errant: “Everchanging and unbound.”

Errant: “We Outer Beings are the same way.”

Errant: “While I have not always been Errant Signal it is the Name I am using now.”

Errant: “And while I could go on about my other Names or my Title, I would rather not.”

I don’t press him on it, for now.
>>
No. 980973 ID: d63ea8
File 160533097633.jpg - (113.23KB , 800x1067 , What He needs.jpg )
980973

>And what we're going to consent to while we're sleeping.

“What are you going to do to me when I sleep?”

I see Errant’s (two dimensional?) hands twitch slightly at that question.

They pause before answering.

Errant: “Outer Beings primarily feed upon Life-fluids, something that they can get from other Outer Beings…”

Errant: “Or humans like you…”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “The most common being blood.”

Errant: “But I don’t want to hurt humans...”

Errant: “I can feed off of perspiration, or the moisture of one’s breath.”

Errant: “The process is time consuming and… slightly invasive.”

Errant: “If you really want to know, I can tell you what I will do, but… it is…”

They hesitate again.

Errant: “awkward.”

DON’T KNOW HOW TO REACT TO THAT.
>>
No. 980974 ID: d63ea8
File 160533098129.jpg - (121.69KB , 800x1067 , What Those Forces Are.jpg )
980974

>If we're not too tired, we can talk about the bigger picture, too - the URC, the hag, what we're dealing with here.
“What are the URC really?”

Errant: “This URC of yours is the newest face of a longstanding alliance between a few Outer Beings whose objective is to dominate your world and craft it into their ideal domains.”

Errant: “While I cannot show you their Titles or symbols, as doing so might draw their attention here, I can tell you their Names.”

Errant: “There is ‘True Light,’ the figure that embodies the watchtower.”

Errant: “‘Lovely,’ the ‘woman’ that broke into your home.”

Errant: “And ‘Beholden,’ the one who is mesmerizing the entire apartment and surrounding blocks.”

Errant: “They have amassed servants, Outer Being and human, to aid in the take over of your world.”

Errant: “In both overt and subversive means.”
>>
No. 980975 ID: d63ea8
File 160533098649.jpg - (132.60KB , 800x1067 , What She is.jpg )
980975

“And what is ‘Lovely’ exactly?”

Errant: “‘Lovely’ is their attack dog. Capable of killing any human She touches in a matter of moments.”

Errant: “Like me, She is very old and very clever.”

Errant: “The fact that She wasn’t nearly as aggressive as usual did surprise me…”

Errant: “If you would have touched that paper back in the hall, the ensuing cut would have split all the way up your arm, carving open the bone as it did, until you died of shock a few seconds later.”

“Yikes…”

Errant: “Yeah. She is by far the most dangerous in a direct confrontation.”
>>
No. 980976 ID: d63ea8
File 160533099411.jpg - (132.17KB , 800x1067 , Eyes Cannot be Closed.jpg )
980976

>As for how to proceed:
“We've secured our immediate survival, I'm pretty sure. Next is stability- I mean, I already threw the most stable option out, but you know what I mean; sustainable sustenance for both of us and enough metaphorical breathing room that we don't have to worry for our lives at every waking moment. I'm... pretty sure you'll have a better idea of how we might go about this than I would at this point.”

Errant: “Yes, of course…”

Errant: “The first idea I had was to help you ‘lose’ your memories-”

“Pass.”

Errant: “And that’s a fair choice, as... there wasn’t a guarantee that it would work, or keep you safe.”

>Remain Asleep:
>((Removed because Ashley is ‘in too deep.’))
>>
No. 980977 ID: d63ea8
File 160533099930.jpg - (110.52KB , 800x1067 , Is as is.jpg )
980977

Errant: “Then of course, we play it as is.”

Errant: “I stick around for a little while, until I have regained my strength, and then we part ways.”

“Fuck that, you owe me.”

Errant: “Of course, which is why I would try and ensure that I see you off safely. That could be with your uncle, or until the heat has died down a bit.”

Errant: “Those forces were after me because I was extremely vulnerable, but if I am at half strength -let alone full strength- they would have no hope of catching me.”

“But would they come after me?”

Errant: “I… don’t know. You would still know more than the average human, maybe not enough to be an active threat…”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “It would be a large risk.”

>Remain Awake:
>Ashley will remain in play, for now, but she will not be safe.
>>
No. 980978 ID: d63ea8
File 160533104534.jpg - (112.31KB , 800x1067 , An Exit.jpg )
980978

Errant: “Another idea I had, since you reached out to your uncle is that I could smuggle you out of the city.”

Errant: “I would need to recover a bit first, but it’s certainly doable.”

Errant: “You would have to leave behind anything that could track you, but I could take us to an undisclosed part of the countryside, and then I would lead you to the highway.”

Errant: “Then we would part ways.”

Errant: “And I could certainly wait until your uncle picks you up.”

That seems safer…

>Hidden Away from Sight:
>((Unlocked by contacting Uncle Tom.))
>Ashley will be out of the URC’s clutches, and might receive additional training, but will be difficult to access.
>>
No. 980979 ID: d63ea8
File 160533105195.jpg - (116.74KB , 800x1067 , Something More.jpg )
980979

Errant: “Then there is… another option.”

Errant: “I could… take you on as an acolyte.”

Errant: “As your patron I would ensure your safety and teach you in the ways of Beings.”

Errant: “Depending on how far it goes, you could learn something akin to ‘magic’ from me.”

Errant: “But I would need you as a ‘battery’ as well.”

Errant: “If you would like this to be temporary, you can make that choice.”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “But in order to gain some things…”

Errant: “A more permanent commitment would be required.”

>Path of the Student:
>((Unlocked because Ashley trusts Errant Signal.))
>Ashley will learn much more about the supernatural and will have supernatural protection, but Errant will be occupied for a while.

>Path of the Acolyte:
>((Unlocked because Errant is stealing Your idea.))
>Ashley will become an agent for Errant Signal, she will be capable and maybe with enough training, Potent. But Errant will become occupied for a while, and will have an obligation to protect his ward.
>>
No. 980980 ID: d63ea8
File 160533105559.jpg - (110.16KB , 800x1067 , Or something else.jpg )
980980

Errant: “Or we could devise a combination of these ideas.”

Errant: “And there could always be another idea that I’m not thinking of.”

Errant: “Even if I am an ‘alien’ I’m not omnipotent.”



Makes me think.

>Path of the Anarchist:
>((Unlocked because FUCK THE URC))
>Ashley will become a problem for the URC.

>Consult with Uncle Tom?
>Get more answers?
>Something else?

>Discuss and/or Commit to a plan?
>((The Interlude will end once a plan is reached.))
>>
No. 980985 ID: ecb3d0

Regardless we will be here a while, so may as well start learning, not a lot else to do while waiting, could then join Tom and help him and his 'posse' while maintaining a connection to Errant
>>
No. 980990 ID: b1b4f3

Hmm, if Uncle Tom's group is sufficiently isolated from the URC, maybe Errant Signal can teach some or all of them to be Acolytes? Then again they'd have to live without clocks, and possibly other things. Like, he implied he didn't want to be seen, but here he is right in front of you? Why is it okay for you to see him like this, but not in other situations?

>feed off of perspiration
>awkward
Sounds like he'd have to get very close to you while you're sleeping, but also last time you got within touching distance he had to force himself to hold back, so... close, but not too close? Yeah, that sounds pretty awkward. But it's a matter of life and death, so you can deal with it. Maybe even help. Do some exercises every day to work up a sweat. Even if it makes you think of Gamer Bathwater.
>blood
Oddly, the vampire angle would be less awkward, wouldn't it. That's just normal monster stuff. Except you can't do it that way, since you're both worried Lovely is still nearby and ready to amplify your wounds.
Wait, is Dracula an Outer Being?

((it seems extremely easy for Icon to gain powerful Vessels as all we need is a few weeks' time to spread throughout a host's body and adapt it to eliminate the drawbacks. There's likely a positive feedback loop too, since as the host gains potency we can feed off them to gain more potency... and Our blood may be ingested by the host to give them potency directly? Errant Signal on the other hand will have to teach people to gain Acolytes... though I wonder how long that takes.
Hmm, if we can get a Vessel in Uncle Tom's camp, communication will no longer be a problem, and we would have a backup host in a safe place, just in case. Though if Stauf is killed, we would probably go full aggro on the URC instead of hiding. I suppose if he's captured we could make a non-aggression treaty, like Aldemire...))

Ask if there are other Outer Beings not working with the URC you could get help from, if you wanted to fight the URC. Or do other Outer Beings not care about humans, in general?
>>
No. 980993 ID: 094652

>Errant Knight Cultist Acolyte
hahahahahahahahahahaha no.

>Student
Much better.

>Uncle
Yes, this seems like the long term priority. Screw this city, it's compromised beyond all comprehension.
>>
No. 981008 ID: ecb3d0

>>980974
Why does 'True Light' sound so dark? Shouldn't it sound bright?

((bank 'action' for just before we leave Ashley:)) You were also helped by some-one/(small representative symbol)-(Impression of: an eye with three line segments radiating out from it in the first quadrant)/Icon->>/moo/5092. Good luck and farewell. ((feel free to vote against this if you think it a bad idea))
>>
No. 981009 ID: b1b4f3

>>981008
((Icon is canonically not influencing Ashley's actions, so we can't do that. We are acting as her inner thoughts, and do not have access to Icon's knowledge. At best, we could get Ashley to ask more about the morse code, to lead her into finding out about Icon.))
>>
No. 981068 ID: ce39da

Text Tom warning him not to come; you think you might be safe for now, and if you are going to rendevous, you might have a means of meeting him in the middle.

"For now, I'm a Student. Not much else to do while you recover, anyway, so we might as well get started with that. Fuck time, but whatever our mocking replacement for it is will tell whether I want to take things further or GTFO with Uncle Tom - though I'm pretty sure it'll be between those two."
>>
No. 981132 ID: ecb3d0

((<-I am still going to do it before the link, but I don't think it matters right now =) >>981009
Then perhaps it does nothing, and that is fine. I would still like to try, and it doesn't sound like you are opposed to that.))
>>
No. 981360 ID: d63ea8
File 160575683097.jpg - (248.04KB , 800x1067 , Setting Plans.jpg )
981360

>Text Tom warning him not to come; you think you might be safe for now, and if you are going to rendezvous, you might have a means of meeting him in the middle.
I let Uncle Tom know about that option, the reply is quick.

I Remember Edgar’s Cove, we had a cookout there with the extended family when I was ten. My older cousins spent most of the day drinking there, and one nearly fell off the cliff.
Mom really gave the site manager an earful.

The only other time was for a vigil I think, but that was when I was much younger.

Additional text pops up in the corner of the screen.

Looks like I need to hammer out some details.

>Sounds like he'd have to get very close to you while you're sleeping, but also last time you got within touching distance he had to force himself to hold back, so... close, but not too close?
So I might be brought back into that darkness?
Or would it be ‘getting close’ in a literal sense…



>Yeah, that sounds pretty awkward. But it's a matter of life and death, so you can deal with it.
I’ll try my best not to dwell on it.

>Maybe even help. Do some exercises every day to work up a sweat. Even if it makes you think of Gamer Bathwater.
YEP EXERCISE DEFINITELY EXERCISE!
NOTHING ELSE NOTHING MORE!

>>
No. 981361 ID: d63ea8
File 160575683302.jpg - (125.41KB , 800x1067 , He is Hesitant about Others.jpg )
981361

I take a moment to compose myself.

>...
“For now, I'm a Student. Not much else to do while you recover, anyway, so we might as well get started with that. Fuck time, but whatever our mocking replacement for it is will tell whether I want to take things further or GTFO with Uncle Tom - though I'm pretty sure it'll be between those two.”

Errant: “Very well. I’ll try to go over more of the basics, but that can probably wait until we’re both rested.”

I… agree with that.
It feels like the adrenaline crash is catching up with me.

>Regardless we will be here a while, so may as well start learning, not a lot else to do while waiting, could then join Tom and help him and his 'posse' while maintaining a connection to Errant.
>Hmm, if Uncle Tom's group is sufficiently isolated from the URC, maybe Errant Signal can teach some or all of them to be Acolytes?
“Is this offer to teach open to Uncle Tom and his friends?”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “It… has been a while since I’ve dealt with a group.”

Etzil: “While I wouldn’t be… opposed to teaching the others… there would be some issues.”

>Then again they'd have to live without clocks, and possibly other things.
“No clocks right?”

Errant: “No clocks, calendars or rulers.”

Errant: “And that includes devices with those capabilities as well, unless those functions were be disabled.”

Errant: “I would also need a ‘Dark Room’ of sorts as well, and…”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “Without a sizable population centre nearby, our ‘current situation’ would become the norm for that time.”

The last statement hangs in the air for a while.

“Do you have an estimate for how long we’re going to be stuck here?”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “Probably a day, maybe a day and a half.”

Errant: “I should be able to contact your uncle again once we’re there.”
>>
No. 981362 ID: d63ea8
File 160575683829.jpg - (242.39KB , 800x1067 , An Exit Strategy.jpg )
981362

I text as much to Uncle Tom.
>>
No. 981363 ID: d63ea8
File 160575684176.jpg - (183.16KB , 800x1067 , A Line to Connect With.jpg )
981363

“...and what if…”

“What if I want to call you again?”


Errant: “I could create a… useful space for myself.”

My phone goes dark and the diamonds appear again.

Errant: “It would mean that this phone wouldn’t be ‘a phone’ anymore, but a place I could return to if needed.”

“Could I still use it as a phone?”

Errant: “Not really. I would have to carve out most features for both security and ‘space.’”

“I’ll consider it.”
>>
No. 981364 ID: d63ea8
File 160575684531.jpg - (177.53KB , 800x1067 , Or a More Direct Line.jpg )
981364

Errant: “If you’d rather keep your phone, I can teach you a ritual to try and contact me.”

Errant: “It’s not too difficult, as you would just need to draw this symbol-”

The wall is suddenly awash in yellowish-green light.

Errant: “-in a dark room and it should get my attention.”

The lines on the back wall not only look familiar, but feel familiar…
>>
No. 981365 ID: d63ea8
File 160575684909.jpg - (114.42KB , 800x1067 , There is no Light.jpg )
981365

>Like, he implied he didn't want to be seen, but here he is right in front of you? Why is it okay for you to see him like this, but not in other situations?
“Wait. I thought I wasn’t supposed to look at you.”

“Why is this different?”


Errant: “Ah. That might take some explaining.”

Errant: “Without getting into personal details, I can’t ‘exist’ while being observed.”

Errant: “Darkness is an aspect that is close to my Title, and I am more powerful when it’s around.”

Errant: “Conversely, it’s absence weakens me.”

Errant: “And that is because I’m strongest when I am the unknown.”

Errant: “Despite all the developments humanity has made, they still fear The Dark.”

Errant waves a hand in front of their T.V. (face?).

Errant: “Right now you aren’t seeing me, but what I am projecting.”

Errant: “And rather than emanating light, I am instead removing darkness.”
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No. 981366 ID: d63ea8
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981366

There is a Resonance in the air when Errant says ‘The Dark.’

Almost as if the words themselves buzz with a certain energy.
And in the back of my mind I feel that ancient dread slowly rise and fall.

It… reminds me of old stories…

>Oddly, the vampire angle would be less awkward, wouldn't it. That's just normal monster stuff. Except you can't do it that way, since you're both worried Lovely is still nearby and ready to amplify your wounds.
It’s really bizzare honestly, but it does feel more ‘normal.’
I guess it has to do with said stories being told to us all the time. That even monsters would have behaviours you’d expect.

It makes me wonder...

>...
“Wait, is Dracula an Outer Being?”

Errant slumps a bit before straightening up.

Errant: “...yes, and no.”

Errant: “While ‘Dracula’ and vampires in general are not real, the stories that they are derived from are somewhat true.”

“You’re joking...”

Errant: “I wish I were. No, ‘Dracula’ is a character that has been stitched together from multiple encounters people have had in the far -and more recent- past.”

Errant: “It’s the main reason why ‘creatures’ like vampires appear in multiple cultures with entirely different abilities, even if they have similar themes.”
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No. 981367 ID: d63ea8
File 160575689359.jpg - (125.30KB , 800x1067 , Past Lives.jpg )
981367

Errant: “As you said, ‘stories, as made up as they are, can have truth to them.’”

Errant: “Most Outer Beings have persisted long enough to ‘live several lifetimes.’ Sometimes as the hero, sometimes as the villain.”

Errant: “I… haven’t had the best record with humanity…

Errant: “So much so that my previous mistakes still leave ripples to this day.”
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No. 981368 ID: d63ea8
File 160575689665.jpg - (118.93KB , 800x1067 , Light and True Light.jpg )
981368

It makes me think more about this fear.
This dread.

Even if I’m calm, even if I’m Focused, it’s still there in the back of my mind.
Like I should be running and hiding.
It feels natural.

Perhaps even instinctual.

>...
“Why does 'True Light' sound so dark? Shouldn't it sound bright?”

Errant: “It’s because the Being known as True Light is a deeply jealous and tyrannical ruler.”

Errant: “It couldn’t stand the fact that others could find solace under the guidance of another.”

Errant: “It built Itself to be taller and brighter than It’s rival. So that It would be seen as the True Light of humanity.”

Errant: “Yet the old ways persisted.”
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No. 981369 ID: d63ea8
File 160575689964.jpg - (117.12KB , 800x1067 , Eclipse.jpg )
981369

Errant: “Though… as the eras wore on, and It drew together new allies and power…”

Errant: “The Light was diminished, until He was dwarfed by It’s brilliance.”
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No. 981370 ID: d63ea8
File 160575690353.jpg - (108.82KB , 800x1067 , The World is Dark.jpg )
981370

>Ask if there are other Outer Beings not working with the URC you could get help from, if you wanted to fight the URC. Or do other Outer Beings not care about humans, in general?
“I mean-”

“Is there no one we can turn to?”

“You can’t be the only ‘Outer Being’ who actually gives a shit about us, right?”


Errant: “...”

“Do they… all just see us as pawns?”

“...or food?”


Errant: “Sadly… nearly all Beings would see you as a source of Life-fluids before anything else…”

Errant: “...though there are a handful that might be seen as ‘sympathetic,’ and one that has tried to foster humanity, even if doing so weakened itself in the grand scheme of things.”

Errant: “...”

Errant: “Unfortunately, the URC made an ‘example’ out of Him, in order to keep the others in line.”

Errant: “Even if He was open to help an... old enemy. I doubt He’d be of much use. The URC know His weakness, and are waiting for the excuse to annihilate Him.”

Errant: “The only other ally I have… can’t always be there. Lest the URC get suspicious of Him as well.”

“So we’re fucked?”

Errant doesn’t reply.
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No. 981371 ID: d63ea8