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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 Protection 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.
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