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File 139036401203.jpg - (21.30KB , 432x600 , chapter 6 .jpg )
558948 No. 558948 ID: 0b90a3

Chapter 6

Previous chapter
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/540939.html

Discussion thread:
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/73168.html

Wiki page:
http://www.tgchan.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Worms
Expand all images
>>
No. 558949 ID: 0b90a3
File 139036405869.jpg - (36.28KB , 450x600 , 415.jpg )
558949

Beth
>"Dale? Holy crap I was about to kill you. Todd said he heard gunshots! What happened?"
>>
No. 558950 ID: 0b90a3
File 139036409849.jpg - (59.68KB , 600x481 , 416.jpg )
558950

Dale
"Could have gone worse, but we've got wounded."
>>
No. 558951 ID: 0b90a3
File 139036415062.jpg - (50.50KB , 600x466 , 417.jpg )
558951

The crowd piles into the tiny kitchen, taking up every surface and seat with the injured. Ray, the wounded cop, is stretched out on the table, while the injured soldiers collapse into chairs. Mary gives Beth a quick sit-rep and they get down the messy business of saving lives; boiling water, tearing clean cloth, ordering anyone with working legs to fetch this, no not that. Jeff pulls the ambulance up outside, takes one look at the situation and starts unloading gauze, antiseptic, and anything remotely medical looking on the doctors.

The Soldier you helped, who apparently goes by Burke, produced a silvery packet full of powder, which, when packed into his wound, made him curse himself hoarse and formed a disgusting gel. With the gel in place, Mary declared him safe for transport, remarking that your quick action probably saved his life.

Sanders, who survived being shot in the head, is nursing a concussion, and is being kept awake by his uninjured squad mate: Francis. He is conscious and seems aware of the situation, but is definitely left off-balance by the injury.
>>
No. 558952 ID: 0b90a3
File 139036417888.jpg - (59.25KB , 494x600 , 418.jpg )
558952

Tanner is nursing what is likely a cracked rib, but alive thanks to her body armor.

Tanner
>"So, you're saying that now that you put that thing in his ear, he's not a threat anymore?"

Dale
"Not just him. Mary, Todd and I all went berserk, and all have one. But that was our last leech, and now that he's seen us, every person in town is going to be converging on the reservation."

Tanner
>"And you need us to help defend against them? You realize that we're just a recon group, we aren't really geared for sustained operations, let alone a... a fucking siege! You saw what just one person did to us!"

Dale
"Because he got the drop on you; every time we've encountered them we've been taken by surprise. This will be the first time we've had a chance to actually take a stand against this thing and we need everyone we can get. We figure that, now that we know exactly where Radula is going to go and have time to prepare, we can figure out a way to stop it."

Joshua
>"Hopefully, numbers won't be much of an issue. The only way onto the mesa is a path that winds around it: its only wide enough for two people if they're careful. If we keep that blocked that off, we should be able to keep them back indefinitely; or at least long enough for help to arrive."
>>
No. 558953 ID: 0b90a3
File 139036422436.jpg - (55.57KB , 546x600 , 419.jpg )
558953

Mary motions you over with a bloodstained hand.
>"Dale, you got a minute?"

Dale
"What's up?"

Mary
>"I know we were worried about using anesthetic before, but if we don't get some painkillers into Ray here, he's going to go into shock and we'll stand a good chance of losing him."
>"Todd could really use something as well, especially if we're planning on moving him. Beth told me she did everything she could to keep him comfortable, but he's in agony."

Dale
"You said something about a blood transfusion too?"

Mary
>"I'm not sure yet, but he would stand a better chance with at least an extra pint or two in his system. Of course, we'd have to figure out if anyone would have the right blood type. Well, besides you I mean..."

Dale
"Me?"

Mary
>"Yeah, we got yours when we did your bloodwork at the hospital: Type O-, the universal donor. But, your body is under such an enormous amount of stress, I can't even begin to recommend it. Especially if we're planning on going for a hike later tonight."
>"listen, just something to consider, but don't worry about it just yet. Beth and I have a lot of work to do. "

Dale
"What about Burke? Will he need one?"

Mary
>"Not sure yet. Between your tourniquet and the emergency coagulant, I don't think he's in any serious danger, but I need to take a better look at him first."
>>
No. 558955 ID: a87e3a

>>558953
Give Todd some painkillers. Now that Radula knows where we are there's no risk to it. Besides, if he's asleep when you're asleep, that's one more person we'll have in Radula's library. Or maybe he won't get to the library? Having him fall asleep would be a great test to see if he winds up there too. On the other hand that might also cause Radula to show up in person. Hmm. Maybe just tell him to try to stay awake for now until we're ready to move. Or maybe he could fall asleep and someone wakes him up after a couple minutes, so that he wakes up before Radula spears him like he does to you? From prior experience, Radula only seems to show up in person if he spears you in the library. Todd could be our advance scout.

If you can get some coffee or something to make sure you don't pass out from the additional stress to your system, give blood to Ray. Like, 1 pint. On the other hand, I don't think it would be much to ask someone to go around and find a better matching blood type. O- may be "universal" but an exact match is always better.
>>
No. 558956 ID: 53ba34

there's a lot of people around here, one of them could be type O.
>>
No. 558957 ID: 9ddf68

alright here's a plan, we don't want to hand out pain killers incase they knock someone out and bring the wrath of cuttlefish face down upon us right? How bout we ask Joshua what he was planning earlier when we told him about Dale's sleeping problem and maybe have it to whatever it was just involving Dale to Dale plus whoever we dope up. That way if they are pulled into the library with us we can do a buddy system thing, or at least make it we won't be taken off by surprise because someone nodded off when we weren't looking.
>>
No. 558958 ID: 57a559

>>558953
Remind Mary you need to sleep with the book anyway, you can handle giving the blood. Honestly, the whole O- thing right now seems like too much of a coincidence so like, honestly, if there's fate, that's either it saying you should totally donate, or being complete dicks and fucking with us.

There's a LOT of evidence for both if fate actually exists.
We should also store some extra blood packs for later, in case you get in an accident yourself and need blood because I guarantee that you're probably the only one that's 0- and you can only accept O- so we're going to have to pack up on your own blood to give it to yourself later, if that makes any sense.
You're going to basically need to be a blood factory for this mission Dale to maximize survivability.
>>
No. 558967 ID: 2f4b71

Check with the soldiers. They'll all have their donor type written on their dogtags, and there's a good chance at least one will be a donor match.
>>
No. 559017 ID: 17ac98

yeah, give them both the drugs. this is hard to watch.

besides, it's about time we figured out who's in danger from sleep and who isn't.
>>
No. 559084 ID: 5869f6

>>558953
There's bound to be others who are a match, if not the soldiers, the maybe the townspeople.
>>
No. 559207 ID: 0b90a3
File 139053560695.jpg - (50.50KB , 524x600 , 420.jpg )
559207

Dale
"Go ahead and give painkillers to whoever needs them. Radula already knows where we are, no sense in keeping them in pain anymore. Lets hold off on doing a transfusion for now, but I'll ask around to see who else is a viable donor. But if we can't find anyone, sooner or later I do need to sleep, and that might be a good time to collect some blood"

Mary
>"Sure, there ought to be some blood typing kits in the ambulance, they're little cards with a bottle of solution."

Dr. Slate doses Todd with fentanyl, after a minute or two his muscles start to relax and his teeth unclench.

Todd
>"Thanks guys, sorry to be so much trouble."

Dale
"Don't worry about it, sorry we had to leave you hanging like that. Just try to stay with us for as long as you can. If you fall asleep and end up in the library, stay safe and see if you can find out anything new. I'm still not sure what will happen with multiple people asleep, but with any luck we can have a whole group of people working together in there."

Mary goes ahead and injects Ray and Burke with doses of painkillers and they both visibly relax as the opiates take the edge off.
>>
No. 559208 ID: 0b90a3
File 139053562262.jpg - (37.17KB , 600x378 , 421.jpg )
559208

You step outside and check out the interior of the ambulance. After moving aside some of the dozen or so boxes of fireworks, you find a small stack of blood typing cards. These look like they only need a drop of blood and some water to work.
>>
No. 559209 ID: 0b90a3
File 139053563317.jpg - (26.51KB , 600x536 , 422.jpg )
559209

As you head back inside you look up at the looming form of the mesa and look for a moment at the thin line of lights threading its way along the cliff face.
>>
No. 559210 ID: a87e3a

>>559209
That's gonna be a long walk. You'll probably need a stretcher for Ray, and some crutches for Todd.

First, you wanna test Ray. Then ask those present if they know what blood type they have to narrow down who you need to test.

...wait what are those fireworks gonna be used for anyway? Is Joshua around? Might wanna ask him.
>>
No. 559211 ID: 9ddf68

probably should tell the others and find out who is and isn't going to be able to walk without help. And for those who will need to be carried by stretcher we should probably see who would be willing to carry them, it looks like a long walk and I don't want some of the more warn people to do the heavy lifting seeing as they'd most likely drop the guy and when you're on a cliff that's not something you want to do.
>>
No. 559514 ID: 0b90a3
File 139070906421.jpg - (44.06KB , 600x424 , 423.jpg )
559514

You head inside with the tests and get Mary to administer one using some of Ray's spilled blood. He comes out A positive, which you are told is, thankfully, a pretty common type. You would be a good donor, a closer type would be better however.

Rather than ask the soldiers just yet, as they might feel uncomfortable donating to someone who just tried to kill them, you decide to speak to Joshua, who is deep in conversation with Corp. Tanner.

Dale
"Hey, Joshua, Mary says that we might need a blood transfusion to keep the cop alive. You know anyone with type A blood?"

Joshua
>"I'm O positive if I remember right, apparently Navajo are something like 70% Type O. Something left over from the first people, I suppose. If you need type A, one of you guys will probably have it. But I've heard O works with most blood types, the doctor would know better though."

Well, at least there shouldn't be a shortage of viable donors around here, how generous they would be with their blood remains to be seen though.

Dale
"Good call. Hey, by the way, how are we going to go about getting all of these wounded up that trail?"

Joshua
>"Well, one of the Humvees had a stretcher at least, and there should be something we can do to improvise. If we need to, we can probably throw someone onto a mattress and drag them up, not fun but . I also asked a few people to stay behind to help anyone up that couldn't make the climb themselves. But look forward to lending a hand later."
>>
No. 559515 ID: 0b90a3
File 139070915890.jpg - (41.85KB , 600x600 , 424.jpg )
559515

Dale
"Then, what are you two up to?"

Tanner
>"Joshua's sketched out a map of the area, and we were just going over what we have to work with, defense wise."

You take a look at the rudimentary map and their list of known assets.

At the moment you have

1x shotgun: 12x rounds buckshot, 10x rounds beanbag
6x AR-15 carbines: 18x 30 round .223 magazines
5x M9 pistols: 9x 7 round 9x19mm magazine, 1x magazine 5 rounds remaining
1x Desert Eagle: 1x 8 round .44 magazine.
6x Survival knives
1x Joshua's grandfather's 1911 service pistol: 2x magazines 7 round .45 APC, 36 loose rounds.

2x Humvees
1x Ambulance

6x Sets of body armor/helmets with varying degrees of damage
6X Assorted guardsmen's survival items.

12x boxes of assorted fireworks.
1X crowbar
1x shovel

There's also whatever you might find useful in the reservation. It isn't a neighborhood with much to offer, but if you think of something useful and can haul it, it probably wouldn't take long to search for it. Though keep in mind you have at least 3 injured personnel to transport.
The evacuees have likely brought a selection of weapons, both improvised and conventional, but don't expect anything high caliber.

Tanner, who declined any of Dr. Slate's painkillers, grunts and takes stock.

>"We should check in with the base, let them know the situation. Hell, that mesa looks like it would have plenty of room for a helicopter. If we can get our people up there, we should be able to medivac our injured out, bring in some reinforcements. The problem is, if what you've told me is right, using the radio would tip off our attackers."
>>
No. 559518 ID: a87e3a

Yep, O+ and A+ are compatible, that should be fine. Hell, Joshua is right there and a healthy specimen, ask him if he wouldn't mind donating blood to Ray.

What would the attackers do about an incoming helicopter? It's not like they have rocket launchers. The chopper could just fly high until it got to the mesa. Then again, a chopper wouldn't help a whole lot unless it got here in time to lift people to the top of the mesa. Once the attackers get here they'll be able to shoot at it. Then again, with the mesa so steep, they won't have a good angle at it.

Destroying that footbridge behind us would block off access to the mesa, so we could do that once everyone's past it. Someone should probably set up the fireworks there to destroy the bridge in a hurry just in case the last people to get through are being chased.
>>
No. 559520 ID: 57a559

>>559515
The mesa's meant for a defensive position, not as a secret area. Radula will know where we are as soon as we sleep so it's best to contact medivac as soon as that happens.

You should be safe in the air, I mean, I don't think Radula has access to anti-air shit. I don't think he can fly. He can teleport instantly to any area you sleep in as soon as you wake up but that's an area, never directly next to you. The ambulance collided with him on the road, I don't think a medi-evac has to worry about that shit in the air. So if you're still asleep by the time medievac gets here, you could easily be transported onto the helicoptor and then lifted, where it will be safe for you to wake up and NOT have Radula flank all of the tribe's defenses by teleporting directly onto the mesa.
>>
No. 559522 ID: e6601f

Don't we have a radio we can bring with us? I mean we can always call for help once we're up on top. But I think they should try and call back to base to warm them about what they're about to get in to, assuming they'd believe them of course
>>
No. 559550 ID: 4a20fa

>>559515
Use the vehicles to carry the most wounded folks and bulkiest stuff as far up the trail as they can safely go, then radio for medivac when you're forced to leave them. Carry as much medical gear from the ambulence as you can.
>>
No. 559608 ID: 21fafa

it looks like the only way to the top of the mesa is the footbridge, which would make thing very hard for Raddy if it disappeared. it'd also make things hard for us, however, which is why you need to ask them if the villagers are capable of rigging up a drawbridge of sorts. if doesn't need to be able to carry vehicles across- you could probably carry the injured on foot from that point on, if the mesa's as small as I imagine it to be.

the road also looks like it's suitable for laying traps. especially the kind that pops tires. because, y'know, infected military. military vehicles. really really bad.

finally, make sure to consult your local zombie apocalypse expert. he might have some ideas.
>>
No. 559643 ID: 0b90a3
File 139079447891.jpg - (44.71KB , 521x600 , 425.jpg )
559643

You let the two of them talk strategy for a minute and bring the news to Mary.
>"Hes O positive? That should work just fine as long as he's willing to to donate. How about it?"

Joshua looks kind of uncomfortable about it, but agrees to the procedure.
>"While I'm doing this, you and Jeff can help us get a head start on moving things forward. Why don't you take the ambulance to the base of the mesa and start hauling boxes up the trail. Just drop them off on the other side of the footbridge for now."
>>
No. 559644 ID: 0b90a3
File 139079449173.jpg - (46.12KB , 600x399 , 426.jpg )
559644

Jeff, who's gotten pretty good at maneuvering such a huge vehicle, takes the ambulance onto a packed dirt trail leading to the foot of the massive stone formation.

Dale
"So, how're you holding up, Jeff? Exicted for operation 'mesa top fortress' and the chance to save the world?"

Jeff
>"Yeah..."

Dale
"Whats up? You were so hyped up this morning for zombies."

Jeff
>"Yeah, but that was back when we thought they were zombies. These are just people, Dale. I mean, we can save them, right? "
>>
No. 559645 ID: a87e3a

Well, if we defeat Radula, yeah. If we foil his plans, there will be no point to him controlling his minions. If we somehow KILL Radula then they will have noone to guide them and I assume they would be fairly easy to isolate and leech the poison out somehow. As we are now though... we're out of unused leeches so we'd have to take one out of someone to save anyone else. We don't know if that's safe yet.

(with OOC information, no we can't save them. Radula will probably pull them into the Library and feed them to the Cacophony if we win without killing Radula, and killing him is supposedly impossible.)
>>
No. 559647 ID: 9ddf68

(not counting OOC things)

Pretty sure we can, just look at it this way Jeff. Think of them as zombies but we know the cure, and unlike the movies we didn't have to spend years in some dinky little lab barred in the desert to do it, we just got to put LOTS of bullets in the worlds ugliest cuttlefish.
>>
No. 559648 ID: 57a559

>>559644
with more leeches, yeah, if we could find some or we could develop an anti-venom maybe
there might be an answer in the library.

We can't feasibly save them all through the leech method though. We need that anti-venom or some other sort of weapon against it. If we can capture someone infected and properly restrain them, we can send them in the chopper along with some of the national guard troops that understand the situation. We actually don't need to capture them for very long if we can get a significant sample of the venom from one of the infected actually. We send that with the infantry troops and then they can get that sample analyzed and a lab somewhere will create that anti-venom. They'll probably then make it into a gas that they'll spread with crop dusters or someshit and fly over the town.

Yeah! Yeah! That's it we have a plan, Dale! It'll take weeks but it's a plan for saving them, if we can last that long, which means we'll have to be on the run most of the time.
>>
No. 559651 ID: 21fafa

it's definitely a possibility. sure, the odds are low, but you don't have to say that out loud.
>>
No. 559770 ID: ccd544

>>559645
(OOC information tells us that, the gods are certain gaining the book will allow them to "destroy" The Cacophony, and certainly destroy Radula with it.)
>>
No. 559933 ID: 0b90a3
File 139095502174.jpg - (46.56KB , 600x600 , 427.jpg )
559933

Jeff stops the car near the base of the mesa, and you get to work hauling the explosives uphill. Thanks to Joshua a few people stuck around before evacuating, and agree to help you carry some of the boxes.

Dale
"We know the cure, Jeff, and we're going to try. This may be different from the zombie apocalypse you expected, but the upside is that we have some hope of helping them. We just need to get our hands on more of those leeches; or if we can't, put a bullet in that bug-eyed fucker controlling them. I know you don't want to hurt anyone, man, but I'm counting on you and everyone else to buy me time to find an answer."

Jeff
>"Buy you time? Yeah, I think I can do that. Sorry, just worried, that by bringing everyone here, I've put not only you but my family, and my nation in danger."

Dale
"Don't sweat it man. I'm no tactician, but I think you gave us the best shot we have at a fighting chance. I mean, look at this rock! Its gonna take more than a bunch of drugged up zombies to get on top of this thing."
>>
No. 559934 ID: 0b90a3
File 139095503112.jpg - (42.60KB , 600x465 , 428.jpg )
559934

Fortunately the fireworks aren't too heavy, just bulky, and you make it up to the footbridge after about a 5 minute hike. You head back to the ambulance and are just starting to head out with the second load when you glance out at the horizon. Seems like there's a lot of lights out there, enough to make you kind of nervous.
>>
No. 559936 ID: 9ddf68

you mean lights as in just the plain old city lights, lights as in a fuck ton of cars heading this way, or light in fires? Cause the last 2 would make things kind ominous as hell but what's so bad about the first one, just worried about the numbers that might be coming at us?
>>
No. 559940 ID: 955dc5

>>559936
If it's the city being destroyed by possessed individuals, it's too late. The fires wouldn't reach across the desert anyway.

If those lights seem to be approaching, I'd bring it to the -immediate- attention of everyone.
>>
No. 559941 ID: a87e3a

>>559934
As much as we want to rush, we can't truly leave until the doctors are done treating Ray.

But maybe Dale specifically should get up to the top of the Mesa early. With the book. Just in case.
>>
No. 559944 ID: 280aef

don't freak out at the gravity of this situation.
>>
No. 559978 ID: 4a20fa

>>559934
Yell at everyone to pass the message on.

Make sure you're up top in good time, given you're the bait.
>>
No. 560207 ID: 0b90a3
File 139114428945.jpg - (31.62KB , 600x372 , 429.jpg )
560207

You put aside your concerns for the moment and, moving double time, haul the second load of fireworks up the path. Its not like you can do anything until the wounded are ready to move. Anyway, being the bait, its safer to keep yourself out of danger.
>>
No. 560208 ID: 0b90a3
File 139114430631.jpg - (17.83KB , 600x259 , 430.jpg )
560208

But as you look back at the town, a huge, smoky fireball blossoms on the horizon and knocking out electricity in the surrounding buildings. Without the city lights, the darkness glitters with dozens of pairs of headlights, all growing undeniably larger.
>>
No. 560209 ID: 0b90a3
File 139114433019.jpg - (42.39KB , 600x394 , 431.jpg )
560209

You try not to panic, but you remember.

You aren't the bait.

The Book is.

The Book is still at Jeff's house, where you felt it was safe. Suddenly it doesn't feel so secure. You stumble down the trail in a jog and run past Jeff as he makes the climb.

Jeff
>"Dale, what's wrong?"

Dale
"They're coming! We have to get the Book and let them know."
>>
No. 560210 ID: 0b90a3
File 139114435699.jpg - (44.81KB , 600x395 , 432.jpg )
560210

Together you hop into the ambulance and drive back to Jeff's place and burst in on a bloody scene.

Dale
"They're on their way! How are you doing here?"

Mary holds up a bloody gloved hand as she digs out a flattened round.
>"Well, we got both of the bullets out, but we could use a bit more time. We need to get one of those chemical hemostats in place before we move him. Should be ready to go in five minutes, we just need to get him ready to evac."
>>
No. 560212 ID: 9ddf68

well... shit

If I had to guess I'd say that Radula just finished building his army and is either finishing off whatever resistance remained or doesn't want to leave any evidence behind. Both don't look so good for us either way. So how close are we to having all the boxes across the bridge at this point, because I feel that it would be wise to send someone back to the house and warn the others we're about to have company.
>>
No. 560213 ID: a87e3a

...if we launched fireworks right at the incoming cars, would it blind the drivers? A nice big pileup would buy us some time.
>>
No. 560214 ID: 9ddf68

ok so we left the ambulance at the path but are the Humvees still here? cause if so start the things engine, pull it up to the house, open one of the doors to the back seats, line the back door with the house's front door, once the cop is good just quickly rush him into the back of the hummer, have everyone else pile in, and take off a like a bat out of hell to the path. Once there we can use the hummer to block off the path to slow our attackers down a little and buy us more time to get across the bridge. Either way this is probably going to be a photo finish so it might be wise to send someone ahead with the book so we don't have to risk that at least.

Also have the people who can still run head to the path now and those who can't run so much get seated in the hummer now so we don't have to waste any more time then we have to.
>>
No. 560315 ID: 4bdbe2

be a nurse.
>>
No. 560353 ID: 0b90a3
File 139122565139.jpg - (54.87KB , 600x414 , 433.jpg )
560353

Dale
"Anything I can do?"

Mary
>"We just need to stop his bleeding and splint a few things. We're going to need help moving him though; I'm worried that he might have some spinal damage. Untill then, you should probably grab anything you might need and get ready to head out."

First, you make sure that you grab your satchel, making sure the Book of Worms is secure inside.

Corp. Tanner and private Francis pull their humvees up to the front of the house and, working in tandem, load their injured comrade into one of them. Jeff improvises a hammock out of a bed sheet, and together you load Todd into the other car. It ends up being a bit rougher than you hoped, but Todd says he doesn't mind.

You pack as many medical supplies into your satchel as you can and look around you. You've got a few minutes before you're ready to move out: now would be the best time to hunt down anything that might come in handy: chemicals, tools, supplies, food, water.
>>
No. 560359 ID: 9ddf68

you're in the desert pal, food and water are a must, more so water then anything, Just see if you can't find an empty jerrycan or something and fill it in the sink and while it's filling raid the kitchen. Try to go for the non-perishable items first.
>>
No. 560378 ID: 4bdbe2

yup, water. in case of an extended siege.
>>
No. 560652 ID: a87e3a

>>560353
I thought everyone would be bringing their own stuff?

Well, see if you can get some rope, and something that can cut rope quickly. Like an axe maybe.
>>
No. 560683 ID: 0b90a3
File 139139469269.jpg - (71.55KB , 600x487 , 434.jpg )
560683

Worried that you might be stuck for a while, you fill up a gallon of water from the tap and raid the cupboards for snacks, finding a couple of boxes of granola bars. You also find a roll of some tough, yellow polypropylene rope and spot a weathered, wood-handled axe next to the neighbor's woodpile and take them with you.

Dr. Slate finished wrapping up Ray, who seems to have passed out. Nevertheless, she pronounces him ready to move, and together you shift him onto the army stretcher and into the waiting ambulance.
>>
No. 560684 ID: 0b90a3
File 139139472139.jpg - (63.19KB , 564x600 , 435.jpg )
560684

The small convoy takes off along the dirt road, pulls up to the path at the base of the mesa and the group starts to unload the wounded. Its not long before the headlights near the horizon start to pour into the reservation. In a blinding river of headlights, a horde of cars, trucks, vans, and buses about a hundred strong screeches and slams together as they pack the narrow streets of the neighborhood. Shadowy figures scramble out of their vehicles, some breaking through windshields, unable to open their doors in the crowded alleys; swarming across the desert like a tide of spiders.

You hop into the ambulance and drive it as far up onto the trail as you can, turning its huge, flat rear into an impassable rampart. You get out of the passenger side door, scoot around the side of the car and take up the other half of Todd's hammock, ready to move.
>>
No. 560692 ID: a87e3a

Hmm... slash the tires so they can't move the ambulance. That'll slow down pursuit.
>>
No. 560693 ID: cbafdd

Let the air out if the tires so it's lower to the ground making it harder for the to get enough leverage to flip it and take the keys so they can simply move it by switching gears
>>
No. 560710 ID: 34381a

slashing the tires is underkill. I say stick a rag in the tank, light it up and run. now that'll actually slow them down by an amount of time that matters.
>>
No. 560747 ID: eb10ea

Destroy that footbridge. The ambulance will slow them down, taking away the bridge will shut them down completely.
>>
No. 560788 ID: 0b90a3
File 139148039450.jpg - (63.90KB , 600x548 , 436.jpg )
560788

Hoping to buy a few more moments you dig around in your satchel.

Dale
"I need a lighter? Anyone got a lighter?"

Tanner reaches into her pocket and throws her chrome plated Zippo to you. You race back to the ambulance and find the gas tank and wrench off the cap. You pull out a roll of cotton gauze, hold it briefly over the lighter, and jam the burning mass into the opening.
>>
No. 560789 ID: 0b90a3
File 139148043238.jpg - (74.50KB , 600x409 , 437.jpg )
560789

Without a second look you take off running, getting about 30 feet before you feel a wave of pressure and heat overtake you, the roar of igniting gas vapors creating a boom that you can feel through your feet.

By the time you catch up with the rest of the group, they are using the the shovel and crowbar to weaken the structure of the footbridge. You pull out the axe that you found and go to work hacking at the supports.
>>
No. 560790 ID: a87e3a

I hope you guys got all the useful medical supplies out of the ambulance because it's too late now.

As for the footbridge, do a thorough job. I have no idea what it looks like or how long it is but you gotta get that thing fully collapsed to keep them from crossing.
>>
No. 560796 ID: 9ddf68

well that escalated quickly

anyways finish off that bridge and get to the top of this rock, also give Tanner her lighter back when you get the chance.
>>
No. 560811 ID: 5a87a3

oh haha I love it when protagonists go along with my stupid shit

look for nearby climbable spots or ask Jeff or his dad. this can't be the end of it.
>>
No. 560874 ID: 53ba34

there probably ARE spots you can climb, but are so unstable that it's suicide to try. but radula doesn't care about the deaths as long as it can get the book.
>>
No. 561246 ID: 0b90a3
File 139175089863.jpg - (36.28KB , 600x453 , 438.jpg )
561246

Under your concentrated efforts, the wooden bridge starts to come apart. What ensues is a desperate, silent race to tear it apart, expecting a horde of flaming zombies to pour over you at any moment.
>>
No. 561247 ID: 0b90a3
File 139175092339.jpg - (75.05KB , 600x499 , 439.jpg )
561247

Oddly enough Radula's horde pulls up short in in the face of the flaming ambulance. Despite showing no fear or pain previously, when faced with fire the crowd recoils. Evacuees perched safely on the mesa top peek out to see the source of the noise, but draw back when the assembled minions start taking potshots at them. Those that brought tools with them rush to help with taking down the bridge and soon its down to its last few supports.

Dale
"Is there any where else that they can climb up?

Joshua
>"There's some ancient handholds cut into the rock on the north side, but they're crumbling pretty badly by now. Still, It's a potential danger. let's get topside and take a look."
>>
No. 561248 ID: a87e3a

Looks like Radula doesn't like fire. Plan to take a can of gasoline and a lighter with you to the Library. You could also set fire to the footbridge!

As for the handholds, just pour some oil or something down the wall so they can't climb up.
>>
No. 561250 ID: 9ddf68

alright so they are like zombies in the fact that fire is good against them, and unlike zombies fire also drive them away, or at least slows them down. useful to know.

Anyways lets get top side and give those footholds a look over, that sounds like the perfect spot for cuttlefish face to show up.
>>
No. 561260 ID: 505e40

yeah, go and chip off at the corner at the edge. hopefully it'll cause a mini-avalanche or enough tremors for said handholds to come loose.
>>
No. 561270 ID: e1609c

not particularly pertinent at this specific moment, but if we can we should look into some sort of defense against aerial vehicles such as helicopters and the like. We're safe enough from ground troops, but the skies are gonna be a problem if we let them get up on us unexpected
'specially since radula can fly and all that.
>>
No. 561663 ID: 0b90a3
File 139198225867.jpg - (56.53KB , 600x600 , 440.jpg )
561663

You follow Joshua to the top of the mesa and he brings you to a point on the edge.

Joshua
>"A long time ago this used to be the only way up here, back when we never knew when we would need refuge. "

You peer down into the darkness and a small group of figures glare back up at you, clinging to the cliff face and climbing hand over hand. You try hacking at the stone ladder with your axe and manage to dislodge some of the more brittle bits. Unfortunately you aren't sure how you can damage the handholds enough to make them unusable.
>>
No. 561664 ID: a87e3a

Fireworks.
>>
No. 561666 ID: f44ca3

I think your best bet here would be a few people and a pile of rocks. Every time someone gets close to the top they drop a rock on there head. The trick will be finding people willing to throw the rocks.
>>
No. 561668 ID: a87e3a

It would be best to keep in mind we are trying to stop them from getting to the top, not kill them.
>>
No. 561669 ID: 426396

do we have a sufficient amount of oil or some other slippery substance we could pour down there?
>>
No. 561723 ID: 53ba34

high explosives
>>
No. 561956 ID: 0b90a3
File 139208522016.jpg - (49.15KB , 414x600 , 441.jpg )
561956

You root through the fireworks grab an arm full of the nastiest looking explosives you can find and race back to the cliff face. You cram them into any handholds that you can reach, light the fuses and step back.

There's a series of thundering explosions and a couple of chunks of mesa slide away in a cloud of dust.

Dale
"Holy shit!"

Joshua
>"Those must have been quarter sticks, not sure where we got those, but they're the real deal."

There's a lot of dust, and you can't really tell what happened to the people climbing, but the crater you just blew into the cliff looks like it made a mess of the stone ladder.
>>
No. 561957 ID: a87e3a

Yell down "Hey you guys okay down there?"
>>
No. 561958 ID: 53ba34

>>561957
pfffft

anyway, think they aren't coming up that any time soon. get back to the main group.
>>
No. 562011 ID: 2f4b71

Well, the good news is that if there are any more of those, we don't need to worry about them getting across the bridge: we can blast a large section of the ramp right off the cliff face.
>>
No. 562029 ID: 59d71b

better not tell the Jeffster about this.

check up on your peeps.
>>
No. 562428 ID: 0b90a3
File 139233824950.jpg - (46.35KB , 470x600 , 442.jpg )
562428

You try to see if anyone managed to hang onto the cliff, but don't see any movement down there.

A sudden the metallic slam of two cars hitting one another echos across the mesa, followed by another and another. You race back to the bridge and arrive right as the final boards fall away.

Jeff
>"What was that boom? Was that you?"

Dale
"Uh yeah, I don't think they'll be climbing up the north side anymore. Might want to have someone keep an eye on it just in case. How are things here?"
>>
No. 562429 ID: 0b90a3
File 139233827287.jpg - (66.98KB , 396x600 , 443.jpg )
562429

Jeff opens his mouth but his answer is drowned out when the flaming ambulance catapults forward, rolling off the trail and crashing into rocks below.

Moments later a swarm of minions rounds the corner of the trail, silently charging the broken footbridge.
>>
No. 562430 ID: e1609c

>>562429
either they are going to just swarm the pit trying to build a wall of flesh to crawl across like zombies or they are going to try and make a human bridge and neither is a good prospect
>>
No. 562431 ID: a87e3a

Taunt them. But make sure you're out of rock-throwing range when you do so.
>>
No. 562432 ID: 53ba34

get above the trail and drop more bombs.
>>
No. 562437 ID: 9ddf68

hm, don't think there's much they can do right now but they're not mindless zombies, if given enough time the could build a bridge to get across. We're going to need someone watching this path at all times to make sure no one gets across
>>
No. 562441 ID: e1609c

>>562432
We need to be sure we save some. If they find a way to fly at us some well-placed rockets would be super cool to have around.
>>
No. 562455 ID: 12267f

Any more of those explosives? Im tempted to assume these guys might be able to leap large gaps like that, we might need to make it bigger.

If you'd rather not, get to higher ground and keep an eye out. Maybe gather up large boulders or fireworks or something to drop on any bridges they might try building.
>>
No. 562477 ID: a87e3a

Well considering the minions don't like fire we could make a big bonfire on this side of the bridge. Just keep it burning and we'll be able to block them even if they find a way of getting across the gap.
>>
No. 562519 ID: 35baa4

>>562431

they might have guns.

>>562477

agreed.
>>
No. 562642 ID: 77f364

Have at least one person watch the cliff face path. You've cleared it for a now, but the part you blew up is now considerably less steep. If enough handholds survived the explosion, it might actually make it easier for them to climb up if they reach the explosion area.
>>
No. 562986 ID: 0b90a3
File 139261167890.jpg - (52.20KB , 600x469 , 444.jpg )
562986

Rather than face the horde, you retreat back to the mesa top. A few gunshots follow you, but you turn the corner before they have a chance to aim properly.
>>
No. 562987 ID: 0b90a3
File 139261171062.jpg - (35.28KB , 600x377 , 445.jpg )
562987

From your position of relative safety, you take a moment to assess the situation. The evacuees have set up a collection of shelters around a solitary mud walled structure called a "hogan" on the east side. To the west, there's a pile of large rocks, apparently set aside for some future construction project. For the moment, Radula's forces seem to be held at bay, but given enough time they're sure to figure out a way forward.

Dale
"Okay, we need fire, do we have anything that we can use to make a sustained fire?"

Joshua
>"Should be some firewood up here for when we perform ceremonies. If we burn everything at once we could probably make a decent sized bonfire, but it probably wouldn't last very long like that."

Dale
"Anything, will help, we just need a way to buy us more time. We should also move some of those rocks above the gap so that we can drop them onto any bridge they try to build. Also, I still can't help worrying about that ladder, we should have someone keep an eye on it, just in case."

Lynwood nods and heads off to guard the north slope without a word.
>>
No. 562988 ID: 0b90a3
File 139261173405.jpg - (45.55KB , 600x370 , 446.jpg )
562988

Tanner finishes reporting to her superiors via radio.
>"Damn! They've agreed to send a helicopter, but only to evacuate the injured and my squad. They're apparently worried about another ambush and are ordering everyone back to base. Should take about 15 to 20 minutes for them to show up."

Joshua
>"But what about all of these people?"

Tanner
>"I'm going to keep trying, we aren't about to abandon you, not while we can still help. "
>>
No. 562989 ID: 0b90a3
File 139261178277.jpg - (52.77KB , 600x557 , 447.jpg )
562989

You decide to help with moving rocks, grabbing one that looks like its manageable. However, halfway across the mesa, it falls out of your hands and your arms simply refuse to work...

Beth
>"Dale, whats wrong?"

You try to shake some feeling back into your limbs, but they just ache and feel like they're kneaded out of heavy clay.
Dale
"I.. I don't know. Oh god, is something wrong with me? Did Radula do something?"

Beth
>"Its probably exhaustion, man. You've been putting your body through some serious demands today, I think you're hitting the wall. Weren't you supposed to be going to sleep?"

Dale
"I know, but how am I supposed to sleep at a time like this?
>>
No. 562992 ID: 53ba34

get the others. you should all try to sleep at the same time. then you may be able to fight him, together.
>>
No. 563010 ID: 505e40

I've been there a lot, man. just lie down in a bed and close your eyes. the rest does itself within a couple minutes. hell, in your state, you should be able to do it standing up.
>>
No. 563012 ID: f44ca3

You will not help anything if you can not move. There are plenty of other people here who have not been on the run for weeks.
>>
No. 563013 ID: a87e3a

>>562989
Dale you're SUPPOSED TO sleep at a time like this! You need to take the book with you into the Library and do what you're supposed to do. It's time to end this, before Radula can reach the top of the Mesa.

If Todd can go to sleep at the same time, that'd be great. Try to bring a lighter and a can of gasoline or something with you. Even a bottle of vodka would help, just something to get a fire going. Also try to bring a weapon of some sort, even if it's just a knife.
>>
No. 563015 ID: 9ddf68

well it may be hard... or not, to sleep right now it would be better for everyone if you were at least somewhat rested so you won't slow people down. I say wait for the chopper just so we can make sure things go alright with that and then let the others know we're going to pass out and if they have any plans about what to do if things should take a turn for the worst they should feel free to voice them.
>>
No. 563409 ID: 0b90a3
File 139278004281.jpg - (77.38KB , 600x587 , 448.jpg )
563409

Beth
>"Dale, you aren't going to be any help if you let yourself drop dead from exhaustion. You're at your limit and you've done everything you can to help us, but this isn't your fight anymore. You have your own battle to face and you just have to trust us to to our jobs out here. Don't worry, we have things under control."

Grudgingly, you admit that you're no longer in any state to help defend the plateau. As much as you would like to keep helping, the adrenaline that's been fueling you for the last few hours is running thin, and every muscle in your body is crying out in revolt.

You duck through the wooden door of the hogan and step inside. The interior is dark, and smells like someone has been burning sage, its clearly a sacred place of some sorts. The wounded have been stashed here for the time being, while Dr. Slate monitors them.
Todd gives you a little wave as you come in.
>>
No. 563410 ID: 0b90a3
File 139278011619.jpg - (35.62KB , 314x600 , 449.jpg )
563410

Mary
>"How's it going out there?"

Dale
"Well, we tore down the bridge and should be safe for the time being. Tanner says that there's a helicopter on its way for the injured, but they said that they won't take anyone else over security concerns."

"Now I'm at the point where I need to pass out. I wish I could be more help but I can hardly even stand."

Mary
>"You thought i was joking when I said you needed to get some sleep before it kills you... Don't worry, I'll be here keeping an eye on things here. I think it might be best if I stay awake, that way we have someone who can identify the infected, and I need to be here when they transport the injured. Just be careful in there."

Dale
"Thanks, just a warning; I've been screaming in my sleep."

Mary
>"We could hear it over the sound of the MRI, Dale."

You look over at the slouched form of Todd.
"Oh man, if you need to sleep, it should be okay now. Thanks for hanging on so long."

Todd mumbles something in response, but you aren't sure that he even heard you. He looks like he's already well on his way to passing out.
>>
No. 563411 ID: 0b90a3
File 139278015347.jpg - (51.11KB , 600x458 , 450.jpg )
563411

A lanky shadow fills the doorway and Jeff steps into the ancient structure.
>"Hey man, Beth says you're going to sleep?"

Dale
"Yeah, I can't keep this up, man. You guy's hold down the fort for me okay?"

>"Sure, I wanted to give you something though."

You manage to hold your hand up and he drops something into it.

Dale
"A dream-catcher?"

Jeff
>"Yeah, you know... "

Dale
"What does it do?"

Jeff
>"It catches dreams I guess. Dude I don't know; its not a Navajo thing, but if Thunderbird talked to you... then who knows? Couldn't hurt, right?"

Dale
"Thanks Jeff, I appreciate it. Speaking of Thunderbird, it said to bring the Book with me. Any idea how to do that?"

Jeff
>"If he didn't give you any instructions it can't be that hard, probably just need to be holding it or something."
>>
No. 563412 ID: 0b90a3
File 139278017652.jpg - (83.07KB , 600x600 , 451.jpg )
563412

You have to admit, Jeff has a point. You sit with your back up against the wall and hold the Book of Worms in your lap. Closing your eyes, your consciousness is swallowed by darkness...
>>
No. 563413 ID: 0b90a3
File 139278018991.jpg - (63.65KB , 391x600 , 452.jpg )
563413

...And once more you sink into the world behind the universe.

While Dale is asleep, events will continue to unfold in the waking world. You can give suggestions to Dale, Beth and anyone awake to help defend the Mesa.
>>
No. 563414 ID: 53ba34

tuck it under your shirt.
>>
No. 563422 ID: d2995c

See what happens if you take another book.
>>
No. 563429 ID: 9ddf68

you got the dream catcher on you right?

as for who to watch... can we stick with Dale for now but if something important happens can we be yanked to see what's going on in the waking world as well or is this a pick and your stuck with it kind of deal? If so... Beth, just so we can make sure the evacuation goes smoothly.
>>
No. 563431 ID: 8b7760

Skim the book titles and see if you can find something relevant.
>>
No. 563433 ID: 57a559

Hmm... read book, hold dreamcatcher.

Honestly tempted just to drop the book right in here and switch it out with another similar looking book.
>>
No. 563439 ID: a87e3a

>>563413
You still have your satchel. What's in it? Sneak around and scout the area. See if you can find anything interesting. Just put the Book in your satchel for the moment, so you have your hands free.

Or maybe you could try destroying the book right now. The Library is not subject to multiple timelines, so it should be permanently destroyed if it is done here.
>>
No. 563442 ID: f4b0d3

eat a bookworm.
>>
No. 563554 ID: 0b90a3
File 139286281484.jpg - (63.87KB , 502x600 , 453.jpg )
563554

First things first, you check on your belongings. The book seems to be its old grotesque and familiar self, but you aren't sure of how it will behave in this world. You still have Jeff's dream-catcher, it doing anything special right now but the fact that it made the trip with you is interesting. You check you satchel and it appears to be empty, you stow the book and dream-catcher inside.

You look at the contents of the bookshelf in front of you, all of the volumes have the same disgusting binding as the one you carry but vary slightly in size and thickness. You can't help but wonder: if your book contains the history of your universe, then would these be bound to other universes? How many of these things are there? And do they all end the same way?

You take one down and open it up. Inside, columns of preserved flatworms glare back at you from the pages with tiny primitive eyes.
You try to "read" the page like Beth did but the mysterious resin holding the worms refuses to yield to your touch.
>>
No. 563555 ID: 0b90a3
File 139286282595.jpg - (51.33KB , 600x600 , 454.jpg )
563555

Hey, what the hell?
>>
No. 563556 ID: 0b90a3
File 139286283728.jpg - (87.84KB , 577x600 , 455.jpg )
563556

who- what? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?
>>
No. 563558 ID: 57a559

Soothe it's icy heart with a hot tropical song of your people.
But seriously
Don't move
I don't think it can see you. Or that it's hostile.
It's clearly just organizing the shelves.
>>
No. 563560 ID: 9ddf68

I think that's a librarian... you might want to start backing away slowly.
>>
No. 563561 ID: 53ba34

the fact that it had a perfect shot at you and instead grabbed the book... i don't think it is completely hostile. just stay out of it's way.
>>
No. 563562 ID: ce1af9

if it's part of a dream, does that mean it can be caught with the dreamcatcher? is it doing anything?
>>
No. 563563 ID: a87e3a

>>563556
Librarian. It's sorting books.

Well, get away from it so it doesn't get any ideas about the book in your satchel, if it can even tell it's there. Look around some more.
>>
No. 563566 ID: d2995c

Its a librarian, so you should keep very, very quiet :V
>>
No. 563567 ID: 8b7760

DON'T turn your back to it. Give it a moment to see if it reacts to your presence.
>>
No. 563580 ID: 955dc5

It's some sort of aberrant creature playing curator and librarian to these books. I suggest not tampering with the books anymore unless one of them has an outstandingly different cover.
>>
No. 563643 ID: 0b90a3
File 139294577889.jpg - (58.88KB , 600x445 , 456.jpg )
563643

NOPE
NOPE
NOPE

BACKING AWAY

SLOWLY

BACKING OFF NOW

It takes the pilfered book in one of its many clawed appendages, places it back in its empty space and nudges it gently into place.
>>
No. 563644 ID: 0b90a3
File 139294582281.jpg - (80.62KB , 554x600 , 457.jpg )
563644

It turns some of its compound eyes towards you; they twitch and rotate, regarding you with crustacean interest, but it makes no move to attack. After a pause, it takes more books from a pile on its back, passes them from claw to claw, and begins re-shelving them in rapid succession.

At least its not that aggressive, but holy shit. You almost wish Radula were here, at least [i]he's[i] not built like a fucking panzer.

You make a mental note: DON'T TOUCH ANY BOOKS. You don't think you can't afford to piss that thing off.
>>
No. 563645 ID: 0b90a3
File 139294587025.jpg - (55.26KB , 547x600 , 458.jpg )
563645

As you back away, the house sized creature's arms are a blur of motion: shelving, removing, organizing the countless books according to some unknowable system of categorization.

You are about to round the corner when your ears pick up the sound of two people speaking English.

???
>"So this place isn't part of our universe at all then?"

???
>"Correct, where ever we are, it occupies a system outside of our timeline. It connects not only to our world but to countless possible universes."
>>
No. 563646 ID: e1609c

>>563645
Get closer. Stay hidden for now, if you have to take any risks of getting spotted to see, dont take them.
>>
No. 563647 ID: a36601

Do you recognize either of the voices?
>>
No. 563648 ID: a87e3a

>>563645
I bet that's the prof. Go see him, find out what you need to do.
>>
No. 563651 ID: 9ddf68

be very careful and see who it is, don't let them spot you, we have no idea who or what is and isn't friendly here
>>
No. 563670 ID: 4838e8

sneakitty sneak voiceways.
>>
No. 563671 ID: a87e3a

Beth and the others:
Start setting up the bonfire around the corner from the bridge and have someone ready to light it at all times. If the minions are about to get across the gap, they are to light the bonfire immediately so that the bonfire lasts as long as possible to delay them.
>>
No. 563674 ID: 4a20fa

>>563645
Investigate!
>>
No. 563691 ID: 955dc5

>>563645
Looks like you found some other dream hopping wayfarers.
>>
No. 564056 ID: 0b90a3
File 139320774383.jpg - (70.71KB , 600x538 , 459.jpg )
564056

You approach the source of the voices. Peeking around the corner, you find Ray the cop deep in conversation with the long missing professor Leo Schreater.

Ray
>"Then, how do we get out of here?"

Schreater
>"For you, I believe it may simply be a matter of regaining consciousness, although from the sounds of it, you may have a hard time doing so. Additionally, every time you fall asleep you will find yourself here again."
> "Escape for me may not be so simple. I'm not certain how long I have been held here, or how the passage of time even applies here; but it has kept me here alive with an intravenous feed. I'm not sure if I can be disconnected safely at this point, but I will not allow myself to die until I can help prevent the destruction of our universe. Even if I am driven incurably insane in the process."

Ray
>"And... are you?"

The professor closes his eyes and gives him the crooked smile of an unhealthy mind.
>"My friend, I am acutely aware of my condition. For all I know, you are a hallucination, either brought on by dementia, lack of sleep, or one of the compounds being pumped through my body. But real or not, I will help you in any way I can."
>>
No. 564057 ID: 0b90a3
File 139320779742.jpg - (45.61KB , 600x354 , 460.jpg )
564057

On the mesa, a group of evacuees led by Joshua work to set up a bonfire on the trail out of the line of fire, leaving it ready to light the moment Radula manages to bridge the gap in the road.

The army besieging the group tries carrying a large balk of timber up to fashion a catwalk across the crevasse. There's a THOOM as the The defenders launch a firework directly into the crowd, and the mortar blossoms into a sphere of burning magnesium, driving back the swarm in a wave of panic. A few well placed stones hurled from the summit are enough to knock the improvised bridge back to the desert floor.
>>
No. 564060 ID: a87e3a

>>564056
Go on, step forward and say hi to Ray, then ask the Professor how to save their universe if say the Book were here by some chance. Also show him the dreamcatcher.
>>
No. 564061 ID: 57a559

>>564057
I'd be careful of ladders and cherry pickers.
And guns, while making sure new bridges don't come up they'll be sure to have SOME.

Keep watch, and save those fireworks for the inevitable cherry picker.
If anyone has a spare vehicle up top, we might want to put down another burning car on the other side. That will permanently prevent bridges from being made, there won't be anyway for them to create a stable enough bridge to bring a ram over to move the new vehicle. Which reduces all threats to cherry pickers and ladders.

Or the inevitable human ladder.
>>
No. 564062 ID: 9ddf68

alright, Dale, if you think it's safe join the conversation, if not just sit back and eves drop some more. Also do you have any idea what the M on the cop's forehead means?

Waking people, how long do you think you could survive the siege? Cause they can resupply you can't?
>>
No. 564108 ID: a0eb11

what... are those things on the professor's back connected to?

oh, and ask Roy how he got here and Schreater where his non-dreamself body lies.
>>
No. 564214 ID: 0b90a3
File 139329802525.jpg - (93.07KB , 600x600 , 461.jpg )
564214

Deeming it safe to approach, you step out from behind the bookshelf.

Schreater
>"Dale Marks? My god, is that you? What are you doing here, are you alright? How long has it been?"

Dale
"Well, it's been about a month since you gave me the book. I've been trying to keep it safe since then, but eventually I had to fall asleep. Fortunately I have a group of people watching over us, but I'm not sure how much time we have before they are over run. I was told that I needed to bring the Book with me next time I slept; we received a message that it was important to bring it here."

Schreater
>"A message? From who?"

Dale
"We think it may have been a God actually, weird as that sounds."

Schreater
>"Mr. Marks, I think that we are quite beyond 'weird' at this point. But I believe that I understand why you needed to bring it with you. This place does not operate by the normal cause and effect pattern; by changing things here, you should be able to change the fate of our whole universe. But be careful, the Hecatoncheires and other agents of the Cacophony won't hesitate to attack if they realize that the Book is here."

Dale
"You mean that giant lobster-thing?"

Schreater
>"Yes, the 'hundred-handed ones'. Most of the denizens I have encountered seem to exist only to fill a single purpose, and unless disrupted, seem fairly docile."

Dale
"What about you? How did you get here? And what's all that crap coming out of you?"

Schreater
>"Shortly after giving you the Book, I attempted to flee in an opposite direction and distract Radula while you escaped. Unfortunately he caught me off guard, displaying remarkably adaptable camouflage. He dragged me back into this world and has been keeping me here since. These tubes pump my bloodstream full of the nutrients necessary for keeping me alive, as well as any bizarre mind altering toxins Radula feels like subjecting me to in order to glean information from me."
>>
No. 564215 ID: 91e607

Sheesh. Sounds pretty awful, but he doesn't seem too torn up about it. Ask him for advice on what to do next.
>>
No. 564217 ID: 53ba34

are these books... vulnerable here, at all?
>>
No. 564219 ID: 9ddf68

then why aren't you one of those crazy zombies like everyone else we've seen get injected with this stuff?
>>
No. 564221 ID: 57a559

>>564214
Tell the professor that if he doesn't get out he's probably going to get eaten and digested for eternity. Don't ask why we think that. That's not worth saving the universe over for anyone.
We also have to get Todd, he should be around here somewhere.
But here, proffesor, you should have a look at the book. You are probably the best one that knows anyway to use it. Anyone with the black eyeballs can't really seem to read it. White eyeballs only. And he can't have been poisoned by the mind venom yet because he was first one doing the curing with the leeches, if he got infected no body would have been able to get cured before Dale.

If he has any more info on those leeches it would be great.
Radula has taken an entire town and we need a better way to cure people en mass. We just can't keep putting leeches in head wounds anymore, we don't have anymore. Ray got the last one. If he can read the book for ANYTHING about how we're going to be able to take on the mind venom that would be great. There's got to be at least one timeline where we win and cure the people.
>>
No. 564231 ID: a87e3a

>>564214
By changing things here? Like... by destroying the Book, maybe? Or adding pages to it? Or do we change the library?
>>
No. 564261 ID: 4a20fa

>>564214
Information like the fact that the book is here, then. ಠ_ಠ

But, yes, the "how" of leeches and changes.
>>
No. 564269 ID: 987919

yank a tooth out of doc's back and jam a hole right into the book.

happy end.
>>
No. 564273 ID: 2232f9

If Schreater is stuck here, then Radula could conceivably drop by at any moment. Ask him how long he thinks he could survive once he's unplugged.
>>
No. 564340 ID: 0b90a3
File 139338797378.jpg - (65.22KB , 546x600 , 462.jpg )
564340

Dale
"So then you've been here this whole time? Why aren't you one of Radula's puppets by now?"

Schreater
>"My theory is that, while the venom allows the creature to control its vicitms, and gives it some access to their memories, it has a hard time finding specific information. Radula wanted me specifically to learn more about the time period that the Book is, or was rather, scheduled to appear on earth. Apparently coincieding with an ancient catastrophy surrounding a masive tower, I believe that something tore a pathway into this dimension briefly in an attempt to seize the Book you carry. By 'reading' the Book, I was able to discover that Radula attempted to recover it and failed. It was left untouched for several thousand years until I found it in my dig site. "

Dale
"Hey, what's up with that? I've tried reading the Book but it won't work for me, is it because of the venom and the leech?"

Schreater
>"I doubt that it is because of the venom, Beside myself, I found that only two other people were able to read the Book, both of which are now unfortunately dead. It may have something to do with some kind of shared, ancient heritage, but all three of us had very different backgrounds, and I never found anything I could call a solid correlation."

Dale
"You said that we might be able to change the book here? How? Are we supposed to destroy it?"

Schreater sighs and shakes his head
>"I don't know, but I believe that there is an answer close by. I found a tunnel several days ago being used by those gigantic creatures. They enter empty handed, but come out carrying dozens of books. From that evidence, I can only guess that wherever they are going, it is where the books are being made. If there is a way to change or damage the books, you should be able to find it there."

Dale
"Do you think that I can find more leeches here? We've used all of the ones you left me, and there's a couple hundred envenomed zombies trying to kill me at this point."

Schreater
>"Good lord, I was wondering why I hadn't seen Radula for a while, but I had no idea... I've seen those leeches occasionally in the library, but nowhere near the quantity that you are talking about. I have no idea where they come from but there may be more of them in the deeper recesses of the structure."

You remember your gift from Jeff and show it to the professor
"Oh, someone gave me this, and somehow it ended up here. Any idea what it means, or how to use it?"

Schreater
>"A dream catcher? I have no idea Dale. All I know is that they're said to be able to filter out evil and protect you while you slept. If it actually works, you might be able to capture something in it, but again, I wouldn't know how to actually use it. Traditionally its something passive; more of a charm or a ward than a weapon."
>>
No. 564345 ID: a87e3a

>>564340
Alright thank the professor and let's get moving, we don't have a lot of time. Take the dreamcatcher and keep it on hand. I'm thinking we should be able to use it as a shield. Tell Ray he should probably come with you, you might need his help. Todd should be around here somewhere too, we can recruit him as well.

Make your way, quickly, off to the nearest wall in the library, and look for a hole. If you can find an empty-handed Hecatoncheire, follow it. If you find a fully-burdened one then go where it's coming from.
>>
No. 564346 ID: 53ba34

not a weapon, a net, or a shield.
>>
No. 564350 ID: 9ddf68

well it makes me feel better just having it around so I say we just hold on to it. Also seeing as we are lacking in plans of what the fuck to do next, I say we check out this tunnel and see if we can't figure out where it goes. Also ask the professor if he thinks the crabs from hell will attack you if you take the tunnel... and maybe ask the cop if he'd be willing to help out.
>>
No. 564358 ID: 57a559

Anyone got a jar on hand?
Lets grab more leeches.
>>
No. 564376 ID: 4a20fa

>>564340
Well, let's go check out this tunnel.
>>
No. 564407 ID: 25dfb7

kill him.
>>
No. 564480 ID: e1609c

>>564214
you know, looking at this it seems he doesnt have the venom-eyes going on.
Is that because of his glasses filtering stuff out, or is there something going on here?
If it's disguising the mind venom, we might have a tactic for disguising our poison from other poisoned dudes. Not sure what the application would be, but it could come in handy for a disguise.
>>
No. 564516 ID: 0b90a3
File 139347480714.jpg - (50.82KB , 600x380 , 463.jpg )
564516

You take the dream-catcher back from Professor Schreater, and decide to keep it in the pocket of your hoodie when not holding it, where it can be easily accessed.

Dale
"There's still so much I want to ask you, but I need to find a way to change the Book before its too late. Ray, if you want to come with me, I could probably use your help, I know its asking a lot though."

Ray
>"Sure, from what the professor tells me, you probably saved my life. I can't just sit here and let the universe end, am I right?"

Dale
"Well, it really came down more to Dr. Slate. Lynwood was ready to put you down if she hadn't stepped in."

Ray
>"Whaaaat? Mac was going to kill me? I'm touched."

He sees the confusion on your face and snickers.
>"He's a spaz, I know. But he takes the uniform seriously, doesn't let his personal life show at all and beats himself up more than any of us when he screws up. You should see him when he's off duty; he's not half the hard-ass he pretends to be."

Your mind reels a bit at the thought of Lynwood having a personal life.

Dale
"Thanks for everything you've told me Professor, I wish we could do more for you."

Professor Schreater looks at his feet and adjusts his glasses. You watch as one of the tentacles in his back dislodges and idly repositions itself, inserting into the professor's back and eliciting a hiss of indrawn breath.

>"Mr. Marks, Thank you for your concern. Just by bringing me hope, you have done me an enormous service. I must warn you, I was not able to approach the tunnel because it was being guarded by several creatures that were able to sense my approach despite my efforts to hide. You may have to find a way to distract them or slip past them."
>>
No. 564517 ID: 0b90a3
File 139347484264.jpg - (74.99KB , 600x600 , 464.jpg )
564517

You set out through the nightmare library in search of your quarry. It isn't long before Ray spots a gigantic chitinous head peeking from over a bookshelf.

Dale
"Hey, good eye man."

Ray
>"Yeah well, you share the same name as a blind guy and you learn to keep an eye out if you want to make it through the academy."

Dale
"Wait, your name is Ray Charles? Seriously?"

Ray
>"What can I say? My folks loved R & B."

You sneak through the aisles and approach the hecatoncheires from behind. You're unsure if it sees you but it doesn't acknowledge your approach. It looks like its down to the last few books before heading out.
>>
No. 564519 ID: a87e3a

>>564517
Ray could distract them by stealing some books off that one's back and running for it.
>>
No. 564520 ID: 53ba34

stupid plan. what would he even get from that? we want to follow it not distract it.
>>
No. 564522 ID: 57a559

Why would we distract them? This isn't one of the guards. We're supposed to follow them to the path the the book maker, right?

So ask Ray for tailing advice, he's a cop after all.
I am honestly almost tempted to try and do some Scooby Doo type shit to get in those caves. Disguises and time-and-space-defying chases and all. Pretend to be a crab. Crabwalk with your book of worms right into the cave. You're a fox Dale, you should be red enough to pass as a crab.
Ray, I don't know.
Maybe he can fast talk the guards. Convince them he's a repair man and there's a clear leakage in the cave that he has to repair. Yep, cave leakage. Terrible for rock man, causes erosion.
We could also try and form a cloak and disguise ourselves as Radula by standing on Ray's shoulders with W's painted on our eyelids and our ears down.
Or use the dream catcher and go "The Power of Thinderbird compels you" to the guards.
>>
No. 564534 ID: a87e3a

>>564520
Oh I thought we were at the hole already. Then yeah, we should wait and see where it goes after it finishes.
>>
No. 564535 ID: 9ddf68

follow it to the hole and we can see what we're up against.
>>
No. 564566 ID: 5d023d

maybe the guards won't sense you if you ride that thing.
>>
No. 564654 ID: 681d90

I don't know if it is mentioned how a dreamcatcher works sorry, but if not then you are supposed to position it near the entrance of the structure and sleep under it. The evil is caught in the web and the good is dripped down the feather, falling onto you. But you really didn't do that while awake so it really doesn't matter now.
>>
No. 564773 ID: 0b90a3
File 139363893129.jpg - (95.07KB , 600x600 , 465.jpg )
564773

Dale
"Ray, I've got an idea. Come on!"

As the titan finishes shelving you bolt from your hiding spot and hop onto its broad, plated back. One of its eye-stalks swivels to examine you, but evidently decides you aren't interesting or threatening enough to do anything about. Ray, hesitates for a moment and follows you right as the creature decides to leave.

Library shelves speed by as the Giant's legs move in an eerily silent blur. The ride itself it very smooth, but you crouch in the center of its back to keep from falling off.

Ray
>"Dale, you're insane. You know that, right?"

Dale
"Yeah, probably. Be ready to bail at the first sign of trouble."
>>
No. 564774 ID: 0b90a3
File 139363897398.jpg - (52.83KB , 477x600 , 466.jpg )
564774

Soon, the hecatoncheires slows down, approaching an enormous black pillar rising into the darkness above. Your ride heads towards an enormous, cavernous opening; the walls around it bristle with spiky looking figures, chattering to one another and and probing their surroundings with long, whip-like appendages.
>>
No. 564776 ID: a87e3a

>>564774
Don't get touched. Also be quiet. Worst case scenario, have Ray be a distraction.
>>
No. 564778 ID: 57a559

>>564774
Hug that crab like it was your own mother.
Avoid dem feelers.
Don't even look up, you need to blend in.
Most importantly, be natural.
Just keep thinking of all those ants in their underwear.
>>
No. 564779 ID: 9ddf68

damn, they kind of look like the aliens from that movie alien. Looking at them I don't think they have eyes and mostly focus on things with there feelers. Can you tell if they're reacting to you in any way or are they more or less ignoring you? Cause if they're ignoring you then hoping in this thing was the luckiest damn brake we got since we crashed into the ditch. If it seems like they've noticed you... I'm thinking it would be very wise to bail.
>>
No. 564806 ID: 4a20fa

>>564778
That.
>>
No. 564811 ID: a84063

These creatures probably don't make individual decisions for themselves.

If you are detected by something that is actively trying to find intruders, chances are the whole of this dream space will become immediately aware of you at once.

No pressure...

The bright side is, if we do find something that can alter the Book of Worms, chances are strong that it will be a specialized worker -- not likely to be aggressive to you.
>>
No. 564812 ID: a84063

By the way, these look like a cross between a tailless whip scorpion and an ant/wasp...So you've got the terror of hornets and arachnids all in one giant package?! Lovely news!

They should have poor eyesight, which is why they use those whip-like legs.

It's not out of the question that they will attempt to prey upon your ride! That might be interesting. If it happens, just run and let the lobster thing take care of it.
>>
No. 564814 ID: 029bce

don't. move.
>>
No. 564964 ID: 0b90a3
File 139381118945.jpg - (69.48KB , 600x468 , 467.jpg )
564964

As you are brought closer to the opening, the bizarre guardians sense activity and scuttle to intercept. The titanic librarian is forced to stop in front of them and they begin inspecting it; running their feelers along its flanks and bobbing their heads(?) in warning.

You huddle together in the small of the creature's back, desperately fighting the urge to run screaming back into the library. Your muscles ache with the effort of remaining completely motionless and you feel as if you are drowning in your own sweat, waiting for the instant where they decide to tear you apart.
>>
No. 564965 ID: 0b90a3
File 139381124607.jpg - (59.22KB , 564x600 , 468.jpg )
564965

But instead, the creatures exchange a rapid and complicated series of antenna taps with the hecatoncheires and reposition themselves around the entrance to the structure. Your ride continues forward unmolested, crawling down an unpleasantly organic looking pathway spiraling deep beneath the library.

Once you are a safe distance from the guards, Ray shares a look with you and you both start to chuckle. It begins as a panicked, insane giggle that quickly escalates and threatens to turn into full-fledged maniacal laughter.

The creature strides on in spite of your mirth and eventually the walls of the tunnel fall away and in an instant you are left breathless. Far above you sprawls a magnificent ruin of crystalline material woven and sculpted into a monument of divine architecture. Yet, it is clearly fragmented: a shattered piece of a larger construct and tendrils of nightmarish dark flesh wind their way over its surface like a blanket of grotesque kudzu.
Below you, a similar structure stretches itself into a ragged, broken horizon. The path, or tendril, or structure that you find yourself traversing bridges the void between the two floating ruins. Your eye is drawn into the space beyond the crystal formations, spotting the glisten of other such objects hanging impossibly in the neither like diamond shards.
>>
No. 564968 ID: 0b90a3
File 139381150749.jpg - (22.47KB , 276x600 , 469.jpg )
564968

And beyond that something stirs: a heaving landscape of evil that sinks a pit in your stomach like a black hole, ringed with the white-hot event horizon of terror. It writhes sluggishly in its torpor: a leviathan of old, slowly awakening to consume the light of civilization with teeth the size of continents. You shut your eyes to block out the image but your head spins, and you find yourself grasping for balance.
>>
No. 564969 ID: 0b90a3
File 139381152356.jpg - (87.59KB , 559x600 , 470.jpg )
564969

The hecatoncheries continues on unperturbed, crossing the gulf separating the broken forms. It passes through another threshold and you find yourself inside an enormous, vaulted chamber and the creature makes a bee-line for a haphazardly stacked pile of books in the center of the floor. You hop off so that it can begin assembling another load. You give it a pat and a "thanks" but it simply labors on, displaying no senitment.

Ray swallows his fear down a dry throat and speaks to you in a church-whisper.
>"Dale.... what the hell was that?"

Dale
"I hate to tell you this, but I think that's what we're up against."

Ray mutters to himself...
>"I think I'm about ready to wake up now."

You take a better look at your surroundings. the chamber is flanked by strange geometric windows, several of which are smashed through by invading tendrils of flesh, coiling into the room and wrapping around columns. Beside the entrance, the only exits appear to be two small doorways set towards the back of the room. You stand there for a moment, wondering where the books come from, there is an echoing "SLAM" as one drops from the ceiling onto the pile, making you jump.
>>
No. 564977 ID: 91e607

Well, look up.
>>
No. 564978 ID: 9b57d3

>>564969
Don't touch the tendrils. After seeing where the books come from, we can head intooooo... the right doorway. Or just look into the doorways and choose whichever one leads upwards.
>>
No. 564992 ID: 9ddf68

huh, wonder if this counts as the belly of the beast? Anyways look up
>>
No. 565000 ID: eaa372

Grab one of the safest looking books and place it in your bag. It would be good to find out if you can check out books for when you wake up.
>>
No. 565041 ID: f31150

>>564978

heresy! he must pick the left doorway!
>>
No. 565141 ID: 761017

Dale, do you see The Book in that pile, or are they all the same?
>>
No. 565344 ID: 0b90a3
File 139405480010.jpg - (52.42KB , 600x581 , 471.jpg )
565344

Your head snaps up and you look at the ceiling, hoping that you don't find something horrible lurking there. However, it looks like the book fell through a hole torn in the masonry by one of the tentacles. While you are watching, a second book plummets through and lands on the pile.

The hecatonceires finishes collecting books and begins its return trip to the library. Once it's gone, you pick up a tome, this one having only three pages, and cram it into your satchel alongside the your Book.
>>
No. 565345 ID: 0b90a3
File 139405484857.jpg - (45.88KB , 600x600 , 472.jpg )
565345

You peek into the doorways at the end of the hall and, finding a staircase leading up, you ascend to the next floor. The unlit stairwell climbs up into darkness, and after a few turns you nearly bump into someone.

Todd turns around and holds a finger to his lips, then beckons for you to look through the door. Inside the room are three stone slabs arranged around a hole in the center of the floor. A trio of identical dark figures use the slabs as work surfaces to create new books, dropping the completed tomes into the chamber below.

Todd points to his missing eye, then into the room mouthing one word: "Leeches."
>>
No. 565346 ID: 57a559

>>565345
Did he spawn here?
Weird. Us and Ray had to do a lot of risky shit to get this far.

I guess just watch.
>>
No. 565347 ID: 9b57d3

>>565345
If we could just capture one of those things, we could force it to rewrite the ending of the Book. But how would we know if it rewrote it correctly? I guess we'd just need more pages in the Book; doesn't matter what's written on them. Or maybe some sort of paradoxical infinite Book that never ends...

I see leeches in the room itself, and those could be useful in the future, but victory lies somewhere in here, so don't even consider trying to de-venom the entire attacking army. We could send someone in to grab some leeches, I suppose. Even if they were struck down in the process they'd wake up with the leeches.
>>
No. 565384 ID: f8f08a

watch them.
>>
No. 565385 ID: 9b57d3

If we need to know what they're going to do, instead of watching them and wasting time, we could pull Todd out of earshot and ask.
>>
No. 565482 ID: 0b90a3
File 139416235182.jpg - (50.41KB , 600x545 , 473.jpg )
565482

Safe in the shadows, you watch the creatures work, their process illuminated by luminescent globes hanging from their heads. Working inside a frame, they secrete a thick, viscous mucous into flat sheets. Then, they fill the sheet with row after row of white flatworms, pulled from ceramic containers sitting at their feet.
>>
No. 565483 ID: 0b90a3
File 139416236755.jpg - (48.87KB , 600x439 , 474.jpg )
565483

The alien scribes then take hold of the dangling spines, and use them to inject each worm with what you assume is radula's venom. Once the mucous starts to harden, it forms a "page" and they repeat the process, applying more and more pages until they have a stack.
>>
No. 565484 ID: 0b90a3
File 139416240551.jpg - (53.21KB , 600x385 , 475.jpg )
565484

One of them pulls aside the flesh-like shroud over its body to reveal the glisten of hundreds of segmented black leeches hanging inside. The creature reaches past the annelids and pulls out a folded book cover, a length of sinewy thread, and a bone needle. It expertly threads the needle and passes it through the stack of pages while they are still tacky, stitching them to the book cover. Once assembled, it unceremoniously tosses the book into the hole, and it lands below with a distant thud.
>>
No. 565485 ID: 0b90a3
File 139416244825.jpg - (48.54KB , 600x509 , 476.jpg )
565485

The middle creature leans over to gather up more flatworms and stops. It addresses its companions in a voice that makes you feel like someone is sharpening knives against your brain.

Middle creature
>More. Need more.

Left creature
>More. Where is Legion? Where is Legion with more?

Right creature
>Legion is below, tending to White Tree.

Middle creature
>Bring Legion here. We require more.

They begin squabbling over who's duty it is to go below for more worms, each of them denying that it is their turn to find "Legion".
>>
No. 565486 ID: 0b90a3
File 139416248447.jpg - (37.99KB , 600x416 , 477.jpg )
565486

In the waking universe, the evacuees have managed to keep the horde at bay, but are forced to keep up a steady stream of fireworks just to hold them off. The supply is dwindling, and they are forced to rely on smaller explosives, which aren't as effective.

The crowd suddenly surges forward and a dozen hands hurl a single individual across the gap and slamming him chest-first into the ledge. His feet scramble against the cliff for a moment before he finds purchase and then begins climbing up.

The defenders take aim to knock him down, but hesitate when they get a look at him: he's just a kid, probably not even 13.
>>
No. 565487 ID: 9b57d3

>>565486
Shoot his legs out from under him. If he keeps going, capture him once he's near the bonfire. Then hold him down using whatever force necessary, and then tell Radula to relinquish control of the boy. Threaten to start giving the boy minor burns if he does not comply. If Radula says it's impossible to undo it from his end, ask Radula if you can reuse a leech. We could also experiment by using fire on the stinger-wound. Maybe fire burns out the poison?

>>565485
Go down and find Legion before they do.
>>
No. 565489 ID: f44ca3

He is not a boy anymore. Until we take out the leader they are far to dangerous to let up no matter how we feel.
>>
No. 565490 ID: 53ba34

whoever we can talk to: don't hesitate, you seen how crazy they can be.


follow whichever creature leaves to find legion. when we get there we will decide if taking legion or the bookmaker is better.
>>
No. 565491 ID: 9ddf68

think it might be time to light the bonfire to drive them off for a bit, I know the fire won't last forever and you guys don't really have a way to keep it going but the same goes for the fireworks we're going to run out of thing eventally so might as well give our defenders a brake with the bonfire.

Also Dale, think it would be best to leave and maybe find this legion. It would also get you away from these things and give you a chance to talk to Todd about what he's learned here and you three can pool your knowledge. Hell we might even be able to talk to legion if we can find him and find out what him and his buddies are even doing here.
>>
No. 565496 ID: 9b57d3

>>565491
We can't light the bonfire just because ONE mind-controlled child got across. We have to wait as long as we can.
>>
No. 565523 ID: 209014

>>565485
wait until one of them goes and kill the fucker en-route. i hope you brought enough jars to take all those leeches.
>>
No. 565557 ID: 5869f6

>>565489
They aren't mindless corpses, they're still there, albiet under the influance of radula. I'm sure you could disable him, then zip-tie him. Harder to escape from plastic cuffs than rope.
>>
No. 565633 ID: 8b7760

>>565487
I doubt Radula cares about the fate of one expendable minion. Just flip him over and try poking the wound with the tip of a lit stick or branch once he's subdued.
>>
No. 566129 ID: 0b90a3
File 139468440645.jpg - (39.92KB , 600x388 , 478.jpg )
566129

The three of you decide to lay in wait and ambush whoever is sent to gather more flatworms, hiding upstairs from the chamber. Before long the argument is settled and one of the trio shuffles into the stairwell, grumbling snippy invertebrate curses as it goes.
>>
No. 566130 ID: 0b90a3
File 139468446153.jpg - (44.99KB , 600x303 , 479.jpg )
566130

You lunge forward to tackle the creature, but it senses the movement; clearly better acclimated to the darkness than you, and turns to face its attackers. It twitches an array of tentacles, and they hose you down with a spray of ropey mucous; the glue-like fluid arresting your attack as you focus on protecting yourself. The chemical cements itself to you on contact, and you do you best to extricate yourself, but the curtain of slime covers you like a whole-body booger.

Having stopped your assault, the creature cocks its head, and a pair of sharp chelicerae scythe forward hungrily as it assesses you.
>>
No. 566131 ID: 0b90a3
File 139468450292.jpg - (66.23KB , 600x467 , 480.jpg )
566131

Fortunately, Todd and Ray are right behind you, pulling you out of danger and stepping forward. Before the it can ready another spray, Todd delivers a sledgehammer of a punch that coats his fist in slime and knocks the strange beast tumbling down the stairs.
>>
No. 566132 ID: 0b90a3
File 139468451301.jpg - (60.24KB , 600x486 , 481.jpg )
566132

Prone on its back, It holds its nubby hands up in submission.

Creature
Stop. Stop. Want, what? We submit to demands.
>>
No. 566133 ID: 0b90a3
File 139468454713.jpg - (35.58KB , 600x356 , 482.jpg )
566133

On the mesa, people are hesitating. Even you are forced to pause and remember who you are dealing with.

Beth
"Stop him! See if you can disable him! Don't underestimate how dangerous these people are."

The defenders try aiming for the kid but are obviously reluctant to attack him outright. He serpentines his way up the path in a blur, and dodges everything thrown his way with an unearthly awareness. In moments he vaults the unlit bonfire, and approaches the summit of the mesa.
>>
No. 566135 ID: f44ca3

Once he kills two or three people they should treat the rest of the attackers with the respect they deserve. If you do not take him down now he will fight to the death to get to the book or take out as many people as possible.
>>
No. 566136 ID: a87e3a

>>566132
1) leeches.
2) either add more pages to the Book, or splice the ending of the Book to the beginning of that second book we found... and the ending of that second one to the beginning of the Book. Then it'd be an infinite loop.

>>566133
Fucking shoot him! Mob him and limit his possible paths, if he remains uncannily dodgy. Force him to jump and we'll see if he can dodge in midair. (he can't)
>>
No. 566137 ID: 57a559

>>566133
Somebody get a fucking torch. These things operate on frankenstien logic.

>>566132
We need a way to cure a bunch of people poisoned by the mind venom quickly. And either a way to destroy the Book of Worms or to forever prevent it's acquisition by the being known as Radula or the complete and utter destruction of Radula.
>>
No. 566139 ID: a87e3a

>>566137
I think destroying the Book might be a bad idea because it sounds like it's literally the universe. Unless... wait, we're assuming that these books are records of the future that ensure each universe gets eaten, but what if they're the final form of an eaten universe? If the Book could be un-written, then maybe the universe would retroactively not be eaten.

Maybe we should be asking our captive what, exactly, the creation of these books is accomplishing. We don't know what the Book IS, exactly.
>>
No. 566148 ID: 16a91f

ask the leech for a cure for the venom which you can take to the waking world. and don't all stand bunched up together where it can spray you all. surround him.
>>
No. 566187 ID: 8b7760

>>566132
First things first. Politely ask the nice horrorterror where you can find more leeches. Also, it might be stalling for time, so make sure you have someone on lookout.
>>566133
Normally, I would recommend someone tackle him, but Radula's victims are endowed with crazy superhuman endurance. Quickly toss some debris (or whatever's flammable) in front of his path, then torch it. If you're lucky, it should make him pause long enough for someone to get a in quick shot to his legs.
>>
No. 566200 ID: a87e3a

>>566136
Oh and by shoot him I mean continue to use rubber slugs. Let's not kill the boy.
>>
No. 566241 ID: 0b90a3
File 139476697727.jpg - (54.24KB , 600x490 , 483.jpg )
566241

You manage to scrape off enough muck to resemble yourself again and stumble down the stairs to address the scribe.

Dale
"What are these books you're making, what to they do? Is there some way to rewrite or destroy them? "

The creature stands up and collects its little pot.
Yes. Yes. Follow us. More pale flesh below. Must have pale flesh.

Dale
"We need leeches too. Like, a lot of them."

The dark flesh lives below as well. We go below.
>>
No. 566242 ID: 0b90a3
File 139476703962.jpg - (69.46KB , 600x600 , 484.jpg )
566242

Beth
"Torches! Keep him back!"

You wrap gauze around a bit of firewood and light the end, holding it out in front of you in defense while the others make torches of their own. The kid rushes up, dancing out of reach but reluctant to approach the fire. As the crowd moves to surround him, he jukes back and forth, faking towards the hogan then towards the fireworks, feinting to attack. Several people level guns at him and you see Lynwood headed your way with a shotgun full of beanbag rounds, but the only thing he seems concerned about is your torch.

Your attention is momentarily directed upwards, spotting a moving light in the clouds.

Beth
"Awwww, come on. Not now"
>>
No. 566243 ID: a87e3a

>>566242
Surround and disable the kid. Restrain him with any means necessary, maybe break a foot to make sure he can't do this again, and then toss him back down to the crowd of envenomed before the helicopter gets here. Problem solved with no significant injury.

Though I also wonder WHY fire is so scary. What happens if we burn his hand a little? Or just threaten to do so, to make Radula stop possessing the kid?

>>566241
He didn't answer your first question. Demand answers, WHILE moving. What are the books and what do they do?
>>
No. 566245 ID: e3aff6

Use the beanbags. We want him subdued and hopefully unconscious before he can start trying to lie to the helicopter team (though it it comes to that the entire military group we are with backing our story up will probably help).
>>
No. 566247 ID: 57a559

>>566241
Hey Dale ask more about the envenomed please while you walk.
And do the "Please actually answer my question from before instead of avoiding it" thing
>>
No. 566269 ID: abc96e

he tricks us. filthy hobbitses.
>>
No. 566351 ID: 0b90a3
File 139485635323.jpg - (58.21KB , 465x600 , 485.jpg )
566351

The creature leads the way down the stairwell, its little bioluminescent globe casting strange shadows as you go: taking you through the book drop point and down a second staircase.

Dale
"So, you never answered my question. What are the books? What do they do?"

Creature
Books are the will. Memory of all of causality. We record: everything that will/was/is happen. Cacophony acts on memories.

Todd
"So the book doesn't actually control what happens, its just what you remember doing? Like, programming or something?"

Creature
Our purpose is recording infinity. Not dictate it. We record all possibility.

As you continue down, the darkness breathes a warm, dampness that fills the stairwell with an unpleasant, organic smell.

Dale
"So, then what about Radula? What's its purpose?"

Creature
The Radula is Willbringer, Opener, Unspeaker. It awakens Cacophony. Opens universes to consume.

Dale
"And the people it mind controls? How do we stop them?"

It stops and turns to look at you in a moment of, what you assume, is confusion. Its tentacles wave languidly, as if probing the dank air for context that is missing.

You do not. They are Cacophony. They do not stop.

Dale
"Fire stopped them. Why?"

It continues walking,
The Blood remembers burning. Pain can linger.
>>
No. 566352 ID: 0b90a3
File 139485637674.jpg - (61.96KB , 600x472 , 486.jpg )
566352

You push forward and brandish your torch, forcing the kid towards the sheriff and making sure he stays focused on the flame at all times.

Beth
"Lynwood! Do it!"

Finding a clean shot, the sheriff fires a beanbag round that bounces off of the minion's shoulder, knocking him off his feet. Once he hits the floor, the crowd immediately dog-piles him, pinning him to the ground.
>>
No. 566353 ID: a87e3a

>>566351
Then all we need to do is rewrite the ending of the book so that the world is not consumed. Then the cacophony will not know to consume it. We'll still need the leeches though.

Ask what the Blood is. Why is the pain of fire more worrisome than getting shot or beaten? Also ask what the leeches are intended to do. While we're at it ask about the origins/purpose of the Pale Flesh and Dark Flesh.

>>566352
Tell Radula to let the boy go. We've got fire and we're not afraid to use it. We'll burn a finger. We'll do it.
If that doesn't work, we'll just have to keep him pinned. Uh, be careful not to smother him.

Also make sure there's room for the helicopter to land.
>>
No. 566355 ID: 57a559

>>566351
Tell them we don't care about stopping the Cacophoney, we care about killing Radula. If it's possible, it's recorded somewhere, sometime. Their books are supposed to be infinite after all.

The Cacophoney can eat the universe once it has experienced heat-death and we've escaped into another Universe way into the future when we probably understand multi-verse theory on a practical level and vacate the damn place.
>>
No. 566360 ID: 53ba34

the cacophony wants to eat ALL universes, not just this one. there is no universe we can go to that it doesn't want to eat.
>>
No. 566369 ID: a87e3a

>>566360
Well, so long as people keep moving to a new universe when the one they're in is about to be eaten, it'd be fine.
>>
No. 566372 ID: 4d7c4d

the leeches stop the poison, don't they?
>>
No. 566389 ID: a87e3a

>>566372
It's possible the slug guy doesn't know that. We should not tell him our plans.
>>
No. 566442 ID: 3ef903

>>566355
Rewriting the ending will not work directly, as it is apparently a recording of the possible future.

However I think the books might be the source of Radulas future-sight!
If we falsify a book's recording, we would falsify the expectation of radula for one branch of possible future.

So, if we would find a future that would play out fine for us, Radula would'nt pay any mind to that tray normally. But if we change the Book predicting its outcome to the easiest and fastest consumtion of the world, it will be the path Radula will prefer.
But as we only changed the recording, the outcome should still be in our favor, shouldn't it?
>>
No. 566443 ID: 9b786b

>>566442
It sounded like the books record a possible future where the Cacophony eats the universe, and the Cacophony needs each book in order to know how to eat the universe in that timeline. So if we create a book where the Cacophony doesn't eat the universe, then it won't, because it won't know how.
>>
No. 566541 ID: 20c734

>>566443
But when we visited Radula, we saw he could see all different possibilities as branches.

So if we create a book that's not in his favor, he will simply not pursue that path.
Creating such a book would be simply a fictional possibility.

Even if we find the book that records how to best cacophonify everything and change the ending, it will simply use the second best attempt instead.

Thats why I suggested finding a book that is in our favor and changing its outcome in favor of the Cacophony, so this will be the number one book for Radula to go along.

Like...
1. release all mind-puppets
2. distribute free leeches
3. let yourself get banned
4. ?
5. everything is cacophonified.
>>
No. 566575 ID: 9b786b

>>566541
When the book was read, all timelines eventually led to the final event that was written in it. The book limits the possible futures.
>>
No. 566641 ID: 0b90a3
File 139501340303.jpg - (59.36KB , 594x600 , 487.jpg )
566641

The stairwell ends abruptly, the bottom step dropping off to a perfectly smooth, reflective black surface. Only when the scribe-beast steps down into it, do you realize it is a liquid, slightly more viscous than water, and perfectly calm.

The creature sloshes forward, its little glow-orb reflecting off of the "water" and illuminating a narrow tunnel. You share a look with your fellow sleeping adventurers, and decide to press forward rather than be left in the dark.

Dale
"So, you mentioned Blood. What is it? What's it do, and why does it remember burning?"

Creature
Blood is .... How do you say? Un-language. You are of Word made flesh. The Cacophony is Un-word. It flows through us. Gives us purpose. Shows truth. Unifies all moments, all space.

Flame denatures. Makes Blood go bad. Flesh loses purpose."
>>
No. 566651 ID: 0b90a3
File 139501381365.jpg - (61.18KB , 600x362 , 488.jpg )
566651

You sweep forward, torch outstretched.

Beth
"You're afraid of this aren't you? You let that boy go or so help me God I'll burn you out!"

The crowd recoils as the monster's telepathic language washes over them.
We refuse. Try and you will bring agony to this child. You do not have the will to remove us.

You see the lights circling through the clouds overhead, searching for a place to descend. Fortunately there should be more than enough room on the mesa to accommodate them.
>>
No. 566652 ID: 0b90a3
File 139501384527.jpg - (39.05KB , 600x426 , 489.jpg )
566652

The tunnel walls fall away as you wade into a vast, dark space; one that strikes you as eerily familiar. There seems to be a kind of low hanging fog in the air, and thick, warped columns of flesh punctuate the gloom; lurking and pulsating unpleasantly.

Dale
"So the pale flesh and the dark flesh you mentioned: what are they for? You said we'd find them here?"

Dark flesh is all around you. Feeding. Growing. They are reclaimers of the anti-word. Hiding in the lifewaters. More in the deeper veins.

You're realizing that your guide is taking you deep into the living arteries of a cthonic horror and you are splashing ankle-deep through its lifeblood.
>>
No. 566653 ID: 0b90a3
File 139501386413.jpg - (15.55KB , 356x600 , 490.jpg )
566653

There is some kind of illumination ahead: points of light like running lights on a massive ship. It looms out of the dark but you can't make out any definite shape.

You approach the base of the object, and its form spreads upwards into the aberrant heavens, branching impossibly into a twisting fractal.

Creature
The pale flesh grows here. They are vessels of the Anti-word. Children of Hydra.
>>
No. 566654 ID: 0b90a3
File 139501389391.jpg - (107.02KB , 800x800 , 491.jpg )
566654

The White Tree.

The size alone is staggering, but as you look closer, the true nature of the "tree" becomes apparent.

It is a worm.
Immense.
Ancient.
Horrifying.

Its scarred surface is composed of trillions of tiny, gently waving flatworms; their unblinking eyes glaring at you from a living tsunami of flesh. Bifurcated over eons by some unknown force, it is a single entity divided into countless individuals; shaped into an enormous, ominous bonsai hydra.

Moving slowly over its surface, strange lights wander like will-o-the-wisps over an oak tree, moving with alien purpose. Chains of some sort stretch into the "canopy" of the creature; held taunt as it writhes with the tortured, slow movements of a titan imprisoned.
>>
No. 566655 ID: 0b90a3
File 139501395067.jpg - (29.87KB , 314x600 , 492.jpg )
566655

Two points of light approach you in the darkness.
They reveal themselves to be a pair of glowing, opalescent eyes, set into an unpleasant whiskery face. Tall and lanky, it shuffle's through the swamp wearing nothing but its own papery skin, which hangs in baggy folds around its elongated torso. In its ugly fist it carries a stone knife; chiseled into a vicious curve and wrapped with a stained leather cord to make a handle.

When it speaks, your mind is overwhelmed in a sea of noise. You try to process all of the voices and find them all speaking one word.

???
MmoRre?
>>
No. 566657 ID: 9b786b

>>566651
Find the entry wound. I wonder if a heated wire or something would destroy the venom? You'll need Mary to see the venom though. Then again you could just tell Radula to stay put. No reason to risk permanent damage to the boy by experimenting when you can just keep him still with enough physical strength and a torch. Then we can continue watching the crowd and preparing to light the bonfire if they find a way across.

>>566655
I think this thing gathers the smaller bits of Pale Flesh for use in making books. It shouldn't be an immediate threat, but be wary. That knife is a real weapon, and it could be strong or fast. Hmm, maybe you could ask for the knife so that you may perform its job?

If it continues to be nonhostile, someone should gather a bunch of leeches and prepare to wake up. You could even ask what the easiest way to wake up is.

I bet if you released the Pale Flesh from its chains, that'd put a damper on their operations. Consider it for after we've done what we need to do to the Book. Bring that up now that we've arrived: how do we rewrite the ending of the Book?
>>
No. 566659 ID: e1609c

>>566657
lets ASK about those chains first, eh? Also, regarding the kid, lets see what happens when we cauterize the entry wound for the venom.
Morally acceptable, and will show radula we have no qualms about burning him out. Or at least, make him think that.
>>
No. 566723 ID: 4a20fa

See if any leeches have attached themselves to your legs.
>>
No. 566764 ID: 11e5a6

consult the scribe on how to deal with this molerat fellow.

as for the child, imprison him somewhere private, out of ear's reach. then have your most heartless guy torture the shit out of him.

fuck morality, we're talking about the entire fucking universe here.
>>
No. 566765 ID: 9b786b

>>566764
I disagree strongly. We are most likely going to have more leeches soon. We don't have to stoop to torture.

That said... I just realized Radula said we would bring agony to the child, but... every time someone has been cured, they forgot everything that happened while they were envenomed. So for the child to experience ANYTHING, Radula would have to let go. Was he admitting that if we applied the torch to the child it would work?
>>
No. 566959 ID: 8046a6

I think the molerat collects them off the tree, maybe? He's probably just confused they need more right after getting more.

Yes, you need more. You need leeches, too.
>>
No. 567009 ID: 0b90a3
File 139528114347.jpg - (82.82KB , 600x462 , 493.jpg )
567009

You look at your guide expectantly. It approaches the gaunt figure and hands over the empty jar.

Creature
Legion. We require pale flesh. Bring more

Legion takes the urn without comment.

It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
It turns and walks back to the White Tree.
>>
No. 567010 ID: 0b90a3
File 139528119172.jpg - (54.41KB , 600x454 , 494.jpg )
567010

You blink your eyes and try to process what the fuck just happened.
It looked like Legion just exploded into dozens of identical copies; they surge into the darkness as a solid stream and clamber over the stricken planarian like ants. Holding the containers in their mouths, they sink their knives into its flanks and pull themselves up; in the process peeling away chunks of meat which immediately knit themselves into more writhing bodies of the pale flesh.

A member of Legion still stands in front of you. The individual isn't holding a knife, instead it cocks its head and looks at its hand as if trying to remember something.
>>
No. 567011 ID: 0b90a3
File 139528122859.jpg - (44.95KB , 600x477 , 495.jpg )
567011

Between the approaching helicopter and the clambering horde, you decide to hold off on trying to force Radula out of the boy.

Beth
"Damn it. Make sure he's secure and put him in the hut for now. Hopefully Dale will bring us a solution before we have to resort to torture."

You look up, watching for the chopper's decent, when the unmistakable report of Lynwood's shotgun being fired reaches your injured ears.

Several people rush to the sheriff's aid bearing torches and he looks around in confusion.

Lynwood
>"Sorry. I... turned around and I thought I saw something..."
>>
No. 567012 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567011
What?! RADULA IS HERE! Where's Mary? She might be able to see him. Also, everyone is now at risk of being envenomed. Light the bonfire.

Beth, get to Dale's tent. You must guard Dale, it's what you're Supposed To Do. However, you should have someone else helping you. Just because you couldn't see anyone else in that vision doesn't mean nobody else was there.

>>567010
...tell it you need Dark Flesh, and hand it a container? Shit, we only have the satchel and it's not like we can empty it. Also the scribe still isn't helping you with the Book. ...considering the Book contains pale flesh, maybe we can convince Legion to recycle the flesh? Or straight up ask it how to unmake/change a book?
>>
No. 567020 ID: 70f68c

ok. new mission. burn that tree down.
>>
No. 567022 ID: f44ca3

Shake its hand? Some of these guys might be people absorbed from some world that got eaten.

If the sheriff thought he saw something it might be Radula sneaking in while we are distracted. Make sure everyone knows what he can do and above all else keep our sleeping friends safe to do there job.
>>
No. 567062 ID: 4a20fa

>>567010
Well, don't be rude, Dale. Shake his hand and introduce yourself.
>>
No. 567120 ID: 5aa1fc

if there are any knives or knifelike objects around, give it to the Legion.

ask Lynwood what he thought he saw before making assumption. then act accordingly. if it was indeed Radula, I recommend flipping your shit.
>>
No. 567158 ID: 0b90a3
File 139536588837.jpg - (71.55KB , 600x600 , 496.jpg )
567158

Lynwood
>"It was just for a second, then it flickered and was gone."

Joshua kneels at the edge of the broken ladder to examine the dirt and rock, finding a set of deep gouges.

>"Something climbed up.... Something with claws."

He stands up and casts his gaze around for signs of the creature, but a sudden cloud of dust kicked up by a strong down draft forces everyone to cover their eyes. A squat black helicopter descends from the clouds, slows and rotates gently as the pilot finds his landing zone.
>>
No. 567159 ID: 0b90a3
File 139536591258.jpg - (56.17KB , 600x404 , 497.jpg )
567159

Your slug-like guide speaks.
Legion is not of this place. Born in causality. Now is blessed, magnificent, knows truth. Has become one with the All-At-Once.

You grasp its hand and carefully shake it.

"Um... Hi. I'm Dale, this is Todd and Ray."

It's response is almost a whisper; a single voice in the darkness as it pulls you closer.
Help.... Usss...

Dale
"What? What do you mean? How?"

Legion
Clossse...... Loop....

It releases your hand and stares at you blankly.
>>
No. 567162 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567158
Welp we're fucked, Radula is on the Mesa and if he gets the helicopter crew he'll have air superiority, not to mention getting to Dale. We've got one shot. Burn the kid's hand to flush out Radula- he'll feel that pain too and that will ruin his concentration, which will most likely allow us to spot him and drive him back. Also tell the crew to get the hell away, the LZ is hot.

On the other hand, the dust clouds might reveal Radula's location.

>>567159
He wants you to kill him? Or something else? Regardless, this is an ally, and if he helps you with the Book, you may be able to help him in return. Or maybe he needs a knife. The Loop isn't closed because he never made the knife? Or because he never lost it, and this clone lost it? Well, whatever, I'm sure if you agree to help him he'll clear things up.
>>
No. 567170 ID: f44ca3

Close the loop? Does that mean he wants us to make the Cacophony Ouroboros itself? Get it stuck in a loop where it keeps eating itself forever?

That is actually a great idea. If we can rewrite the latest book so it gets stuck in a permanent loop it will devour itself in one point in time forever or until entropy takes over and it dies.
>>
No. 567171 ID: 5aa1fc

okay.

stab him in the <insert lethal stabbing target>
>>
No. 567172 ID: a1480f

Let us consider... why does he even exist? Why did they specifically re-purpose and empower an outsider to cut the White Tree?

Why not simply grow an organism for that, like the Hectonarches, those guard bugs, or Radula?

If I had to guess it has something to do with how the 'Tree' is itself retrained.
>>
No. 567181 ID: 53ba34

cut the chains, free the tree, see what happens!
>>
No. 567261 ID: 5869f6

>>567159
It looks... sad.

But what does it mean by 'loop'?
>>
No. 567381 ID: 0b90a3
File 139553455024.jpg - (69.94KB , 600x479 , 498.jpg )
567381

You address the scribe.

"What happened to them? Why are they like this?"

Was a creature like yourself: universe was consumed. Pleaded with Un-speaker for asylum. Exists in temporal flux: has become one and many. Is forever bound to the White Tree.
>>
No. 567382 ID: 0b90a3
File 139553458138.jpg - (46.97KB , 600x462 , 499.jpg )
567382

Dale
"We need to find dark flesh, right? Where would be the best place to collect them?"

Legion points off into the darkness and nods. The scribe takes your hand and vomits a small, slime-covered, black orb into it. After a moment it begins to glow and soon it is bright enough to kind-of see by.

Creature
We remain here. The dark is dangerous.

Dale
"Urgh, thanks?"

Together, you wade into the shadows, passing tangentially to the writhing titan and bringing you close to one of the sets of "chains".

The three of you exchange quiet exclamations of surprise as the glow-stone illuminates the structure. Wound and braided into living cables, hundreds of Legion's bodies grapple with one another; wrapping themselves around the leviathan's limbs and anchoring it to the ground.
>>
No. 567383 ID: 0b90a3
File 139553462526.jpg - (56.01KB , 600x336 , 500.jpg )
567383

The helicopter settles itself onto the mesa, and disgorges a heavily armed group of soldiers. They quickly fan out and force the crowd back, demanding they keep their distance. Corporal Tanner rushes forward to meet them. Her attempts at conversation are impossible to hear over the rotor wash, but it looks like they are ordering her onto the chopper.
People are shoving, demanding to be evacuated, pleading for backup afraid that they are going to be abandoned; everything they fear is pouring out in a stream of noise.

Meanwhile the squad is dealing with a potential threat in every person, they're outnumbered and surrounded with little option to retreat. Knowing only that their scouts have been attacked by average people, and are ringed on all sides by an unseen hostile force and operating on incomplete intel. For the moment there exists the fragile, knife-edge balance of two sides desperate to trust one another, but ready to explode into a riot in an instant.

You cast your eyes around in a panic, trying to spot Radula in the crowd before he seizes control of anyone else. You try to warn the crowd, screaming yourself hoarse and end up coughing as swirling clouds of dust lash at your throat; nothing short of a gunshot could be heard over the din.

What you need-
Is a miracle.
>>
No. 567384 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567382
...the dreamcatcher, could Legion use it? Well, now that we're out of sight of the Scribe, we can also ask Legion about the Book. Maybe his strange temporal nature will fuck with it to our advantage.
>>
No. 567394 ID: 7d8412

and if the dreamcather thing doesn't work, we can still try and kill one of them and see if that helps.

as for the crowd, maybe Jeff's dad and/or Lynwood can calm them down. maybe with a megaphone if anyone's got one.
>>
No. 567628 ID: 0b90a3
File 139571752483.jpg - (55.90KB , 600x438 , 501.jpg )
567628

You clamber up the revolting living pyramid and attempt to pry apart the "chain" but their tangle of limbs resists your intervention. Even with Todd and Ray lending you their considerable strength, you fail to move even a single finger. Legion's swarm remains unresponsive to your efforts as you plead for it to let go. You even try using your dream-catcher on the figures with no reaction.

Finally, in desperation, you try flailing at the creatures with your satchel. The heavy books slam into Legion's heads and arms, but elicit no response.

You pause, panting.

Ray
>"I don't think this is working man."

Todd
>"Yeah, I think there's more of them now than there were originally."

You're not sure, but you suspect that Todd might be right.
>>
No. 567629 ID: 0b90a3
File 139571756318.jpg - (45.22KB , 600x600 , 502.jpg )
567629

A sudden noise behind you causes your breath to catch in your throat. You turn around and hold out the orb, terrified of what you might see.

Sloshing though the sea of venom, a pair of chittering, black manticores are drawn by the sound of your struggle. Antenna outstretched, they lurch out of the darkness hissing with predatory menace.
>>
No. 567630 ID: 0b90a3
File 139571759646.jpg - (54.62KB , 428x600 , 503.jpg )
567630

Beth
"Oh God, they're going to kill each other! We don't have time for this!"

Together you try to push your way through the crowd, hoping to reach Tanner and restore order.

Beth
"Let us through! God, someone, anyone! Please listen to me!"
>>
No. 567631 ID: 0b90a3
File 139571762057.jpg - (65.02KB , 600x600 , 504.jpg )
567631

"Help us!"
>>
No. 567632 ID: 0b90a3
File 139571762913.jpg - (68.98KB , 600x600 , 505.jpg )
567632

>>
No. 567634 ID: e1609c

>>567632
FUCK.
>>
No. 567636 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567632
Yeah I kinda figured that would happen, and it seems like there was no way to prevent it. There's only one person close enough to deal with it, and that's Tanner. If she's quick enough on the draw she could snap a shot off at a high enough angle not to hit the crowd... no, it's probably too dangerous, unless everyone got down on the ground. BETH, SCREAM "GET DOWN" AND THROW THE TORCH AT RADULA. It's not lethal enough to provoke the soldiers to shoot, but it will probably spook Radula enough to get him away from the soldiers so Tanner can keep him from nailing any of them.

>>567629
Yeah uh, how about you stay on the chain and climb higher, to get to the tree itself. I'm thinking you could use the book on the white tree somehow to return its children. It's about the only thing you could possibly do right now, since those things are on the ground.

Either Todd or Ray could hop down, get some leeches, and allow themselves to be "killed" by the ants so that they wake up with the leeches in tow. That would also buy time for Dale to get higher.
>>
No. 567640 ID: 53ba34

thunderbird is god of the storms. i would say he listened and did what he could.
>>
No. 567654 ID: a84063

Dale: You all need to hide. They can't see you if you blend in.

Beth: I said this would happen but no one listened. You have one shot at this, then you need to cut your losses. Thow that torch. Whether you hit or miss your next move must be to wake up Dale. He needs to be moved before Radula takes over everyone here.
>>
No. 567655 ID: a84063

>>567636
Do we have proof that dying in that world doesnt cause you to really die? This isn't the time for taking dumb chances.
>>
No. 567663 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567655
Isn't that what happened to Dale repeatedly?
>>
No. 567669 ID: 9de559

>>567663
I interpreted it as him always waking up before dying, but I could be wrong.
>>
No. 567760 ID: 0b90a3
File 139589172952.jpg - (73.20KB , 600x508 , 506.jpg )
567760

You back towards the chain and start climbing. The stalking beasts follow the movement and clamber after you with swift, arachnid dexterity. The three of you race to escape, but in moments you feel the sinister caress of their antennae on your legs.
>>
No. 567761 ID: 0b90a3
File 139589174525.jpg - (50.15KB , 600x533 , 507.jpg )
567761

Holy shit, did anyone else see that?
No, no time.
Don't think!

Beth
"EVERYONE! GET DOWN!"

Your torch sails through the night in a blazing cartwheel as bystanders dive out of its way.
>>
No. 567762 ID: 0b90a3
File 139589176901.jpg - (79.09KB , 600x491 , 508.jpg )
567762

It explodes suddenly in a shower of sparks as it crashes into an invisible force. Flames blossom as the creature's outstretched hand catches fire, causing it to flail and panic.
>>
No. 567763 ID: 0b90a3
File 139589180327.jpg - (78.11KB , 576x600 , 509.jpg )
567763

There's a noise.
An alien, horrible noise like nothing you've ever imagined.

Its like the sound of a ship made of fingernails sailing over an ocean of broken chalkboards.

You feel like your stomach wants to turn inside out. You want to cut your ears off and cauterize the stumps. You want to claw off all of your skin in wet, steaming strips because you feel like invisible spiders are marching across your body and you will never, ever feel clean again.

Radula screams.

Even muffled by perforated eardrums packed with cotton, the shriek washes through you and locks your muscles like a shot from a tazer. Around you, those that can actually hear have it even worse: people are screaming, vomiting, convulsing; panic sets in as they are exposed to the raw voice of an elder god.
>>
No. 567764 ID: e1609c

>>567760
in retrospect trying to escape wouldnt have ended any other way really.
>>
No. 567768 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567763
You are the only one that has any chance of moving, Beth. Get to a gun and SHOOT RADULA DEAD.

>>567760
Um. Whoops, should've stood perfectly still. I'd suggest doing so right now but they've already found you. Sooo maybe someone will have to fight them off while the others freeze or keep going.
>>
No. 567772 ID: 57a559

>>567760
Legion, man, we'll help you close the loop as soon as we figure out what that means, but the only way we can do that is if we don't get fucked up by these ants.

A little help here bro?
>>
No. 567782 ID: a84063

>>567763
Beth: Wow, um, I honestly didn't think your aim was THAT good. I was hoping for a little distraction...oh well! Use the fact that your suffering is softened and make your way to Dale while Radila puts himself out. I'm guessing crawling away is all you can manage right now.

This may be your best and only chance to put a bullet in this thing, but assuming you could even aim with Radula screaming, you would be shooting into a crowd...and thats if you could find a gun.

Dale: Be one with the Legion! You can't escape and their claws are too strong to fight. Your only advantage is their poor eyesight. Be still and hope that legion will help hide you.
>>
No. 567841 ID: 0b90a3
File 139597614529.jpg - (65.75KB , 600x557 , 510.jpg )
567841

You continue to climb, kicking desperately at your pursuers as they close the distance. However, you are forced to stop and cling to the chain as a tremor ripples through the cavern.

Dale
"The hell was that?"

One of the many Legion turns its face towards you.
Cacophony stirs. Time is short.

Dale
"Legion, come on, man! Give us a hand here! Or, like, a thousand?"

You feel a tug at your shoulder as one of the manticores sinks its claws into your satchel.

"Hey! Stop! No!"

You hear the fabric start to tear as it tries to drag you down; the books inside shifting dangerously.
>>
No. 567842 ID: 0b90a3
File 139597619146.jpg - (44.18KB , 392x600 , 511.jpg )
567842

Realizing that you are probably the only person not completely debilitated, you scramble with shaking hands among the writhing crowd for a weapon.
You try to roll over one of the soldiers, but he has pinned his gun underneath him and reaches out as you search him, pleading for your help. You pull his bayonet from its sheath since it is accessible.

By the time you stand up, Radula has stopped screaming; its extinguished arm blisters and peels as it hangs at his side and the creature glares at you with a cthonic malevolence. It is too furious to form complete thoughts, producing a kind of telepathic word-salad, assaulting your mind with a cloud of incoherent fury and curses taken from long dead languages.

The moment you raise your weapon, the creature bolts for the adobe structure.
>>
No. 567844 ID: 53ba34

spray and pray, and run!

dale, the dreamcatcher?! use the other book as a decoy?
>>
No. 567845 ID: a787ef

By the way Dale, get headgear it looks like the future is heading towards the conclusion where squid face rips your forehead apart to bring about the end of the world
>>
No. 567846 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567841
Retrieve the Book. Don't let them have it. Wait can you even tell which one was the original? Fuck. Wait a minute, something just occurred to me. The Book was originally covered in leeches. There are leeches here. Ergo, the Book may have been FOUND here. This is the Loop we have to close! We have to get the Book to where it was retrieved from!

>>567842
CHASE HIM. Don't let him get to Dale!
>>
No. 567847 ID: 080676

Dale: one of the manticore's antennae are in reach. twist it, pull it off, crush it in your grip, whatever works to make it hurt enough to let go.

Beth: you won't survive for a second against that thing with a pinprick like that. return to retrieving a gun, then give chase.
>>
No. 567853 ID: d315b1

>>567842
Pursue him. I think we've actually gained the advantage here. Do watch out for ambushes though.

>>567844
I'm not sure "spray and pray" is even possible with a knife.
>>
No. 567865 ID: 8f9c07

Aim for the proboscis! Just tear that thing off!
>>
No. 567886 ID: 189a54

Quick, use those surprisingly accurate throwing skills to hit Radula somewhere that will slow him down! After you throw, grab another weapon on the move and try to close in before he reaches Dale!
>>
No. 567893 ID: 21675c

>>567886
Seconded. Also don't let this brief moment of victory cloud your judgment; he still has camouflage and a poison sting that will enslave your mind. Melee should be your last resort.
>>
No. 567898 ID: 2c6ff1

We should also keep in mind that kid is still up here.
>>
No. 567942 ID: 0b90a3
File 139606903553.jpg - (55.05KB , 600x420 , 512.jpg )
567942

You race past the disoriented crowd and scramble into the hogan. Inside, Mary buys you precious seconds by throwing herself in Radula's way. She manages to stab it several times in the chest with a scalpel before it swats her away with its good arm, viciously slamming her head against the uneven wall.
>>
No. 567943 ID: 0b90a3
File 139606905636.jpg - (36.10KB , 600x503 , 513.jpg )
567943

Time moving like tar, you rush into the room, pushing yourself faster. Radula turns to look at you, victory reflected in its eyes.

It's gaze swings back, and aims straight at with Dale's sleeping form.
>>
No. 567944 ID: 0b90a3
File 139606910128.jpg - (42.03KB , 552x600 , 514.jpg )
567944

You grab one of the monster's antennae as it swings past, crushing and twisting it with your free hand.

"Hah! How'd ya like that?"
>>
No. 567945 ID: 0b90a3
File 139606912361.jpg - (37.70KB , 600x600 , 515.jpg )
567945

You're rewarded with a furious squeal of pain and an agonized hiss. The manticore squirms in your grip for a moment and dislodges itself from the chain in an effort to retreat.

"Got you fu-OH shit"

Well, apparently this is happening now.
>>
No. 567946 ID: 0b90a3
File 139606914435.jpg - (40.08KB , 600x427 , 516.jpg )
567946

Your breath is knocked out of you as land on the "anchor" built of Legion's bodies. You groan and roll over, assessing the situation. Next to you the beast arches its body and struggles to right itself. You see your books, and the glowing orb scattered nearby. Also you see... Mary?
>>
No. 567949 ID: 2c6ff1

>>567943
I know what you're supposed to do. Rush in, grab Radula's barb as he's firing it at Dale, and CUT IT OFF.

>>567946
Ask Mary why she's here, isn't she supposed to be on watch? Ask for help with the... thing, and say you're still not sure what you're supposed to be doing here. All you've accomplished is finding the source of the leeches and the source of the writing materials books are made out of. The infinite moleman wants us to close some sort of loop but he didn't say what loop or how. It's like we have the pieces of a puzzle but we can't tell what the pieces even look like to see how they go together.
>>
No. 567953 ID: e1609c

Shit. Shit what do we DOOOO shit.
Also, irc stuff under the spoiler, couldn't find the dis thread for it but tox gave us a hint.
From the IRC: 1:21:28 AMToxoglossa: im realizing that i honestly cant really tell you anything at this point. i will mention that theres a few things that i think people have overlooked.
but i dont think its anything that requires a huge leap of logic

>>
No. 567954 ID: 2c6ff1

Alright, I'll hazard a guess and say that we need to get some leeches and use them to "reclaim" the "anti-word" from the Book. I'm wondering if the dreamcatcher can be used as a filter so that the leech only sucks out the bad stuff from the book?
>>
No. 567956 ID: 8dbfb4

grab a book and smash its softest parts.
>>
No. 567959 ID: 2c6ff1

OH! And we should also theoretically be able to use leeches to extract the anti-word from Legion. But you'd think he would have done that himself by now.
>>
No. 567978 ID: e1609c

>>567949
maybe we have to find the book for his particular universe and cut him out of it??
>>
No. 568006 ID: a787ef

Dale there's two things you could do,

In Radula's follow this >>567954
But in the waking world you should do something like I don't know, suddenly collapse at the last second and avoid getting your head skewered?

Mary you've already seen this before, you run towards Dale and you lose, thus chasing after the barb is pointless. Do something different. Like headshot Radula? Can't pump venom or possibly kill the leech in Dale's brain if the squid face is dealing with cranial termination of the lethal kind
>>
No. 568013 ID: 2c6ff1

Another possibility is to wear the dreamcatcher over Dale's head wound so that the Cacophony can't use it as a gateway.
>>
No. 568068 ID: f290a2

if Mary's was in the tent with you and now she's here that means that radula took her out. throw the bag with the book and dreamcatcher thing to Mary and wake up and DODGE!
>>
No. 568078 ID: 0b90a3
File 139622632173.jpg - (36.71KB , 600x327 , 521.jpg )
568078

The muscles in Radula's face bunch up, and release. Its tongue leaps forward: a lightning bolt of pure malice poured into a single strike.

The singularity approaches.
Nothing in the world can stop it.
>>
No. 568079 ID: 0b90a3
File 139622632757.jpg - (39.93KB , 600x600 , 522.jpg )
568079

Except you.
You know what happens next. You've already seen it.
You've prepared for this moment in your mind, and are in movement before you even have time to think.
>>
No. 568080 ID: 0b90a3
File 139622633384.jpg - (67.72KB , 600x600 , 523.jpg )
568080

You seize the claw in midair, its slimy coils writhing in protest.

You pull the tentacle taunt, and your other hand traces a shining arc in the air. There is a soft noise and a brief feeling of resistance as the steel passes through alien flesh.
>>
No. 568081 ID: 0b90a3
File 139622633884.jpg - (70.34KB , 800x504 , 524.jpg )
568081

Mary
>"Dale? Where am I? Oh my God, is this your nightmare?"

The chitinous black guard wriggles itself upright and starts to advance on the doctor.

Dale
"Mary! Don't move and be quiet! These things hunt by sound and vibration!"

Mary splashes through ichor as she retreats from its seeking claws.

Mary
>"Oh hell, it must have knocked me out! Listen, Dale, you need to do something! Radula is on the mesa and Its about to kill you!"

The ground heaves unexpectedly and Dr. Slate stumbles backwards over a pale, prone figure half submerged in blood. Sticking out of its ruined head is a handle wrapped in leather.
>>
No. 568082 ID: 0b90a3
File 139622634365.jpg - (86.70KB , 689x600 , 525.jpg )
568082

Radula lunges at you, filling your vision as its shroud engulfs you. In an instant it has you pinned against the wall; one clawed hand around your wrist, the other around your throat. It leans towards your face, the stench of its seared flesh fills your nostrils but you soon find yourself struggling to breathe as its fingers tighten against your throat.

Radula
You think that we can stopped? You, most of all, should welcome our blessing. We can look into your mind and see your fear. Fear of growing old, watching your body fail and crumble, your memories becoming a scattered pile of unfamiliar faces and broken associations. Fear of burdening those around you with your continued, debilitated existence. Fear of losing those close to you.

You are enslaved by time, but the Cacophony is salvation. It is the anti-destiny. All moments as one. No future, no past. Only eternity. There is still time for mercy.
>>
No. 568087 ID: 189a54

Beth! Rabbit-tooth bite attack to his mouth tentacles, now!
>>
No. 568089 ID: ffa549

>>568082
We fear loss. Accepting what you offer means never having anything to lose in the first place.
>>
No. 568094 ID: 2c6ff1

>>568082
Without a past, there is no meaning to any action. Without a future, there is no choice in what action to take. No hope to change your present. The Cacophony is an unending existence without meaning, Radula. No purpose, no action. You want everything to happen at once? Why, when nothing that happens can possibly affect anything else that happens? What's the point?

Don't further provoke him. I think we should try to stall for time by engaging him in a debate. Try to convince him that his salvation is not wanted. Maybe ask for him to look deeper in your mind, to your memories of your mother, and what you did before and after her death?

>>568081
Find out who's dead, and what that knife is. If that's Legion and his knife, then take that knife and give it to the Legion that has no knife. I expect the "loop" is the knife. I mean, the knife had to come from somewhere.
>>
No. 568096 ID: 57a559

>>568082
"I fear your blessing more than I fear time. I know what awaits me here, I don't there. We're different beings you and I, we can't handle infiniteness, you apparently can. Your mercy is not mercy at all. Letting time kill us all is the real mercy. Making us feel that alien thing, we couldn't handle it. I had a taste of it when I touched that book, fuck that sensation to hell. It's awful for someone with a mind like mine."
>>
No. 568172 ID: 8f9c07

Beth's left arm looks free. Go for Radula's eye! If you still have his claw in hand, use it.
>>
No. 568200 ID: f290a2

>>568172
yes! go for the eyes and keep stabbing. obviously it can be injured, maybe even killed.
>>
No. 568391 ID: d97114

One brief moment of self-determination is worth more than any eternity. Reinforce this point by stabbing him in the chest with your free hand.
>>
No. 568651 ID: 0b90a3
File 139640766827.jpg - (46.03KB , 600x599 , 526.jpg )
568651

Beth
"If you can read my mind, then look deeper..."

"I lost my mother recently in battle with disease that slowly took away not just her body, but her mind. By the end she was like someone completely different: angry, irrational, scared. I did my best to be there for her, but at times it would be like trying to comfort a complete stranger. For a long time my faith was all that I had to keep me going."

"But then we learned, too late, what was killing her. She had Tay Sachs, a rare genetic disease that shows up in small populations, some of which are families in the Jewish community. I found out that my ancestors fled to this place centuries ago to escape the church I had put so much of my life into. They practiced in secret, pretending to be Catholic missionaries, denying to the rest of the world what had defined them for generations. Since then I've struggled to reconcile that with what the church had taught me."

"And then there was the looming threat: one day the same thing that happened to my mother could happen to me. It was like a time bomb waiting to annihilate my future at any moment."
>>
No. 568652 ID: 0b90a3
File 139640767241.jpg - (56.30KB , 600x681 , 527.jpg )
568652

"It hurt to experience, but only because I know how important those things were to me. What we really fear is losing ourselves. Those things: memories, family, our beliefs, those are precious because those are what make us who we are. And even now, having lost so much, its up to me to give my life more meaning."

"Nothing you can offer could possibly replace that: your promise would mean never having anything to lose in the first place."
>>
No. 568653 ID: 0b90a3
File 139640767870.jpg - (54.83KB , 600x636 , 528.jpg )
568653

Radula

"Who you are...", You believe that your individuality is what gives you purpose?

Beth
"Not just me, everyone! We create our own meaning! Your book may have everything that ever happened in it, but we write the pages."

Radula
Meaning? There is only one meaning to this universe: Food. Cacophony is coming, and this pathetic refuge for cowards will be devoured. If you would rather die than surrender your miserable sense of self-
>>
No. 568654 ID: 0b90a3
File 139640768249.jpg - (59.30KB , 600x636 , 529.jpg )
568654

then d-!!!!
>>
No. 568655 ID: 0b90a3
File 139640768518.jpg - (72.18KB , 600x600 , 530.jpg )
568655

You push yourself to your feet and race to Mary's aid. As you get closer, you recognize the body as one of Legion's. What the hell is it doing here? How'd it get its own knife in its head?

Mary grabs the handle of the stone knife and wrenches it out of the stricken corpse.

There's a third, much stronger tremor that sends the ground rippling under your feet. The fluid beneath your feet surges as a strong current starts to pull at your legs, threatening to drag them out from under you.
>>
No. 568656 ID: 0b90a3
File 139640768903.jpg - (55.01KB , 700x700 , 531.jpg )
568656

Radula collapses and lies very still.
>>
No. 568659 ID: 578cfb

>>568656
BURN THE BODY
>>
No. 568670 ID: d2995c

He isn't a natural living thing, so you can't assume that will do him in for good. Cut his throat (or his entire neck if his bonelessness makes that viable) to prevent him from drawing breath for another shriek or un-word.

Dale should make sure you don't lose track of the book.
>>
No. 568679 ID: 2c6ff1

>>568656
Holy shit. Beth, you killed an infinite immortal. Unless he's faking it, which I kindof doubt, but... prepare for that possibility.

>>568655
Well obviously you should try to avoid getting swept away. Warn Mary about the current, maybe she can just kick the thing over so that it gets swept away? Or just tell it that they don't like getting their antennae twisted.

Then you'll want to get back to solid ground and find a use for that knife.
>>
No. 568684 ID: 53ba34

if they don't like getting twisted i bet they hate an antenna getting slashed off even less. tell mary to go for that rather then the 'head'.
>>
No. 568767 ID: 8f9c07

>>568659
More than that! Crush the skull! Cut tendons and arteries! Severe everything that would allow Radula function. LEAVE NOTHING!
>>
No. 568770 ID: 57a559

I think he's trying to go back to a timeline where he DIDN'T get shanked in the brain.
So this timeline is safe.
That doesn't mean the universe is safe, just everyone in our immediate vicinity in this immediate point in time is safe.
Which means to protect the universe we have to go to another reality and insure it remains with the same outcome. Or deal with a second incarnation of Radula.

I don't know how infinite beings work in a finite world. All I know is that he's probably doing some sort of infinite thing right now.
He knows about your Mom.
Is your Mom now in danger? I mean, she's dead now but what about in another universe? Or what about earlier?
>>
No. 568774 ID: 578cfb

>>568767
Fire is the thing he fears above all else, thus fire should hopefully kill him or prevent/postpone a regeneration.
>>
No. 568780 ID: 2c6ff1

>>568774
Well we DO have a bonfire... On the other hand, I want to dissect Radula. I mean, he is a one of a kind specimen, and analyzing the venom could lead to better countermeasures in case this sort of thing happens again.
>>
No. 568799 ID: e1609c

Throwing my vote on the dissection train. Lets get some samples of that venom.
Also, try to prepare for something bigger and nastier than radula. He was just the tongue, I cant imagine how terrifying the TEETH might be.
>>
No. 568818 ID: d24ac9

I suppose some mutilation is in order here.

Mary, you might want to let the current sweep you away from that thing now.
>>
No. 568855 ID: 4a20fa

>>568659
SLIP AN EXTRA SQUID ON THE BARBIE
>>
No. 568856 ID: d0e0a2

Beth, burn Radula's body immediately, before it can possibly recover! There's a bonfire ready on the trail below you can drop it on. You just need to get it there as quickly as possible.

Touching the body directly is not a good idea; Who knows what kind of secretions it has. Grab a blanket to wrap it in or rope to tie around a limb and drag it out to the cliff edge. Light the bonfire and kick the body over into it.

Mary, you're too close to the creature to run. Your only hope is strike quick and jam that knife into the creature's head before it strikes you.

The "close loop" Legion said may mean you'll have to stick that knife in one of its heads so it'll be here when the time comes back around to take the knife again.
>>
No. 569054 ID: 0b90a3
File 139656339783.jpg - (58.84KB , 600x600 , 532.jpg )
569054

The manticore's antennae drift over Mary as it inspects her. She lashes out with the stone knife and clips one short. The creature rears back and spreads its claws to pounce. As you slosh towards the pair, your feet slip out from under you and you fall forward, grabbing the beast's wasp-like waist (neck?) for support.
>>
No. 569055 ID: 0b90a3
File 139656340162.jpg - (53.48KB , 600x600 , 533.jpg )
569055

You throw away the hideous claw in disgust, and kneel to examine the body. You aren't sure how to check for a pulse on something this alien, but it doesn't seem to be breathing, and is leaking some kind of fluid from its head. You prod it several times with the knife, the point sinks into its head and it rolls limply.

In your medical opinion, it looks like its dead.
Somehow this makes you more uneasy.
>>
No. 569056 ID: 0b90a3
File 139656340549.jpg - (51.47KB , 600x515 , 534.jpg )
569056

You throw a rug over the corpse and drag it outside to burn on the bonfire. As much as you would like to keep it for study, you have no idea how dangerous it is and whether or not it will stay dead. Around you, people are picking themselves up as they recover from the effects of Radula's scream.

Wait, what's that glow?
>>
No. 569057 ID: 0b90a3
File 139656340972.jpg - (30.61KB , 600x385 , 535.jpg )
569057

No. no no no no nononono.

WHAT IS THAT?
>>
No. 569059 ID: 0b90a3
File 139656347025.jpg - (45.40KB , 463x600 , 536.jpg )
569059

There's a voice, as if heard through a broken radio picking up a broadcast on the far side of the planet.

The Tongue cut out. The Blood spilled.

Beth
"No, SHUT UP, that's not possible! You're DEAD! We STOPPED you!"
>>
No. 569060 ID: 0b90a3
File 139656348125.jpg - (44.07KB , 600x432 , 537.jpg )
569060

The Sleeper awakens.
>>
No. 569062 ID: 2c6ff1

>>569060
Well... fuck. There's nothing you can do now. Except... you did stop Radula. He doesn't have the Book. The Cacophony is about to wake up without the Book, so... what's about to happen? It can't eat the universe without the Book.

>>569054
Try to keep it away from mary, and make sure the Book doesn't float away either.
>>
No. 569081 ID: 5869f6

>>569060
So it's waking up.

Shit.

Well, it doesn't have the book, so we're not fucked completely.
>>
No. 569082 ID: 57a559

Okay nowhere did the book warn us of this
Neither did Thunderbird by proxy
This might be a fakeout.

Continue with burning the corpse. For good measure burn that puddle.

>>569054
Dale, where's the book? I don't see it anywhere on you. Ride ant thing like a horse, try driving it up legion.
>>
No. 569085 ID: eb10ea

Dammit. We're out of leeches aren't we. I'm not sure which we should try to destroy, Radula or this 'Sleeper'

Okay, can we... change the book? Use the knife to cut out some leaches, and replace them with others? Could you somehow use the dream-catcher to... filter the leaches?
>>
No. 569086 ID: 57a559

>>569082
Nope, nevermind, we did exactly what was going to happen to start the thing

Dale getting killed by Radula wasn't it, that was just a freeze frame a second before the "nightmare" starts. Beth pretty much already had her hand around the tongue. Or maybe both possibilities start the process. Who knows. Dale dying might have actually been what we wanted. Then again, the vision pointed to this pivotal moment so just this moment happening was probably enough and Radula's just interpreting it all wrong and it was the exact second that was important.

But this event seemed inevitable. Perhaps the Chorus already knew this. An event like this happened once before though, with the tower. It might not actually be awakening and the Chorus once again designed an event like the tower, even if they did once say they were going to leave things to causality (that became a falsehood when Thunderbird told the grandma).

The Chorus is likely to show up or a hole is going to rip between dimensions for a short interval. This is where you might need to go Beth. TO where Dale is. Bring a weapon. Wait, no, is Legion a Naked Mole Rat or a mutilated bunny? I don't want to think about the thought. Go and help Dale.
>>
No. 569097 ID: e1609c

>>569085
>rubbing random objects against other random objects in hopes of a solution
wow tox wasnt kidding this has become a sierra adventure game

my vote is to rub [knife] against [leigon]
>>
No. 569124 ID: 4a20fa

Check that the book is still on Dale's sleeping form.
>>
No. 569126 ID: 72e8d7

"...[T]he Cacophony slept, waiting for a pathway with which it could enter and unmake the Laws."

What pathway did we make? How can we close it?
>>
No. 569153 ID: 461142

ask it who awakens so people can stop it with the speculations already, yeesh.

hey Jeff, can you make its ass fall off? it almost looks like you could. because otherwise maybe you should not put your hands so close to the big fucking stinger.
>>
No. 569332 ID: 0b90a3
File 139673725247.jpg - (52.39KB , 600x600 , 538.jpg )
569332

An unearthly light pours out from the base of the mesa, casting a perverse aurora into the sky. Hideous shapes dance in the alien corona, reaching out into the night and wrapping themselves into tortured knots of flesh as they drag their way into the waking world.
>>
No. 569333 ID: 0b90a3
File 139673725688.jpg - (47.43KB , 650x558 , 539.jpg )
569333

Jeff joins you at the edge of the cliff and together you stare into the rift surrounding the mesa.

>"What happened?"

Beth
"Radula was going to kill Dale, and I stopped him. I thought that would change the future I saw in the Book, and for a second I think I did. But then Radula attacked me and I was forced to kill him. That was somehow enough to wake up this... thing."

Jeff
>"What do we do now?"

Beth
"I'm not sure. There may still be a way to stall it from coming through, but I think anything more is out of our hands now. We've done what we could and kept everyone safe. All we can do now is hope that they can find a way to stop this from wherever they are."
>>
No. 569334 ID: 0b90a3
File 139673726068.jpg - (60.94KB , 600x752 , 540.jpg )
569334

You hang on grimly to the ant-like monster and it thrashes as it attempts to dislodge you.

Dale
"Mary, I'll hold this thing off! Take the knife and stab one of those creepy looking guys in the head with it!"

Mary
>"What? Wait-"

Dale
"They're caught in some kind of time loop! I think the cycle ends with it being killed with its own knife!"

Dr. Slate rushes over to the swarm of Legion, raises her arm to strike and hesitates for a moment.
>>
No. 569335 ID: 0b90a3
File 139673726593.jpg - (81.87KB , 600x600 , 541.jpg )
569335

Then she plunges the knife into the pile.

There's a rush of wind, And for a moment, Legion's being occupies every inch of space in the chamber.
>>
No. 569336 ID: 0b90a3
File 139673726801.jpg - (37.88KB , 600x600 , 542.jpg )
569336

In an instant they all collapse into a single figure. It falls to its knees, holding in one hand the Book of Worms, in the other a single pale flatworm not yet filled with the blood of Cacophony.

It opens to the final page and pushes the worm into place at the end of the Book.

Legion(?) croaks out in an ancient voice.
>"At lasssssst."
>>
No. 569339 ID: 0b90a3
File 139673759949.jpg - (47.68KB , 600x600 , 543.jpg )
569339

Todd, Ray and the creature chasing them suddenly find the chain of bodies they were climbing missing. They claw at the air for a moment before gravity remembers to take hold. The Manticore lands with a splash, followed by a crunch as Todd and Ray splatter it into oblivion.
>>
No. 569340 ID: 2c6ff1

>>569336
Mary, before he dies, ask his true name so that we may remember him. Also, I suspect we need to get that edited Book to the Library now. Or maybe we just need to take it and wake up? Maybe he knows.

Whatever the case, we don't need to hang around.

>>569339
Todd, Ray, go assist Dale. Maybe a piece of the monster will serve as an improvised weapon.
>>
No. 569352 ID: 57a559

Dale, take book to Beth. Wake up. Everyone, if you can, wake up.

Beth, stay the fuck away from that thing's tentacles. Try and wake up everybody now.
>>
No. 569360 ID: 4a20fa

Grab ye book before he slumps into all the muck.
>>
No. 569385 ID: 2f4b71

Do we still have the big bonfire ready to go? No better time to light it than now.
>>
No. 569623 ID: 0b90a3
File 139692510104.jpg - (77.81KB , 806x600 , 544.jpg )
569623

Ray and Todd pull themselves to their feet in a pile of chitin and cyanoglobin, wincing as they do so. Ray, grabs the stinger of the creature from the wreckage and wields it like a dagger.

The Manticore starts spinning in circles as it tries to break you loose from its back, the centrifugal force sending you into wider and wider orbits around the creature. They rush to your aid, and stop just out of reach of your complicated tango with the deadly invertebrate.
>>
No. 569624 ID: 0b90a3
File 139692521822.jpg - (57.72KB , 717x600 , 545.jpg )
569624

Mary
>"Who are you? How did you know to do that?"

Legion(?)
>"So long. We...I cannot remember. The tree. It would whisper to me, secrets borne by its children. Now... it is unbound."

Mary
>"What do we do with the Book now?"

Legion(?)
>"The word is still incomplete. Cacophony will still consume all unless changed. Use dark flesh, a leech, to drink from your memories."
It taps on Mary's forehead.
>"The thought you use must be something simple and direct. Fabricating something too complex will likely result in it being rejected. Once you have it absorbed, place it on the page. The thought-blood will transfer to the blank word. Then, the Book must return to the Library."
>>
No. 569625 ID: 0b90a3
File 139692522975.jpg - (76.33KB , 600x600 , 546.jpg )
569625

Hoping to at least buy yourself some additional safety you decide to light up the bonfire on the mesa. You shove Radula's corpse into the flames and it burns with an oily, chemical odor. At least it shouldn't be giving you any more problems.
>>
No. 569631 ID: 125f4a

search the waters for leeches. try using that stupid dreamcatcher if you get none. if that results in nothing as well, you'll have to head deeper into the darkness, so you better search good.
>>
No. 569637 ID: 876044

A good thought to try might be "Sleep". Its simple and if we can put them into a eternal slumber they might never bother anyone again.
>>
No. 569645 ID: 2c6ff1

>>569625
Nooooooooooo! All that lost science...

>>569623
Let go, let yourself be flung away so that Todd and Ray can take over the fight. Just be sure you're not flung into the two of them.

>>569624
Either the death of the Cacophony or just the retreat of the Cacophony or... Fear? Disinterest in eating now that it has no tongue? Wait, Mary wouldn't even know about that. Let's just go with "Then the Cacophony left without eating anything and never came back." I don't think the Cacophony can actually die. We could ask Legion if that's possible...
>>
No. 569650 ID: d2995c

"Sated".

>Nooooooooooo! All that lost science...
It was science that still stood some change of getting back up to come after us again, and we really don't have time for that.
>>
No. 569681 ID: 72e8d7

I'd probably write something about the Cacophony eating Radula, and then sleeping forever, never to reawaken.
>>
No. 569682 ID: 4a20fa

>>569624
Given the book is the history of our universe, perhaps it should be a concept more directed at that than the cacophony itself, e.g. "safety".
>>
No. 569691 ID: 256d52

Hope.
>>
No. 569701 ID: f290a2

>>569624
"burn"
>>
No. 569790 ID: e1609c

I like "Sated." The problem is, it makes me imagine we'd still get eaten before it took effect.
Question is, is it a worthy sacrifice?
>>
No. 569795 ID: eb10ea

Victory? relief?
>>
No. 569798 ID: d2995c

We should try asking to see if Legion knows whether the word will apply to the Cacophony, the world, or both. If ambiguous we might want to go with something that could work either way like "Peace".
>>
No. 569800 ID: 57a559

"Uneaten forever" would honestly be the simplest thing we could go for.

Uneaten is apparently a word reconized by the dictionary, but remember Mary, it's a memory to be and not literally a word...

Dale and You getting a nice coffee at a coffee shop. Or maybe at Jeff's place, it really doesn't matter.
Hah, who would have thought's Dale asking you on a date for coffee will be the most crucial thing that saves the universe?
>>
No. 569803 ID: e607cd

Cacophony is an infinite being of sound and chaos, what stands against the chaos are voices in harmony. Unfortunately, that which opposes is also that which arouses hunger in the un-maker.

The solution, therefore, is to stop directly opposing, and join the cacophony and harmony together once more. The solution is dubstep.
:V
>>
No. 569805 ID: 876044

We could try Starvation. That might kill them off but could be dangerous to try. Or Poison. But that involves them eating something first.
>>
No. 569821 ID: 53ba34

what about, dream? give cacophony a greater desire then just eating forever.
>>
No. 569833 ID: 6adc92

>>569821
Oh man, dreams are big hoodoo against ancient evils, especially lovecraftian ones.
But how eould we know it was a good one?
Can we ask what the previous words were?
>>
No. 569862 ID: 57a559

>>569800
I'm sure it might be too late but if my hypothesis is correct and you essentially need to create images of a future that are very simple and having a coffee with Dale is an image that ends up still being too complex... use your skills as a medical doctor to imagine new life happening the next day. It might sound creepy or even a little immoral, but the theme would be a part of the book, new life. A narrative needs to be formed. And it's something I'm sure you've seen before, at least once, so it would be a memory too, but since it's coming at the end of the book it would end up happening in the close future.

A fertilized egg into a fetus. Probably the safest bet right now would probably be a mouse fetus growing from the egg, if you don't mind implying someone in the tribe is going to get pregnant tomorrow or sometime soon, but that might very well be impossible for various reasons so the memory could be rejected. Maybe think of a new one of those pictures I forget the name of that doctors make to show the baby too the parents. You'd have to make it very generic if simplicity is key. You've probably seen plenty of those just walking through the hospital. And the fertilization scene is probably something you've seen A BUNCH of times in videos while preparing your career. But I seriously think that the image of seeing one of those pre-baby pictures on a hospital wall next to a window showing daytime (which would mean the world would have to survive at least a day in the context of the book). You might actually want to show the Mesa being fine and calm too in that window. But again, maybe all that's too complex for the book to handle on a single flatworm.

I AM completely serious about this.
New Life is the simplest thing that would ensure survival of the universe. Creating an image of New Life happening sometime soon from a memory of yours would be the easiest thing for a Doctor to do.
>>
No. 569950 ID: 0b90a3
File 139709756503.jpg - (77.88KB , 600x680 , 547.jpg )
569950

You release your grip on the manticore, and stagger away from it before it can attack.

The creature spins off in the other direction, its spindly legs weaving as it tries to stay upright. It tries to turn around and its momentum carries it into Todd's fist traveling in the opposite direction like a freight train.
>>
No. 569951 ID: 0b90a3
File 139709757046.jpg - (77.67KB , 858x600 , 548.jpg )
569951

It reels away from the impact with its carapace dented and cracked by the assault. Ray charges into the fray while it tires to reorient itself and plunges the broken stinger between its armored plates again and again, trying to find some vital spot that will put it down for good.
>>
No. 569952 ID: 0b90a3
File 139709757489.jpg - (31.00KB , 381x600 , 549.jpg )
569952

The beast slashes at Ray in retaliation, forcing him back for a moment. It stands bleeding from a dozen wounds and buzzing with incandescent fury as it readies itself to strike.

There's a strange slithering sound.
>>
No. 569953 ID: 0b90a3
File 139709757732.jpg - (93.26KB , 875x600 , 550.jpg )
569953

Followed by a violent, thunderous SLAM. Foul liquid is thrown into the air and you leap back to keep from being crushed by an enormous pale tentacle hammering into the ground.
>>
No. 569954 ID: 0b90a3
File 139709758170.jpg - (68.56KB , 600x600 , 551.jpg )
569954

Looking up into the gloom, you hear the noise of billions of tiny organisms moving in concert. The great limbs of the White tree twist and split, surge and grow, reaching out blindly into the vast cavern as the mighty worm begins to rampage.
>>
No. 569958 ID: 2c6ff1

>>569954
This gives me an idea. The White Tree could be our cause of death for the Cacophony. It seems like it could become infinite, or infinite enough.

So focus on that thought. That the White Tree is victorious. Or maybe it emerges in our universe instead, both taking shelter in it and sheltering it. Or just focus on the White Tree as the thought.
>>
No. 569963 ID: 0d658b

you might want to run now.
>>
No. 569966 ID: 876044

You need to get that thought into a leech and haul ass to the library. Who knows how stable this area is going to be shortly.

Also if Radula comes back you want to have the leech already in place.
>>
No. 569967 ID: 53ba34

wait... the power of INFINITY. the universe will become infinite in size. and so cacophony will never be able t swallow it, like a jawbreaker that is not only bigger then your head, but getting bigger.
>>
No. 569980 ID: 4a20fa

>>569966
To the library!
>>
No. 570103 ID: 561ba1

>>569967
This, either Infinity or Perpetual. The Cacophony may try to destroy, but the universe will continue to regenerate.
>>
No. 570108 ID: ac4958

>>570103
Yes, but then wouldn't the universe just become a perpetual struggle to avoid being in the parts of said universe being constantly eaten and regenerated?
>>
No. 570753 ID: 0b90a3
File 139753642156.jpg - (74.66KB , 692x600 , 552.jpg )
570753

The limbs of the emancipated beast coil through the chamber and you get the feeling that if you don't leave soon, you'll be buried under an avalanche of flatworms.

Dale
"Uhhh, guys? We should probably move!"

Mary
>"Dale! I have the Book! That... person... put a blank flatworm in it. He told me that we need a leech in order to 'write' in it. It'll absorb a memory of ours and transfer it to the worm, but it has to be something simple."

Dale
"A leech? This is where we were supposed to find them! Quick, everyone look around for leeches!"

Todd
>"Dude, I don't think we have time, we need to get out now!"
>>
No. 570754 ID: 0b90a3
File 139753642776.jpg - (61.71KB , 699x600 , 553.jpg )
570754

Splashing through the ichor, you race against the pale tsunami back to the stairwell. Once inside, you feel the structure rumble as the planarian tide crashes against it. The four of you stumble upstairs, the very walls wriggling as flatworms are forced between the stones by the White Tree's mindless desire to expand.
>>
No. 570755 ID: 0b90a3
File 139753643336.jpg - (74.08KB , 776x600 , 554.jpg )
570755

Unable to tear yourself away from the horror, you watch as the Cacophony drags its mass into the world, its tentacles forming mile long arc across the desert night and grotesque bone towers heave out of the boiling primordial cauldron like gigantic teeth piercing the sky.
>>
No. 570756 ID: 0b90a3
File 139753643986.jpg - (91.70KB , 600x771 , 555.jpg )
570756

You see something else in the chaos. Pale white shoots of some kind, small at first, which pulse out into long coiling tentacles and spread like a carpet of fungus across the nightmare. Teeth and claws work madly to try and arrest the growth, but they only serve to cleave it into more rapidly expanding pieces. It becomes impossible to tell which side has the upper hand, and for the moment they appear stalemated in an attempt to outgrow each other.
>>
No. 570757 ID: 0b90a3
File 139753644412.jpg - (51.44KB , 700x465 , 556.jpg )
570757

You see the glow of light through a doorway and slow momentarily to see if you still have everyone with you.

Ray
>"Dale, GET DOWN!"

Dale
"Wha-?"

You feel yourself being shoved aside as something sharp flickers in the corner of your vision.
>>
No. 570758 ID: 0b90a3
File 139753645085.jpg - (56.18KB , 600x654 , 557.jpg )
570758

You are thrown to the ground and there is a flash of red as pain rakes across your face. Clutching your forehead, you feel loose flaps of skin and blood between your fingers. You try to focus through the pain on the shadow that looms over you.

Do you really believe that you have achieved some kind of victory here? Anything you might have accomplished can be easily rectified and your world is being consumed as we speak.

It is over. We have won. Give us the Book. Now.

Your mind races.
You can't let it have the book yet.

Not before you finish the edit.
>>
No. 570771 ID: 99624f

Ok last place we saw leeches was with the slug guys who write the books. You need to get there fast.

One of you needs to take the book and quickly get a memory in it. The other two stay here and delay Radula as best you can.
>>
No. 570782 ID: 6ddd53

>>570771
Oh snap, I think I know where we can get a leech without getting to the library thingy.
We have one in our head.
We know what to do.
>>
No. 570783 ID: 8ddab5

>Clutching your forehead, you feel loose flaps of skin and blood between your fingers
Well there... there is one leech nearby.
>>
No. 570784 ID: 2c6ff1

>>570758
Looks like Radula was unkillable after all. Damn.

Ask the others to keep Radula busy. Maybe now you could use the dreamcatcher, even. Perhaps it has some magical function of restraining Radula? Anyway, think of hope. Victory. The White Tree winning and driving the Cacophony out of your world. Then take the leech out and place it face-first against the final, white flatworm. Once the process is complete, then just go "Okay, take it."

I still kindof like the idea of using the dreamcatcher as a sort of filter, placing it over the flatworm so that the leech only transfers good thoughts to it. I'm not sure it'd work that way or if it'd work against Radula.
>>
No. 570797 ID: 95170a

Defeat, that's pretty simple.
>>
No. 570807 ID: 57a559

>>570758
If you have won, why do you need the book.
Just let us have it. Rent it on our library card.
>>
No. 570833 ID: f635f7

think thoughts of harmony into the leech.
>>
No. 571129 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770745132.jpg - (65.17KB , 600x608 , 558.jpg )
571129

Your comrades move in to protect you, and Mary stoops to check on your face. In doing so, you catch her eye and share the same thought. She stands up to confront Radula while you take a deep breath, and push your fingers into the open wound on your forehead. You feel the rough edge of what must be your skull and the smooth surface of the meninges barrier that protects your grey matter. Something moves sluggishly in response to your touch and you sieze the slippery creature in your grasp.
>>
No. 571130 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770745661.jpg - (61.32KB , 779x600 , 559.jpg )
571130

Mary
>"If you've already won, like you said, why do you still need the Book?"

It must be accounted for. It cannot be allowed to remain out of our control.
>>
No. 571131 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770746050.jpg - (34.15KB , 351x600 , 560.jpg )
571131

You concentrate and pour all of your thought into a single word, and feel an odd emptying sensation as the leech absorbs your command. You pull it free from your head and slide it between the pages of the Book of Worms. It pulses and writhes for a second as it discharges your liquefied thought into the waiting flatworm.
>>
No. 571132 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770747826.jpg - (105.58KB , 794x600 , 561.jpg )
571132

Mary
>"And what about us?"

What about you? You act as though you still have any sort of consequence. Your only significance is that you are in our way.

The moment Radula moves to attack you fling Jeff's dream-catcher towards it. As it spins, it explodes into a web of glittering lines; they rotate in a tiny galaxy of light and wrap themselves around the startled creature before anchoring themselves to the ground. You pull yourself to your feet and together the three of you bolt out of the room and head for the library with Radula's frustrated screams echoing in your mind.
>>
No. 571133 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770748377.jpg - (63.34KB , 600x600 , 562.jpg )
571133

Outside, long filaments of the Pale Flesh are thread themselves out into the void and grapple with the writhing landscape of the Cacophony. You approach the shattered walls of the library, the walls buzzing with an army of manticore guards fighting back the limbs of the White Tree.
>>
No. 571134 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770748969.jpg - (84.44KB , 792x600 , 563.jpg )
571134

You slip past the battle and rush upstairs.
There's only one thing left to do.
You find a spot on a shelf, and snap the Book of Worms into place.

Things go very quiet....
>>
No. 571135 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770750658.jpg - (39.28KB , 600x555 , 564.jpg )
571135

Something is happening. The battling flesh stops struggling and slowly pulls itself back from the horizon, leaving deep scars in the desert. The horrible glow surrounding the mesa fades and disappears.
>>
No. 571136 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770751157.jpg - (54.40KB , 500x748 , 565.jpg )
571136

You step back outside, and the chaos of the battle hangs frozen like a universe stuck on pause. A creepy, peaceful, silence blankets the strange dimension. You find Radula on the bridge between the two structures, scraps of dream-catcher hanging from its gaunt limbs. It does not react to your approach, it only stands with its arms tucked close to its body and stares straight ahead.

Mary
>"What did you put in the book?"

Dale
"Only thing I could think of..."
>>
No. 571139 ID: 0b90a3
File 139770793809.jpg - (83.08KB , 654x800 , 566.jpg )
571139

"sleep"



THE END
stand by for epilogue
>>
No. 571142 ID: 2c6ff1

>>571139
Alright Dale time to sleep for like forever. Then go out on a date with a cute doctor.

Todd you better ask Beth out I swear. YOU BETTER DO IT.
>>
No. 571161 ID: c52ab0

Fuck Year Victory!
What ever happened to bag of coke :v
Also totally knew we were going to use Dale's lech.
>>
No. 571167 ID: 5869f6

>>571139
W-we won!?

Hahaha! I can't believe it! *deth*

Hmm... i wonder how the world will react, now that they know what happened. Something like this can't just be covered up!
>>
No. 571169 ID: 81e618

>>571167
Mass hallucinating through gas and a crazy cult digging ditches everywhere...
>>
No. 571401 ID: 0b90a3
File 139786862526.jpg - (38.43KB , 600x355 , 567.jpg )
571401

>"-the nation still reeling from images of the 'Starry Mesa Disaster', many of us still asking 'what aren't we being told?' 'What are we seeing here?' 'Could this happen again?'"

>"That's right, many conflicting accounts following that night, we're here with our panel of experts to try and make sense of it all. Senior analyst Troy Walker what do you make of these claims that this missing college professor is at the heart of the story?"
>>
No. 571402 ID: 0b90a3
File 139786862956.jpg - (31.37KB , 600x380 , 568.jpg )
571402

>"Greg, I don't think there's any conclusive evidence that this professor had any involvement in the events on Starry Mesa. Speculation like that just leads to more confusion, I don't want to give any more legitimacy to conspiracy theories. If you ask me this is part of some kind of government project, most likely military, that went horribly wrong. Now they're looking for someone to pin it all on."

>"Mmm-hm, and what about claims that his vehicle was found wrecked only a few miles from the site of the disaster, and that a student of his is currently in military custody?"
>>
No. 571405 ID: 0b90a3
File 139786871606.jpg - (47.62KB , 600x553 , 569.jpg )
571405

>"Unfortunately we haven't been able to speak with the student you mentioned, as the government has been very careful about releasing information regarding the event. I'd like to mention however, that they say he isn't in 'custody', rather he is being treated at a military hospital as are many of the survivors from Starry Mesa and the surrounding areas."

>"And we'd like to take a moment again to extend our thoughts and condolences to the families of those missing in the disaster. Just a reminder, the American Red Brick Foundation is still accepting donations on behalf of the Starry Mesa community, If you'd like to make a contribution their website is---"
>>
No. 571406 ID: 0b90a3
File 139786872962.jpg - (61.60KB , 728x600 , 570.jpg )
571406

You are now Beth.
A lot has happened in the last few weeks.
There's been a lot of questions, much of the town is in ruin and its been hard to explain the the world exactly what happened. As an EMT you've been working with FEMA and various charity organizations to go through the wreckage and start rebuilding their lives.

Today you're headed to the VA hospital where they've been keeping Dale. Mary's gotten them to agree to admit you as a visitor; it'll be the first time you've had a chance to see him since that night.

That must be her now.
>>
No. 571415 ID: 2c6ff1

>>571406
So, what happened to the horde of envenomed townsfolk? Did Dale and the others manage to retrieve leeches from the Cacophony's insides to treat them? Did they detach the Professor and figure out how to get him out of the dream? Have any gods shown up yet?

Stay up on the balcony and wave to her as she gets out, then get your stuff and meet her. Ask how everyone is doing.
>>
No. 571416 ID: 72e8d7

>>571406

Don't worry, Beth. It'll just be a simple visit. just try to keep from getting into too deep a conversation about the events with Radula and the Cacophony.
>>
No. 571466 ID: 7a750e

remember: everything you see is bugged. so is everything you don't.
>>
No. 571719 ID: 0b90a3
File 139802679657.jpg - (49.64KB , 728x400 , 571.jpg )
571719

You meet Dr. Slate in the parking lot and hop into her car.

Beth
"Hey, thanks for doing this Mary. I know security's still pretty tight over there."

Mary
>"Its no problem, Dale could really do with seeing another friendly face."

Beth
"How's he doing anyway?"

Mary
>"Well, he's been sleeping a lot, which is great. And I've made sure that he finally gets a proper diet: poor guy was so malnourished, did you realize he was starting to get scurvy?"

>"He's been holding up pretty well though, I mean the only reason were not in a lab somewhere is because of him. He agreed to co-operate with the government as long as the rest of us were protected and allowed to leave. They haven't been mistreating him, though you could tell a lot of people weren't satisfied with the explanation for what happened at first. But once he brought back some leeches and started bringing the envenomed out of their comas, they warmed up to him."

Beth
"Still a lot of people missing though. We only found, what like a hundred people?"

Mary
>"Yeah, we think some were dragged into the other dimension when the rift sealed shut. Maybe we'll find them on the other side."

There's a long silence.

Beth
"How's Ray doing?"

Mary
>"From what I've heard it might be a while before he's out of the hospital, but hopefully he'll at least be up and moving around soon. Lynwood stops by to check up on him whenever he can. Frankly its amazing he's still alive."
>>
No. 571720 ID: 0b90a3
File 139802680130.jpg - (41.48KB , 483x600 , 572.jpg )
571720

Mary
>"I haven't heard much from Todd, how's he holding up?"

Beth
"Pretty good, he's able to get around on his own now. He's still on the pain meds, but we're... working on that, and I've been making sure he sticks with the physical therapy."

Mary gives you a toothy grin.
>"Speaking of 'physical therapy' I heard you guys went on a date...."

"Mary, what the hell?!"

>"Come on, how'd it go?"

"We just went to a movie, you know, the one with all the big monsters smashing cities."

>"Wait, seriously?"

"Turns out we both watched a lot of those growing up, and even now they still feel incredibly cheesy. I mean, after seeing the real thing."
>>
No. 571721 ID: 0b90a3
File 139802680610.jpg - (55.56KB , 700x457 , 573.jpg )
571721

>"Well, how was it?"

"Well, of course it was in 3-D, and Todd has only one eye now."

>"And 3-D glasses are polarized now, aren't they?"

"Yeah so it was kind of a blurry mess for him. And my hearing is still coming back, so each of us only got like half the film.

>"Oh God, sounds like a disaster"

"Well he'd tell me what they were saying when it got too quiet, and I'd tell him what was happening when it was too blurry. There was hardly anyone there, I mean who sees a monster movie after Starry Mesa right?"

>"Yeah, what kind of maniac would do that?"

"Oh shut up, it was sweet."
>>
No. 571726 ID: cb8496

Ask about her and Dale. Weren't they going on a date as well?
>>
No. 571727 ID: 824f43

>>571721
Okay, that is adorable.
>>
No. 571734 ID: 2fec88

>>571721

that last panel reminds me of something. just can't put my finger on what it is.
>>
No. 571735 ID: 0df3a1

>>571734
It's not Donnie Darko is it?
>>
No. 571806 ID: cd87e4

>>571734 or Parasite Eve?
>>
No. 571815 ID: ff491d

>>571136
you had better have burnt that sleeping bastard to the ground, dale.

>>571721
that's adorable!
>>
No. 571854 ID: 57a559

Ask Mary about her coffee date, if she's had an opportunity.
>>
No. 571881 ID: 0b90a3
File 139813496318.jpg - (48.29KB , 600x485 , 574.jpg )
571881

Beth
"Anyway, didn't Dale ask you out for coffee, what happened with that?"

Mary
>"Well, I mean he's under guard in a secure military hospital, not exactly easy to pop out for a burger. Also I'm his doctor, and if things are to remain that way, I need to remain professional and not date my patients. I can be a lot more helpful that way."

Beth
"Aw, Mary..."

>"Eh, its okay, we're both adults. Right now it seems like what he needs is stability and rest, not a relationship. Maybe someday though."

"What about when you are asleep? You guy's can't see each other then?"

>"Well, yeah we do still end up in the Library when we're asleep, but ever since we woke up Radula's other victim's it can get a little crowded there. And while its a pretty amazing place, its hardly what I'd call romantic."
>"Also... Well, I'll let Dale explain."
>>
No. 571882 ID: 0b90a3
File 139813497014.jpg - (42.26KB , 600x484 , 575.jpg )
571882

After driving for a while you pull up to the VA hospital. What happens next is a blur of checking authorization, signing in, going through scanners, emptying pockets, rechecking authorization, and wandering through a labyrinth of identical beige hallways. By the time you've waved through security you're unsure if you came here to see someone or to launch a missile.
>>
No. 571883 ID: 0b90a3
File 139813498105.jpg - (56.95KB , 600x600 , 576.jpg )
571883

Finally the two of you are escorted through a door into a small room with an obvious one way mirror, a metal table and a few chairs. After a minute Dale is let in through a door on the other side of the room.

Dale
"Beth! So great to see you!"

He gives you a hug. He's smells a lot better and feels less scrawny than the last time you last hugged.
>>
No. 571884 ID: 9ddf68

so how's it been?
>>
No. 571885 ID: 57a559

>>571883
Compliment dale on his scars
They look good on him
He looks badass.
>>
No. 571886 ID: 23e893

tell him he smells a lot better and feels a lot less scrawny than the last time you guys hugged. I know I like it when someone tells me that.
>>
No. 571887 ID: ca65e6

>>571883
Ask him about the other world. Also ask him how it feels to have literally saved the universe.
>>
No. 571894 ID: 53ba34

lets keep it simple first. ask how sleeping feels.
>>
No. 572027 ID: 4a20fa

>>571894
That.
>>
No. 572047 ID: efed8b

This is way too late to say but back at the manticore fight centrifugal force was used... Thats incorrect, thats the owtward force, and can just be called by regular force. CentriPetal force is what keeps you going in a circle but i mean almost everyone majes the mistake, i used to even do it but just a tip. The more you know!
>>
No. 572057 ID: 0b90a3
File 139827353132.jpg - (37.83KB , 471x600 , 577.jpg )
572057

Beth
"Hey Dale, great to see you! You're looking way better than last time I saw you, and your face is healing nicely too. How's it feel to finally be able to get some sleep?"

Dale
>"Ha, yeah thanks, they've been letting me use the gym here. Sleep has been... weird. While its great to finally be able to rest, I've been way more busy asleep than awake. But how about you? What have you been up to? How's Jeff doing? I haven't heard from him in a while."
>>
No. 572058 ID: 0b90a3
File 139827353553.jpg - (57.85KB , 652x600 , 578.jpg )
572058

Beth
"Well, Lately I've been working for the Red Brick Foundation on the recovery operations. Its mostly logistical stuff now: moving people to emergency shelters, helping them get set up, distributing donations and food. The first couple days were really intense though. There were a lot of people who had barricaded themselves inside when the Cacophony swept through town; we're still digging through the rubble. Still, I'm doing something and helping people, which is all I've ever really wanted to do."
>>
No. 572059 ID: 0b90a3
File 139827354012.jpg - (52.64KB , 600x539 , 579.jpg )
572059

Beth
"The reservation was pretty much completely flattened, but fortunately a couple neighboring communities have been able to accept most of the survivors. No one is happy about being relocated though, and there's been a lot of pressure to quarantine the site for research. The whole thing's gone political, but Jeff's mom has years of experience fighting for them in the state senate. She's got a whole army of advocates working to make sure the area doesn't get stolen from them. Unfortunately its complicated by the fact that so few people know what actually happened."

Beth
"I wish we could just come out and set the record straight."

Dale
>"I know, but between the misinformation and secrecy, I don't know who would accept it."
>>
No. 572066 ID: fe4bfc

Am not sure the general public is ready for the fact that everything almost got eaten by monsters.

That and if anyone is crazy enough to mess with the book they might all wake up again. So keeping that info under wraps would be important. One crazy doomsday cult gets access to the library and everybody is fucked.

Were you able to rescue the professor? Or did he go to sleep along with the stuff attached to him?
>>
No. 572067 ID: 57a559

>>572059
So has the government completely accepted the explanation of the fact that there are cosmic horrors out there and in our dreams and that one is just waiting to wake up to eat us for breakfast?
>>
No. 572068 ID: cd5750

What has Dale been doing in the library? Telling people not to touch the books? Are the bugs and crabs still there?
>>
No. 572069 ID: cd5750

What has Dale been doing in the library? Telling people not to touch the books? Are the bugs and crabs still there?
>>
No. 572070 ID: cd5750

What has Dale been doing in the library? Telling people not to touch the books? Are the bugs and crabs still there?
>>
No. 572071 ID: ca65e6

Beth doesn't even know what's in the dreamworld. She'd just wind up asking directly what's in there.

Honestly the only way you're gonna get everyone to accept the explanation is if the gods themselves revisited the world in public view. We know that at least one exists, since the old lady gave Dale a message from one.
>>
No. 572074 ID: 189a54

>>572071
I'd love to see how the religions of the world would react to that happening.
>>
No. 572107 ID: 7ab2db

I may just be paranoid, but the fact that we haven't seen Dale's pupils make me suspicious there's going to be some sort of twist where we (the audience, at least) see he has Cuttlefish Eyes. I've seen too many horror stories not to suspect a supposedly happy ending that gets a last-minute twist that screws everyone over.
>>
No. 572117 ID: d0f81e

>>572107

stop ruining the twist ending with your paranoia, man.

ask Dale what he's been busy with, and if he's been getting any shit from the government guys. tell him that if they do, you'll kick 'em in the nuts.
>>
No. 572119 ID: 0b90a3
File 139829917453.jpg - (52.82KB , 410x600 , 580.jpg )
572119

Beth
"Speaking of secrecy, you said that you've been 'busy'. Can I ask what you've been up to in the other world? Did you ever get your professor out of there?"

Mary shakes her head.
>"We haven't gotten him loose yet, but they've been analyzing the claw you cut off of Radula. There's apparently thousands of different toxins in there, as well as things that no one really understands yet. Eventually they hope they can get him out of there using what they learn. He doesn't seem to be in pain at least, its like he's asleep just like everything else there."
>>
No. 572120 ID: 0b90a3
File 139829918086.jpg - (81.85KB , 600x814 , 581.jpg )
572120

>"As for what we've been doing..."
Dale looks over his shoulder at the mirror and then shrugs.
>"There's three projects we're working on in there."

>"With all of the people that we have now, we're working to map as much of the other side as we can but as far as we know it's infinite in size. Just exploring and documenting the place is incredibly time consuming, but we're learning a lot. For one, it seems that something else built the library, something that wasn't part of the Cacophony."

Beth
"Something else? Like the Thunderbird?"

Dale
>"And probably others, yeah.

Beth
"Have you seen any signs of them? Do you know what they are?"

Dale
>"They haven't shown themselves yet if they're still around. Whatever they are, the books make it pretty clear that they're responsible for creating the universe. It seems that they're still in hiding though: either they're still scared to reveal themselves or they are aren't allowed to get involved."
>>
No. 572121 ID: 0b90a3
File 139829918573.jpg - (38.86KB , 600x446 , 582.jpg )
572121

Dale
>"There's also a few 'readers' in the group, and they've been combing through the library for more information on, well, everything really. There's so many books, each one is about a different universe with a different history. Apparently some of them are really weird, but there's quite a few like ours. We're finding answers to questions that we never thought of asking and seeing futures we never imagined. Every one of them ends the same way though..."

Beth
"The awakening, right?"
>>
No. 572122 ID: 0b90a3
File 139829919120.jpg - (42.89KB , 600x416 , 583.jpg )
572122

Dale grins.
>"That's where we come in..."
>>
No. 572123 ID: 99624f

Are you changing other universes books then? Can the devouring be reversed?
>>
No. 572125 ID: 763c3d

" Whatever they are, the books make it pretty clear that they're responsible for creating the universe. It seems that they're still in hiding though: either they're still scared to reveal themselves or they are aren't allowed to get involved."

Or maybe this is what the universe is supposed to be like, or maybe they dont care, perhaps the cacophany is there darling pet, and the universe here to feed it, perhaps life is a error that should not exist and drawing attention to it will result in its erasure, maybe all this is just a extra-dimensional cooking show, and now its ready for eating..

Do not for a second believe that you or your reality is in anyway special or reserved or able to understand the slightest hint of the true reality, the only sane thing to do is remove all reference to your universe from the library and return, never to leave.

But if you must go on, if your damned curiosity and arrogance pushes you further i say only this, you where warned.
>>
No. 572126 ID: ca65e6

>>572122
Wait, is he going to try to edit every book, to save their universes just like this one has been? So that the Cacophony never eats anything, it only sleeps? Did they figure out if it's possible to do that without a direct connection to the brain like his leech? Speaking of which, I presume he has a metal plate in his head now.
>>
No. 572127 ID: ca65e6

>>572125
We uh, know the gods are in opposition to the Cacophony, it's in the Radula chapter.
>>
No. 572128 ID: 763c3d

>>572127
And do we know where the gods came from? or there true motivations? when dealing with Lovecraftian horrors you cant trust Anything.
>>
No. 572131 ID: ca65e6

>>572128
...just read the chapter.
>>
No. 572167 ID: ca65e6

Oh wait here's a great line. "Not content with saving one universe, huh?"
>>
No. 572170 ID: 763c3d

>>572131
Oh im sure this will be a happy ending and that the gods are on the level, its just best to never assume any kind of victory or honesty when dealing with unknown factors like gods and lovecraft monsters. as for the other universe's make sure you do the research before walking into one, you don't want to accidentally walk into the one ruled by Ultra-mecha-death-Hitler..
>>
No. 572191 ID: a124c7

so why can't you put in a leech in a book that says "someone cured AIDS, cancer and world hunger in 2014"?
>>
No. 572201 ID: d2995c

>>572191
Presumably the universe only directly effects the behavior of the Cacahphony. It seem like it might be theoretically possible with multiple edits to edit the Cacaphony into actually being helpful, but that may or may not be worth the risk.
...Now that I think about it, we might want to consider the eventual heat death of the universe, and the fact that we might have an opportunity to address that now (though any answer to that would need to be very carefully thought out).
>>
No. 572209 ID: 53ba34

>>572201
we don't know if heat death is a thing. the universe was actually made by gods. heat death occurs when the universe keeps expanding. if it stops expanding (perhaps cause the gods planned it to stop) it wont suffer heat death.
>>
No. 572273 ID: 0b90a3
File 139838984251.jpg - (66.95KB , 700x700 , 584.jpg )
572273

You are now Radula
Tongue of the Un-speaker
Voice of the Anti-word
Messenger of the Name-eater
Hand of the Reason-thief
Injector of the Mind-venom-blessing

Currently, you are wandering the glorious Library of the Cacophony. However this particular section is strangely unfamiliar. You find this extremely disconcerting as you should know every inch of the infinite Library, it is part of your duty to do so.

Still, you are convinced that if you continue searching you will find something you recognize.
>>
No. 572274 ID: 0b90a3
File 139838984959.jpg - (85.34KB , 700x700 , 585.jpg )
572274

You are Radula
Tongue of Un-reason
Name of the Anti-voice
Messenger of the word-eater
Hand of the Speaker-thief
Injector of the Mind-bessing

You are starting to get a little worried, admitting to yourself that you might be a little lost, then denying it. A creature such as yourself does not get lost, you are just confused. After all of that nonsense with the missing book, it only makes sense. To calm yourself you pull a book off of the shelf at random to read, perhaps that will help reorient you.

Odd, for some reason the pages will not allow you to read them. Your claws tap against the resin in frustration as row upon row of flatworms glare back at you full of secrets.

What we've been doing...
>>
No. 572275 ID: 0b90a3
File 139838985377.jpg - (47.59KB , 700x447 , 586.jpg )
572275

You are Radula
Messenger of the Un-Word
Voice of the Mind-venom-blessing
Hand of the Anti-Reason
Speaker of the Name-speaker

No, wait, that can't be right.

You drop the book on the floor. Surely, one of the many armed titan-guardians will come to re-shelve it momentarily.... Then you can follow it back to familiar territory. It occurs to you that it has been some time since you last saw any of the other custodians of the Library.

...is editing the books...
>>
No. 572276 ID: 0b90a3
File 139838986120.jpg - (62.83KB , 700x700 , 587.jpg )
572276

You are Radula
Voice of the.... Word....thief
Speaker of the Reason-un-blessing?
Voice of the.. did you already do that one?

You continue walking. Its odd, If you had ever experienced a dream in your existence, you might have described this part of the Library as dream-like. But you have not, so it is merely... odd.

...and giving as many universes a chance as we can. Its an enormous task...
>>
No. 572281 ID: 0b90a3
File 139839015196.jpg - (45.74KB , 496x800 , 588.jpg )
572281

You are Radula
The messenger.

You aren't sure where you are supposed to be going, or why its so important. All you are sure of is that...

...but by doing so, we're hoping to eventually get help from other realities.
>>
No. 572282 ID: 0b90a3
File 139839015427.jpg - (44.85KB , 383x700 , 589.jpg )
572282

You are Radula

and make sure
>>
No. 572283 ID: 0b90a3
File 139839016098.jpg - (17.71KB , 369x800 , 590.jpg )
572283

You are...

it never wakes up.

You are lost.


End of Epilogue.
>>
No. 572284 ID: 0b90a3

I plan on posting some of the production ideas as well as discussing some of the potential paths of the story in the discussion page. If you have any questions or comments I'll address them there or you can hit me up on IRC
>>
No. 572323 ID: 4a20fa

*applause*
>>
No. 572325 ID: ca65e6

>>572283
Sweet dreams.
>>
No. 572340 ID: efed8b

Thunderous claps.
>>
No. 572345 ID: fc62c2

aw, poor Radula :c
>>
No. 572350 ID: 92ad3c

Fucking bravo
>>
No. 572353 ID: 32b507

This was an excellent story. Couldn't be more happy to have participated.
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