Keeping Up With The Homo Sapiens, Part Six

<Nentuaby> I'm not sure RandBrittain's even watching the window…

<Rand Brittain> Oh, people came!

<Alexa> Perhaps he's fallen asleep.

<Rand Brittain> Thank you for pinging me.

<Alexa> Yep! Sorry, I hadn't set my alarm clock properly.

<Hollyhock God> So! When last we met, Marcus was captured by the security team of Maliq's Chancel after meddling above and beyond treaty limits.

<Hollyhock God> The only survivor- Ebba!

<Marcus> (Treaty?)

<Hollyhock God> Well, generic accepted meddling limits. The Noble Geneva Convention.

<Marcus> (Pfeh. Oh, you just mean those principles of rational behavior that Familia that don't have bits of the Phoenix lodged in their skull adhere to.)

<Hollyhock God> So, what's the plan?

<Hollyhock God> (Yeah, social convention, manners, those things.)

<Hollyhock God> Or is Ebba just going to pretend she doesn't know anything about it, crusher_bob?

<Alexa> ("Marcus? Marcus who?")

<RyanSherbrig> Continue reading his favorite book until someone alerts him as to the potential presence of a situation.

<Hollyhock God> …let us assume, for time reasons, that Ebba arrives, autumn-colored and slightly askew, to alert you the the potential presence of a situation.

<Alexa> "You what?"

<RyanSherbrig> "What? I thought you were going to offer her the apples? How did trying to give her the thing she cripplingly needs go wrong?"

<Hollyhock God> Ebba gives some kind of answer that I'm not allowed to say for her, owing to PC/HG treaty provisions.

<Alexa> (with a touch of sarcasm) "Did you give her my note?"

  • RyanSherbrig sets aside De Vermis Mysteriis.

<Hollyhock God> Possibly the only thing to do is to come up with a plan!

<RyanSherbrig> "That answer is frustratingly vague." (I did miss a few sessions, so don't know what happened OOC and can't fill in the blanks.)

<RyanSherbrig> "Regardless. Is Marcus being held at Envy's chancel? What do we know of the place?"

<Hollyhock God> I have logs for a reason! But to summarize, Maliq interpreted the offer as "Here, we'll keep giving you your fix as long as you do what we say," and threw them out.

<RyanSherbrig> (Oh, right, logs.)

<Hollyhock God> Instead of being thrown out, they decided to go snooping, and ran into the kind of security Worldbreaker Chancels tend to have.

<Alexa> (For certain values of 'out'.)

<Marcus> (We knocked on her door, got let in, had a frustrating conversation with a shadow puppet, and got forcibly evicted. We decided it might have actually been Shame intercepting us, and decided to forcibly search out Maliq. Then an alchemical robot was very rude to me.)

<Hollyhock God> It's a great big castle that's been partially redecorated to support modernized laboratory spaces. Invisible laser beam security systems in the stone doors and things like that.

<RyanSherbrig> "Hmmm."

<Alexa> "Brilliant."

<RyanSherbrig> "I don't suppose we still have his scarab, do we? That could simplify things."

<Hollyhock God> Ebba does have it, actually.

<Hollyhock God> There are in fact limits to your incaution!

<Alexa> "Can we divine his status through the scarab?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Can we kill him from afar?"

<Hollyhock God> Not that I'm aware of, but if he dies, he should reappear with you.

<RyanSherbrig> "I don't know how well the warding is on Maliq's chancel against sorcerous shenanigans."

<crusher_bob> hey, there are people!

<RyanSherbrig> "Alexa, try setting him on fire."

<Alexa> "Righto."

<Alexa> (Don't I have to know where he is or something?)

<Hollyhock God> Well, if it was just an ordinary person, you wouldn't, but since he's Noble, you do.

<RyanSherbrig> (S'good question. We do have a sort of vague idea and a pretty good sympathetic link, but that's ultimately up to the HG.)

<Ebba> (Doesn't he have a voodoo doll, or something, at the center of the Chancel, because he's a Tempest?)

<RyanSherbrig> "That's a very good point, Ebba."

<RyanSherbrig> "To the Realm's Heart!"

<Hollyhock God> Foci don't provide a sympathetic link according to the rules… although, yeah, you should be able to communicate through the Heart.

<Hollyhock God> Alas, the representation, whatever it is, looks unconscious. What is it, Marcus?

<Alexa> (Did Ebba give back the Secondary Domain?)

<Hollyhock God> Which one, Alexa?

<Alexa> (Secondary domain in Recycling?)

<Hollyhock God> Is that part of the Focus? I thought it was just a locus for his reincarnation.

<Marcus> (Yeah, it just holds the reincarnation gift.)

<Marcus> (And recycling's not a secondary domain, just an Association)

<Ebba> (Heh. Of course, when the PCs get their hands on the world-shaking artifact on a permanent basis, it's been nerfed from the version the bad guy had. :D )

<Alexa> (No, I thought Ebba or maybe Fiona picked up Secondary Domain after Pandora left. I also thought she gave it back when Marcus arrived, but I wasn't sure.)

<Hollyhock God> That was Fiona, but she cashed it in when Marcus joined.

<Alexa> (Righto.)

<RyanSherbrig> "Marcus, we have a plan. Can you provide us a detailed description of your location? Also, you do reappear next to the Scarab when killed, yes?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Oh, he's unconscious. Pshaw."

<Marcus> It's a badly cracked, but otherwise realistic, marble statue of Marcus, covered in vines.

<Hollyhock God> Maybe you can use this link to wake him up somehow.

<RyanSherbrig> "I guess we can't ask him if he's cool with being burned to death. It's been a while, but I do remember pain as being somewhat bothersome."

  • RyanSherbrig manifests loud dramatic orchestral music.

<Hollyhock God> Hm, would dramatic orchestral music wake up a really drugged Noble?

<Ebba> We could try feeding the statue some apples?

<Hollyhock God> Oh, that's just amusing enough to work.

<Alexa> "Oh, for crying out loud."

<Ebba> Or maybe we could talk Alexa into doing naughty things to the statue, so that her silliness can be recorded for all time by the miracle detector?

<RyanSherbrig> ("I am impressed and slightly disturbed that that worked.")

<Alexa> (Setting fire to the statue wouldn't do anything, would it?)

<Marcus> (It would destroy the vines. They would grow back.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Or was that just hypothetical?)

<RyanSherbrig> (They would be… REBORN.)

<Hollyhock God> Setting fire to it might work. It's basically part of Marcus that can't move.

<Ebba> (I think things catching fire around us is Tuesday)

<RyanSherbrig> (Well, we were planning on burning him to death anyway.)

<Hollyhock God> So are you going to set it on fire, have sex with it, or feed it an apple? Or all three, possibly involving some kind of hot apple-butter sex act?

<Alexa> "I vote for fire, Ebba votes for apples. Ryan?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Let's see if the apples work before we try fire."

<RyanSherbrig> "It's just polite to not try incineration as our first option."

<RyanSherbrig> "And impoliteness got us in this mess in the first place."

<Alexa> "I think it's a bad idea, but sure, go ahead, feed the statue the incredibly addictive piece of primal power."

<Hollyhock God> So, a tiny slice of apple, then?

<RyanSherbrig> "It's not like it's his first bite."

<Alexa> "Exactly! That makes it worse!"

<RyanSherbrig> "I confess, if this works, I will find it a little disturbing. So I'm partially curious to see if it does."

<Hollyhock God> Nibble, nibble, statue man! We feed you apples, 'cause we can!

<Hollyhock God> Marcus, you're having a terrible dream about the World Serpent sucking on your toes until there's nothing left, one at a time.

<RyanSherbrig> "But regardless, Alexa has given her sarcastic approval! COMMENCE APPLING."

<Hollyhock God> Then all of a sudden you're having an even worse dream about your wife.

<Marcus> :-(

<Hollyhock God> This is so bad you start awake, and realize that your physical body is strapped into something.

<Hollyhock God> And your representation in the Realm's Heart is full of apples. Again.

<Alexa> "How do we know if it worked?"

<Ebba> So, are you strapped into the pie feeding machine?

<Alexa> (Does the statue actually eat the apples, or are we just smooshing apple over its mouth?)

<Hollyhock God> The statute twitches a bit as the apple touches its marble tongue!

<Marcus> *pfut pfut* "You realize, of course, that this is a statue. It cannot actually eat."

<Hollyhock God> And yes, it does seem as though you're tied to a machine designed to force things down your throat.

<Hollyhock God> But for the moment, you're alone, although all four of your limbs are tied down with rather thick leather straps.

<Marcus> "Though granted, it is talking, I suppose I shouldn't take such things for granted."

<Alexa> "How are you feeling?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Aha, Marcus, you're awake! We need your permission and help to burn you to death."

<Alexa> (:D)

<Alexa> (sotto voce) "Well, not so much his permission as his location."

<Marcus> The statue sighs. "Well, it would be burning. On the other hand, I seem to be strapped to a Worldbreaker's force-feeding machine here, so that does sound relatively pleasant."

<RyanSherbrig> "Alexa can surely make painless fire! Painless incineratory fire."

<Marcus> "… right. At any rate- what sort of help do you need?"

<Alexa> (Now that he's awake, is there enough of a link for me to miracularise him?)

<RyanSherbrig> "A specific idea as to your location. Alternatively, if you perform some sort of long-range miracle on Alexa, who is standing right next to your statue at the heart, I believe Alexa could, ahem, return fire."

  • RyanSherbrig resists the urge to create a drum-and-cymbal set for the sting, but only barely.

<Hollyhock God> I think the return-fire is the best way to make a link.

<Hollyhock God> If Marcus is okay with being incinerated.

<Marcus> "I see… Well."

<Alexa> (Is a Lesser Creation enough to burn a human body?)

<Marcus> (What's Alexa wearing?)

<Hollyhock God> Probably not Marcus's body, although his precise degree of durability is… variable.

<Alexa> (Marcus, focus on the problem at hand! :p)

<Marcus> (Specifically, is there a hat of some sort involved?)

<RyanSherbrig> (Can't a Lesser Creation cover, like, one square mile?)

<Alexa> (No hat, probably a suit.)

<Hollyhock God> He's all miraculously reinforced!

<RyanSherbrig> (But yes, there's that.)

<Marcus> (Then let us rectify that.)

<Marcus> "Very well…" With a mighty WHOOSH, Alexa gains a regal crown of smokeless flame.

<Hollyhock God> Connection established!

<Alexa> (2 DMPs for a Major Creation of Fire, setting the table Marcus is on alight, incorporating a lesser change so it doesn't hurt and can't be extinguished by normal means.)

<Hollyhock God> Are you trying to release him or incinerate him?

<Alexa> (Incinerate him.)

<Hollyhock God> Marcus, you are incinerated! Roll a new character now, please. Maybe a talking dog.

<Marcus> Dag!

<Alexa> (Ooh! Make it a poodle!)

<Hollyhock God> Marcus reforms before your eyes in the usual fleshy process.

<Ebba> "Were the pies any good?"

<Hollyhock God> I should just declare that Maliq's real trap was doctoring you so that you'd reincarnate as a poodle.

<Alexa> "Welcome back. I hope it wasn't too painful."

<RyanSherbrig> I could summon a surgeon from beyond to rebuild him into a human shape he's more familiar with!

<RyanSherbrig> Or perhaps… something… better.

<Marcus> (A dove? My Familia wouldn't be at all suspicious of my new apartment. ;) )

<Alexa> (What is the usual fleshy process again?)

<RyanSherbrig> (Disturbing to hear described in detail.)

<Marcus> (Rebuilding from the inside out… bones… veins… muscles… By the time it gets to the end, you're probably not in a mood to enjoy or be much bothered by the brief interval between skin and clothes. ;) )

<Alexa> (Once he's back, I'd lose my link to the fire, right?)

<Hollyhock God> No, not it it's a fire.

<Alexa> (In that case, I put it out.)

<Marcus> "Well. There's another sticky situation solved by suicide."

<Alexa> "The Dark would be so thrilled to hear you say that."

<RyanSherbrig> "Strictly speaking, it wasn't by your own hand."

<RyanSherbrig> "And we did it cleanly, too."

<Marcus> "You would think, but I do rather seem to be persona non grata with all of them that I'm acquainted with. Must have something to do with my social circle."

<Alexa> "Good point."

<Alexa> (Do I get points for service to the Light, then? ;) )

<Hollyhock God> Marcus isn't human, so no points for serving him!

<Alexa> (He isn't?!)

<Hollyhock God> (No, and neither are you!)

<Hollyhock God> (See Principles of the Dark, by Meriweather Jones.)

<RyanSherbrig> (That's just one interpretation. There's probably a lot of conflicting definitions of 'humanity'.)

<Alexa> (Oh.)

<RyanSherbrig> (If you accept the precedent that Nobles can be human, that means you would have to protect them, even from themselves, or risk MP loss, though.)

<RyanSherbrig> (So, y'know, choose carefully.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Alternatively, it's Rand's game, so he can just arbitrarily rule that Nobles Never Count.)

<RyanSherbrig> (I shouldn't backseat HG)

<Hollyhock God> (Things you were going to do anyway never get you an MP.)

<Hollyhock God> (You have to go out of your way to serve your Code.)

<Alexa> (Ah, of course.)

<Alexa> "So what were they doing to you in there, Marcus?"

<Marcus> "Well, first an alchemical robot was very rude to me."

<Stone Marcus> "Then there were apples in my mouth…"

<Marcus> "Then I was in an otherwise empty room, strapped into a force feeding machine. Then I gave you a hat, and there was burning."

<Alexa> "What were they feeding you? Did you see anyone else?"

<Marcus> "I don't know what they intended to feed me. The robot tried to feed me something… green. The machine wasn't loaded when I awoke.

<Alexa> "How do you feel now?"

<Marcus> "Very refreshed, and with a slightly better singing voice. Though I don't think I can roll my tongue anymore."

<RyanSherbrig> (Shit! I have to head off for work. I'll see you all later.)

<Hollyhock God> Have fun! Stop crimes!

<Hollyhock God> What's on the agenda now that Marcus is rescued?

<Alexa> (Seeya!)

<Ebba> In theory, the upcoming Convocation, where we present evidence that mortals are now doing miracles.

<Alexa> (Checking him for traps.)

<Marcus> "So. Are we going to try again with the pleasant chat with Maliq bit, or is that too insane even for you lot?"

<Ebba> (I think I'll wait until my two Deadly Wounds heal up first. :D )

<Alexa> "I think it's still worth trying to talk to her, but maybe not at her place."

<Marcus> "Well then."

<Ebba> Well, time for me to go too.

<Ebba> byebye

<Alexa> "Of course, we may have blown our chance now."

<Alexa> (Bye!)

<Marcus> "Oh, it's not like she was predisposed to be reasonable before. We only actually did one bit of property damage, and it just sprang her trap for me."

<Marcus> "If anything, feeling clever about it will have improved her mood a bit."

<Hollyhock God> And wandered around uninvited in her Imperator's secret fortress.

<Alexa> "And wandered around uninvited in her Imperator's secret fortress."

<Marcus> "Yes, but then she strapped me into a torture machine and I died. We're kind of square there."

<Alexa> "Yeah, you and I might see it that way. Of course, it's not like we were on excellent terms beforehand."

<Alexa> "How does dying feel, by the way? If that's not a personal question."

<Marcus> "Like…" Marcus gets a 'thinking hard' kind of frown… "Er. Dying. Helpful, I know, but it's a pretty singular sensation. It's a little like feeling cold, and stretched out, and weightless." He shrugs. "But not that much like."

<Marcus> "Regal Barliman might have a better explanation than I do."

<Alexa> "Maybe. Does it hurt?"

<Marcus> (Noble names tend to be too peculiar to answer to the Title Lastname form, but hell, that's not going to stop Marcus. He's British lately, don't you know.)

<Hollyhock God> Often so.

<Marcus> "No. It's disquieting, perhaps unpleasant, but all pain ceases." He shakes his head. "That's been the best thing to come to some of my incarnations."

<Alexa> (Does he look the same as before?)

<Alexa> "I tried to make the flames painless too. I hope that helped."

<Marcus> "I do much appreciate that." He grins lopsidedly. "Death may be painless, but the runup does tend to be a different story."

<Alexa> "I bet!"

<Hollyhock God> Hm, I guess we're out of story now.

<Hollyhock God> Next week: the Convocation of the Light!

<Alexa> Yay!

<Marcus> "Well, I have certain things to attend to. Thank you again for burning me to death, Alexa." He smiles and executes a proper western-style bow. Then he manifests a hat and wanders off to perform whatever noble duties it is our characters presumably do perform at some point.

  • Alexa nods and waves.
  • Alexa lights a cigarette and says to herself, "That went better than it could have. A little too easy, perhaps…"

<Hollyhock God> Well, I didn't think anyone wanted a three-session rescue story, with Marcus tied up for half of that span.

<Uqbarian> No, there is that. But Alexa is sometimes a touch paranoid.

<Nentuaby> I will be a bit disappointed if nothing comes of being unconscious in a hostile Worldbreaker's lab for several hours down the road. :P

<Hollyhock God> Actually disappointed? Because if I thought you wanted that I would have just done it.

<Uqbarian> I like it when things occasionally work out okay without horrible unforeseen consequences. :)

<Nentuaby> Feh! I am grateful not to be strapped to a table for days, but there have to be consequences somewhere down the line. It's not fun if there are no disasters! :P

<Hollyhock God> Who knows? Maybe your next reincarnation will be as a dog.

<Nentuaby> "Mommy, why is that Jack Russell wearing a jaunty bowler?"

<Uqbarian> "Hi, I'm Alexa, and this is my dog, Marcus."

<Uqbarian> "We fight crime."

<Nentuaby> "Roof! Ruff! DiMaggio!"

<Hollyhock God> Admittedly, for a somewhat idiosyncratic definition of "crime."

<Uqbarian> "They're trying to steal the universe!"

<Hollyhock God>

<Nentuaby> "Quickly, team! To the Batshitcrazymobile!"

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