Comics by Shaenon II

Mad science has never been so cute!
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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:41 am 
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Writer's Note: The following story doesn't have any direct bearing on Mad Sci Wars and is probably not in the same canon. Any characters that seem similar to Mad Sci Wars characters are best considered alternates or just outright different characters. I just wanted to futz around with something new and have people tell me what they think. Read on at your own risk, any assurances I could make to the quality of this are dubious, as it's off the top of my head and may go in random directions. If it ends up

"Monster! You don't belong in this world!

O-ok... then where do I belong?
"

I'm running through a forest. I don't know where I'm going. Just as long as it's away from there.

I don't understand. I don't understand why they thrust the fire and those giant forks at me. I don't understand why they hated me. I don't understand why they pointed that loud banging metal stick at me. I don't understand why it hurts so much now.

Am I... leaking? Not from my eyes this time. From the chest. A stitching burst. The leak's a different color. The other type stopped.

Getting hard to think. Hard to move. Body's stiff. I though the thatched-hut people would be nice. Like the doctor. I leap over a ravine, but I don't put enough force into the thrusting of my legs. I scrabble at the edge of the other cliffside, but can't get a good grip.

Then I'm falling. There's a splash, and I'm sinking instead of falling. Watching the red leak up above me as the moving water carries me down its path.

Hard to breath now too. My eyes shut. I black out.

Prologue: End

Coming soon... Monsters and People

_________________
We've learned a lot, but this still isn't going to be easy. But I don't think the elder star's confidence in us was misplaced. I know we can do this! We'll set things right! ...somehow.

"There is a fine line between a good King and a Despot. A King is best when His subjects barely realize that He exists. When His work is done and His will is fulfilled, they will say, 'We did it ourselves.'"
-Xin Yun


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 11:14 pm 
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Established Mad Scientist
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Sounds like it's gonna be interesting!
I'm all anticipatory.

_________________
In other words, he'll look like he was thrown into a rummage sale at high speed and came out wearing whatever stuck, because to him, "hero" means "costume" and "costume" means "dressup" and "dressup" means "whatever the hell I want".
------
"The only difference between genius and madness is the success rate." - White Wolf Forums


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 1:00 am 
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This is what happens the week before finals when I get all overworked. I don't even know if this makes sense, but I wrote it and I haven't posted anything in ToM in forever. I always seem to be torn between a desire to write something really creepy and a desire not to write something disturbing... I don't think this came out creepy or disturbing? I dunno... I suppose it might be a little bit creepy if it makes sense, but will probably just be confusing.

Backstory that will probably never be relevant to anything! (so when it doesn't make sense, you don't have to worry about it! Yay!)


Why would anyone paint anything red?

Nice day out, sunny. The 12th, so fireworks and a day off in two days, with some luck.
One of the old warehouses, checking for explosives. It was a common problem, but people did try to get away with not registering.

...luck that might not be present. It wasn't... the worst. That was something. A large area, solidly covered, but somehow very neatly... more people would have to be called.

It just clashes, half-step discord, even if that shouldn't happen without a contrast but there's the idea there, what it should be, just a touch off. The uncanny valley in a color.

"And you'll need to be on a high-iron diet for a few days, and drink lots of fluid, and come back in a week so we can check you for aftershock."

Same instructions for all of them... same problem, same solution. Most of them came back. More than normally in this sort of thing, weirdly enough. But they were starting to run low on materials... They'd need a few extra Mad Biologists for a bit.

Fireworks tonight, but no, they would be wrong, too. It was in the papers now, but no one seemed to note the efficiency. Just that the area and neatness were the same... it was the efficiency between area and oxidation meters squared seconds photons at just the right frequency

"Excuse me... I'm lost. Can you give me directions?" Another hotel. Unsurprising.

"Of course... here, if you walk over this way I can point as well..." Everyone heading home after the fireworks, a few people get lost sometimes, especially those only in the area temporarily.

The proper color, why the paint is off, the glisten the sheen but such a fast half-life and then it's wrong but not by a half step-

"You give TERRIBLE directions."

"..sorry?" This was more than a little bit off. Looking back- no, that one hadn't moved. But she looked exactly the same- and- directions? Was it the same-

"It's ok. I'm still going to have you work for me anyway. I did pick you for your efficiency, not your ability to give directions."

"You- nng.."

"-oh, and I'm gonna modify you a BIT for while you're working with me. I can, so I might as well go for optimal. C'mon, I'll help you back to my place."

_________________
"Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering Kaboom!" -Marvin the Martian

Spam Poison. I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 6:05 pm 
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Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist
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The following is the information given to Sarcastic By agent Wolf. Parsed down to the important bits.

Shive’s journal


Febuary 25th 20xx - Another rejected design. I swear these corporate flunkies get dumber by the day. The design was sound, it was only because the imbecile couldn’t understand the science behind it that he rejected it. I don’t care if he claimed to have a doctorate in theoretical physics, it was obvious he was a twit.

March 12th 20xx -goddamn morons! How much simpler must I make the math for them to understand the beauty, the simple elegance of a teleportation field! I am not teaching grade level physics dammit! This is why I got this job in the first place!

March 15th 20xx- Well, at least they pay well. My own personal project can keep moving forward.

March 31st 20xx- I think I’ve got it! I know how to simplify the math for those idiots! Now they’ll have to accept my proposal!

April 1st 20xx- Imbeciles! Morons! Slag brained simpletons! Pranks! As though I have time for such trivialities! Especially when they ruin a perfect model of a teleportation field!

April10th 20xx - I found out why they never accept my ideas.

April 11th 20xx- FiNALLy, rEVeNgE. StEAl MY iDEas WiLL yOu? THEy sToLE MY IDEAS! ThE wHOlE tIMe THeY pLAyEd mE foR a FOOL! WElL nOW tHEy’Re INTIMATELY fAMiLiAR wITh thE TElEpoRTaTIon fiELd!

April 12th 20xx- Someone from some organization called M showed up today. Stopped all my devices, rescued the COrPErate rATs, and promised that they’d get my patents back. I doubt it, but at the moment I don’t have anything I can do.

April 20th 20xx- Legal council. Bah, as if I need legal council. I made it, it’s MiNE. Why do I need to word it differently?!

June 12th 20xx- They’ve returned my inventions and even retrieved most of the profits from those THiEViNg RaTS, but we all know the company hid some of them away in the maze of finances.

Aug 31st 20xx- THoSe RaTS! They didn’t invent that system! That’s mINe!!! And they changed it enough to get it around my pATeNt!!!

Oct 10th 20xx- Taken things into my own hands. Working on a new project. This world is too full of greedy souls.

Feb 5th 20x1- Seems others agree with me, and some are eager to help.

March 1st 20x1- going to have to be careful not to get M’s attention again. Little steps. One part at a time. It’ll take years. But with an eternity I can wait.

Dec 12th 20x4- Things going well. Need a proper assistant though. The rest are eager to help, but they’re still idiots.

Jan 5th 20x5- perfection! I’ve found a local physics professor, and she’s up to date on theoretical physics!

Jan 15th 20x5- things continue to go my way! She expresses similar views on people, and I noticed the way she looked at me when I got caught up in my words. She’s a natural hench!

Feb 2nd 20x5- I have a new assistant. Who’d have thought all I had to do was order her to assist me? She was falling over herself to offer her help.

Feb 4th 20x5- New assistant arrived today. Checked for bugs and other contraband. Found a bottle of pills, labeled as aspirin, but I have my suspicions. Incinerating it and testing them to be sure. More importantly, she’s been heavily modified already. She informs me her father was a mad before his death and experimented extensively on her.

Feb 5th 20x5- It was aspirin, apparently my assistant suffers from migraines due to the modifications. For now she’ll simply have to cope.

March 5th 20x5- Used what I’ve been calling “The Voice” today on Diane and it was amazing the difference it made. The others react to it usually, but in her it’s been amplified to an incredible degree. I think I could order her off a cliff and she’d obey, happily.

March 12th 20x5- Things are moving much faster with Diane. She never sees any more than small portions of the devices, just as none of the cultists never know more than their role. She works incredibly fast, especially when motivated with The Voice.

April 10th 20x5- Today was the anniversary of that day. Felt horrible the whole time. Ordered Diane to cheer me up. She performed wonderfully.

Jan 3rd 20x6- Diane informs me she is pregnant. It doesn’t matter. The plan goes ahead as decided all those years ago.

Jun 9th 20x6- I’m a father.
This bears thinking on.

Jun 12th 20x6- Have been thinking. Child changes nothing. Better he not grow up in this wicked world.

July 24th 20x6- Tomorrow’s the day. Assembled the pieces myself just now.

Diane’s mission log


January 1st 20x5- Taken job as physics professor to lure target’s attention. Expecting contact any day now.

Jan 15th 20x5- The target is taking the bait. Need to up medication.

Feb 2nd 20x5- last entry for a while. Target has taken the bait. Have one month’s supply of medication. There is a 80% chance he will confiscate. If there is no contact in 60 days the medication’s effects will have fully faded and an extraction team will be necessary.

March 25th 20x5- Target has finally relaxed observation enough for new report. No overt sign of actionable violations. Picked up additional medication from drop point. As predicted medication was confiscated. Mid level spark, able to force assistance against my will by mid point of medication’s down slope. No vital information leaked, cover maintained, as verified by Wolf.

April 11th 20x5- Will need pregnancy test soon.

Dec 15th 20x5- Have managed to discover all of Shive’s present defenses. Including a stage 4 force shield, a stage 2 backup force shield, one neural uplink to a mainframe under base, and one stage 6 force shield for around the activation point. Schematics file included with report.

Jan 2nd 20x6- Pregnancy test returned positive.

March 15th 20x6- Have finally pieced together what Shive is designing. Yet to determine if it could actually work. Schematics file included with report.

Jun 10th 20x6- gave birth yesterday.

Jun 15th 20x6-Child has been given up for adoption. Name is Reginald Shive, please ensure proper home Wolf.

July 25th 20x6- Code Red.

Overall Mission report.


Doctor Shive, originally Doctor Octavian Felurus went mad after several patents and inventions were stolen by the company he was employed by. Trapped Several employees in a continual teleportation loop during rampage and was subdued by M agents. Was able to get patents back as well as all profits officially derived from inventions. However the company hid several hundred thousand dollars through offshore channels and managed to make a derivative of the inventions while preventing Doctor Shive from placing inventions on the market. It is estimated at the time of this report that the company in question made over 5 Million dollars in profits on said inventions.

Agent Diane was assigned to Doctor Shive after one of his cultists was caught stealing a small amount of enriched plutonium in Iran. The local military interrogated him and discovered he was part of a doomsday cult lead by Dr. Shive. The information was never shared, but one of our informants was present.

On July 25th 20x6 agent Diane called in a code red. Agent Wolf was mobilized immediately and the United States military was informed of a possible catastrophic Mad event. Agent Wolf and Diane neutralized Dr.Shive and his cult. No further incident.

_________________
"When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk" -Tuco, The Good the Bad and the Ugly

10 ghost tackles.

DOOM! and DR.KINESTRO! are both trademarks of the Kinestro co. and are not to be used, displayed, shouted, written, or thought without express permission of the Kinestro co. Perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, then dealt with personally by DR.KINESTRO!(tm).


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 5:13 pm 
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The Champion of Fun
Part 3: Getting Your Hands Dirty


I had no idea how to respond. Like a dumb pillar, I stood there, phone pressed to my ear. Tedd, whoever he was, continued to speak.

"As you've probably noticed by now, Madame Prez works fast. That device is blotting out the urge to have fun anywhere within that gray field. If it continues to expand, this area of the city will become... well, I'm sure you can imagine."

I still wasn't thinking clearly. "But... but... what can I do? Why are you calling me?"

"Because you're about to dismantle that thing, Jason Embries, and I am going to walk you through how. I am aware you have a multitool or pocketknife. Approach the device, and open it with the screwdriver of your pocketknife."

This day was getting weirder and weirder, but at least I could try to avoid tossing myself directly into obvious danger.
"Waaaait a minute," I said. "What's to keep me from being hit like what happened to Will?"

Tedd, whoever he was, started to sound impatient. "There isn't time to explain right now. You have to hurry, or the device'll lock in, and then we'll be completely screwed. If you start feeling strange, just remember that the device cannot harm you. Now open it up, already!"

I didn't really see what good I would do myself by following this mysterious Tedd's instructions, but it was pretty obvious what bad would happen if I stood around. Hoping with all my concentration that Tedd, whoever he was, was right, I ran towards the box. I felt a tiny bit strange, but no different. As far as I could tell, I was still the same old Jason. And I was still interested in the play.
Four large screws on the top of the box were an easy target for my pocketknife, leaving the top side of the box free to be lifted away. Underneath was a glowing lens (the holoprojector?) and a whole bunch of machinery.

When I had gotten a good look at the device, my cell phone vibrated again, and I held it to my ear.

"So far, so good," Tedd said. "Now, simply extend the long blade of your knife, and jam it into the recessed square of metal in the upper right corner. This'll short things out, so don't touch the metal parts of your knife. Then, once you do, the mechanism'll start to—
You know, it would probably be best to jam your pocketknife in, then run for it."


Shrugging, I set the phone back down, and pulled my pocketknife open to the blade. Careful to grip the sides only, I jammed it down.
Nothing happened.
"It didn't work!" I yelled as I picked back up the phone. "What do I—"

"RUN!!!"

With one hand on the phone, I pushed away from the box, running as fast as I could. When I was a few yards away, a thwump caught my attention. Looking back, the box had imploded. The gray field collapsed in upon itself, sending smoking gray dustballs in all directions. One missed me by inches. I caught an emotional echo of seriousness as it passed. A few balls had hit random unlucky passersby. Anyone hit took on the faintest gray cast, as they moved off to do whatever it was their minds now deemed important.

Then, as I half-turned-around, I saw what was about to happen.
Emily was just coming out of the theater doors, a sheaf of tickets triumphantly in her hand. At the same time, one dustball that had taken a particularly high arc decided to come down.

I turned and ran (again), this time towards her, but my first run had taken me too far. By the time I had thrown myself into a flying tackle, the girl I was interested in had skin, hair, and eyes tinged with gray. Augmented by the dust, she neatly dodged my flying form, and I collided with the theater wall.
Everything faded smoothly into black, but before I lost consciousness completely, I could feel my phone buzzing again. If this was going to become a habit, I needed to invest in one of those cellphone earphone things.
My last thought in the moment was,
"Emily....."


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:30 am 
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Jane Narbon's Lectures on Villainy
2: So You Want to Be a Villain


"Welcome back. As you know, my name is Jane Narbon, and I am a villainess and a Mad Scientist. I see that a good number of you were interested enough to return for this lecture. So, without further ado, let's dive in!"
So. You want to become a villain. It's a simple thought, and on the face of it, becoming a villain seems easy— but you need several things: time, resources, and willpower. And the last of those is the most critical."

{Jane concentrates for a few seconds. A pair of 8-inch-high minature versions of herself appear, one standing on each of her shoulders}
"You may never have seen these entities before, but each and every one of you has a pair. Call them shoulder sprites, aspects, what you will— these two are the voices of your conscience. Let's get to know them, shall we?"

{One of the two sprites steps up to the microphone. It is relatively demurely dressed, in light colors}
"Hi! Nice to meet all of you! I'm Jane's Good, the 'light side' of Jane's personality. [sigh] I don't really get listened to much these days, what with Jane a League of Villains member, but I'm hanging in there. I got her to buy a salad instead of a pastry yesterday, though!"

{The other sprite steps up. It is wearing dark colors and a revealing outfit, and is grinning evilly}
"Hell-oooooo, everyone! I'm Jane's Evil, and as you might imagine, for a villain, Jane listens to me a lot. I'm the one who makes all the important decisions— and, as a perk, she listens to me when deciding what to wear too....."

{Jane returns to the microphone}
"Now isn't that a nice balance? Well, it's time for a little experiment. The device next to me is a piece of narrative technology. Its sole purpose is to give the counterpoints in my head an external form. And, if you concentrate, you can see yours. Close your eyes. Imagine the last time you were really mulling something over. Think of weighing the options, comparing, hearing your own arguments for and against.
Now open your eyes."

{A massed gasp from the audience}

"Quite the menagerie, isn't it? The next part is critical. Examine to your shoulder sprites. Get used to what they sound like, what they look like, how their presence feels.
Look at your evil side. Meet it eye to eye.

And now, start listening to it."


Jane's Postlecture Notes

This one went well. The two who I called out from last time both returned, and the sprite visibility device worked perfectly. Covert Evil was a bit miffed at playing the part of an ineffectual Good with no apparent payoff from doing so, at least until I explained matters to her.
I estimate a good half of the people will be able to get in touch with their bad-guy/bad-girl side, even if they don't become actual villains. Of course, the practical bits— time, money, so on— get covered in the next lecture anyway, and that's when I'd expect to see the most people drop out.
Time will tell.


Next Lecture: Villainy - Themes, Style, and Resources


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:32 pm 
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The Champion of Fun
Part 4: The Journey Begins


When I woke up, I was in my bed, with someone standing over me. My head hurt as though someone had smacked it with a wall. "Are you all right?" whoever was standing over me said.
I recognized the voice. It was Emily— but she sounded different, somehow. I sat up, and promptly grimaced as my head throbbed.
Emily was there, standing beside me. She looked as different as she sounded. The color had leached out of her skin, leaving an shade of gray; and her voice hadn't sounded concerned about my injury. Merely... businesslike.

I groaned in response to her question.
"Owwww. I feel as though I was jousting or something," I said, "but I'll be alright once this headache is over. Are you all right?"
Emily looked at me, strangely.
"I am perfectly healthy, and I have deemed keeping a check on your health to be one of my tasks. It occurs to me that you are experiencing a headache. Would you like an aspirin?"

.....uh-oh.
If I needed any further confirmation that what had happened last night was real (which I didn't), this was it. And I knew the name of the situation I'd found myself in.
It was the Call to Adventure.

The Call to Adventure is the first stage of a cycle in epics and such known as the Hero's Journey— and I had a very bad feeling that, in this case, I was the Hero.
In the Hero's Journey, the Hero starts out ordinary. Luke Skywalker starts as a farm boy. Captain Kirk was a farm boy.
It occurs to me that 'farm boy' is probably the most hazardous job in fiction.

Anyway, what happens next is the Hero gets the Call to Adventure. You know, the farmkid is suddenly hunted by the Imperial soldiers. The teenage dreamer stumbles on a magic sword. The college student gets a note from a mysterious "Tedd". That sort of thing. The Call invites the Hero to get out there into the world and participate in the adventure!

There is only one problem with this, and it was a serious problem for me: If the Hero ignores the Call, the Call gets banhammery, and usually starts to inflict collateral damage. Demolished houses and/or burned-down villages are a few of the classics.
If my surmise was right, I'd already gotten the Call (the note), ignored it, and been hit with the damage (in the form of Emily). And the Call had a tendency to stay hammery, so things would almost certainly get even worse.
As the aspirin Emily gave me slowly notched down the pain in my head, I sighed.
It looked as though I was now the Hero of... whatever this was.

It was time to call Tedd.

_________________
"My conscience is feeling all prickly."
"A bit of absolute power can remedy that."
Kid Radd


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 12:56 am 
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The Champion of Fun
Part 5: Tedd Explains


"And how are you this fine day, Jason Embries?" Tedd asked when I dialed the number.
"Just how did you know my full name, anyway?" I replied, still a bit grumpy thanks my lingering headache.
"It's my job, considering."
I thought about asking him "considering what", but he'd probably give another unuseful answer. Instead, I asked, "OK. I still have no idea what abilities you picked me for, but I'm in. What should I do now?"

"Your first job is pretty simple. As it stands, we don't know that much about Madame Prez, other than her chosen appearance and the fact that boxes like the one you disabled have appeared elsewhere. I have people disarming them, but it doesn't stop the problem. So, you just need to do a simple research assignment."

I get resigned for the Hero's Journey, and my Wise Old Mentor gives me homework.
"Yes, oh my lord and master, I shall do as your heart desires."

"Two more things before you start. Take Emily with you. Her skill set'll be useful, too.... oh, and don't call me that."

Tedd promptly hung up. I headed for the college library, to see what I could find out about Madame President.

My first stop was Wikipedia. It told me everything the great hivemind of the Internet had been able to dig up on the Prez, which (surprisingly) wasn't that much. Wikipedia knew only a little more than I did.
According to the article, Madame President had just appeared out of thin air a few days ago, starting banning fun. The effects of her boxes were detailed, along with (amusingly) her hair, eye, and skin color (all gray). I edited the article to add in the procedure and aftereffects of disabling a box, then turned to Google.

The giant of web search was a bit more helpful. Aside from the usual spate of tweets and comments by people taking notes of the event, several people had already started theorizing about the nature and source of Madame Prez's "powers". As if she was some kind of supervillain. (Not that she wasn't... I mean, she certainly counted as the main antagonist here. But still...)
Even with the search, I hadn't found much of use. The Net was still in its 'reaction' phase, and there wasn't much to be had on it.

Then, I remembered Tedd's reminder.

"Take Emily with you. Her skill set'll be useful, too."

Emily always was analytical. She'd been working through a major in mechanical engineering, and was generally good with machinery and such. And that was before the dust had made her super-task-oriented. It was a bit of a gamble, but she might be able to help with the research. It was a Saturday, so Emily would be... say, where would she be, anyway, now that she was all work-y?

I set out to find her.


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:54 pm 
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The Champion of Fun
Part 6: Changed


My first stop was Emily's residence.. er, dorm. The guess paid off immediately— Emily was there, calmly working on some problems from a textbook. I looked at the sheet with the answers she had written down.
There were two entire chapters worth of problems, with full solutions and answers, written there. There was no way this was assigned homework, or anything of the kind. Either Emily had something she needed the info for— drastically— or the dust had set her mind to a job. Any job.

I figured the blunt approach was probably the best here, so I asked her point-direct.
"Emily. I've just been in the library, trying to find out information on Madame President so I can stop her... or something."
Tedd had never actually told me what would happen after I came back with the info. I'd have to ask him.
"I'm pretty sure your research skills could help a whole lot. Would you like to come help?"

Emily looked at me with her new, gray stare, obviously mulling it over. Finally, she said, "I will come you. This appears to be a valid use of my available time."

When we got to the library, I told Emily about the searches I had already made. After a short pause, she proposed, "These conversations you read. About the source of Madame Prez's abilities. Could you show me them?"

"Interesting," Emily said to herself as she read the conversations, and scanned my Wikipedia entry for good measure. "Madame President's abilities appear to be technological in nature, as that box you disabled might indicate. I wonder what principle is behind the fields and dust?" She typed a few things into the search box. I peeked, and saw things like "advanced neurophysics", and terms I didn't recognize. Emily zipped through the library databases, pulling up scientific papers I couldn't comprehend. Finally, she seemed to reach a conclusion.

"I have it," she said, printing out two lists of books. "I believe I will be able to make sense of what Madame President is doing. But we'll need some books first." She handed me one of the lists, taking the other for herself.

"I will meet you back here once you have all the books," she said. "Then we should be able to progress in achieving progress."

I couldn't help wondering if all this research would help Emily de-dustify herself, but I decided not to ask right now. Looking at the list, I thought about where each of the books was, in a general sense.
If my memory was right, the nearest was halfway across the place.

You're technically not supposed to run in the library, but if you've figured out how to do it silently, you can get around the place quickly.
I ran.

_________________
"My conscience is feeling all prickly."
"A bit of absolute power can remedy that."
Kid Radd


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 1:08 am 
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Jane Narbon's Lectures on Villainy
3: Theme and Resources


"Welcome back again, O villains-in-training. I see quite a number of you are still here. I should warn you now that this is the lecture that will send you running from me, screaming in panic!
...Okay, just kidding. However, this lecture will be very important. It is about themes of villainy— and the necessary costs needed to pull off all the monkey business I'm sure you'll get up to.

Now then: You've taken the first step on the path to becoming a villain. But there's still something missing. You have to decide what you, as a villain, are about; what you want to specialize in.
As an example, I have several areas of expertise. However, I am primarily a femme-fatale type (for the present), and I do my best work on an interpersonal scale. I am the kind who focuses my attentions on a particular person or organization, then slowly gains their trust, before— {Jane is blushing} Well, I can't reveal all my tactics.
Anyway, compare my modus operandi with that of my colleague, Dr. Viktor. I am given to understand that he quite recently held the U.N. hostage... again. He enjoys a laugh from time to time; this go-round's "doomsday device" was a rubber squeaky hammer. He is a villain that works on a very large scale.

No one person can do everything, so it's time for you to think of what attracts you. World-shaking blackguardness? Mid-range guile? Or just being one of the multitude of small distractions in our everyday lives? Choose wisely. There are costs— which brings me to the second part of the lecture."

{A slide comes up behind Jane showing the costs of various items. Most costs are generally high}

"Villainy is not cheap. It costs time, money, and resources in quantity. So: how do you get enough to be able to afford all the wonderful trappings of being a villain?

Now, chances are, if you've picked a theme that's stylized or archetypical enough, you'll be able to take the easy way out, and have the source of energy or money or whatever be "unspecified", which is like having a nice fat blank check. Alternately, certain professions have an amount of innate crafting ability. In either case, you don't have to worry about paying for your materials.

The second is for your villainy to pay for itself. This is harder than it looks. Typically, the amount you'll recover is proportional to the amount you expend— I find that breaking even tends to be the default state of existence, except for the very biggest, most dramatic situations. Fortunately, there is a solution!

The solution— the third way— is that many villains help each other. This obviously doesn't apply to everybody. However, the League of Villains (a 'flagship group' I am proud to be a member of) provides support services. If you need, say, an army of karate-trained weasels for a caper, they can probably provide. There might be a small price involved, but I'm sure you'd be able to handle it.

And of course, there is the fourth way: to be able to naturally afford it. Will everyone in the audience who has a net worth of 100 million dollars or more please raise their hands?

. . . nobody? Shame. I could have such fun running a few scams— errr, that is, it's always optimal to be able to fund your own villainy. However, as you've all clearly demonstrated, this option is out of reach of all of us for the time being. Still, funding yourself is quite powerful, if you can manage it."

{Jane steps downstage and opens her arms wide}

"So, to sum, I've told you of all the ways you can fund your upcoming nefarious activities. Now, those of you who aren't scared off by the lovely price list I posted earlier are most likely wondering why you need to go to such an expense for villainy. Wouldn't keeping it simple be better?

The truth is, it would not. And this is for one simple reason. The difference between a malcontent and a villain is singular, and critical.

Anyone can disrupt events, but a villain does it with style. A villain who stops being stylish is either headed for an alignment shift, ready for retirement, or is slowly becoming a monster.

Remember: style.
I'll talk about it more in the next lecture— and, for those of you who decide on a theme and still want to become a villain, I'll help you find yours.

Goodbye for now!"


Jane's Postlecture Notes

Not bad. About the same group of people as the last time. Technically, I did stretch the truth— and the prices— at a few points, but that way I can get some lovely favors out of them later. Of course, the real test of the group is going to be how many people still show up next time after hearing the blunt reality. I was watching the audience carefully, and I estimate about 5/8 won't return. Let's see if I'm right, shall we?

Next Lecture - Style


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:10 pm 
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(an odd idea that's been bouncing around my head for a few days. Tinker wrote Xerox's letter and helped me come up with the idea, so he deserves a lot of credit too.)

Item #: SCP-1001

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedures. Instances SCP-1001 cannot be contained by any known means. However upon meeting SCP-1001’s requirements any instance except SCP-1001-A may be destroyed. SCP-1001-A is located in the central archive and attempts to remove it have all proven ineffective. However, as long as 1001-A remains inside the central archive it does not matter where it is stored and it is at present stored in a secure filing cabinet with two(2) key locks, requiring two O5 level personnel to open. SCP-1001 only appears within the quarters of SCP personnel and should remain there until requirements for it’s destruction are met.

Description: SCP 1001 is a standard manila folder packed with documents and a cover letter appearing first on XX/XX/20XX. Each page is stamped with the official seal of congress as well as the president, but dates from [REDACTED] years in the future. The documents are contain a detailed record of many SCP items, events, employees, and methods, all in relations to violations of laws of the united states. Note that files inside number in the thousands of pages, specifically referred to as SCP-1001-1 through -4242. .

SCP-1001 and it’s contents are not invulnerable to harm, easily destroyed by fire, water, cutting and tearing. However, a new copy will be delivered to the agent’s quarters immediately upon any destruction of original. New copies of SCP-1001 will appear whenever a copy is harmed in anyway that renders the documentation unreadable, as well as any time staff or overseers edit documents in any discernable fashion. Class-A, B, and C amnesiacs applied to personnel will remove memories of SCP-1001 and it’s contents as usual, however any removal of memories involving SCP-1001 or it’s contents will immediately result in a new copy of SCP-1001.

SCP-1001 does not appear to any D-Class personnel even when upgraded to SCP employee of various rankings on paper, indication the method by which SCP-1001 decides it’s targets is not based on any SCP databases or paperwork. How it does decide who works for SCP and who does not is unknown, but several cooperative SCP have received similar packets of information, labeled SCP-1001-B-1 through42 due to unique contents of each.

Once SCP-1001 and SCP‘s-1001-B-1 through 42 were read by intended personnel, the destruction of SCP-1001 and SCP’s-1001 B-1 through 42 are able to be destroyed as usual without a recurrent appearance. A partial reading, skimming, or any other method by which the document is not read at least 90% through will result in SCP-1001 regenerating upon destruction as above.

SCP-1001-A is unique only in that it refuses to leave the central archive at Site-Iota. Originally appearing at Site-Alpha, where the most complete records of SCP and the foundation’s activities were kept. In an attempt to isolate SCP-1001-A the central archive was relocated to Site-Iota. When approximately 40% of the information had been moved, making Site-Iota’s central archive the largest in the foundation, SCP-1001-A relocated as well, appearing in Site-Iota’s main archive.

The addressor in the cover letter identifies itself as Commander Primary Xerox, of an organization known simply as M. The cover letter, while mostly professional, is not as precise and ad-hominem attacks on the Foundation and it’s employees are frequent. An excerpt follows:

“From the Desk of Commander Primary Xerox
To The S.ecure C.ontain P.rotect(SCP) Foundation, and it’s staff.

With all due understanding of how ill you can afford not to be paranoid in this field, I assure you, this is a simple warning. As far as we have been able to determine, you lot don’t have the means to willingly travel across dimensions yet- or even trace an object reliably back to it’s originating dimension, but its probably only a matter of [REDACTED] time. So I'm getting this the [REDACTED] out of the way now. This is a restraining order against the entirety of the SCP organization down to every last man, woman, other, abomination, and Dr. Bright, for the entirety of [REDACTED] Coordinates [REDACTED], and the entirety of M. All mentioned persons are not to come within 1000 goddamned yards of this dimension. Any attempts to breach, interfere with, or invade the dimension of this letter’s origin will be met with a warning shot, followed by violent action. The warning shot will consist of a [REDACTED] capable of taking out a small block, aimed not to hit [REDACTED]. (Too close, anyhow. As near as I can tell, it would be a mercy shutdown for any D-class or SCPs there.)

You can keep your [REDACTED] paranoia, overreactions, and almost complete lack of morals to yourself. We got our own shit under control here, and do not need you poking your psychotic docs and “chuck [REDACTED] D-class personnel at it until it goes away.” policies. [Omitted is a post it note attached to letter's back aimed specifically at Dr. Bright, who has stolen it for framing, due to 'inventive swear terms'.] To this end, I have asked The Steve to deliver this to as many people as possible.

P.S. If you come across any young looking girls with dimensional breaching abilities who responds to the name Claire, Pamela, Laitu, or Teal, do not attempt to terminate, harm, indue, knock out, or poke too hard. Contain them away from interference if you must, their family will be along shortly to retrieve them."


*Note: all occurances of "[REDACTED]" in document are original to the document itself.
Did he do that just to be a jerk? It's a pain in the [EXPLETIVE EXPUNGED] reading all those censored bits. I know they're mostly just expletives, but still. -Dr. XXXXXXX

There have been several glancing sightings of the entity identified as The Steve in SCP-1001’s cover letter. Attempts to classify him using the usual SCP-XXXX-XX-XX format fail in all cases as any references automatically occur as The Steve or a masculine pronoun. The Steve appears to be a well built man, described as “Bigger than he looks” in all cases of a sighting. Further details include: well muscled, a tattoo of A US flag circa 1862, mussed straw blond hair, faded jeans and t-shirt, prominent nose, and “Eyes that make you want to trust folks again” Attempts to restrain or terminate The Steve have all proved ineffective and have only brought about a change in SCP-1001 in all instances of the addition of “P.P.S. Stop trying to shoot The Steve, it‘s annoying and stupid. Bunch of [REDACTED] idiots.”

The persons identified in the cover letter’s P.S. message have been identified as SCP-XXX, SCP-XXX, SCP-XXX, and SCP-XXX.

_________________
"When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk" -Tuco, The Good the Bad and the Ugly

10 ghost tackles.

DOOM! and DR.KINESTRO! are both trademarks of the Kinestro co. and are not to be used, displayed, shouted, written, or thought without express permission of the Kinestro co. Perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, then dealt with personally by DR.KINESTRO!(tm).


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 Post subject: Re: The Official "Pester the Characters with Questions" Thre
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:35 pm 
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Ms. Snow White and the Empress Who Had Common Sense
A Fractured Fairy-Tale in Verse


Once far away, in a land long ago
There stood a great Nation, as proud as its snow.
Now, this nation was ruled (whether poorly or wise)
By a woman with power to influencize.

She made all the rules, she called all the shots
and some said she dabbled in sinister plots.
Her actions were swift, and her Nation stayed strong
though, to the naysayers, 'twould be not for long.

Now you might suspect that this ruling hand
was a bit controversial throughout the land;
And you would be right, for she had two names,
one for each side of political games.

To all of her friends, she was well thought,
and her enemies— well— cursed her name a lot.
Her political title was the Empress Rich;
but detractors called her the Wicked Witch.

Now, one day, in this nation so fair,
the Empress (or Witch?) did look into her mirror.
Twas top-of-the-line, and what no one else knew,
was that this mirror was a magic mirror too.

"Mirror," said the Empress, "you, there on the wall,"
"Wake up! For I have a request out to call."
"*yawn* 'morning, my Queen," the smooth mirror replied,
"What is it calls me to speak by your side?"

"I have a request," said the Empress right there,
"Of all the girls in this land, who's the most fair?"
"You want what?" said the mirror.
"No, I heard you just fine, it's just strange that that's what you seek to divine."

The mirror filled with frost for a second or two,
Then returned with a chime as an answer in flew.
"The fairest of all? I'd say that's Ms. Snow."
The mirror emptied so that an image could show.

"Her last name is White, with college she's done,
and I'd say she's most beautiful under the sun."
The "witch" cracked a smile, and then started to grin,
then broke into maniacal laughter within.

"I know just what to do," she giggled and cried,
"Thank you for the lovely off-chance you've spied!"
She turned from the mirror, and started to plot
To young Ms. Snow White, she would do... what?

An idea, it struck! A spark, it flew!
And the Empress knew exactly what to do.
She altered her looks, incognito disguise,
not to be recognized by Ms. White's eyes.

And lastly, she made a small thing for her hand
A thing for her purpose to head 'cross the land.
The item she held would tempt Ms. White well,
And help her fulfill her great plan, time would tell.

A short time from then, her travel 'most done,
the Empress moved fast underneath the warm sun.
Her main destination was easy to find,
and nearing Ms. White's house, she practiced her lines.

She knocked, the door opened, and Snow White stood there,
Her beauty apparent from outfit to hair.
The Empress breathed deep, her opening line to lob,
"Ms. White, I've come to offer you a job."

It took some convincing, but Ms. White agreed,
to try out this 'job' for expreience, indeed.
She left with the Empress, and from that day then on,
No one has seen her, by dusk or by dawn.

That was eight months ago. Now here today,
It appears the Empress has something to say.
She's called up a press conference, right here and now—
And what it's all for— she won't say, anyhow!

After some waiting, the conference began.
The crowd turned to look where the Empress would stand.
But, instead of the Empress, to make the point moot,
Out came a woman in a new business suit.

The woman was beautiful, friendly and fair,
And her smile seemed to say she had goodwill to share.
She moved to the podium, grace in her walk,
and then she stood there as she began to talk.

"My name is Ms. White, and I'm most proud to say
That it's great to have all of you here on this day.
You've not seen me before, so if I may assist,
I'm the Empress Rich's new publicist."

The "Wicked Witch"'s rep had been going to worse,
but on hiring Ms. White, it began to reverse.
The Empress ruled that year, and so many more,
All because she had knocked at Snow White's door.

Now, that is the end of this story for now;
The Empress (or Witch) showed us perfectly how.
With common sense, and an Overlord List,
She knew what to do where her forerunners missed.

If you thought this poem'd go differently, well
It just goes to show that you never can tell.
But subverting old yarns can be an option to hail,
And that's the end of this particular tale.


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Peter Stanwood Lauglin, the man who would one day become the leader of the Progressors. The man who would one day burst into the laboratory of Diane’s father, a dark rage given form and freeing her from a nightmare life. The man who would pull a small jar labeled “Donald” from the shelves lining a long empty lab. The man who would find a man dedicated to an ancient code of honor but disillusioned by the world which did not seem to have room for such an honor anymore.. The man who would find a single young man, barely old enough to be called such, kneeling at the center of the ruined remains of a device meant to end the world, fingers still clutched tightly around a pair of burnt out scrolls, air crackling with energy. The man who would find a man beneath anyone’s notice and introduce him to someone who would never miss his presence. Who would one day coordinate the Progressors in a way no other leader had been able to. Who would show an uncanny ability to pick partners and targets for his agents, seeming to know all involved better than they themselves did.

Today was not one day. Today Peter Stanwood Lauglin was simply Agent Shadow, a relatively young agent, barely three years into the organization.

“Come now Petey, this won‘t do at all!” A cracked and sadistic voice called out into the darkness of the docks. Footsteps, slow and certain, echoing between the buildings to accompany the voice. “Where‘s the grizzled veteran I get to see make his last stand like General Custer?!”

The agent ran around the corner of one of the many empty buildings that lined the docks. He was built like a man just out of a college football team, large and heavily muscled, and he moved with surprising speed and agility as he weaved his way through the littering of fishing equipment between two buildings. He was carrying only a large desert eagle and k-bar knife as he fled the nightmare of a man that pursued him. He had a plan, but he had to put himself in harms way for it to work and so his adrenaline was going at full.

“A plan? That‘s all you‘re going to give me to work on? Bah, you hack.” The voice belonging to Dr. Foigran complained behind him by only a couple feet, causing the agent to put on another spurt of speed.

He had to be the bait because the man called Foigran had shown an unusual interest in him. It was a strange choice in Lauglin’s eyes, chasing after a rookie agent. But then nearly everything the madman did was strange, especially the way he seemed to talk to thin air like that. It wasn’t simply the rantings of a madman, it was like he was having a conversation with someone only he could hear.

“Excellent observation Petey.” The voice came directly from his right, and he was ducking away from it even as he heard the first words, the hiss of movement as something whipped out at his head and missing by millimeters filling his ears. “I am indeed talking with someone. You simply can‘t perceive his side of the conversation. Well, not that there‘s much actual conversing, he tweaks the world and I ridicule.”

Lauglin let the madman ramble on about his relationship with whoever this second entity was, while he put some more distance between himself and Foigran. He knew it wouldn’t really make any difference. So long as he wasn’t being observed Foigran could be anywhere. It had simply been a rumor before, spread quietly among the agents. Foigran was the one mad that none of the regional leaders wanted anything to do with, that he was simply too much for any agent to handle. He could be shot to pieces, he could be submerged in acid, and he always came back, no matter what. A relentless killer who, luckily, had left the Progressors mostly alone, even if all the records involving him went back to the very beginning.

Then Lauglin had joined and suddenly he was always there, watching the new agent work. At first, simply content to watch. Lauglin hadn’t even noticed the first time, not until he thought about it afterwards. Just some old man with scars, in a ratty business suit, standing off to the side of the warehouse where he’d made his first takedown. The old man had gotten more involved and interested in Lauglin as time passed, and soon the scarred man would spend hours simply appearing wherever Lauglin went, watching and taunting. He was certain the scarred man had watched him sleep more than once, a terrifying concept. He’d never really come after Lauglin though, stating enigmatically, “You‘re not on the menu, won‘t be for some time, so enjoy cooking my little scallop.”

And Lauglin had tried killing Foigran before. He’d tried everything he could think of. Guns, incendiary devices, rockets, lasers, confiscated death rays of multiple designs, holy water, heck he’d literally tried nuking the old man before. All to no avail. However, he had noticed a pattern. Foigran remained hurt, crippled even, so long as he was observed. It had taken months of work to finally put the pattern together, a week more to put his plan together and put the pieces in place. Tonight was supposed to be the night the trap was organized, a dry run of sorts. Instead Foigran had shown up, as if alerted to events, and aiming to kill.

“Aiming to kill? Really? How cheesy can you get before giving it a rest. We all know how this ends. Well. The two of us that matter anyway.” The voice was again, uncomfortably close, further proof of more of Lauglin’s observations. He just hoped they all were or he’d be dead, along with many others.

With one last bust of speed, the agent burst into one of the warehouses, rolling through the doors and coming up in a low crouch, facing the door. Waiting.

“Behind y-”

“Now!” He bellowed over the harsh whisper in his ear, ducking forwards as a ring of lights flashed on.

The warehouse was empty of boxes or equipment, perfectly cleared out of all obstructions. A ring of stadium lights ringed the walls, lighting the huge building perfectly. All along the walls were people. Agents. There were more gathered in the building than for any other operation in decades. Men and women highly trained in the art of war, with abilities rare and varied. They were all armed in the manner best suited to their skills and all eyes were on Foigran.

“Clever boy.” The old man murmured with an amused, broken grin. “But don‘t think I‘ll go quietly.”

Several minutes later the old man was strapped to a chair, one arm missing entirely, and evidently not suddenly regenerating. The group had kept it simple, a large number of agents lining the walls with weapons and watching Foigran constantly, while Lauglin fought Foigran with the help of another agent. No more were allowed close to prevent a blind spot Foigran could take advantage of , but the rest were excellent shots and occasionally fired on the madman, or drove him away from the walls with concentrated fire.

“Well well, took long enough. Welcome to the big leagues boy!” The old man sounded amused, and not all that surprised as he looked up at Lauglin, one eye missing due to the slowly crawling scars on his face. “Now you‘ll be famous and get the girl and live happily ever after!” He mocked as he was loaded into the waiting truck. The chair was bolted to the floor and cameras were everywhere, broadcasting wirelessly all over the world on a system Lauglin had set up with the Progressors. There were agents everywhere watching every move, making sure Foigran could not escape.

“Yes yes, we get it. I can‘t escape. Blah blah, old news. Years of on and off captivity followed by me getting to watch this bunch of chuckleheads implode.”

The old man looked towards one camera, oddly the one anyone reading this would be imagining their view originating. “You want a happy ending, write it yourself.”

_________________
"When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk" -Tuco, The Good the Bad and the Ugly

10 ghost tackles.

DOOM! and DR.KINESTRO! are both trademarks of the Kinestro co. and are not to be used, displayed, shouted, written, or thought without express permission of the Kinestro co. Perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, then dealt with personally by DR.KINESTRO!(tm).


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 Post subject: The first of maybe many?!?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:47 pm 
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Location: Burnsville
Ten Gents: Flux

Jeanette ran down the hallway, screaming. Behind her lurched her comrades, who were... not entirely her comrades anymore. Their gait was slow, limping, and rigid, as if unused to their own bodies. Their eyes glassy and unfocused. Their hair scattered about like birdsnests. Their mouths groaning. Their labcoats billowing in the wind that wasn't there.

She was running towards the room wtih the iron bars in front of it. Behind the bars, trapped in their prison cell, was a little green man.

Quite literally both little and green, the man had olive-colored skin and a dark blue jumpsuit stretched around his body. He wore the outfit with nothing else on, save a belt around his waist. His eyes were enormous, and glowed a bluish green, with no pupils. He was nearly four and a half feet tall, very short by most standards, and two antennae emerged from his head, both of them twitching. He had his arms folded as he watched the display.

The female scientist threw herself against the bars. "You! You tried to stop us! Help me!"

The little green man frowned. "What, from behind cell bars?"

She screamed as one of the not-quite-men-anymore drew near. "Please!"

He scowled at her. "You were going to dissect me. "For science", you said."

The things reached and grasped at her. Pulling her away from the bars of the cage. She wailed. "PLEASE! HAVE A HEART!" There were tears forming in her eyes.

The little green man sighed. "...gog dang it." He closed his enormous eyes. "...have you at least learned a lesson about messing with things that the little green man tells you you shouldn't be poking?"

She trembled as rigid, once-human hands wrapped around her flesh, moaning and pulling her away. "YES! I'LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN, I PROMISE!"

The little green man folded his arms, as the air around him began to blur and distort. And then, he was gone. The woman sobbed. "I... I... NOOOO!" She cried.

And then he appeared again, moving through the air, legs curled in a flying kick, as he slammed into one of the not-men moving faster than most people should move. Pounding against it's chest with a crack, the creature was knocked backwards, stumbling and falling over. As the others turned, he looked back at them. "Ok, I don't do overwhelming odds. Bye."

He vanished again, only to reappear falling downwards from the ceiling at one of them, landing on it, kicking with both legs at it's head, causing it to lose balance and fall over. Landing on top of it's chest, he whirled around and vanished again.

Watching a teleporter fight is astonishing. You can never be sure where they'll be next, and what they'll be doing when they appear there. The little green man, however, had the singular advantage of being able to adjust his momentum somehow as well as his position, appearing flying at speeds he wasn't at when he vanished. A sliding leg-sweep tripped one of the foes, and before they had more time to react he had appeared on the floor on the other side of the melee, surging upwards into a rising uppercut to one of the former-scientists' jaws. The creatures, with their slow reaction times, had little chance of keeping up with him, and in short order were sprawled out on the ground, unconscious or stunned. He appeared right in front of Jeanette and took her hand. "Come on. Let's split." He started dragging the woman down a hallway. "The name's Flux. Stick by me, don't ask stupid questions, and don't go near me with any scalpels, and we'll get along famously."

Jeanette, now free of the present danger, finally started to get over her fear. "That wasn't what the Phase-Distortion Field is supposed to have done to people.. What... what ARE those things?"

Flux stuck his tongue out. "What did I just tell you about asking stupid questions, science chick?"

Jeanette frowned. "My name's not Science Chick, it's Jeanette! And how is that a stupid question?" She folded her arms.

Flux scowled. "It reveals your constant and selfish insistence that you ought to know everything. One of the hardest lessons mortals have to learn is that you'll never know everything that there is to know, and it's dangerous to attempt to try. Stick to sensible questions, like "What should we have for lunch?" or "When do you want to meet to play golf tomorrow?". Those are the sorts of questions that are worth asking."

"I hardly think that knowing what's attacking me is knowledge that I shouldn't know." Jeanette folded her arms.

Flux sighed. "Call them Scrivers. That's not their name. I can't tell you their name. If you knew, you'd start to see them, and then you'd start to *smell* them, and then they'd know where you were. They'd start coming for you, pursuing you until you were weary and could fight them no longer, and then they'd devour everything that made you you and use you as a conduit to get into this *house*. You'd become their eyes, ears, and nose for your world, and they'd sweep across it and devour everything. Humanity would lose it's last protection and hope would be lost. Tell me, is that worth it to you?"

(Soon to be continued!)

_________________
We've learned a lot, but this still isn't going to be easy. But I don't think the elder star's confidence in us was misplaced. I know we can do this! We'll set things right! ...somehow.

"There is a fine line between a good King and a Despot. A King is best when His subjects barely realize that He exists. When His work is done and His will is fulfilled, they will say, 'We did it ourselves.'"
-Xin Yun


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:19 am 
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The Champion of Fun
Part 7: The Search


All libraries have a bit of the maze in them. The booklist I was carrying looked to be taking me in the mazy bit of mine. As I wound through shelves, I took a peek at the titles I was carrying.
"Practical Uses of Low-Energy Exotic-Particle Physics"
"101 Advanced Electronics Projects for the Evil Genius"
"Fields of Perception: Your Brain and the Forces that Surround it"

These books definitely weren't at my level. Emily must have had a good idea for what to do against Madame Prez's grey fields. I looked down the list. I had been unable to find a few of the books Em wanted, but overall, I was making progress.
One last book was left on the list, and it was probably the hardest to get to. With the aid of a library map, I zigzagged through the bookshelves, heading into the dead-end carrying the shelf that I wanted.
When I kneeled down, something odd caught my eye. There was a gap right about where... right where my missing book was. What could have—?

A hand clamped my shoulder, and a stern voice the color of platinum said, "Looking for this?"
It was Madame Prez, in the gray-tinged flesh, who had somehow snuck up behind me without making any noise. In her other hand she held the final book,
"Enjoying Yourself For Dummies". I looked around. Bookshelves pillared on three sides of me, and Madame President was standing between me and the exit. With no other alternative, I forced myself up and ran at Madame Prez, trying to slip past her. To heck with the final book— time to get out of here.

It didn't work. Madame President showed the same agility Emily had, as she neatly dodged me, letting me go. Unfortunately, she hadn't come alone. Two uniformed police officers stepped from behind a shelf to block the exit to the cul-de-sac. It felt like running into a brick wall.
As the officers clamped my arms behind me and marched me away, Madame Prez smiled, ever so dreamily. I couldn't help but wonder where Emily was, what she was doing... and just what I had gotten myself into now.


Last edited by Jane Narbon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:42 pm 
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Okay, Zobot, you asked for wedding stuff! Can't draw, so here's a description. If anything doesn't ring true about various people's characters, well, I don't mind making changes. I wanted to write the after wedding party, too-but this thing got so long as it was...

The famed Tower of Chiascuro. Magnificent, magical, the last remnant of a lost golden age. To stay there you need to be wealthy, be lucky, or know someone. Preferably all three. And the ballroom? Chiascuro mothers scheme and plan to somehow host their precious offspring's wedding there. Bribes are made, strings are pulled, and adding your child's name to the waiting list is done right after notifying the grandparents you're expecting. Maybe before.
But for a certain ragtag bunch of adventurers who have just breezed into town, befriending the Tri-Khan's son and his bride to be did the trick. Or would have. They'd just begun making arrangements when the Tri-Khan got wind of it.
And offered the use of the palace instead. Jaws drop all over Chiascuro.

Dusk is peering over her shoulder, fretting about her sash. Fuzzy is patting and smoothing her short hair, practically hopping with excitement. Both women are wearing the deep blue that is traditional for weddings, each in their own style. A sweet, matronly woman is matter of factly giving them marriage advice while fussing with their hair. Aunt May soon has Dusk blushing, Fuzzy raising her eyebrows, and both distracted from wedding jitters. In another room, Tensile Strength of Bamboo is giving a similar talk, grinning at a distracted Wei and Shun.
Guests are beginning to arrive. Faultlessly attired servitors steer new arrivals to the seating area. Kitchen godlings zip around the buffet table, scowling at anyone who gets too close, occasionally bapping thieving fingers with a ladle.
Deka smirks as she pops a strawberry in her mouth, all the sweeter for being stolen.
Ikki looks around, with sharp darting glances. She doesn't know who most of these people are. But how could she turn down the invitation? Her memories of the days surrounding Thorns still isn't what it should be, but she remembers hunting them. And them dragging her onto the last ship to flee the city,and nursing her back to health. No, she has to be here. Shota is leaning against a wall, an amused grin on his face. He nods briefly to Sings Like Bird, who fractionally nods back. Sings Like Bird's attention is elsewhere, on the two lovely women giggling beside him. He's wearing a sumptuous robe patterned with chrysanthemums. He's straddling the line between handsome and pretty, just edging towards handsome. A small gold harp is carelessly held-he's confident they'll appreciate some real music later.
Thief Unjustly Accused ducks inside, wondering once again just what in Creation he's doing here. He's wearing his usual slacks, gloves, long cloak, and sneaky shoes. He's made an attempted to smarten himself up, but there's still a little stubble on his chin. Combing his hair didn't do much good. You'd swear it'd been cut with a knife! He unobtrusively finds a seat near the back, where he can keep an eye on the door. This crazy bunch of Solars is helping him ditch the rest of Mow-Mow's chosen, gotta give them that. Besides, Dusk looked so disappointed when he tried making an excuse not to show...
Grandpa Jan is comfortably ensconced up front. Crow's feet appear at the corner of his eyes when he smiles, patting the jade dragon at his side. Baoshi begged him to keep an eye on Desus. Not that he's misbehaving, it's Desus wanting to be...helpful.
Desus happily thrashes his tail from side to side. Daddy and Mommy and his aunts and uncas all together! "Kwarr!"
Baoshi is fretting, at once proud and nervous and worried and supremely happy. He pushes his rose tinted spectacles up on his nose, glances yet again at his notes. The big day is finally here, and he has the honor of officiating. Nothing is going to keep this from being perfect! Nothing! He smiles to see Accused sidle in. Then his eyes widen, and he barely resists the urge to facepalm. "Oh, Empress's corset stays! Ikki." Yes, they invited her when they left the ship-seems so long ago, what with all that's happened. But he thought she'd left to join the army forming to retake Thorns! He moves through the crowd, mechanically nodding and smiling, until he's next to Mei. "Don't turn your head, but over on the left...Ikki. Oh, I'm glad she feels well enough disposed towards us to come, but if she recognizes Henshin....yes, there, in the back. Be a dear and run interference?"
Mei raises one elegant eyebrow."All right, and I'll tip off Deka, too. Maybe we should have ah, Henshin duck out as soon as possible?"
Baoshi raises a hand, and makes himself drop it before running it through his hair. "I...but Henshin's just starting to trust us! After all he did for us, and being on the run for it, I can't let him think we don't want him around. But then Ikki's made a special effort to be here...she's been through so much. And-"
Mei shushes him. "You concentrate on performing the ceremony. Deka and I will handle this. Shoo!"
Baoshi hesitates, still worried. And his eyes widen as Nellus comes in the door. Mei takes advantage of his distraction to saunter off. She nods pleasantly to Deka, apparently indulging in some casual chitchat. Mei breaks to the left, Deka the right. Soon Ikki is being given a warm greeting by Mei, who lays claim to the seat beside her. "-so glad to see you! Isn't this such an amazing room? And the flowers!"
Deka slides next to Accused, and subtly puts him in an arm lock."-always something last minute with a wedding, right? We'll just duck out real quick and take care of it-you're just the help I need!" A bemused Henshin is led away, a servitor godling beckoned to as they pass. And Henshin finds himself abruptly dragged into a storage closet.
"Deka? No offense, you're cute and all, but now? The wedding'll be starting in a minute."
"Shaddup and hold still." Deka reaches into her pouch. Henshin is soon sporting a fast disguise. "All right, that's just enough to make you unrecognizable. Probably."
"Probably?" Henshin shakes his head. This day keeps getting weirder. "Any particular reason you doin' this, or did you just want the practice?"
Deka resumes her arm lock, and leads him back. "Ikki's her, and-stoppit!" Her grip tightens as Henshin jerks away. "Yeah, yeah. Just don't get too close and we're fine. She got invited before we found you here, then we though she was leaving town, and anyways your own mother wouldn't recognize you now."
" 'Probably' you said. Why don't I just slip out and-" He's sweating.
"Too late, it's time." Deka plops herself in the seat by Accused, and smiles, satisfied.
And a vision of Beauty walks, no, swaggers in, confidently. Waist length black hair is gleaming, a midnight waterfall by moonlight. Saffron preens, dressed head to toe in the most exquisite shade of lilac. Even the jewels on his sword match.
The two women hanging on Sings Like Bird stop their giggling, as their heads swivel as one. And Sings finds himself gritting his teeth...
The ceremony goes beautifully. The crowd gasps in astonishment and 'd'aww's at the cute, when Desus, scales polished and gleaming, trots down the aisle. He has a pillow firmly clasped between his jaws, the rings pinned securely to it.

Flashback to rehersal-
"Where'd the ring go?" "Um...kwar? I think I swallowed it."
"Careful, Desus, that's flammable!" Cough, wave away smoke. "But Daddy, I didn't mean to sneeze-it tickled!"
"Great job, Desus, you did it just right!" Happy tail thrashings. "Yay! I helped!"
"Eek! My dress! Desus, watch your spikes!"
"Kwarrrrr...."

But Shun wouldn't have it any other way.
Baoshi outdoes himself, his voice is smooth and confident, carrying easily across the room.
"Wei-Lan Pie-Ching, and Lilac Fuzzy Jiazhi-"
"Shun Yamamura and Gentle Zephyr that Soothes the Jasmine in the Summer Dusk-"
Henshin whispers to Deka, "for real? who gives a kid a name like that? I mean, by the time you called her in to eat, dinner'd be cold!" Deka sharply elbows him, but hides a smirk.
"This I vow-"
"I OBJECT!!"
Saffron daintily struts up the aisle, knowing all eyes are upon him, and delighting in it. Shun grits his teeth. Wei's jaw clenches. Didn't they settle this already? Baoshi's eyes narrow, his words come out clipped. "I didn't ask if anyone objected."
"I know! Fortunately, I remembered!" Saffron bows, and picks up Fuzzy's hand. "My dear, are you absolutely certain about this?"
Fuzzy's jaw is firm. "I am. Go sit down, Saffron."
"Miss Lilac, you know it's not too late for me to carry you off. It would be a dashing rescue! Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"Well, if you're positive...It'd be no trouble, I assure you. It's a time honored custom. I carry you away, he fights his way through a thousand enemies to prove his love! And-"
"Saffron. Sit. Down." Fuzzy stands, hands on her hips, glaring up at the elegant Raksha.
"Oh, very well...." With a theatrical sigh, Saffron resumes his seat. He leans forward, watching with polite interest, as if the ceremony had never been interrupted.
The reactions among the guests range from astonishment to outrage to desperately hidden grins. A snerk is heard.
Baoshi stares out at the crowd, daring, just daring anyone else to interrupt. Murmurs quickly change to silence. The ceremony progresses.
"This I vow-"
Saffron dabs at one eye with a dainty wisp of lilac lace. It's so romantic!
Guest sigh at the familiar words.
Fuzzy stands facing Wei to her left, Dusk facing Shun to her right, and Baoshi before them, on a slightly raised platform.
Dusk tilts her head up demurely for the traditional kiss, and is swooped into a dip.
Fuzzy, practically glowing with delight, is simultaneously dipped by Wei.

Cue cheers, congratulations, and a heck of a party. One where bursts of lightning singes the walls, the fighting is interrupted by singing, Sings like Bird discovers what happens to his superpower with ladies when a rashka is in the room, the singing is interrupted by more fighting, where both singing and fighting pause when Grandpa Jan tells a story, someone besides Dusk says 'Shun Yamamura, you're a PEST!', and-
But that's another story.

_________________
.. not how Science works, love. 1st, you build the machine, then it tells you what it's for.
Do you think I had the 1st idea what a squidhole was when I invented it? Certainly not! I was just messing about! That's when the very best & very Maddest Science gets done. I thought,Why, this alabaster octopus looks like it wants a nice transmission inside it,& fairly soon I had a thing that obviously had a Use, though what that Use could be was a total mystery.
(Sameness Engine) I haven't the 1st notion of what it's for! That's not why I made it-I made it for the sheer joy of making something new! It's getting up to tell me what it wants me to do, though, I can just feel it. It's been giggling a lot at night.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland
C Valente


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:09 pm 
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The Champion of Fun
Part 8: Cooldown


When we got to the police station, I wasn't charged with anything. Instead, the officers threw me into the drunk tank. Or, rather, the fun tank. In there with me were several people who appeared to have been attending a party, along with another guy about my age, wearing headphones and a goofy grin. His headphones weren't connected to anything— presumably, the police had confiscated the music player— but he hadn't taken them off. Everyone in the room with me had a variant of a generally glum expression.
I quickly found out the rules. Attempting to make conversation led to a grumpy-looking guard banging on the side of the 'tank' with a stick, And anything more intense than that would be broken up in a hurry. About all there was to do was to acquire the glum expression everyone else had, and think about my predicament.

If my analysis of the story was right, I was in the Hero's Journey stage known as the 'Belly of the Whale'. It's supposed to be the hero's darkest hour, after which he is reborn as the legendary hero before setting out on his Road of Trials, and so on. I had no idea, however, exactly how I was supposed to be 'reborn'. Maybe some sort of apotheosision was in order for my future?
Then again, there was also the possibility that I was wrong, and I had already been through all of that and this was one of the Trials I was supposed to Face. Or maybe I hadn't gotten to the Belly of the Whale part, and even darker times lay ahead of me.

Of course, it was entirely possible that I had made a mistake and wasn't on a Hero's Journey at all. It would certainly be properly ironic.

About an hour later, Emily bailed me out. Walking in, she spoke to the guard, handing him a thick sheaf of completed paperwork. After discerning which person the documents were referring to, the guard unlocked the door, allowing me to walk out with Emily.
On the way out of the police station, we stopped at two different counters; first, more paperwork changed hands, and after a second, the clerk found and returned my cell phone. It had been confiscated due to both its loud appearance, and its capacity for being even louder when used. At the second counter, another short stack of forms was given to Emily to fill out, to finalize my release. The clerk rolled his eyes at the stack of papers while Emily was finishing them. He looked generally drained— in fact, most of the clerks and some of the police officers had. I was beginning to suspect that Madame Prez had increased the paper load of this police station significantly.

Emily's new diligence and work ethic lead to her completing the paperwork in only a few minutes. As we walked out of the place, she asked me, "What will you do now?"
I shrugged. Time to get an update on what had happened in my absence. "Not sure. What did you find out in my absence?" I asked.
Emily shut her eyes for a second as she ordered her thoughts. "With the books we found, I was able to get a general idea of how Madame President's fun-blocking fields and dust work. I recovered yours after you did not return— the librarian said what had happened to you. Sadly, we still only have minimal information about the identity of Madame President, or even how to go after her. There is one witness, though, and I discovered one other fact: the boxes were not operating autonomously. Someone was remote-controlling them. We may be able to use that, as well."

I nodded, reaching for my phone. "Got it," I said. "Let's ask that witness what he or she saw. Then, it's time to call Tedd— and I need to buy a cellphone earpiece thing before we do anything else."
Unfortunately for that plan, Tedd decided at that point that it was high time to call me.


Last edited by Jane Narbon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:07 am 
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Jane Narbon's Lectures on Villainy
4: Style


"It's glad to see all of you back again today— even though only there's only half as many of you as last time. However, to be fair, yesterday was my little way of setting a test, and I'm proud to report that all of you passed. Good work!
Today, we're going to focus on what I mentioned in our last lecture: Style. Style is what truly defines a villain. But... what is style? Let's take a quick look."

{several short clips play. they include footage of Jane Narbon, Dr. Viktor, and several others}

"Style is nothing less than the unified image you, as a villain, will present to the world at large. There are many, and varied, distinctions as to what style consists of, but when you narrow it down, you can simplify it to three categories, which nest within one another like concentric circles.

First, we have the trappings of villainy, the sort of things you surround yourself with during your career. This can be as sumptuous as a lair furnished in luxury and a huge wardrobe, or as minimal as a sleeping pallet and an old walking-stick. What most suits you is influenced by what you choose— or chose— your theme to be.

Second, we have your own physical appearance to consider. From the clothes you wear to the expression on your face— let's face it. You gotta look the part. Mind you, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to wear something that screams "I am obviously a villain!" Take me. I'm based on deception, so often I'll appear to be someone else, someone reasonably innocent. And then... well, I did say I can't reveal all my secrets. For another example, most villains with a 'strong' theme (patterning after some sort of non-villainous job) tend to mimic the garb, and appearance, of their chosen profession. Imagine what an evil plumber looks like."

{A slide of Wario appears. Laughter}

"[giggle] OK, so I admit that may not have been quite what you were expecting, but the principle still holds. Your physical appearance, like every other aspect of your image, will have to be unique to your role as a villain.

The third, and most important, major part of style is your methods as a villain. Word of your actions gets around even after you're gone, and as such your modus operandi is of critical importance to your style, and this has many facets. What sort of things you do as a villain? How dangerous— or harmless— are you? What are your goals? Do you act often, or rarely? Who do you target? What methods will you use to achieve those goals of yours? And, of course, why is it that you do what you do? Each and every one of these questions will go into defining your new persona.

In the next few lectures, I'm going to focus on each of these areas in more detail, but until them, I have a special assignment for you.
Start brainstorming the identity of your inner villain. Try to figure out what he— or she— looks like, does, lives in. Hopefully, by the time you return, the next lectures should crystallize things.
Good luck— see you!"


Jane's Postlecture Notes

This crop is coming along nicely. I was a little under in estimating how many people would leave. Only 1/4 of the previous pool were here when I returned. Still, I think the class has shrunk to its final size.
The next few lectures are going to be interesting, especially as I work with the students more as the class gets smaller. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

I hope no one brings up underwater lairs, though. Leaks are a serious problem.

Not that I wouldn't mind having a hidden underwater base to hide if needed.

What?


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 Post subject: Farewell to Bellingham
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:06 pm 
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Because we're moving.

A Farewell to Bellingham

I sit and stare at the water
thinking about the ends of things.
Beyond me, the lights of the city
glow in the distance, their essence rising up
to lighten the sky in a dome of blue.
Soon, I will be away from here.
I will be to another city, with its own light, its own essence.
But I will not forget this city,
its water, the faint sounds that came from its venues
in the dark, the memories it has left in me.
I will not forget.
I will keep the remembrances with the stars,
unchanging as they wheel in their orbits.
I will keep the stars with the water and the lights,
an echo of the city I loved.
I will keep it all, sounds, light, sky, stars, essence, memories, water
within my heart, so that they will not fade.
And someday, I will look within myself
and I will be able to say:

"I have not forgotten. I was here."

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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:20 pm 
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SiB, that is a beautiful poem.
Best of luck to you and Jane.

_________________
.. not how Science works, love. 1st, you build the machine, then it tells you what it's for.
Do you think I had the 1st idea what a squidhole was when I invented it? Certainly not! I was just messing about! That's when the very best & very Maddest Science gets done. I thought,Why, this alabaster octopus looks like it wants a nice transmission inside it,& fairly soon I had a thing that obviously had a Use, though what that Use could be was a total mystery.
(Sameness Engine) I haven't the 1st notion of what it's for! That's not why I made it-I made it for the sheer joy of making something new! It's getting up to tell me what it wants me to do, though, I can just feel it. It's been giggling a lot at night.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland
C Valente


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:41 am 
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It's back!
The Champion of Fun
Part 9: Mission No. 2



"Hello, Jason Embries," Tedd said over the phone.
"Um, could you please stop with the full name thing?" I asked. "No offense, but it's kinda creepy."
"It's mysterious, not creepy," Tedd said. "...Jason."
"See?!" I said. "There you go aga— forget it." I decided it was just better to change the subject. "I suppose I should tell you about what happened on our research jaunt."

"I'm aware of what happened to you, and I'd like to apologize that your first assignment had to end in such a bad way."

"...yeah. It's not all going to be this risky, is it?"

"Of course not!" Tedd said. "What did you discover before everything went sour?"

"Well, Emily sent me off to get a large stack of books, then... well, you know the rest. Here—" I said, shifting the phone so I could pass it to Emily, "you can ask her what she found."
Emily took the phone, and I began to hear an extremely one-sided conversation.

"Yes?"
"After some research, I was able to identify many of the mechanisms by which the boxes work. Not all."
"I would prefer sending a digest."
"Partial information about the entity Madame President. Location of headquarters. Appropriately enough, the headquarters comprises a significant block of a local skyscraper."
"Which one? It's the only one in town! Look out your window! The big freakin' edifice!"

That last comment was a lot less formal than Emily's new 'normal'. Maybe the dust was wearing off?
Emily continued replying to Tedd.

"...Understood."
"If I were to act like Madame President has, I would most likely attempt control from there, yes."
"...repeat that?"
"One moment.... yes, I believe I could do such a thing."
"All right, I will return it to him."

At that point, Emily passed the phone back to me.

"Jason?" Tedd asked. I replied I was there.
"As I promised," Tedd said, "your next mission will not be as risky as your first."
"Well, that's gr—"
"It'll be more so! Now then. Are you familiar with the TV show 'Mission Impossible'?"


Last edited by Jane Narbon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:38 pm 
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Happy Birthday

It was a dark and stormy...day? Day it was. Behind the stormclouds, the sun was inching its way up. A particularly loud burst of lightning rattled the windows. Windows draped in airy sheer curtains, holding the promise of a pleasant view. And yes, lightning can be had on tap, anyone can possess it, not just a mad.
But in this one thing tradition would be upheld. A nod to his past, the polite nod exchanged by old acquaintances. His heritage, his still conflicted memories of his parent, and her future...all held within the crash, the reverberation, the blinding light that leaves afterimages upon the inner eye.
The journal is there, the notebooks. One in particular, leather stained with sweat and...other things, the paper yellowed, but the bold writing still clear. It sits on the small rosewood table, carefully opened to the correct pages.
He spares not a glance for it. He memorized it long ago. But this too is a nod to the past.
The rosewood table matching the carved bedframe. Carved vines climb up the bedposts, never to break free and enjoy more than the imitation of life, only as eternal as the quiescent wood. Shaking his head to clear it from such morbid fancies, he takes one last look around.
It's a welcoming room. Walls a soothing blue, a windowseat behind the dotted swiss curtains. A bookshelf. Only a few books so far, but each one painstakingly chosen. The room isn't crowded, but the things it holds, needful and fanciful, are as delightful to the senses as practical.
Fitting enough for a birth chamber. Not for her the bare bright light, the utilitarian steel table and the stink of acid and decay. Overwhelmed, hyperacute senses assaulted by it all-but most of all by the horror and repulsion that filled his parent's eyes, as his own opened and became aware. By the cry of rejection and denial, still ringing in his ears as he fled to the darkness and rain, bewildered and alone. Those months in the forest, sustaining his form on berries and nuts, sustaining his self spying upon those who dwelt in that lonely cottage. Learning language from them, the pattern of their days, a reverse Prometheous stealing knowledge from man, hiding from the indifferent gods.
Enough! The past is past. Peace, however uneasy upon both sides, was achieved between him and his...parent. The damned book, half true, half dreams and falsehood, that has shaped how the world sees him even today. Not for him to enlighten them-let them keep their fable. Let him have peace...
Peace he has in abundance. A few friends. A sister, even more of a recluse than himself. Even now he winces, recalling how he raged and threatened to force her creation, knowing full well that the world would treat her no kinder than himself. Thank God she forgave him...
Will his child forgive him?
Stop! This is carefully planned, this time, it is done right! And yes, yes, he is lonely-but a child brought into the world, with caring and hope and love? The notebooks were given to him to keep by his...his father. To guard or destroy or use at his judgement-given to him, and not his parents later, traditionally created children.
He strides to the bed, reaches out a hand to soothe back the dark hair spilled against the rich purple bedspread. His skin is yellowed, thinly stretched over his musculature-hers is pale as moonlight. Lips black as his own, but set amid more delicate features. Stitches, stitches at neck and shoulder and wrist and more-but as dainty as possible, in contrast to the roughness of his own. As slow as his kind apparently ages, his daughter will begin life in the fullness of her youth-seemingly in her teens.
The lightning crashes again-and this time his hand does not falter upon the switch.
A whisper.
"live..."
Was that a flutter? A blink! Luminous eyes as night filled as his own focus, and see her father's gently smiling face.
Music plays, very softly. Enough to sooth without overwhelming, his beloved Mozart. And the storm gentles to quiet rain. Soon enough sunlight will appear.
"Zia. Your name is Zia. It means splendor, light."

Zia walks along, a cheerful smile in contrast to her black and chains and lace. A choker encircles her neck, wide cuffs encircle her wrists. Gothy edging towards steampunk, just a bit. Black lipstick glimmers, purple eyeshadow stark against her pale complexion.
Soon enough she's pushing open a massive door. Everything about this dwelling is built on a grand scale. High ceilings, sturdy furniture, heavy drapes-but the furnishings are chosen by someone with taste. Despite the solid dark woods, it's the antithesis of dark and gloomy.
"Yo! Anybody home?" Her voice echos down the hall. As soon do hurrying footsteps.
"Zia!" Her father's face broadens into a smile anyone else would find alarming. "This is a pleasant surprise."
Zia rolls her eyes. "Aw, come on. It's my birthday!"
"Well, yes, but I thought you might be going out with friends-" She cuts him off with a hug.
"Hey, I brought you something!" She grins, and holds out a large cardboard box.
"Hrrm?" He accepts it gingerly. "I...there's cake."
"Fantabulous. Let's go dig in, you can open it then. I can smell it from here!" Knowing her father, she'd guess he's been baking all morning.
Father and daughter walk towards the kitchen. "So, have you settled on a degree yet?" The question is more ritual than anything by this point.
"Nahhh...I've got the knowledge, why do I need the piece of paper?"
"At last count, if you just took those last classes you'd have enough, hrrm, 'pieces of paper' to wallpaper a room." But he smiles as he says it-he's not going to press her today of all days.
"What I do have is a new job." Zia dusts her fingernails on her lapel in faux modesty. "I am the new assistant librarian-"
"That sounds lovely, dear." He's careful not to sigh. Maybe someday...
"At The Library." She grins. "The Library. Not too shabby, huh? Seems I'm 'uniquely qualified'. And when Farnsworth is on a research trip or business or whatever, I get to run the largest friggin' library in the world."
"Language, Dear one!" But it's reflexive. His grin becomes even larger.
"Now c'mon, open the box!" She steers him to a chair.
"But...cake, and your presents-"
"It's my birthday and I say open the box!"
"Impudent child." Immense, dark nailed hands work at the seals. Clumsiness is a thing of the past, but the years have taught him slow and cautious motion to counteract his strength.
He gently pokes at what's revealed. "Zia?"
"It's a laptop! A custom job. This is sweet-you could toss it off the balcony and not scramble the electronics. Better clear off a spot on your desk."
"But...." He stops, helplessly.
"No buts! It's about time you got an email. And discovered the Web. I'm sticking around until you can do this." Zia smiles, but there's stubbornness in her voice.
"Oh? Looks like I'll be fixing you breakfast then." He prods it again. The keys are sized and spaced to fit his hands. They even resemble-
"I am not parting with my typewriter, young lady. If this is a sneaky way to-" His own voice is good and stubborn.
"Chillax, you can keep the typewriter. This'll be fun, you'll see." She grins at him, irrepressible. Like she'd make him part with that. She vividly remembers being taught to use it, and her delight as the letters appeared on the paper. Being read to, taught to read...
"Good." He harrumphs, but his heart isn't in it. "You have an unusual definition of fun, little swan. And what kind of a word is 'chillax'?"
"Heh. Can we have bacon for breakfast?" Eh, she doesn't need to be in tomorrow.
"And omelets." His heart lightens. Oh, she has her own life, her own place-and he'll never guilt her into moving back. But the occasional visit? That, he'll encourage.
"Sweet! Thanks, Father." Zia eyes the cake hopefully.
"Of course." Smile. "Happy Birthday, Daughter."

_________________
.. not how Science works, love. 1st, you build the machine, then it tells you what it's for.
Do you think I had the 1st idea what a squidhole was when I invented it? Certainly not! I was just messing about! That's when the very best & very Maddest Science gets done. I thought,Why, this alabaster octopus looks like it wants a nice transmission inside it,& fairly soon I had a thing that obviously had a Use, though what that Use could be was a total mystery.
(Sameness Engine) I haven't the 1st notion of what it's for! That's not why I made it-I made it for the sheer joy of making something new! It's getting up to tell me what it wants me to do, though, I can just feel it. It's been giggling a lot at night.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland
C Valente


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist
Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist

Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:40 pm
Posts: 473
TSgt Walker's Jodie.


Oh mama mama don't you see?
What the Airforce did for me.
Looking sharp and looking good,
I aught to be in Hollywood.
I don't need no rampage fun.
A few good missions then I'm done.
Freedom is all but a fleeting dream
Now I'm Uncle Sam's machine.
Oh papa papa don't you see?
What kind of man I became to be.
Now I got some discipline.
F*@# the lab and forget that sin.
Mad Science is still good as S#!$
But we don't need no mutant pit.


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:31 pm 
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Established Mad Scientist
Established Mad Scientist

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:29 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Xyon City
This the first part of a story called Reflections that was never finished. I made in an attempt to see if I could make a Dr. Who style episode that could give Steven Moffat a run for his money in terms of scaryness.There's bits of it I don't like and some I really don't like but it was my first experimentation with getting the characters personalities in written form. I'm posting it here because it might be useful as background for them.

-------

The man gets up, thinking he heard a noise downstairs. His wife murmurs something next to him, and rolls over in her sleep. He pads downstairs, with the gun he keeps in his bedside cabinet at the ready. As he passes the bathroom something - a flicker? A glint? Catches his peripheral vision. He enters the bathroom warily, lowering the gun. But there’s nothing there, just the mirror over the sink and bathroom products on the bench. As he turns to leave, it happens again. Over the shoulder shot of him looking in the mirror. Moonlight is streaming in from the window to the right. His reflection is grinning, a nasty evil grin. Cue shot from out side the bathroom with pleading and screams. Cue shot of entire house as the screams continue. Finally, a much higher view of the house and surrounding farmland, and three bangs

THEME MUSIC - DO WE HAVE ANY?

The door appears in the wall at Damien‘s flat. He‘s the first one out. Kuro jumps down from the windowsill and winds himself around Damien‘s legs, purring. Damien notices the pile of mail in front of the door, and exclaims “I forgot to leave food for Kuro! How long have we been gone?” Kunda saunters out of the door. “A few weeks. Best I could do.” and exits. Kylin follows after her. (They’ve gone to check on the basement in the basement). Damien is feeding Kuro when Axel calls “Hey, Damien!“ from over where he and Sarah are sorting through the mail. “This one’s for you!” Damien puts the bowl of food down for Kuro, who tucks into it happily, and walks over.
It’s a fancy and sombre envelope. Damien opens it, reads it, and pales. “What?” Sarah asks concernedly, and he wordlessly hands it over to her. Over shoulder shot of her reading it, Axel craning to get a good view.


To a Master Damien Lux
It is with much sadness that I inform you of the joint death of your aunt and uncle. Such a tragic occurrence should not have to happen to one so young and I offer you my condolences. The funeral takes place at noon in Grove Cemetary on the 9th of June, and you are invited to join in this celebration of Lucas’ and Anna Lux’s lives and achievements.

Yours cordially,

Squiggle

John Lamson, of Lamson and Haywain, Funeral directors.


“Does he say anywhere what killed them? Says Axel interestedly (He’s hoping it was something cool like being mauled by a Bengal tiger or falling out of a aeroplane).
Sarah gives him a glare, and hands the letter to a shell-shocked Damien. “No, it doesn’t. It only says that the funeral’s on the 9th of June. Axel immediately goes to check his cellphone’s calendar. ”Hey, that’s tomorrow! I need to get a suit”
Sarah raises and eyebrow. “You? In a suit?”
“What’s this that involves a suit?” asks Kunda from the doorway into the living room.
“Aunt Ann and Uncle Lucas are dead” Damien finally speaks.
Kunda’s face immediately softens. (He’s not the only one who’s lost family members.)
“Well then, Kylin and I will stay for the funeral. When is it?”
“Tomorrow.”
“Excellent.”
“Wait,” goes Kylin, a surprised look on his face. “Offering to stay? Who are you and what have you done with the real Kunda?”
Kunda rolls her eyes. “It’s just one day, Kylin”
“it’s never just one day and you know it.”
“Not important, Kylin. I’m going to pick out a suit. And she walks though the door just as Camelon is coming out.
“Is something happening?” he says.
Sarah and Axel open their mouths to explain.

At the funeral. Various family members are sitting on wooden benches, listening to a priest preach ove3r an open casket. Kunda nudges Camelon, who is fiddling with his tie.
“I know it’s long, but don’t fidget, okay?” she whispers to him.
“Sorry,” he whispers back “It’s just I’ve never worn a suit before.”
“Neither has Kylin, and he’s doing okay.”
Camelon wants to say that’s because Kylin’s suit is a hologram, along with the rest of him at the moment, but he decides not to and to instead listen to the autopsy or obituary or whatever is going on.

A few hours later, they are wandering around the after- dinner when a police officer walks up to Damien and asks if he could have a word. “Sure.” The police officer looks at the entourage. “Who are these people? Friends of yours?”
“That’s right.”
“We came to help him in his time of loss.” says Camelon.
“And not because there’s free food.” says Axel. Kunda thwacks him upside the head. Kylin grins and Sarah is unable to stop herself smiling for a few seconds. The police officer watches this impassively and ten turns to Damien and Sarah. “Now, I understand that you are the neice and nephew of the deceased?”
“Well, no. I mean, we are, I mean were, their niece and nephew, but we’re cousins, not brother and sister.” says Damien.
“I assume you know how they died?”
“Well, no, we only got the invitation to the funeral yesterday, and it didn’t say anything like that”
“We’ve been away.” said Sarah
“Oh? Where?”
“I took them on a tramping trip in the Alps.” interjects Kunda. “I was going and asked them along and they said yes.”
“Is this true?” Much nodding.
“Where’d you go?”
“Around Methven area. Lake Coleridge.” says Axel.
The policeman nods and writes this down. “Thank you. We’ll have to check of course.”
“Of course.” they chorus.
“Hang on,” goes Kunda. “How did they die?”
“Anna Lux was murdered by her husband with an old pistol, who then committed suicide with same pistol.” Sarah made an eep! noise, and Damien’s face completely drained of colour. “We’re fairly sure of this. These enquiries are purely a formality.” concluded the policeman. “Your uncle’s will has left you two his house. You are free to use it in a couple of days. We believe we have gathered enough evidence.”

Later, back at the flat.
“So, what are you going to do with the house?” asked Axel
Sarah shivered “Sell it.” she said. “I don’t even want to see it. “
“I just can’t believe my uncle would do that” said Damien “I didn’t see him very often. But he seemed a nice guy. And he loved my aunt.”
“Well, yes.” said Kunda. “I doubt you’ll find a family member of a murderer who’ll say “Yes, he was an evil, murdering bastard, all right.””
Kylin made a noise like sucking air through teeth and moved away from Kunda. Damien got to his feet, knocking over his chair. “What are you saying?” he ground.
Kunda met his gaze. “What I’m saying is there is that there is no such thing as a person incapable of murder. Anyone can, and will, given enough reason. Perhaps your uncle found out that his wife was having an affair.”
“Whoa.” said Axel under his breath. Camelon looked puzzled and uncertain what to do.
Damien lunged for Kunda and was held back by Sarah.
“How dare you!” he yelled.
“Aunt Ann was sixty years old.” said Sarah
Kunda shrugged. “I’ve seen stranger things.”
Damien broke free from Sarah and punched Kunda. Or at least tried to; his hand was caught in mid swing by her. She grinned along the length of his arm.
“Yeah, I don’t believe it either.” She said. “And I don’t think the police quite do either. But they can’t do anything if all the evidence points to it.”
“Eh?”
“If you really think he didn’t do it, then there’s only one thing to do”
“what?” said Damien, now thoroughly confused.
Kunda let go of his arm, and spread her own wide.
“Why, go to his house and see what happened for ourselves!”

“Remind me why we’re taking Damien’s car again. “complained Kylin.
“Because suddenly disappearing from his house and split-secondly appearing at his uncle’s could be said to be a wee bit suspicious, don’t you think?”
Car was a bit of a misnomer - it was a elderly van with six seats arranged in two rows. Kylin and Kunda were at the very back.
“I saw what you did back there by the way - you’re more deeevious than you take credit for.” said Kylin.
Kunda looked innocent. “Who me? What did I do?”
“Don’t try that on me. You knew that those two didn’t want anything to do with that house, but suddenly now we’re going to it, just to satisfy your curiosity.”
Kunda muttered something.
“What?”
“I don’t like it. The fact that it happens to them directly after we get back from our previous adventure. I don’t think those people’s was an ordinary death.”
“Hey, some people seem destined to be flicked on the ear by the universe.” said Kylin “It’s sad, but maybe Damien’s one of those.”
“Mmm” said Kunda non committedly.
In the front, Damien was driving.
“I’m worried.” said Sarah next to him
“About what?”
“You just, seem to be on edge lately. You get angry faster, at smaller things. You never used to be stung by insults. “
“Yeah” said Damien, frowning. “I’ve noticed that too. I didn’t think anyone else had.”
Sarah gave him a pitying ‘you should know me by now’ look.
“It’s ever since that… incident on Anation” he said, ignoring her.
“Well, just keep an eye on it okay?” she said. “You might hurt someone someday.”
In the middle, Axel is playing on a Gameboy. Camelon next to him is staring out the window.

“Dibs beds!” shouted Kylin and Axel simultaneously, rushing out of the van.
“Isn’t this great?” said Kunda, looking at the small house. “It’ll be like a camping trip. Except in a house instead of a tent.”
“You guys seem weirdly enthusiastic for people about to be staying the night in a house in which people have died.” remarked Sarah.
“Did we pack marshmallows?” asked Kunda, ignoring her. “And Singstar stuff? I love karaoke.”
“No.” says Damien. He’s wearing sunglasses. “We’re here to look for any evidence that the police miraculously happened to have missed, not to have a party.”
“You heard the man!” Kunda yelled towards the house. “Stop having fun, guys!”
“Fat chance! They have Sky in here!” came Kylin’s voice.
“And broadband! Sweet! Civilization!” came Axels‘.
“Seriously, you aren’t bothered?” said Sarah.
“Nope!” shrugged Kunda. “Why should we be? Dead people can‘t hurt us.”
“I thought that a house someone had died in would be scarier.” says Camelon. “But this looks pretty much the same as all the other human houses I’ve seen.”
“That’s only in movies.” says Kunda dismissively.
“Oh.’
“Now, last one in has to sleep on an air mattress!”

It is the dark of night. Kunda wakes up, one eye shooting open. She gets up, and tiptoes to the door. Sarah stirs and says sleepily “Where are you going?”
“Just getting a drink of water. I’m parched.”
“Mmm.” Sarah turns over and goes back to sleep. Kunda carefully closes the door behind her, an old habit of hers.
She makes her way to the bathroom, where she saw a cup earlier. She groggily fills it up with water, and casually glances into the mirror. It takes her a second to think Something’s wrong when her reflection suddenly grins at her. Kunda sees her own face in its eyes and sees her own realization dawn in it. Her reflection is no mirror image - it’s features aren’t reversed. She briefly wonders about seeing her reflection in her reflection and wonders if it see’s it’s in her’s and the potentially recursive nature of this when the reflection places it’s hands on the glass and leans in suddenly. Kunda swears softly and jumps back, looking for some sort of weapon. Sadly, she’s in pyjamas and the makers of them failed to provide for the instance of a reflection attack. The reflection starts to climb out of the mirror, climbing over the sink. Kunda can see it’s lower half now - it’s wearing a sword. Her sword. She feels the bile rise in her throat. This thing’s been in her head! Her other self draws the blade. It makes no sound at all - not even when it pads across the tiled floor towards her, slowly, teasingly, tossing the blade from hand to hand, and grinning with the fun of the kill. Amateur thinks Kunda scornfully. If I wanted someone dead then they’d be so by now. The reflection cocks it’s head, puzzled, then shrugs and lifts the sword high above it’s head to strike. Kunda kicks it in the gut, and, while it’s winded grab sit by the throat with her right hand and slams it hard against the mirror.
“You may have been in my head and you may have my form, but you don’t have my abilities or skills or I wouldn’t be able to beat you while wearing PJ’s.” she growls. “And, as someone I don’t remember right now said, a weapon you don’t know how to use belongs to your enemy.” At this point the steadily increasing grip on her reflection’s right wrist forces it to let the sword drop to the floor. In a smooth move, Kunda flips the sword up into the air with her foot, lets go of her reflection and grabs it, holding it in a fighting stance with it at her opponent’s throat.
“Come on,” Kunda says. “Why’d you attack me?”
The reflection snarls at her, but says nothing.
Kunda makes a feint towards it with the sword. It flinches away, but it’s eyes never leave her face.
“COME ON! TALK!”
The reflection smirks and starts to slide back into the mirror. Kunda swears for the second time in as many minutes.
‘Oh, no you don’t!” she says, grabbing at it, but she just ends up scrabbling at the glass as it turns and runs out through the reflection of the bathroom door. Kunda swears again. The door slowly opens and Damien is there, rubbing insomnia-blackened eyes. He turns the light on.
“Are you all right Kunda? I thought I heard you yell.”
Kunda turns back towards the mirror. Her reflection is there, along with Damien’s. She glares suspiciously at it. It glares suspiciously back at her. Her fingers tighten on the-. She looks down. The sword is gone. There is no sign at all of the previous battle.
“Kunda?”
‘Hmm? Oh, nothing. Just a possum on the roof. I was shouting for it to get off.”
“You look like death walking.” she added. “You probably should get back to sleep.”
“You mean get to sleep.” Damien said, but he went off anyway
As Kunda walked out the door made the ‘yeah, I’m watching you’ sign with her fingers. But it was only when she was gone and the light was out when her reflection walked back through the mirror’s bathroom door, went up to the sink, and grinned. Back in bed, Kunda mutters “You don’t mess with me and get away with it. I’ll get you.” before she falls asleep.

Early that morning.
“Hey, Damien! What happened? Did you get punched in the eyes by the sandman?”
“Put a sock in it, Axel.” says Damien.
Axel pulls a face “Sure tastes like I am.”
“Oh, come on,” says Kunda, passing by with a plate. “UHT milk isn’t that bad.”
“I notice you aren’t having any.” observes Sarah.
Damien has a closer look at what’s on the plate. “What the hell are you eating?
“Butter on weetbix. Want some?” She holds out a stick of pale yellow.
“Holy crud! There’s more butter than weetbix!” exclaims Axel
“Actually, it seems to be margarine.” says Camelon.
“As far as I’m concerned, if it looks like butter and tastes like butter, it is butter, no matter how easy it is to spread.” pouted Kunda. “ And you’re eating something, you don’t want to have to taste the plate.”
Everyone at the table pulls a face, except Camelon, who doesn’t understand.
“Ewww…”

“So! Plans for today!”. Kunda claps her hands and stands up.
“Well, I’m gonna have a shower.” says Damien.
“No, don’t!” shouted Kunda.
Everyone looks at her. She looks embarrassed.
“Why not?”
“I… used up all the hot water.”
“All of it?”
“All of it.”
Damien face palms. “Great. Just… great.”
Sarah looks like she doesn’t buy it but says nothing. What she is thinking is But you haven’t used it since we came here.
What Axel is thinking is more like this: Oh great! Another way that Damien can be annoyed!
Camelon has the familiar look of a person listening to a conversation in a language they don’t know. A flicker catches his peripheral vision and he looks at his glass, but there’s nothing there except from his reflection.

-------

_________________
In other words, he'll look like he was thrown into a rummage sale at high speed and came out wearing whatever stuck, because to him, "hero" means "costume" and "costume" means "dressup" and "dressup" means "whatever the hell I want".
------
"The only difference between genius and madness is the success rate." - White Wolf Forums


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:59 pm 
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Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist
Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist

Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:40 pm
Posts: 473
A non cannon creation story


When god created the universe, he used an unknown and unnamed source. this energy was chaotic in nature, random and followed no rules anyone or anything can pertain. God did not create this source but he was able to shape it to fit his desires. Thus everything in the universe was born from this chaotic soup. All was good, or so God thought. Despite God's best efforts, the chaos which all things are created from, rebelled against the laws and order it was forced to follow. thus Chaos seeped into the world.

But the creations of God could not harness the chaotic power. then God created man. Man was more sensitive to the forces that affected him over God's other creations. Unlike the plants and the animals, the Chaos which resided in man began to speak, and gained a voice within a select few humans. The rules of nature, it said, does not apply to me. Wield me and you shall see. Some succumbed to the voice. In return they were able to do the impossible but at a price. For those who uses the power of the chaotic soup, lost a bit of their humanity and the understanding of law and order. They had trouble relating to the others who did not follow the chaotic voice. Thus the men and woman who could wield this force was shunned from society as a whole.

As time passed, many of these humans gained grudgingly respect for their talents. For as mankind continued to grow, so did their ability to understand and manipulate. As the generations passed on, so too the knowledge on how to use the chaotic force. This knowledge and understanding expanded to the point where they could change the very laws god has set.

As the power of these men and women increased, so too was there a rise of a mental defense among the people who refused or unable to manipulate the chaotic force. this defense filters what the person perceived. What the chaotic force could do, was filtered out. As a result the men and women with this defense went through life ignorant of the impossible and keeping their mind safe from it.

In modern times these people who understood the chaotic power became to be known as mads, Sparks and Mad Scientists. As mankind as a whole continue to grow, so too the power of the Mads. And what does God has to say about this growing trend? "Hopefully soon they will have the real answer to life, the universe and everything."


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:34 pm 
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Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist
Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist

Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:40 pm
Posts: 473
A MSW Jodie in progress

Look to the sky here comes chicgeek
Don't be calling her a freak
drinking coffee in the morning
zapping people in the evening.
If I could be as good as her
I would rock that purple hair.

Look at David with a metal arm
Winning battles with his charm.
He is the hero here and now
Saving the world with one good KAPOW!
If I could be as good as him
I would save the day on a whim

Oh Claire oh Claire with a catgirl face
wielding a wrench from hammerspace
she can take on the meanest fellow
But she hides from one marshmallow
If I could be as good as her
I would have to think hard on the color of my fur

Here comes demo standing tall
He will be the reason for your fall
shrouded in a mysterious past
Those who know it better move fast.
If I could be as good as that
I would win with only a bat.

{more to come}


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist
Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist

Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:40 pm
Posts: 473
I like late night stories.............. I think. Hey I can only stay up late on Friday's and Saturday's so shush.





An old tape recording found in a box in an old building marked for demolition.



Male voice: I don't understand, what exactly do you want from me?

Female voice: It is very simple, I need you.

Male: Ma'am, kidnapping me is not quite a good way to ask for help.

Female: Oh no you don't understand, this is the only way I could make you listen.

Male: You are right ma'am, I don't understand. And what is that on the table?

Female: Don't worry about it. It is for research purposes. What I really need is your name, your face, your potential destiny.

Male:...... My destiny?

Female: Lets just say with my help, people on this land will know your name for generations and generations down the road........ {low whisper} And no one will be the wiser either.

Male: I don't even know you and you are offering me this? What do I need to do in return?

Female: All you need to do is do one task. I already set it up so you will succeed. All I need you to do is kill one man

{sound of something heavy being placed on the table}

Male: Kill? As in murder? Ma'am I don't kill people. I am an actor, not a killer.

Female: Tisk tisk. I am sure I can sweeten the deal. What if I told you the person I want you to kill is the President of the United States?

Male:{pause} Did I hear you right? The President of the United States?

Female: I know you strongly disagree with his policy. A burning hatred in fact. You hate his guts and I want him dead. I don't think there is a conflict of interest here.

Male: I may hate his guts Ma'am but that still does not mean I want to kill him.

Female: Tisk tisk. Unfortunately for you I am on a time limit.

Male: Wait a minute. Wait! Don't shoot!

{A discharge of energy can be heard}

Female: Now, are you ready to co-operate?

Male: {A little dazed} Ugh. Yes ma'am. I see it is the only way to achieve what is right.

Female: Good! Here is your weapon. He will be at the local theater tonight. All you got to do is walk up behind him and shoot him in the back of the head. Simple as that.

Male: That is a good plan ma'am. Now I must be off, I got a president to kill.

{Footsteps followed by opening and closing of a door}

Female: Tisk tisk. I thought he would agree without the need to this. But on a tight schedule. Must be off before the Time Police catches me. The best is, I just pulled off the perfect murder and no one is the wiser!

{Another continuous discharge of energy and then everything goes quiet. The tape runs on till out}




Note: The recording seems to be extremely old and it is unknown how it managed to survive through the years without the data being lost to erosion of the tape.


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:08 am 
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Heh heh heh.
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:02 am
Posts: 1324
Location: Behind you
Random inspiration has hit me.

=======

Reunion


The two women walked along the passage, traveling downwards with each short flight of steps they passed through. From a distance, the two could be mistaken for each other; each had short, shoulder-length blond hair, walking with the same gait and wearing matching outfits, their appearance not an atom out of place. However, seen closely, disparities began to emerge.
It was subtle, but it was there. Variations in the design of the pair's outfits. Tiny differences in hairstyles and gait. However, if one were to look into their eyes, they would see the real contrast between the pair: an indefinable glitter the two shared— but lighter in one, and much darker in the other.
Their guide, a man with the air of a concierge, answered the question one had asked him.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I really know little about the history of the item you've come to see. It was recently accepted into the secure storage collection here— it was recovered following that disastrous incident with the manticore, I'm sure you both heard about that."
The duo nodded, in unison. "And now?" the one on the right said.
"And now it is here," the concierge responded. "Where no one can be tempted to use it, thank goodness. Or remove it. I trust my assistants explained the rules of security to you?"
In a bored tone of voice, both women spoke. "Don't attempt to remove the item from the room, don't use the item for its intended purpose, notes on the item's content are allowed unless they contain usable instructions or other dangerous passages in which case they will be confiscated." The one on the left added, "We heard it several times, as a matter of fact.""Good," said the concierge, as the three passed along a corridor set with steel doors, flush to the wall. Each door had several keyholes; a few had stylized chains embossed upon the door surface (though no actual chains were in evidence). One of the women snuck a sideways glance at the label on one door. It read,

ROD OF AARON
Archivist: Do not store with Ark and Tablets


When she turned her eyes forward again, the concierge had stopped, moving to a door in the left wall, having two keyholes. Removing a giant ring of keys from somewhere, he selected two, inserted them, and turned them at the same time. The door opened, revealing a small chamber with another door just beyond.
The concierge stepped back, pulling the door open. "You will need to leave your briefcases here, and I must inspect anything from them you bring in," he said.
The women looked at each other, shrugged, then opened their cases. One removed a lined notepad from her case; the other removed several pens from hers. After the concierge had run a small scanner over each item, he nodded, gesturing that the two should enter the small room. "The inner door will open after the outer one is closed," he said. "You have two hours. If you wish to leave early, use the intercom in the anteroom. Please be sure to remember your security code, as you will be asked for it before the outer door is reopened."
The first woman nodded. "We understand," she said. "Most certainly," the second woman added.

Then, both walked into the small room, each taking a deep breath in anticipation. As the concierge closed and locked the steel outer door, the second woman looked back at its inside. There were no keyholes on this side of the door. Instead, strange runes, in lines of dense text, covered every inch of the door's inside surface.
Before she could look closer at the text, the hum of the inner door opening brought the woman back to the task at hand. As the door slid fully open, the contents of the room were revealed.

The room was large, flat, and featureless, the walls a bright, metallic off-white. No lights could be seen present, but the room was lit by a soft white glow that seemed to come from everywhere. Aside from the door, there were no other fixtures.
A metal bookstand stood in the very center of the room. Upon it was a large, dark tome, its binding frayed and cracked in some dark, leathery substance. Its uneven pages, dyed (or singed) black around the edges, added to the book's aged appearance. Two clasps of black iron bound the book shut, and a name, now unintelligible, had once been written on the front in dissolved gold letters. However, chiefly noticeable about the book was an aura of corruption and hostility that seemed to irrationally surround it. It was as if the book were to go out of its way to say, I am an evil, dark tome. Do not mess with me!
The inner door slid closed behind the pair of women as they walked into the room. Each looked at the other, and smiled. Time to get to work.

The first order of business was to move the stand out of the way, which the two did together. Careful not to dislodge the precious book, the pair carried the stand over to a near corner of the room, leaving the floor clear.
"All right then," said the woman nearer the door. "You find the page and I'll draw." She uncapped one of the pens she had brought in, revealing a wide-tipped marker, and began to draw two circles upon the floor: a larger one, towards the center of the room, and a smaller one, big enough for both women to stand in, off to the side. "The big circle should be a proper pentagram," the woman with the notepad said, as the other woman finished the smaller circle and began working to inscribe the large one with the requisite 5-pointed star.
Once the basic outline of the circles had taken shape, both women looked once more at the book, their eyes following the listing of words they would need to draw around the circles for what they intended to succeed.
The woman with the notepad pointed out a line. "It says three, around the big circle," she said. "I'll get that. Let me know where you'll put the gaps in the words so we can get the placement right."

As the other woman nodded, writing upon the floor in a language most people did not know, the woman with the notepad tore off three pages from her pad, crumpling each before forming the wadded paper into a cone. Placing each cone around the large circle, where the other woman had left spaces in the text scrawled around it, the first woman reached into a secret pocket of her outfit, removing a small gold lighter. Quickly, she set all three piles aflame. The pad may have been treated beforehand, as the cones began to burn much more slowly than you would expect of ordinary paper.

With both sisters finished in their work, one final step remained. Leaving the bookstand where it was, the women took the book in their hands, jointly carrying it with them into the smaller circle. Then, one turned a page and the two began to chant, a strange, interwoven, guttural sound, echoing in some language not now known to Man. As they recited, the burning papers began to smoke, and the black ink lines on the floor appeared to become somehow more solid, as the sisters sped up, the subtle hum that had followed them everywhere in the building only now dying down as the chant blotted out the world outside.
The pair spoke more urgently; the floor lines deepened; the silence grew absolute. Then, with a triumphant shout, the two finished in unison, and the noise of the building was with them once more. Now all there was to do was wait for the words to echo where they would, and for the subject of their call to respond—

Suddenly, with no warning or announcement, a woman was in the larger circle, floating slightly above the floor. She appeared maybe ten years older than the duo, her iridescent black hair shimmering as it always did. The woman was wearing a gown the color of sky just after sunset, with long gloves the hue of twilight and tall, high-heeled boots with the glimmer of a starry night, right before the first light of dawn. Her face was beautiful and intriguing, a collection of well-shaped features united by a pair of piercing purple eyes, bearing a look within them that seemed distantly related to the two women's own. Only one detail was out of place: high up on the woman's forehead, a pair of small, reddish vestigial horns poked through her hair. If anything, they seemed slightly cute.

As the summoned woman finished appearing, she settled gently to the floor, looking around to see who had called her forth. She saw the two women in the smaller circle, and their gazes locked.
Then, the two summoners set the book aside, running happily out of the circle towards who they had sent for. As their feet crossed the line of the small circle, the object of their summoning was at once able to move beyond her own. She ran towards the two, enfolding them in a big hug as all three smiled.

And, with great grins on their faces, Helen Gamma Narbon and her sister, Helen Digamma Narbon, said the two words they had been waiting for years to say.

"Hi, Mom."

~fin~

_________________
"My conscience is feeling all prickly."
"A bit of absolute power can remedy that."
Kid Radd


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:08 pm 
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Mad Scientist Unbelievable
Mad Scientist Unbelievable
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Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:30 am
Posts: 4538
Location: Burnsville
In-

Exalted

-Between

Stories of characters in the universe of Exalted, during the ten years between the shattering of the Fivefold Snare and the Southern Emergence...


1: Kejak


The room, to anyone who looked into it, would be best described as nondescript. Nothing hanging on the walls. No plants placed in one of the corners. A single bookshelf, filled entirely with work-related materials. Not a single item that worked against the spartan furnishings to even hint in rebellion that there was another side to the story. No furniture, nor even the indication that it had ever been there, save a single desk, filled with paperwork.

This was the room of one whose life had been peeled away to it's core.

Behind that desk, a single man, bald, with a gaze sharpened like a dagger, sat. He was filling out paperwork while issuing directions to a small winged cherub. His writing had the frantic scrawl of a man racing a clock, which was characteristic of his manner in general. But although he hurried, he never cut a single corner, and his calligraphy was as immaculate as his appearance: neat, tight, and unblemished in any way. In all things order, and order in all things.

Until the door slammed open.

The Cherub panicked. This event was unprecedented. The door of Chejop Kejak did not slam. It had never slammed in the three hundred and fifty-two years since he had been instated as a errand boy for the Sidereal head of the Bureau of Secrets itself. Letting out a loud scream, it started to flutter away, until Kejak looked up at it, giving it a paralyzing glare.

A woman, big boned and strong, entered through the disrupted door. Deep green eyes perched above a rather mannish face. An azure
headband barely controlled her untidy, mouse-brown hair, rubbing gently against the starmetal mace resting on her right shoulder. She grunted as she strode through the door, looking up and meeting Kejak's irritated gaze. "So?" She looked around for someplace to sit, found nothing, and remained standing, indicating to the outside world that she had been planning on that the entire time.

Kejak folded his arms, looking at her for a moment. "Saika. I had expected you to at least be discreet." He narrowed his eyes, looking up at the cherub. "It would behoove you to go deliver that message, immediately."

The cherub didn't need to be told twice.

The woman known as Saika rolled her neck, as if unabashed. "Look, I'm not gonna dance around with you like I'm trying to woo you. If you've got something to tell me, just say it."

Kejak, if this annoyed him, did not show it. He picked up his quill and resumed writing. "You have heard, I presume, the report that Kato Shota provided regarding the Manse of Autocthon?"

Saika scowled. "Ugh, no. Why are you bringing up THAT paperweight and his failings?"

A quill's tip was dipped in ink precisely three times, which was just enough to perfectly coat it. "It described a series of events regarding an ancient artifact possessing properties similar to that off the Jade Prison... and of the Celestial exalts who destroyed it despite our agent's efforts to the contrary."

"So you're madder than Kai and want them dealt with?"

"Perhaps. How would you react if I were to tell you that two of those involved were members of the Fivefold Fellowship?"

Saika snarled. "Woah. I don't do politics, Kejak. Hunting anathema is one thing, but I'm not gonna indulge in these sophomoric scuffles everyone else does. Goldies might be stupid, but I'm not gonna whisper about 'em behind their backs just because they're idiots. Get someone else-"

Chejop Kejak's face was impassive. "-who knowingly had interactions with the very same Death knights who slaughtered thousands at Thorns, and when they had them at their mercy, knowingly let them go."

Saika's face went blank. "...then again, you could argue that getting rid of someone like that was just like pruning a tree of dead wood anyway. Alright, whadda want me to do about it?"

"Your job, Iron Saika. I want you to do your job. Just with a bit more direction, and perhaps some funding and assistance for once." A quill tip streaked across paper. "And if it turns political? Your voice will be turned against theirs. Is that understood?"

"...damn it, fine." The Sidereal known as Iron Saika clenched a fist. "So who am I working with?"

"You'll be meeting them eventually. Not now."

Saika glared at Kejak, who met her rage with placid tranquility. "THEN WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ALL THIS TO BEGIN WITH?!? I have better things to do than sit here and talk, old man!"

A T was crossed. Kejak stood up. "I hardly feel the necessity to explain my motives to someone who fails to show proper respect. You may go, young lady. If May Blossom is outside, inform her to enter... less dramatically than her predecessor."

"You... you... URGH!" Iron Saika turned, storming out.

As tranquility resumed dominance of his room, Chejop Kejak resumed working.

_________________
We've learned a lot, but this still isn't going to be easy. But I don't think the elder star's confidence in us was misplaced. I know we can do this! We'll set things right! ...somehow.

"There is a fine line between a good King and a Despot. A King is best when His subjects barely realize that He exists. When His work is done and His will is fulfilled, they will say, 'We did it ourselves.'"
-Xin Yun


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 Post subject: Re: Tales of Madness
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist
Brilliant (but still Mad) Scientist

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Posts: 473
To Catch a Clockwork Thief
(Inspired by another story called "Clockwork Thief)

Chapter One: The Doctor's Conundrum.

The scene was a peaceful. The museum was filled with excited patrons as they awaited the revealing of a priceless artifact. The artifact in question was a recent design by a famous inventor. Known throughout the world for his mechanical beasts of burden. He came to the London Inventor's Museum to show off his latest creation. "The next best thing for the field of medicine!" He claimed to the press. the man himself was on stage in the middle unveiling it, with a grin of triumph and pride on his face. The small device was on the pedestal and half revealed, the cloth covering it half pulled off and suspended. People had a look of excitement frozen on their face as they stood silently and unmoving like statues and mannequins.

Only one man moved. He moved quickly through the thick crowd and up to the stage. He looked at his engraved pocket watch and went to work. "Lets see what you got underneath that cover of yours." He lifted the cloth more up which stayed up, suspended in the air. Underneath was a beautifully designed clockwork device. Steamtubes, dials and gauges lined the sides. On one side held what looked like an open tube with a metal covering that could be screwed off. It looked like an overly large cigar with a box on top with anchors for hanging the device if need be. Or maybe it had to be hung up. The thief did not care for that nor what it does. All he cared for was the look of the device and the fact he could steal it.

He experimented with the weight of the device and surprised by how heavy it was. "Why do you have to make it soo heavy Doc? Trying to give me an ulcer?" Hefting the device off the pedestal, the thief carried it out of the room, knocking several frozen people over in the process. He placed the device in an awaiting carriage a block away outside of the building. He wiped the sweat from his brow and checked his pocket watch again. "Goodie, I still have some time to have some fun!" He laughed as he headed back into the building. Everyone was still frozen, including the grandfather clock which was donated by some famous person the thief have not bothered to look up. "I should thank the doc for his wonderful gift, don't you think?"

about 25 minutes later the thief looked at his work. Where the device was now stood one of the museums priceless statue. The inventor was sporting one of audience's expensive top hat and spectacle. His other hand sported an Egyptian Cane the thief found elsewhere in the building. He posed the inventor as if he was a crier for the circus, trying to sell the priceless statue on the pedestal. For more chaos, He also switched many of the audience's jewelery with someone else. One aging man was sporting a full necklace while a young woman had a monocle. The thief bowed at the frozen audience as he checked his watch. Thank you for coming but I have little time left. 4 minutes to be precise. I bid thee farewell and hope you have better lawyers then you do luck and brains." He tips his hat and left. Exactly 4 minutes and 32 seconds later for the thief, time resumed again and the resulting confusion and chaos could be heard even from across the street.


---------------


"What do we have here Commissioner?" The young detective was on the scene along with the local police. The Commissioner rubbed his temples before speaking. "Lots of confusion and little of it makes sense. From what we gathered from eye witnesses, Dr. Harlow was revealing his new invention and in a blink of an eye, one of the museum's statue was there and Dr. Harlow was in possession of stolen artifacts with a big grin on his face. The guards quickly restrained Dr. Harlow. He says he has no idea what happened and his device is missing. No one has seen this device very well but more then one person swears the statue was not there a moment ago. Also many of the people there had their jewelery stolen or misplaced. The folks who was in possessions of the jewelry are also in custody although just like Dr. Harlow, they claim they have no idea how they became possession of the missing articles. All in all it is a big ball of confusion."

The detective nodded. "We should question everyone one by one. See if maybe we can turn something up. Also check up on Dr. Harlow's work. See if this device ever did existed. Ask around and see if anyone else have seen anything. We need a better picture of what just happened here before we jump in a direction. Also make sure nothing from the museum was stolen. Double check everything." The Detective paused then said. "Check up on any other inventors. This may also have been a prank or a publicity stunt by another inventor aiming to embarrass DR. Harlow and smudge his name. Don't ask me what they did but check up on them all the same. See if they may have int he works something that could feasibly do this. Use your imagination in this."

The Commissioner nodded. Even though he was a little irked that this detective was trying to tell him his job, things he was already planning or put into action already, he kept it from showing none the less. Years of experience has taught him getting mad over this won't solve anything. LAter on when they both have time then he will hav a talk to the detective. Int he mean time, they have a mess to clean up and possibly a thief to catch.


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