Thursday, November 29, 2012

You: Bonus Chapter


Bonus Chapter

Stowing the jetpack under a pile of leaves, you begin to play over the events of the last 48 hours and try to sort them out in your head. You tell yourself that it’s high time you formed a plan instead of just stumbling around blindly reacting to things. Though to be honest, it isn’t like you had much of a choice other than to stumble blindly and react.

First off, accidentally causing an alien flying saucer to crash in the desert immediately upon your arrival wasn’t exactly the greatest way to start your exploration of this weird, parallel world. You’re pretty sure that isn’t what your bosses back at the Omega Conglomerate had in mind when they sent you here either. You were just supposed to infiltrate the domed city, take a few pictures with the nano-bot computers they injected into your bloodstream, and then get the hell out. All of this, supposedly, was so that you could help them form an opinion on whether or not to make contact with the inhabitants of this world.

If you were asked right now, though, your suggestion would include the words ‘hell’ and ‘no’ repeated maybe a dozen times. 

Of course, that may have something to do with being attacked by two alien species immediately upon your arrival, the most recent of which left you irradiated, glowing green, and quite possibly mutated. And the humans haven’t been much better, taking you prisoner and accusing you of being a spy for a rebel faction that’s hell bent on overthrowing this world’s various alien oppressors. The fact that you are a spy - though for an entirely different organization - is neither here nor there. They were extremely rude to you. 

The only thing currently holding you back from writing this world off entirely is the rebel Enis, who saved your life and gave you a brief history of this planet. He alone has been kind to you and helped nurse you back to health after that goo-monster exploded all over you. 

It’s really too bad that you had to knock him out, steal his gun, and leave him in an underground bunker out in the desert. 

Oh well, no use dwelling on the past. You figure it would be unfair to judge this world entirely on the actions of its despotic alien overlords, radiation monsters, and crooked leaders. It’s time to strike out and see what the common man is like.

Confident that the jetpack is well hidden, and that you will remember where it is in case you need it for a rapid escape, you make your way over to the nearby creek. The water is amazingly clear and you can see little fish darting around the rocks at the bottom. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear you were in a natural forest back on your own world instead of a glass-enclosed artificial city built in the middle of an atomic wasteland. 

So, naturally, this water needs a little blood in it. Looking around for a scab, of which you’ve acquired many since arriving here, and finding a good one on your elbow, you proceed to pick at it for a bit. Just before stepping into the machine that transported you here, an egghead injected you with a serum laced with microscopic robots that installed an entire computer system in your head. Without it, you couldn’t use your eyes as a camera (Something that makes you feel like the Bionic Woman, which is awesome!) or contact the satellite that your bosses put into orbit just before your arrival. 

And out of all of the decisions that you’ve made since getting here, giving that satellite’s artificial intelligence the voice of Yakov Smirnov is the one you regret the most. Not like the other choices were that great either, though. 

A small counter pops up in lower right corner of your field of vision just as a drop of blood leaks out of your elbow and fall into the water. 

Percentage To Integration: 1%

It slowly fades away as you grab your backpack - containing your purloined binoculars, unexplored tablet computer, and handy Swiss Army knife - and begin your trek through the woods. The neighborhood you are heading to is a little over a mile away and you spend the time thinking about how you are going to go about finding out more about the common people of this world. 

In the end you come to the conclusion that the best course of action is to break into someone’s house, steal a few things, and then try to blend in as best as you are able. After that it should just be a matter of making conversation with a few locals, find out what this world is all about, and then make contact with Orson so you can get home. 

Should be nice and simple.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Revenant: Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

      The biggest problem we had when it came to bringing Darryl Whitcomb to justice was that we had no idea where he’d run off to. Seamus had spent a week sending out telegrams to everyone he knew, which seemed to be everybody in the country, and called in every favor he could remember. If Darryl showed his face in any settlement that consisted of more than just a couple houses nailed together, we’d get word. 

    Until that happened though, we still had a living to make. So to speak. 

    I was happy to be getting out of town and out onto the plain again. Seeing all those people milling about, leaving pieces of their aura on everything they touched, was starting to drive me a bit buggy. I had taken to spending my evenings in the saloon, watching people people pass back and forth, just staring. It was like looking at a portrait someone kept smearing paint all over. 

    Turns out folk thought that was creepy. 

    So Seamus hooked the wagon back up and we set off for the next town on the map. I took up my usual position of outrider, though I found myself walking since horses and other animals no longer took kindly to me, and staring out over the ocean of grass. It was peaceful. If I didn’t look over at my travelling companions, I could pretend I was normal again. That all a man could see was just sky and ground and clouds. Tangible things he could hold in his hands.

     Hands not covered in the dead skin of an old priest, that is.

     Then I saw the man on the hill. 

    “Hold up,” I called over to Felix, who was driving. I couldn’t talk too loud, cause of the stitches holding my mouth together, but I found I could make myself heard if I tried hard enough. “I don’t like the look of that fella.”

    “What fella?” he asked, looking over at where I pointed. 

    He wore a large hat, beaten to near shapelessness, and a fur coat that looked to be made of about a dozen different critters. He just stood there,staring right at me, with one hand holding an antique looking flintlock rifle while the other kept rubbing at his leg like it ached him. He stood still as a statue.

    “You see someone up on that hill, Titus?” Seamus asked as he walked up behind me.
“I take it you don’t?” I asked, already knowing the answer. “Guess I better go find out what he wants.”

    Seamus looked like he was about to protest, but changed his mind. I trudged up the hill, not taking my eyes of the stranger.

    He was young. Way too young to be here on his own. And he was so damn pale he’d make the moon look like it had a tan. He also looked about as scared as a boy can get.

    “Have you seen my friends, mister?” he asked when I got to the top of the hill. His voice was trembling and he kept grabbing his leg. “I been waiting for ‘em to get back for....for a long while.”
“What’s the matter with your leg, son?”

     He looked down at it like he’d never seen the thing before. I could see an old bloodstain running down the back of his pants leg. The smell of rot was thick around him.

     “I can’t feel it,” he said blandly. “I sat down on the wagon seat and stuck myself on this nail that was bent up. Weren’t much of a cut really, not at first. Then it started achin’ real bad. I must have fallen asleep an’ rolled off the wagon or somethin’. Pa’s gonna have my hide when he finds me.”

     “I think maybe you should move on,” I said, not knowing what else to say. “Maybe if you try to find them, you’ll...”

     "Oh, no,” he said, chuckling sadly. “Pa said if any of us get turned around or lost to just stay put. He said he’d find us eventually. He’s a good tracker, my Pa is. He’s gonna sell hardware to the folks trying to find gold up north. Says we’re gonna make a ton of money. Enough to....”

     “Enough to what?”

     “I don’t remember,” he said. “If you see ‘em, will you tell ‘em where I am?”

     “Yeah, I’ll do that.”

     “Thanks, mister. My name’s Eli. My Ma calls me Skeeter though.”

     “I’ll keep an eye out, Eli. I’ll tell them where you are should I find them.”

    “Thanks. Good luck out west,” he said, turning to look out at the setting sun. He looked almost hopeful, his black eyes full of promise. “It’s a grand adventure, my Pa says.”

     “Yeah. I guess you could call it that.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

You: Chapter Nine (A Choose Your Own Adventure)

   Welcome to Choose Your Own Adventure time! The way this is going to work is pretty familiar. Each chapter, you will be given one or two choices that will dictate how the story progresses. The choices will be given in the body of the story and you vote your choice by clicking on the answer in the corresponding poll on the right side of this here blog. Voting begins on Saturday when the story posts and remains open until Tuesday night.
   A word of warning, though! Unlike a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you can't go back and make a different decision to get a different outcome. Whatever decision wins the vote on Tuesday is final, so choose wisely.



Chapter Nine

As you angle your jetpack toward the rows of quaint little towns, you see swarm of black and white hover-vehicles blast out of the business quarter and make a beeline to the office building you just broke out of. It looks like Darius must have woken up and called in the cavalry.

It won't make your getaway and eventual escape any easier, but you feel good that you didn't kill anybody. Or pee on things. Who knows what kind of tracking technology they have around here and you'd hate to have your pee used against you. For the moment though, you know you should go to ground and wait for the heat to die down. And though it breaks your heart, you will also have to ditch the jetpack.

There look to be five levels of identical-looking small towns. Aiming for a wooded area on the third layer, figuring it would allow you to flee easily to the other two if shit hits the fan, you propel yourself through the air. As you go you try to figure out ways to sneak the jetpack back to your own world. You could make a mint selling these things online.

Too soon, the open expanse of the domed city is replaced by a small forest of trees zipping by just under your feet. Hovering for a moment, you spin slowly and take several pictures of the surrounding area. Filing the images in a new folder, you cut the power to the jetpack and lower yourself down past the branches. Landing on the pine-needle covered ground, you strip off your jetpack and lean it against a stump.

If you didn't know better you would swear you were standing in the middle of a natural forest. The ground is soft and, you check to make sure, certainly made of dirt. You can hear the chirping of birds and, not too far away, the babble of a small brook. Looking up past the branches, you are surprised to see a blue, cloud-filled sky instead of the underside of the level above.

Sitting on the stump, you call up the pictures you just took. You know that you landed on the westernmost edge of the level, a few hundred more feet in that direction and you'd be in what you have taken to calling the Agricultural Quarter. If it comes down to it, you could always hide out there.

Sifting through the pictures you note that a series of five or six scattered farmhouses lie to the south of you. Each one has a large barn and several outbuildings that look like barracks. Several dirt roads wind through the area, all of them seeming to lead to the farming quarter.

Moving along to the east lies the well-manicured grid of suburban homes. From the looks of it, there are maybe three different styles of house in this neighborhood. Each one has a conservative paint job and an immaculately kept backyard. Small playgrounds and parks are scattered at regular intervals along the six block square of the neighborhood.

At the easternmost edge of the level lies the town proper. You zoom in on the pictures you took of it and can make out what looks like a town hall, a movie theater, a gas station, and a library. A large statue of a man dominates the center of town and seems to look down on the entire neighborhood.

In all of the pictures, you can see people milling about. Most are dressed as if they just stepped off the set of Leave It To Beaver. Men are dressed in suits and hats, women in flowery sun dresses, and the children are clean and presentable. It's all terribly suspicious. Squinting at the photos and zooming in as much as you can, you swear you see the occasional glint of what might be a robot moving among the citizens. You quietly make a vow to see one up close if you can.

For now, you are going to have to find someplace to hide out, and you know you can't stay in the woods. You are still dressed in the silver uniform of a border guard and, though you are sure that some of them must live in the neighborhood, it might be wise to find some civilian clothes to change into. It may also help to get back into contact with Orson, though the idea of bleeding into the towns water supply is kind of icky.
So what are you going to do?

Choice One

1. Bleed into the nearby brook so you can establish contact with Orson 66%
2. Bleeding is icky, Orson can wait. 33%

Choice Two

1. I’m going to the farmhouses, it looks like there are lots of hiding places there. 0%
2. I bet I can find an unoccupied house in the neighborhood to break into and get what I need. 50%
3. Hiding is boring, I’m heading to the the center of town where the action is. 33%
4. Maybe suburbia isn’t the place to be, I’m hoofing it to the Agricultural Quarter. 16%

So, there you go! You have until midnight Tuesday, November 27th to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, November 30th. Have fun!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chrome City Shakedown

Chrome City Shakedown

Part 1.0

Spyder dropped down through the skylight and landed heavily on the concrete floor. Thanks to the new plasteel braces that he’d installed in his legs, he didn’t feel a thing. Grinning and running a fingerless-gloved hand through his greasy mohawk, he made his way across the darkened office to the filthy windows that overlooked the warehouse floor.

Setting his bag down and removing his mirrored sunglasses, Spyder crouched low and peered over the sill, careful not to expose too much of his head. He was fairly certain the anti-spyware virus he’d infected the security system with was strong enough to mask his entry, but a street samurai can’t be too careful. Mentally giving his new cyber-eyes a series of commands, he prepared to scan all optical frequencies for his quarry.

The eyes were Spyder’s new pride and joy, and they had better be, considering the amount of cred he’d had to pay the tech-surgeon to install them. Not that the cred had been Spyder’s own hard-earned cash. That honor lay with Mrs. Ferguson, the old lady down the street whose email he’d hacked months ago. Hopefully she was paid up on her identity theft insurance. If not, tough titty for her. 

“Please enter password.”

Spyder jumped at the sound, coming shamefully close to wetting himself at the shock. It took a moment for him to realize the sound was accompanied by a text display that now floated in front of his vision. 

“What the fuck?” he whispered. The tech-surgeon hadn’t mentioned this. Of course, the tech-surgeon had told him to read the PDF manual that came with the eyes, but manuals were for n00bs. 

“Password must have a capital letter, a numeral, and no repeating characters.”

“Aw, shit.”
Incorrect entry. Password must have a capital letter, a numeral, and no repeating characters.”

Spyder hissed and almost started swearing again. 

“Uhh. ‘Glitterboy2008’.”
Incorrect entry. Password must have a capital letter, a numeral, and no repeating characters.”

Incorrect entry. Password must have a capital letter, a numeral, and no repeating characters.”

“Christ, shut up and let me think for one second.”

“Accepted. Please repeat password for confirmation.”

“Wait, what?”

Incorrect entry. Password must have a capital letter, a numeral, and no repeating characters.”

Spyder thumped his head against the wall, wincing at the noise it made. He repeated himself carefully.

“Christ, shut up and let me think for one second.”

“Accepted. Please repeat password for confirmation.”

“Christ, shut up and let me think for one second.”

A happy tone sounded in his ear, the password was accepted. He would have to go in and change it later, after the job got done. For now though, he had business to take care of. Peering up into the window, he took a look down at the warehouse floor. 

Five members of The Nuevogres sat around a card table that was heaped with cred-sticks and guns. Each of the ogres, named for the bio-engineering they’d undergone to make them resemble the mythic monsters, was dressed in a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off. A giant logo - a fiery skull with a pig snout - was crudely stapled to each jacket. Spyder had heard that some kid in the sticks had made the mistake of copying that logo for his own website. After the lawsuit had been settled, they’d found pieces of him strewn all over an alley. Spyder hadn’t known the unlucky bastard, but he’d kill one of the ogres in his memory. 

Bringing up the targeting reticules on his new eyes, Spyder drew a bead on each of the five gang member’s heads. Within a nano-second, each ogre was outlined in red and surrounded by the image of an apple. 

“An apple?” Spyder swore. What kind of assassin used an apple logo for his targeting reticule? Not this one. 

Dropping down against the wall, Spyder moved his hand in front of his face and accessed the settings on his eyes. A cartoon paper-clip on a bicycle wheeled up out of the corner of his eye and parked in front of him.

“Hi! I’m Clip! Looks like you’re trying to access SETTINGS. Would you like a hand with that?”

“Fuck off, Clip,” Spyder whispered. “I just need the targeting reticule changed.”

“You said ‘TARGETING RETICULE’, is that right?” Clip asked. Large, bulb eyes blinked dopily up at him. 

“I said ‘fuck off’, actually.”

“Okay.” Clip wheeled off. 

Spyder waved his hands about, accessing the various pull down menus and folders that he needed. After some digging, he found the reticule settings and popped open the file that had a list of choices. 

Five hundred thousand images scrolled in front of his eyes, making Spyder’s stomach lurch a bit with vertigo. The targets ranged from simple crosshairs to Nicolas Cage’s face to elaborate swirls of psychedelic color. After spending a couple of minutes going through his options, Spyder picked the reticle from the old Predator movie. He had been feeling nostalgic all day. 

“Trademarked image. Please approve charge of @0.99.”

“@0.99?” Spyder asked, incredulous. “Fuck that. Bring up a list of free ones.”

That narrowed the options considerably, and it eliminated the Nic Cage’s head option, so in the end Spyder chose a simple red dot to be his reticule. Sighing, he peered back through the grimy window and targeted the gang-bangers.

It was time to get down to business.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Revenant: Chapter Six

Chapter Six

“What does it look like?”
I didn't need to turn around to see the look on the old man's face. He always had a mean little grin on his face whenever he spoke to me. I had a feeling that it was because I'd denied his daughter's spirit her proper revenge, but Seamus told me he thought the old guy was just a bastard. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle.
“What does what look like, Clive?” I asked. I didn't like talking to him, but he was the only one who didn't get weird around me. Molly was nice enough, always smiling and being pleasant, but she never got closer than five feet to me and she'd shudder when she thought I wasn't looking. Seamus kept looking at me like I was a problem that needed solving and Felix had all but disappeared. I wouldn't be surprised if he took off back to Chicago once he thought enough time had passed that it wouldn't look like he was abandoning me.
“The world,” Clive said, sitting down at the table next to me and looking out over the saloon. He leaned over the railing and pointed at the piano player. “That fella who half knows how to work a piano, what does he look like to you?”
I didn't know how to answer him, so I just buried myself further in my coat. How do you tell someone that a man may look like how a train whistle sounds? Or that the whore that works the second floor smells like the letter “J”? If you want to sound like a crazy person, you go around telling folks that they leave spectral trail behind themselves when they walk and that it lingers on everything they touch.
“Your senses are screwed up, aren't they?” Clive asked, staring at me. “I was able to talk to my Shelly sometimes, after she'd died, and she told me that the world looked different. Sights, sounds, smells, all got jumbled up.”
I looked at Clive, though I had a sneaking suspicion I no longer had eyes under my glasses, and tried to determine his aura. It was dark and hazy, but with tiny bits of light leaking through. Like a storm cloud that's just covered the sun. The glass of whiskey he was nursing was covered in the same dark haze and I could follow wisps of it going back down the stairs and to the bar.
“She said everyone was unique,” Clive continued. “That they left behind pieces of themselves on things they touched. Most of time of themselves...dissipated after a spell. But when something was dear to you, a favorite book or a lucky charm or something, then that part stuck around. Sometimes for years.
“I don't know where Shelly met Darryl, or how much of what he said about himself was true, but I knew just by looking at him he was bad news. I told Shelley so, but she didn't listen. I also think that everything that ever came out of his mouth was a lie.”
Clive reached into his coat and pulled out a small cedar box. He gently laid it on the table in front of me.
“He used to wear this necklace, a cheap gold chain with a coin on it. He said his Daddy used to sell antiques in New York City and that he'd given the coin to him when he was a kid. Said it came from Roman times. He was probably full of shit and the thing came from a Kansas City five & dime for all I know. But he wore it for a long time.”
Clive flipped open the box and I leaned over to look inside. “When he killed my Shelley she grabbed it, her last act on this Earth, and ripped it off his neck. I took it from her cold hand and put it in this box.”
He flipped it open. A small, square coin with a hole in the center lay inside. It took a moment for me to see what was moving around it. It was small and only faintly visible. Colored crimson and sounding like sulphur, it coiled around the coin in an obscene manner and hissed at me. It seemed like the aura of Darryl Whitcomb was a snake. Seemed fitting.
“Now you know what to look for,” Clive said, snapping the lid shut. “what say we go trackin', son?”

Friday, November 16, 2012

You: Chapter Eight (A Choose Your Own Adventure)


   Welcome to Choose Your Own Adventure time! The way this is going to work is pretty familiar. Each chapter, you will be given one or two choices that will dictate how the story progresses. The choices will be given in the body of the story and you vote your choice by clicking on the answer in the corresponding poll on the right side of this here blog. Voting begins on Saturday when the story posts and remains open until Tuesday night.
   A word of warning, though! Unlike a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you can't go back and make a different decision to get a different outcome. Whatever decision wins the vote on Tuesday is final, so choose wisely.


Chapter Eight

You’ve spent way too much time over the last couple days hiding and then running away. Now it’s time to start fighting and then running away!

As the three men close in on you, you crouch and take a quick assessment. Jetpack is the biggest of the bunch, though he is encumbered by the bulky rocket on his back. Curly looks toughest (you base this off the fact that he has a very punchable-looking face) and Darius looks like a hair puller. From the expressions on their faces, none of them expect you to put up much of a fight.

“Say,” you drawl, giving Jetpack the ol’ “creepy eye and grin” routine. “that’s a nice jetpack.”

He looks like he’s just about to say something witty and menacing when your foot lashes out at the big red button on the jetpacks belt. Luckily, the button does what you hoped it would and a great plume of exhaust and flame shoots out of the rocket booster. The man emits a brief, high pitched squeal before the rocket lifts him off the ground and slams him head first into the crystal ceiling. He goes limp, the rocket presses him against the ceiling for a moment then flips and shoots him across the room to land behind Darius’s desk. He begins to slam around between it and the wall. 

One down.

Curly lets out a growl and lunges at you. He tries to get you in a bear hug, but you duck down under his arms at the last second and head-butt him in the chin. It hurts like hell, you know that you’re going to end up with a massive bruise right in the middle of your forehead, but considering the amount of teeth that suddenly clatter to the floor you figure Curly isn’t faring any better. He lets out a howl and covers his bloody mouth. He gives you a look, almost like you hurt his feelings, and then runs off to the elevator. 

Two down.

“Where the hell are you going?” Darius screams. Curly turns, looking like he might take a swing at Darius himself, when Jetpack lurches up from behind the desk and careens at him. The rocket slams into Curly and the two of them begin sliding across the floor in a tangle of limbs and fire.

Darius turns and gapes at you. For a moment, the two of you just stare at each other. Jetpack and Curly, the rocket finally sputtering out, slide to a halt between you. Darius takes a tentative step towards his desk. He starts wagging his finger at you.

“Don’t you make a move. I’m going...,” you never find out what Darius is going to do because you’re too busy flattening his nose with your fist. He hits the ground like a sack of flour, knocked out cold.

You quickly pick up the Swiss Army knife and run over to the desk. Shoving the tablet, binoculars, and knife into your knapsack, you take a look around the room and try to think of a way to escape. 

The elevator is a no-go, you have no idea what is waiting for you at the bottom. You could wake Darius up, take him hostage and make him help you escape. You could...

“...take the jetpack,” you say, eyeing silver rocket. You smile, this choice is obvious. 

Stripping the jetpack off the one you had nicknamed Jetpack, you consider the three men laying on the floor around you. All of them are still alive, Curly’s beginning to stir even, and will probably hold quite the grudge against you. In fact, you wouldn’t be surprised if they do everything they can to hunt you down and jail you. They may even want you dead. 

As you strap the rocket to your back and snap the belt shut, you consider your options.

Choice One
1. MURDER! 0%
2. Leave them be, but totally rifle through Darius’s jacket and see if he has anything worth taking. 30%

3. Just make your escape and worry about them later. 50%
4. Pee on the floor and then make your escape (Sorry, I couldn’t think of a fourth choice. -Rich) 20%

So you do that and then step to the balcony. The city lies spread out before you as you walk to the railing. You examine the control panel on the belt. It has three buttons on it; a red one that you already know triggers the rocket, a green one, and a yellow one. What you figure is a fuel gauge lies just under the button. It looks to be half full.

Looking up to make sure nothing is hanging directly over your head, you press the red button and hope for the best. 

You launch into the air with alarming speed. The wind whips through your hair and your eyes water. The ground looks miles away the people walking around the large, round lake look like tiny specks. Adrenaline, which for some reason didn’t kick in during your fight, now surges through your system and makes you feel jittery. 

You’re having the time of your life. 

But you also know that you have to find someplace to lie low for a while so you can get your bearings. You also need to make contact with Orson, though the idea of bleeding into the water supply makes you feel queasy.

You glide through the air, the dome that seals in the city just a few feet above your head, and take in the sights. Tractors, bulldozers, and what looks like a bunch of robots toil away at the top of the agricultural quarter. There are a lot of potential hiding places from what you can see, though there are quite a few people as well. You also wouldn’t want for food and you are getting quite hungry.

The gleaming spires and elevated roadways of the business quarter hold a certain appeal to you though. There are also a lot of people, but in such numbers blending in shouldn’t be a problem. If you wanted to see what this future city had to offer, this would be the place to go. 

You angle your body a bit and spin around, looking back over the area you escaped from. It looks like the remains of pre-invasion city might have been here before the dome was built. It could be the dome was built around this area to begin with. You can see that the same crystal that was used to mold the fancier parts of the business quarter were used here to prop up crumbling brickwork or, in some cases, poured over existing structures making the buildings look like bugs stuck in amber.

Spray painted graffiti and billboards (GO SEE DR. PHILOX FOR ALL YOUR RADIOACTIVE MUTATION NEEDS! 24 HOUR SERVICE!) are plastered over every flat surface and the people are dressed in rags. If you want to disappear this looks the ideal place. 

Which leaves the suburb levels. Except for the three stately manors at the very top level, each section of this part of the city looks like the same small town copied over and over. Each level of the parking-garage-like structure has a collection of quaint little houses, a schoolhouse, a grocer, a theater, and so on. Everything you’d want in a small town is located right there. It might be the last place someone would think to look for an escaped...whatever you are. 

So what’s it going to be?

Choice Two
1. Agricultural Quarter. 0%
2. Business Quarter. 20%
3. Slum. 20%

4. Suburbs. 60%

So, there you go! You have until midnight Tuesday, November 20th to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, November 23rd. Have fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fantastic Voyage...In A Zombie! (Part 5)

Fantastic Voyage....In A Zombie!

Part Five

“‘Hen Ties’”, McClosky repeated. “I think he may be running out of oxygen, Dr. Feinerman. He isn’t making any sense.”
“Hentai, Dr. McClosky,” said Fienerman.
“You’ve never seen hentai, McClosky?” Dominic asked. McClosky could hear the sneer in his voice coming through the speaker. “Haven’t you ever been on the internet? I could show you some when I get back inside.”
“I have seen the internet, Dominic,” McClosky snapped. “But I use if for what it was intended: research.”
“It might have been made for nerd-research, but cartoon Japanese tentacle-penises made it gp worldwide, lady. Feinerman knows what I’m talking about.”
Feinerman simply shrugged at McClosky’s stare and flicked on the monitor that was picking up Dom’s signal. The EVA’s camera was black-and-white and grainy, but the two scientists could see what he was talking about. The Proteus II had lodged into what looked like a thread of hardened blood and viral tissue. The two substances had linked together somehow and formed a series of long, thorney strings that now snaked along the late Captain Shriver’s circulatory system.
“Have you made contact with one of the strands yet, Dominic?” Feinerman asked. He was nervous about entrusting such a delicate operation to a man who was more ape than human, but he was the only one with scuba experience. “What is consistency of the substance? Is it rigid, malleable, or more....”
“I’m just trying to make sure it’s not going to start fucking me first,” Dom replied. He floated just outside the hatch of the Proteus and looked at the knife in his hand. It didn’t look sufficient to cut through the cables that the submarine had gotten entangled in, even though he knew they were less than a cell thick. Of course, his entire body was now less than a cell thick, as well. “I think they’re moving...”
The submarine shivered and groaned. Down in the engineering, near the reactor core, Vilinsky began to swear. The ship couldn’t take any more stress. Soon it would crack like an egg and the four of them would have just enough time to drown and float away before the effects of the shrink ray wore off. Then it would just get messy.
“It feels rigid,” Dominic said as he moved along the front of the Proteus, closer to where Feinerman had gotten the vessel stuck. “Disturbingly rigid. Like a bunch of Japanese tentacle-penises all tangled together.”
“Could you maybe use a different frame of reference?” McClosky shouted. “I’m recording this, you know.”
“You told me to use my own words when I came out here.”
“It’s forming a new skeletal structure,” Feinerman whispered. Both Dom and McClosky stopped to hear him. Feinerman noticed the attention and spoke up. “For years, fringe scientists like myself studied the idea of animating the dead. It was purely an exercise, really. I always assumed it would be done by introducing some kind of self-sustaining electrical charge into the body to provide locomotion.”
Dominic continued moving along the prow. “And that isn’t what’s happening?”
“No. It seems like the virus has bonded with the blood, replacing the bones of the subject...”
“Hey! That subject is my friend.”
“I understand,” Feinerman said gently. “At any rate, what if this new skeletal structure also conducted a signal? We have to get unstuck and swim to the brain, I need to see....”
An arc of energy, red and bright, flashed along strand and jolted Dom through his suit. Several tendons of viral thread contracted and pulled back through the vein.
“I think something is hap...,” was all he managed to shout before his foot caught between two see-sawing tendons of flesh. Dom tried to free his foot and hold on to the Proteus at the same time, but the pull was too strong; he was yanked away from the ship.
As he struggled, he could see three strands peel away from the rest. The thick, bulbous heads were swaying around him, seeming to study him.
“I really should have used a different frame of reference.”