[Hey, it's that jerk. And he sounds a little on edge. Garrett may be realizing that he didn't think his brilliant plan though. He may still have his prizes, but they won't do much good if he can't leave the city. God dammit. So, have a vague message.]
The world's been on the verge of ending for a couple of months now. I know you're all enamored with the idea of solving the mystery mask puzzle, but has anyone thought about, I don't know, finding a way out of this damn town? Let's say somebody gets the masks back and opens the clock tower. What if it doesn't magically fix this little problem of the moon about to crash into us? We'd still be pretty screwed.
I want to get the hell out of here before I die in a fiery apocalypse, thanks.
Hello everyone... [She shifts a bit in place not really sure of how to start this...]
I know that we're still trying to figure out how to handle the current situation and I promise that everyone is doing whatever they can to resolve this and avoid anyone getting hurt. And we'll continue updating along as the situation adjusts...
For now however, I have finished repairs, reinforcement and rebuilding of the bunkers bellow and I feel they are fit for our protection should any other means fail to stop the moon from coming closer... [Or at least she really hopes.]
If anyone wishes to, they're ready as of now, so feel free to seek shelter there. I'll be running supply errands often to stock up the resources needed but for the most part I'll be available for anything anyone needs. Feel free to bring in supplies for the shelter; basics, medical supplies, food and water and anything you feel would be useful for the bunker should we need to use it for a prolonged time...
[She really hopes they don't need to use it and that a way is found to stop the moon... She remains silent for a few, looking a bit concerned but quickly remembers she didn't turn off the feed. She fumbles with the camera before taking a deep breath and shutting it off.
Feel free to contact her, or catch her on in person!]
[ When Vivian loads the video up, there's a smile that hasn't aged a day. The rest of her, however, is definitely older. Much older. And when she speaks, it's clear time has been kind to her speech development. ]
Hello, friends! Do you remember me?
It's been so long! But I haven't forgotten any of you. Hmmm. I wonder who's still here? [ She hesitates. ] Doctor? ... Taka? Are you still here?
[ It goes without saying that despite the smile on her lips, it's fading fast unless someone answers her. ]
THE MASKS ARE GONE.
[Gordon is in his lab, and if the thunderous introduction doesn't give it all away, then the shattered glass cases still dripping with fluid should put everything into context. The camera whips around to his face. He's... never had that expression before. Maybe he should have gotten one of the larger predators from the woods to be his spokescritter; they would show a greater sense of openness and compassion on their fanged faces, than anything that he's showing right now.]
I don't know who the hell did this, but chances are they're listening in on this feed. Now normally I'd be the good guy and give you an hour to bring them back with no strings attached, but no. Not this time. You know EXACTLY what you've taken from here. We need those masks to figure out what the hell is going on in the clock tower. You've taken what might be our last chance to survive this catastrophe, and you'll be treated as such.
Consider this an all-points-bulletin, and a request for security to start searching. Also I'm going out myself.
Whoever you are, I hope they find you before I do.
[The video switches on, showing Cyrus in what was once the teacher housing. It didn't look like his specific room, especially since his had been on the second floor, but none of that really mattered since he had only used it because somehow the power still worked. His stern manner was gone, and he seemed tired and distant, not even looking at the camera]
Constructing a species to be entirely without emotion...yes, then there is no problem. Removing emotion from a creature that had previously processed them...
Changing the brain chemistry suddenly leads to adverse physical consequences. I had failed to take that into account.
This is ultimately what I wanted. But not in this way. I would be reborn anew, a perfect god in a perfect universe, free of suffering. There would be no fighting and no strife.
I fully believe that even now.
[he turns slightly, looking at the computer for the first time]
Oh...it has been broadcasting. An unintended consequence of the network. I had meant to speak entirely to myself.
[His sincerity on that statement is impossible to read, the utter flatness from him betraying nothing]
Those of you versed in medical science, I ask you to aid me in reversing these physical symptoms while maintaining the erasure of my emotions.
You will be granted a position in paradise.
[After a pause, he reaches his hand out to turn off the feed, but stops with his hand on the switch]
I will fulfill that destiny. I will make my dream a reality. And we will no longer face extinction.
...God damn you all, I told you so.
[The feed ends]
[Wave had been to the clock tower quite a bit since arriving at Smash. She went there when she first arrived. She went with Tails a few times, and she still sort of associated the place with him. After he left, she just... couldn't quite make herself go back. Feeling hopeless with the literal end of days approaching in the sky ahead, Wave found... she could use a taste of the familiar.
Familiarity was absolutely NOT what she found.
Turning on her camera in her necklace, Wave started an open message to the academy.]
I think I figured out what the masks are for.
[She turned the jewel so that the camera could see the giant, bizarre looking door that had somehow appeared on top of the clock tower. Positioned around the door were grooves. Familiar looking grooves, at that. Comparing them to the scans she had taken earlier of the masks in Gordon's lab confirmed her suspicions.]
I went up to the clock tower, and unless someone's made some additions lately and forgot to tell us, this is pretty new. The slots around the door frame look just like the shapes of the masks we've found. And I'd bet money that there's a link between this and what's been happening with the moon. I dunno about any of you, but I'd like to figure out what's inside of it.
[It's Gordon, and he's looking more Frazzled than he normally is. Visibly tired, hair disheveled, tie missing. He even takes off his glasses for a moment to rub over his face before he speaks.]
We've got a new development in the moon... situation. A reliable source mentioned to me that the person that caused the instance in Termina was actually under control of a mask. I mean ANOTHER mask. They, uh, drew a picture:
[So suddenly a file with this image attached is broadcast to everyone:]
[Good luck sleeping tonight, guys.]
I haven't found any other images besides this one, but the other masks we gained from the monsters makes me believe that this one really is out there, and that someone has a hold of it. Or rather, that the mask has a hold of THEM.
If you're a student and you see it, let a security team member know; Do NOT confront them on your own. We don't really know what they're capable of, but considering the recent minor reconfiguration of the cosmos, I'd put money on "a lot."
We need to find this thing, and whoever it's wearing, and put a stop to them.
Hey, so did you know that they make powdered alcohol?
Did you know that it sort of looks like protein powder if you ain't paying attention?
Did you know that in all the explosions and monsters and everything that I found some and thought it was protein powder and made a shake for myself and drank it down real fast and then after I drank it realize it was booze?
Because that happened.
I just. I just need to tell you all that I believe in you and that we're gonna get through this and me and Slowpoke are gonna be here for you and we love you and I got this really great idea for a giant gun that Slowpoke I love you too you're real great and the. The. Thing. I love the thing. Tanks. I love tanks. And workin' out. And THESE GUNS, YOOOOOO! I love tanks and working out and these guns and Slowpoke. And you.
How do I unwrite this? Unwrite. Unwrite. Unwrite. It doesn't post if I say post
I know that most of you chumps are worried about the moon crashing into the planet or whatever.
I've destroyed more than one moon in my time. Several moons. Lots of them. They fall apart like brittle china when I hit them with my massive upper-body strength. I'm just that sort of guy
Problem being, at the time, I was bigger than I currently am. It's a long story, I created my own universe, it was amazing, then I got tired of it and I left because once you've created one universe, you've created them all. But anyway, I don't have access to any Grand Stars, since I can't seem to fly off-planet anymore, so I can't create or destroy planets anymore.
But fear not, much weaker-than-me reader. I, with my brilliant mind, have another plan. I need at least two adventurous... adventurers... to shrink down to microscopic size, enter my body, and visit my... growth area
, which will stimulate my already prodigious strength and amazing body to the limit, and I'll grow large enough to punch the moon out of the sky, no problems. Just imagine, how grateful everyone you know will be, knowing that you got to help me
solve all of your moon-issues for you.
So anyway, I'm taking volunteers here.
[Normally Gordon's little messages to the school at large are brief. Terse, is a better way to put it. A quick flick of the switch and a message that inkling ink may be non-toxic but that doesn't mean you should paint the lab specimens with it (For example.) and a quick flick of the switch off again.]
[Not so today. The feed comes on and he stares at the camera, raking a hand through his hair and starting to mouth three silent beginnings to three different sentences before he actually finds one with a voice. There's something he wants to say, but no permutation of words will make it easier to hear.]
I've, uh... Students, faculty. No doubt you've noticed that the moon hasn't gone out of full for the past week or so, and in fact looks even bigger now. I've been taking some readings. The shift in the center of gravity of the moon-planet binary and parallax measurements tell me that it's... not just an optical illusion.
The moon has, somehow, left its orbit.
I only mentioned this to the security chief before now, because I wanted to be absolutely certain of my suspicions and of where the moon was actually headed. I would like to say that it'll just harmlessly slingshot around us and into the sun. I really, really wish I could say that, in fact I spent several nights trying to make the numbers work so I COULD say that... but I can't. There's no other way to plot the trajectory, other than directly at us.
[He picks up some papers, eyeballing them on the camera, making sure he this part straight.] Now... Apparently this has happened before. A world by the name of Termina actually survived the event, but they had four guardian giants that awoke and... [A mistrustful squint at the paper.] physically shoved the moon back into orbit. [He puts the paper down.]
Obviously we're a little light on sleeping giants. As a matter of fact, I have no damn clue how to fix this, or even if we can. The four masks are involved--and there ARE four--but it's anyone's guess as to how they are. What I do know is, if we don't do something, the moon will strike the earth, and every single living creature on this planet down to the last microbe might be eradicated.
If anyone knows anything about this or has ideas, now's the time to step up. You might just save more than just the school. Also... in the event that we CAN'T stop it, I advise everyone to start making plans for quick evacuation back to your homeworlds. If you know someone who doesn't have a homeworld or can't reach it, then consider taking them with you. They may have to start all over but trust me, if that moon hits, then any place will be better than here.
[Private, to Skull Kid]
Kid... I know you were there. Your student file is hazy on the details, but I know you were there in Termina when this happened the last time. I didn't mention your name earlier and I don't intend to, because when people are panicked they can do some awful things when names are dropped. But, we still need to know everything you know if we're going to keep this planet in one piece.
So what exactly happened there?
[There's a robot on the camera with two rather grotesque looking... heads? Both of them isolated in thick, futuristic-looking glass tubes for study.]
[For those unaware, Zero will fill them in:] These were left behind after the monsters in the lake and underground bunker were defeated. Their function is... unknown.
The results have come back from Dr. Freeman's lab, and as far as he can tell, these masks are extremely old... most likely ancient. Their exact age is unclear, but their composition matches no known substance. They are
Whatever they are, these... 'masks' are definitely connected to the anomalies happening in this city. If anyone else has come across clues in their investigations, or have any relevant knowledge, contact me. ( Private to security team and friends )
[He'd been looking for days. And with all the craziness going on around campus, he knew there was every possibility that she had been caught up in something. Maybe by some giant monster, provoked by the idiots around here. Or someone used the opportunity to do something to her. Either way, he wanted answers. And he went about it in his usual calm, collected way.]
WHERE IS VIVIAN?!
[Gordon looks tired. Those of you college kids who have taken a final or two, know exactly the kind of tired you're looking at with him. He's drooped over a stack of books at a desk, and plucks off his glasses to rub his eyes before shoving them back on his face, before he even speaks.]
So, I've been trying to research possible geologic causes for the earthquakes and sea levels rising. Tectonic motion isn't the culprit. Climate change wouldn't act THIS fast, no matter how many fire flower farms there are out in the countryside. Now that I come to realize, whole islands made of rock float persistently in the air in this world. I'm get the feeling I'm barking up the wrong tree altogether.
So... has anyone in this school seen something like this in their own world? Did they ever figure out the cause, and what happened afterwards? If we can find a pattern, we might get a better idea of what to do--or even IF we can do anything--about it.
[He yawns, and adds in a quick grumble borne of hasty, sleep-deprived compromise:]
I'm willing to listen to anything at this point, no matter how un-scientific it sounds. Clarke's law holds here, and magic and science are all subject to the laws of nature... You never know when something outlandish might actually turn out to be RIGHT.
Hey so, things've been gettin' kinda weird, yeah?
Well I know I ain't been talkin' much about it but that don't mean I don't know it. Everyone's been doin' their own things, gettin' investigations together and all.
Someone said somethin' 'bout the water risin'? Obviously we got earthquakes and stuff but the janitor guy said somethin' 'bout gettin' a boat for the ocean?
I dunno what that's all about but I kinda offered to help pay the thing, he seemed pretty serious 'bout it. Helpin' 'im with whatever else too.
I just wanna help, that's all. Dunno what much else I can do but...gosh.
[To Faculty, medium encryption:]
[Gordon's on the network, and he doesn't look happy. In fact, his expression brings up the image of a nuclear reactor with a warning light flashing quietly on a dashboard, the herald of several megatons of fuel below it. First Ziio leaves, and now THIS.]
My apartment's been broken into
, and the weapons inside were taken. Two pistols, an SMG, some grenades, my crossbow and tau cannon, everything. They were hidden, but whoever it was turned my goddamn apartment upside-down specifically to find them... I need to find out where the hell they went, and FAST. If any of you have a clue as to where they went, I could use your help. [To the Students]
It seems my apartment has been burglarized. Fortunately it's, uh, nothing I can't recover... If any of you have a clue who could have done such a thing, let me know. I'll be in my office at my normal office hours, and you can always contact me through an anonymous channel if it makes you feel safer.
Also, I feel the need to stress to you all that in the end, YOU'RE responsible for your own property. Don't let anything valuable of yours out of your sight in public, and keep track of who's able to enter your dorms and who your roommate allows in as well. Don't let this kind of thing happen to you.
[Still terse from anger, he cuts off the feed sharply.]
::The monitor turns on. In front of the screen is a large, spiky-haired, imposing man with the sort of scars that imply he is either really cool or got into a lot of fights when younger or perhaps both. His beard is a thing of beauty; it seems as if it would be able to cut through steel, should he jab quickly enough.::
My name is Doumeki Kai. I have arrived at this school to assist the junior member of the Yuuhi Ouendan Squadron, Tanaka Hajime. I am his head officer in the squadron. His well-being is of the utmost importance to me.
While here, I will be teaching a class. Upon my arrival, I was informed that the position of Physical Education instructor had been vacated by the previous instructor, a member of the Enlightened Nobility ouendan squad.
::There is a small pause in what he is saying. There's something he's not saying here.::
I am certain that you have been taught at an adequate level before this point, but my training is likely to be more intense than what you have experienced in the past. Please be aware that I am a strict observer of punctuality and preparation. Please make certain to arrive on time and ready to participate.
::His fist raises into the air and his eyes take on an intensity, as if there were a brilliant fire burning in the distance which they are reflecting.::
I EXPECT NOTHING BUT SUCCESS FROM EACH OF MY CHERISHED STUDENTS. THE THOUGHT OF YOUR HAPPY, SHINING FACES PARTICIPATING WITH CANDOR AND ENTHUSIASM FILLS MY HEART TO BURSTING.
::Oh Glob, that was terrifying. At least he's put his fist down and turned the gaze back down to 'regular terrifying.'::
If you have any questions, please state them to me directly.
::The video feed cuts off here.::
Once again, Hal makes a slow ornithopter landing in the parking lot of Smash Academy, hopeful that things don't go awry once again.
The grizzled, stubble-laden face of the robotics teacher appears on the video screen...
"Hi guys. Sorry I, eh, disappeared for a while. Due to some technical issues, Ornie and I had a, how can I put it, unfortunate trip to a tropical island. We're back now though, and classes will start up again in earnest next week. Oh eh, with this in mind, can you remind me which of you signed up for my robotics class. Thanks"
With that, Hal dismounts his beloved Ornie and begins to make his way to his dorm, destined for a hot shower and his comfy, comfy pajamas.
[The video feed shows Gordon, in his favorite SMASH ACADEMICS t-shirt. Behind him is the technicolor orange, green and white of an athletics track behind him. That's funny. Isn't the field house covered in snow right now? Anyway, he looks like he's just run a marathon, or at least a pretty ambitious 100-meter dash.]
I thought I'd officially announce that I've re-instigated a track and field team here at the Academy. [And breathe, and,] You're looking at the head coach, in fact. [And huff, and,] For those of you who don't know what that is, track and field is a sport that combines small competitions in running, jumping and throwing. Tryouts are after school Monday, for any students who are interested and have the aptitude. All right computer, end simulation!
[The last four words cause the world around him to scatter like a corrupted video file and wink out of existence, revealing one of the arena's holographic platforms.]
Due to the cold, we'll be practicing in the arena. Oh, and anyone interested in cross-country running would also come see me at the same time. I don't know if we'll get enough to make a team, but it's worth a shot.