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Thread: The Lost Century

  1. #341
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Ooh, cliffhangers! Giant swimming Mechas! Non-homicidal Nacis! And a 'banoffee' pie. Would that be a combination of banana and toffee, by any chance?

    Nice to see this back after a two-and-a-half month hiatus, by the way.

  2. #342
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Aiaiai, wtf?
    It's the name of Circe's island.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Ooh, cliffhangers! Giant swimming Mechas! Non-homicidal Nacis! And a 'banoffee' pie. Would that be a combination of banana and toffee, by any chance?

    Nice to see this back after a two-and-a-half month hiatus, by the way.
    Banana and toffee, yes. Delicious when done properly.

  3. #343
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Antarctica? Pfft!

    73

    “Marissa…is it really you?”

    She looked around wildly at the strange room, and began struggling, pulling desperately at the various pieces of equipment she was hooked up to. Pierre grabbed her arm in an attempt to calm her. She looked up at him, her face contorted with fear and confusion, her body tense and rigid.

    “Marissa…yes, I remember. I can’t…I can’t feel…” Her eyes shot up and met Pierre’s. “Where am I?”

    Pierre frowned. “It’s okay. You’re somewhere safe.” He wasn’t entirely sure the last part was true, but he felt it needed to be said. Marissa sagged, and lay back down on the bed.

    “My head…feels so…empty,” she murmured. “So numb.”

    “Of course. It must be a terrible shock. I know where you’ve been.”

    “You don’t…you really don’t. You couldn’t possibly know. No one could.”

    Pierre sighed. Of course, that was true. Pebble had told him about the void that Marissa had been in since Circe’s enchantment, but he could never really understand what it meant.

    “I know, I-“

    He was interrupted by the door opening, and the doctor walked in. He looked at Marissa and smiled.

    “Ah, Prime Minister, you’re awake! This is most excellent.”

    Marissa stared at him, and then at Pierre. “Prime Minister? I’m not the Prime Minister.”

    Pierre laughed loudly. “Oh, don’t listen to her. She’s confused. I think she may have some head trauma.” Under his breath, so only Marissa could hear, he added, “Just play along for now, if you can”.

    Marissa looked at him uncomprehending, but nodded anyway. “Yes, I’m the Prime Minister…”

    “Yes, as you know, you are Selena Eryx, Prime Minister of Haiti,” Pierre said, “and I am Eleazar Minuit, your aide.”

    “Quite,” the doctor said, giving Pierre an odd look. “Anyway, there is a slight problem. Dr Trangemadour has been called away on urgent business to the north, and is due to leave in less than an hour. Miss Eryx, are you able to walk?”

    “I…don’t know.”

    Pierre stood up, and shook his head. “That’s unfortunate. She clearly isn’t in any position to walk, so I guess we’ll just have to leave without the MacGuffin Device after all. Oh well, what a shame. Isn’t that right, Prime Minister?”

    “Oh, er, yes.”

    The doctor stared at him. “Are you sure? You did travel a long way to get here, and it would be a shame for you to go away empty handed. We have some wheelchairs available, I think, so you wouldn’t have to walk, Miss Eryx.”

    Pierre thought for a moment, and then took him to one side. “Say, I don’t suppose you could tell me what the Device is, exactly?”

    “Well, it’s a MacGuffin.”

    “Yes, I know that.”

    “So what else do you want to know?”

    “Well,” Pierre said, with a slight exasperation, “what exactly does it do?”

    “If I told you that it would cease to be a MacGuffin.”

    “Fine, just tell me what does it do?”

    The doctor sighed. “If you must know, it’s a teleportation device.”

    Pierre’s eyebrows raised. “Teleportation, eh! Well I’ll be damned. Would it be possible for us to use it?”

    “I don’t understand.”

    “Well, could we use the teleportation device to get back to Haiti right now, rather than taking it with us? It’s just we’re both rather shook up, and would like nothing better than a nice cup of coffee back in the sweltering heat of our beloved homeland, under the watchful gaze of the Hall of Records. Er, hmm, dunno where that last bit came from, but you see my point?”

    “Right, okay. Um, I’ll check.”

    Ten minutes later they had used the teleportation device and were back in Haiti, in Pierre’s apartment.

    “Well that was a lot quicker and easier than I was expecting,” Pierre said. “I thought there would be a whole section where we tried to persuade them to let us use the Device, but I guess the writer is getting a bit lazy now we’re approaching the end of the story. Bad, bad author.”

    “What?” Marissa said. She was sat in a wheelchair, and was still obviously in a state of shock. She had been gazing around the apartment, taking in the strange yet so very familiar surroundings It was like the fog of a dream lifting. “What are you talking about? Author? Are you talking about yourself?”

    “I, uh…never mind.”

    Pierre made Marissa a drink of hot chocolate, and then sat down in front of his computer and checked his inbox. After a few minutes of silence, Marissa said,

    “So why did that doctor person think I was the Prime Minister?”

    Pierre turned and drew in a sharp breath.

    “Ah. This could take some explaining.”
    Last edited by Fiftypence; 06-03-2011 at 21:08.

  4. #344
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    Ten minutes later they had used the teleportation device and were back in Haiti, in Pierre’s apartment.

    “Well that was a lot quicker and easier than I was expecting,” Pierre said. “I thought there would be a whole section where we tried to persuade them to let us use the Device, but I guess the writer is getting a bit lazy now we’re approaching the end of the story. Bad, bad author.”
    I believe it's been a fair while since I abused the "How meta" comment, so consider it reabused.

    Otherwise, a brisk and coherent narrative that progresses the story nicely.

  5. #345
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Some explaining would be nice...

  6. #346
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    I believe it's been a fair while since I abused the "How meta" comment, so consider it reabused.

    Otherwise, a brisk and coherent narrative that progresses the story nicely.
    There is a point to the meta-ness..which may or may not eventually be revealed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Some explaining would be nice...
    About what?

  7. #347
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    Nearing the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny

    74

    And so everyone’s heading to Circe’s island, hee hee hee, all in time to celebrate the Day of the Dead. There was Circe, sitting in her ruins surrounded by all of her animals apart from the boar and the goat, who were being held together in a wooden cage. The sounds of the jungle, the chirping of strange insects and birds, the rustling of the leaves in the trees, filled that place, and Circe listened. And as she did, she felt a great pain in her heart, and keeled sideways, choking. She let out a terrible piercing scream, and for a moment the jungle fell deathly silent before resuming its chatter.

    “Mistress, are you all right?” Anton came running over, and knelt beside her. The sorceress looked up, and her eyes were pitch black pools filled with shock and pain.

    “The link…it’s been separated. How can this be? He…he promised me…”

    Anton shook his head. “Link? What link?”

    “My sister, you fool! She has been sent back to the void…poor thing!”

    Anton stood, and blinked. “What does this mean for our plans?”

    Circe breathed deeply, and swept her hair aside. She glanced at the cage containing the two animals. “Nothing, hopefully. It is late. Fet Gede is almost upon us. Just another couple of days, and my ascension will be complete.” She grinned. “The divided man will break the world.”

    Anton tapped his feet impatiently, and said, “Sure, but what about The Criminal? He will be expecting you to repay your debt.”

    She stood up and brushed herself down. “I’m prepared for him. He thinks he will inherit the world of the dead, but he is in for quite the surprise! And then there’s also the other one…the third of three. That is more troubling.”

    “She has been dealt with,” Anton said. “I already told you that.”

    “Yes, but you know who she really is…it’s not going to be as easy as that. She is the dawn, the aurora…and you know the thing about the dawn. Even when it’s gone away, you know, you just know, that it will always come back.”

    ***

    And so, as Circe predicted, dawn came, and the sun rose on another day. Anney checked her watch, which said: 2nd November, 2008. This was it. The Impossible sailed serenely through the frothing waves, and Anney stood on the prow, surveying the horizon.

    “No sign of land yet,” she said.

    Molly nodded, and gazed up at the vast all-consuming blue of the Caribbean sky. It was hot, but she couldn’t feel it. She could see the effect it was having on her skin and her joints, despite the treatment Kwame had given her. She examined her hands; the skin was brown and leathery, and the joints were stiff and cracked uncomfortably whenever she tried to move her fingers. There was only so long this body could sustain her, and the effects of the weather and time were beginning to take their toll.

    “Are we definitely going in the right direction?” she replied, eventually.

    Anney turned and laughed. “'Course! The Impossible takes me wherever I wanna go. We gotta be going the right way.”

    “But what if you don’t really want to go back to Aiaia? Deep down, I mean? I would understand.”

    “Whaddya mean?”

    Molly looked up from her study of her hands. “Miss Charlotte explained to me what happened last time you were on Circe’s island, with Marissa Yaroslavich…she seemed quite angry with you.”

    Anney glared, and then sighed. “I can’t do nothing to please her. But honestly, there wasn’t anything I could do, not against someone as strong and powerful as Circe. So if you’re gonna join in with the Judge Anney brigade, then you can just stop-“

    “I’m not going to judge you,” Molly interrupted. “It’s okay. As you said, Circe is too strong…”

    “Exactly!”

    “…which does raise a question: if she’s too strong for an invulnerable immortal such as yourself, how the hell am I supposed to take her on? I mean, for a start I’m dead, which is quite a major obstacle…”

    “I don’t know.”

    They fell into a silence, and Molly reflected on things. I guess it doesn’t really matter if I die, seeing as I’m already dead. But what am I supposed to do? This whole thing is ridiculous!

    Molly’s thoughts were terminated by Anney, shouting, “Land! I can see land!”

    Molly looked up, and out to sea. There, just a dot on the horizon, lay her ultimate destination; Circe’s island, Aiaia.

  8. #348
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Meanwhile, Circe is doing what where?

  9. #349
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    So Circe is weakened, but not yet fatally so. Well, it's a start for the Forces of Good (or at least, the Forces That Don't Want To Destroy Every Bit Of Every Reality Except The One That They Want To Lord It Over).

    It'll be interesting to watch Molly's progression, as her mortal coil slowly shuffles off stage. Assuming there's enough time to watch it shuffle away - which there might not be.

  10. #350
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Meanwhile, Circe is doing what where?
    Circe's on her island, reeling over the fact that her mind control puppet Selena has reverted back to her original form, Marissa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    So Circe is weakened, but not yet fatally so. Well, it's a start for the Forces of Good (or at least, the Forces That Don't Want To Destroy Every Bit Of Every Reality Except The One That They Want To Lord It Over).

    It'll be interesting to watch Molly's progression, as her mortal coil slowly shuffles off stage. Assuming there's enough time to watch it shuffle away - which there might not be.
    It may not even be a blow to Circe at all...as the next update shows! Which is coming right now!

  11. #351
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Sisters of pain

    75

    Marissa blinked. “Wow. So this Selena Eryx…stole my body? That’s so…creepy. I feel like I’ve been violated. How am I supposed to feel comfortable in my own skin again knowing that someone else has spent the last few months using it without my permission? It’s just so wrong. All the while I was stuck, feeling everything, and I…” She stopped, and wiped away tears that were forming in her eyes.

    “I know,” said Pierre, as reassuringly as he could, “but you’re back now. Circe was using Selena as a puppet in order to take control of Haiti, but she didn’t count on the Saints of Infinity! Now you can stop the Cloudbuster program and reverse the damage that she’s done!”

    Marissa frowned, and shook her head. “Wait, wait…what? Circe…I remember, I was on her island with Anney, and-“

    “Wait a minute, Anney? Pirate Anney?”

    Marissa shrugged. “Yeah, sure. Why are you looking like that?”

    “It’s just she never mentioned that you were with her…and neither did Pebble. Ah well, I guess it doesn’t matter now. But anyway, Selena-in your body-became Prime Minister, which means, I guess, that you are now effectively Prime Minister.”

    “But…but I don’t want to be Prime Minister. I’m an archaeologist, not a politician.”

    Pierre grinned. “All you have to do is resign, but first you must take down the Cloudbuster program. Order its destruction, then you can quit.”

    Marissa took a sip of her hot chocolate and arched her brow. “You mentioned this before. What is this Cloudbuster thing?”

    “Essentially, from what I gather, the Haitian government has been using technology to deliberately alter the weather by removing some kind of energy from the atmosphere, in order to prevent hurricane and tropical storm damage.”

    “So that’s why there are never any clouds. But what’s so bad about preventing hurricanes? Seems pretty reasonable to me,” said Marissa.

    “The problem is that this energy is necessary to experience the full range of human emotions, and also gives us an inquisitiveness and desire for knowledge. Removing it, therefore, has also been a tool for social control, and since Selena Eryx took over, the Cloudbusters have been sucking up more energy than ever thanks to Circe. It is her desire that eventually Cloudbusters will be placed all over the world, which will be devastating for humanity. So all you have to is order the scheme scrapped, and have the Cloudbusters destroyed. Then, people will be able to feel again.”

    Marissa nodded vaguely, looking troubled. “Feel again, right…”

    “So you’ll do it?” Pierre said, hopefully. Marissa looked up at him, and her shoulder sagged.

    “I suppose I have no choice.”

    “Excellent!”
    ***


    Half an hour later, Pierre and Marissa arrived at the National Palace, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Haiti, Marissa still in her wheelchair. They were admitted, and just past the gate they were greeted by a rather surprised looking aide, a young man with light skin and neatly combed dark hair, wearing a smart business suit.

    “Prime Minister, Eleazar, you’re…here! I thought you were on your way to Antarctica? What happened to you?”

    Marissa smiled, and glanced up at Pierre. “Change of plans.”

    “We decided we didn’t need to go after all,” said Pierre.

    The young man nodded slowly, and stared at the wheelchair. “So…”

    “So I’m, erm, the Prime Minister, and I am here to give you orders! My first order is that you don’t ask questions!”

    “Right, right, of course, Miss Prime Minister.”

    “My second order is you take me to…the place it is that I make all my decisions, the…er, decision room.”

    The young man narrowed his eyes. “You mean your office?”

    “Yes, my office! And I thought I told you not to ask any questions!”

    “Um, okay.”

    The aide guided them into the palace, through pristine corridors with walls lined with portraits of former great Haitians, until they reached the office. It was a large room, with bay windows overlooking a courtyard. There was a desk of fine mahogany covered in various files and print outs, as well as a computer, and Marissa was parked behind it.

    The aide made as if to leave, but halfway he turned. “Oh, by the way, Anton isn’t here at the moment. He didn’t say where he was going, but said you’d know and that it wouldn’t be a problem.”

    Marissa smiled blankly, “Anton. Sure.”

    The aide left, and as soon as he was out of sight Pierre went to the computer and turned it on. “Right,” he said, looking at the screen, “I just need to find out who’s overseeing the Cloudbusters, and then we can contact them and get those machines shut down. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a hassle, but you never know when it comes to bureaucracy, there’ll probably be-”

    “Maybe it would be better if we didn’t,” Marissa said quietly, her eyes down. Pierre turned and looked at her, and screwed up his face.

    “What are you talking about?”

    She kept her eyes firmly on the floor, and said, “I mean, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to take away everyone’s feelings, all their pain and misery and suffering.”

    Pierre laughed, and waved dismissively. “Don’t be silly. Just order the scheme ended, and-“

    “No!” she said, and then, more softly, “No. I won’t do it. I…I can’t, I just can’t.”

    Pierre looked at her, his face full of confusion. “Marissa, I don’t understand. Circe’s a villain! She an evil sorceress wants to enslave the world! You can help stop that! Don’t be so silly.”

    “STOP calling me silly.” There was a sudden ferocity in her voice, and her eyes were dark, her brow rigid. “You have no idea what I’ve been through. That place, the void…I could feel everything, Pierre, everything humanity felt, and it was so bad, so horrific I can barely comprehend it! There was so little joy compared to the suffering and despair, it was unrelenting! I thought I was in hell. I was in hell, and it was a hell created entirely by human misery!”

    “Sure, I mean, there’s pain and torment, but joy and love are so much richer and, and…come on, Marissa! There must be other ways to make the world a better place than completely annihilating feeling?”

    Marissa shook her head sadly, and looked into his eyes. “I truly don’t think there is. I think…I think Circe’s right. The Cloudbusters stay.”

    Pierre let out a heavy breath, and shook his head in disbelief. “Marissa, I have the number of Yannick Lefevre here, chief engineer in charge of the program. One call to him and the entire network will be shut down, permanently. Only you have the power to order it.” He handed her the telephone receiver. “It’s up to you.”

    She stared at his hand for a while. She eventually reached out and took the receiver, and

  12. #352
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    ...shot Pierre?
    Let there be no pain!

  13. #353
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    Hm. Marissa should have a talk with Molly about the benefits and drawbacks of not having emotions... This is a most unwelcome development (dependent on how the cliffhanger resolves). And Anton being around is bad news, too. Let's hope silly Marissa comes to her senses. As they used to say on ER: "Stat".

  14. #354
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    ...shot Pierre?
    Let there be no pain!
    That would be an interesting turn of events!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Hm. Marissa should have a talk with Molly about the benefits and drawbacks of not having emotions... This is a most unwelcome development (dependent on how the cliffhanger resolves). And Anton being around is bad news, too. Let's hope silly Marissa comes to her senses. As they used to say on ER: "Stat".
    Yes, we can only hope...

  15. #355
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    Making sense is not what I don't like to not do.

    76

    and…what? No, sorry, change of scene.
    ***


    “I’m excited! This is so exciting! It’s finally time! Aren’t you excited, Anton?”

    Anton nodded, watching Circe pace around the ruins of Aiaia like a child unable to sleep on Christmas Eve. “Of course. It’s just, er, what is going to happen? I mean, I know that a great symbolic change will occur that is supposed to usher in a new golden age, which you’re going to hijack blah blah blah, but what does that actually mean in concrete terms?”

    “Well, you see them?” She indicated towards the goat and the boar. “There is a legend about the return of a great hero from the past. You see, up until the right time, he was to be divided into two men, both unknowing their true nature. That is, until now, the Day of the Dead, when their eyes were to be opened.”

    “So those two…”

    “Are the two most important people in the entire multiverse right now.” She giggled, and continued, “So it’s lucky for us that they’re animals locked in a cage. But you see, the legend doesn’t know that. The great event will still happen, in all the different universes. They will be the key, the link holding everything together. All I need to do is sever that link, and every other universe is lost.”

    “Cool.”

    Anton walked toward the cage, and shook his head. To think, those two fools were more important than they ever knew. He then felt a sharp dizzying pain on the back of his head, and collapsed unconscious in a heap without a cry.

    “What the…” Circe said, blinking in surprise when she saw Anton fall, but she sighed when she saw The Criminal, holding a rock in his skeletal hands. She narrowed her eyes. “What did you do that for?”

    The Criminal grinned, his face a terrible mockery of that of Madame Tzarsou. “He is unnecessary. It is time, Circe. Fet Gede is upon us. It is time for you to repay your debt to me.”

    Circe stood, and smiled as genuinely as she could. “Of course I will pay, Criminal! How could I do otherwise, for it was you that freed me from the void and gave me form, and gave me back my island.”

    “Exactly. Our agreement, if you recall, was that you would deliver to me lordship of the world of the dead. Your debt must be paid now.”

    “Er, right now? As in this instant?”

    The Criminal stared. “Yes.”

    “Oh. Well you see, that might be a bit tricky, seeing as how I haven’t yet taken over the world. Could you give me a couple of hours? It’s just there’s some other stuff I have to do, then you’ll get the world of the dead, for sure.”

    The Criminal glared. “I must have my payment by the end of Fet Gede. I don’t like being made to wait, Circe.”

    “I know, I know, I apologise. Please, do sit down. Would you like something to drink?”

    The Criminal took a seat on a fallen marble pillars, and laughed loudly. “You’re black magic wouldn’t work on me.”

    Circe looked hurt. “I was just offering you a drink. I don’t use my potion on everybody, you know! I mean, just look at Anton there,” she said, nodding to where he still lay, unconscious. “He’s still a human.”

    “I know about Anton,” he replied coldly. “I know that you have used your potion on him in the past, so don’t tell me fibs, Circe.”

    Circe rolled her eyes. “Sure, but he’s human now, isn’t he?”

    “More or less.”

    Circe poured herself a glass of wine, and sat down opposite The Criminal. After a couple of moments of silence, she said, “well, this is nice, isn’t it? So…how have you been? What have you been up to?”

    “Possessing insane transvestites, mostly.”

    “Ah. Yes, I can see, that body you have…most interesting. You always did like the fragile geniuses. And Madame Tzarsou…well! Quite possibly the most fragile of all geniuses! I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist,” said Circe. She smiled sweetly, and took another sip of her wine, watching The Criminal intently. “I didn’t think you would take the bait so easily! To be honest, it is slightly disappointing.”

    The Criminal listened, his face growing increasingly angry. “What are you talking about?”

    “The body you have possessed once belonged to a great composer and musician, who according to popular history died in the late eighteenth century. But of course, in truth, the one who died was nothing more than a doppelganger. The composer, in a desperate bid to escape death, boarded a ship and made for the Americas, to search for the Fountain of Everlasting Youth. He found it, but his mind couldn’t take the eternity that stretched out before him, and he fell into an immortal insanity. It was as a result of this that he developed his alter ego, Madame Tzarsou.“

    The Criminal opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly the ruins were filled with the sound of the most beautiful organ music, emanating from somewhere unseen. He looked around, in confusion, and then at Circe, who was looking with smug satisfaction.

    “You see, he’s still in there somewhere. And when he played the organ, his mind cleared, and he remembered who he was. And when you listen to the notes, you will remember.”

    The Criminal’s bony face contorted, as some kind of internal struggle began to rage inside of him. He clutched his head and screamed. “No, this cannot be! I refuse…I refuse to believe that I could have been tricked so easily!”

    He fell to the floor, and continued to writhe. Circe stood, and peered down at him. “Didn’t you think it was even the tiniest bit strange that there was a flipping organ under that island? Tee hee!”

    The inner fight continued, and flashes of Madame Tzarsou began to sporadically appear in The Criminal’s face, as the organ music continued to play, surrounding them.

    “Go away, Criminal!” Circe cried triumphantly, “Return to the realm of the spirits and never come back to this world! I invoke any spirits listening, bind him and hold him for all eternity!”

    The Criminal was now barely there, but before he was gone completely he said, in little more than a whisper, “You won’t rule, Circe. I…I had…a contingency plan.”

    Circe frowned. “Wait, what contingency?”

    “A spanner in the works. Enjoy your pyrrhic victory, witch.”

    Then he was gone, and in his place lay the unconscious form of Madame Tzarsou.

    “Spanner in the works? What spanner? Damn it!”

    Circe shrugged and wiped her hands, and was about to try and rouse Anton when there was a great rumbling, followed by the sound of tree branches being snapped and torn apart under foot. She looked and saw a giant mecha ploughing through the jungle, still dripping wet from its oceanic journey, its blue panels gleaming in the sunlight.

    “Oh,” she said, with a sigh of relief. “Janus is here. Better late than never.”
    Last edited by Fiftypence; 12-03-2011 at 08:13.

  16. #356
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Janus also?
    Who is not coming?

  17. #357
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    Well, well, well... Circe outmanoeuvred the Criminal - or did she? This 'contigency plan', it wouldn't have anything to do with immortal Anney and undead Molly, now would it?

  18. #358
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Janus also?
    Who is not coming?
    Pierre and Marissa. Oh, and Pebble and his gang.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Well, well, well... Circe outmanoeuvred the Criminal - or did she? This 'contigency plan', it wouldn't have anything to do with immortal Anney and undead Molly, now would it?
    No, it's something else.

  19. #359
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    Who you gonna call? Well?

    77

    “You‘re late, Janus. The Criminal has already gone.”

    Janus looked around the ruins. Anton was still unconscious, and refused to wake up despite their best attempts to rouse him. Madame Tzarsou was awake, but only barely. Circe kicked Anton in the ribs, hoping to wake him, and pouted when there was no response.

    “Hmmph. Well Janus, it looks like you’re going to have to fill in for Anton.”

    A look of panic crossed his faces. “Fill in? But…I…erm, I only came to take Madame Tzarsou! I don’t-“

    “Oh stop going on and on! Look, you just need to bring forth an evil spirit called Sousson-Pannan and have him possess you utterly, that’s all. I need you to take care of an unwelcome visitor I’m going to be receiving, oh, pretty soonish. It was going to be a special treat for Anton, but you’ll do. It’s no biggie.”

    “No biggie…?”

    “Right, then that’s settled. I must say it’s very selfish of Anton to be unconscious when I need him! Oh, and by the way, nice robot thingy.”

    “Uh, thanks.”

    ***

    As the Impossible drifted closer towards the island, Anney could see something strange.

    “Is that…? No, it can’t be.”

    She got out a pair of binoculars and examined the island, and let out a cry. “It is! Molly, there’s a humongous mecha on the island! Shit, it has a laser blaster. This could make things a lot more awkward than expected.”

    Molly looked up, and would have shrugged, but she didn’t trust her shoulders not to crack and fall apart. “Meh. You’re immortal and I’m dead.”

    Anney rubbed her chin. “Good point, but even so…a laser blaster! You’re very fragile, you know.”

    “I guess. But anyway, how long till we arrive?”

    “At this rate? Half an hour, maybe less.”

    Molly nodded very slightly. “Good. It’s time to get this silliness over with.”

    ***

    She took the receiver, and looked at it. Pierre stared at her, his eyes boring deep into her very soul.

    “Just one phone call. It’s the right thing to do, Marissa.”

    She shook her head. “I don’t know, I…I need time. I need to get my head straight.”

    “That’s the point; there isn’t any time! The Cloudbusters have to be shut down as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage is done.”

    Marissa put the receiver down on the table, and was silent for a moment. “It’s funny, I just remembered something. When I was in West Africa, I looked at the sky and I marvelled at how there were clouds. Not many, just a few wisps drifting by, but it seemed…strange. They looked so delicate and fluffy, like little balls of candy floss.”

    “Yes, and now you have the chance to bring them back to Haiti!” Pierre said encouragingly.

    “True, but…”

    “No, there can be no buts. I mean sure, we will experience hurricanes and tropical storms again, but that’s a price worth paying for the return of our minds. This country has been in the grip of a collective insanity for too long, and it’s time to end it! Please Marissa, this is too important. You have to forget about what you felt in the void.”

    Marissa gaped. “Forget? How can I forget?”

    “You just have to. I know it’s not easy, but you need to remember that there are nearly a hundred million people who have been affected by the Cloudbusters.”

    “I…but the pain…!”

    Pierre put his hand on her shoulder. “It’s bad, but it’s better than feeling nothing at all. It’s not your right to deny all those people their feelings, just as it wasn’t the Haitian government’s or Circe’s. But you have the power to undo the damage. You have to see that manipulating people on such a massive scale is wrong. I mean, I love you, but what will that love be with the Cloudbusters in full effect? Nothing at all. I’m begging you not to take that feeling away from me anymore than it already has been.”

    Marissa blinked a couple of times, and pursed her lips. “I…suppose.”

    “Does that mean you’ll make the call?”

    “I guess, but only if you promise me that it’s the right thing to do.”

    “I promise.”

    Marissa sighed and nodded, and picked up the telephone receiver.

    ***

    Anney jumped off the Impossible, followed by Molly, and stepped foot onto Aiaia. Ahead of them was a wall of trees, which was all too familiar to Anney. Molly lurched forward and stood alongside her.

    “So now what?” she said, “Where’s Circe?”

    Anney pointed towards the jungle. “In there, somewhere.”

    “Right, and…what was that?”

    “What?”

    Molly opened her mouth, and closed it again. “I thought I saw something moving, in the jungle. A shadow. I probably just imagined it, so-no wait, there it is again!”

    Anney saw nothing, and frowned. “Come on, let’s go.”

    She began to walk forward, but stopped when she heard a slimy wet dripping voice say, “Not so fast. I wanna play with my new toys.”

    It seemed to come from all around them. They looked around the beach in confusion. “What the…” said Anney.

    “Look, there in the trees!” said Molly. “It’s…well, I don’t know what it is.”

    The thing let out a shrieking laugh, and leapt from tree to tree, before landing in front of them, crouching, looking at them like a cat eyeing up its prey. It was Janus, only…not. Not anymore. This was something else entirely. His face was now covered in hideous sores, and his eyes were yellow slits.

    “Sousson-Pannan is here to play, hee hee!”

    The two women looked at one another. Anney whispered. “You go, I’ll deal with this…thing.”

    Molly gave no indication of acquiescence, but a couple of moments made a dash towards the jungle, moving as quickly as her deteriorating body could carry her. Sousson-Pannan jerked his head sideways and twisted sideways, so as to try and catch up, but Anney launched herself forward and tackled him to the ground. After a couple of seconds Sousson-Pannan was able to break free, but by then Molly had disappeared into the undergrowth. The spirit snorted.

    “She smelt bad anyway. You smell fresh, like sea salt.” He licked his lips. “Delicious.”

    Anney raised her eyebrows. “Is that so? Well come on then, bring it.”

    Sousson-Pannan snarled and leapt forward.
    Last edited by Fiftypence; 13-03-2011 at 03:21.

  20. #360
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    “Meh. You’re immortal and I’m dead.”, sounds very epic.

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