Being boiled back to life the second time is worse than the first. Maybe the human body wasn’t meant to be put through multiple rounds of this. You make a note to ask the long-dead Manitoba Cryonics science team about that when you die.
“Oh give it up!” yells a woman’s voice. “You’re the worst lot I’ve had today. Corporal, help me with them.”
Again you are fished from the scalding water; again you are blown dry by staggering winds. When the towels drop on your shoulders and you’re able to open your eyes, you see two Mark I MOSPs before you. In one is a man with a thousand-yard stare; in another is a plain-faced woman wearing an amused scowl.
“Well cheer up, then!” she says to you. “You lived! The future is here!”
“Hello,” says her counterpart, who appears to be working at his own pace. “Corporal Charlton Wimbiscus, reporting.” He snaps into a salute, and his hand hits the MOSP helmet, making it ring.
“Oh there’s no need for that, Chuck. Nobody in this batch is supposed to be a former member of government.” She grabs a clipboard magneted to her hull. “I think? You’re from Vermont, right?”
“Yes,” says Crimes, shrewdly.
“Oh thank goodness.” She sticks the clipboard back where it was and vigorously shakes Crimes’ hand. “I’m Lt. Esther Trout, MOSP No. 0000000187. This here is Corporal Charlton Wimbiscus, No. 00000000006. We died in the Great War, so we’re still getting used to the future ourselves.”
“I think I’m getting better,” says Charlton, furrowing his brow. “Didn’t we do the group from Vermont already? What year is this?”
“2063,” says Chris Kirkman, helpfully.
“Wait,” says Esther. “How do you know that?”
Just then, the door behind you opens. It’s another MOSP, this one operated by a flustered-looking young woman. Her serial number is 00000000012, and she keeps trying to shake back a lock of ghostly hair that’s fallen across one eye.
“Hellloooo,” says the new ghost. “Is this the group from Vermont?”
“We’re not sure,” says Esther. “I thought so, but Charlton thinks-”
“Oh, I’m sure this is the right one,” says the woman. “They’re needed right now for… something tree-related.”
“Ah, that’s fine, then,” says Esther. “I’m sure Vermont had more than 14 people, Chuck. No reason there couldn’t have been two groups.
Charlton sweeps you all with a glance, then nods.
“Capital! Bring out the next cooler. We’ll beat the quota today for certain!”
“If you’ll just follow me,” says the woman, ushering you through the door she just came from. Once it’s shut, she leans back against it and blows out a sigh. “We need to get out of here.”
“Who are you?” says Nolan Austin. “Can I see your teeth?”
“Later. I am Duodecima Wimbiscus. My friends call me Deci. This way, and hurry.”
This resuscitation center, like the one in Florida, is an enormous building. The walls here are brick, shored up in places with unfamiliar composite materials. The overhead lights are bar fluorescents. Two-thirds of them are burned out and nobody seems interested in replacing them. In the guttering light, a vast wave of people moves continuously toward a rectangle of daylight.
“Swiftly, swiftly,” Deci says to you. “We must blend. If we’re stopped, say nothing. I will speak for you.”
“You’re our resistance contact?” asks Kitty Witless. “Love your hair, by the way.”
“Thank you! Yes, Ms. Hovnatanian told me to be on the lookout for you. This is a checkpoint, everybody be cool.”
You approach a gate with a battery of cameras bolted to it. Something like a supermarket scan gun beam plays over Deci’s hull number, and a light above the gate blinks green as it rolls open.
“Ooh, I hate doing that,” she says in a stage whisper. “Machines judging you. Anyway, here’s Rochester. I once had a passionate fling with a viola player who said he was from around here.” She pauses. “I imagine it was nicer, then.”
The burning annulus of the sun greets you, alongside cold, driving winds. You look around – the building you just came out of had the words EASTMAN KODAK painted on the wall at some point – and realize that, instead of towels, you were given jackets this time. You shrug them on (one-size-fits-none, unfortunately) and look around as your eyes adjust.
Vast, glassy ships hang over the ruins of Rochester, parts of which collapse even as you watch. Beams of energy shimmer beneath the ships, and as they sweep the ground, it crumbles. In the sections that have already been leveled, you can see ground crews clearing the rubble with conventional demolition gear.
“KABLOOEY,” yells the Demoman. He takes a swig from his bottle and is frustrated to discover the contents are still solid.
“Quite,” agrees Deci. “It’s been like this for a week. I gather it was somewhat nicer before that. Come on, we’re taking a ride.”
She leads you down to a sort of improvised drop-off cleared in the rubble, where buses come and go constantly. In place of advertisements on their sides, they have ominous slogans like SUBMIT AND BE AT REST.
One pulls up just as you reach the staging area, and out steps… Q. Steve Dougson. His MOSP hull (#0002593283) has been patched with auto body filler, and the broken pane of glass in the helmet has been replaced
“Thanks, Al,” he yells over his shoulder as he hits the ground. “Pleasure meeting you. Buy you a steak sometime, ha.” He faces forward and stares.
“You,” he says, softly.
“Hi,” says Crimes.
Deci looks at him, then back at you.
He tries to lunge past her, but she body-slams him. The sound is like a car crash.
“Get in!” she yells, wrestling him to the ground.
“Al,” the bus driver, is another MOSP, and he doesn’t look happy to see you, but Deci charges up the stairs, takes a split-second to assess her options, and throws him through the windshield. In the distance, a siren goes off.
“Good, good,” she says, sitting down in the driver’s seat, “C’mon, Deci, just because you died in 1878 doesn’t mean you can’t drive. Check your mirrors” – gunshots blow out some of the windows and you hit the deck – “shit maybe later. This one’s the shifter” – she rips out the windshield wiper control and the wipers frantically beat the air where the windshield used to be – “oh come on.”
She finds the shifter and the bus lurches forward. A metal arm reaches up over the front and Deci shrieks a little.
“Ma’am,” says Q. Steve, pulling himself up, “I love a good scrap, but you need to stop.” The wipers bounce off him with a thubba-thubba-thubba sound.
“This is a terrible misunderstanding!” You can’t see her face, but you imagine she’s giving him a very wide smile as the bus rolls out onto the street. “You’re obstructing important work. I have papers.” She looks around for something that might pass as a prop. “Oh, dash it all.”
Deci punches Q. Steve in the face, and he falls back, but doesn’t lose his grip on the empty window frame. You can hear the steel buckling as he struggles to hang on.
“I’ll give you one last warning,” he shouts. “St-”
She punches the brake and the bus shudders to a halt. The window frame tears like foil as Q. Steve is thrown clear, his MOSP hull kicking up brilliant sparks on the dirty street. It smells like ozone and diesel fuel. The humans in the nearby clearance crews stop and stare.
“I thought that was the clutch,” says Deci weakly.
“Nothing has a clutch anymore,” says “Let It Be.” “You just keep giving it gas.”
“What, really?” says Deci. “Capital!”
Q. Steve gets to his feet just in time for the bus to check him in a wide swerve. In the mirrors, you see him hit the ground, accompanied by a Doppler-shifted string of folksy curse words. The humans on the sidelines are cheering as their MOSPs herd them back to duty.
You drive across the city, blending in with the other buses, at least from above. They’re the only form of road traffic aside from military vehicles, all of which have been outfitted with strange, organic-looking attachments.
At last, you reach a long-abandoned industrial park, one of perhaps hundreds. Deci drives the bus through the chain at the gate and you rumble across a parking lot so destroyed by time that it’s mostly grass now. A windowless, once-white building is on the far side. A small sign above the single door reads SEARS ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY. Deci parks in front of it and eventually figures out how to open the bus door.
“This is where we must part, I’m afraid. The item Veronica was looking for is inside there someplace. I wasn’t told what it was, because I guess the resistance doesn’t trust me completely and that doesn’t hurt at all, thank you, but they did say you’d know it when you see it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to ditch this terrible machine in Lake Ontario. Ta!”
She drives away without closing the bus door.
You look around. The overgrowth is pleasant; the treeline blocks the view of the ships. If it weren’t for the distant explosions, you could pretend you were just going for some urban exploration on an almost-nice day.
“I call dibs on any teeth we find in here,” says Nolan Austin. “I just want to get that out of the way up front.”
The glass door turns out to be shatterproof, but then the Burger King finds a spare key under a fake rock under a bush. The lock opens stiffly, and then you’re into the dark interior.
It’s a little warmer in here. You discover flashlights in your jacket pockets, along with one energy bar apiece that comes in packaging labeled ENERGY BAR in both English and French. You spread out in the dusty lobby, reading the nameplates on doors and chewing idly.
Face has finally figured out how to chew without hurting himself when he feels a tap on his misshapen shoulder.
“Oh, just get it over with,” he says. A fire extinguisher blow kills him instantly and tears a gash in his skin. The flesh underneath oozes white fluid and blackens in the air.
Face (April LKD) has died. He was an IADOLANTHEAN, and somehow grosser inside than out.
In another part of the lobby, the self-proclaimed master sleuth Crimes has found an elevator, which seems to be out of order. She uses her clone super-strength to push the doors open, just in case. Yep, nothing down there but a long fall. Sadly, her clone super-hearing isn’t good enough to detect the bevy of footsteps creeping up behind her.
“I’LL STILL GET YOU ELON,” she shouts as she’s pushed into the chasm.
Crimes (Spiny Creature) has died. She was a PARTISAN (vanilla town).
“Need a little light?” asks an unpleasantly familiar voice. The lobby is filled with a diffuse blue glow as the catering truck materializes near the reception desk. You walk over to it. “Seems to me you’re stumbling about in the dark, and we can’t have that.”
“SCRUMPY!” shouts the Demoman, and Princent Vice hands him a fresh bottle. “AYE, THANKS.”
“As for the rest of you,” Vice continues, “maybe you need something to reflect on. How about you, oh, write me a nice little poem about darkness. There’s a lot of subject matter in the darkness, you know.”
(Today’s Event: Write an original poem about darkness in your QT. The best poem will win today’s chosen item. Spooky, I know you’re reading this; you can participate too. Dead people can’t win anything but Mr. Vice might say something nice.)
You uneasily prepare your poetic hearts for the descent into darkest Sears.
Day 6 will end Wednesday, April 8, at 3 p.m. EST.
- E-Dog – The Demoman from Team Fortress 2
- Emmelemm – Kitty Witless
- Flubba Gunto – Caesarbot 3000
- Goat – Gort 5.0
- Hohopossum – Tiny Tim and Astral Howeird Possum
- InnDEEEEED – William Dyer, Antarctic explorer
- Jake (#2, replacing Annanomally) – Crocodile Dundee II
- Jon Hamm’s John Ham – Nolan Austin, dentist in Sherman Oaks
- Lord Stoneheart – Powerslave
- Owen1120 – The Burger King
- Sic Humor – Montgomery Burns
- Side Character – Chris Kirkman
- Tiff Aching – Living embodiment of “Let It Be”
- April LKD – Face / IADOLANTHEAN
- BannerThief – Harley Quinn / Partisan
- Cop on the Edge-ish – L.Q. “Sonny” Clemonds / RADIO OPERATOR (Investigator, 100% accuracy)
- DW – Arsene Lupin, gentleman thief / Partisan
- Grumproro – Betty Grof / HARUSPEX (Vigilante)
- The Hayes Code – Nora, from Sanctuary Hills / Partisan
- Jake (#1) – Mick “Crocodile” Dundee / Partisan
- Lamb Dance – Padparadscha / Partisan
- Louie Blue – Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, von Münchhausen, known to many as the Baron von Münchhausen / Partisan
- Mayelbridwen – Limited Edition Balloon Lady, leader of the Playmobil / IADOLANTHEAN
- Mr. I’m My Own Grandfather – Zap Rowsdower / IADOLANTHEAN
- Mr. Glitch / Partisan
- MSD – Robo R66-Y / Partisan
- Ralph – Steve Harvey / Partisan
- Robert Post’s Child – Captain Video / Partisan
- Sister Jude the Obscure – Mary Pickford / Partisan
- Snugglewumps – Joanna Lannister XIII / Partisan
- Spiny Creature – Crimes, clone of Grimes / Partisan
- Spookyfriend – Sharon Lastname, PTA President / IADOLANTHEAN
- Tyrone –
Chara8-bit Steve from Blue’s Clues / FREEZER BURN VICTIM (1st Serial Killer)
- Wasp – Wasp / Carol / Big Jim / Count Dorkula / Zaxaforian Candulor (working together) / Partisan
- Zecko – Dennis Reynolds / Partisan
- Tobias Morpheus
- Lovely Bones
- 12 Partisans (Town)
249 Vanilla Partisans 1 Radio Operator (Investigator w/ 100% accuracy)
- 1 EviSync Operator (Investigator w/ 66.7% accuracy)
- 1 Medic
1 Haruspex (Town Vigilante)
- 3 Iadolanthean Spies (Wolves)
62 Iadolantheans (Vanilla Wolves)
- 1 Iadolanthean Hierophage (Wolf Roleblocker)
1 Freezer-Burn Victim (Serial Killer)
- 1 Adelaida’s Thrall (Replacement Serial Killer)
- Plus 1 Iadolanthean Recruit, somewhere in the count above
Vanilla town message: Welcome Manitoba Cryonics test subject! You will be a PARTISAN (vanilla town) once you’re thawed out in the future, but shh, spoilers. Your only regular power is your vote, although you may also be awarded prizes from the catering truck.
- Each day will feature a day-long Event, which is optional. A prompt will be given in each day’s header, and participating players are to respond in their QTs.
- Do not publicize your Event responses (until the game is over; then it’s okay).
- The winner will be chosen by NPC Princent Vice, the Catering Truck proprietor, which is to say, the mod. I will endeavor to be impartial.
- Do not discourage other players from participating in Events. I want everyone to participate if they want to.
- Win conditions:
- The wolves win when they are equal to the number of town-aligned players left (if the SK is dead), or outnumber the non-wolf players (even if the SK is still alive).
- Town wins when all the wolves and the serial killer are defeated.
- The serial killer wins when it comes down to just them and one other person.
- A three-way standoff between the last town, last wolf and SK will result in a special ending.
- Night actions:
- There isn’t a hard order that night actions occur in. This is to allow as many of them to go through as possible. Roleblocks will always take precedent over the actions of the targeted player, however. If the wolf roleblocker targets the medic, the medic will NOT be able to doctor their target.
- Operators (cops): All town forces and the SK come back HUMAN, all Iadolanthean forces come back NOT HUMAN. The Radio Operator will always get a true result; the EviSync Operator will get the truth two-thirds of the time.
- The medic cannot medic themselves or the same person two nights running.
- Day kill thread:
- You have the option to vote “No Kill” (or words to that effect). If that option prevails, no one dies at the end of the day.
- A majority vote for one player (or No Kill) will end the day early.
- A tied vote at twilight will result in no one dying.
- Catering Truck thread:
- The item with the most votes wins. If there is a tie, I will choose between the tied items for you.
- The selected item is awarded at twilight to the player who best completes that day’s Event to Princent Vice’s satisfaction. Event entries are made in QTs and must not be made public.
- Day kill thread:
- Instant death for the loser. Odds of winning 50%, as selected by RNG.
- There can be up to 2 duels per game day. The winner of the first duel can participate in the second.
- The first duel must be finished before the second takes place.
- You can’t duel yourself.
- You can’t duel Captain Video.
- Do not coerce third parties into dueling each other.
- There are no secret powers or win conditions in this game. Any changes I have to make to the mechanics will be announced publicly. Catering Truck items will always have their effects listed.
- If you maintain a game-related outside resource (like a spreadsheet or an in-character Tumblr), stop updating it after you’re dead.
- No editing posts.
- No quoting or screencapping from your QTs.
- If you have any other questions about rules, please ask in QT, and I will answer publicly here.[/spoiler]
There are 10 games in the Rafto-Hovnatanian Cinematic Universe:
- WW44: The Snowman
- WW48: Heart of Darkness Pay-Per-View
- WW56: Zone Z
- WW64: Sears
- WW74: The House of Wimbiscus
- WW85: 191X
- WW89: Space Freighter
- WW98: Return to Zone Z
- WW110: Santa Fight
- WW120: Adelaida’s Planet