You ascend with alarming speed. Rochester shrinks away below you , becoming nothing more than a brown sore on the snowy flanks of upstate New York. The sky above you becomes an ever-deeper blue. By the time you can see the curve of the Earth, the sky has turned black. Snow and ice stretch from horizon to horizon.
“God help us,” says Tiny Tim, as Astral Howeird looks on. “Every one.”
“Brace for thruster burn,” says an unfamiliar voice through a PA horn.
“Who said th-” says Tiny Tim, but he’s cut off when acceleration body slams him into the wall. Half a second later, the Demoman lands on top of him.
“Ah love ya, man,” Demo wheezes.
Those of you not crushed by the burn watch, awed, as the world spins by under the ship. You see Cape Cod and the New England coast, then – for the geographically informed – the Bay of Fundy, and finally the Northumberland Strait.
“Brace for counter-thrust burn,” says the the speaker, and you’re all thrown across the room. This time Tiny Tim lands on top of the Demoman, who doesn’t seem to notice it, but a second later they’re both slammed with a potted fern.
“MY EYE,” shouts the Demoman.
The ship glides back down into the atmosphere so fast that you’re all briefly weightless, then finally pancaked into the floor.
“Ooh,” says Montgomery Burns. “I think that took the crick out of my back.”
The door opens, and Q. Steve Dougson steps inside. He holds it open for Adelaida, who is wearing a mulberry-colored bathrobe with her hair up in a matching towel.
“I apologize. I should have instructed the pilot to turn on the seat belt sign. Is everyone okay?”
Everyone is not okay. The living embodiment of “Let It Be” is lying face-down with a dozen stab wounds. “Looks like she done been stabbed,” is Q. Steve’s assessment of the situation.
The embodiment of “Let It Be” (Tiff Aching) has died. She was a PARTISAN (vanilla town).
“A shame,” says Adelaida, stepping forward. “Still, I hate to see waste.”
She rolls the body over and grips it firmly by the throat. Trails of vapor seem to rise from the body and flow up Adelaida’s arm, into her chest. She closes her eyes and breathes deeply. When she stands, she looks a little bit younger and a little bit stronger.
“Don’t look at me like that,” she says, bitterly. “I don’t care what you think.”
The imperial guard lead Adelaida out of the ship, and Q. Steve Dougson marches you behind. You’ve landed in what might once have been a park, in a pretty little town paved over with snow. High reddish cliffs lead down to the sea, which is frozen over. Snow dunes stretch to the horizon. More of the ships hang in the dusky sky.
“Welcome,” says Adelaida, with mock grandeur, “to my home town. Of course, I didn’t get to see that much of it when I was young, since I was locked in a windowless room, but… hold on…”
A vehicle is tearing down one of the cleared streets toward you. There’s a roadblock up ahead and it slams through it at full-speed.
“Oh for cripes’ sake,” says Adelaida, “it’s another rescue attempt. Steve, kill whoever that is. Do cars still explode when shot?”
“Not the electric models, ma’am. Most of ’em, anyway.”
“Alright, we’ll blow it up ourselves after this is done. I’m due for a show of force.” The wind is bitterly cold, but even dripping wet she seems completely unaffected by it. “And radio Elias. I want him to destroy the rest of Rochester anyway.”
Q. Steve Dougson unslings his machine gun and levels it at the oncoming vehicle, which is only a few hundred yards away now.
“Fan out,” he yells, and the imperial guard draw strange, dark weapons that gleam in the dim sunlight.
“Should we do anything?” asks Kitty Witless.
“No,” says Adelaida. “Just watch.”
“Tell all my ex-wives I loved them,” whispers the Burger King, and then the shooting begins.
The vehicle, you can see now, is some kind of van – futuristic, but still, you know, a van. The initial rip from Q. Steve’s machine gun shatters the windshield, and then the imperial guard open up with their Iadolanthean weapons. These shoot waves of varicolored energy that make the air shimmer with heat. The van’s paint blisters and both front tires blow out, but it keeps coming.
“EACH SHIT, FUCKERS,” yells Q. Steve, firing in quick bursts. “HAHAHA! WAIT. HOLD ON. FUCKERS, I DIDN’T MEAN IT. FUCKERS PLEASE-”
The van slams into him at close to fifty miles an hour. The whole front end crumples around the stiffer metal of the MOSP body, and the back fishtails around, slamming through a swath of guards, one of whom knocks Adelaida to the ground.
The van’s passenger door swings open and a little old lady steps out. You recognize her from the video conference.
“And that’s why you wear your seat belts!” she says triumphantly.
The surviving guards fall back. Some of the fallen have their armor and breathing gear torn free, and for the first time you get a look at the creatures underneath. Their visages are horrible beyond description, and even as you watch, they blacken and crumple in the air.
“Dash it all!” yells Adelaida, pushing a dead guard off of her. She has a deep gash in her abdomen, and milky white fluid seeps out between her shaking hands. “I’m bleeding!”
The van’s driver-side door buckles once, twice, three times under internal blows, and finally pops free and collapses in the snow. A figure steps out. Half of its rubber face has melted and run down into the argyle sweater below. The metal skull grins.
“Hi, bleeding. I’m Dad.”
Dad raises a pistol, but a MOSP arm shoots out and grabs the robot.
“Not so fast there, partner,” says Q. Steve. Embedded in the front of the van, he has only the one arm free. “Ain’t nobody killing the Queen.”
The old woman steps around to look at him. “Steve?”
He turns, and you see recognition sweep his spectral jowels. “Wendy?”
“I wish it were under better circumstances,” she says apologetically, and puts one gloved fist through a faceplate. Q. Steve’s ghost again vanishes from the MOSP, and it goes limp. Dad, now freed, draws down on Adelaida. She looks at him, then over at you. White fluid runs from the corner of her mouth.
“Oh,” she says, a tremor cutting through the disdain in her voice. “And I suppose you don’t have zinc-based blood.”
“Goodbye, sport,” says Dad, and then his head disintegrates in a pulse of white light.
It takes everyone a second to process what just happened. You stare at Wendy, at Adelaida, at each other, seeing your shock mirrored in their faces. And then you hear a high, ascending whine that – once upon a time – meant a camera flash was charging. A turret gun on the side of the ship has a ball of purple-white light at the tip of it, and even as you watch, it grows.
“Okay party’s over everyone in the van,” shouts Wendy, running around the front and hopping into the driver’s seat. You pile into the back and she throws it in reverse. The patch of snow it was parked on explodes into steam a second later. The imperial guard come charging back after the ship, presumably after a pep talk, and open fire on you. Some of the shots connect, but their weapons seem attenuated by distance, so it’s only like you’re being stung by bees.
“How could the bees turn on me?” cries Chris Kirkman.
“Ow!” says Crocodile Dundee II. “Crikey, that was a real biter. OW!”
Wendy swings the van around, wrenching the MOSP free and throwing it into the snow. The last you see of Adelaida, she’s half-upright, incredulity on her face as she watches you go.
The van makes it several miles into the surrounding farmland before the battery pack shorts out and catches fire. You run for shelter in a nearby barn, and make it just as the van explodes.
“They’d never expect us to shelter this close to the explosion,” Wendy whispers to you in the dark. “Classic trick. Oh lord, I don’t think I’m getting my nap today.”
You break out your complimentary flashlights and immediately scream. The whole inside of the barn is filled with crystal statues – people frozen in stasis, then piled up in heaps around the inside of the place. There must be hundreds.
“Oh, yeah,” says Wendy, taking it in with you. “I think only about 10% of the pre-crisis population has been reactivated so far. There were billions and billions of us, before the war.” She walks over to one pile and examines the body on top, which is a little girl. Her head is tipped back, as though she had been studying the rain even as it froze her. Wendy crouches to get a better look, and her knees make alarming noises.
“There’s so little left of the old world,” she says, quietly. “And every time I meet someone who’s just been thawed, I have to watch them lose it all over again. I think that’s why she has ghosts handle it, instead of her own people. The ghosts know how to talk about being lost.” A pause. “Maybe I will try to get a nap in. Just a quick one. Then we can get back to work.”
She lies down on the cold, hard floor, which doesn’t seem to bother her. “Just don’t get killed for an hour or so,” she tells you drowsily. She closes her eyes and sleeps.
You look at each other, identify a catering truck-sized space in the middle of the floor, and step back. For once, Princent Vice isn’t grinning as he appears.
“Hello, my friends,” he says. “As much as I’ve come to treasure our transactions, this will be my last visit. I’m running low on wares, and my resupply runs are tedious, lengthy affairs. I’m afraid we shan’t see each other again after today. But,” and the smile returns, “I want to say that it’s been a pleasure doing business with you. And, perhaps, you have fond memories as well? I’d like to think so.”
(Today’s Event: Go to your QT and share your favorite memory from either this or one of the other nine games of the Rafto-Hovnatanian Extended Universe. I suppose there can be no objectively “best” memory, but I’ll grade the entries based on how much they mean to you. Princent Vice and his catering truck will not return after today.)
Day 8 will end Saturday, April 11, at 9 p.m. EST.
- Emmelemm – Kitty Witless
- Hohopossum – Tiny Tim and Astral Howeird Possum
- Owen1120 – The Burger King
- Sic Humor – Montgomery Burns
- Side Character – Chris Kirkman
- 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
- E-Dog – The Demoman from Team Fortress 2 / Partisan
- Flubba Gunto – Caesarbot 3000 / EVISYNC OPERATOR (Investigator, 67% accuracy)
- Goat – Gort 5.0 / IADOLANTHEAN
- Grumproro – Betty Grof / HARUSPEX (Vigilante)
- The Hayes Code – Nora, from Sanctuary Hills / Partisan
- InnDEEEEED – William Dyer, Antarctic explorer / IADOLANTHEAN
- Jake (#1) – Mick “Crocodile” Dundee / Partisan
- Jake (#2, replacing Annanomally) – Crocodile Dundee II / Partisan
- Jon Hamm’s John Ham – Nolan Austin, dentist in Sherman Oaks / Partisan
- Lamb Dance – Padparadscha / Partisan
- Lord Stoneheart – Powerslave / 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
- Tiff Aching – Living embodiment of “Let It Be” / Partisan
- 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
- 4 Partisans (Town)
243 Vanilla Partisans 1 Radio Operator (Investigator w/ 100% accuracy) 1 EviSync Operator (Investigator w/ 66.7% accuracy)
- 1 Medic
1 Haruspex (Town Vigilante)
- 1 Iadolanthean Spies (Wolves)
60 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.