Wendy Hovnatanian awakens from her nap and yawns.
“Sorry, everyone,” she says. “When you get to be my age, you need to take it slOH MY GOD. WHAT DID YOU PEOPLE DO?”
You look guiltily at the bodies of Crocodile Dundee II, Tiny Tim and the Demoman.
“Took the initiative?” says Kitty Witless, hopefully.
“Oh lord,” says Wendy, standing stiffly. “This is worse than when I ran that wrestling promotion. Let’s see if I can get us rescued before you finish each other off.”
In her chambers, Adelaida stands naked before an antique mirror and wraps gauze around the gash in her abdomen. The wound is deep, but not deep enough to puncture the anoxic cavities that house her organs. If air got in there she’d be dead, magic or no magic.
She observes herself in the mirror – pretty, she thinks, but not beautiful. The beings who designed her used the faces on sunken coins as their template, and her aspect is more severe than coastal Canada might have called for. She is, too, completely monochrome. White blood, white skin, black hair, gray eyes. She finishes wrapping the gauze and leans in to study herself.
“Almost human,” she says, and watches her white lips say it in the reflection. Her breath does not fog the mirror.
She dresses in a conqueror’s gown and proceeds to the throne room. Elias is there, back from the destruction of Rochester, which cheers her somewhat. She remembers working there at one point for a television production company, one of the dozens of jobs she did among the people of Earth. They had been nice enough, but could they breathe underwater? No.
She sends him to work on the Searsgate, and departs, alone, for the least favorite part of her day.
Most of the town of Neptune Shoals, Prince Edward Island, stands now as it did for a hundred years before the war. This was never a big place; the economy was driven by farming and summer tourism. Once, an impressive Victorian manor house stood near a cemetery, and the two overlooked the ocean. On a cold autumn day in 2018, both were swept into the sea by an enormous wave, and on that day Adelaida’s conquest began.
Now, in the era of her triumph, Adelaida reigns from where the House of Wimbiscus once stood. Her castle, built from the black stone of the deepest depths, is dubbed the Palace of the Worlds. In the mighty basalt archway she uses to intimidate visitors are engraved the symbols of the planets she has been given to rule – Mercury, Venus, and the surface parts of Earth. For Adelaida rules only with the blessing of the Iadolantheans, who control the colder, darker parts of the Solar System. It is with them that she goes to consort now.
The foot of the palace sticks out into the sea, and Adelaida rides the elevator down to a windowless room there. An instrumental cover of “Walkin’ on Sunshine” plays in the elevator car, irking her somewhat.
The lowest room in the palace is underwater, and the elevator leads to a pressurized airlock. Without it, the room would flood. She tries to clear her mind while the atmosphere cycles. On the other side is an empty chamber with a few sconce lights that do not illuminate the vaulted ceiling. In the center of the stone floor is a moon pool.
Adelaida walks slowly over to this, and kneels. In the dark water, darker shapes gaze up at her with clusters of inhuman eyes. Their voices buzz in her mind, and she knows she is as hideous to them as they are to her. Their benthic regalia sparkles faintly under the water like pennies at the bottom of a reservoir.
“Greetings, o lords of the deep,” Adelaida says in a dull monotone, trying to unfocus her eyes. Their voices buzz louder. “Yes. No. Yes, of course.”
This one-sided conversation continues for over an hour. Her knees, as always, are sore as she returns to the elevator and the surface world.
Once, she believed she would be allowed to retire to the sea, the only place she ever felt at home. She has long since come to understand that they intend to keep every pint of the sea for themselves.
“And this is the rec room,” says Wendy, pushing her walker around the safe house. “If you weirdoes want to play foosball instead of killing each other, this is the place to do it.”
You’re in the basement of the Neptune Shoals Community Center, along with Frank, the man with the eyepatch from the airport conference call.
“I thought there were more of you,” he says, sizing you up.
“There were!” say Kitty Witless and Wendy at the same time. The basement door opens and Frank fumbles for his sidearm, but it’s just a Veronica, carrying Dad’s headless body.
“Put that shit away!” she says to Frank, then awkwardly unloads the robot body onto him. She walks over to the five of you and smiles, even as she chews on nictotine gum. “I’m Veronica-9930. I take it you’ve met at least one of me before?”
“Yes,” says Keldeo. “They were very nice.”
“Huh,” says Veronica. “Really?”
Frank drops Dad’s headless body on the pool table and pokes around in an access panel in the chest.
“Good news, the memory card is intact! All we need is another head from the same model and he’ll be good as new.”
“Make it quick,” says Wendy. “We’ve got 24 hours before we have to ditch this place. New people, come with me.”
She leads you into a cute little mini-theater, where a laptop is connected to a tabletop projector. Sitting next to the table is Brigitte from the teleconference. She’s knitting with bifocals on, but sets her work down when you walk in. She and Wendy shake hands; Wendy is maybe 15 years her senior.
“If you were paying attention during the conference call, you’ve met,” says Wendy, wearily. “I need to go upstairs and take my afternoon medications, but she has something you need to see.” She shuffles up the ramp to the door, then calls back: “Don’t kill each other.”
You’re left alone with Brigitte, who rocks her head from side to side to get the cricks out.
“Will there be popcorn?” asks Mr. Burns, hopefully.
“No,” she says. “Have a seat.”
The first image she shows you is a familiar stone archway. “I was with Sears for over a decade, starting as regional manager and working my way up to future projects. This is the Searsgate, a time portal we developed for God knows what reason. My understanding is that it was brought online in 2018, used once, then decommissioned. I didn’t find out about it until after the company had declared bankruptcy, so I never saw it in person.
“I guess none of you were around for the years between the coronavirus pandemic and the war, but I spent decades trying to find this thing. I had given so much of myself to Sears, I felt like Sears owed me back.” She pauses and runs her hand over her close-cut hair. “And, to be honest, there were things I wanted to do over. People I wanted to see again. I’m sure you all feel that way.”
“Not me,” says Mr. Burns. “I did everything right the first time.”
“Okay, well, the rest of us feel that way. Recently, we learned that a second prototype Searsgate was built by the Searsonauts sent back to 2009 by the first Searsgate. The second gate was in the Lunapool Mall in Lunapool, Florida. The Veronica we sent to look for it got inside info from Duodecima Wimbiscus that the Manitoba Cryonics team frozen back in 2020 by Adelaida – that is, you – were being thawed in the same area. We thought this would be the intelligence coup that turned the tide. I’ll be honest, you have not lived up to our hopes.”
“Is it the murder?” asks Kitty Witless. “It’s the murder, isn’t it?”
“Correct.” Brigitte pauses to pinch the bridge of her nose. “However, we – you – almost beat Adelaida to the original Searsgate when it was finally rediscovered. Nevertheless” – and here she changes to a picture of guards loading the Searsgate into the belly of a spaceship – “they beat us. Adelaida has time travel now, or will shortly.”
“So what can we do?” asks Keldeo.
“Our last chance” – another picture, this one of the Palace of the Worlds, looking very forboding – “is to sneak in and try to use it before she does. Go back in time and stop her before all this happens.”
“I know how to operate a time machine,” says Mr. Burns.
“…Huh,” says Brigitte, cocking an eyebrow slightly. “That’ll save me the next 15 minutes of this talk. I suppose you can all go upstairs and have di-”
The lights suddenly go out. The Burger King, reflecting on his many ex-wives, suddenly snaps to attention and draws the fire extinguisher from his royal robes. He lifts it high over his target, but as he brings it down, the blow is blocked, and the extinguisher falls from his hands.
“What?” he says. “Who’s th-?”
He’s suddenly run through with a sword. “Éljen a burgerkirályt,” hisses Pontostárgy. A moment later, a second attacker steps over and kicks his dead body a couple of times.
The Burger King (Owen) has died. He was ADELAIDA’S THRALL (the Second Serial Killer).
Brigitte finds the light switch and surveys the scene. “Oh hell,” she says.
In the Chamber of Maximum Science, Adelaida watches as Elias and the sorceror Harry Hole finish setting up the Searsgate. Cables are connected, computers are powered on, switches are thrown. The lights around the ring glow, and for a second it looks like it’s going to power up fully. Then a circuit breaker trips and the whole room goes dark. Red emergency lights come on.
“COME ON,” yells Harry Hole. Then, regaining his composure: “As a dark wizard, I know where the fusebox is. Just one moment.” He shoulders past some guards into a side room marked ELECTRICAL.
Adelaida, who was almost feeling good again, is suddenly overwhelmed with a telepathic pang. The Burger King has been killed! Her thrall! Her last, best hope of wresting back a measure of control from the Iadolanthean High Command.
She starts to weep, silently. The anger that fills her over this weakness only makes her cry more.
“Are you crying?” says Elias, bent over a computer terminal that’s put itself in standby.
“No,” she says, winning the fight to keep the emotion out of her voice.
“Liar,” he says, not unkindly. “Your breathing changes when you cry. I could always tell.”
She shivers as a sob gets away from her. “Elias, did you ever love me? Or was I always a… curiosity to you?”
He stands up straight, and hydraulic actuators whir as he pivots to face her. “You were so strange,” he says quietly, as sadness creases his spectral face. “I suppose I was never able to look past it. I’m sorry.” He holds out his metal arms and drops them back to his sides. “Of course, the way you paid me and my siblings back wasn’t exactly fair, either.”
Adelaida closes her eyes. “We should have been better people.”
The lights come back on. Harry Hole charges back into the room.
“I HAVE BEATEN ELECTRICITY. AGAIN.”
Adelaida exhales, and her dark eyes snap open. She fixes Elias in her gaze, and for a second she can see him as he was as a young man, so long ago.
“We still can be,” she says.
Day 9 will end Monday, April 13, at 8 p.m. EST.
You are almost at KOBKI. Killing town today will result in a wolf win tonight unless the medic guards the wolf target, in which case the game will end on Day 10. IMPORTANT: To prevent “gotcha” vote hopping, you will only be allowed to vote once. Any attempts to change your initial vote will be ignored. If there’s a tie at Twilight, no one dies.
- Emmelemm – Kitty Witless
- 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
- Hohopossum – Tiny Tim and Astral Howeird Possum
- 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
- Owen1120 – The Burger King / ADELAIDA’S THRALL (2nd Serial Killer)
- 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
- 3 Partisans (Town)
242 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 Recruit
1 Iadolanthean Hierophage (Wolf Roleblocker)
1 Freezer-Burn Victim (Serial Killer) 1 Adelaida’s Thrall (Replacement Serial Killer)
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.