Princesses:Amazon Brigade/Chapter 11
Chapter #11: Phone Relay
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroines, we find them lying in a heap just above the hole leading down into the bear cave. The bear is in, and it's not happy.
<Andrea> "Let's get out of here!"
<Jenny> "Can we do that again sometime?"
<Andrea> "Lana and Frank, can you two make it to... wherever you usually hang out?"
- Jenny picks herself out of the heap and dusts herself off. "Or do y'all wanna come with us to search for Chuck?"
<Andrea> "Do we even know where to *start* looking for Chuck?"
<Jenny> "Frank, where'd you see him last, and where was he going?"
<Selphie> "We should probably just go /anywhere/ immediately, since the bear now has the unicycle and the plank both on its side of the crevasse."
<Suyana> "Sounds like a good idea to me."
<Andrea> "...Indeed." Andrea makes for the woods, expecting the others to follow.
- Jenny follows.
<Capn_Ascii> "We were in the woods, headed toward the toolshed. I was on my pho--er, I mean..." He glances up from his phone, quickly stuffing it into his pocket. "I was distracted by a noise out in the woods, and when I turned back around, he was gone."
- Selphie does too.
<Jenny> "Can you take us to the general area where you last saw him?"
<Selphie> "Did this noise in the woods sound like TheThingInTheWoods, or did it sound more like a bear?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Uh...it was kind of...vaguely thing-bear-y?"
<Capn_Ascii> "We were on the way to the shed from camp. Yeah, I can take you there."
<Andrea> "Okay, let's go."
<Capn_Ascii> He and Lana begin leading the way to the west. You gradually descend a slope until you're back at ground level.
- Selphie is glad to have her feet back on the ground once more.
- Jenny continues following Frank.
<Capn_Ascii> Frank continues walking. "By the way, nice outfits. I didn't know geologists did cosplay."
<Andrea> Andrea snickers.
<Jenny> "*Everyone* does cosplay," Jenny says confidently.
<Suyana> "I love dressing up! Wish I could do it more often."
<Capn_Ascii> "I wish I could do cosplay, but then I might get caught."
<Selphie> "Caught by TheThingInTheWoods?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Caught by the convention sta--" He suddenly glances at Lana, as if only just now remembering she's here. "Uh, I mean..."
<Capn_Ascii> Lana sighs, rolling her eyes. "Calm down, Frankie, we all know you do it. Chuck's the only one in the dark, you dummy."
<Jenny> "You sneak away to conventions?"
<Andrea> Andrea mutters "I'm amazed you can find conventions" under her breath.
<Jenny> "As a real zombie, obviously your zombie cosplay is to die for."
<Capn_Ascii> Frank looks wary, but then relents. "...yeah. We're not supposed to leave the woods, but I sneak off to the city for conventions. I don't even have to dress up - I just show up looking like this and everybody thinks I'm a guy in an outfit. I even won Best Costume once."
<Jenny> "I wonder if ComicCon brains have more flavor than more mundane brains," Jenny ponders.
<Capn_Ascii> "Brains? Eew, gross." Lana makes a face. "I prefer red meat."
<Selphie> "Maybe TheThingInTheWoods is just some mates from a cosplay convention playing Nerf Zombie Strike in the woods?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Okay, here we are." Frank has lead you about a half mile to the west of the shed. There's a small pond here, with an old picnic table sitting near it. "This is the halfway point between here and camp. We use it for a rest stop of sorts."
- Jenny waits for the smart ones to do some investigating.
<Selphie> "What does a rest stop 'of sorts' involve?"
- Andrea flashes her phonelight around, looking for suspicious things, as per usual.
<Capn_Ascii> "Mostly just sitting around being lazy when Chuck isn't looking."
<Selphie> "Ah cool. That's simple enough." Selphie stands on the bank of the pond and stares into its dark, murky depths.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: The abyss stares back. Also a bullfrog. *croak*
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You flash your light around, but there's a lot of ground to cover here. You're having trouble finding anything of use.
- Selphie attempts to capture the bullfrog to search it for clues.
<Selphie> *belay that. Selphie investigates the bullfrog and its environs.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You reach down for the bullfrog, which surprisingly doesn't attempt to run away from you. You scoop it up, hold it in front of your face, and proceed to stare it down.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: "....."
<Capn_Ascii> Frog: "....."
<Capn_Ascii> After several long moments, the frog opens its mouth again, as if to croak - but this time, a cell phone text alert sound comes from it instead.
- Selphie imagines to herself, "You'd better not be an evil blue half-dragon gang lord..."
- Selphie carries the bullfrog to the zombies and asks them if Chuck's mobile telephone had a frog-shaped protective sleeve around it that looked like this one (but possibly a bit less muddy). "Make that noise again" she tells the bullfrog "so they can hear it too."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: The frog stares at you, uncooperative. You should have expected this - if that old Looney Tune taught you anything, it's that frogs can be treacherous.
<Andrea> Andrea raises an eyebrow. "Why are you holding a frog, Selphie?"
<Selphie> "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time..." she confesses uncertainly. "Do you recognise it, either of you?" she asks Lana and Frank.
<Capn_Ascii> "Can't say that I've met this particular frog before." Lana peers at it.
<Capn_Ascii> "What? Oh, sorry, I wasn't paying attention." Frank puts his phone away and reaches out to pet the frog, but as he does, the alert sound is suddenly heard again, this time by everyone.
<Capn_Ascii> He blinks. "It it supposed to do that?"
<Selphie> "Yes. There was just a lag spike."
<Suyana> "That is the second strangest sound I have ever heard a frog make."
- Selphie is intrigued now.
- Jenny eyes the frog to see if it's really big enough to have swallowed a phone.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: It's a bullfrog. They're fairly big; this one is about the size of a hamburger, occupying Seplhie's entire hand.
- Jenny holds the bullfrog still with one hand and reaches inside its mouth with a few of her fingers, feeling around inside.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You clinically poke around in the frog's mouth like a dentist searching for cavities. After a few moments, you find something small, hard, and phone-shaped, and withdraw it. It's a phone, with the frog's tongue still wrapped around it.
- Jenny gently pries the tongue away from the phone.
- Selphie is awestruck. "Jenny, you are officially awesome. Will you be my friend?"
- Jenny looks at Selphie. "I thought I already was."
<Selphie> "But now you're my friend... twice." she says with what might be conviction.
- Andrea holds out her hand for the phone. "Let's take a look."
- Jenny hands the sticky phone to Andrea.
<Andrea> Andrea opens up the phone and checks the logs.
- Selphie adds Jenny's contact details to her watch a second time, this time under the alias "Jenny backup friend"
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The phone is PIN-locked.
- Andrea sighs and hooks it up to her computer to prepare to root it.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You're about to plug the phone in when it beeps a third time. Briefly, a message box pops up on the lock screen - it's a text from someone named...Frank?
<Selphie> "I wonder what else we can find inside frogs. Either frogs in general, or this one in particular. What else you got tucked away in their Mister Hungry Head?" she eyes the bullfrog sternly, hoping to coerce a confession out of it.
<Andrea> "Frank, are you texting Chuck right now? Or, trying to?" Andrea asks.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You look up, and Frank is indeed on his own phone. "Huh?" He looks up. "Oh, hey, you found Chuck's phone! Cool."
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, I was texting him to see if he would answer. I guess this is why he didn't. Oh, right." He takes the phone from you and taps the keys, then hands it back. "There you go, I unlocked it for you."
<Andrea> "Oh, you know his PIN. Cool," Andrea now starts poking through it to see the logs.
<Capn_Ascii> Lana frowns. "Frank, why do you know Chuck's PIN?"
<Capn_Ascii> Frank suddenly seems unusually interested in what Andrea is doing, pointedly ignoring Lana's question. "Ooh, what's that?" He points at the Camera app, which is showing recent activity.
- Andrea checks the 'recent activity', sincerely hoping it's more than just frog guts.
- Selphie was wondering why Frank seemed so all-consumingly distracted with his telephone at a time like this when they were searching for his missing pal; at least he was unwittingly contributing to the search after all!
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You pull up the app and find a recently-taken photograph of Chuck holding up a cell phone, a worried look on his face. But...this was *taken* with his phone, wasn't it? The photo is attached to an unsent text message: "I found Lana's phone out in the woods. No sign of the rest of her. We should organize a search party tomorro " <more>
<Capn_Ascii> The message ends unexpectedly. You note that there are more photos, and swipe the net one up. This one is a picture of Chuck moments later, turning to look over his shoulder as...*something* looms up directly behind him. It's hard to tell exactly what it is from this close angle, but it looks not unlike the Rancor from Star Wars at about half that size. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> Worried, you swipe to the third and final pic. This one now has Chuck facing the camera again, wide-eyed and screaming in terror, as the creature's massive maw yawns open behind him, preparing to devour him. Off to one side, you can see a glimpse of what looks like Frank's back, hunched over what you can only assume is his own phone, completely oblivious to his friend's distress.
<Capn_Ascii> "Ohhhh." Frank nods. "So *that's* what happened."
<Andrea> "...I don't think we're going to be saving Chuck."
<Jenny> "Well, if Frank's foot can be reattached, maybe we can dig the pieces out of the Whatchit," Jenny suggests, undisturbed.
<Selphie> "How could you fail to hear or see or notice Chuck's cries for help and flailing around right next to you? How recently have you been for a general health checkup, particularly vision and hearing?"
<Andrea> "Frank, do you think you can try texting Lana? If her phone is around here somewhere, that might help too."
<Capn_Ascii> Frank looks sheepish. "I uh...well, Angry Birds is really engrossing, and...um." He hangs his head in shame.
<Selphie> "Let me guess. Frank knows Lana's PIN too."
<Capn_Ascii> Lana frowns. "We're damned well gonna *try* to save him. We zombies don't leave our own to rot. Besides, he's already dead - what's it going to do, kill him more? We just need to track down the critter before it digests him."
<Capn_Ascii> "I don't have a PIN, I'm not all paranoid like some people. But yeah, call my phone, it might help. Can't you track the signal or something, Miss Hacker?"
<Selphie> "Jenny, why don't you feel around inside the bullfrog a second time? It might have Lana's phone in its collection."
- Jenny looks around them...and even looks up...to make sure that, once they call Lana's phone, they aren't suddenly surprised by the monster appearing right behind/above/below them.
<Andrea> "I can, but there needs to be an... actual signal. So Frank, please call Lana's phone. Or someone can take Chuck's phone here and do it."
- Selphie listens intently to the bullfrog.
- Jenny takes the sticky phone back and searches the contacts for "Lana"
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: Yep, here it is.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: "Ribbit."
- Jenny rings Lana's phone.
- Andrea opens up her signal tracer and targets the path between Chuck's phone and Lana's.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The phone begins ringing. You perform a quick hack to prevent it from going to voicemail, then attempt to triangulate its position.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Success! The signal is coming from some ways to the south - a little ways west of the church, in fact.
<Andrea> "Let's go after this thing."
- Andrea heads in the correct direction. "As we get close, weapons out, ladies. And Frank."
- Jenny nods. "Let's."
<Andrea> "...Frank, do you *have* a weapon?"
<Capn_Ascii> Lana brandishes her mace. Frank attempts to do the same with his phone, realizes it's not working, then shrugs and strikes a ridiculous-looking karate pose instead.
<Andrea> Andrea sighs and hands Frank her hatchet. "I'll be going ranged."
<Andrea> "Please do not lose that."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You turn to resume leading the way. Moments later, the hatchet goes flying past your head, embedding blade-first into a nearby tree. You turn and glare at Frank, who is frozen in the middle of another ridiculous kung-fu pose, his arm outstretched.
<Capn_Ascii> "It, uh...slipped."
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---
<Selphie> "Someone take his phone away before he hurts someone."