Trinsic Tales:Afterlife in the Fast Lane/Chapter 07
Chapter Seven: Live, damn you! Live!
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes, we find them having succesfully tainted their reputations as heroic adventurers by stealing, mugging, and doing an honest day's work. They'd better hope that the Powers That Be don't find out about this..." *ominous foreshadowing music*
<Dkort> "We had heroic reputations?"
<Eralia> "I never noticed."
<Eralia> "Let's do what we need to."
Eralia leads the way to the... er, place we started... bank? Something like that...
<Eralia> "Oh, right, the courthouse! That's it!"
<Capn_Ascii> You wind your way back through the throng of people (why not CROWD of people? Because 'throng' is more fun to say), and to the courthouse. You nod at the clerk as you pass, and soon find yourself standing before the same office door as before. The office of Helena Handbasket, in case you've forgotten that too.
Eralia knocks on the door
Dkort tags along, eager to start pushing people out of the way again
<Capn_Ascii> You open the door to find Helena sitting at her desk, half-turned away from you, talking on what looks like a cell phone. (What's a cell phone?) "Look, I don't care *how* drunk you are, I expect those cars delivered by tonight!" She makes a motion as if slamming the phone down, except in mid-air - she lets go, at which point the phone disappears in a tiny poof of smoke.
<Capn_Ascii> She turns to face you, the look of frustration on her face spontaniously (and a little creepily) transforming into a perfectly polite, cordial smile. "Welcome back."
<Eralia> "We have the cash. Now what?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Now..." She steeples her fingers, and grins a mildly-unsettling grin. "...we do business."
<Capn_Ascii> She reaches under her desk, and presses a concealed button. The office door behind you slams shut.
<Eralia> Eralia raises an eyebrow.
Rika jumps at the sudden sound
<Capn_Ascii> After a moment, a seam appears in the wall behind her; it quickly spreads until it forms the shape of a doorway, which noiselessly slides open to reveal a dark and spooky (as if it would be anything else) passage. "Please, follow me."
Eralia does so
Dkort looks back at the shut door, then reluctantly follows
<Capn_Ascii> Helena leads you all down the passage, which seems to go on forever into the darkness. On and on and on and on and on and on and...
<Capn_Ascii> BAM! Door.
<Eralia> "Where did that door come from?"
<Capn_Ascii> Specifically, a heavy steel security door.
<Capn_Ascii> "...the door factory?" She raises an eyebrow, then turns and knocks on the door. "Igor, it's me. I've got some soon-to-be live ones here."
<Capn_Ascii> A Peter Lorre-esque voice comes from beyond the door. "Really? We shall see, hee hee." You hear the sounds of heavy latches being opened; then the door sloooowly swings open, creaking ominously.
<Capn_Ascii> "Walk this way." Helena leads you through the doorway.
Dkort continues the reluctant following
<Capn_Ascii> Beyond the doorway is a room that looks straight out of Victor Frankenstein's castle. Strange machinery lines the outer edges of the room, blazing with electricity and assorted eldritch energies. Electrodes hang from the ceiling, lightning leaping between them for no apparant reason other than to look cool.
<Eralia> "This doesn't look particularly efficient," Eralia comments.
<Dkort> "It looks cool, though."
<Capn_Ascii> Towards the middle of the room are a series of person-sized operating tables, currently reclined to upright positions - except for one, which has a body on it covered by a sheet. Standing over (well, as 'over' as a rather short, hunchbacked fellow can) the body is a short, hunchbacked fellow wearing a lab coat, fiddling with something and cackling with glee.
<Dkort> "Is the cackling necessary?"
<Capn_Ascii> As Helena leads you over, the man - Igor - half-leaps, half-shuffles over, grinning. "More guinea pigs...yeeeeess." He wrings his hands. "We'll have some fun with them, I think."
<Capn_Ascii> He looks at DKort. "Oh, most assuredly. I also mutter to myself, talk to people who aren't there, and so forth. It's standard mad scientist fare." He grins wider. "And I assure you, I am *quite* mad."
<Eralia> "Your anger is irrelevant. You will be assim... er, I mean, let's just do this."
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, let's." He looks squarely at Eralia. "You wish to live again?"
<Capn_Ascii> He grins, and tilts his head to the side a little. "Are you willing to...pay the price?"
<Eralia> "I thought this was already dealt with."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm?" He glances at Helena, who is currently counting the bag o' coins. "Oh, no, I don't mean *that* price. I mean the terrible, *horrible* price of becoming one of the living dead." He chortles. "You see...being a zombie isn't easy. There can be...side effects."
<Eralia> "Like what? And why weren't we told of this before?"
<Dkort> "Don't worry. I can worm my way out of it. It's what I do."
<Capn_Ascii> "First of all, I must warn you - the experience is not entirely...pleasant." He shrugs. "You'll essentially be wearing your own corpses like a badly-fitted tuxedo. Beyond the physical discomfort, there is always the psychological effect of coming to terms with the idea of being a stranger in your own body."
<Eralia> "Pleasure is irrevelant. So, let's do this. Unless there's anything else?"
<Capn_Ascii> "There's the smell, of course - not that *you'll* probably notice it, but it will make interacting with people rather...awkward. That is, of course, assuming they don't run away screaming or call for a cleric at the mere sight of you."
<Eralia> "I have no intention of being sighted. Anything else?"
<Dkort> "I AM a cleric."
<Capn_Ascii> "There is also the matter of...structural integrity." He grins. "You may be walking around in them, but your bodies are still dead. They'll be decomposing by the day. You should be able to hold them together for a while on your own, but eventually they will degrade to the point where you will need an outside source of magic to keep them up and moving."
<Capn_Ascii> "You might want to think about having yourselves raised as skeletons once most of the flesh rots away."
<Capn_Ascii> "There's the carrion feeders, as well. I would steer clear of any vulture nests if I were you."
<Dkort> "Like I said, I'm a cleric. I can...maintain us, this time."
<Eralia> "Alright. Anything ELSE?"
<Capn_Ascii> "And, as I'm sure the lovely Ms. Handbasket mentioned..." He grins a lecherous grin at Helena who gives him a cold look and turns away. "You can only stay in your bodies for a certain amount of time before you must come back. The Powers That Be perform headcounts from time to time...if you aren't present here in the afterlife when they call for you, we'll all be in big trouble." He gets a worried look on his face.
<Eralia> "Right. Anything ELSE?"
<Capn_Ascii> "We will have to retrieve you in such an event. We can send you back afterward, of course, but be prepared to return here at any time."
<Capn_Ascii> "Not that I can think of." He glances at a pamphlet in his hand - 'So You Want To Be A Zombie'. "I think I've covered everything."
<Capn_Ascii> "If you're ready, we can begin immediately. Although, I believe Helena has some paperwork for you first."
<Eralia> Eralia growls. "Wouldn't records be traceable by those you don't want to find out about this?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Not these records." Helena steps forward, holding a trio of forms. "These are the non-disclosure agreements I mentioned before. Standard demonic procedure - these contracts forbid you from informing anyone outside of myself and Igor about what goes on here."
<Eralia> "Fine. Whatever."
<Capn_Ascii> "I'll need all three of you to sign them before we get started."
Eralia sighs. "You got a pen?"
<Capn_Ascii> "And please, for your own sakes, don't break the contract. If you do, you'll be sent to the Pit of Eternal Hellfire and Damnation to spend an eternity being tortured." She hands Eralia a blood-red fountain pen. "Sign here, here, and initial here."
Eralia carefully reads the contract.
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: Though the contract is exceedingly obfuscating and densly worded, you quickly decipher it. It's pretty much as Helena described - the magical contract, if broken, will instantly banish you to the lower regions of Hell to be tortured for the rest of eternity. In this case, 'breaking the contract' means informing anyone in the afterlife about Helena and Igor's decidedly illegal activities regarding the undead.
Eralia frowns slightly and signs.
<Capn_Ascii> Helena takes the paper, looks it over, and nods. "Now you two." She hands identical copies to Rika and DKort.
Rika signs it
Dkort pauses, and then signs it
<Capn_Ascii> "Excellent." Helena snatches up the paperwork, then heads for the door. "They're good to go, Igor."
<Capn_Ascii> Igor grins a wide grin. "Wonderful!" He motions toward the tables. "If you'll all take your places, we can begin."
Eralia sits down at a table
Dkort claims the second table
Rika jumps on the third.
<Capn_Ascii> As you lie down on the tables, there's a soft whirring noise. Suddenly, metal shackles spring out of the surface of the tables, attempting to snap around your wrists and ankles!
Eralia jumps up quickly. "Not cool. I can be still without help."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm?" He notices the shackles as they miss Eralia, but close around Dkort and Rika. "Oh, right. I rather doubt that, but if you insist." He clicks a button on a nearby panel, and the shackles on Eralia's table retract. "I warn you, however - the process is extrordinarily painful."
<Eralia> "I do. I can handle it."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well then, lie down."
Eralia does so
<Capn_Ascii> "Excellent. And now..."
<Capn_Ascii> He shuffles over to a nearby panel, which has an array of buttons and levers on it. He reaches out and grabs a particularly big, red lever. "...SCIENCE!"
Eralia smiles. About time.
<Dkort> "Are you going to be yelling that a lot during this?"
<Capn_Ascii> Igor yanks down on the lever. Something else seems to happen about that time, but it's difficult for you all to tell, what with the excruciating, mind-numbing, soul-tearing PAIN that's coursing through every fiber of your being.
<Capn_Ascii> The tables seem to be electrifying you - raw power blasts through your soul-bodies, threatening to tear you apart.
<Eralia> "Fascinating," Eralia mutters, gritting her teeth.
<Capn_Ascii> Igor turns a knob and presses a button, and the power - and pain - seem to increase. *BRZZZZT!*
Eralia blinks a few times in rapid succession.
Dkort clenches his teeth and contorts his face
Rika writhes silently in pain.
<Capn_Ascii> Igor talks to you through the excruciating experience. "Alright, now soon you should begin to feel yourselves slipping beyond the veil between this world and the next. Er, previous." He shrugs. "You should start to sense your old, previously living bodies - when you do, head towards them."
<Capn_Ascii> As the "experiment" drags on, everything starts to get fuzzy - it's as if you were starting to detatch from the world around you. The haze gets thicker, but eventually starts to clear - and through it, you can see some place that's definitely not the laboratory.
Eralia looks around
<Capn_Ascii> The view is still hazy, but you can make out what looks like the inside of a building - possibly a warehouse of some sort. You can't make out much more clearer than that, but you can definitely *feel* a familiar presence. It feels like...yourself!
<Eralia> "Yay, me!"
Rika attampts to look around as well.
Dkort focuses on being himself
Eralia finds herself.
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: How Zen.
<Capn_Ascii> The three of you do your best to find your way through the mental fog. Before long, you can feel a definite pulling sensation from the other side - your bodies seem to be reaching out to you. You let the unseen force take hold, and suddenly you can feel your souls being ripped away from Igor's laboratory, streaking through the aether between worlds, spiralling through the infinite void before being flushed down the toilet of infinity back into the physical plane.
<Capn_Ascii> And finally...finally...!
<Capn_Ascii> It is pitch black in here. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
Eralia shoots the grue. There, not a problem.
Eralia fumbles around looking for her pack.
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: Nice try, but you can't seem to move - at least, not much. It feels like there's something piled on top of you - a *lot* of something, judging by the weight. Though you can't see them, Rika and DKort are nearby, and in a similar situation.
Rika looks for her feet.
<Eralia> Eralia mutters a bunch of words not fit for broadcasting.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You can't see anything - something heavy and unyielding is piled on you to the point of rendering you almost unable to move. You can *feel* your feet, at least, which is a relief - you do seem to have a body again.
Dkort tests his own mobility
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: You can't seem to feel your pack - or your gear, or your armor, or even your *clothes*, for that matter. You can't see to confirm, but you *feel* disturbingly...naked.
<Eralia> "That's disturbing? Why?"
Eralia tries to get out.
Rika tries to squirm her way out.
<Capn_Ascii> Whatever is piled on top of you, it's large and heavy. The three of you wriggle around a bit, but you can't seem to pry it off of you.
Rika tries again.
Dkort tries putting more force behind his aimless writhings.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You give another push. This time, you make some headway - you're able to roll the heavy thing on top of you off to the side. Almost immediately, you're blinded by a bright overhead light.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: After a few moments, your eyes adjust - you're staring up at some overhead lanterns, hanging from the ceiling.
Rika blinks and looks around.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You seem to be in a warehouse-like building - the same one you saw through the haze. The place is dimly lit, but you can see clearly enough to notice that you're currently half-buried in a pile of dead bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Rika tries to worm her way out of the bodies.
Eralia tries to get out again.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: Now that you've gotten your upper half free, you find the rest of yourself easy to pull out of the pile. Mostly because there *is* no rest of yourself - your body is missing its whole lower half!
Rika blinks "Oh right."
Rika walks around on her hands, looking for her legs.
Rika also calls out "Eralia? Dkort? You in here somewhere?"
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You can hear Eralia voice from somewhere below you in the pile, near the outside edges.
Rika uhm.. 'Walks' over there and tries to find the sound of the voice, to help her out.
Dkort focuses on getting out.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: As Eralia and DKort begin to claw their way out of the orgy--er, corpse pile, you start to work your way down off the top of the pile, doing your best to pull yourself along with your hands. You soon realize that, despite your lack of lower extremeties, you can still *feel* them - if you close your eyes, it feels as if they're still right where they should be. They have the same heaviness on them as the rest of you did a few moments ago - you can only assume they're in the pile somewhere.
<Capn_Ascii> After a few moments, DKort's hand punches up through the pile Terminator-style, knocking a corpse aside as he claws his way out. Shortly thereafter, Eralia follows suit.
<Eralia> "I'm back! Awesome!"
<Dkort> "We are also zombies. Not awesome."
<Eralia> "It's better then DEAD. Which was our previous state of existence. Now, let's go find diamonds to further remedy the situation."
Rika tries to find her legs.
Rika tries to make her legs kick or something.
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: Dkort is right. You *are* moving around, but a quick glance at yourself confirms that your body is every bit as dead as it was before. Your skin is ashen and cold, and there's a peculiar smell coming from your various orifices - especially the large, sword-shaped one in the middle of your torso. Oh, yes, and you're naked - as is DKort, Rika, and all the bodies in The Pile.
<Capn_Ascii> Dkort: You're in a similar shape, except that instead of a torso hole, you've got tire marks across your back.
<Dkort> "Ah, they took all my stuff!"
<Rika> "You're surprised?"
<Eralia> "Sooner we do this, the sooner we can stop looking like this. Yes, they did. We'll find a way to get it back. For now, let's move on. Rika, where's your lower half?"
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You kick around a bit, as hard as you can. After a few moments of work, you can fee your leg break through the copse of corpses and out into the open air. At the same time, you spot a foot emerging from the pile of its own accord.
Rika looks over, and walks over to dig it out.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You grab the foot (Hey, that tickles!) and proceed to pull your posterior free of the pile. Both halves of you tumble to the floor.
Rika sighs, looking at her lower half.
<Rika> "Anyone got some tape or something?"
<Eralia> "Of course not. All our gear was taken."
<Dkort> "I'll see if I can prepare a spell to fix that tomorrow."
<Eralia> "We're not going to BE here tomorrow. She said one day. Which means we're gone. We need to go -- NOW."
<Rika> "She said two. That I remember, anyway."
<Rika> "I can't go anywhere like this. Not to mention I'm naked."
<Rika> "I'm gonna have to wait here."
<Dkort> "I've worked with less before."
<Eralia> "Oh come on. Do we want your top half to be carried? I'll do it if you insist."
<Capn_Ascii> Now that you're free of the pile, you have a chance to look around the place in more detail. Aside from the huge pile of bodies - there must be over a hundred of them! - there's a series of wooden crates carefully piled in one corner, each with a name printed on it.
<Capn_Ascii> There's a door nearby that leads into what looks like an office - you can see through a bay window that there are numerous file cabinets inside, as well as a desk. In one corner of the warehouse floor are a cluster of operating tables, covered in blood.
<Capn_Ascii> There's a larger exit door behind you - a sign hanging over it reads "City of Trinsic - (Temporary) Morgue".
Eralia walks over to the crates
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: There's lots of them - probably as many as there are bodies. Each box is printed with someone's name, most of which you don't recognize - I.P. Freeley, Seymoure Asses, Amanda Huggenkis, etc.
Rika helps her legs stand up, and tries to crawl up her legs to get back onto the bottom half of her body.
Dkort looks around to see if any of his stuff is stored here
Eralia searches for HER name (or Dkort's or Rika's).
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: Using the pile for support, you clamber your upper half on top of of your severed rear-end, merging the two into one. However, you soon find that maintaining your balance on top of your hips isn't easy - the moment you start to remove your hands from your waist, you start to slide off.
Rika keeps her hands on her waist and go over to the desk looking for something to keep her pieces attached.
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia, Dkort: The two of you start shoving boxes around, looking through them in an attempt to find something familiar. After a few minutes of searching, you stumble across a box labeled "John Doe 475312 - Cause of death - massive bus trauma".
<Eralia> "I think this is yours, Dkort."
<Dkort> "There are enough corpses here that there's a real chance it might be somebody else..."
Dkort opens it anyway
<Eralia> "Massive bus trauma? How many people get hit by things that haven't been invented yet?"
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: You rifle through the desk. Aside from various office supplies and some medical documents, you find a roll of duct tape in one of the bottom drawers. Wow, duct tape - that's worth, like, three whole bags of gold coins in adventurer loot terms!
Eralia keeps looking for *her* box. And Rika's.
Rika wraps herself in ducttape.
<Capn_Ascii> Eralia: You continue to paw through the containers. Before long, you find the ones you're looking for - one is labeled "Jane Doe 114269 - Cause of death - Premature swordification", while the other reads "Jane Doe 3.14 - Cause of death - bisection due to overexposure to axe blade".
<Eralia> "Hey, Rika, I think I found your box. Jane Doe Pi," Eralia says, setting the box in her direction.
Eralia then turn the attention to hew own presumed box and opens it
Rika comes over and examines it.
<Capn_Ascii> Rika: Walking with little more than duct tape holding you together is quite the interesting experience. You still feel whole, but the sensation of your halves wobbling beneath the tape is disconcerting, to say the least.
Rika puts more duct tape on, like suspenders.
<Capn_Ascii> The three of you opens your respective boxes. Inside is everything you had on you at the time of your un-timely deaths - your clothes, armor, weapons, packs, and all of your gear. Even your money is still here, which says something for the integrity of the mortician on duty.
<Eralia> "Awesome!" Eralia says, starting to put her stuff on.
Rika hold up her tattered shirt.
Rika fixes it with duct tape.
Rika puts it on
Dkort quickly retrieves his stuff and begins putting it back on
Rika puts all the other stuff she owns back on.
<Capn_Ascii> Suit up!
<Eralia> "We're back in the game for now. Let's get in the game for good."
<Capn_Ascii> Rock and roll music plays, as a short montage illustrates the three of you putting on your gear. After a couple of minutes, a wide-angle shot shows the three of you against a dramatic background, fully equipped and ready to KICK...SOME...ASS.
<Capn_Ascii> Action movie music plays, as our trio leaps...er, shambles into action!
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---