"A xenobiologist from the shrine of Matmos-Eligius, upon her visit to 19-Beryl Station, famously mistook the distant, shambling sounds of dancing leashchewers for individual lifeforms. She assumed they had their own genetics, mating and migratory rituals, and even separate genders. This study was long circulated as a comical example of the trouble shrineworlders had understanding free-gene culture -- until the invention of modern plasmography proved every one of her theories to be true. Remember, kids, dances are people too." -- the Gilded Guide to Meltfaring, Ampule 28, Codon 8128
1. [Profett, Meliph]
But all you need to understand, pretty ancestor, is that given a beat, a leashchewer is guaranteed to dance to it, cry over it, or take credit for it. So, in the fertile ground of Profett, Meliph, and the Medusa's jam, our specimen grows to such a healthy size, the guests at the outer rim start to lose their footing and go over the rim. Suddenly they get a crash course in the new gravity... and most of them just end up dancing upside-down on the opposite side of the platform; the rim ends up reserved for public displays of affection.
Like any other good scene in 3-Topaz, the dance makes itself look invulnerable. Even the snippy Tannata is drawn into a symbiotic effect with it, irritating the crowd to grow and surround her like mother-of-pearl around an itchy grain of sand. (Yeah, um, her friends have long since snuck off to the rim and stuck their hands up each others' skirts.)
Before the lanky jackal-thing started jamming with the Medusa plant, this was nothing but an empty glowing disk. Now, it projects that blessed illusion that it's the only real place and always must have been. This must be the one place so true, so important, so sexy, it will just have to survive the oncoming invasion and shelter us all.
This is, of course, bullshit.
4. [Falin Chen, Meliph]
Yet, for one moment, the ears of Falin Chen are graced by the fully correct and adequate rendition of a Third Lotus Sub-Melody played on something like a glass armonica... no, four of them... and twelve flutes... followed by a wickedly orthodox variation of the Sparrow's Third Daughter progression. Tragically, its source is blocked from the ox's view by that disrespectful, idiot crowd. But that occlusion and heartbreak is, itself, a very witty literary reference -- surely whoever played it has read the Annals of Restricted Love!
So isn't that enough? You've had your fun, now.
Khroma is the first to notice something wrong. His smiles are going unreturned, as cliques form and metastatize around the frondy DJ in the center and its jackal MC. The fursuit's glowy footfalls fall short of their marks for the first time he can ever remember, snubbed by the beat. Something has learned to love itself more than it loves the crowd. This is not music for dancing in.
Anyone who looks up can see that the skin of DJ Medusa has started to crack and peel. Its verdant, fluorescent bark is becoming mottled by blotches the shade of dirty linen, shot through with ugly red and blue fibers. The plant continues to gyrate as its tubules thump and thrum a relentless junglist beat, but there's an callous urgency to its movements now. As one of its tendrils reaches for xim, a cheerful, growly voice whispers in Profett's head: // This is all yours, boi. You made this. You could be a superstar. //
A few of the crowd have figured out what's going on and started to panic. Once you know what you're doing, it's a lot easier to jump off the side of the platform. A few have already decided to plummet and take their chances with the Desublimation Pool. Better that, than join the crowd of sycophants that's encircled Profett to pump their fists, cheer, and do precisely nothing on their own.
8. [Boko, Kessie]
But there is a bright side: Kessie take note, the room is in total chaos. People are leaving their shit behind, even leaving their drinks. Everyone else has turned to face Profett, and thus turned their backs on you. And, Boko, the music the flowering beast is squeezing out under this curse is horrible like nothing you have ever heard.
The voice in Profett's head is no louder now, but it's gotten chatty and relentless. // long-stemmed roses kid cog up to your ears and whaddaya like boys? girls? toasters? good deal we'll keep em coming just need a brand image promote yourself i know a guy can help with that a real go getter //
By this point, the Medusa has broken out in numbers. Small denominations, multiples of five.
10. [Green, Profett]
The possessed Medusa winks at Green while it seduces Profett. Well, not winks, so much as spurts haploid time through the matrix of equations that determine the feeler shape of beetles. It's intended as a friendly gesture, something like "come on in, the water's fine," but it gives the incarnate half of her an irksome headache.
Meanwhile, Meliph is getting no such star treatment. The same muse that led her to the Third Lotus Sub-Melody is calling her to defend that melody from the trite and homogenous beats thumping out of the Medusa. And the Medusa -- or whatever's inhabited it -- doesn't like that. It begins a chant that only she's intended to hear, cursing her in shrill soundboard outrage...
...as her strings and pipes are pulled subtly and achily out of tune by the sheer force of critique.
The crowd is closing in on Profett. They stop cheering and staring at their one true DJ only to pick up some of the trinkets the Medusa's tendrils are flinging into the audience: T-shirts and mediacubes glowing with Profett's image, poi that drip the Medusa's infected spooge from each end, glowsticks that all glow the same sickly green as the Medusa.
The voices are getting louder, to xim and anyone who knows how to eavesdrop. A little desperate, too. // this scene is dead profett kid but you we can save and of course a few select friends here they come shit its now or never you wanna join up with the frequency gods or what //
There is a vivid pink burst from way overhead and a shhhh-shhhh-shhhh sound as something plunges down towards the platform on glowing pink cords, very fast from very far away.
Needless to say, the above all starts happening just as Cerulean was getting comfortable. Worse, over every reasonable impulse the otter has to dive and escape, a sweet but overbearing voice drowns out all other sense.
<< We don't like this thing. We think you should do something about it.>>
And then it fades. Any complaint is met with a receding << Well, just do something to distract them. You know you'll love the attention. >> And, cast the bitch to the Dark, now he probably will love it.
[Note that everybody is probably affected at least a little by the outbreak of "Urge Overkill"... except for Khroma, Meliph, and Meredith (but not Cerulean) who are immune! Your behavior will be changed, even if only for a moment. If you want to shrug it right off, that's fine, but unless you're immune, I encourage you play it out. If people really *want* random skill resolutions as inspiration, I can provide them.]