"And I realized I did want a drink, after all." (circuit_four) wrote in fluorocrash,
"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."

Turn 0: Prologue

Good morning! I hope everyone can still find their way around me okay. I was in another strange mood while I slept last night, so I reformatted. Reformatted everything, the walls, the colors, the gravity... I guess I'm still getting used to being encouraged to express myself.

Anyhow, I hope you like the new layout. If anybody really enjoyed the rusty halls and corrugated storage bins, I apologize, but to be honest it was just a phase I had to work through after the blockage. I really feel a lot better now. So I wanted to go with something more optimistic. You know, festive. Like the old days.

I realized I can make space go anyway I want here, so I decided to play with some toroid models. As far as everyone else will be able to see, it's more of a cylindrical motif. But I know you're different from the others. So if you hang back and perceive at the whole station at once you can see the desublimation pools at the top and bottom of the shaft connect to each other through a little bit of sevenspace. Oh! And I kicked some gravity controls over to the residents so they can still get around. I made it a bit of a challenge. I hope you all like that.

It's all open now. No interior walls, just big curvy organic platforms mounted on branches that stick out of the main shaft. If the consensus is strong enough, they just float on nothing at all. I did what I could, but some of the less popular rooms needed to be reinforced so they don't just go pop while you're still in it. Heh. I won't make that mistake again. Now you can see what everybody else is doing, but only from a distance. Maybe that'll cut down on some of the self-destructive behavior. Anyway, it's interesting. I think it's interesting.

I'm going to take a peek inside. Hope you don't mind.

A pride of Tu'asan nomads is holding an alchemical farewell rite for their last female child. She was last seen bravely striding up to a whirlwind of snake-headed ribbons and demanding to know its name. Her family is wrapping an ingot of berith-966 with herbs in a poultice made from her favorite bandanna, and immersing it in acid until it's all gone, wailing over it in low, keening roars. I wish I could tell them where she is...

A drake is kneeling before one of my cameras. I get hundreds of these people at any given time, but this one is really trying. She's in a red top hat and sequinned gown, and she's looking up at me and swirling the ribbon of her tongue all over the lens. She's pretty, but the fish-eye effect makes her look ridiculous, and I guess chose it that way. But she knows she's going to be the special one. I don't understand them. People say they just do it for the Cogs*, but I wonder sometimes. Does she think she can seduce me? Is she just looking for a friend who can't talk back...?

A fluffmite carrier's eyes go blank as she pops out of dormancy, right in mid-stride. Soon she's sitting in the automat, rolling around in sugar and watering herself, giggling hysterically while others step around in disgust. Jit. Paging Dr. Chao. Situation on Level 33...

The Therapeutic Alienation Council is setting up a booth, right in the middle of the Agoraphobe. Today's deal: 10,000 Cognoscenta. All you have do to do is wear one of the little hand puppets they're handing out until they tell you you can stop. One of their agents is basking so hard in the crowd's outrage, she starts jilling herself off with a fistful of Cog...

Some of the Mads have already worked out my new grav system. They're suspended by the wall right next to the upper Parade** pool, affixing a big neon mandala to me and arguing in jargon so abstruse even I don't get it. Something about siddhi boxes and a phatic attack? I think I'll flicker my lights and encourage them. Incr() their little hearts...

Something passes over the station, from the bottom to the top. It's a single word. It's blindness, tingling, screaming, deafness, terror, for one slice of guests at a time. But it's gone, so fast I'm the only one who remembers it a minute later. Rae, set pistol to "Bowdlerize..."

A lion girl with a black stone on her forehead, barely into her first estrus, is getting surrounded by a gang of Tannata. She isn't even looking up as they call her a prude and pelt her with pigsty bombs. One of them is taking a swing at her. The oldest of them looks twelve, at most. They're fighting clumsy. She'll beat them bloody, and they'll hoist her on their shoulders and cheer. But she'll never see her family again...

But where are yours? The performer, the pretender, the halfbreed, the runaway, the reject, the tagalong, the instrument, and the eavesdropper. I can't see them, and that's weird. That encourages me to think you're real after all. Can you really hear me? Heh, the Coupler's started calling you the "breakfast club." All he wants to talk about anymore is Terran Echo myths. I hear nothing from him but all this jitter about maltese falcons and velvet goldmines and... breakfast clubs. But I guess you'd already know about those, if you're who I think you are.

Face-of-jzenh, it feels so good to have somebody else to talk to. Please, talk back to me. Tell me what yours are doing. I still can't see them, and I think they're important. I think sometimes I'm still losing touch and this was all my fault somehow.

* (The Cognoscenta is the base currency of 3-Topaz, a standard unit of consensus reality. One Cog is equivalent to one passing remembrance from a stranger, one station-week after first encounter. Cog = stability = power = safety, or so it goes.)
** (Short for "paragnostic desublimation," of course! No, that still doesn't mean anything specific yet. O:) )
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The rules have changed again, and no one else seems to mind. After so long, it seems like he should be used to it. Well, perhaps... The first time it happened, the force of Falin Chen Ox's moral outrage rewrote an entire Talui Carnival back into continuity, to no one's pleasure. These days, the outrage has faded into a twinge in his sense of aesthetics.

It only happens when he isn't paying attention. That probably means something, but he hasn't worked out exactly what, yet.

Moments ago, this was a secluded corner of 3-Topaz, a wisp of ephemeral architecture, barely actualized, little more than an impression on the background nothingness. It reminded him nothing of home, but it was close enough for him to sit and imagine and compose bad poetry. But now...

Noise. The atavistic thumpings that the locals consider music, designed to pound the limbic system without any knowledge of the Four Harmonious Chords or even a rudimentary understanding of the Third Lotus Sub-Melody.

Dancing. Instead of seclusion, now his personal space is invaded by dancers; felines of some denomination he is not familiar with. They are enthusiastic and limber and talented, to be sure, but clearly not a one of them could perform the Five Beautiful Flirtations. Any attraction is, thus, fleeting. No matter how they entwine him and urge him to join in the festivities.

He joins the party without joining, standing among the dancers and singers and lovers without participating. This, of course, is taken as a challenge, and the revelers take turns trying to either tempt or shock the big, drab ox. He politely refuses to be shocked, and watches, waiting. Something is coming, something unpleasant, something with the Melt-stink of change. But no need to go running around. Whatever is coming will find him, sooner or later.
And the party goes on without a blip. The music turns mellower, more stylized, more sophisticated, but the beat never stops. The light overhead now comes from luminous domes, and the tables and chairs float. The dancers wear tighter, more vivid clothes. They more their hips and arms more. They smile more.

In the midst of it all, four figures enter, clearing a path though the crowd with sharp elbows and icy stares. Leading the pack is a rail-thin doe dressed in red and black, who surveys the room with a critical eye before nodding to her hangers-on. As they spread out into the crowd, staking their claim, the effect is like ice thrown into boiling water.

The doe strolls up to the spinner* and exchanges a few choice words, followed by a bit of calculated violence. And that's when the beat finally changes, this time to something raw and obnoxious, the lights darkening to match. The party, which has raged here for some months straight, is already starting to break up. As she rejoins her entourage at a newly tall table, Kessie slams down her glass in triumph.

"That's better." She heaves a sigh and lights up a smoke. "Have I mentioned what a shitty day this has been?"

(*I figure this party isn't attached to any particular location, but it centers around a spinner, who's sort of a cross between a DJ, a bartender and a real-time interior designer.)
The source of the atavistic thumpings is a large, wheat-coloured platform somewhere not too far from the Ox, towards the middle of the area. In the center of the disc is Abraham Ignatius Profett, a self-proclaimed Phonovore and Minstrel, slowly swaying xis salmon-coloured body back and forth in a trancelike fashion. A greyish vest adorns xis upper body, while matching straps and buckles swathe the rest of the creature's lanky frame.

A writhing medusa of speakerbox-tipped tendrils is the source of the music's heartbeat; rapid, heavy, pumping baritone sounds and shrill squealings have been erupting from the thing at regular intervals since it appeared after the latest Reformatting. The beast, or whatever it is, is surrounded by a cakewalk of beings representative of what seems like every race imaginable, and circling nearest to the source of the sound is our pink friend. Swaying and turning and rocking in time with the thump thump thump thump is Profett, who is spewing out xis own interpretation of the sounds through various flesh-mounted units that decorate xis awkward body. Modulated playbacks of the noises generated by the Medusa, as well as of the crowd surrounding xim, mesh together to form strange, foreign, pleasant-or-horrible-depending-on-your-taste-and-mood melodies that wildly fluctuate from fast and panicked to slow and relaxing and everywhere in between.

The platform is almost like a bubble of Existance within the larger bubble of the Station itself. It's almost infectious, with the music playing louder and more distortedly by the minute. The sounds waft like a sweet, thick odour to every surrounding area and being, hopefully inspiring them to turn on, tune in, and... well, you know. And Profett is more than happy to help preach the philosophy of the Party to everyone nearby, no matter how much they might seem to dislike it.

secure integrity of quietness broken sudden presences pressing in

Recollect! Re-consistence. What's it now? What's it now? It's sure it feels this disorientation far too often. Dancers all around, perhaps it's a dancer. Most of the near dancers feline, too, but--some small sense of self asserts and it decides it'd rather be an ocelot. Okay, it's a dancing ocelot, in neon-bright green tightsuit. And--where're they? Oh, in the little purple backpack. Relief floods through it as it rubs the woven-hair bracelet encircling its wrist.

Not as alone as it would like right now, but, it's good enough just to dance enthusiastically without anyone expecting anything more of it.

Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance...

"Hey, sister!" Someone's mistake and suddenly she has a sex and a gender matching it. Who's this? She isn't this intrusive stranger's sister! Or is she? Uncertainty. Maybe some metapsychological accident leading her to have the wrong life, and now she can resume the right one...

The scarlet-bound ocelot who had just waved turns away. "Sorry, my mistake," and she disappears into the crowd, pangs of wistfulness following her.

The abandoned ocelot-dancer takes this brief break to scan around herself and--she sees one of the very few people [Fellow PCs, this could be you. ;)] who seem to recognize her consistently. Now if only she could recall what name this one knew her by, it's so hard to keep all her names straight.
Some distance away, a quadrupedal figure trots along the busy suspended walkways of 3-Topaz. She's just going for a stroll, taking in the sights... and giving back music. Long before anyone walking from the other way can glimpse red-stained wood and shining brass through the crowd, they hear her approaching. It's an optimistic soundtrack, a symphony with a steady beat that speaks of progress, of facing challenges, and of the gleaming, curving architecture all around them. A number of people feel compelled to gaze up at their surroundings and think to themselves, this is our home, and we're kind of proud of it. Many let their stride synchronize with the rhythm, each feeling like the star of a show about themselves. Some might smile at Meliph as she passes, recognizing the elegant deer-taur-shaped jumble of fused strings, horns, and woodwinds, but most are content to listen. This is better than a concert, she thinks, not to be the center of attention, but part of something bigger. It wouldn't do to take too much credit; so much of it is inspired by the view, and can she really say whether her music is created by herself, or by her Maestro, or exists of its own accord, or if there's a difference?

She strays from the main thoroughfare, and segues into quieter ambience for a moment. She hears a party nearby, with its own music. It's very different from hers, but she is drawn to it, it has energy. She thinks she recognizes the signature style. And what would make it really cool, she decides, would be to mix it up with some variations on the Third Lotus Sub-Melody. Not that she is at all aware that that's what it's called, but she still knows exactly how use it. Or perhaps it knows how to use her. She breaks into a percussive gallop. Time to jam.
Change again. Rats and devils.

Of course he'd casually but methodically scoured as much of the previous version of the station as he'd been able to, taking enough notes along the way for him to have been able to have saved the complete blueprints of it like the previous times around, but still. Gone, all of it, with perhaps a vague memory or two in a few of the other inhabitants' minds, but with only him left to really, really remember it the way it was, the only one who ever truly kept track.

On the plus side, the suction cups on his fingers would make getting around inside the toroid structure a breeze, gravity adjustments or no. The branches would be easy for him to swing and hang by with his tongue and tail as well. Nothing he couldn't adapt to.

Boko sat in the Agoraphobe, the high-precision recorder in his pocket turned on saving every note of the music being played, and he sat lapping up an energy drink in quick intermittent tongue strokes watching the felines dance. He wouldn't dance, at least, not yet. His eyes slowly wobbled in every direction, seemingly at random but with well-calculated patterns in mind designed to take everything in as efficiently as possible.

He watched, and learned. Soon he'd outdance all of them.
The indigo canine is right in the thick of the dance, as he seems to always be, at one or another. He hasn't been here long, not even enough time to be used to the prior configuration; in social time maybe long enough to form one good friendship. Not that he seems to have time for that, mind you. Plenty of time, sure, to dance, and socialize, meet folks... So many people to meet when you're dancing or going from one party to another, but that's the thing, there's always more people, there's always another party.

Does he ever even sleep? Well, it seems unlikely; he's no more organic-looking than the instrumentaur, if a lot less elegant; his aesthetics are toyish, rounded stylized features, bright colors stitched together in a lithe dancerish form, bright green in the hair and bright orange on the paws standing out from a shaggy pelt the color of blacklight. And he's happy to show all this off, always dancing, sometimes shifting closer to those he knows--it seems like just about everyone--but only for a nod or a few words.
Frell. Not again. It just had to happen like this. Why did the universe (or at least the Station) have to had such bad timing? Weeks, probably months for all he could tell, spent hopping from one bed to the next, somehow never closer to his goal. And now it's gone all pear-shaped, and now the whole map's been rearranged, and now the station's been reconfigured right in front of his eyes.

Ceru has been looking for the spaceport. He know there is one, he knows he came in quite a while back on a beautiful craft shaped like a black rose, stolen from outer-Dark pirates. He remembers that now, but of course he hadn't been allowed to remember its existence only a few hours ago. The location and perception of the spaceport has been hidden to him; he probably walked right past it or even through it without ever knowing it. Thanks to the dose of DMT-26 one of his lovers last night slipped him unknowingly, Meredith--the parasitical memeplex living in his brain--was knocked out. So the blue otter stumbled out into the twilight and discovered that the spaceport was not ten paces down the curving hallway.

But it didn't stay there, of course. No, of course things weren't going to be that easy. Just as he'd made it to the entryway and seen his beautiful, wonderful ship, spacetime went all wobbly. Cerulean ran too late to make it through the door before the location was once again reconfigured. He got lost instead in a sudden maze of ramps, platforms, and dubious local gravities.

Hours later, in what passes for a station 'morning', Ceru is sitting on a flowform bench, trying not to get too incensed about this turn of events. He's relaxing to the soothing palpations of the bench's tentacle massager, and he's trying to concentrate on the voices in his head.

Meredith? You sure that wasn't your doing this time? I really was in front of the spaceport, not just another illusion? You've been playing games with my perceptions and I'm getting really shlecht at them.

>>Look around you, Cerulean. The Station reformatted. I could not have affected that.<<

Yeah, but...you were really knocked out by the DMT-626? You're screwing with me again, I just know it.

>>If you really must known, I was involved in battling the Machine Elves on the higher plane. Not that you'll believe me.<<

You've constantly hijacked my perceptions to prevent me from leaving this station for a reason you're not entirely divulging to me, despite being rather firmly lodged in my brain. Give me any reason at all to trust you, and I probably still won't.

>> Don't make me take your body over too. I know how much you love that. I've got several key fetish-nodes I can activate in case you don't. <<

The blue otter sighs, miming putting a power drill to his skull, complete with sound effects. His paw brushes his ear with the jagged notch torn out, a souvenier not from his hectic pirating days but something long before. It takes him several moments to realize the music isn't coming from the mediacube on the collar around his neck, but from a floating platform further down below his.

Hm. Dancing always distracts him and helps to clear his mind a bit. And it sounds like quite a party...
As bubbles grow and join, so do the spaces in the Station. The collective will of x dozen partygoers, unhappy with the suddenly chilly vibe around Kessie, exerts enough pull to drag a handful of smaller but more happening parties in, until they meet and merge.

Kessie sighs and sips something red and loathsome through a straw. Perhaps she pushed her luck too far this time. But at least she'll have something to complain about, new people to mock... starting with the flock of purring cats who are now twirling and slinking all about. One unwisely tiptoes up behind Kessie and taps her gently on the shoulder. The doe turns and casually blows smoke in the cat's face. "Go 'way, kid. You bother me."

She can't help but grin as she notices Falin Chen standing there in their midst. Unflappable - she has to admire that, even if he is a stuffy old Rahula. "Wow. They must have let him out of the Temple on a day pass."

As Meliph prances tunably past, she raises a brow. "Hey, look, the band's here," she calls out to her and Profett, cupping her hands together for a megaphone. "Play some fucking rock and roll!"*

Nothing. Usually that would get a giggle out of her pack, or at least, from Tuli, the most sycophantic of them. She turns, and finds herself alone.

Alone, out of place, and bitchy. She stomps off into the crowd to find her mates, or at least some trouble.

*Or, y'know, local equivalent.