Sinking in a Sea of Sands Started Closed

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I am fashionably late. :P

Avo let me

MortifiedPenguin:
I am fashionably late. :P

Avo let me

That is true

Terribly sorry, this took a bit longer than I expected.

The Mayor is a survivalist, the problem being that he's used to surviving situations rather different from his current one.

willofbob:

Snip

That works so your in.
Now we just need the final connection and the last people to add me on Skype.

avouleance2nd:

willofbob:

Snip

That works so your in.
Now we just need the final connection and the last people to add me on Skype.

I've edited my profile to add the connection, and also clarify the profile here there and everywhere.

I shan't be on Skype though, my profile on it isn't anonymous, and you have to use Task Manager to close the darned app.

Coppernerves:

avouleance2nd:

willofbob:

Snip

That works so your in.
Now we just need the final connection and the last people to add me on Skype.

I've edited my profile to add the connection, and also clarify the profile here there and everywhere.

I shan't be on Skype though, my profile on it isn't anonymous, and you have to use Task Manager to close the darned app.

"Partner/ Connection- (This will be worked out later privately between me, you and your partner so other players don't know. If you want a specific partner (and they want you) PM me otherwise I'll assign them (if there's an odd number of players there may be a three involved but no singles))."

From the sheet. I assume this means that the connection is supposed to be a secret from the other players in the game, until they figure it out, or it is revealed. Of course, I might be mistaken, but to be safe I'd remove it, if I was you, and send it as a PM to Avo if you haven't already done so.

Coppernerves:

avouleance2nd:

willofbob:

Snip

That works so your in.
Now we just need the final connection and the last people to add me on Skype.

I've edited my profile to add the connection, and also clarify the profile here there and everywhere.

I shan't be on Skype though, my profile on it isn't anonymous, and you have to use Task Manager to close the darned app.

Yeah DR is right you shouldn't show other people your connection, so I'd remove it. Don't worry I've got them saved somewhere safe but they are supposed to be a secret.

Terratina.:

Snip

Coppernerves:

Snip

IFS:

snip

megadraco:

Snip

DarkRawen:

snip

RandomMan01:

Snip

willofbob:

Snip

Knife-28:

Snip

MortifiedPenguin:

Snip

There's still one Relationship to come in but apart from that we're good to go so I'll be posting the opening soon. To the people who don't have their connection quite ready that it's ok but it'll be good to have it over the next day or so.

Good luck you'll need it.

Abrupt Arrival

The sky is blazing and the ground burns to the touch. Though no sun is visible there is light streaming from every point of the sky, not a wisp of cloud to be seen. For miles in every direction all there is to see are dunes rolling off into apparent infinity.

Well that was a bit of an over simplification, there were bodies, most probably dead and if not dead yet it wouldn't be long. They would have had vultures coming from miles around if vultures were able to survive out here.

They lay sprawled across the ground. It is slightly flatter here than most of the desert. Oblivious to their surroundings.

A wind picks blowing gently across the party laying face (or closest equivalent) down in the sand.

V.A.G.R.A.N.T.'s sensors detected heat.

Extreme heat.

Danger of overheating was imminent. With a whirr the AI quickly levitated out of the sand, orange grain spilled out of the crevices. Still, the difference in temperature was minute. It looked around. There were others... Organics by the look of them, some of them looked inhuman. But samples needed to be taken to confirm that. Endless queries... How did they break into the Virtual Prison? Was this even the Virtual Prison. An unknown facet? According to its memory banks, that place chose to take the form of a giant tree, with the imprisoned taking the form of vaguely human forms imprisoned in caskets hanging like leaves on the branches. No one knew why. 'Emergent programming?' Still, the AI computed that it was in a very different place. Was it a V.E. or reality?

Even carefully calibrated sensors could be tricked.

Still further investigation was needed.

The Assassin stood, brushing the unwelcome sand off his cloak, though he did appreciate the heat. Bodies were scattered around him, some moving, some not, most seemed human. His eyes wandering across the area, to him the desert shone in a stunning array of colors, and he made note of the unique clothes of all the different bodies.

"This raises questions of location, purpose and arrival," he muttered aloud, before answering himself "Warm sands soft and coarse, how colorful and inviting, these others may know more," internally the first voice answered or serve as food.

As he looked about he noticed a strange geometric form lifting itself from the sands, a robot perhaps? He cautiously moved closer, pausing to check that his filter was working properly, it could be bad if these humans realized what he was, his kind were rarely accepted by them.

Speaking to himself he examined the machine's design "Unfamiliar, does not fit known manufacturers, recent development perhaps? Or very old invention," he paused for a moment before continuing "Regular shape, evenly colored, smells of steel and flesh," one last pause, "Cybernetic perhaps? Seems unlikely, must be smell from other bodies."

The sunshine burned on his back, him laying almost completely face-down in the sand. The Spirit woke up, feeling odd. Exhausted, but not the way he usually would. He could hear someone else stand up and speak, so he turned around, only to see the cloudless sky. From the corner of his eye, he spotted several people laying around him, and sat up in order to see who was up. He froze the minute he saw the creature, it seemed to have some kind of static around it, almost some sort of filter, but he could easily see through it.

It was a monster, akin to an evil spirit or a cursed being. Disgust, skepticism, and dislike filled him, albeit he realized that he should not show it. After all, he did not know for what purpose he was there, in what seemed to be an endless desert. Many of them there was humans, he was even in his human form himself. The Spirit had to protect the humans, and for now, all he could do was watch closely.

Apart from that creature there was also something else, some sort of... devise? Technology? But, it seemed to be...

No way. What was it the humans had created now? What kind of cruel--- No. The Spirit shook his head. He had to be mistaken, it had to be the heat getting to him, it had to be. And if anyone had to keep their mind clear, it had to be him.

"People." He said, hoping to wake those still alive up. "Wake up. You can't rest now, we need to get out of here."

V.A.G.R.A.N.T. watched as the strange one studied it. Automatically, as in response to the cloaked being, it projected out a blue beam that from the spherical core. The light soon configured itself into letters and numbers.

SYSTEM SPECIFICATION:

Name: V.A.G.R.A.N.T. Mk. IX

(Virtual Algorithmic Gestalt Replication of Analog Nuance and Talent)

Case: Widmanstätten Mainframe ver. 8.64

CPU Model: Turing Mindbridge Q-1400+

CPU Speed: 14x109 GHz

RAM: 1024x106 GB

HDD 20 EB

GPU: Turing GTX Ti 4800

PURPOSE: To monitor Experiment No.23678

A robotic voice read out the empty names and numbers. All euphemisms for the dreadful truth. The AI was only programmed to tell that lie, though. Virtual things are chained to code, after all.

One of the figures laying in the sand lets out a low groan, and slowly sits up, surveying his surroundings. Patting himself down, Knife, upon realising that he can't feel anything from his right hand, brings the offending limb to his face, and swears loundly at the sight of the metal capped stump just below where his wrist should be.
"Alright, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess none of you blokes know what's going on." Knife says, standing and walking over to the two figures and the floating robot.

Black Box

The first few were waking now; and already reaching out to each other, predictable. But if they were capable of surprising this wouldn't work. Some were yet to stir, even when the wind picked up slightly and slightly more, it was really going now creating a slight current in its wake. If they didn't stir soon, they might never. Not that it's a total loss if they don't get up.

And on the breeze blew in the box, a black cube moving with quite a pace coming into view just over a nearby dune. It skimmed the sand each bound throwing up a golden fountain if it didn't stop now it was on a collision course, each jump slightly more alarming.

And just as quickly as the wind had picked up it died down again, the box somersaulting one last time before coming to rest in the middle of the group.

Now it wasn't moving you could make out its dimensions, at an estimate it was a metre all ways. A cube, sitting statue still in the sand, five faces indistinguishable from each other with no markings.

Dragon groaned and sit up. He shivered for a second, before feeling the heat around him. He stood up with a jump.
"What the hell's going on with the Room?" he wondered. "I've no problem with heat. Nor dead bodies." He looked around and was astonished to see four figures, one of them floating. They never threw more than person into The Room. He wasn't there any more. He put on his hood and walked towards them, shouting,
"Hey, you! Who are you and what am I doing in this desert!" Then he noticed the black box. "And what kind of weapon is that box!"

The AI shut off the projection, it was now taken in by the new arrival - the black box. Such a thing was similar to itself, yet different. V.A.G.R.A.N.T. was unique. So how could there be others? The blue glow changed to a soft amber and the black panels of the octahedron slid slightly open to reveal a mass of arms. It quickly hovered over to the black box and began scanning it with its optical components from all angles. It even wirelessly transmitted a message encoded in binary, though it was a simple one - IDENTIFY. A drill on one of its arms began to spin as the AI eagerly awaited the black box's response, or lack of. It then turned to one of the humans and answered simply with the same projection as before and a statement - "Unknown. More data required."

The Assassin glanced around at all the others arriving, humans for the most part, at least in appearance. Most likely they would perceive him as an old man, given how he appeared a bit hunched over, which the filter would cause their own minds to explain. The black box was strange, and the robot seemed bent on investigating it, while the other cloaked figure thought it a weapon, if it was then it would likely be a bomb of some sort, though he doubted it, there were far more convenient forms for a bomb to be made in.

He then spoke, mostly to himself "Questions, so many of them, no answers," the pause was barely noticeable "Perhaps we should give our names?"

People seemed to be waking up now, humans. They asked questions he did not have the answer to, so he remained silent. The black box seemed odd, he did not know how to identify it. Nor did the strange devise, although it did seem to attempt to help. Did it have a soul? Or was it simply just a device? The monster suggested that they give each other names. Was it talking to itself or to them? the Spirit did not think it was a bad idea, but he did not trust the intentions of this being.

"I do not know why we are here, nor where we are. I do not see what purpose names would bring in a situation like this either. What we need to do is to find out if this thing can help us, or if we should leave it."

He got into the air, flying, trying to see where the box had come from, and what was going on. However, being a bit higher up did not help, sand was still all he could see. He looked towards the sky, trying to see any indication of the sun going done, but did not spot any. It bothered him that he could not do anything, he felt more powerless than ever before. There were still people laying down, barely moving.

"We should not leave anyone behind," he murmured, loud enough for everyone to hear him.

"If we're going to be here for any length of time, I guess we should know who we're sharing this desert with." Knife says, turning to the hunched over bloke in the robes. "You can call me Knife." He says, starting to hold out his right hand, then pulling it back and replacing it with his left. "Damn, that's going to get annoying." He mutters to himself.

The cube was unresponsive; it continued to sit there. There was no visible change to any of the five faces. They were as devoid of features as ever. In fact it was barely there, apart from being able to see it there was no indication of electromagnetic radiation, and no noise coming from it. It was cooler to the touch than the sand but was slowly warming up.

It was ever so slightly buried, the yellow powder already pilling up with barely perceptible pace around the edges.

Another of the sand-covered individuals stirred. The Mayor's hand reached up to shield his face from the sun. Suddenly, he realised something was wrong. Scrambling to his feet, switchblade in hand, the Mayor of a Dead City surveyed his surroundings. More people, dead or unconscious, lying in the middle of a desert. A small group stood some distance away, looking at a black box half-buried in sand.
They hadn't seen him.
First order of business: remove jacket. It was too hot to be wearing one. After a moments reflection, the Mayor elected to tie it too his belt.
After collecting his hat and his club, the Mayor paused. It had just hit him: he was somewhere in a desert with no... he checked his canteen... no water, only the shade provided by his hat, and no idea what was going on.
Escaping wasn't going to get him anywhere.
He would have to confront the box people if he had any chance of getting anywhere.
He sighed.
"Pardon me, gentlemen" he said, "But can any of you tell me where I am at the moment?"
He gripped the metal bar tighter, fully expecting them to turn around and shoot him at any moment.

"Err...ugh"
With a groan, another individual, covered to his ears in sand, stood up. Shaking the sand from his ears, he tried to figure out where he was. It was hot, he had figured that out, scorching hot actually. He really needed a drink.

Wait a minute, drink? He was supposed to be dead, he shouldn't be thirsty. Hero said he would tell him if he sent him back down, and where were the others? They should have gone down with him.

Looking around, he noticed several people, one of them floating, looking at some object on the sand, though the boy couldn't make out what it was. Other than them, here was nothing as far as he could see. Checking his pockets, he found very little in the way of supplies. Hanging on his back was a shocker rifle, the same one he had been holding when he died. It's not like he would use it though, he had seen what they caused, and he wouldn't wish that on anyone. In his pocket was single gold coin. Inspecting both sides of it, he found it to be blank, making it completely worthless in Aditania. Other than the coin and the rifle, he had nothing.

I swear Hero, if this is one of your jokes, I am going to kill you when I get back.

He was in the desert, without food, water or shelter. Looking back at the group, he once again found himself wondering what they were staring at, and if they knew where they were. Pocketing the blank coin, he walked over to them.

"What are you all looking at?" he asked.

"You can call me Knife."

The Assassin nodded, extending his own gloved hand to shake "Knife, useful. To the point," he said, considering what name to give in return.

"Call me hunter," he said, it was in some part a lie, after all he did not tell them what he hunted. Besides assassin was his profession not his name, though few humans could pronounce his birth name and his profession was more meaningful anyways.

"Pardon me, gentlemen" he said, "But can any of you tell me where I am at the moment?"

"What are you all looking at?"

Two new humans approached them, he considered how to respond Both armed, potential threats, or even employers. Old and young, yet more contrast in this colorful place. If his shoulders were structured properly for it he would have shrugged, as it were he pointed a the box in answer to the young one, to the older he thought for a moment then spoke.

"A desert. A most luminous place, sand glittering each grain refracting a different color, spreading the warmth of the..." what would they call it? Does it matter, its hot, call it that. No no, that's not right those are not the right words its... Ah of course "blistering sun."

-- FEEDBACK: NO RESPONSE FROM OBJECT "B-CUBE" --

Not even on thermals. The yellow colour intensified. V.A.G.R.A.N.T. had been given permission to play. It turned back to the cube which had sunk slightly into the sand. The AI realised that time was limited here, which made it even more of game. It liked games. Well, that personality did anyway. Time to change the rules... A series of arms rose out of the shell and lifted the cube up slightly, so that it was out of the sands and in the robot's hands. This could not last for long, however. Even the strong metal arms would give way given the right conditions. Still, it allowed for more time. More time... increased probability of success. First V.A.G.R.A.N.T. decided to make use of the many arms that cradled the cube. Sounds waves were emitted from them, and V.A.G.R.A.N.T. with its auditory sensors for any feedback. As it waited - seconds were like eternity for the AI - it entertained the notion that this place was indeed a V.E. designed to test the tools that its creators had insisted on giving it, but only for a moment.

-- P(V.E) ≈ 14.7%. CONCLUSION: NOT LIKELY --

As the box was picked up by the slightly fancier box V.A.G.R.A.N.T noticed something. The 6th side of the cube, the one no one had bothered to check yet, wasn't the same as the other five. There was a slight grove; enough to get a grip, maybe even pry a little.

The not very round ball was certainly in V.A.G.R.A.N.T's court now. Considering there was probably no way the others could know about the grove right?

Dragon looked at the newcomers, and then with special intent at the Hunter, as he had claimed. He knew what he meant, of course. He was a killer, an assassin. Probably hired. The agent then pondered his chances at complete anonimity. Two people had already revealed names, or at least given a way to call them. The rest would probably follow suit. And he would have no excuses not to do it. So he did what was regular procedure in these situations.
"Call me Dragon." He said. Not like he could've said anything else. Only then did he notice the robot, as it was certainly a robot, when looked at from close by, tampering with the weapon.
"Hey, robot! Let go of that thing, we don't know what could happen if you set it off!"

Even with what he had said, people had started giving their names. Then again, if the humans had actually listened to him, the Spirit would not have needed to use this appearance. He picked up the names, but he was not sure he would ever use them, and certainly not the one of the monster, the one who called itself Hunter or whatever. More humans had woken up.

They seemed to be a decently sized group now, but he still thought it would be a good idea to wait, someone else might still pull through, wake up. Of course, repeating himself should not be necessary. The device from before with the strange name seemed to be checking the box out.

"Hey, robot! Let go of that thing, we don't know what could happen if you set it off!"

One of the humans said. The Spirit spoke to the human, the so-called Dragon. "It might hold some kind of clue. I do not think that it would be likely for there to be a dangerous tool in the middle of a desert." The Spirit then went over to the device. "Are you finding anything?" He asked it, somewhat curious, but also hoping there was something of use in it. "If you are, what?"

The Spirit kept part of his attention on the others still, there was no need for him to socialize, and they might come to some kind of conclusion on their own. Humans had the strangest ideas and solutions sometimes.

"Ah, a Hunter and a poet." Knife says, clapping the Hunter, as he called himself, on the shoulder. "And don't worry mate." He says to the man calling himself Dragon, "If the floating robot wants to poke around with the mystery cube, and like that bloke said," He waves a hand at the Spirit, "It could have some clue to why we're here. I'm sure it know's what it's doing."

"You do know what your doing, right?" He add in a audible whisper to the machine.

"You have no idea what you could find in a desert." Dragon said. How many times had he been sent to a desert in a mission to stop some crazy guy from killing himself with a device that he was sure would grant infinite power? Or stop a laser aimed at the moon? Whatever. Although...
"Although bodies are usually supposed to appear after the device has been triggered, I'll give you that." Somehow, though, he knew they were right. That box could be able to help them. But of course, he couldn't admit he was wrong. He would wait untill he was proved wrong.

"Ah, a Hunter and a poet."

"Only in some small part, my age and deformity has made hunting difficult, so I seek other pastimes," Assassin replied humbly, he had long ago learned that seeming harmless was beneficial in almost any situation.

As for the cube he was content to sit and watch as the robot, VAGRANT, tinkered with it. What a strange name, could it have wandered out here? Perhaps it brought us here... Unlikely, it lacks sufficient arms, several trips would be required.

"You don't know either then?" The Mayor sighed, wandering over to inspect the box.
"How the hell are you lot so damn calm about this anyway? I mean, yeah, thelast decade or so has been pretty odd, but no-one can be this jaded yet!"
He poked the cube with his rod.

It had been marked to be recycled, however, unless it had been placed in a sensory deprived state into a VR simulation that was not the case. Strange, the others were gone. Others were here, talking, but it was still quiet. The unit found it unsettling. It found the feeling of being unsettled unsettling. It became more anxious. The unit rose from the ground, an unfamiliar material falling from it's skin. Searching through it's memory it tried to designate it: sand?

How had it got here?

It didn't like it here.

Its skin crackled under the sun, it was hot, it hurt, it looked for shade - there was none. Where were the cooling units?

"Perhaps we should give our names?"

It turned to the one who had spoke. The human was odd, it felt like it wasn't there.

"This unit does not have a name." It replied.

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