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Opposing Fictions

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A yawn escaped from Vaughn's mouth, the god-made-flesh demon walking amongst bioluminescent fungi that grew along the lower walls of the tunnel he was in. The caps were marked with glowing swirls of violet, greater light cascading down from under the caps and bathing the cavernous floor in soft green light. Each step Vaughn took would produce a small poof of dust, spores dropped by the mushrooms that had settled on the floor. Small stalactites hung from the ceiling, glistening with moisture but producing no droplets. Wiping away a boredom-induced tear, Vaughn plucked a nearby mushroom and examined it closely while still paying attention to where he went. After some inward musing and analyses, he roasted the mushroom thoroughly in his hand and took a small bite. Strangely satisfying.


Pebbles broke away from the path ahead. Vaughn threw aside the mushroom and drew Murasame in an instant and pointed it to where the disturbance came. A petite girl with a distinct hair-do came into the glow, arms raised in peace.


"Hey, hey, easy there," Heather said, though Vaughn kept with his stance. "I'm not going to start any trouble."


"Really, now?" Vaughn remarked, eying the handle of what was most likely a weapon kept at the girl's side. "Hope you don't mind if I find that hard to believe."


"Self-defense, something you're full of," she said with a wry smile. Vaughn rolled his eyes at this, straightening his stand and lowering the Murasame. "See, that wasn't so hard, was it?"


"Don't push it," Vaughn said, though there was something oddly trustworthy about this girl. "I'm Vaughn Tourai. Mind telling me who you are?"


"Heather Fareweather," Heather replied. "Glad we got off to a good start, here. I didn't get the name of the last person I met until after we had a fight."


"That's believable," Vaughn nodded, sheathing Murasame. "Although with the way things can get, we might all have to fight eventually."


"Yeah, I wasn't expecting that when I came here," Heather said. "I was just testing something out that was supposed to take care of boredom and loneliness, and I got sent here. Not exactly what I bargained for, but I can think of worse."


"Testing something?" Vaughn said, raising an eyebrow. "If you used a machine to get here, then that must mean you're a BioSuit."


"Oh, so you know! Did you ever meet Gabriel?"


"If we're thinking of the same guy, then yeah, I've met him before," Vaughn said, then looked upward in thought. "But you being here probably means he won't be making an appearance..."


"Sounds like you know your stuff," Heather said, placing her hands on her hips. "That last guy I met was the same. What made you come here?"


"Not as pleasant a reason as yours," Vaughn said, taking a more serious expression. "I lost track of a dangerous weapon and need to find it. I got drawn into this mess during the search."


"A dangerous weapon? We talking some kind of military grade cannon here?"


"No, this is a sword," Vaughn said, immediately catching and half-expecting Heather's look of mixed surprise and skepticism. "Probably hard to believe where you're from, but the thing was a menace where I'm from. I'll skip the history and just tell you that it's hard to miss, being made of metal, bones, and flesh."


"That's a piece of work," Heather laughed.


"It might sound like a fairytale, but try to take it seriously while here," Vaughn said. "Just imagining what that blade would do in the wrong hands makes my stomach turn."


"Sorry to say this, but I haven't seen anything like that," Heather shrugged. "I haven't been here too long, either, so there are probably lots of things I haven't seen."


"If that's true then you might want to tag along here," Vaughn said. "You seem new to all this, so it's the least I can do."


"Scoping out the competition, huh?" Heather grinned, crossing her arms. "Okay, I'll bite. I'm interested in seeing what you can do, anyway, Mr. Tourai."


"Vaughn, please," Vaughn said, groaning at the thought of being addressed by such a formality.

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The cavernous area stretched onward for a while, oddly calm and eerily quiet. Neither was saying much as Vaughn was lost in his thoughts as usual and Heather really couldn't think of anything to talk about for the moment. The purple-green glow acted similar to a black-light, which made both of their outfits appear really psychedelic. Heather also saw what she thought to be her traveling companion's eyes glowing red, but shrugged it off as being the lighting. But there was one other thing that stuck out, the light made his hair look almost like that of Gabe's (as she couldn't see in this light it was actually pure white).


"You said you know Gabriel, right? What does he see in this place? Why would he want me to come here?" She half blurted half muttered the string of questions. He stopped walking and tilted his head in her general direction. "I really can't say myself what it is he finds here. I think he first came here to escape but got stuck meeting us, that is the first thirteen people in one of these 'competitions'. There were good times and bad, but I think he kept returning mostly because from what I gathered from talking to another like you, we were probably the closest thing to having friends he had." Vaughn noticed she was looking at his hair, "And just in case you're wondering my hair is normally white. The light is making it purple." and before she could even ask, "… and no you're not seeing things, my eyes do glow."


She pondered his words as they resumed walking, "Wait, another like me? What did he mean by that? I thought Gabe was the only one of us to come to this 'universe'." Her thoughts were broken by small rumblings. "Huh? What was that just now?"


Vaughn's eyes were focused on something just out of view. It felt familiar but he couldn't see or sense what it was. "I'll have to tell you more later..." beginning to remember things his ancestor has seen of her world, "…but I think we've got company."


The rumblings grew louder and more rhythmic, like heavy...footsteps? Both tried to see in the darkness ahead what was causing them, but could only Vaughn could vaguely see the faint glow of purple things bobbing up and down.


"Whatever the hell it is, it sounds huge as hell." Heather mused readying herself for a fight as she took note of her fellow traveler beginning to draw the massive sword from it's sling across his back.


The foots steps grew louder and now had a slight metallic ting to them. Vaughn still strained to see what it was coming toward them, but the weird lighting conditions were playing havoc on his sight. "Get ready." he whispered to the girl as his hand tightened it's grip on the large sword's handle.


Just as about they were about to get ready for battle a weird noise came from the direction of the footsteps. Vaughn's ears managed to just barely pick out what it was. A voice moaning, "Sooooo boooooooored." His head dipped as his hand fell to his side. Heather dropped her defensive posture when she saw the demon's reaction.


"It figures. HE would be here as well in some form or another. Now I wonder who else got dragged in this damn thing this time?" Vaughn muttered as the outline of a large, bulky, someone began to take shape. Heather was confused at this point as to what was going on. People don't normally go from being ready to attack to then being in a totally calm almost unconcerned state.


"Sasuke..." Vaughn grumbled. "It's about damn time you stopped sending lackeys to these things."

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"And it's about damn time I finally ran into someone!" Sasuke griped, throwing his hands into the air. "And what do you mean 'lackeys'? Fulfang and Gor- er, I mean Pokekid and Pokemyth were the only ones I sent out in my stead! I suppose I could bore you with all the details involving other dimensions and the consequences of retconning, but I'm sure you've already heard enough nonsense along those lines."


He went quiet for a second, looking over at Heather.


"Who's your lady friend, Outerverse? She could be a BioSuit from the looks of it."


"It's Vaughn, I stopped using that alias a while ago," Vaughn said.


"Ah, right, sorry," Sasuke nodded. "Guess I've been looking at the old chronicles too much, huh? Now about my question..."


"It would be better if she introduced herself," Vaughn said, stepping aside for Heather.


"Heather Fareweather," she said, unable to keep herself from looking curiously at Sasuke.


"Nice ring to that," Sasuke said. "You can call me Sasuke."


"Um," Heather hesitated, unable to come up with an adequate way to phrase what she wanted to ask. "Are you one of those costume guys? The ones that go to those big conventions and all?"


"This is no costume," Sasuke said, fists on his hips. "I'm a robot, see?"


"Uhhuh," Heather said, giving a skeptical nod. "Sure you're just not some costume-obsessed weirdo?"


"I'm certainly not costume-obsessed. Not now, anyway."


"Well, Vaughn knows you," Heather said, glancing over at the demon, "and he's a nice guy, so I guess you might be nice, too, even if you are a weirdo."


Sasuke chuckled, rubbing the back of his head as if he had been given a compliment. Heather took a step closer to him.


"You think I could be a BioSuit?" she said. "What makes you say that?"


"You just have a very BioSuity air about you," Sasuke shrugged. "Plus, phrasing it that way means you know of them, so you're either one or a person who hails from that version of Earth. Am I right?"


"The version stuff is a little creepy, but yeah, you'd be right, I am a BioSuit," she smiled, although the rest of her face still carried some skepticism. "If you ARE a robot, you're one of the strangest I've ever seen."


"We don't all move like that dance and go 'beep bop boop'," Sasuke said, imitating said dance as he spoke. "Anyway, why you here, Heather? I have to ask you that, too, Vaughn."


Heather spoke of the dive machine she spent two years building, a device Sasuke was quick to recognize. Vaughn relayed the same shortened version of his dilemma that he had previously told Heather. Sasuke gave nods when appropriate along the way, arms crossed.


"Serious stuff, I see," Sasuke said. "That's a shame. You both don't need to know what I was about to do, but before I got the chance to do it I found myself here. It's been a long while since I took part in competitive battling, so I was intent on going crazy. Still am, though I kind of mellowed out when no one was showing up."


"What do you plan on doing now?" Vaughn asked.


"You know what usually happens when groups get too big," Sasuke laughed.


"What happens?" Heather said.


"Oh, you'll find out!" Sasuke said, leaning towards her and giving a wink she found to be very disconcerting. "So yeah, chances are I'll catch you two later, probably when you are lying prone and least expecting someone brandishing a muffin to jump you from above. Try to have fun, though, all right? Too much serious business will give you wrinkles, which are bad since wrinkles can catch crumbs and become the nests of bugs. Smiles, okay? I'll make brownies when this is all over."


Having gotten that veritable wall of text out of the way, Sasuke walked past Vaughn and Heather and casually strolled down the path they came until he disappeared. Heather turned to Vaughn, her face indicating how confused and disturbed the encounter left her.


"And you know that guy?"


"Hell, I thought I did," Vaughn said, unable to contain a smirk.

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"Sooo..." Heather said, now herself being bored with the seemingly endless walking around in the 'underground' tunnels. "Sooo? So what?" "So who was that...guy?" Vaughn explained, "As far as I could tell it was Sasuke, a guy I first met at the first one of these things." Heather was now more confused than before, "What do you mean 'As far as you can tell'?"


Vaughn contemplated explaining what he knew of things but the humid eerily lit tunnel they were now in was really bugging him. "I'll tell you what. Let's get out of these tunnels first and I'll explain all that I can." This disappointed the Bio-Suit as she was hoping to glean more information as to why Gabriel would tell her to come to this place. "For now, just know that your universe is not the only one out there. You may have come to this place through a machine, but everything here is very real." "But that still doesn't explain that Sasuke robot person and why you said you 'thought' you knew him." Vaughn sighed, as he wasn't really sure about why these BOTPs seem that when the same people are involved that they're always somewhat different than before. "Ure va I'aj z'aber." <Hell if I know anymore.> he spoke in the ancient tongue of his ancestor. Of course Heather heard him say it, "What was that you said?" "Nothing of importance. Let's get out of here before something bad happens."


Naturally, when someone says something like "I hope nothing bad happens." that automatically causes the very opposite effect. Something big now was making it's was down the tunnel... Bigger than Sasuke and not metallic. Vaughn turned to face the sound, "D'jat!" <Shit!> "That I could almost recognize. What's uu...Oh shit." Heather replied as she also now looked back the way they had just came.


Slimy tendrils clung to each surface of the tunnel, all radiating from a big phosphorescent blob with a very large and very angry eye. "What the hell's that?!" "Well it's not a fleet of flying saucers." Vaughn replied semi-quoting from a book given to him long ago by another participant, which he lost after chucking it into a river. "Ford Prefect, you're not." she quipped taking a step backwards, bumping into a seemingly solid and perfectly the same as everything around them wall now immediately blocking the path they were just going down. "We're in trouble, Vaughn. The path forward is gone." Vaughn drew Kurohiarashi, licks of flame trailing in the air as he brought it ready in front of him. Heather followed suit drawing her BLOCKsabre, "I don't know what this thing is, but it's ugly as fuck and it's also now in our way."

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Victorious in their battle with the monster... "Wait, what?" …Vaughn and Heather... "No seriously. WHAT?" ...search for a way... "Do you know what's going on?" "Not a clue." ...out of the twisting tunnels.


"WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!" "Roll with it. It got us out of a mess conveniently without actually having to do anything." "But still!" "It happens all the time in these things. Now, just ignore it and we won't have to actually do the fight." "Eh, okay."


At any rate, they now had the means to unlock paths leading both up and down after Heather retrieved a key from the monster's slimy acidic corpse. "Ew. I'm glad we didn't have to fight that thing." "Told you." "Uhhhh..." "That... didn't sound good." "Do you have the key?" Vaughn's expression grew grave, "No. Oh sh..."


Vaughn and Heather find themselves unceremoniously dumped several hours... "HOURS?!" ...back to the beginning of the tentacle monster fight. "...it. Damnit, Heather." "Sorry. But at least we now get to beat the shit out of this thing!"


The monster suddenly grabs Vaughn and slams him against the wall. "Just don't forget that key this time!" "Ew. Why me? You get it!" "Because YOU were the one who was supposed to pick it up. Also, if YOU don't we'll end up back here again!"


So yes. We are in full adventure game mode here folks, you might get the chance to skip a bunch of stuff but then you could always find yourself having to redo the same bit of plot over and over again.


You are standing in front of a large tentacle monster. Vaughn is being slammed against the wall by two of it's tendrils. Exits are...NONE! >

attack monster

You flail wildly at the monster with your fists. It is mildly amused and now your hands stink. +1 point.

Vaughn is sighing.

attack monster with blocksabre

You take a mighty swing and slice neatly through a tendril. But it grows back quickly. +5 points.

Vaughn is telling you something. "Okay, you have to do things in a specific order and be very damn specific about them. I would advise getting ME free first."

The monster slams Vaughn in to the wall. Vaughn is mildly aggravated.

Attack tendril holding Vaughn

You take a slash once again cutting neatly through the tentacle. Vaughn is freed. +9999999999999999~~!12121wsdwqw. ?SYNTAX ERROR ON LINE 3000000


"I hate this crap and I stink of monster goo. Great. It's going to take hours of scrubbing to get this slime out of my hair." "Such a primadonna." "Whatever...seriously fuck this thing. Keep it busy for a moment. It's pissed me off and I feel the sudden urge to totally annihilate it."


Heather complied and kept the monster distracted. "Which was easy as it really didn't seem to attack me all that much." But at any rate, after a minute or so Vaughn's chat was complete. A large glowing circle of symbols and ancient characters a little larger than his height had formed in front of him, and in front of that a smaller second circle almost identical to it. He looked over at Heather, eyes glowing bright red and intense look on his face, "I suggest you get behind me." Right away she knew he wasn't fucking around and got behind him. "You're one ugly motherfucker and now you DIE. TENAQ SYN'ORNZ! <Grand Flame Cannon> Now, burn in hell." The smaller circle beat shot out a beam of flames, piercing the monster right in it's hideous eye. A moment later the larger circle fired a tremendous beam even larger than the diameter of the circle, vaporizing everything including the pseudo-stony walls in it path.


"Well, that was a bit overboard. Feel better?" "Much. Now we can get out of here FOR REAL now." As they walked down the freshly bored and already cooled tunnel made by the blast, they found themselves at a new location more bright and colorful but seemingly sterile. Heather noticed an very well done pond in the center of the large room. "Now that's something I could enjoy. The work of everything is so well done, but it's still obviously artificial." "Still, whoever made this obviously had taste. Let's take a break here and continue on later."

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