Previously on Hijack:
Catch up here: http://anonpone.pineapplecomputing.com/hijack/
Current Character + Movelist: http://pastebin.com/tHAxiBgZ
Current Inventory: http://pastebin.com/V4h6Wxz7
Current Character's Combo List: http://pastebin.com/Ua26s9is
Are you ready? Fantastic. Let's begin.
>You give the area a cursory scan.
>Compared to the intense damage found on the interior of the administration building you had recently blown the doors to...
>...Honestly, everything here seems fairly normal.
>Just like another sunny day in the complex.
>Well, that is, except for the occasional puddle of transluscent goop.
>Ahead of where you are standing, you see a row of small housing structures.
>Each looks to be the right size for a squad of four ponies to shack up in.
>Out of the corner of your eye, a door slams shut.
>Probably not the wind, honestly.
>To you left is the field, where recruits are perform drills.
>From here, you can't make anything out aside from the occasional jungle gym or slide.
>It also seems like there are more goo puddles around the area.
>And to your right seems to be a direct path around this area of the complex.
>Keys speaks up when she notices you looking at the path.
>"Oh! That's the track. We usually have the recruits go for a jog every morning if they are feeling up to it! It's practically a straight shot to the armory if we follow it!"
>What's the plan?
"I think we need some time to cool off. Let's head to the field. Maybe go on the slide a bit?"
>Keys looks surprised for a moment, but then nods gleefully.
>You;re not quite sure how, but you can see a sort of smile on her face.
>Then again, it could be the fact she has no lips anymore.
>The empty play area echoes with the gleeful giggles of two mares.
>As you walk around the field and jungle gym, you notice that some of the playground facilities have an odd goop all over them.
>You put your hoof to a puddle of said goop and note the texture.
>Not only is is clear, unlike the rust smelling slime from the monster back in the Admin building, but it is much more viscous.
>You swear you can hear a squeal every time you touch a puddle.
>You splash some of it around and giggle to yourself.
>The quiet squeals continue.
>Satisfied, you make your way back to the edge of the jungle gym.
>What's the plan?
>You decide to stop messing with the goo for now and get back on track
>Feeling the spirit, you break into a decent trot, and Keys follows suit.
>She strikes up idle conversation as she rattles along the track
>"So... I know it's a bit late, but what's your name?"
>Oh, right. You;'d been giving her the 'treatment' this whole time.
>You look back into her eye-scokets and simply say,
"It's not important."
somehowand instead of letting the issue drop like she's supposed to, insteads presses furhter
>"What's that supposed to mean?"
>You lock eye again and-
>You stop speaking mid sentence.
>How did you not realize this earlier?
>She doesn't have eyes.
>She doesn't have a heartbeat
>But that means...
>Your world suddenly feels a lot less under control, and you begin to sweat.
>Worse still, something shifted in the puddles around you...
>You can feel another, smaller presence far behind you as well.
>They' reeverywhere, you can't even-
>Keys snaps you out of your panic
>You're breathing heavily.
"I-I'm. Night Terror."
>She winces at the name.
>She probably thinks you're some kind of monster
>Maybe a criminal
>You need to fix this
"But everypony calls me Tara! I swear!"
>She cocks an eyebrow at that statement, following it up with a drawn out and unsure "Ooookay."
>She's not buying it.
">A-Anyway, it's nice to meet you, Miss Tara."
>An awkward silence fills the air.
>Once again, you hear a squelching and a quealing from the puddles.
>You catch Keys looking intently at the puddles as you trot past them.
>What's the plan?
Try to stay cool. She's a steel fangirl so if you find him you can manipulate her through him. She still needs you so you should be fine until you get to someone manageable.
Continue to the armoury.
>You decide to seize control any way you can
"You're a skeleton."
>You both stop trotting and just stand and stare at each other for a while.
>"I don't get it."
"You're a SKELETON! Bones! Rattling! Spooky! Bleh! Ring a bell?"
>She smirks and then says with ain air of realization
>"Oh yeah! It IS around Nightmare Night, isn't it? Spooky stuff."
>"Hm? Oh, no, I'm aware."
>"I'm an Intelligence Agent! I'm not that dense, you know!"
"How are you so calm about this?"
>"Well to be honest, it's not so bad."
>She clicks her hooves together
>"It's nice being a skeleton. You should try it!"
>You shake off the thought of screaming for your life one moment, then joining the ranks of the undead in the next.
"I'd rather not."
>"You;re already halfway there, though."
"What do you mean?"
there's already a skeleton inside of you"
>You start screaming, much to Key's delight.
>Your bout of terror over, the two of you decide to reasses the situation.
>From your current position, you can see the entrance to the armory building,
>Characterized by the very large and imposing sign stating 'ARMORY'
>You suppose the Guard were never known for subtlety.
>You can also see that the barracks are much closer now, making them an equally viable target for exploration.
>To you left is the field, where recruits are perform drills.
Hold on. There's a typo here.
Is that just where they perform drills, or are there recruits performing drills there right now? Cause I want to check them out in that case.
>The field is empty at the moment.
>Seems the Guards are missing...
>"I hope they're alright..."
>You make a noncommittal grunt in response.
>You make a move towards the barracks.
>"Eh- Hey! Tara! Wait!"
>You don't even pay attention to Keys.
>What's the point? You can't even contorl her anymore.
>Best to not bother.
>Regardless she follows you, galloping to close the distance quickly
>"Is this about the skeleton thing? You got a bone to pick with me?"
>She sniggers in response.
"I'm not even going to grace that with a response."
>She flashes a toothy grin at you
>It's not like she can do anything but.
>"I'm guessing you want to get something from teh barracks? Mind telling me what?"
>You avoid her gaze and keep your expression as flat as possible
>You quickly make up a story to sate her curiosity.
"I'm just looking for survivors, or even something that might tell us what happened."
>"Survivors? Geeze, lets not go THAT far."
>Keys makes a worried whine
>"M-maybe everypony just booked it? Yeah! Totally."
>You creep into the alley between each barrack.
>Seems each one is labelled one throgh eight.
>Looks like only barracks 1, 4, and 7 are open.
>As far as you can tell, the others have busted hinges or are outright empty.
>Just as you step towards the barracks with functioning doors, something zips past your field of view
>As you turn to look at the ffending object or creature, another shadow darts out of view.
>What's the plan?
>You're getting a little sick of this song and dance.
>Everywhere you go, the place is empty.
>The difference this time though...
>You can hear them.
>Tens of heartbeats and panicked whimpers beyond the locked and barred doors.
"Keys. Tell 'em to come out."
"I'm sick of this. You guys are Guards. Get a backbone."
>She smiles at you
>You stare at her
>Her smile grows bigger still
>You stare at her blankly
>She raises her eyebrows rapidly in unison.
>Oh horseapples, you said a bone thing.
>Keys cackles widly before clearing her throat.
>She opens her mouth and...
>Instead of barking orders she leans over towards you and whispers nervously
>"I-I uh... Never rallied the troops before. I'm just a Corporal. I deal with a few squads at a time, not a whole platoon!"
>Is this mare serious?
"HEY. EVERYPONY. GET YOUR FLANKS OUTTA HERE BEFORE I START TEARING THROUGH ALL THESE BARRACKS ONE BY ONE"
>Their heartbeats raise, but you only hear the barricading of doors.
>Keys, with newfound resolve, plants her bony hooves into the ground and finally speaks up.
>"H-Hey! Attention, soldiers! Form up, on me! On the double!"
>She coughs a little, not used to having to alter her voice into the gruff tone befitting of a CO.
>"W-Whoever doesn't get out here i-is uh... NOT getting a nap!"
>You hear some panicked whines emanate all around you
>...As well as the shifting of heavy objects and ponies.
>...Unfortunately, you hear a mare's voice scream "SKELEPONY!"
>Followed immediately by a door slamming shut.
>Seems like you need them to calm down if you want the recruits to open up.
>What's the plan?
>You have a seat and think about your situation.
>On the one hoof, you practically have free reign of the base if the recruits are locked up in their own barracks out of fear
>On the other hoof, the fact these ponies have been safe despite having a flimsy door being their only defense against the spooks is a might bit troubling.
>You contemplate breaking into one of the barracks and force-feeding them cuddles with Keys.
>It might work
>Or it might reduce them to quivering fear-puddles.
>Singing a song might work.
>Most ponies are very suspectible to the effects of a good song
>But you need to figure out what song to sing, or even hum to get them to get a move on.
>Still, you could always just leave them to their fate, whatever that may be.
>Either way, the question remains the same:
>What's the plan?
How about a bit of uplifting statistics? "My fellow ponies, swivel me your ears! Did you know that more ponies have been killed by floods, war, earthquakes and tornados- Combined!- Than by any one spook? It's true! So what are you worried about? There's nothing to fear but death itself! C'mon outta there!"
Got hung up with some stuff. expect a faster response this time.
>Guess its time to warm up
>You produce a microphone from your bandana
>It's been a while since you sang for a crowd
>Might be nice to do it without a mogul giving you the business after the show
>You start out with sometihing familiar, to reel them in
>The Equestrian anthem is a good start
>Keys cocks her head to the side as you complete the first stanza, but she soon understands the idea
>You can sense that the ponies inside are bolstered by your words
>Good thing you didn't fall out of the groove.
>Up next, you sing a more familiar song to the lounge goers
>One about keeping your head high when times are bad
>It was always a hit in Manehattan.
>By the time you finish, you hear a few doors unlock and ponies peering out at you and Keys
>...They might be peering for a different reason
>You kinda went overboard with the last one.
>You look over at keys
>Seems she's very much not used to the spotlight being on her.
>Still, now that the barracks are opened up, you look around at each one.
>Barrack number 1 has one pony in it. She seems to be avoiding your gaze.
>Barrack number 4 has three ponies in it. Seems they all travel in a group. Might be good friends.
>Barrack number 7 has two ponies in it. They are sticking to the windows.
>What's the plan?
Recruit as many as will join! Also, find that locker the key goes to and investigate. I'm sure Keys in her newly skeletal state won't protest too vigorously, after all, we're in extenuating circumstances. Also quiz the ponies to see if any of them know how the weird puddles are formed and what all is lurking that they've seen.
>According to the key's notation, it seems the first number corresponds to the barracks number while the second two didgits are the locker number.
>Barracks 1, Locker 02
>You decide to pursue the locker frist.
>Incidentally, that includes talking to the shy pony.
>You walk up the steps to the first barrack and knock on the door.
>Keys, being ever observant, stays back
>After some fiddling, the door opens slowly, and you see a mare open the door.
"What's up? You don't look like a Guardpony. I'm Tara."
>She looks you up and down and cautiously.
>"!-I'm Doctor Minet."
>What's the plan?
"Hi, Doctor. We're trying to quell the supernatural activity around the base, as odd as it looks with a skeleton-pony accompanying me. She's the same pony she was when she was alive, just... Lighter. I also need some supplies from one of the lockers in here, I've got the key. May I step inside for a minute?"
"Thanks Doc. You mind if we come in?"
>"We? Who's we?"
"Me and that skeleton over there."
>You motion towards Keys, who waves back at you
>You fight to keep the door open with your hoof as Minet tries to slam the door shut
>"Wh-Why won't it budge?!"
"Because you need to CALM. DOWN."
>"But that skelepony is-"
"Corporal Keys. Just accept it."
>You lock eyes with her
>Almost immediately, she falls under your control.
>...Hm. She's kind of weak willed, isn;t she."
"Alright. Calm down, and let us in. We have business in here."
>You and Keys walk into the barracks and close the door behind you.
>Oddly enough, it seems the good Doctor has set up shop in here.
>The beds are all leaning against the close wall
>And, stretched out on a desk appears to be a pony
>...With several slices of bread sticking out of its mouth.
>You small-talk the good doctor.
"You get out much?"
>"Wh-What do you mean?"
"You get any action? Any
thick stallion dickrecently?"
>She sighs dejectedly, "No I- Hey! That's personal!
"I'm just messing with you."
>Her heartbeat is off the charts.
>Probably pumping blood to her bits.
>On the left, you see that the lockers are all lined up.
>As you eye your potential prize, you notice Rem standing over the gorged pony giving them an examination.
>So, what's the plan?
"I need to check this locker for supplies. I have the key. Got it from you, Keys. Say, what's wrong with the bread-pony there? Did he have a serious hunger attack? Or did something stuff him full of bread like that?"
"Right, I need to access a locker. You have a look at my good friend KEys over here. I'm sure a doctor would like to look at the undead."
>"Doctor? I'm a Psychologist, not a Physician. I mean I have some medical knowledge, but..."
"Did you play with whole wheat's dick over there?"
>"WHAT?! N-No! I mean I tou- Hey! Stop saying things like that!"
>You laugh with supreme satisfaction as you move towards the locker
>Despite her insistence on not being a medical doctor, Minet still has a look at Keys
>You hear a hollow "thunk" and a small whisper of 'boop' from Minet.
>Within the locker, you find a few choice files.
>Looks like this locker holds a bunch of files and dossiers.
>A few stand out, for obvious reasons.
"Hey, Doc, what's up with that pony anyway?"
>"Well, as I said before, I'm a psychologist. I deal with ponies who are suffering from mental issues. "
"And his is overeating or something?"
>"Er... No... He has a different problem."
>She bites her lip and swallows hard.
>"He thinks... He is a toaster."
>"I was called here to try and discern if his duties caused a mental breakdown of sorts."
>"Little did I know, when they walked me into the R & D wing, that I would find a pony trying to toast bread and plug himself into the wall."
"How long has he been doing this?"
>"For the past two days. I was called here immediately, and I was excited at first, but..."
>She looks at you with desperate eyes
>"I don't know how to deal with somepony like this!"
"You're a shrink! You are supposed to deal with ponies that think they are Luna!"
>"Yes! But this one thinks he is a kitchen appliance!"
>What's the plan?
Just make sure he doesn't eat enough bread to pop. Also we have a file? Who wrote it?
Take the interesting files for later perusal. Toast pony can either make a miraculous recovery- Or maybe be used as bait in monster-traps. I think we've got what we need here, let's collect our new friends (With or without Toasty) and head to the next barracks.
"Well... Is he good at it?"
>Minet simply scowls at you instensely
>You reconsider the possibilities.
"Maybe he is suffering from something else. Something not related to stress?"
>"Something eating his mind, like a parasite."
>"I'm not an idiot. I know my way around how ponies think. This one isn't thinking. Something has takens his mind and replaced it with... THIS"
>She rips another piece of bread from his mouth.
>She growls and throws it to the opposing wall.
>Through gritted teeth, she snarls out
>"It's disgusting! It's appaling! It's..."
>Her expression softens, her anger turning to shame
>"It's... Really cool."
"Uh huh. You want to come with us?"
>Minet doesn't look at you at all.
>In fact, she actively avoids your gaze.
>"I can't. I have a duty to perform here."
>She wryly laughs
>"Besides, I'm no adventurer. I'm young, but I'm not strong, at all. Just a doctor."
>You snatch the files up and stow them in your bandana for later access.
>Something that particularly interests you is the fact there is a file for you in there.
>Wonder who wrote it.
>You look back at the bread pony and see that Keys is looking him over as well.
>Namely poking and prodding his belly.
>You're about to tell her to stop, but Minet slaps her bony hoof and scrunches her face.
If he's the only one with symptoms like this then he's likely the only one exposed to the cause of this. They should check his home for anything toaster related. Carefully, of course.
"Well, if you ever find out what were-toaster bit him, give me a holler"
>"Were-toaster? What? Why, even?"
"I deal in the strange and magical. Might be right up my alley, doctor."
>You exit the barracks with Keys in tow.
>Where will you head next?
>Elsewhere (List in thread)
“How long have you even been doing this collecting business, anyway?”
>She pauses at this comment.
>She must be seriously thinking it over.
>”I… I started very recently, actually.”
>Her normal, lusty expression changes into one of wistful nostalgia. Even her voice changes slightly as well.
>”When Housie picked me up, I was in… a bit of a bad spot. Not a lot of ponies think bats are good news. Nightmare Moon shenanigans and all. Not bad blood, just… not trustworthy.”
>Her eyes lock with the floor
“What do you mean?”
>”Well… I was certainly an untrustworthy bat. I have a very special skill, one I’m sure you remember. I was also being chased by… some unfavorable parties at the time.”
“And I assume this Rough House gave you quarter?”
>You walk up the short stairs to the door and knock on it.
>From wihtin, you hear two stallions standing by the door.
>Seems like they might be arguing...
>You listen more intently...
>"What I'm getting at is she's wearing the armor, she's got the hair, it's gotta be her!"
>>"But Miss Keys is cuddly and cute, not spooky!"
>"CORPORAL Keys is USUALLY cuddly, but this time, she's changed! We need to talk to her!"
>>"Can't we just-"
>"No! I'm opening the door!"
>>"F-Fine! But don't come c-crying to me if you get skeleton'd!"
>"What does that even mean?"
>The door opens slowly, and two sets of eyes peer out.
>Looks like two stallions, one earth, one unicorn.
>What's the plan?
"Hey, Keys, come talk to the rtroops again."
>"Are you sure? They really don't look like they want to see me right now..."
>The bony pony looks dumpy wumpy~
>You look back into the doorway and lock eyes withthe unicorn.
>The earth pony seems to be hiding from you and Keys.
"...Care to let us in, love?"
>You get a clean lock on this poor stallion right off the bat
>Unlike his commanding officer, he's got no control of his emotions
>When you whisper lewdly to him, he melts right into your hooves.
"Surely you wouldn't let two mares catch cold, would you?"
>His eyes glaze over, and he slowly opens the door further for you and Keys.
>You motion for the skelepony to take her first steps in.
>...Unfortunately, it seems the earth pony is still by the door
>You hear a girlish wail, followed by a hasty slam of the door.
>From within, you hear more horrified screams.
"Geeze, why are they-"
>When you see Key's body, you suddenly understand why they might be screaming.
>Her headless body does a little anxious dance on the tips of her hooves
>From inside the barracks, you can make ouy various voices shouting and crying over each other.
>What's the plan?
>You pause a moment to appreciate the sight before you.
>That distinct slam, followed by a cry of pain from Skelekeys means its time to go.
>You grab Key's body by the hoof and lead it through the door.
>Upon opening it, you encounter a scene that you honestly aren't quite prepared for.
>The earth pony appears to be holding the unicorn like a bat, panting heavily.
>Across the room you see that Key's skull lay still and groaning,
>There also appears to be a third cowering pony
>A pegasus, no less.
>Still, you have a job to do.
"You all done?"
>You look at the stallion wielding the unicorn.
"'Cause you just MURDERED Keys, methinks."
>The stallion drops the unicorn, letting him clatter to the floor
>Through his labored breaths, he ekes out a simple "It's not murder... If it's already dead."
>You walk over to Keys and pick her up.
>You tap her temple a bit, and her bony eyes light up.
>Keys laughs weakly as she gets her bearings
>"Urgh... On the plus side, the recruits passed the combat test."
>You place her skull back upon her body.
>A bit wobbly, but she'll survive.
>Before the stallion can strike her again with the unicorn, you stap in front of him and lock eyes
"Save it for the bedroom, honey~"
>He starts to fall under your spell immediately as well.
"I like it rough, but I don't think she's enough of a mare to handle you~"
>You draw a hoof up his chest tuft and boop his nose.
>He lowers the weaponized pony and begins to calm down.
>What should we ask?
"Alright, first, has anypony seen Steelie?"
>The unicorn, just regaining his composure, sits up and weakly replies
>"Steel Charge? Last I heard he was coming back from a mission. Other than that, I've got nothing."
>The earth stallion shakes his head, and the Pegasus mare just shivers
>Keys rattles over to your side, and taps your shoulder
>"Oh, Miss Tara, I should tell you: These are the new squaddies I was assigned to manage. I'll tell you their callsigns, to make things easier, of course."
>You learn that the Earth pony is Packer, the pegasus is Wisp, and the makeshift pony club is Rocket
"Interesting names. Especially Packer."
>"Better than Boo-Boo" you catch him whispering.
Such a cute name~
"Still, I gotta say, good on you Boo-Boo"
>The earth stallion blushes at the name, and the unicorn snickers at your comment.
"Didn't expect you to be a master of 'Hitting stuff with ponies.'"
>You brush his chin with your tail
"I enjoy anypony capable of delivering a good pounding."
>You enjoy the exquisite sound of a stallion's conflicted heart
>An unparalleled rush, really.
"Fun aside, I want to know what scared the wits out of you all"
>You figure its probably a spider of some kind, or worse still
a bedsheet ghost
>"W-We're hiding from the plant monster outside!"
"What, you mean like an Alraune?"
>The earth stallion grabs your withers and drags you to the window
>"No! That... THING!"
>He and the pegasus squeal in fear as a small object scampers across the good filled alley.
>Is this a cruel joke?
Did it sing a spooky song or something?
"How much are you guys paid?"
>"Well, we're volunteers first and foremost so-"
"Uhg, forget it."
"What I don't get is the fact you ponies are scared witless of a silly pumpkin"
>You watch it scamper around outside, skipping in puddles and such.
>"No, the problem isn't just the plant monster!"
>"It's the- wait, what?"
"Dog-Pumpkin. It kinda acts like a dog!"
>Everypony looks out the window at the dog squash
>The earth pony giggles a bit at the idea
>"Yeah, I guess it kinda does, huh!"
>"Hey, it's got something in it's mouth" Keys adds
"Is that a card?"
>What happens next is somewhat spooky in its own right
>A tendril of goop whips out and grabs the pupkin, pulling it into the puddle
>A single bubble plops to the surface as the puddle settles once again
>What's the plan?
Hoo boy. Instinct says that's probably the smudged keycard. But now it's in some aquatic underworld with tentacles. Maybe our bat-pony PC likes that sort of thing though? I vote to investigate puddle. And bring Keys, nothing worse can (probably) happen to her anyhow.
>Oddly enough, you see the pumpkin spring out of the puddle, looking just as eager to run as ever
>It takes off to another puddle and jumps in, almost gleefully
>You swear you could hear it making excited noises as it did so.
>Out of the corner of your eye, you spot a tentacle wiggling a keycard, like the one from before
>Sure enough, the pumpkin creature leaps out of a nearby puddle and springs for the card.
>This repeats a few tiems before a familiar quiet settles in,
>You spring out the door, much to the surprise of your comrade, and try to leap into the puddle after the pupkin
>It seemed like a good idea.
>As you lay facedown in the puddle, you hear the clop of bony hooves approach you.
>You pull your face out of the goop and note the taste.
>"What did you think you could do if you jumped in after it, anyway?"
"I dunno, maybe make progress? That thing looked like it had a trinket on it."
>"The card, right?"
>You rub your smushed muzzle and tink of your next move.
>She's a skelepony
>Not much can hurt her now.
"Hey, Keys. Come here."
>You grab her hoof and press it against the goo pile.
>Sure enough, it sinks into the goop, making far more progress than yourself.
>"U-Uh Tara, I don't think-"
>You stare at her eyesockets and concentrate
>You don't blink.
>You don't breathe.
>You just stare.
>"Tara, what are you doing?"
"I'm having an idea."
>"I don't know if I should jump in there..."
>You've got a few choices here
>You could dump Keys into the puddle and have her fish out the pumpkin thing herself
>Or you could try to lure the pumpkin or tentacle to emerge and take that card back.
>Then again, you aren't limited to those options just yet.
>What's the plan?
Dip her in up to the eye-sockets so she an see what's going on in there. Try to get snagged by a tentacle or nab the card FROM the tentacle if it's still holding it, next time it emerges.
>"Tara, I'm not sure about this..."
>Keys wriggles uneasily
>You shush her and rub her back reassuringly.
"Keys, do you trust me?"
>You put a hoof to her mouth
"Keys, Keys, Keys. Please."
>You look at her empty eye sockets with utmost sincerity
"I would NEVER, EVER, bring harm to any of my friends."
>"Awww. Tara, that's so sweet! I thought you might tell me to jump in or something."
"And risk losing you? As if! That would be seriously cruel and unusual."
>Keys sighs and relaxes a little.
>You put your hoof between her shoulder blades
>As you give her a reassuring rub, you request a small favor
"Hey, what's that in the puddle, anyway?"
>"What's what? I don't see anything?"
"Look closer, its right there!"
>She leans in close to the puddle
>You push down on her back with an unexpected amount of force
>You hear a brief "EEP." followed by a satisfying plunk into the puddle.
>You hear her gurgle out, "You're mean, Tara."
"I've always been a bad mare~"
>She tries to kick her way up and out of the puddle
>Sadly, all she can do is ineffectually kick her bony hoovesies.
>Once she stops struggling, you look down at her and ask,
>A tiny "Yeah" escapes the puddle.
>After some time, you hear Keys gasp
>"I see the pumpkin! And... A pony?"
"Think you can grab 'em?"
>"I... I don't think so. I don't have enough reach!"
>What's the plan?
"Oh gee. I wonder what you will do. If ONLY you had some means to manipulate objects from a distance with your mind."
>Anymore deadpan, and you might have to call it a deadpot.
>"Very funny. I'm not so good with magic. Telekinesis gets weaker over distance, and I'd say those two are puh-ritty far from us."
"Can't I just dangle you further in?"
>"Please don't! It'll give me like, two or three feet, tops. Those two are at least 20 meters away in a thick goop that I don't think I can swim in."
"Can you see any of the other puddles?"
>"Oh yeah, totally! It's kinda neat, actually."
"How about the pumpkin and pony?"
>Kinda looks like the pony is playing with it. Could have fooled me, considering the tentacle thing."
>You pull Keys out by her backside and think for a moment.
>A good start, but maybe more specific.
>You can't just go and give away trinkets willy nilly
I doubt Tara's the type to give away a trinket.
Is the pony and pumpkin deep? Or just far or something?
Have Keys properly describe the puddle world cause that pic's not doing any favors.
Maybe Keys can call out to grab their attention?
"What do you mean 'Neat'? You're intelligence! I need some intel! Work it out!"
>"Calm your bits, missy. Fine:"
The Puddle World
>An ever expansive dimension that is connected to the surface world through any puddle or body of water. Such exits are known to resemble splotches of light. While the interior behaves like an aquatic environment, it appears to not prevent air breathing creatures from surviving within its confines. However, there seems to be a specific requirement that must be met in order to enter the dimension proper...
>"Informative enough for you?"
>"Hey, I work with what I can get!"
"Alright, alright. Just... Call the pony, I guess?"
>"HEY! PONY! CAN YOU HEAR ME!"
>You can make out the conversation
>>"Is that skeleton talking to us Pup?"
>"Yeah! Are you evil?"
>You can't help but slap your hoof upon your face.
>>"Uhm... Yeah? D-Do you or your friend want to play with Pupkin?"
>I mean, it's not trying to kill you, at least.
>What's the plan?
"Well, I dunno about playing, maybe Keys can handle that. We wanna talk with you."
>Silence follows your statement, and after a brief paus, Keys is ejected from the pool
>Landing quarely on her rump with a little squeak.
>What follows is a fierce bubbling from the puddle.
>You back up, and prepare yourself
>Only to be pleasantly surprised when a pumpkin plops out
>Of course, as you let down your guard, you see a pony's head slink out of the puddle, followed by its neck
>And it's neck
>And it's neck, still
>Okay, we get it.
>>"You two don't look like researchers."
"Well, maybe not the kind YOU are used to."
>"Yeah! Wait, I mean No! I'm Corporal Key Stone! Call me Keys!"
>The corporal extends her hoof for a hoofshake, and the goo pony extends what appears to be a hoof towards Keys
>Keys lets out a wince as the goo pony completely engulfs her hoof and smiles warmly.
>You interrupt the ceremony with your own introduction.
"Call me Tara. What should we call you?"
>"You sure are, Miss."
"Well, alright. Anyway, we can play later. I wanted to ask you if you had seen a card around."
>>"You mean this?"
>You see an off white mass travel up the body of the pony into her mouth
>She presents it.
>Sure enough, the front end of it is smudged up.
"Hey! Awesome! That's just what we needed!"
>You make a motion to grab it from Squishy's mouth, but she swallows it instead.
>>"Oh no you don't! That card belongs to Dr. Dandy! I bet if I can get it back to him, I won;t get in trouble!"
>She sinks back into her puddle, adopting a more sad gaze.
>>"Sorry, but that's the only card I have, and I can't give it up!"
>What's the plan?
That card is hurting ponies, would dandy be happy with it causing all this trouble? Can you even get it back to him?
I can keep it safe, i have a nifty storage space where no monsters can cause any trouble.
>You lock eyes with her.
>The weaker the mind, the more potent the control
"That card is hurting ponies. Keeping it from us is going to keep hurting ponies. Do you like hurting ponies?"
>She quivers slightly, releasing a bubbling whine
>Is that a weak point for her?"
>>Squishy whimpers out a weak, "No..."
>"Tara? What are you-"
>You shush Keys while you continue your work.
>The goo pony seems to be losing her focus on her form.
>Goop drips from her extremities, and the borders between her legs and midsection blurs and reforms sporadically.
"Who is Dr. Dandy, anyway? Where did you come from? Where are you now? Do you even know how you'll get it back to him?"
>Squishy continues to bubble and froth, her whimpers getting more frantic and desperate.
>The pupils vanish from her eyes.
>Time to seal the deal
"I can keep it safe, though. I can help you get back to Dr. Dandy."
>You make your voice adopt an earnest, almost motherly tone
>Squishy is completely under your influence, and you didn't even have to work that hard.
>She must be a pretty silly goo pony
>Finally, you deliver a toothy, award winning smile
"Whaddya say? Want to give me the card?"
>The pony, almost entirely a puddle, drops the card to the floor.
>Or rather, it slips from her gooey mouth
>It clatters against the ground
>An identification card from an unknown organization. Causes abominations and anomalies to appear under certain circumstances.
>As you hold it, you can feel sick energies emenating fom the card.
>It's clearly not of this world.
>Never was, never will be.
>Now the only issue is to find out how to fix everything.
>"What did you do, Tara?"
>Keys looks on in absolute horror
>Well at least about as much horror as a skeleton can, anyway.
>What's the plan?
"Thank you, Squishy. Would you like to show me to the doctor's abode?" then, to Keys, "If we're going to set things right, we need to use every talent at our disposal. Mine happens to be being very convincing."
"I asked her a question, what does it look like?"
>Key's voice takes on a more dark tone
>"You know that's not what I mean."
"Fine. I got what we needed to fix everything. Any questions?"
"Does it matter? You're in Intel, aren't you? You do what you have to for information."
>"I FIND it. I LOOK for it. I DON'T rob ponies of free will."
"But you get it any way you can, right? Even if you have to lie, cheat, and steal?"
>Keys grits her teeth
>"I'm not making ponies do things they don't want to."
"Neither am I. You forget that no matter how cute and cuddly it might look and act, It's a monster, Keys."
>"Monster? How can-"
>You ignore her protests and raise your voice.
"Just like the one that turned you into a Nightmare Night decoration !"
>She doesn't speak.
>She only glares at you with utter disgust.
>You can see a tinge of defeat upon her bony face
>Serves her right.
>You begin the long walk down the track towards the Armory.
>You notice Keys lagging behind, moreso than usual
>She keeps looking back at that... thing.
>What's the plan?
>You think about what exactly you did
>You... Got information
>The only way you know that works
>Ponies are fickle
>Always lying and hiding something.
>You just had a way to make them... show a bit of themselves.
>But the way it reacted...
>The distress it conveyed
>It tore your heart
>Just a bit
>You look back to where Keys is trudging along
>You look around
>You thought she was right behind you?
>But nopony is around
>While you were arguing with yourself, you must've lost track of her
["Proud of yourself?"|
>You take flight and scan the surrounding area.
>In the jungle gym, you see your skeleton comrade, sitting across from a puddle.
>You touch down quielty away from them.
>From where you stand, you can see that Keys has the pumpkin by her side, and is talking to the puddle.
>You can barely make out the conversation from here.
>"It's okay, you won;t get in trouble."
>The puddle quivers.
>What's the plan?
Apologize to goopone for scaring her and offer to have her come with you, make sure everything works out and so she doesn't have to deal with any scaries or Dandy herself.
We're keeping the card though.
Getting what's needed is important. Sometimes there's no time to simply ask.
But getting heavy-hooved with that influence is just a good way to make enemies, and apologies cost nothing.
>You step forward, and she instinctively pushes the pumpkin behind herself.
>A bit dramatic, isn't she?
"Keys, I came back to-"
>"To what? Mind control her again? Maybe try me on for size, too? I don-"
"Keys, SHUT UP."
>She chokes on her words and looks at you with utter shock
"I came back to apologize. To you..."
>You look at the doe eye'd slime puddle
"...And to her."
>Sadly, it seems Keys is entirely suspicious of your actions.
>You decide the best way to solve this, is to work with her.
>You walk over to the slime puddle
>The puddle bubbles weakly
"Would you like to play?"
>Some time passes
>While Keys plays with the pupkin, you swing idly on the swingset on base
>A gentle breeze blows through your exposed bangs
>>"So you won't do the eye thing again?"
"Maybe. I might do it if I want a hug, cutie~"
>The puddle giggles at the notion.
"So, you want to come with us? We've got to get you back to Dr. Dandy, don't we?"
>>"Oh! Yeah! But, I mean, uh..."
>>"There's something... scary around where you want to go?"
"Scary, huh? Scarier than me?
>You give a playful giggle
>Your playful giggle drops dead in its tracks.
"W-What is it?"
>>"It smells like...
>"What does that even mean?" Keys adds, her flak sporting a new accessory
>>"I haven't seen is since pup and I ran from the smell, but... I think it might be dangerous. "
"Wouldn't be the first thing."
>You motion to Keys to get a move on.
>As you and Keys trot to the Armory, Squishy shadows the both of you, jumping from puddle to puddle.
>You arrive at the Armory, and notice that the walls have flecks of...
>Holy shit, is that cookie dough?
>Well, either way, there are few entrances.
>Double Doors (Front)
>Rooftop Access (Ceiling)
>Side Door (Alley)
>You hear a rumbling from within, followed by some muffled words
>How should we proceed?
"Know anything about the card?"
>"Well, only as much as the researchers did."
>Upon activation, it will bridge the gap between one of many worlds and our own, pulling an object or creature through the gap.
>Note: Could possibly be used to bring trinkets to the Crown.
>The opening created seems to momentarily resemble an empty room with various different materials of walls
>All appear to have one aspect in common, which is very scant interior decorations.
>The creatures and items brought through so far seem to vary in danger and kind.
>Currently two of the more safe items have been relocated to the R&D lab for extensive testing.
>"That's all I know"
"So you guys have been messing with it for a while now?"
>"Messing with it is absolutely NOT what we were doing!"
"Ah, yes, your ponies were 'testing' it by swiping it at random doors I'll bet."
>"How did y- I mean, uh..."
"Hmmm" you slyly coo, fully aware of Key's slipup.
>"The thing is, I have no idea what caused it to happen today! This is an outbreak, not an experiment!"
We can fly and Keys must be pretty light, we could take the roof way. But I'd rather take a route Keys and Squishy can navigate, so the side is probably better.
I bet it was that fucking Sweet Ass.
"Was that the same lab Whole Wheat worked at?"
>"Whole Wheat? Who is that?"
>"Oh! Yes, he was a researcher there if I remember correctly. Also his name isn't Whole Wheat, Miss Tara."
"Right, don't ca-"
>"His name is Dr. Wunderbred"
>"I think half?"
>Your exchange over, you sneak to the side of the building
>As you get closer, you pick up more and more of the same voice.
>It sounds familiar, like a pony who regularly represses his feelings and a chronic stick up his bum
>"Stay down, monster!"
>Good old Steelie.
>You walk to the side of the building, and look into the gated off courtyard where training dummies are scattered around.
>Seems Steelie made a friend.
>He dodges to teh side and adopts a fighting stance.
>Steelie takes several blasts at the doughy golem
>Unfortunately, his shots prove somewhat ineffective as the mass of cookie reforms before his eyes
>"I'll fight you until the bitter end if it means keeping everypony safe!
>Easy there buddy.
>The gate to the courtyard is locked tight.
>What do you do?
resist the urge to make another skeleton keys joke, it needs more time to settle or else it will become stale.
Shout out that he should try heat because its a cookie monster and heat will firm it up and make it crumbly and hard to move.
I don't like those Guard patches on its shoulders. It makes me think this thing is possibly a transformed pony kind of like Keys. I don't want to do anything that could seriously harm the golem.
>Hey wait a second...
>"You see them too, right?"
>"I think I see the Quartermaster's badge on there, too! Did it..."
"It either ate them, or it IS them."
>Keys whines a bit and focuses on Steelie
>Hey, don't worry. If YOU survived getting skeletonized, you either might have a ton a friends to rattle around with, or we can save them entirely intact!"
>She doesn't look any happier.
>You don;t want to hurt the monster, but it can;t be lumbering around, smacking ponies.
>Then, you get an idea
>When you cook a cookie, it gets hard and crumbly.
>Maybe if you heated it up, it would crumble and you can deal with it later?
>You decide to deliver the advice as best you can
>HE looks up and away from the monster towards you
>"Tara? TARA! Get out of here! Get everypony to safety befWARGHABHARHBHAFGHFHAHFHSAFDHJAFG"
>His dire message instead is interrupted by a torrent of dough splattering across his face.
>The force of the flow is enough to send him skidding back into a wall, plastered from the chest up in sticky goodness
>You can't help but wince a bit.
"Dang, didn't mean for that to happen. SORRY STEELIE!"
>From here you can see him panting as he wobbles to his feet.
>He waves at you dismissively with his hoof.
>"Tara, we have to do something!" Keys pleads with you, her skeleton eyes gazing desperately at you.
>From your current position, you can either fly above the gate, leaving Keys to play cheerleader
>Or you can try to pick the lock and get both of you in there to give Steelie a hoof.
>Of course, if a better idea arises, you'll do it in a heartbeat.
>What's the plan?
I don't mind leaving Key's out of this if it means teaming up with Steelie. It would be neat having the same team but different main character.
Keys' abilities are talky, give me information things anyway. If she can see through the grate, I can't imagine her not being able to give us info.
"This is where we part, Keys"
>"Huh? What do you mean?"
>You wiggle your wings and eyebrows before getting ready to take off
>You soar high above the wall between you and the sparring courtyard.
>The monster advances on a collapsed Steel Charge
>But before it can do anything, you swoop in and daintily land upon your hooves, intercepting its lumbering advance
>It growls at you and drips dough and chips from its apparent maw
>The badges on its body pulse red before it lets out an alrighty roar.
"Let's dance, cookie!"
Might have gone a bit overboard there Hijacker. She's a nimble slender bat pony, not a sassy black lady from the hood.
...Although, she is sassy, black, and possibly from the hood. Hmm...
>her ass expands when she's worked up
I didn't see that on the stat sheet.