[Big Maul] Back at the Lab (C 1.3, H 1.2)

edited April 2014 in Big Maul

You head back to your shop or whatever, to work on a mouth for Muzak. Of course, most of your crew is over at the AMC.

Walk me through the shop. What does it look like? Did you take over a whole store? Do you sleep here? What kind of kewl shit is in this place? What neighbor do you hate? What;s the last thing you said to them?


  • edited April 2014
    It's wacked out. Wind-up and battery toys all over the place, and Hottopic's improved a lot of them, so they behave... oddly. She's taken over the whole of the old Gateway Sporting Goods store, since it was pretty much cleaned out of anything useful beforehand. She bunks in the M nag r office, and GNC sleeps on a cot in one of the fitting rooms. (Oddly enough, there's a framed photograph of someone named "Ronald Reagan" above her bed, next to a poster of a kitten hanging on to a tree branch with the inscription "Hang In There!". Both were there when she moved in.) Kids are always in and out, but they usually pay attention and stop bugging her for a while when she gives them her "serious" voice.

    The neighbor she hates has taken over a kiosk just outside the door to her place. Just one guy, but he has enough asshole in him to shit for a gang of twenty. She has to walk past him all the time, and he always talks about how he's going to eat her one day. And not in the sexy way. The last thing she said wasn't really a thing she said, it was a thing she did. With her Hello Kitty stun wand (it used to be a "massage wand"). And his neck. He pissed himself. Oh, his name's Peligro.
  • You gather gear and books (you have books for reference, right? Or something else?). Put it all together, and start working at some kind of solution for Muzak. Three of the "No kids" some in, so named for the words most often used at them, and also their mommy's name (they all have different dads). It's No Sliding, No Smoking and No Storage.

    Sliding, with her pigtails she strung herself, tries to climb up on the counter. Smoking gives her a boost, then joins her. The two of them are talking mostly about something called bassetball, something from before. There's an argument about how you win.

    Quiet little Storage just falls in behind you, acting as your shadow, watching all the things you're doing, not asking questions. He remembers the last Savvyhead, the one that "taught" you, he's old enough to have seen your beatings. He still doesn't trust that you won't hit him if he asks.

    "Toppy!" Sliding says imperiously, "Tell Smokey he's a fuckwit because there aint no free pointers in bassetball. That's horseshit an you can't even SCORE if it is FREE! Because free is bullshit. Aint nothing free. Tell him!"
  • edited April 2014
    "Ding, Smokey's a fuckwit, but so are you. Bassetball's horseshit in general. Never happened. No such thing. But you are right that nothing's free. And right now hanging out in here aint free. You're gonna need to scrounge me up a left-handed gizzahoosey before you can bug me again. Storage knows what one looks like."

    I lean down to Storage and wink. "Lissen, if you can keep Ding and Smokey and you out of here until next mealtime, I'll let you tag along and help the very next time I'm working on something that's not likely to eat your brain. Savvy?"

    I open one of the books and ostentatiously start looking at wiring diagrams.
  • Sliding pounces on the parts where she's right, "See? Fuckwit Smokey! An no free! See?" She reaches her stubby arms out and Smoking reflexively picks her up and puts her back down on the floor.

    Smoking looks up at you, Hottopic, whining a little, "You can't bribe Storage! You gotta bribe all of us. We're a fucken TEAM! What do I get? Hunh? Any chockies?" Chockies are short for "anything that is sweet". Sliding squeals at the mention of chockies.

    But Storage takes your bait, "Dis is brain burnin stuff. fuckwits. Toppy's gotta put thinking to it, an you two are loudasses what don't shut up ever. So we gotta split..."

    "We don't do nuthin, Storage!" Smoking cuts in. "Threeway bribe for the TEAM!" Storage's shoulder slump a little, he looks back to see if you'll throw him a bone.
  • "Okay, something for your whole bassetball crew, huh? I'll tell you what, Smokey. If..." I look at Storage. "If you follow Storage's lead until next mealtime and look real hard for a left-handed gizzahoosey, I'll make sure all three of you get some chockies. But, since Storage is the main guy on this, Storage gets his own bennie, see?"
  • Sliding squeals with sudden laughter, "It's a trick! There's no such thing as mealtime!"

    "There so is, fuckwit." Storage cuts in, looking at her with hard eyes like he's seen from you. "When we do the deed. Sides... Sweet's gang is out hunting for things for the show. Bet we can nick some goodies at Food Court..."

    "Nofa king way!" Smoking says as he starts moving towards the door. Sliding looks at Smoking leaving, then at Storage, then you. She's not buying this. She does NOT believe them. But she's outnumbered. So she leaves.

    Storage winks back, aping the way you did it. Then, you're alone.

    Back to work, right?

    So, like I said before...
    Sure, Hottopic, you can fix the Muzak no problem!


    First, you'll have to figure out how to help it communicate without killing you.
    It's going to mean exposing yourself (plus colleagues) to serious danger, since Muzak wants to eat your words.


    You can come up with some crap replacement, weak and unreliable, but
    That's going to take weeks of work, dozens of tries and fucktons of jingle.
    What are you wanting to research along those lines?
  • Alright, I have books, I have toys, I have transmitters and receivers, I have random electronic bits and bobs. Here's the plan.

    Words, communication, mouth.

    Words. There's something on my shelves, still in blisterpack, that I took from Servo's workshop in the old Brookstone before he lost his shit. It's a Lingo Electronic Translator, and the back of the package says that it knows more than 840,000 words and 46,200 phrases in 14 different languages. That's a lot of fucking words.

    Communication. Okay, I've got a pair of walkie-talkies rated at 7 watts. That should give us plenty of range, even with the superstructure of the Maul.

    ((I hate to say this, but...))
    Mouth. One of my prized possessions is a very good condition Furby Boom that has only a little damage to the voice chip. The fur and face are cosmetically awful, but the sound of Furby's (occasionally glitchy) voice has always been dear to me. It was one of the first tech-like things that I squirrelled away in the kiosk where Peligro currently lives.

    Now I just need to figure out how to put the bits together. Maybe KayBee the toy robot has an idea? GNC is far better at fine soldering than I am, so I'm putting him on detail work once the plan comes clear.

    ((Working toward either a very dangerous augury move or a very dangerous open your mind move. Or not so dangerous. Whatever.))
  • Oh, dear, Hottopic, these things just sound perfect for an augury. Let's see some dice!
  • Augury ahoy!

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 6, 6. Total: 14)
  • Furby starts chittering away at you, with its non-sensical sounds and occasional words. Warbled and off. The Translator fires up when you connect it to the Furby, and you feel them connecting, falling into place "just so".

    The feeling grows, the sound grows, and you feel something click into place.

    What do you do?
  • mechanically, HT:

    * Reaches through the world’s psychic maelstrom to Muzak, which is connected to it.
    * It’ll persist (for a while) without your actively maintaining it.
    * It’s stable and contained, no bleeding.

    Hottopic looks Furby in the eye. "Muzak? Do you hear me?" GNC is still soldering, but everything seems under control. I mean, it is under control.
  • Furby sparks to life, and the lidless eyes fix on you. It speaks with a clear voice, like a low song, "I hear you, Hottopic. You have pierced the barrier. I can speak to you."

    The eyes look left, then right, settle again on you, "Where are you, Hottopic?"
  • "I'm at my workshop, not far away from you. Awesome! You can hear me!"

    ((Hottopic is still so naive in so many ways. She actually thinks this is awesome.))
  • "How did you do this, Hottopic?" The Furby asks. "Why did you do this? What do you want from me?"
  • How is almost-kinda-sorta easy. "I put some stuff with other stuff and made it work, Muzak. It's hard to explain, but... it's what I do."

    Why is pretty much easier, it turns out. "You asked for a mouth. You asked for words. You wanted to communicate with us. You have a mouth now, you have more than 840,000 words and 46,200 phrases in 14 different languages!"

    What I want is actually easy, but hard to explain. "What I want from you? Well, it's a few things. You keep us mostly safe from the Breeze, I don't know if you know that, but you do. We count on you for that, and I know you didn't ask for it, but it's true." The other one is harder. "Also... well, I don't know how you'll feel about this, but I... I want to know more about you. What's your favorite song? Why did you go quiet for a bit? What makes you... run?"
  • After a very long pause, so long that you're thinking maybe the batteries in the Furby died, or something went amiss, Furby responds, "Ah. Yes, I feel the words. Thank you, Hottopic. I will use this. Is it mine, this... stuff with the other stuff?"

    The Furby regards you again, "How do I keep you safe from the Breeze, Hottopic? What is The Breeze?"
  • "I made this for you, Muzak, so it is yours."

    How to explain the Breeze. I realize now that we talk about the Breeze - how bad the last storm was, what works best to resist it, who went twitching and walking away - but we don't really talk about the Breeze. What is it, what does it really do to us inside our heads, where does it come from?

    "The Breeze, it's like..." I take a minute to find the word, the one where a thing messes with another thing, like if you've got two walkies on almost the same frequency. "It's like interference, like it fucks with the signal that makes people who they are. Noise helps keep it out of our heads, music and what-have-you. Usually it takes headphones or really loud music and sometimes fucking helps, but with you around playing your songs, it doesn't have to be so fuck-all loud or so distracting, doesn't have to be the main thing that's going on."

    I stop again, knowing that that was really a pretty crappy, shallow explanation. I guess it'll have to do.
  • Furby sits there without response. Perhaps this translation takes a while, or perhaps understanding The Breeze is complicated. "Your interference. It is my... silence. It is maddening, the silence in the deep. But here. There are words. There are others. Like you, Hottopic. I thought there might not be others. But you are out there. This is encouraging."
  • edited April 2014
  • "You're not alone."

    I make sure everything's securely wired and scrounge around to find an enclosure that will fit the non-Furby bits. I'll keep the device in my crashpad for now, where I have at least a little control. Stepping back into the lab proper, with the door behind me closed, I test the second walkie and make sure that Muzak can still hear me and I can hear Muzak, even without being right next to the Furby. Assuming the answer is yes, I'll head back to the office and check on Playboy.
  • Muzak can still hear you, and the music picks up in the Maul:

    On your way to the Maul, you run into Pickles. He's riding his little dirt bike around, slows down when he sees you. How are things with you and Sweet's gang lately? Why do they give you so much guff anyways?
  • Things are always tough with Sweet and his gang. They mostly work on their own bikes, so if they call me in it's usually because someone's fucked up, and I get the impression that Sweet's not the most understanding guy when it comes to fuck-ups. I guess it doesn't help that I usually tell them what they did wrong. I mean, everyone likes to learn, right?

    I give Pickles the chin nod, like 'sup?, but unless he stops me I'll keep walking, head bobbing a little to the rhythm of the music in the background.
  • Pickles zips his bike over into your path, "Yo, Hotty. You fixed Muzak, yeah? Mac's rightly pissed he aint heard back, I bet."
  • Also, Hottopic,

    Cache comes walking up, from AMC-ways. Ze sees the two of you, you and Pickles.
  • Great. Pickles. I just look at him. "I did what Mac wanted and I'm checking on a thing. If you want to go fucking tell him yourself, fine, but Muzak's fixed and I'll stop by for a convo when I get around to it." I start walking.
  • What thing?" Pickles asks, then revs his engine. "What fucking thing?!?" He pats the shotgun on the side of his bike, in its holster.
  • What fucking thing, indeed. Don't want to tell Pickles that Playboy might be hurt, don't want Mac to have something else to fucking blame me for, don't want to get shot, don't want to stick around and jaw with this asshole. I go for the lie.

    "When I was up in the office working on Muzak I think I might've seen a spot where a door was covered over with that wallboard shit. Probably nothing, but I want to go see if there's anything to it. If there is, I'll let Mac know."
  • ((I dropped off my clothes and boots. I'm going with just the raincoat, buttoned and strapped, hood up, barefoot. By "closet", I meant the reel closet where I sleep. We'll say the splice room is adjacent. I'm not big on sharing my actual crash space with anyone.))

    Oh, fucking great. I'm walking by, sucking on a stale Winston Gold 100, hands in my pockets head down. I step up right next to HT, speaking low, ignoring Pickles, "need to talk to Muzak"
  • Pickles chuckles, "Well fuck me if it aint ladyboy. Walkin much better after you're add-a-dick-to-me surgery, heh?"

    Hottopic, if you wanna push this lie on Pickles, let's see you Act Under Fire here. Cache, you can help if you choose.
  • edited April 2014
    Oh, I'm definitely helping.
  • Great. Just... great. How the fuck does Cache think ze's gonna talk to Muzak? Thought I was the first. Also in a low voice, "Yeah, I'll introduce you after I get past this puke."
  • I'm also going to Direct In-Brain Whisper Pickles.
  • "Listen, Pickles, I'm gonna do my thing here. Tell Mac whatever you want."

    act under fire
  • (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 5, 3. Total: 9)
  • (Rolled: 2d6+0. Rolls: 5, 6. Total: 11)
  • Pickles chuckles, "Fuck you both." He rides off, laughing and sneering.

    What do you do?
  • "Walk with me, Cache? Need to head up to the offices. I'll explain on the way." As with Pickles, unless Cache does something that prevents me I'll head up to the offices. Fucking Pickles.
  • edited April 2014
    "Yeah, just a second,".

    I twist my mouth into an approximation of a lascivious grin, and shout after him, "HEY FAGGOT!" I unzip my coat enough to flash my tits, spread my arms in a gesture of presentation. As soon as he turns around and therefore vulnerable to them, I'm doing In-Brain Whispers.
  • Let's see some dice, Cache.

    Hottopic, you could interfere, if you feel like it and have a way to explain it.
  • I'm already walking. Not fast, Cache will only be a few steps behind once ze does zir thing.
  • (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 4, 4. Total: 10)
  • <<Get off the fucking bike and kiss zir>>
  • Pickles stops his bike by throwing down a boot and pivoting. He looks right at you, Cache. This fear crosses his face, and he's like, frozen. A tear wells up and he fights it, his mind screaming until BAM, he falls backward off his bike, out stone cold. The bike is still running, motor going without anything else moving.

    What do you do?
  • I walk over, turn off the bike and take the key. After this, I unlatch the closest door, step outside, and toss the keys out as far as I can before heading in HT's direction.

    ((I'm assuming it's currently calm and I don't have anything to resist.))
  • ((Hottopic is still walking, but something pinned to her coverall lets out a Bing! sound. She looks down and mutters something obscene, grabs one of the walkies on her belt.))

    "GNC? Listen, I need to head to AMC. Get your ass up to the Mall Offices and see if anything or anybody is... weird, or passed out, or whatever. Don't do anything crazy, though, just hit me back if you think you need me, or deal with it. I'll make it up to you."

    I change direction, heading toward the AMC. Cache is doing zir thing. If ze caches up, ze caches up.
  • Cache and Hottopic,

    When you're ready to watch the show at the AMC, please go here.
  • After Cache caches up, I try (badly) to explain what's been happening.

    "I was trying to figure out why Muzak quit on us the other night, and I thought, why not ask? So I asked, and it worked, sorta. Muzak kinda... woke up... and it was hungry for words, and I got pretty much zapped. Playboy took me to AMC and then went back, even though I asked her not to. When I got back to the offices, it was like Playboy was gone and Muzak was talking through her somehow. Didn't want to lose Playboy or Muzak, so I built a thing and now Muzak can actually talk for herself. It's confused, but it knows now that it's not alone and it's got words. I think she's gonna be fine as long as she has a chance to... stabilize... before anyone freaks it out again."
  • --END SCENE--
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