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World 1-2; Open
Topic Started: Sep 9 2017, 11:30 PM (641 Views)
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[ *  *  *  * ]
“Duh-duh-duh-duhduhduh. Dunununununun. Duhduhduhdundun…”

Chuck gave up. His voice was less capable of imitating the Super Mario Underground Theme as he would have liked. His tone was naturally and involuntarily emotive, unable of emulating a pixelated timbre of any kind. He sounded more like a woodpecker than a MIDI synthesiser. And Boos weren’t even in the original Super Mario, so really, the whole impression was misguided anyway.

Chuck sighed. He pulled down on the ears of his hat, feeling the fabric press down onto his scalp, ruffling up his hair, entangling it further. This was escapism, really. Pure and simple escapism. His normal avenues for escapism - pretending he was a space pilot or an esteemed journalist or ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee - were off-limits right now, alas. They required technology, and connectedness, and being on the grid, able to sample the delights of the internet and word processing and 3D graphics or whatever.

Damn.

Chuck would be okay with this whole dying thing if he had three hours on the internet to put his affairs in order.

Okay, that was a lie. But still though. It was annoying that he was gonna die with so many half-finished articles to remain dormant and unfinished forever, conversations suspended midway never to be resuscitated, Steam games to forever lay ungifted. Such a waste of potential. So many contributions that Chuck could never make to the marketplace of ideas. It was like Danya wanted to deny him the chance to do good in the world, to leave some tangible footprint, to not just be a waste of space. It irritated him. Chuck was willing to bet his organ donor card wasn’t gonna be honoured either.

He flung his leg out, hoping it’d connect with a small pebble that he could kick in frustration.

Instead it connected with the wall.

“Ah, fucknuggets!”

He fell on his ass. He laid there, waiting. The darkness of the tunnels had, in many ways, been a small mercy. A slight reprieve. His earliest waking moments, curled up in a ball, grappling with the more existential questions he had to face, were shielded from the prying eyes of the terrorists. They probably had some night-vision technology attached to their cameras, true. Some way of penetrating the darkness, using lasers or something. But even then, the darkness probably provided some shroud of privacy, one layer of dignity. Probably blurred out one tear, or obscured one sniffling twitch. Made his eyes more opaque, prevented the terrorists prying into his soul, dissecting the cornucopia of fears and emotions he had to grapple with.

Chuck made good use of that time. Suppressed his more...destructive or defeatist impulses. Quashed any part of his mind that may have been tempted by violence, or tried to rationalise more callous moves. Settled on a new resolve.

There was that old adage, essentially a scaled-up version of the shitty advice to ignore bullies, that the best way to champion over terrorism was to minimise disruption to one’s way of life. To safeguard liberties, to stick to old routines, to make minor pragmatic adjustments but resist any serious changes. To show their tactics to be ineffective. To mock them. Despite his cynicism of the schoolyard version, Chuck was quite fond of the approach. From a policy standpoint, it was pretty sound.

Sadly, it was of little use for this particular terrorist attack. Well, maybe for the people back home. Maybe they could carry on as normal. Keep calm and carry on, like that overused Brit-trash poster obnoxiously recommended. But in Chuck’s position, yeah. Not possible.

He had no internet connection, had an explosive collar around his neck, was trapped on a shitty death island, and had cameras watching his every move. The advice did not translate perfectly. But Chuck still saw some morsel of wisdom in it. And so, there he was, moving around the abandoned mine tunnels, doing his best impression of a Boo from Mario.

It was something to do.
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((Lance Adams continued from The Ballad of Lance and Blaine))

A light shined through the tunnels as Lance Adams utilised a flashlight to walk through it. Step. Step.

The flashlight in one hand, the hunga munga in the other.

The tunnels were empty.

Then there was this dude with a Boo hat.

"Hey."
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The tunnels were empty.

Just him and his shadow.

Wait, shadows? Oh fuck. He froze. Because that's what Boos did. And then he remembered that Boos were only able to do that because of invisibility. And the fact Mario almost definitely did not pack heat. Heat in the slang sense. With the right powerup, he carried heat in the literal sense. Fuck. And even if Mario was packing, there were ghosts. Bullets probably were less damaging.

Fuck.

He lifted his bag up, throwing it in front of him as a human shield.

"Uh. Hi."
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"Hey, there is no need to be afraid of me," Lance said while putting the hunga munga back into his bag.

"What are you doing here in the Tunnels?"
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In the slightly better light, Chuck saw Lance's weapon. It was a silly weapon. Not as cool as his crossbow. You'd have to be a real prick to get killed by whatever piece of shit Lance was lumbering about.

"Uh...well, I woke up here, and have since claimed it as my dominion," Chuck continued, lowering the bag slightly, more because it was a rather uncomfortable position than as any deliberate step towards detente.

"So. Yeah. Welcome to my realm. Papers please?"
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Lance touched his pantbags and frowned.

"Ah. Sorry. I think I forgot them at home."

Lance chuckled. Chuck-led. In these dark times Chuck had good humor at least; that was a good thing. Jokes were always a good way to lighten up the mood. Except Danya's jokes. Danya had good jokes, but fuck Danya. Danya's a dick whose jokes were not funny, because they were meant to not be jokes but taunts.

"So yeah, have you seen anyone yet in the tunnels? Any visitors besides me?"
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Chuck was tempted to take the whole 'papers please' thing seriously. As in, order Lance to leave at crossbow point. Actually establish some kind of play border patrol. But no. That was a shit idea.

"Uh. No."

Well, technically a lie.

"I woke up here. I've been avoiding people. Which seems...prudent. Why'd you come in here?"
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"Hm. I don't really know."

Lance had to think about why he decided to enter the tunnel.

"I came here to not be alone anymore, I guess."
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"I mean. Weird place to look." Chuck scratched the side of his head.

"You do know abandoned mine shafts tend not to be bustling epicentres of social activity outside of West Virginia and hipster communes?"
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"I kinda expected this to be more than just a tunnel. Like a bigger area hidden from the surface."

A Subterrean City like Gin Tama's Yoshiwara. But it didn't look like there was much interesting underground. And there was not much lying around that could be utilised.

"Do you think there's a way off this Mining Island?"

Lance broke the eye contact with Chuck to look around and spectate the walls.
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Chuck frowned. "I mean...if there was? And I knew about it?"

He shrugged.

"Man, I would have already gone."

Well, maybe he would have stopped to tell people. Chuck hoped so, anyway. But he didn't know, so moot point. No test of character today.
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"There has to be a way, Chuck. There is always hope."

Lance actually hated this phrasing. It made him look so stereotypically stupid and optimistic.

"I mean..."

He looked at Chuck and pointed at his neck.

"Look at your silly silver collar. How do they control it? With some kind of remote. But every remote controller has a range. Perhaps..."

He chuckled. That was silly. He used an imaginary shovel to make some moves to demonstrate to Chuck.

"Perhaps we just have to dig way down to get out of the range. Just dig and dig and dig."
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Chuck actually....liked that idea.

That wasn't to say he thought it would work. The collars would probably detonate below a certain level, and the remote detonations could be activated along the way, and the chance of being trapped underground was high. Truth be told, though, suppressing the remote detonation features was their best hope.

And his own mind had gone to microwaves. One time, his mom had been told some of the kids she looked after weren't gonna be at the nursery that day, but she'd still be getting paid for them, and she wrote a celebratory text lauding that fact, but sent it to one of the moms by mistake, and in a panicked attempt to save face shoved the phone into the microwave to try and shut off the signal.

It hadn't worked, but the signal might have escaped before.

So it was either dig deep or wear a microwave on his head.

"Okay. One question. Dig with what?"
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"Hm, I don't really know. Rocks are hard to break. Maybe there's a pickaxe lying around somewhere...though I have to admit that I have absolutely no experience in using pickaxes to break rocks."

Was there another location they could go deep in? Digging at the beach seems risky as that would leave them to drown easily once waves were high enough.

"So. I give you a question back. Where exactly are the remotes?"

He said it like a rhetorical question but eyed Chuck in a way as if he knew exactly where they were.

"I would say it must be hidden somewhere on this island. Like, they couldn't control our collars from outside this island unless they launched a super expensive satellite into the space. But that's not something terrorists would do without anyone noticing."

:thinkingface:

"And how many remotes are here? This island is big. Would one remote be able to connect to all collars? Like, since we're already underground I doubt that there's just one remote hidden somewhere in the woods that would be able to target our collars through the thick ceiling above us."

He pointed up.

"Ranges have limits."
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Well, this sounded like a pile of bullshit. And normally Chuck was tolerant of bullshit. If it was a comfort blanket, or some kind of community-binding thing, he was cool with that. Chuck often encountered people online who considered his own faith bullshit, so yeah. He was sympathetic to those functions. And if Lance's whole thing was to provide him some comfort, well, Chuck wouldn't wanna puncture that.

Chuck wanted to play at being a ghost, Lance wanted to play at being a miner. Both different types of coping mechanism.

But he seemed intent on thinking it would actually work. Chuck opened his mouth, trying to think of how to articulate the obvious drawbacks. It was a stupid plan. False hope, alas. Not maliciously so, but false hope it was.

"Uh...okay. Well, let me know how it goes."
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