Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

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    A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:14 pm

    Date: 10/15/0002
    Time: 1100 PZT

    This again, huh.

    It was busy morning, a little more so than usual. Day traders and and other so-called self-efficient businesspersons briskly trekked across the paved sidewalks of Portal City's financial center, many with important briefcases and soothing cups of coffee in hand. With their impeccable suits and polished shoes, he practically fit right in despite having different intentions entirely. He was not here to buy. He was not here to sell. And he was most definitely not here to crash this world's infantile global economy.

    He was here to find.

    Stepping aside from the hustle and bustle of the business world, Zurg slipped out from the parade of blacks and greys. Like them, he wore a formal suit, his usual; but unlike them, it wasn't used for first impressions. Rather, he wore it simply to blend in, knowing full well the reactions when in full armour. To these people, the Evil Emperor Zurg was but a name. They didn't know his face, his features. In fact, they probably didn't even concern themselves with such thoughts. Well, that suited him (pardon the pun) just fine. With a few steps out of line, he entered down an alleyway unnoticed and continued his leisurely stroll into the heart of the city.

    Where they really met... A striking revelation if he had ever seen one. Last night he had figured out the riddle, but only until this morning did he decide to do something with that answer. In truth, he didn't want to come down here. Being down here only brought ashamed memories, ones he would rather forget, but leave it to her to have him remember. Oh, so clever and callous. Perhaps she was taking lessons in the splinter of her mind's eye? Whatever the case, he kept his head and shoulders forward, not going to back down now that the game had been set. A game. This was what it was, wasn't it? A game with its trials and tribulations, a prize no doubt at the very end. He wasn't very good at games, if he recalled... He tended to, well, cheat or manipulate it to his liking.

    At the end of the alley was a sharp, ninety-degree turn to the right and evidence of homeless persons lay sprawled about. None of the self-made beds were occupied, but the thinly dogs pawing around meant that their masters were away. It strangely smelled of urine and rancid meat down here. He didn't remember that, but then again, he didn't remember this particular alley a transient motel.

    Another twist and the alley changed tremendously. Here it was darker, the sun's illuminating rays unable to penetrate the harsh stone and he stopped just at the light's cusp. Hm, it didn't look too inviting down there, did it? Despite having eyes naturally better in dark environs, Zurg remained motionless and stared down the metaphorical memory lane.

    What could possibly be down there...


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:07 pm

    Beyond Zurg's vision, he would be able to make out what was a long, narrow alley. It was dark, the sun's light not gracing these festering shadows, but maybe, just maybe, if he approached them closer he would remember the ghost of stumbling footsteps, the hum of his ion cannon, and the smell of burnt flesh. The hint of rotten wood lingered in a corner, discarded, as well as several splinters of wood.

    And there was a back door at the end of it, nearby some abandoned trash cans. The smell had long since gone when the contents had decayed, and now they sat empty and useless by the brick wall. The back door -- or what was left of the back door -- had once been made out of metal, but the bigger part of it had melted and corroded, leaving only an uneven strip that still hung upon its hinges.

    Would Zurg venture inside? And once inside, would he take the stairs or the dilapidated elevator?

    Was there a purpose to returning to this place, remembering all this, when they should remain buried under obscurity and forgotten?
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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:34 pm

    He made out everything clearly, alright. The damp, moldy smell from the wood alone was enough to jolt a few lingering images, and the alien casually glanced around his familiar surroundings. Hm, it was... smaller than he remembered it. Then again, he hadn't been paying attention to the alley's width back then, either. "What are you playing at..." The question was to himself more than anything, as the party it was directed to would no doubt be elsewhere. Anywhere other than here. Where he was. He took a few slowed steps before building confidence and resuming his usual gait.

    Ah, it was just like yesterday, now. Didn't take very long to remember such an unpleasant memory, but here it was, replaying in his head. The rush, the sensation of the hunt, absolute rage. Sometimes it felt good to go a little crazy. Sometimes it felt good to be the monster and unleash yourself without the nagging responsibilities of civility. His left hand twitched. It seemed his trigger finger remembered it very well, too. It couldn't forget the drunken state power gave it, and neither could he. Both were addicted.

    It didn't take very long to pass the neglected garbage bins and reach the door, which was now sagging and buckled due to more than just old age. He recognized the signature notoriously signed by none other than himself, the super-heated plasma leaving its mark everlasting. That had been a good shot he fired, wasn't it? He missed his target, but it was still a great shot. And the smell. He closed his eyes and inhaled, letting out a long, slow breath. Ah, yes. The smell. The appetizing aroma of cooked flesh and most importantly, fear. Fear was the most exhilarating drug of them all, followed closely to power and control. Still, despite these pleasant stimuli, he did not enter. Not yet. Instead, Zurg remained stubbornly out, his feet just beyond the warped border frame.

    What was all this about, hm? Was this a game? If it was, how come only he was playing? Perhaps this was an experiment, and he was to be observed. But that surely couldn't be the premise. Where were the ethics and procedures? Obstacles in his path, and a prize at the end. This was both exciting and frightful. For once, power out of his hands and into another's. What would happen if he refused to play, or if the game didn't go according to plan? He wondered...

    In he went at last, his body swallowed by the worn insides of the building. He remembered this place; the smell of rust was still strong. Zurg will admit, at least internally. He didn't like being led around, toyed with and left stumbling in the dark. He preferred doing that to others, not the other way around. Maybe... Maybe this was a lesson? That would mean, however, he was supposed to learn something. What could that be?

    Again, he remained quiet and kept going forward. It was all he could do. To quit now before the real challenge, if there was one, was set would prove to be anti-climatic. And we all know how Zurg just loves to put on a good show. He soon reached an intersection, and noted the two methods of travel. Should he take the stairs or the elevator? After some debating he took the stairs in the end, reliving the steps of who had been his prey. Prey, how interesting. Now he felt like the prey.

    His hand on the rail, he slowly ascended upward, the sound of his footfalls echoing softly through the still air.


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:59 pm

    If Zurg was hoping for a certain someone to be around to hear his question, he would be disappointed. All that met him was the silence, endless and deafening. Nothing stirred in the narrow alleyway, nothing but the whisper of his footprints and the rustle of his clothing. But Zurg had nothing to fear from the emptiness. The absence of people was not the danger that lurked, lying in wait.

    The real danger to him were none other than his memories.

    Memories work in a funny way. They can be enough to change someone's mood instantly. They can make you happy, make you sad, or make you unbelievably angry. they can even reawaken emotions you long thought forgotten and buried away in the corners of your mind. Memories shaped you, made you who you are, defined you. And so, the memories Zurg was experiencing now, and the emotions they were evoking in him, were indicative of who he was and what he desired. Power, wasn't it? Power over others, being strong, being in control...

    Was it a game, an experiment? A lesson to be learned, or something else?

    He chose to go by the stairs, such a contrast to his prey having taken the dilapidated elevator and him having used his rocket boots the last time they had been here. How long ago was it? Over a year, certainly. Closer to a year and a half. Incredible, what time would do to you. To the way you interacted with one whom you thought was weaker and inferior to you. Or do you still think like that? Maybe not to your formal prey, but towards others. Do you like that about you? The thrill, the addiction? Do you want to stop? Do you never want to stop?

    He would soon reach the roof, a wide, abandoned expanse with old, rotting pieces of wood that had once belonged to crates. None were intact, having been destroyed and charred by plasma fire. Here, the smell of burnt wood would be stronger, and scorch marks on the ground would be testament to what had transpired here. In some places there were even faint traces of ash, long since dried up. And was that... blood in some areas? How chilling.

    This was it. This was the top of the roof. But what was Zurg supposed to find here?
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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:35 am

    ((Sorry for the delay, Jo! I'm writing a literature review *still am* so it's taking a while!))

    Did he ever want to stop... The answer, ultimately, lied within his thoughts. And through his thoughts, the desire to change his behaviours would come. Until then, however, Zurg would be doomed to repeat his actions so long as his cognition remained the same. Such was the fate of a mortal being who was privy to individual whims and desires. The answer, then, remained solely within him.

    Up onto the building's roof he went, and at last the alien could have the luxury of fresh air again. He was high now, very high. Beneath him he could hear the Doppler effect of cars and voices below, their sounds distorted and hollow. Upon the roof lay scattered remains of wooden boxes and charred craters -- he instantly recognized them both, but thought little of them. Past remnants and nothing more. The importance was not inherent of what he saw. Blood, however, had always struck wrongly with him. He noticed a few darkened splotches of red -- human blood. It was caked upon a few surfaces, but the elements had been so relentless that the blood's initial effect was worn and faded. Zurg decided to move past the comfort of the stairwell's awning and he decided to survey the rooftop fully.

    He first, and strangely, picked up some small debris. A piece of jagged wood, from the looks of it. With it he carried it over to a particular point of interest -- the precarious edge of the building's limitations, the roof. Peering down, he could feel the wind trapped within the tight corridors of the city, howling and screaming to be freed. The cars and persons looked like ants and beetles to him, and he could hardly make out anything noteworthy. Sightseeing wasn't the purpose of his curiosity. Outreaching with his hand, the wood clenched between his fingers, Zurg waited a moment before letting the modest block of debris go.

    Down it fell, whistling on the way to the earth, and he listened with slight satisfaction at the echoing THWUMP! it made. People remained shocked, a few narrowly missing the speeding projectile by mere inches, but Zurg held no remorse. He spotted a few onlookers gazing upwards, perhaps both curious and angered at what he had done. That was of little consequence. When the dust and commotion settled, the wood had been splintered into tatters. Ah, it was completely destroyed. How pleasing. The action he could not do upon that day, finally fulfilled at last.

    Done with his experiment, the alien retracted himself from the ledge and wound right back in the center of the roof. Now where did he go? There was nothing here but old memories and artifacts of the past. What was he supposed to find?

    Zurg, rather than remaining reactive, decided to take the initiative and search the memory for clues.


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:00 pm

    Yes, the answer lay within him. And only through him could the answer come out. He possessed everything that led to the answer already. All the clues had been laid out before him, all the conditions met, and the key was in his hand. But for some reason, he chose not to act upon it. Or perhaps he was unaware that he held the key -- but no, he was too clever for that. He knew he could unlock the mystery at any time he pleased. He simply did not. Now why was that?

    No one had been harmed by the clump of wood, but it had startled many passers-by, especially those who had been nearest to the impact. Splinters of wood showered those near-by, spraying in all sorts of directions. Some of the larger pieces did brush past a few people, but other than a scrape or two, maybe a small bruise, no one had sustained grave injuries. But imagine, just for a split second, that instead of a clump of wood, a person had fallen instead. The thought passed through the minds of a few, and they shivered, knowing full well that if it had been a person, things would have been far, far different.

    And that man, standing up there. Was he contemplating taking it a step further? Did he want to jump? Did he want to throw someone over, to their inevitable death seven stories below? Some lingered, watching, waiting, with bated breath, but when the minutes crawled by and nothing else occurred, they too went about their way. Let someone else worry about the issue. It no longer concerned them.

    Zurg would not have to search very long. Placing a note upon a rooftop was always precarious. The winds up here were strong and could blow away a piece of paper if it was not secured correctly. Therefore, despite the events of that night so many months go happening on the very edge of the rooftop, the clue itself would be in a very obvious place... secured somewhere where it wouldn't be corrupted by the elements, or seen immediately just in case someone, for whatever reason, came up here.

    Now he would have to find it... but a quick glance would make its hiding spot obvious.


    (( I'm sorry to hear that. I hope it went well for you! ))
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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:33 pm

    Sometimes, sadly, the greatest obstacle against a person was themselves. And Zurg was no different.

    Not giving the people down below a second thought, he kept to himself and went dutifully to search for this enigmatic clue. It most likely wasn't left flapping around where the wind could get it, and he highly doubted it was out in the open. Birds and critters would have used it to make an urban nest or den. No, no. It was somewhere safe, but in eyesight. Where, though?

    He first started to search among the debris, wondering if it had been buried or purposefully planted down. The disheveled craters were checked first, followed by the wooden planks and discarded splinters. Would it be around here?


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:38 pm

    Wasn't that always the case?

    Unfortunately for Zurg, the slip of paper would not be found beneath the remnants of splintered wood. There was nothing of interest here, unless he considered the charred, rotting wood something interesting and worth looking over. Even here, some critters had made their nest -- a rat skittered in front of him before disappearing into a corner.

    The wind blew heavily, coming from somewhere up north, bringing with it the promise of winter. If Zurg strained his horns and listened carefully, he might hear the flutter of paper upon metal...

    The clue would be obvious to him if he looked somewhere around eye level.
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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:41 pm

    Hrrm, not among the wood... but a rat was, and he instantly took his hands back. Ugh, rats. Carrier of plagues. Zurg promptly abandoned his search efforts around the charred remains of something best left forgotten and instead, turned his sights to something hopefully more lucrative. Yes, he did hear something, but seeing it was an entirely different matter. It was bright outside, too bright. His eyes were not adjusted for the yellow star of Portal Breach.

    Still, he tried to pinpoint the surrounding location of the noisy disturbance. Something with... metal. What could be metal? The only thing he saw worth noting was an air conditioning unit, which was plenty noisy, trust him. Could it be there instead? He was about to find out as he approached and tried to inspect it.


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:46 pm

    Alas, no. At the air conditioning unit Zurg would only find discarded bird droppings, the remains of a nest, and perhaps the very old remains of what had been an eggshell. Small, fluffy-looking feathers had somehow gotten inside the air conditioning unit and fluttered with each wave of the fan's blades, trapped inside and forever spinning, until the machine finally collapsed or the wind blew strong enough to flush the feathers out.

    There was another flutter of paper against metal, and this time the sound seemed to echo. The metal door suddenly slammed shut from a large burst of wind, and garbage fluttered around Zurg's feet, his pant legs billowing.

    Maybe, if Zurg's sense of smell was strong, he would catch a familiar scent around the general area of entry and departure...
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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:51 pm

    Okay, now this was slightly starting to become frustrating. While not known for his patience, Zurg was trying his hardest. Maybe not his best, but his hardest. So, then. It wasn't at the... well, guano-covered air conditioner. That was a blessing all on its own. Where was it? He jumped at the slam of a door, and then came this awful smell. Oh, just awful. It was like garbage! Wait... He glanced down and did see garbage. What was garbage doing all the way up here? Strange...

    Guess he had to turn around, but he still didn't see anything. Maybe if he went near the door... Maybe. He ended up going there anyway, still lost. Jo, why did you make this so difficult for the colour-blind alien?


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Jo Pistonne on Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:03 pm

    Sometimes, the hardest answers were the ones sitting in plain sight. So it just so happened that as Zurg approached the door, he would see a large, white sheet taped to the back of it. Ingenious, the mechanic would say, and so obvious and yet not at the same time. But Zurg was probably thinking of the complete opposite.

    No matter what he thought, as he approached the door, he would find Jo's familiar handwriting. And maybe because she knew this particular task would have been frustrating, or trying, or hard on him, her message was longer than the previous ones and not in rhyme. Her rhyming sucked anyway.

      Hey, Big Z!

      If you're reading this, you found the next clue! If not, who are you and why are you reading this?

      I didn't know if this would be a good idea at first, given what happened here that we'd both like to forget, but I think it's still an important event that we should look back positively on. This is, after all, where I caught my first real glimpse of you, hence why I said this is the place we really met.

      I'd like to think that even without Red's intervention we might have been able to work things out. Maybe I'm just being too optimistic, but a little optimism goes a long way! And speaking of optimism, I'll return to my cryptic ways and say that the next place you have to go is where things finally smoothed out for us. It's not just a place of physical healing, but of mental renewal. It's where we said our sorries and you gave me my first gifts -- I'm pretty sure you remember now!

      The worst part is over, I promise. Now, hopefully, each note you'll find will put a smile on your face!

        J.

      P.S.: You might want to take this note with you. I don't like people who snoop!
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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

    Post by Zurg on Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:59 pm

    ...A note taped to the back of the door. Zurg just slapped his own forehead and felt like ripping off his eyelids. That Jo! What was obvious for her wasn't obvious for him! Placing a message on the back of a door was a terrible idea! And how did this thing flap, anyway... Oh, never mind! He sighed and pried the note off, putting on his reading glasses. Egad, Jo's handwriting was like reading ancient petroglyphs. Now, let's see...

    Alas, leave it to Jo to make them both uncomfortable. Only now, she had made him uncomfortable from miles away. That was a new feat. Zurg didn't want to revisit this place; he would rather forget, to be honest. Although, now that he gave it some thought, he did see the reason behind coming back. It wasn't the prettiest of moments, but it was a beginning. He guessed. This place wasn't a great meeting ground, and in Zurg's opinion, this was not where he really met Jo. He met an insolent bug here, not Jo. Anyway, what else was on here? Ah, yes. Red. What was that demon up to? Probably getting lazy and fat. Yes, that was probably it. Still, perhaps Jo was too optimistic. If Red hadn't intervened, Zurg was... well, he was certain he would have dropped Jo. After all, what was a lowly mechanic compared to the Evil Emperor Zurg? That nervous tic came back again, the one about his trigger finger. Let's move on.

    Terrific, yet another clue. What was up with Jo and these clues? Proxy must have helped her out with the riddles, as the mechanic was just terrible at rhyming. The robot was more poetic, anyway. This clue, thankfully, wouldn't have him coming back here but... Zurg had already connected the dots regarding the words healing and renewal. "The hospital." Great. She wanted him to go back there? Didn't Zurg tell her just how much he hated hospitals? Oh, Jo was trying to hit all his stress buttons, he knew it.

    With another sigh, and this one more exhaustive, he pocketed the note as per her request and returned to the stairwell. "Well, Jo..." He grumbled to himself, wrenching the door open. "Guess we're going to see what this is all about, won't we?" If only he had any clue as to what purpose this satisfied.

    Determined to leave the ghosts of the pasts behind, Zurg entered the stairwell and thought no more of this place.


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    Re: A Trip Down Memory Lane? Right...

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