A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
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June 15th, 2013 (1:06 PM).
Gone. May or may not return.
The Misspelled Cyrpt
> I know the odds aren't looking good, but is there a chance that Jasmine can scare the coral off of Elm like she did when she entered the helicopter? It's a long shot, but it's worth a go.
“Jasmine,” you say, as Elm takes the laptop and checks it for any sign of damage, “could you scare the coral off Elm's neck?”
DON'T THINK SO
,” she says. “I
T WAS SCARED BECAUSE I PUNCHED IT
DON'T THINK I CAN PUNCH THE CLUMP ON HIS NECK WITHOUT KILLING HIM
“Yeah, I'll vote we
put that to the test,” says Elm. “Look, we need to get inside somewhere – I don't know if there's still electricity? I could plug the laptop in, and I think we could use the cover.”
“Yeah,” you agree. “Makes sense.” You point. “That house there should do.”
Minutes later, you are comfortably installed in the house on the hill, and, since the electricity is still on (as you proved so long ago with the TV and That Thing, Players rest his warty soul), Elm is soon tapping away at the translation programme.
> When was the last time you prayed to Tabiti? I think it would be a good idea to do that.
You mutter a prayer to Tabiti. Nothing happens, but then again, nothing usually happens right away.
> Talk with Jasmine. You don't really know her well, ask her about... things you hope won't upset her? Will her memories of her human life upset her because she's a steel zombie now? Will talk of dreams and goals upset her because she thinks she has no future?
“So,” you say, sitting down next to Jasmine. “How are you?”
,” she replies. “N
ORRY, THAT'S HARD TO RESPOND TO
“It is,” you agree.
,” she tells you. “F
OR THE FIRST TIME IN SO LONG, THERE ARE... THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE, AND THERE'S SUNLIGHT, AND...
A mercury tear trickles down her cheek and splashes dangerously on the fabric of the sofa – but she isn't sad. She's smiling through the remnants of her lips, splintered teeth laid bare in a grin.
'M VERY GRATEFUL,
,” she says. “T
HANK YOU SO MUCH FOR – FOR RESCUING ME.
You blush a little; it's hard to avoid it when someone says something like that. Especially someone who shines as beautifully as Jasmine does.
“Oh,” you say, feigning indifference. “It was nothing, really. I mean – I was just – we need to survive,” you finish lamely. “As many of us as we can.”
Her smile fades a little.
E WON'T LIVE
,” she tells you. “I
N A WAY,
THODOX, THERE IS NO ONE HERE BUT YOU
NYONE WHO MEETS YOU CAN TELL IT IMMEDIATELY
HERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT YOU...
E'RE JUST, WELL, EXTRAS
.” She hesitates. “T
HIS IS YOUR WORLD NOW
,” she says. “S
INCE THE PLAYERS SPAWNED YOU,
THE REST OF US ARE...
She doesn't finish. Elm's fingers hover over the keyboard, frozen. He's staring ahead, unseeing.
There is silence.
“I don't know about any of that,” you say eventually. “Maybe you'll die. Maybe you won't. Maybe
die. But let's say that you do, and I do – let's say we all die. Let's say that that Eldritch Quilava tears down the wall and kills the lot of us in ten minutes.
“So we're all dead – but we're not dying slowly in a cave. We're not crying forever in darkened rooms. The sun is shining on us. The monsters have retreated. And we're doing everything we can to fix the break in the world.” You catch Elm's eye and draw him out of his blankness; once you have his attention, you turn your gaze on Jasmine. “We're being heroes,” you say. “There's no shame in dying like that. Much less than slowly wasting away in the dark.”
There is another silence. Then, without a word, Elm returns to his translation, fingers hammering the keys faster than ever.
For her part, Jasmine hugs you – extremely carefully. It's a little like being caught in a very gentle man-trap.
> Fire is super effective, as we know, against Steel- perhaps we could try and think of a contingency plan for when he/she inevitably turns up and tries to melt Jasmine into a pile of tragic slag.
Um... run, I guess?
Seriously, though. What else could you do? Shoot it with the Highly Persuasive Handgun? You're not sure, but you think that might just make it mad.
Hm. Well, y'know, running is still an option.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World
The Rocket Case
The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol
Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon
A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click
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