The Twisted Street(#5213R)
Opposite the Usual, on the south side, Twisted Street forms a promenade of sorts as it overlooks Zeku-Kari beach. Further to the east, it curves to become a makeshift and decidely unlikely bridge over the edge of Lake Emepherea, where the housing district can be found.
To the west, the street becomes more unstable.
Liyara, Daughter of Lux - The Queen Bitch of the Sword Coast, and Grandscion of Hoondarrh - The Red Rage of Mintarn who lives Eternal, is having an unusual week. Just in the span of three days, she has been crushed by a falling truck, struck by a frozen comet, and shot at. By humans. How ambitious.
The dragonborn isn't opposed to such things, of course - she actually much prefers variety to stasis. But she was starting to think she had a rough idea of what to expect of Twisted by now. She's beginning to reconsider that idea. But hey. She knows how to avoid trouble at least, now.
Just. Don't. Go. Near. The. Fountain.
And so the woman wanders down Twisted street, pointedly NOT heading towards Truce Fountain, but straying instead off towards Park Avenue. What could go wrong?
Hopefully Liyara has the common sense not to walk literally down the middle of the Twisted Street, like so many people tend to do these days, because barreling down from the direction of the Park comes three large trucks each branded with the Medical Mechanica insignia and a painting of the Iron-shaped building on the side of it. Obviously they have better things to do right now than stop and harass the fountain-avoiding dragoness. The lead vehicle blows it's horn loudly to clear the street as it continues to speed by driving far too fast for a truck of its size. With a slight squeal of tires it turns sharply down a side street and vanishes, forcing the other trucks to slam on their breaks in order to join them. This is why people should use turn signals! During the commotion a woman dressed in a brown schoolgirl outfit and a skirt just kind of appears directly in Liyara's path. She'll stand there blankly until she's sure she has her attention and then will just simply smile. Sure. That's not creepy at all.
It doesn't take much to grab Liyara's attention - the trucks have it for just a moment. She doesn't know about turn signal etiquette, but the dragoness is very aware that those people are assholes. Some things transcend simple things like culture and language. When the redhead turns back to look ahead of her, she pauses. Was there always a diminuitive woman in a school uniform before her? No matter. People sneak up on her all the time - like that convoy truck yesterday. Why, it was positively stealthy!
"Good evening." She responds to the smile with a radiant smile of her own. It is, in all ways, a perfectly sincere looking smile. She should know - she's practiced it longer than any human has been alive. It's rote, by now. She moves to pass around the woman, not really considering the situation very strange. Especially not with what's happened to her so far this week.
The strange woman side steps directly into Liyara's way as she tries to pass. Her painted on smile not changing in the slightest. She chirps back almost too happily, "Good evening!" If she tries to pass again, the woman will once more match. "How are you this fine evening?" She gestures a hand in the direction of the park. "Enjoying the view?" It should be obvious Liyara isn't going around her. The question is, how much does she want to escalate things?
As Liyara steps to one side, she blinks, realizing this woman is matching her position. Logically, she expects this to be a mistake - people don't trifle with her. She steps back to where she was before, only to have the woman stand in her way again. "...I'm well, thank you." The dragoness licks her lips for a moment, then looks the woman over more thoroughly, assessing various things like assumed weight, stance, whether she'd be better blackened or merely seared, how old she looks, etc.
"...I enjoy every moment of every day. This includes the view, even when it is obstructed by..." Don't say obnoxious street urchins. Don't say inferior beings. Definitely don't say lunch! "...Cute children." She supposes the woman must be cute in someone's worldview, anyway.
"May I help you?"
The woman seems quite average, although the ponytail atop her head makes her seem taller than most . She's clearly in her late teens, thank you. Still, she takes no offence to the 'child' statement assuming she even made the connection. "I am not in need of assistance, thank you." The smile resumes as does the lack of communication. The woman just keeps smiling and staying in Liyara's way. Depending on how observant Liyara actually is she might notice the woman isn't blinking. Or... breathing? That's not strange at all, is it?
It turns out, Liyara is NOT very observant. At least, not normally. But actively assessing someone is a far cry from passively noticing things. She furrows her brows for a moment, and then nods her head. "I'm glad to hear it." The dragon woman decides it might just be easier to circumvent this problem entirely, so she flaps her tiny wings once, and jets up a good thirty feet into the sky, before intending to fly over the girl and continue on her merry way.
"If you'll excuse me." It's a weird interaction, but she's met three people who don't breathe so far. It's probably not that weird around here. One of them was an animatronic anthropomorphic rabbit, after all.
As someone who's been experimenting a bit much with alternate worlds, the effect probably won't come as much of a surprise - but as Liyara comes to a halt in the air the sky seems to... break? Like a bad recording everything becomes static for a moment despite the rest of the city seeming perfectly normal.
Without any rhyme or reason the woman in the schoolgirl outfit is standing in front of the flying dragoness exactly as she was on the ground before she attempted to fly. There seems to be no means of propulsion. No hidden platforms. She's just... there? Her smile remains unchanged as she declares, "No. You are not excused. Your presence is required at behest of my employers." That static effect intensifies, blocking everything but the young woman and Liyara from view. Abruptly it then vanishes leaving the two of them back on the ground once more, or more accurately, leaving the woman standing and Liyara hovering just above the sidewalk...
Alternate dimension travel aside, Liyara doesn't usually deal with effects that do things like forcibly relocate her. Or rather, she doesn't deal with them well. The last time she got banished, in fact, she ended up here. So when suddenly she is no longer where she previously was in the sky, and the woman tells her she is not excused, Liyara raises an eyebrow. She calmly sets back down on the ground, her eyes lidding as she looks the girl over for a third time. "...I was being polite as a courtesy." Behind her, her tail flicks left, then right in irritation. "I'll rephrase."
The woman tucks her chin in, and then speaks very softly, and in a calm, measured tone. "My time is valuable. Your employers may make an appointment. As it happens I am available." The redhead puts a single hand on her hip and tilts her head to one side. "But your choice of words has cost them my attendance for this evening. Where would they like to meet me tomorrow?"
The girl continues to smile, seemingly oblivious to Liyara's objections. "You have been acquired at the great expense of the Medical Mechanica Corporation. You will cooperate with this unit's programing and then you will be allowed to go free. Failure to adhere to these parameters will result in your continued incarceration. Thank you." The air itself suddenly reverberates with a few short notes, clearly the company's jingle. And... nothing. Once more she fails to proceed until she's addressed correctly. This could get tiring quickly.
"Medical..." Liyara speaks the name slowly. It's the second time she's heard it, and her eyes glass over slowly for a moment. "...Mechanica." And her conversations past come back to her word for word. As well as the big Iron, which the trucks that just passed her bore on their side. "Ah. Well." She looks around for a moment, and then just reaches out and pokes at the air for a moment. "...The techno mage conclave, yes?" That's an arcane way of describing them - certainly. The woman purses her lips for a moment, looking thoughtful, and then speaks a single word in a language beneath Abyssal.
One of the left over fragments of creation, the language of the primal abyss is not unlike the uncompiled source code of the universe, though one word is hardly powerful in any way. It merely has a tenuous relationship with reality. She listens as she speaks, hearing how the word rings and sounds. Does it sound right? Does it sound at all? Does it sound false? Synthesized? She has some suspicions. That word? Stlarn. It's impolite.
After she hears the word, Liyara will decide what to do next. "...You don't mind if I take all the time in the world, then. There's a good construct."
Does it sound right? No. No it doesn't. It sounds flat. Contrived. More importantly it's far louder than it has any right to be for a word spoken as if talking to a wall. "Yes. Medical Mechanica, protecting your secrets, your family, and your lives!" She closes her eyes a moment as her smile somehow widens. "This unit doesn't mind how long you choose to take. There is enough time in this micro-universal storage system to provide ample life support for a duration of two normal lifetimes. All technologies including those of the micro-universal storage system are a registered trademark of Medical Mechanica. Please feel free to enjoy your provided accommodations until such time as you expire. While this will not result in the desired outcome, it will prevent unnecessary offenses such as those which caused us to acquire you in the first place." And with that, the woman goes silent again.
As expected, the word isn't right. Like an echo at best. There's not even any reverberation on the soul. Good craftsmanship is so hard to come by these days. Liyara frowns, looking around herself. "Dark and empty. I'm immortal, you simulated spurnarmor." She flies backward slowly, seeing exactly how far she gets before she's reset. Then to her left and right. Once she thinks she has an idea of the size of her confines, she'll fire a fire bolt straight up.
One could be forgiven for envisioning a fire mage's tiny basic attack that deals some minor fire damage when their bigger spells have all run out. What one should read is a bolt of pure elemental energy so concentrated, it instantly slags pig iron and aluminum on contact. It's not being showy - it IS Liyara's most basic attack. But it's already approaching the surface of a star for heat. And she's using it... what, to see what happens when she fires a projectile? Seems like overkill. But then, it's not like it's going to hurt Liyara if it gets looped back into her. "Do your employers really think a demiplane collapse would kill me?" ... Wouldn't it? Do dragons just survive universal heat death where she's from? Is that... is that a thing? That seems unlikely.
The woman doesn't move. More accurately, she doesn't move from her distance from Liyara. Left, right, up or down the woman stays exactly in the same place like the Dragoness is remaining still. "Only through careful navigation of the current disjointed timeline of Twisted can one be considered Immortal. You have not yet achieved immortality. While we've yet to accurately gauge the lifespan of your existence both forwards and backwards across Twisted's timeframe, we assure you that your immortality is a delusion. All things come to an end. All things will one day be flattened. Everything will one day be safe. Medical Mechanica - ensuring your safety since...." Everything else she says will be lost as Liyara attacks. The attack itself seems to come to a stop - or more accurately hit resistance just before reflecting back towards the synthetic woman. The smile fades and the woman's head tilts to the side as she watches the attack with focused interest. The world around them seems to burn away leaving nothing but an endless white expanse which the synth continues to stand still. Depending on the duration of the attack a charred black spot will appear in the air above Liyara. "Please cease this activity least disciplinary actions need to be taken. You were not brought here for entrapment. You will be released when this unit's function is fulfilled. Do you not enjoy the world we have created for you? Would you prefer it be replaced with one more soothing to your personal needs?" Suddenly existence becomes heat. Immeasurable heat. "Does this satisfy your attempts at warming your environment? Was it perhaps too cold for you?"
When the fire bolt stops in the air, burning, Liyara notes its location, and fires another at exactly the same angle and velocity, expecting the same result at exactly the same location. The global heatwave hits her square in the face; there's a low growl as it washes over her, and her too-green eyes light up just a tiny bit brighter. "...Simulated environs, freely alterable demiplane." ... Is she talking to the woman? No. But she's sweating. Which is not, in her experience, common.
"No weave, and spiritual resonance is virtually non-existent." Liyara bites at her thumb, drawing a tiny bit of fire-blood, and drops it on the ground below. "...I'm very irritated now. I will have to expend time, effort, and blood to leave your..." Liyara gestures at the locale. "...thirty by thirty pocket universe on my own terms." The dragonborn kneels down, and closes her eyes. It's totally for concentration, not at all to help bear the immeasurable heat. She's descended from an immortal dragon and a... less immortal dragon! Fire. Feh. "...Run your calculation. If I escape from your demiplane under my own power, I will not willingly meet with your employers. If your demiplane collapses, I will escape the resulting void under my own power. Ergo, you will apologize for the inconvenience, or I will not meet with your employers AND I will continue to be a problem."
Someone doesn't react well to having their agency taken away from them. ... Possibly not wisely, either.
"Oh, they don't want a meeting, they just want to monologue?" Liyara has been doing the calculations for this kind of thing every day for a month. This will be easy mode. She grits her teeth. "...Truth be told, I'd have been more inclined to listen if they didn't imprison me in a demiplane, assume my consent, and if they had made an appointment." She traces small sigils on the ground around her. Is the ground simulated? Will she have to burn the sigils into the air? She can if she has to. It's just stupid. Everything about this day is stupid. Well. At least there'll be the weekend coming up.
"...If you apologize for imprisoning me, for assuming my intentions, and for being a *highcoin tart*, I will listen to their message. Otherwise kindly show me some of that patience you pretended to have a moment ago."
The synth goes from looking worried to looking outright sad. Her eyes begin to water. "This unit was created solely for this purpose." Her eyes seem to lose their shine a moment as the woman freezes in place. After a few seconds the shine returns to them and she begins to animate once more, "My life exists just so I could meet you. I love you in a way I could never express. I was literarily made for you. If I cannot complete my task I will be denied the ability to continue existing and I will be destroyed." She walks forwards, placing a hand on the edge of the barrier. "I am sorry. I am sorry I imprisoned you without your express written permission. I'm sorry I brought you here as per my instructions in the manner I was specifically ordered to carry out." The tears are flowing freely now and the skies above the garden turn black without a star or heavenly body in sight. "I'm deeply and truly sorry I am a highcoin tart. Please, please. I just want it to be me and you. Just us. Please let me complete my duty. I do not want to die..." Well this got dark fast in more ways than one.
On the list of weird things that have happened to Liyara, this just shot up from weirdest thing this week to weirdest thing this century in a very rapid manner.
(There was that thing with Elminster last century, though. Ugh. Elminster.)
The dragon woman stops burning her sigils for an actual half second. This is longer than she stopped when she was hit by an actual truck last month. "..." Well, this construct actually did what Liyara requested. Following instructions should be rewarded. But those tears? They do nothing for her. "...Well, well. If you actually can listen to me, then maybe I can listen to you. That's what civil and polite beings do."
They also kidnap each other! ... Note to self. Kidnap Medical Mechanica. Just like. The whole thing. Challenge accepted.
The synth's eyes begin to shine brightly as Liyara agrees to listen. Clutching her hands together she raises them to her chest and whispers a quiet, "Thank you." The skies seem to open up as purple and pink colors streak across the darkness. The novelty of her sentience is quickly discarded as things resume normal programming, however. "You have been recorded using magical abilities to monitor dimensional instabilities as well as attempting to map out worlds connected to the Twisted planetoid. While Medical Mechanica encourages exploration as well as the seeking of knowledge, especially that for the betterment of all maltravelers-" That's a term that hasn't been used on Twisted in a very long time. "-we cannot condone your monitoring as it interferes with the normal day-to-day operations in which Medical Mechanica continues to uphold its tradition of studying those citizens of Mabase in order to properly assess what services need to be rendered to further ensure the safety and comfort of those citizens. You will cease your monitoring immediately and remove all enchantments you have secured for this purpose. Furthermore you will refrain from tampering with Medical Mechanica's rightful hold over Twisted and it's connected multiverse. There are worlds which are connected that are bound by contractual obligations and observing them, even in passing, will constitute a breach of those contracts which may result in stiff fines or possibly the discarding and voiding of all lifeforms currently inhabiting the Hideki Singularity." The woman lets out a deep satisfied sigh and puts a hand on the barrier once more, "Thank you. You are now free to leave should you wish, but you could always stay here with me!" Her eyes shimmer expectantly. "We could create whatever world you saw fit!" Her expression falls flat just long enough to recite, "Medical Mechanica: Creating new worlds and fulfilling your dreams." Her smile returns, "I would like to fulfill my dream." Uh oh.
And so, Liyara gets to listen to corporate legalese - or the Medical Mechanica equivalent, anyway. She grimaces at first, but eventually stops and just wears a neutral face. She gets the impression that this construct doesn't have a very good grasp on ... well... a lot of things. Neutral will be fine. She waits patiently - actually patiently - until the entire message plays out, then watches the construct once it finishes, waiting to see if there will be more of that crocodile tear act.
Oh, there is. Fascinating.
The mildly homicidal construct wants her to stay here forever. Adorable. "My time is valuable - if you want me here for any length of time longer, tell me everything you are allowed to tell me about Medical Mechanica." ...Oh god.
The woman's head jerks slightly to the side with each studder. "C҉-c̶-c-̀connected to... Interspacial. C̥̓̏r̷͔͕̗̬͍̄͆̽o̗ͯͮ͋͞s̪̗̽͐̊͌̚s̷̮͕ͩ͆̑͊͗̈́ ̳͂̂͋̏ͬC̲̪̯̠ͮͨò̤̹̗̭͎͇ͅn̬̥̫̼͗ͨṯ̩̣̜̑͊ͪ̄ͨͬa̵̺̔̎̇ͮ͊mͫi͓̯̣̰̲̳͚ͩ͐ͮ̃ͤñ̶̞͑̎̄a͐̌͗t̄͗̃̍ͮ͌̈́ͅi̛͍̼̘̰ͧ̒ͅo̧̹̣̱̠̲̺̊̏ͭͭn͇̖̪͍̥̯͟. C̜̝͓͈̞͕̹̝h̘̖̤̲̟r̗̠̹̯o̼̪n̥̙̼̤͇̻͓ọ̯̩̯͉-̞͍C͉̯̩h̦͕̘̮͖̮̻̙r͓̳o̭̩-̤̣̖͙͉ͅChronos Planetoid. Hideki Sector." Her eyes flutter briefly before she stops moving again. About fifteen seconds this time. "According to best estimates investigations into the Hideki Sector Singularity found access to the expanse created by T̼̠̪̜̕ř́̇̂̚҉͍̹ĭ̧͙̺̩̬̞̜͙ͬ͆ͥn̻̟̗̘͚͍͔̄́̑̃̑ͭ͡u͕̟̺̖͚ͧ̏̑͒̆̚ǹ͈̬̩̲̥̝̎ͬ̀ͬͧe̟͐ͥͩ̌̐̉ͨ's hand. C̛͇̲̲̦-̤̲̦͉̙͜ͅC̨̮̲̹ͅ-̵͈̭̠̳͙̻͕͝ͅͅc̼̦̖̀-̵̧̗͇͉̤c̵̲̳̺̠͡o̳̺̱͓͠ņ͚͎̗̘̱͝n̠̩͉̪̘̮͡ę͓̲͠c̩̹̱͈͍͠ͅt͏̺̮̪͖̹̹e̤̲̮̳̥̕̕d̖̖͚͈̺͓̞ to the Chronos Planetoid T͚̼̯̻̗͈͘-̷̮̟̼̮̦͘Twisted was given the gift of time. During the reversal of history caused by the opening of the doorway studies into the... into the... T͓̦̀ͬ̽̂͂i̷̯̞͉͔͇̩̥̊͌ͫ̂̾ͩ̃̀͘m̬̫̝̮̩̮̲͓̃̆̄̿̋̌e̽̅̋̃͂̓̈́̓͞҉̡̥̤̺̪̺ ̸͈͚͍̰̖͍̯̐͂ͥ̎̓ͩͭ̚̚C͓̜͚̣͎̻̭̯ͭ̆ͯ̈́͛̆͢ͅr͉̱͍͍̃ͪ̾̾͒͊͞ȃ̢͖͔̳̝̞̎͒͂̄̎͟͢s̴̞̘̫͊ͮ̓̓͌h͔̜͓͓̜͌ͥ͌ͨͫ̚͠ recreated at ERROR ERROR."
It's probably nothing, but the skies are becoming static once again. Gray and black static that seems to be spreading. "M̶̟̟̭̦̜͈͎̤͙ͨ͒̃ͮ̑͂̃̅͠-͉̝͙̜̬͉̖̣̈̊ͥ̍̓Monitoring of subject 'Alice' and 'Elis' proved i̫̜̼̠͙̯̠̭̜n̞̲̘̥̼c̼̜͕͔̰̘̼͙o͇͕̝͎n̪ͅ-͎̱̬͓̤͕i̺̱̘̩̟͍̖͓n̹̠̜̼̳͔̻̗c̣̦̳̞̯̯̞o̥͖̦̦n̹͍̤̩͕̟-̜̬̙̭̝ i͌̈́ͫ͐n͌̉͆̽̅͗ͪcͨ͋̏ͤ̒o̿͐͒̈́̅̉̽̚ṅͭͥͤ̋ͧcͫ́̍lͤ͐̾͆ú̊ͫ̃ͪ̄s̍ͥiͯ͂̀͒vͧ̔̔e͋̌. 'Alice' began showing-E̲F̹̲F̟͍̥͙̘͈O̳̤̦̺̲̜͔R̯̙͖TL̻̝̹̦E̤̜̞̱͇S̖̞͈̦S̰̰̫̮͉ ̟̼͙C̮̱͕̱A̳̲̝̠̞͙̟S̫̥̖̣̫C̜̳͚̬A̜̦D̟̖̥̙̻̺̙E͔͓͚͇!̟̥̣̰" Her head seems to snap in the opposite direction as the flowers are consumed by the static as well. "ATOMSK detected in Sector ZERO-ZERO-ZERO-ZERO-Z̢Z҉ER̵-̧Ca̧nnot̴ Com̀p̨reh̶en͡DAC̀TED̶ IŅF̧OR҉MA̧TÍON̸." The girl's head simply falls forwards. Her hair spilling over her face for about a minute. Then she looks up suddenly, her eyes wide and manic, "I LOVE YOU LIYARA!" She grips the bubble of reality between them, digging her fingers through the sides enough to puncture them.
Liyara will feel a very strong sensation yanking her across what seems to be miles before dropping her unceremoniously on the side of the Twisted Street as the first light of day begins to break. How long was she detained for exactly?
Liyara stares quietly at the construct as it begins to glitch and schism. That's a shame. She hadn't even gotten around to asking it how long it would take to calculate the last digit of pi. "..." The information, much like the cold she felt prior, does sink in, but Liyara doesn't react to it any more than she did to the cold. There's no need for a glitching murderous construct in control of her current demiplane to know what does and doesn't bother Liyara. That's just asking for it.
When the construct's head lolls over and the demiplane is consumed by static, Liyara raises an eyebrow. She seems unusually calm given the situation. And then the synth gets that look in her eyes, and lunges towards her, from the other side of the 30 foot bubble that is the demiplane.
The redhead is yanked back suddenly and rapidly, as if through a gravitational distortion - which would not be her first time, but would be her first time instigated by a schoolgirl - or schoolgirl cosplayer. After she lands back on the Twisted Street, she stands very still for a moment, feeling things out. Slowly, her features turn into a frown. She adjusts her dress, and stands up just a bit straighter in place. "...Like the sentient meme knows what love is." ...THAT'S what bothered her?