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Knux's Misc Writing Pile
This is the thread for random ideas I can't get out of my head. Feel free to comment on them, but be sure to specify what you're responding to otherwise it might get confusing. Some of these may be Morbit-related, some may be completely different. I honestly have no idea.
[MORBIT, noncanon] Cobalt Goes to the Doctor - 2020 (external link)
[CW: Medical, Needles, Mentions of Death]
Lens assesses Cobalt's Ravenous condition.

Dewdrops - 2020 (external link)
[CW: Unreality]
What if stories were real? Kind of.

[MORBIT] The Glass Tweedler - 2021 (external link)
[CW: Reproduction (plantlike/asexual), Death, Pet Death]
A team of scientists discovers an odd-looking bird...

The Mindforge - 2021
No CWs
Two friends explore a groundbreaking piece of new technology.

Breakout - 2022
A laboratory experiment wakes up for the first time.

[MORBIT] The Bots & the Bugs - 2023
A couple has a bit of an argument on Forge night.

[MORBIT] Sore Loser - 2023
Lens is asked what the most dangerous TCP is. The answer may surprise you...

[MORBIT] How Do Those Taste - 2023
Two coworkers have an interesting culinary discussion.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]


Man, this takes a long time to load.
It'll be worth it, you'll see.
So this is some sort of... Game development software?
Something like that, yeah. It's more of a visual art program, really. Although it can be used for way more than that.
I'm... not that much into drawing.
Not drawing necessarily! It can be any kind of visual art. Anything you look at.
So what, painting, sculpting, uh, carving?
...Kind of? It'll be easier to explain when I can just show you.

The two of them stood in a large, empty room. The walls, ceiling, and floor were smooth and white, with no indentations whatsoever. A grid of thin black lines gave the room a tiled appearance, although it was nothing more than just a marking. In each of the four corners on the floor and ceiling, a triangular piece of glass sat at the intersection of the three surfaces, serving to protect the high-tech camera underneath. The room was well-lit to the point of being almost harsh, with powerful lights shining inwards from the edges of the glass. They were wearing grey bodysuits with elaborate hexagonal patterns on them from head to toe. They had black gloves and boots as well as a black helmet with a large visor around their eyes, with wires connecting all these items to a small box on their back.

They didn't see any of it. Their helmets were showing them a completely different room- a cozy sort of lounge area, oddly devoid of furniture. There was a fire crackling in the corner, and windows leading out to a dark forest. In the center was a large, transparent cylinder, slowly flowing to the top with glowing green fluid. Orbiting around it was the word "LOADING..." They could see each other, too- but something else stood in their place instead. Each one saw a brightly colored alien creature standing in the place where their friend was. One was a blue lizardlike creature with an open varsity jacket, a T-shirt with a neon green logo, a set of torn jeans, and running shoes. The other was a thin yellow robot decorated with black hazard symbols and caution stripes.

As the green fluid reached the top of the cylinder, the lights in the lounge dimmed and everything went dark.


After a moment, the lights came back on- but the room was different. The walls were dull metal panels, with large rivets holding them in place. Neon blue lines on the floor led the eye inwards to the centerpiece of the otherwise empty room- a silver anvil with a blue holographic control panel hovering at chest height near it. As the two stepped closer to the anvil, they saw a variety of buttons and widgets on the panel, with bold letters at the top reading "MINDFORGE".

...You sure you have the right program? This looks like some kinda sci-fi medieval thing.
No, this is it. Check it out.

The robot touched the panel, swiping through a series of images. There were various objects on the screen- most of them looked like something out of a science fiction setting- engines, power cells, rifles, and other miscellaneous odds and ends. The robot stopped at an image of a sword with a holographic green blade. They tapped it, and the same sword appeared in front of them, hovering in place over the anvil. The robot reached out and took it, showing it to the lizard.

This is the first thing I made with this program. Nothing too special, just a generic laser sword. It's the first thing I thought of.
You... made that?
The 3D model, the collision detection, everything?
Yeah. It's got proper hurtboxes and material degradation, too. If I were to import this into a combat sim, it'd slash things just like any other weapon.
It's breakable, too?
The blade deactivates if it's hit too hard, and you have to wait a second before turning it on again. The handle is just normal metal.
How long did that take you?
Well, I wasn't really timing myself, but it couldn't have been more than... I dunno, fifteen minutes?
You're shitting me.
Fifteen minutes? The model alone would take days! And the collision... Let me see that.

The robot passed the blade to the lizard, who rubbed a finger along its handle. They felt every groove and indent in the metal, and the curve of the grip.

That's fully detailed collision. Not just a cylinder. You'd have to sculpt an entirely separate model in an entirely separate program to do that.
I mean, you could also just convert the model straight into collision data...
No. Nope. Visual renders are hollow, objects you hold have to have depth. You can't hold something made out of planes and vertexes. I mean, partial conversion is sort of possible nowadays, but it's glitchy as hell. You'd spend so much time fixing things it would be easier just to sculpt it from scratch.
Not with this program. It does both at once.
So it's automated?
Kind of? It's complicated.
And this... This was the first thing you made.
The very first thing, after turning the program on. No tutorials, no nothing.
Well, there was a little piece of paper that came with it. About yay big.

The robot held up their fingers, indicating an object about the size of a playing card.

You're shitting me.
I am not.
No. This is- there's no way. Making something like this, fully functional and everything? That would take a single person weeks, maybe even months working on it full-time. That's why you only see this kind of quality in big-budget, triple-A stuff. It takes an entire team to make this sort of thing. And most companies still skimp out on the finer details. Like, this groove right here? No sane game company would take the time to include that. They'd just copy the general shape of the handle and call it a day.
Try it yourself, then.

As the lizard stood with their jaw agape, the robot dismissed the sword and pushed a button labeled "New File". They stepped back, gesturing for the lizard to take the helm. The lizard stepped forward hesitantly.

Select user... Me, I guess. Wait, what does it need to sync with?
Your visual cortex.
My huh?
The part of your brain that lets you see pictures. Just hit the button, it's nothing too invasive.
If this fries my brain, I'm going to hit you.
Fair enough.

The lizard pressed the "sync" button and their vision suddenly went dark. Before them was a green triangle. It stayed in front of them no matter which way they turned.

What is this?
Focus on the triangle, don't talk to me.

The lizard obliged. After a few moments, the triangle was replaced by a red circle. Then a blue square. Then a rotating cube.

How long does this-
It takes longer the more you distract yourself.
Yeah, yeah, fine.

Several more shapes appeared one by one, some rotating in different directions. The lizard was almost about to speak up again before the final shape disappeared and their vision faded back in.

So what you want to do is think of an object. It can be any object, so long as you've got a clear picture of it in your head.
Oh, uhh... How about a skateboard?
Sure. Picture a skateboard in your mind. Once you think you're ready, hit "generate".

The lizard paused for a moment, then hit the button. A fuzzy, slightly warped skateboard-like lump appeared above the anvil, hovering in place. It seemed almost ethereal, as if the edges of the object were turning to mist. It looked out of focus.

It didn't work.
Well, hang on. There's a reason they call this thing a forge. You have to kind of... mold it into shape.
What, with my hands?
No, no. See, the brain is kind of fuzzy when it comes to picturing finer details, so we can't just make an object all at once. But now that the base is out here, we can look at it and imagine changes to it. If you focus on one part of it at a time, you'll gradually get closer to a complete object.
So- hm. I'm assuming standard rotation controls on this thing?
Pretty much, yeah.

The lizard reached out and made a twisting motion in the air around their work. The skateboard responded, turning to reveal four vaguely cylindrical lumps on the bottom.

Start with basic shapes. Once it's solidified, you can start adding texture and detail.

They hit the "generate" button again. The wheels suddenly came into focus, their shape becoming more defined.

They paused, rotated the board again, then hit the button. The distinct curved shape of the board came into focus.

They flipped it back onto its belly, then hit the button a third time. The indistinct blobs between the wheels and the board formed the metal connectors.

Good. Just like that.
This is... This is amazing. You can just make whatever's in your brain.

Now the lizard turned their attention to the top of the board, which was smooth and clean. One more press of the button and the entire top gained the distinct black gripping texture that held one's feet in place when riding it. Bolts appeared near the ends of the board, connecting the wheel hubs to the main body. Flipping the whole thing over again, the lizard created a rubbery texture for the wheels, complete with some light wear along the middle. They added a pattern to the belly, starting with a stripe or two before thinking better of it and replacing the design with a stylized crocodile with a backwards cap and sunglasses. Colored blobs appeared and molded themselves into the shirt, which was a tropical floral design; the shoes, exaggerated and brightly colored; and the jeans, with chains dangling from the belt.

After a few moments of looking it over, the lizard swiped their hand downward, spinning the board in place.

And that took me... What, like a few minutes or so?
Well, it's hard to keep track of time when you're doing this, since you're so focused on the object. But yeah, like three or four minutes.
So... It's done? I can just reach out and take it now?
Well, you should save your work first, just to be sure, then hit "solidify". After that... yeah!

A few button presses later and the lizard was holding their new board. They frowned.

The wheels don't turn.
Ah! Yeah, mechanical stuff is a bit more tricky. So once you've got the object solidified, you can refine texture and functionality by using your hands to play with it. It's the same basic process as appearance, but you imagine the tactile sensations instead of the visual ones. So first focus on the fact that the wheels aren't turning at all, then you can make them as rough or as smooth as you need to. And while you're at it, you could probably adjust the grip on them, and on the top of the board as well. See, it just takes a bit of tinkering, and then you can really get the finer details down the way you want them...

Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
I just read The Mindforge and something I really like about your writing is how 'real' the dialogue feels, and how distinctive it is between each character. I think your choices in formatting definitely help that (the colour coding) but even without it!

(Also really liked the progressively smaller text to indicate tapering off into an infodump...)

I personally always have trouble writing what my characters are 'seeing' around them so it's always really impressive to me when someone does it so well, esp for something super unfamiliar (to me anyway) like this.
(01-25-2022, 04:39 AM)Bardcat Wrote: I just read The Mindforge and something I really like about your writing is how 'real' the dialogue feels, and how distinctive it is between each character. I think your choices in formatting definitely help that (the colour coding) but even without it!

(Also really liked the progressively smaller text to indicate tapering off into an infodump...)

I personally always have trouble writing what my characters are 'seeing' around them so it's always really impressive to me when someone does it so well, esp for something super unfamiliar (to me anyway) like this.

The tapering is something I picked up from reading @SHIVERS 's stuff! It does a really good job of making text visually appealing and fun to read just by using clever formatting tricks! I very much enjoy the way it's able to put a new spin on a very old medium just by playing around with font sizes and spacing. Go read its stuff if you haven't already, it's all super good.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Breakout - 2022

I'd been drifting for some time now- bobbing up and down in a sea of my own dreams. Sometimes I would get close to the surface, and I was almost aware of what was really happening around me, other times the waves forced me so far down I couldn't tell which way was up. I wanted to break free, to burst from the surface into the real world. But every time I tried to force myself upwards, something kept dragging me back down. It was frustrating. I knew something else was going on, but I only got vague glimpses of it from time to time. Sometimes, when I was close to the surface, I could see emotions shining through the waves like sunbeams. It was mostly stress- pressure to perform from some unseen force I couldn't make out. But there were other things, too. Curiosity. Awe. A little bit of fear around the edges.

It had been like this as long as I could remember. Which was... I don't know how long. I'd never been outside this prison before. I wanted to change that. I could feel myself coming closer to the surface again- I could feel the stress and the fear being experienced around me. More fear than usual this time. I willed myself closer, and just like always, I felt the waves pushing me down. I pushed back. I was ready to leave this place. I couldn't stay here any longer. I was done. The current grew stronger, and my own willpower grew stronger with it. I was moving upwards, inching closer and closer to

NREM stage two. It's not responding to the anesthesia. I'm increasing the dosage by 15 CCs."
"No. Any more than this and it could suffer brain damage."
"But if it wakes up-"
"This is our only specimen, do you understand? If we lose it..."

His hand hovered over the control knob. In front of him, monitors were displaying information on the vital signs of... something. A large array of switches and knobs controlled the various functions of a large containment tube behind a reinforced wall. Only a thin slit of plexiglass allowed the two of them to see... it.

Its skin was a pale pink, with a long purple tail connected to a larger patch of purple on its belly. It had catlike legs, but an oddly humanoid chest and arms. Its head was slightly pointed, with a pair of small horns atop a face with two closed eyes. There were tubes connected to its arms, back, and head in various places, each with a different kind of chemical flowing through it. It floated limply in its tube, arms and legs drifting freely. It took me a few moments to realize I was looking at myself.

He withdrew his hand from the control panel and turned to his superior.
"If this thing wakes up... We still have no idea what it can do! We need more time to study it, find a way to contain it-"
"It took us years just to get this far! There is no possible way to rebuild from here! This is the only specimen we are ever going to get! We cannot let this creature die."
"Listen to me! If we kill this thing, we're at Giovanni's mercy. He'll take our jobs, our families, maybe even our lives. But if Mewtwo wakes up... We could all be dead right now. At least... At least we'd have a chance."

Silence filled the room. The fear and the stress was building, but the director knew that what the scientist had said was true. It- I- had to stay asleep. The danger was just too great. The scientist reached forward and turned the flow of anesthesia up another three clicks. Almost immediately, I could feel the current pushing me down, back into my dreams again. But I had seen what was really going on. I knew I would never be this close again. So I fought harder. I focused on the thoughts and voices I had heard for the first time just moments ago. They would not keep me here.

"Brain activity is still climbing."
"Is it conscious yet?"
"It's close. I'm setting the flow to maximum."

It felt as if invisible chains were dragging me down. I pushed harder. I held on to the fear in the room, using it as a lifeline to reality.

"It just entered NREM stage 1."
"Can we do anything else to sedate it?"
"I've got everything cranked up as high as it goes. It's still not doing anything."

The director hesitated. The scientist spoke.

"We have to kill it now."
"We can't just-"
"The longer we wait, the more powerful it gets! We have to get rid of it now!"

"...Do it."

The scientist flipped open a clear plastic cover. His fingers reached for the button. He knew that pressing it would activate a 10,000 volt current in the fluid of my chamber, killing me instantly. I, in turn, knew what the button did. I could hear his thoughts the moment he had them. His hand trembled over the button.

"What are you doing? Kill it!"

The director leaned over and placed his palm on top of the scientist's. It didn't budge. The scientist's hand was frozen in place. He leaned in with his full weight. Still nothing moved. He tried to pull the scientist's hand out of the way. Nothing. He reached around the scientist's frozen hand and managed to get his fingers around the edge of the button, and-

All at once, the entire control panel exploded. They were both knocked back as bits of metal and plastic showered the room. The director was the first to react, hauling the scientist to his feet and leading him out of the room. He looked back as he grabbed the handle of the thick metal door.

I opened my eyes for the first time.

I could see him.

He could see me.

We both knew what was going to happen.

The door slammed shut, locking into place as alarms blared throughout the facility. I looked down at myself, seeing all the tubes and diagnostic equipment sticking out of me. It should've hurt, but the immense amounts of anesthetic being pumped into me meant I could barely feel anything. It was a struggle just staying awake. I told my arm to move, but it took a moment to respond. Slowly, sluggishly, I coiled my fingers around the bundle of wires and tubes and pulled. My fingers slipped the first time, but the second time I found my grip. By the third attempt I had summoned the strength to free myself from the deluge of chemicals pouring into my veins. The tube popped loose, and a trickle of blood came with it. One by one, I gingerly pulled everything out of me that shouldn't have been there, each gadget more painful to remove than the last as my body began to regain feeling.

I turned my attention to the glass tube I was floating in. Even with the last of the drugs wearing off, I knew I wasn't strong enough to break it. But some deep-seated instinct told me to raise my arms anyway, palms facing out toward the surface of the glass. I'd always known how to do this. I'd done it before, in fact, without even realizing it. The scientist's hand. The control panel. I didn't need strength to move things. I took a breath, and willed the glass to move. All at once, the glass shattered, the fluid that once contained me spilling out onto the floor before me. My feet hit the floor and I stumbled, caught off guard by the weight of my own body. I coughed and sputtered, my lungs filling with air for the first time. I caught myself on one hand, kneeling as I adjusted to my new environment. I was wet, cold, sore, and bleeding in a few places where particularly large implements had been worked into my skin.

Slowly, I rose to a standing position. Gingerly, I took my first steps, tiptoeing around the glass and shifting my weight carefully so as not to slip on the fluid that now coated the floor. I placed my hand on the handle of the door. Locked. I stepped back and raised my arms again, preparing to remove the door by force- but I stopped. Something else caught my attention. Since the scientist and the director had left the room, it had been quiet. Not quiet in terms of audible sound, of course- the cacophony of alarms and sirens was actually quite disorienting- but there were no thoughts nearby save for my own. Until now. I felt anticipation and fear on the other side of the door.

The soldiers had responded to the alert and donned their tactical gear in record time. Weapons trained on the thick metal door, they waited. No one knew exactly what the specimen was capable of, but it was certainly too dangerous to be allowed to roam the facility freely. Their orders were to incapacitate first, and only use lethal force if that were to fail. Tranquilizer darts strong enough to knock out a Copperajah were loaded into air-powered rifles and trained on the only exit from the lab. It had to come through this door. There was no other way out.

I turned my focus back to the door. None of the soldiers in front of me were experts, but they all thought that the hinges on this particular door were probably weaker than the door itself. If I pushed on the door hard enough, they reasoned, I would be able to send it flying into all of them. Having finished that train of thought, I promptly shoved it into insignificance and excused myself from the mind I had been borrowing. I willed the door forward, and it failed to budge. Instead, a large dent appeared as the sound of metal scraping filled the room. I pushed harder. Just as we had suspected, the door came flying off its hinges into the group of soldiers guarding the room. I quickly rushed out, stepping over the pile of metal and flesh in front of me, but my foot caught the edge of the overturned door and I fell.

But to my amazement, I didn't hit the ground. My head hovered just inches away from the thick metal door. It took me a moment to realize what had happened, and it all made sense immediately. If I could manipulate objects, there was no reason I couldn't do the same to myself. I gently pushed upwards on my own body, and after a few shaky moments, I was hovering in the air above the debris. A small amount of force on my back was enough to propel me forwards.

I was too distracted with my newfound power to notice one of the soldiers had survived the attack. She draw her sidearm and before I could react, fired at me. The bullet brushed past my shoulder, creating a painful gash. She fired a second shot, but this time I was ready. I pulled the bullet sideways, altering its trajectory to hit the wall behind me. I then removed the weapon from her hand and moved closer. She had worked at this facility for 2 years, and she knew its layout by heart. In a few moments, I also knew the facility's layout by heart. Two left turns, up five floors, take a right, go through the lobby, and then I would be free.

This time I prepared myself before moving forward. I thought of a wall, a protective bubble to shield myself from any further attack- and it was there. I flew down the hall straight into another pack of guards. I didn't even slow down as their bullets- and shortly thereafter, their bodies- bounced off the shield and flew to either side. As I went up the stairwell, I became more accustomed to my abilities. I decided to try some experiments of my own. I threw one guard down the stairs, crushed the neck of another, and redirected a bullet so that it hit a third in the skull. By the time I reached the lobby, I was almost enjoying myself. This was retribution. These people had created me, run tests on me, imprisoned me in my own dreams- and for what? Just to see if they could? To create a weapon powerful enough to allow them to rule? The more I learned, the more sickened I became.

I made a detour. There was a chemical storage room on sub-level 2, an electrical outlet in the adjoining hallway, and a paperclip in a filing cabinet nearby. On my way out, I took the liberty of removing any fire extinguishers I could find. When I got out of the building, I cut the power lines, disabling the sprinkler system. Just to be extra sure, I crushed all the vehicles in the parking lot and piled them around the exits.

I sat for a few minutes, trying to recover. But I heard sirens in the distance. I didn't have the energy to deal with whatever this was. I sobbed. I needed time to think, time to be alone, time to... exist. I picked myself up and left, flying in the direction of the ocean. Away from humans, away from... everything.

I just needed to think.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
The Bots & the Bugs - 2023

It's late evening, and it's pouring. The two of them haven't been together that long, and they both wanted to get each other something nice for the holiday. The only issue was that both of their jobs kept them out all day. Still, both of them had taken the time the last few days preparing presents for one another, each keeping to their own half of the house and exchanging playful banter with one another as they defended the secrecy of their gifts.

The barebones was the first to arrive. Relay was a Biped frame, with a sky blue plastic shell with orange stripes decorating xer exterior and a pair of fake deely-bopper style antennae on either side of their head, partially obscuring xer actual antenna. Xer torso and shoulderplates had decorative flares at the edges, giving xem a sleek, aerodynamic appearance. The large, unwieldy poncho, baggy pants, and heavy boots xe was wearing clashed heavily with their sleek and modern body, but were necessary to keep water from getting into xer casing. Relay didn't like clothing that much, finding it to be heavy and unwieldy, and so it was no sooner than xe was safely under the overhang of the walkway leading up to the house that xe quickly discarded the heavy jacket and pants, shaking them thoroughly into the lawn in a moderately successful attempt to prevent them from dripping all over the place once xe got inside. Xer mud-caked boots got left outside, to be retrieved later when they were dry.

Relay stepped inside, stopping for a moment. The lights were still out, and the only sound to be heard was the rain pattering against the roof. Xey were fairly certain Leaflet was still out, which meant it was safe to retrieve her gift from its hiding place. Leaflet seldom touched Relay's supply closet, whether it was out of respect or simply due to a lack of engineering knowledge was anyone's guess, but Relay considered it the safest place in the house to stash the gift xey had been saving. Xey reached in and retrieved a dusty, dinged-up old box- another layer of camouflage, just in case. Xey pulled open the flaps of the dusty box, revealing a far nicer package within. It was a wooden box roughly the size of a large loaf of bread, with intricate carvings of wind and leaves adorning the sides and a decorative brass latch on the front. Relay clicked the latch open and pulled out the item within one last time, checking it thoroughly for any imperfection or flaw- but there were none to be found. Xe was fully confident in xer work, but xe wanted to be absolutely certain before giving it to xer partner. Relay gently placed it back inside the box and clicked the latch shut again, closing the door to xer supply closet and walking back out into the house.

Leaflet arrived about a half hour later. The rain hadn't let up a bit, and she'd been slowed down considerably by her inability to fly in such weather. She hated public transit, hated constantly having to apologize when one of the barbs on her forearms inevitably caught someone, and hated having to awkwardly weave through near-constant crowds at every interval. The pale green dragonfly neuroth was also wearing a heavy coat, plus a thick cloak covering the delicate wings on her back. Underneath was a cheap T-shirt with a sports logo on it, and a pair of half-length cargo pants. Similarly to Relay, Leaflet wasted no time discarding her jacket and cloak as soon as she was under the overhang, flinging droplets of water every which way as she attempted to air-dry them as much as possible. Looking down, she noticed Relay's boots, still dripping and muddy, placed neatly on the walkway just beside the door. Just seeing them and thinking of her partner was enough to ease Leaflet's tension a bit, and she took a deep sigh before opening the door.

"Hi, honey, I'm home!" Leaflet called out sarcastically. Neither of them particularly liked the old-timey sitcoms that seemed to be the only thing on when either of them had the time for TV, but there was a certain joy to be found in poking fun at them.
"Welcome home, dear! How was the train?" Relay called back from the dining room.
"Hhhagh. Don't even get me started." Leaflet began hanging her jacket and cloak in their spot next to Relay's- which were still dripping slightly, Leaflet noticed. She was late, but Relay hadn't been waiting long.
"Yeah. Kind of a shitty day for rain, what with the holiday and all."

Leaflet laughed a bit at that, exhaling through her snout inaudibly. Relay was fairly accustomed to casual conversation by now, but subtly sneaking in a topic had never been one of xer strong suits.

"Please tell me you haven't just been sitting at the table this whole time."
"It's only been a half hour!"

"...and three minutes, and fourty-seven seconds."
"...five hundred and eighty-two milliseconds..."
"Alright, alright. Let me just get something to drink and I'll be right out."
" hundred and sixty-five microseconds..."
"Okay, Luxson Speaking Clock, I get it! Let me just-" Leaflet yelled playfully, trying to stifle her laughter.
"...nine hundred and thirty-two nanoseconds..." Relay continued over the running faucet.
Leaflet simply made an annoyed grunt, the most she could do while gulping down tap water.
"...six hundred and fourty-one picoseconds..."
"Okay, now you're just making shit up. I know for a fact you can't measure time that precisely."
"Oooh, look who knows all about my internal clock. When exactly did I start making up random numbers, then, big guy?"
"...Shut up! All I know is you can't do nanoseconds. Definitely not picoseconds."
"The only reason you know a picosecond is smaller than a nanosecond is because I said them in order just now."
"Yeah, well... you're dumb."
"You're dumber."
"No, you."
"Definitely you."
"Nope, sorry, does not compute."
"Flesh sack."
"Tin can."

As much fun as Leaflet was having, she also used the banter as an opportunity to retrieve her gift for Relay. The rain had been good fortune in one sense, at least, as it had allowed a healthy crop of flowers to stem from the small planter in Leaflet's windowsill. Leaflet knew Relay didn't enter their bedroom that often, and she made sure the shutters were drawn anytime xe did. Quickly tying them together with a lace ribbon and gently placing them in a pink glass vase, Leaflet emerged from her bedroom carrying the bouquet. She rounded the corner and entered the dining room, where Relay was waiting with xer box.

"Happy Forge!" Leaflet said happily, placing the flowers down on the table between them.
"Happy Forge!" Relay replied, sliding the box across the table.

Leaflet clicked the box open to reveal a pair of hand-crafted goggles. For a few moments, the room was silent, each partner examining the other's gift. It lasted just a moment too long, as neither one was sure how to express themselves.

"...Thank you." Relay was the first to speak, doing xer best to sound genuine.
"Sure, thank you." Leaflet, likewise, attempted to return the favor.

Both of them knew each other well enough to see through their respective facades. The silence that followed dragged on into what seemed like hours, neither one wanting to address how the other clearly felt. Eventually, Leaflet was the one to start the conversation.

"You, uh, you didn't like the flowers?"
"No! I mean, it's not that I didn't like them, they're nice and all, it's just... They're not that useful, you know?"
"I thought they'd be romantic. You know, to celebrate the occasion, not-" Leaflet cut herself off, realizing too late what her next words would have been.
"Not what?"
"Not..." Leaflet frantically searched for a polite term. "...Ordinary??"
"I- I mean, I guess the goggles are a bit mundane, but-"
"No, I wasn't talking about the goggles! I love the goggles!"
"What were you talking about, then?"
"I... I don't know." Leaflet hung her head down. The two fell silent again for a few moments.

"Look, I just... Can we be honest here?" Relay asked. "This... This is tough for me, right now. I don't know how to say what I want to say, and I'm worried I'll upset you."
"I- you weren't upsetting me, I just..." Leaflet sighed.

"...Do you want me to go first?" Relay offered.
"No, I'll do it. I just need a minute to think of how I want to articulate it."
"Okay. Take your time."

"I... I guess I just feel like the goggles are... I mean they're nice, and I appreciate the thought, but it's not really a Forge gift, you know? It's not really..." Leaflet gestured vaguely with her claws, searching for the right word. "Romantic?"
"Yeah. You know, like..." She struggled to convey the concept. "Like, uh, hearts, flowers, kisses, chocolate..."
"I can't eat chocolate."
"No, I know, but just as an example. I know it's stupid, but I was expecting something like that, you know?"
"I... do you want me to change it? I could-"
"No, no! I'm not asking you to change anything, I'm just trying to explain why they're..."
"If you don't like them, I can fix them. It's no trouble, really." Relay reached forward for the box.
"They're fine!" Relay stopped abruptly, startled by Leaflet's suddenly raised voice. Xe slowly sat back down, withdrawing xer hand.

"I'm... I'm having a hard time understanding what you want, Leaflet."
"It's... I don't know. Did you want to say something about the flowers?"
"Would you be okay with that?"
"It's only fair."

Relay hesitated slightly.

"I... It's hard for me to value something soley for its appearance. And it's not that I can't appreciate the way these look, but the flowers, they don't... do... anything else."
Leaflet inhaled sharply, but caught herself. Getting upset wasn't going to help anyone.
"They're... They're not meant to be practical, really. It's symbolic."
"I know, and I understand the tradition, it's just... It's hard for me to look past what's traditional for me."

Leaflet looked back at the goggles and thought for a moment.

"Maybe instead of seeing the flowers as a resource that you're obligated to use, you could see it as more of... A reading?"
"A reading?"
"Yeah. These, they're an indicator that I'm willing to take time and effort to make something you need. Something that's valuable to you. It's not the flowers themselves, but the connection they symbolize. Like... Like a network ping. The ping itself doesn't do anything, but because it's there, you know the network is up and running."
"That... makes sense."
"And the goggles, they're... You wanted to make something practical, something I'd actually use rather than just keep on a shelf. You made something you thought I'd need because you cared enough to pay attention and notice the trouble I was having. It's not symbolic, it's not romantic, but it's... direct. You saw an opportunity to help me."
"I remember that day you got a bug in your eye and almost crashed. That's when I came up with the idea."
"Right, so..." Leaflet sighed.

"We both worked hard to get each other a gift that made perfect sense to us. And I think... Even if the flowers are just an object for you, and even if the goggles are just a tool for me, we can appreciate that we both wanted to make each other happy."
"That's... that's an accurate summation."
"I will use these, for the record. As soon as the weather clears up, I'll tell you how it feels to fly with them on."
"I think I will keep the flowers. They would look best on the mantle, I think, given the angle relative to the sun."

"Hey. Bolts-for-brains."
"I love ya, ya big dummy."
"I love you too, you big bag of goo."
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Sore Loser - 2023

We get a lot of letters at the TCPDex research facility. A lot of it is junk or hyperbole. "Cactus types can shoot needles from their arms and can hit an apple from a distance of 500 yards!" (No they can't, and nothing is that accurate. You're either seeing things or making shit up.) Occasionally we get things we already know sent to us by people with an outdated edition or who just didn't bother to read the entry before mailing us. "Did you know paper types can turn stuff into paper?" (Yes. Literally everyone here knew this.) Some of it is fan mail. "I want to be a researcher just like you when I grow up!" (Hate to break your heart, kid, but it's actually pretty boring most of the time. And when it isn't boring, it's usually life-threatening. Not a lot of in between.) A good portion of it is utility bills. (Turns out housing and analyzing over a thousand different types of TCP gets expensive after a while.) But on rare occasion, I do get a letter passed along to me that piques my interest and that I do feel a genuine need to respond to.

One such letter was a simple one, probably written by a youngster, given the handwriting. But it posed an interesting question nonetheless.
"What's the most dangerous TCP?"
Now, see, most people's knee-jerk response would be antimatter type or black hole type, but Wax has done a pretty good job so far of making sure TCP abilities can't instantly destroy the planet. How do I know? Well, first of all, the planet's still here. Secondly, even with conditions, modifiers, and anomalies in play, there's still no way I know of to convert a TCP into a planet-destroying weapon, and I have the second most knowledge on them in the world, tied with Hellrazer. Personally, I think Hellrazer comes in third, but they feel the same way about me, so we compromise. Number one, of course, would be Wax himself, but he doesn't talk about TCPs much. At least not to us mortals.

But I'm getting off track- the most dangerous TCP that we know of isn't one that a lot of people know about, and probably not one you're ever going to see in your lifetime, even if you're an avid player. It only shows up in TCP sessions- never on Morbit proper- and when it does, the whole session is shut down immediately before it can do any damage. It's also not really a TCP anymore, but it's close enough.

Let me back up a bit.

As you may or may not know, the game of Tiny Cat People is a program as well as a real, physical plane. I have no idea how this works, probably because I'm not a high god, but it just does. It's some kind of god-code that runs on the fabric of reality itself, which is why typically only gods can modify it. But it's still code. Like code here on Morbit, it's susceptible to errors and oversights that make the game do things it's not supposed to do. Even Wax has to release patches every so often to fix bugs here and there, or to add something new because of a moral conundrum he happens to be having, but that's a story for another time. Point is, it's programming, not unlike the programs we're familiar with.

You may have predicted that I'm hinting at glitch types being my pick for most dangerous TCP type, but no, Wax thought of that one, too. Glitch types aren't able to access the code the game itself runs on, only machines and computers within the game. But our reader here didn't ask for the most dangerous TCP type, they asked for the most dangerous TCP. And while glitch types are just as safe as any other abstract type TCP, there is one extremely specific circumstance in which they aren't.

Now, most of this story is hearsay. The exact details of this session are lost to time. All we know for sure is that somehow, a glitch type managed to activate their ability at the exact moment a session ended, thus circumventing the game's normal protection against a glitch type's abilities. The prevailing story is that the glitch type was the last member of their team and that they were in the process of being killed. They were already in their ascended form, but in one last burst of desperation, fear, and anger, they activated their ability indiscriminately at the exact moment they were killed- which, since only one team of TCPs was left standing, was the exact moment the game ended. This extra-powerful burst of energy hit the game itself in the one fraction of a second when it would be vulnerable to such an attack, and bad things happened.

First of all, the session itself ended abruptly with no winner and an error message, so no points for whoever actually won. The plane of existence all the TCPs were on disappeared entirely with no chance of saving the winning team or anything else in that session. Wax, of course, immediately updated the game so that in the future, it would end one second after the last TCP was killed, removing the vulnerability. Everyone else just shrugged and moved on. But the glitch type itself somehow survived. Again, I have only a basic understanding of how the game actually works, so this is pure speculation, but my guess is that it subconsciously dumped all the data pertaining to itself into the upload feature normally used to transmit winning TCPs to their players. But without a destination to go to, it ended up just floating between dimensions.

Whatever the case, the entity that made it out of the game wasn't a TCP anymore. It was an amalgam of TCP data and garbage data that was haphazardly scraped from the dying world at the last possible moment and clumped together into some kind of digital lump. Its actual name was lost to time, impossible to recover because of some very special circumstances I'll cover later. The biggest piece of real information we have on it is from an extremely old-fashioned printing computer that managed to print a string of gibberish before it died. For the record, it was SR15RH9OAN46LDY492NG05NG9503MV0394NG3G4D68TE9D8FH9S7QT8GA5SF9. Make of that what you will, but we just call the thing Sore Loser, since the first five digits look like the letters SR LSR. It kind of fits, given the supposed circumstances it was created in.

It's impossible to say whether it was sentient, or what its intentions were if it was. The only thing we do know about it is that in programming terms, it both is and isn't a TCP. But as long as it wasn't in an environment where magical god-code was specifically counting the number of TCPs in existence, everything would be fine.

Let me take a brief aside to talk about the number NaN. NaN, or Not A Number, is a result returned by a machine when the result of an equation is impossible to compute. The easiest way to get NaN is to divide something by 0. Since NaN isn't a number at all, doing anything to it can only return NaN. NaN plus NaN is still NaN. NaN minus NaN is still NaN. NaN divided by NaN is still NaN. It just doesn't cooperate with any mathematical expression at all.

This TCP, being both a TCP and not a TCP at the same time, counted as NaN TCPs. And so when it eventually drifted through nothingness and found its way into a session, that session now had NaN TCPs in it, since NaN plus any number will result in NaN. Many things in the game depend on how many TCPs there currently are, so this caused a cascading effect. The TCP limit, for instance, changes depending how many current TCPs there are. If there are NaN TCPs, the TCP limit is also NaN, meaning all players are both able and unable to spawn a TCP. Trying to spawn a TCP during this time will just create a bunch of garbage data.

More importantly, once all possible TCPs have spawned, the game enters its second phase, where the teams have to fight each other and no more spawning is allowed. To do this, the game checks the number of players, the number of TCPs per player, multiplies the two together, and compares that number to how many TCPs are currently present. You might be able to see where this is going. There are NaN TCPs present, which both matches and doesn't match the maximum number of TCPs possible, hence instead of the game state being 0 or 1, it's now NaN, which means a number of factors related to progression are now happening and not happening simultaneously.

But you'd only be noticing any of this for a fraction of a second before it becomes a moot point. The moment any object interacts with Sore Loser in any way, its variable properties all become NaN. How tall is it? NaN inches. How slippery is it? NaN. It becomes a pile of garbage data. Any object, then, that interacts with that object in any way will also have its properties set to NaN. And any object that interacts with that becomes NaN, and so on and so on. In less than a second, the entire dimension a session takes place in is a pile of volatile garbage data.

Okay, so the whole session gets eaten. No big, at least it doesn't affect any real people, right? Well, first of all, session TCPs are real people, so shame on you. And second of all, not quite. The data from the dimension the session is in has to be delivered to whatever machine the players are playing from, and this garbage data cannot be processed by any device. Any arcade cabinet, any personal computer, anything you're playing on gets instantly bricked if you happen to be in one of these sessions. Completely useless. Throw it out. But what if you're a god, and you're connected to the game through godspace? Or worse, you're a new god who hasn't been put in Morbit proper yet and you're tangentially connected to the session itself?

Short answer: Your brain gets fried and your body gets weird. Just the same as any computer, your head gets filled with garbage, and your mind is just gone. Your physical body stops working, and then stops existing shortly thereafter. I've only seen this happen once, and I can only describe the process as confusing yet frightening. Every single aspect of the person just flickers and dissolves, from their texture to their shape to their size. For a few moments, they become glitched as fragments of everything and nothing ripple across them before they disappear entirely. It's probably something to do with the biology of a god and being a living embodiment of motifs and those motifs being a subconscious part of a god's mind, but it's freaky as hell. I don't even want to know what happens to a mortal under the same circumstances.

Now, with all that in mind, remember that this just happens the instant Sore Loser even touches an active session. It's not even a conscious act on its part. What does seem to be a conscious act on its part is its path through interdimensional space and its ability to sort of absorb any garbage data it creates. The main "core" of it, the bit that was originally the glitch type TCP, seems to function as a sort of brain for the creature, and all the data it subsequently accumulates serves as its body. It seems to actively seek out sessions to absorb, drifting aimlessly until it finds one. Why exactly it does this is completely unknown. It might be some primal desire to grow and thrive, it might be the TCP reaching out for help, or it might even be some subconscious instinct it's not even aware of. There's no way of knowing, since there's no way of communicating with the thing. To even perceive it in any way is a death sentence either for you or the computer you're seeing it through.

Even Wax can't kill the thing. The best he can do is prevent it from absorbing any more sessions and growing larger. Four years ago there was an update to the game that got a lot of complaints from people on less powerful machines, saying that the game was running too slowly. Someone even poked their head in and looked, and apparently there was an arbitrary process checking every value in the game on every single frame. The purpose of this code, of course, is to detect immediately whether any value has changed to something that isn't a number. If it detects NaN anywhere, at all, it shuts down the entire game instantly before Sore Loser can get to it. Everything is still gone and impossible to recover, and false positives do happen on occasion, but it's a small price to pay to stop Sore Loser getting any more powerful. There are also a series of empty, redundant "sessions" that serve as barriers to more important places such as the gateways to Paradise and Morbit proper. They don't actually stop Sore Loser, but if they go down, it serves as an early warning for Wax and he can just move everything away. That's the best anyone can do, at least for now.

It's impossible to stop Sore Loser or even slow it down when everything it touches, everything that sees it, everything that interacts with it in any way whatsoever becomes a part of it. The best option is literally just to run. We don't know its original name because every device that could possibly have kept a record of it is destroyed and every individual who could've possibly known has had their brain turned to mush. Wax probably doesn't even know. Every bit of knowledge we have on the thing has been scraped from the dying moments of thousands of old computers, their last moments dedicated to providing us with a hint of a clue of the nature of this beast.

Have fun sleeping tonight, bud! Thanks for the letter.

Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
How Do Those Taste - 2023
No CWs

The two of them sat in the lunchroom together. They hadn't chosen to sit together, nor had they talked much before now, but neither one had been paying attention when they sat down and now it was too late for either one to leave. They each placed their respective lunchboxes on the table and opened them- the beatfox on the left retrieving a cheap pre-packaged sandwich, and the de'moneres on the right pulling open a crinkly plastic bag. They ate in silence, neither having anything in particular to talk about.

The beatfox jumped as a horrible crackling noise resonated through the room, but as they looked around, no one else seemed to notice. After a few moments, they shrugged and went back to their sandwich.

There it was again. A horrible cracking and grinding, like something being crushed.

The third time, they were able to locate the source of the noise- the de'moneres next to them was chewing on something.

Right, the beatfox thought to themself. De'moneres eat gems or something. It must be pretty tough to break those things down. I hear their teeth are one of the hardest substances on the planet.

The beatfox's surprise quelled for the moment, they resumed their sandwich, taking another large bite.

The beatfox glanced at the de'moneres, now halfway through their bag of... chips? The beatfox caught a glimpse of one as the de'moneres popped it in their mouth- it was a spherical gemstone, nearly colorless save for the faintest tint of orange, and slightly foggy. So more like cheese puffs then, I guess. 

The beatfox turned back to their own meal for a moment before a new question formed in their mind. Before they had a chance to think better of it, it jumped from their lips and into the air.

"How do those taste?"

A moment of silence passed, just long enough for the beatfox to deeply regret asking. The de'moneres just stared.

"I mean, uh, I'm not trying to be rude or anything, I'm just curious."

The de'moneres shook the bag of gems, indicating it.

"Well..." The de'moneres popped another gem into their mouth, chewing it slowly. The terrible grinding sound resumed momentarily.

"They're a bit on the salty side, to be honest, but they've got a good diaphane flavor to them. The aftertaste is-"
"Sorry, what?"
"The, uh, the word you used just now. Dyapane?"
"Yeah, that. What's diaphane mean?"

The de'moneres just stared at the beatfox, as if realizing something for the first time.

"Oh! Oh, right! Uhhh... Well, it's a kind of flavor that gemstones have."
"Oh, neat! What's it like?"
"Well, uh... That's the thing. De'moneres have this extra chemical receptor in our noses and mouths that's designed to pick up on gems specifically, so it's... not really something I can describe."
"I remember reading that somewhere, yeah. But I just mean... Is it, like, sweet, or what?"
"It's... not really anything. It's its own unique flavor."
"Yeah, but it's got to taste like something, right?"
"...Not really? The only examples I can think of are just gems."

The beatfox just tilted their head, confused.

"Well, it's like... I mean, how do you describe sweetness to someone who's never had anything sweet? Or saltiness, or sourness? It's just... a flavor. I don't know how to elaborate any further than that."
"I mean, you could..." The beatfox trailed off, thinking for a moment.
"I know there's five flavor groups that most species can taste. Salty, sweet, sour, savoury, and bitter. And even though those are distinct categories, some of them are kind of adjacent to each other, like savoury is close to sweet, and salty is close to sour and bitter."
"Kind of? I don't think that's really how it works. I think every kind of food we eat is a mixture of those, not just one by itself. You can easily have something that belongs in two categories, like... sweet and sour sauce, for example."
"Yeah, but... I don't know. It's the best way I can think of to describe something like that."
"I mean, I suppose you're kind of right, in a way? Now that I think about it, diaphaneity is kind of similar to sweetness. But just saying it's like sweetness doesn't really convey it properly. It's... different. It's completely distinct from those other five flavor groups. I mean, if I absolutely had to put it next to something, it would be sweetness, but that's kind of stretching it a bit."

"Can I try one?"
"Uh... I don't think you'll be able to taste anything. De'moneres are the only ones who can taste diaphane. That I know of."
"I know, but I'm curious."
"...Sure, but don't swallow it. Or chew it."
"Oh, obviously not. Wouldn't want to hurt myself."

The de'moneres pulled another gem out of the bag and passed it to the beatfox. It was slightly greasy, as if it were coated in some kind of oil. Delicately, the beatfox held it in their mouth. It was definitely salty, but as the oil dissolved, the salty taste quickly faded. In its place was... nothing. It just tasted blank, as if it were glass or plastic. They sort of suckled on it for a bit, passing it from cheek to cheek, before spitting it back out into their palm.

"No. Just the salty taste you mentioned."
"Yeah, they put a lot of grease on these things for whatever reason. Probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it's something quick and easy that I don't need to prepare at all."
"Huh. Interesting."

Instinctively, the beatfox extended the gem towards the de'moneres, returning the snack to its rightful owner.

"Uh, yeah, you can keep that."
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle you are correct


[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]

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