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[TOY] Plaything
test (ignore this)
[Image: TCP%20customs.png][Image: 2411]
You have to think on this one.

POLKA DOT: Can I just use your answer?
POLKA DOT: My girlfriend turning into a big...skeleton monster, with flames and wolf claws!
POLKA DOT: That's pretty damn spooky.
POLKA DOT: ...but I'm excited for it, too.
POLKA DOT: It's gonna be cool.

It's hard to see her pixel character through the snow, but she lets out a shy beep you've come to associate with blushing.

CROSSBONE: S-silly...
POLKA DOT: If you want a non-gay answer, dreams.
POLKA DOT: They're scary, sure, but can be super awesome too.
FATALE: Wild thing to say after last night...

Her tone is amused, but bitter. You flinch, a bit.

POLKA DOT: S...sorry.
POLKA DOT: Was more thinkin' of stuff, like, me being a pirate once.
POLKA DOT: Not...dreams like that.
TIMOTHY: It's okay-
TIMOTHY: I know what you meant.
TIMOTHY: ...still, I wonder if...they'll get worse, or something.
CROSSBONE: I! Do not want to think about that right now.
POLKA DOT: F-fair enough!
POLKA DOT: Uh....Fatale.
POLKA DOT: What do you do for, uh, hobbies?
FATALE: Bold question to ask someone who's barely been in the outside world for the past year.
POLKA DOT: ...maybe stuff you want to do, then.
FATALE: Hmm...

The red-tinted bear thinks to herself, rubbing her elbow as she walks.

FATALE: not sure.
FATALE: There are things I'm curious about at Laurie's, I suppose...
FATALE: Things I wish I could do, if things were different.

She shoots a side glance at Tim, who immediately starts looking nervous.

TIMOTHY: Do you want me to cover my ears, or something? I-
TIMOTHY: It can be a secret between you and the o-
FATALE: No, no. We're having a truce, now.
FATALE: You can hear.

Her glance turns skyward, squinting as some flecks of snow fall on her glasses.

FATALE: The idea of putting on performances as a job...I can see why it appeals to Devo.
FATALE: A chance for us to explore and express how much knowledge we have in intimate departments.
FATALE: What I would give to be on a stage...
FATALE: ...with Devo.
FATALE: But we share a body.
FATALE: If we were to put on a performance together, it would require...preamble, special fliers, what have you, that out us and our situation.
FATALE: And then who knows what would happen? Maybe people would laugh. Mock us.
FATALE: Who on earth would find this sort of thing appealing.

The bitterness returns, more spitting than before.

Everyone is quiet.

FATALE: ...I suppose we can think about it, though.
FATALE: Something to entertain in our mind.
FATALE: Someday, we may even share those thoughts outside of dreams.
FATALE: ....
FATALE: My turn to ask a question.

She takes a deep "breath".

FATALE: Roulette-

The bot hardly moves its head.

FATALE: What, ah-
FATALE: you want to do, when we're home?
FATALE: ...after all this.

Its fans suddenly kick into overdrive.
Snowflakes melt on its 'cheek'. You can feel the heat from where you're standing.

ROULETTE:  . . .
ROULETTE: ...I'm  n     N-

Its voice glitches, turning to static.

ROULETTE: nN-N-o t-tttsts-
ROULETTE: u-SsS-ure.

Roulette stumbles.
It stops walking.

Fatale's the next to stop, peering over at it with a concerned expression.

FATALE: ....Roulette?
FATALE: Are you okay?

It stares forward at nothing.

ROULETTE: ...concerned.
ROULETTE: About the creature we saw before.
ROULETTE: The commotion as it moved may have stirred up others nearby.
ROULETTE: If that's the case, then we-
ROULETTE: Then it- It- May be our best-
ROULETTE: We need to make sure other creatures won't be coming from that direction.
ROULETTE: If their numbers are high, which is likely, given the amount of noise the giant creature caused,
ROULETTE: Then it would be beneficial for us to have someone to warn the rest if a group of creatures are headed towards us.
ROULETTE: I will make my way further west and walk north in parallel with you all.
ROULETTE: Once I am absolutely sure it won't be an issue, I will make my way back.

The bot pivots, beginning to walk in that direction.

FATALE: Roulette, someone should go with you-

It states bluntly, with more confidence than you've heard from it before.

ROULETTE: It will be more efficient if I go alone.
ROULETTE: If I need to warn everyone, I can make my way back easier that way, with less chance of being seen myself.

It trudges its way to the treeline.

No one moves, watching it go. The snow seems to obscure it faster than you'd have guessed it to.

The snowfall blanketing the air around you is denser now than you realized, filtering your vision like television static.
By the time you blink again, you can't see a single trace of Roulette.

FATALE: Shit...
TIMOTHY: ...I'm sure it'll be okay, Fatale.
TIMOTHY: Might...have needed some space.
POLKA DOT: It's, like- the strongest of us here. It'll do fine out there.
FATALE: I hope so.

Even with your reassurance...

You can't help but play back Roulette's words about leaving in your head. said it'd wait til this is over.

Cross takes your hand, snapping you out of it.

CROSSBONE: ...cmon.
CROSSBONE: If we don't keep moving, it's going to end up far ahead of us.
CROSSBONE: We don't want to get separated further....

You steel yourself and nod, the four of you starting to trudge forward.

Fatale's the first to speak up.

FATALE: I'm moving my question to Timothy.
FATALE: What are you going to do when we're back?

The scottie dog has to think about it.

TIMOTHY: Get to know you all, I guess.
TIMOTHY: As- as much is comfortable.
TIMOTHY:'s...important to me to make this work.
TIMOTHY: So I'm going to read! A lot of books!
TIMOTHY: And figure this out?
FATALE: Hmmmmmmm.

This time, you sense a slight smile in her voice.

FATALE: We'll see.
CROSSBONE: Oh, you might be able to look up stuff on multipets-
CROSSBONE: I can give you some recommendations!
TIMOTHY: O-oh! Thank you!
FATALE: It would be helpful...
TIMOTHY: Well! That means it's your turn, Willow.
CROSSBONE: Okay...let me have it.
TIMOTHY: Hmmm...
TIMOTHY: Gotta think...oh!
TIMOTHY: What's the first thing you're going to do as a monster?
CROSSBONE: Oh, easy.
CROSSBONE: I don't know what it is, but something tells me everything is just going to be...better, sensory-wise.
CROSSBONE: So I think I'll find the best place to eat in town and have a nice dinner.
CROSSBONE: Maybe even take some back to wherever Silk Ribbon and I are staying.

You have to hide a smirk, an unsaid meaning just for the two of you. Nothing to expand upon, not with everybody else here- but...

POLKA DOT: It'll be a date.
CROSSBONE: So, Ribbon, it's your-

Frigid wind stabs its way through your coat in a sudden gust, sending a shiver through your vinyl.
Everyone flinches, the group's trek halted suddenly as the weather becomes more ferocious.
It's difficult to keep your eyes open as the snow batters you.
You think Cross might still be talking, but you can't hear her at all.

It doesn't seem to be letting up, either.

You kick yourself for not noticing how bad things were getting.
It's a blizzard.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png][Image: 2411]
First priority is regrouping with Roulette. If it hasn't been that long since it left, there should be tracks leading away from the group at the point it left from. Backtrack until you see it split off, then follow it as quick as you can.

If that fails, the next priority is finding shelter. Any large solid object that's big enough for the four (or five, hopefully) of you to hide behind will work to break the wind, and depending on the situation, it might be possible to set up additional walls or heat sources.

If there's no adequate shelter nearby, get into a group huddle and wait until the storm dies down a bit before you resume walking. You'll lose heat more slowly that way (do toys have body heat???) and it'll prevent anyone else from getting lost. Fatale probably won't be too comfortable with it, but it's much safer than being separated, and her and Tim can be on opposite sides of the group hug if it's really an issue.

And if the storm doesn't die down soon and all else fails, then... just keep going forward, I guess. Roulette said it would meet us up ahead, and it does work better alone. We just have to trust it.

So to recap:
-Plan A is to find roulette
-Plan B is to find shelter
-Plan C is to huddle in place and wait out the storm
-and Plan D is to continue forward regardless
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 think we need to make/find a shelter first
I'm very worried about Roulette but cold is very very dangerous, and our visibility is getting increasingly worse. If any of us goes off looking for Roulette now, they would very likely get lost as well and potentially worse.
There's a 95% chance I'm thinking of either a Pun or Mega Man at any given time

[Image: 12_10_10_23_11_44_26.png]Character thread here (always a WIP)! [Image: 12_11_10_23_7_45_27.png]
POLKA DOT: We should go after Roulette!
FATALE: What?!

The wind is howling.

TIMOTHY: I don't know-
TIMOTHY: We shouldn't s-split up!
FATALE: I can go-!
TIMOTHY: No! No, you-

Even in the blizzard, you can just barely make out Fatale giving Tim a death glare through her snow-covered glasses.

TIMOTHY: You'll get hurt!
TIMOTHY: Please, don't-
FATALE: R-roulette is my FRIEND, I have to-!

All of you are startled by the gravity in your girlfriend's voice, everyone turning to look at her.

CROSSBONE: I know what it's like to be an electronic in the cold!
CROSSBONE: None- none of you have experience with that.
CROSSBONE: I'll catch up to it and help treat any injuries.
CROSSBONE: Just- keep going forward, and we'll meet up.
POLKA DOT: But-!!!
CROSSBONE: Please...

She leans in, just barely able to talk directly to you and you and you alone.

CROSSBONE: Please, Polka.
CROSSBONE: I can do this.
CROSSBONE: Take care of the others. We'll be okay.

You screw your eyes shut and nod.

POLKA DOT: I love you.
POLKA DOT: Come back okay.
CROSSBONE: I love you too...
CROSSBONE: I promise.

She looks back up at the others, Fatale looking conflicted-

-before nodding as well.

FATALE: ...Good luck.
CROSSBONE: I'll need it.
TIMOTHY: Stay safe...

She takes a step away from the group, tensing up before starting to trudge through the snow...

and out of sight.

You try to ignore the pit of dread in your belly.

POLKA DOT: ...shelter. We should find shelter.
POLKA DOT: It's...just gonna get colder.
POLKA DOT: Don't wanna freeze to death out here.
FATALE: ...yeah.

She looks deeply uncomfortable, something that makes you feel worse. It's clear Tim's debating on comforting her, but you can't waste any time right now.

POLKA DOT: We keep going forward. That's the direction they're both going.
POLKA DOT: With any luck we can...find a cave or something.
TIMOTHY: ...I'll lead.
TIMOTHY: I've got the longest range weapon, and can scout ahead if we need to.
TIMOTHY: ...that okay, Fatale?

Fatale looks away, nodding. Her glasses are almost completely frosted over now.

TIMOTHY: Stick with Silk Ribbon. I'll be right ahead.
FATALE: ...yeah.

Her voice almost gets swallowed by the sounds of the storm, but the three of you take up your new positions, beginning your long walk.

You're surrounded by white. Seeing Fatale's black coat and Tim's red scarf is all you can cling to as the three of you walk, three toys alone in a horrible snow-buried world.

It goes on forever. The snow is cold and harsh against your cheeks, tear-paint coming up at the corners of your eyes.

You swear that even in the loud din of the storm, you can hear Fatale sniffling.

You don't even realize just how dissociated you are from everything until the wind hits, slamming Fatale into you- the two of you clutching at each other for dear life as it slices into your rubber skin. You can't tell if it's left actual gashes, frost, anything, but you hear a noise-

A startled, cut off canine yelp

-before you realize that the red scarf is nowhere to be seen.


Taken from you.

Fatale starts to shake, looking around frantically.


You're just as panicked.


No answer.

Tim splutters, tumbling and rolling in an incomprehensible mess through the snow. He can't tell where he's going, where any of his limbs are, everything's all screwed up-

When he finally gets a grip, scrambling around in the snow and desperately trying to get on his knees-

He realizes just how far he's been pushed away from the group. Or- how far it feels. They're not there. He can't see a single thing, or hear anything over this wind-


His voice sounds hoarser the louder he yells, barely able to hear himself over the howls.


He chokes back a whine, getting to his feet and-

-tripping over a piece of wood rubble.

He remains on the ground for a few moments before raising his head.

A burned building sits before him, so close to him and yet still invisible just before he got moving.

TIMOTHY: M...maybe...they found shelter here...

The scottie dog gets to his feet, paw on his sword as he walks through the wreckage. It's been burned down a long time ago, since reclaimed by the snow. Even areas covered by patches of leftover ceiling have the snow blowing in, no proper cover to be found anywhere.

And then, by the outer wall-

He sees a bulkhead, leading to a basement- somehow uncovered.

TIMOTHY: H...hah....
TIMOTHY: I...if they didn't find this...
TIMOTHY: They probably will, later-

He kneels, opening the doors with little issue. Thankfully unlocked.

The stairs heading down feel ominous as he lowers himself in, closing the doors behind him and entering the dark.

He's able to fumble around the wall before finding a light switch, a single lightbulb in the corner of the very large basement turning on. There's others, but they're all burned out...

There's stuff down here, but it's mostly boxed, not a person or remnants of anyone having been down here- at least not in a while- to be found.


Tim collapses to his knees.

TIMOTHY: ...please...please be okay.

You can't find him. You don't know how far you've walked, but you've lost Tim entirely.

To say you're panicked is an understatement.

Fatale is hanging onto your coat sleeve, all prior worries about touch lost. She's desperate to keep close to you, her body shaking even through her thick coat.

POLKA DOT: C-cmon! We-
POLKA DOT: We should-
POLKA DOT: Shelter. We should find shelter!
FATALE: O-okay!

You can't help but wonder what could be happening to Cross right now. If she's-

No, you can't think about the possibility of her not being alive. No way.

You shake the thoughts of your dream away, of her screen going dim.


Not now.

Fatale squeezes you, snapping you out of it.

POLKA DOT: ...sorry. J-just-
POLKA DOT: Let's go.

The two of you walk carefully, linking arms and trudging through the knee-high snow. How it got that deep is beyond you, but you need to keep moving....

Fatale sees the cabin first, letting out a loud yelp and pointing with her free arm.

POLKA DOT: I see it, I see it-

Hope buds in both of your chests as you race towards the shack door, flinging it open-

...only to see nothing at all, but a dark abandoned room.

You're panting, trying to avoid from crying out in frustration.

FATALE: ...h...he'll be okay, right?
FATALE: He'll...he had to have found somewhere.

You close the door, hitting the lights and dropping your backpack by a log couch.

The pillows throw dust everywhere as you sit, Fatale watching you lean back and cover your face with your wings.

FATALE: He'll...
FATALE: He'll be okay, right?

You can't answer.

There's not enough to say.

Snow buffets the metal chassis, even under layers.

Each step makes heavy divots in the snow.

Roulette comes to a scattered thicket of trees,
making its way in between them all.

It checks behind itself once.
And again.

Making sure no one can see.

The leaking dam in its head finally gives way.

It loses its strength.
Its legs go numb as it falls to its knees.
Its lens shuts, and shuts tighter.
Black-iridescent oil droplets roll from the center of the lens, staining the snow below in muddy colors.
One of its claws covers its eye to try and stop the flow, even now.
While the other squeezes at the side of its head, hard.

It tries to keep upright, but its posture heaves like a sapling in a thunderstorm.
Grey smoke sputters out the sides of its head.
It falls forward fully; half-sprawled, half-curled up on the snow-covered forest floor.
The robot is quiet during the whole affair, wary of being heard.
Near-silent, sniffling sobs the only aural indication of its condition.

The blizzard kicks on in earnest,
burying the robot quickly.
Its head and shoulders stay unstuck, though, only thanks to the overheating core behind its camera lens.

I can't die here I can't
Devo and Fatale and the rest
they'll come looking they'll get hurt they won't Recover from losing me but I
I can't. i can'ticant get up

get up. get Up
move your legs. Move. MOVE

Its body won't respond, entirely out of its control.
Stuck balled-up and sobbing in full overheated breakdown.

what do you have to whine about
what RIGHT do you have to lie here and cry
if you could have just Kept It Together a LITTLE longer
it was ALMOST OVER, i was almost THERE
YOU are the one who dug this hole for yourself by Being You
do something right for once in the stretch of nothing you call a Life and MOVE
get UP get up

please get Up
i have to I Have to

Its legs attempt to prop it up enough to rise.
The thicket protects it from the worst of the blizzard, but only barely.

It isn't enough.
Its legs don't have enough feeling; from the blizzard or the overheat, or both.

It rises a few inches only to collapse back into the snow.

lie here and die then
burden the ones you love with a wound that wont ever go away
from discovering your frozen corpse later
or worse. never once knowing what happened to me
theyll blame themselves. you did that to them
maybe one or more of them will die out here searching for me
no matter what all ive done is made more harm inevitable
couldnt keep it together

It lies still.
Too tired and too numb to cry.

i should have never made it out of the toy store

Its thoughts grow hazy.
The world grows dull as cognition fails.

sorry i couldnt
sor ry
i miss devo

i m iss

i miss den n y

There's the sound of footsteps crunching in the snow.

Crossbone stands over the robot, her chest heaving.

CROSSBONE: S...shit...
CROSSBONE: It's not too late, I've-

She kneels, her own head fuzzy as she starts to brush as much snow off of Roulette as she can.

CROSSBONE: Fuck, fuck-

Roulette is barely moving, but still alive.

Its fans whirr from cold, its lens hardly open at all.
Some of its claws open and close slightly on occasion, servos grinding from the effort.

It doesn't seem to process that she's there at all.

CROSSBONE: O-okay, this is-
CROSSBONE: I'll! I'll carry you-

She heaves the bot into her arms, belly down to keep its backpack from pulling it down. Cross hears a quiet, glitchy grunt from the half-frozen robot as it's lifted.

CROSSBONE: N-no one is-
CROSSBONE: No one is dying on my watch!

The virtual pet begins to shuffle through the snow, taking slow steps through the woods.

Not long after she's started walking, she spots oddly-shaped hedges and lattice structures with dried-out vines along them.

A garden, she realizes.

She picks up the pace, startling as the all-encompassing silhouette of a giant manor blots out most of her view.

CROSSBONE: S...shelter....

She lets out a strained beep of relief, speeding up as much as she can with the heavy robot in her arms.

Cross finds difficulty making her way up snow-hidden stone steps, but manages to make it to the top.

She props Roulette enough onto one arm to reach under them with the other in order to pull the thankfully-unlocked door open.

Inside, the relief from the storm gives an instant boon to her faculties.
She fumbles her occupied arm for a light switch and manages to find one, switching on a dusty glass chandelier overhead.

Cross finds herself in a stone-and-carpet foyer that leads in many directions, including up to a second floor via a curved stairway.

She's hardly swiveled her head before she spots a cozy, albeit gaudy living room;
comfy-looking couches, and an unlit fireplace.

You can suggest for Polka, Tim, and Cross.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png][Image: 2411]
POLKA: "Cro- Tim had just as much training and prep time as everyone else. If we're okay, then he's okay. We just need to rest and regroup until the storm dies down. We'll all get through this."

CROSS: First things first, get Roulette to the nearest couch and lay it down. Then try and get a good look at it to see how much damage it sustained from the cold. Make sure to talk to it as you do so- it may be conscious, but unresponsive. Don't leave it until you're sure it's stable.

ALL THREE: Above all, try to stay calm. It sucks, but panicking isn't going to help here. Try to take stock of the situation and search the area for anything useful. We can't search for anyone else nor can we assume anyone's searching for us, the storm is just too much to be out in right now. Once things calm down, we can think about finding each other, but right now it's time to hunker down and wait.
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]
[Image: blazblue.png]
seconding Knux as far as Cross/Roulette goes, make sure it's safe and comfortable then check surroundings, maybe see if there's a way you can set up/fortify the Room or make it a base of operations while Roulette is recovering
Show ContentSpoiler:

As for Tim/ Polka and the Bears uhh I guess get ready to be here for a bit? Check what all you've got around even though the spaces are small, maybe polka should check if Fatale's still fronting? And from there well... perhaps conversation to pass time? Insight on what Tim's thinking?
There's a 95% chance I'm thinking of either a Pun or Mega Man at any given time

[Image: 12_10_10_23_11_44_26.png]Character thread here (always a WIP)! [Image: 12_11_10_23_7_45_27.png]
The basement floor is cold under Tim's knees, even through his snow pants. He's trembling, his thoughts racing with all of the possibilities.

Fatale...I...I just met her, and I couldn't keep her safe-
I know that she- she doesn't like me, but-
She...Devo...all of them, I need to protect them!
I can't let them get hurt, but I-
I couldn't. I was just blown away like a fucking ragdoll.

He clenches his stuffed paws into fists, banging one against the hard floor with a pathetic "whumph".

TIMOTHY: I'm...I'm so-
TIMOTHY: I couldn't do anything...

Tears start to stream down his cheeks, embroidery gushing out into long dangling threads.

TIMOTHY: They mean e-everything to me, and I'm-
The scottie dog clutches at his scarf, bringing it to his face and muffling a pained scream.

It hurts-
This hurts more than- more than anything-
I love Devo, I love-
I don't know Fatale, or-

The hug he gave Scout last night comes to mind, soft and intimate...unfamiliar, but just as warm as the ones he gets from Devo.

I...I'm going to miss out on meeting all of them...
Even...even the shadowy guy, I wanted to try and- to try and be his friend-

He lets out another strangled sob, his shoulders heaving as he gets it all out.

S-silk Ribbon too, I just- I let her down, she's gone too!
My b-best friend, gone just like that, and I was- I volunteered to protect both of them, and I couldn't do a single thing.
Why the fuck am I-
Why did they have to put their trust in me?
I'm just a m-mistake...

It takes a while for his sobs to end, the dark basement making it impossible to tell time.

...but it does stop, leaving the dog feeling empty.

He raises his head up slowly.

...if they're...if they're okay, and we don't all fucking die out here-
I should look for supplies.
...make myself useful.

Tim sluggishly hefts himself up to his feet.
The dim lightbulb overhead doesn't illuminate much in his little corner of the basement,
but there's still enough to properly search.

Most of what he finds are wooden crates, which he's entirely unable to open on his own; all of them shut tight.
Against a nearby wall he spots a plastic-wrapped mattress. Testing it with his paw, it feels softer than he imagined it would.
He pulls it over and flops it down in his corner, glad to have somewhere to rest in the cold basement.
Finally, when looking across one of the crates, his paw brushes against a little book, which he promptly picks up.

It's a half-finished booklet of crosswords, a little pencil still threaded into the metal loops at its top.

At least I can. Do. Something.

He sets himself down on the mattress and pulls out the pencil with a strained sigh, starting in on one of the puzzles.

...most of it's already filled out. There's just two words left.

TIMOTHY: Plush innards, 8...8 down...
TIMOTHY: Starts with a P-

He rubs his snout into his hand, still shaky.

TIMOTHY: ...polyfill. Of course it's polyfill.

It's some time before he sets the book down, his head pounding and chest aching. He can barely take the sheer amount of noise in his head, driving him absolutely crazy.

TIMOTHY: ...fuck this.

Laying back on the mattress is all he can think to do, closing his eyes and praying as hard as he can that his mind quiets.

Sleep comes for him.


You watch as Fatale paces around, unsure of what to say at first.

POLKA DOT: If we made it somewhere, I'm sure the others...I'm sure they did too.
POLKA DOT: Tim's trained just like the rest of us.
POLKA DOT: So's Cross, and so's Roulette.

You're not sure how much you believe your own words, pulling your wing down your face. Thoughts about what could have happened to all of them won't leave you alone, and you're holding back every bit of panic in your body.

But Fatale needs someone right now, her whole body trembling.

POLKA DOT: We just have to wait out the storm and we can find them.
POLKA DOT: ...okay?

She sniffles.

FATALE: ...o...okay.
POLKA DOT: Here, just...

You sigh, patting the spot next to you on the couch.

POLKA DOT: Sit for a sec.

The bear hesitates before taking a seat, pulling her knees up to her chest.

You stop to check her cheeks- yeah, still red.

POLKA DOT: Just to's Fatale right now, right?

She looks startled, but nods.

FATALE: I...I'm just-
FATALE: I'm just scared.
FATALE: I don't...I don't want to die out here...
FATALE: And I don't want anyone else to die either-
POLKA DOT: Nobody's gonna die.
POLKA DOT: We're....we're just gonna....wait out the storm.
POLKA DOT: ...yeah.

Fatale pulls her knees in closer, and the two of you grow quiet again. The wind's still howling outside, but at least it's quieter in the lodge itself.

POLKA DOT: gonna be okay if I look around a bit?
FATALE: ...yeah.
FATALE: I'll...I'll manage.
POLKA DOT: Okay...hang tight.

Checking the room, you find a door you hadn't noticed before and push inside.

At first glance, it's a little hallway,
but after turning the light on, you realize it's a kitchenette with two burners, a little sink, and some cabinets.
You save checking them for now, spotting two more doors right next to each other.

Beyond one is one of the tiniest bathrooms you've ever seen in your life, though it somehow manages to contain a standing shower.
Past the other is a cozy bedroom, with two bunk beds across from each other.
Good to know you've both got a nice place to sleep.

With that done, you rifle through the cabinets in the kitchenette.

You don't find much, the place apparently almost cleaned out.
But, you do find some canned food on the highest shelf.
Pulling them down, you check the labels.

...They're canned PB&J Sandwiches, and a canned cheeseburger.

FATALE: ...ew.

You nearly jump out of your skin, letting out a strangled squeak.

POLKA DOT: F-fucking- scared me-
FATALE: ...sorry.
FATALE: Just...didn't want to be...alone.

Her voice sounds so soft, even more than when she was crying at the campsite. She's looking down at the ground, shuffling her feet, rubbing her elbow.

POLKA DOT: Well...we've got some bunk beds to sleep in.
FATALE: Oh...that's good.
POLKA DOT: And a cold, canned cheeseburger.
FATALE: ...snrk.

She can't help but snicker a little, getting you to smile.

Well...maybe....we'll be able to hunker down.
We'll make it.


Cross heaves Roulette over to the closest couch she sees, letting out a long beep of exertion as she sets the robot down carefully.

CROSSBONE: Gotta get you warm...

She turns to the fireplace- relieved to see that the unlit flame within is just like the party's campfire, plastic with a little light inside. Sure enough, there's a switch on the bottom, easily flicked to get the heat and light going.

CROSSBONE: O...okay. Step one down.
CROSSBONE: ...should probably just...

She rushes back over to the couch, getting behind it and straining as she scoots it more towards the fire, as close as she can get it while still leaving room to move.

Time to play nurse...
Think back to what you had to deal with while homeless.

The virtual pet steps back in front of the couch, looking the robot over.

Roulette is still barely moving, though its lens is open a little, focused on nothing in particular.
It's difficult to see much with its clothes on, but she does notice frost built up at its neck joint, likely the same for its other joints as well.
Even its lens is coated in a layer of frost.

It's no wonder it isn't moving much, the ice probably isn't giving it much room to.
Not only that, but the progression of the freezing seems a lot faster than she remembers dealing with herself;
likely because Roulette is mostly metal rather than having a plastic shell.

I should try to get some of that frost off.
The ice is bad, but hopefully it didn't get in too deep...

I should probably take its coat off, get a better look at things.

She wrings her hands a little before starting to prop it up, removing its scarf with as much care as she can muster. Its hat comes off next, laid to the side with the scarf.  Its coat requires a bit more work, Cross having to work around Roulette's stiff, frozen joints. She makes sure the clothes are all tucked away to the side, before she lays it back down flat.

It's immediately concerning, seeing just how frosted-over Roulette's limbs and joints are,
though she can tell the ice is already starting to melt as it's gotten warmer.
Luckily, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of serious or long-lasting damage, as far as she can tell.

Roulette's lens lazily looks up at her, though she can't tell how much it can see with the ice, especially being so out-of-it.

CROSSBONE: H...hey, Roulette...
CROSSBONE: I don't know if you can hear me, but...
CROSSBONE: I got you.

She looks around the immediate vicinity, letting out a grateful chime as she spots a pile of throw blankets.

CROSSBONE: Time to get bundled up...

The vpet cautiously wraps one around the bot, making sure it's completely surrounded.

It's a few moments of studying the robot before Cross sighs, getting no response.

CROSSBONE: ...I should go make sure this place is safe.
CROSSBONE: I'll be right back.

Thankfully, the living room looked to be fairly closed off from the rest of the manor, with only one entrance,
although it's rather wide and entirely open without any kind of traditional door.

Her careful eye spots a handle, just next to the opening.
She walks over and tugs on it, finding it to be a wide, foldable privacy screen of sorts.
She pulls it all the way across, locking it in place at the other side, and pushes some nearby furniture against it for good measure.

CROSSBONE: ...okay!

She looks over her shoulder, calling back to Roulette.

CROSSBONE: Place is all locked up now!
To her surprise, the bot has stirs now, attempting to sit up.
It promptly fails, letting out a quiet grunt as it flops back against the couch.

ROULETTE: . . . W i llow...?
CROSSBONE: Roulette!

She rushes over, kneeling by the bot's side.

CROSSBONE: How do you feel?

It ignores her question, or possibly doesn't hear it.

ROULETTE: Where are the others?
ROULETTE: ...Is everyone safe...?

She glances away.

CROSSBONE: I don't...know for sure.
CROSSBONE: The storm got really bad, and I went out to get you.
CROSSBONE: If we found shelter, there has be other places for them to go.

Her shoulders shake slightly, but she keeps it together.

Roulette stares into the fireplace.

ROULETTE: ...I should not have...wandered off.
ROULETTE: ...You would not be here with me if I hadn't.
ROULETTE: I... apolog- I...cannot keep saying that as if it makes a difference.
ROULETTE: ...You are here because of me. I have no excuses.

Cross doesn't make eye contact, still.

CROSSBONE: It...when I found you, it looked like you'd been having a hard time.
CROSSBONE: I get it...
CROSSBONE: Just...don't beat yourself up for it, okay?
ROULETTE: ...hard time?

 Shit, maybe that's too personal.

CROSSBONE: W-well, um...
CROSSBONE: Looked like you had been...crying.

Her pixel character shimmies uncomfortably.

CROSSBONE: I...won't tell the others, if you don't want me to.
CROSSBONE: N-not that anyone would judge!
CROSSBONE: Just...privacy.

It visibly sinks into itself as its posture droops.

ROULETTE: ...should not have had to, see that.
ROULETTE:  . . .
ROULETTE: ...I will do my best to make up for...all of this.
ROULETTE: We will find the others.
ROULETTE: ...Here, I can...try to patro-l-

Once again, it can't manage to sit up.
It strains, servos crunching with ice, but it only ends up back down on the couch.
It says nothing.

Cross places a hand on Roulette's shoulder, gentle.

CROSSBONE: It' use going out while it's this bad.
CROSSBONE: We'll both just end up totally iced over.
CROSSBONE: We should be safe here, so....
CROSSBONE: Let's...stay put.
ROULETTE: ...Thank you.
ROULETTE: I'm sorry.


You and Fatale sit on one of the couches, staring directly at the canned cheeseburger, set on a side table. It had been a while since you'd looked around, the sun had fully gone down, and neither of you had been talking much- but now a topic has arisen.

FATALE: ...what if I paid you to eat it.
FATALE: I'm just saying, it'd be a way to pass the time.
POLKA DOT: I dunno. wrong.
FATALE: The texture would be awful.
POLKA DOT: And it'd be cold.
FATALE: Would you eat it with a fork, or with a spoon.

You shudder.

POLKA DOT: Eueuueuegh.
FATALE: Hehe...

It's nice to see her perk up a bit, even if it's only for a moment- though the two of you are startled by the sound of the wind, slamming against the side of the cabin. least, you're pretty sure it's wind.

Fatale gives you a sideways glance.

FATALE: Does it...?
POLKA DOT: ...yeah.
POLKA DOT: Sounds...weird.
FATALE: Maybe...someone's out there, looking for us!
POLKA DOT: Hold on, we should-
POLKA DOT: We should listen carefully before we make any big moves, okay?
FATALE: Okay...

The two of you sit in silence, listening to wind, wind, and more wind-

Until you make it out.

A single voice.


Polly, Polly, Pooooollly-

You let out a strained squeak, almost a wheeze.

It can't be-

FATALE: ...Polly?
FATALE: Is that-
FATALE: Like, a nickname that Wil-
POLKA DOT: Nope. Noooope.
POLKA DOT: B-but, you heard it-

She nods, her eyes wide.

POLKA DOT: O...okay. I'm not-
POLKA DOT: I'm not going crazy-

Your wings are shaking as you get up off the couch.

FATALE: W-wait!
POLKA DOT: I just-
POLKA DOT: I just want to look outside-

Far in the distance past the cabin's clearing,
obscured by trees and heavy snowfall,
you spot two yellow lights projecting sideways into the snow, moving along in sync with each other.

In any other context, you'd mistake them for the headlights of a car,
but there's no way anyone could be driving in this condition, let alone without a road.

Looking at them makes dread well up in the pit of your stomach.



Tim's eyes widen with a start, his whole body tensed up.

The name had come to him in a horrible- it had to have been a dream, right? It sounded distant, so it must have been his imagination.


No way it was real.

He sits up slowly, letting himself re-acclimate to the waking world. It had to have been an hour since he'd fallen asleep, judging by the groggy feeling all over, like a nap ended too early.


This time, he jumps, hearing the word loud and clear.

I'm hearing things. I'm just stressed.

Where's my little girl?

His whole body feels ice cold, every part of him locked up. The feeling grows worse and worse before he lays back down, pulling his scarf over his head and covering his ears.

No such thing as ghosts, or anything like that. Nope. I'm just really fucking stressed and hearing things.

Sleep takes him after what feels like an eternity-

Only for the dog to yelp, startled by the sound of something slamming the unlocked bulkhead doors.


Cross's pixel character stirs, wiggling back and forth and emerging from her little on-screen futon as she wakes up. It's always hard sleeping outside of her normal cycle, and her internal clock tells her that only an hour has passed since she and Roulette had fallen asleep on their respective couches.

The first thing that hits her is the feeling of anxiety creeping through her whole body, a deep dread that makes her feel like she's going to be sick.

CROSSBONE: H...hah....
She grips at her chest, feeling a horrible pain in her buttons-

The same kind of pain she had felt when they broke on the streets, the feeling of something worming inside and touching her electronic guts.

CROSSBONE: Haghgfh....

She hunches over, audibly making pained beeps as she tries to get it together.

ROULETTE: ...Willow.

You turn your head to the robot.

Its lens is wider than you've ever seen it, looking at the barricade.

It's open.
Wide enough for a person to fit through.

You both can see out past it, into the pitch black of the rest of the manor.

Still alive?
A voice comes from out in the dark.

Roulette is on its feet, scythe drawn in an instant.
It can hardly stay upright, though.

It's shaking.

ROULETTE: Did...did you...hear...?

Cross nods, immediately scrambling for her hatchet.

When she speaks, her voice is very quiet, though made wavering by the fear and sickness in her chest.

CROSSBONE: I...I should handle this.

It'll kill you.

A different voice whispers into Cross' ear.

Roulette jumps, swiveling back.

ROULETTE: I...I-I wouldn-
CROSSBONE: S-show yourself!

She yells out into the dark, raising her hatchet at the void ahead.

CROSSBONE: I w-won't-
CROSSBONE: I won't fall for it!
ROULETTE: I...don't know if- if-


The voice in the dark comes again.
Something about it makes Cross' plastic crawl.

Roulette backs all the way to the wall this time, its electronics shuddering as they attempt to rev up but can't manage it.
Oil is leaking from its lens, a faint whimper coming from its speaker.

It's alright.
You can cry if you need to.

Come here.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png][Image: 2411]
Uhhhhhhhhh what the fuck.

Okay. Running is probably not an option here, given the storm is still going strong and Roulette is still partially iced up. You're going to have to fight these things... or negotiate, I suppose, but that doesn't seem likely.

TIM: Try to reposition so there's some crates between you and the door, then draw your sword and wait. Better to engage that thing here where there's cover rather than try to come to it.

POLKA: You and Fatale need to spread out. If there's only one bad guy, it'll have to divert its attention between the two of you, which should make it a bit easier to handle.

CROSS: Unfortunately, you've got the toughest job out of the three. There's no way Roulette is going to be able to fight in its current state, so focus on getting between it and the creature.

Whatever any of you do, DO NOT APPROACH THE CREEPY VOICE.
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]
Seconding avoiding creepy voices. Look for evidence of physicality, don't give it any sort of invitation. From what old rumor goes, these types of things look for you to acknowledge them.

Cross: Tighten your defenses. Look for all exits and limit the amount of ways things can get in on you or separate shit.
[Image: blazblue.png]
This may not be something anyone can run from. The pairs should stick together, try and keep each other focused and safe and out of the grasp of whatever this is-

And don't go outside into the snow. That's out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Same for Tim. but being alone with something that seems... to know too much--

hold onto the thoughts of your friends. They still need you.
OOPS that last post was me i forgot to log in
☽ ☆jus a buppy ☆ ☾
You back away from the window, gesturing for Fatale to join you.

Another sound cuts through the dark, a deeper voice- growling and snarling.

Devo, my Devotion....
Where did you go?
You can't hide from me forever.

Fatale makes a strangled sound, taking more than the few steps back you suggested. She's already with her back to the far wall, her chest heaving.

FATALE: He's found us-
POLKA DOT: C-calm down-

Polly, where are you?
We never finished our job!
Don't you remember?

Your ribbon feels like it's choking you.

POLKA DOT: We need to spread out-
FATALE: Don't l-leave me alone with him!

Her voice comes out shrill, desperate.

Come here.

The words seem to boom, shaking both of you to your core- it's both voices at once, feeling out of sync and distorted.

The lights outside seem to come closer.

POLKA DOT: I-if we spread out-
POLKA DOT: It won't be able to focus on both of us-
FATALE: Where are we supposed to go, Ribbon?!

She's practically screaming now, grabbing at her chest and gripping it tight enough to bunch her coat fabric in her fist.

Be a good girl and come here.

Fatale lets out a strangled noise before collapsing to her knees, covering her ears.

One more down.

You hear Daemon's voice as clear as day, shaking you to your core.

It'll be a quick slice.

Fatale's cheeks tint black.

Isn't it something when they burst?

You feel the weight of a bat in your wings.

Tim scrambles to his feet, every part of him screaming to run, to get out of here-

Curly, don't you want to be my little girl-?

He snatches up his sword as he dives behind a crate, narrowly avoiding cutting himself on the blade in the process.

TIMOTHY: Shit, shit-

Another slam on the bulkhead, Tim's head pounding along with it.

I thought you cared about me-

The scottie dog lets out a whimper, covering his muzzle with his scarf.

Don't let her hear you, don't let her hear you-!

My Cuuuurly girly.
I know what you need, you need me to take care of you...
The door will hold. It'll hold, it has to hold-

I...I need to get through this.

For Devo, and Silk Ribbon, and- and Fatale, and Roulette, and Cross, and all of the others-

I need to-


Roulette is shaking hard enough for its parts to sound loose.

It trudges forward regardless, going for the privacy screen.
But, its legs fail, and it catches itself on the couch, looking barely mobile still.
The bot tries to prop its scythe on the floor in order to stand back up, but it isn't going well.

CROSSBONE: R-roulette! You need-

She's struggling with her own words, her hands shaking.

CROSSBONE: You need to let me do this-!

With an extended, distorted beep, she pushes past the weight pooling in her legs- as if she herself was feeling frost creep up them- and getting to the door opening.

The void hangs in front of her.

ROULETTE: Don't...get close, I can-

You need to listen to me. I'm trying to keep you alive.

The second voice speaks into her ear again.

It's dangerous.
More dangerous than the rest of you.
Remember what Polka Dot said?
It's the strongest of you.
You've seen how it fights. You know it is.

CROSSBONE: Roulette is my friend!

She grips the side of the door, her hands trembling. She can feel the grease and grime of digging through trash all over her fingertips.

It is? You don't even know who it is.
Faysal isn't someone you're safe around.

You hear that Roulette has managed to stand behind you.

ROULETTE: Let me handle th-

Why do you think it doesn't want you to be by the exit?
It doesn't want you to leave.

ROULETTE: That is Not-
ROULETTE: Denny, pl-

Oil streams from its lens.

ROULETTE: I wouldn't-!

And if it's Really your friend,

Then why did it try to kill your girlfriend once already?

Roulette stops moving.
Its aperture is open wide.

The exit is open.
You have an advantage.
It'll be stalled in just a moment.
While you can,



Don't worry.

The first voice comes from behind Roulette.
It tries to swivel, to swipe its scythe in that direction.
But it can't move fast enough to even try.

I still love you.
I always will.

Its arm twitches upward as it gasps loudly and stumbles away.
As if it'd knocked something off itself.

It freezes, sickle vibrating in its claws.
Its head sparks and sputters.

You poor thing.
It's good I found you.

Roulette's shoulders wrench upwards, its elbows nearly pushing together.
The motion throws its stance off entirely.
Its sickle clatters to the floor.

I've got you.

It squirms like vermin caught in a snare.
Oil stains its wet clothes as it trembles, its parts heaving.

ROULETTE: ...o-oNn-n me-e-on-m-me-!

Come on.
Why the tears?
You could look a lot happier that I'm back.

Give me a smile.
I can always tell when you smile.

You look so Cute.

Its aperture shuts, hanging in an awkward standing position.
As if it's being held there.
Oily tears continue on regardless.

ROULETTE: -OnMe-on-n-nmm-e-ePle-ea-s-s-s
[Image: TCP%20customs.png][Image: 2411]
Fight back. Face your fears. Support each other where you can. Prove you're more than your past.

Give 'em hell.
ALL THREE: These voices can't be real- or at least, they can't possibly belong to who you think they belong to. There's no way in hell any of your abusers would be able to track you down all the way out here in this blizzard. It's probably some kind of fear monster thing that's using your bad memories against you. It's tough, but try to ground yourselves. Find something in the room you can count, or a texture to rub against. Focus on what you can see rather than what you can hear. Nothing's physically attacked you yet, so you might not be in as much danger as it seems. The first thing you need to do is calm down, and the second thing you need to do is find the source of the voices and shut it down.

POLKA: The shadow bear, Devo's fourth system member, is being dragged out by whatever trauma bullshit is happening. Try to calm Fatale/Shadowbear down, but keep your distance. See if you can get them to focus on finding the source of the noise rather than what the noise is saying to them.

TIM: The bulkhead doors are unlocked, so unless this thing just doesn't know how doors work (and I'm almost certain that whoever it is you're having flashbacks about can operate a simple door, so that's another point for this being some kind of trick), it doesn't make any sense for it to still be banging on them like that. Try and take a peek to see what's going on.

CROSS: Try to reassure/comfort Roulette as best you can. The voice isn't real, and you're definitely not leaving. See if you can approach it and verify that there's nothing physically touching it- there shouldn't be, but I'm not sure what else "on me" could mean.
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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