Hydras and Panzers

Oct 24 19:51:05 <gumbal1> ~so we came into your run and we tried to hack your system~
Oct 24 19:55:05 <gumbal1> Now is probably not the best time to be calling her human student over for an impromptu lesson, task. Then again, it never really seems to be a good time for her, does it? Lazy ingrate, it's a wonder she's been doing nearly as well as she has, when she wasn't distracted the mute or the stalker. Either way, Madeline Maddox, once more, finds herself summoned somewhere odd; in this case, the fourth floor of some Japanese office building, where a
Oct 24 19:55:05 <gumbal1> middle-aged salaryman sleeps at his desk. Miriam is there, looking as stern as usual, or as stern as something Madeline's never seen the actual face of can look. "You return, Dreamweaver Maddox. Good. I was worried you might have found yourself consumed by those nasty fusions you fought."
Oct 24 20:00:07 <Nemi> Not the most pleasant place to find oneself again. Not the most unpleasant, either. Madeline peers around the place, bemused both to see Miriam again and by the surroundings, which seem so peculiarly mundane compared to the usual. Her dreamself is much stronger, more coherent, appearing more or less identical to the girl herself barring a certain mistiness at the edges. "Okay..
Oct 24 20:00:08 <Nemi> Sooo um.. What is it this time?"
Oct 24 20:02:51 <gumbal1> "My previous statement carried an implied mistruth. I was not worried in the time before I summoned you because I knew that you were safe at this time. However, having watched your previous battle," Miriam briefly turns their (masked) head to look over at the sleeping man before them. "I am noticing that you are lacking in the skills to properly combat larger foes. That is where this man," Miriam gestures towards the sleeping worker. "Tanaka T
Oct 24 20:02:51 <gumbal1> oshikazu, comes in."
Oct 24 20:04:33 <Nemi> Madeline bites her lip, and nods. "That and um, I'm still like- really prone to swinging to like, my own negativity and getting really weird and creepy which is prrrrobably bad, right? Aaanyway um I think I did pretty well since like I cut off one from its power source and I kinda like, totally dunked the other one but um.. yeah. Sooo, um, what's special about him?"
Oct 24 20:07:50 <gumbal1> Miriam's silent, for a few seconds, before continuing. "Mr. Tanaka is in dire need of inspiration. However, he has far too many ideas for his own good. Your job is to strike down the ideas, until only one remains. Keep in mind, he is working as head director of Philo Dough: Extract, so try to leave the resulting idea as fitting to the source material as possible."
Oct 24 20:10:26 <Nemi> "Philo Dough: Extract? Is that like, some kind of baking-related project or.. I mean, I think I can try that?" Madeline seems unsure again, her outlin wavering.
Oct 24 20:14:32 <gumbal1> "A highly innacurate Grecco-Roman inspired action game, rather. Set in the 1940s. I'm sure you can reason what sort of giant monsters should and should not be present in such a thing." Toshikazu briefly stirs, before Miriam hits him with a glare and he's suddenly, once more, out like a light. "Hrmph. If it were up to me, we would leave this industry in the dust, where it belongs. Surely, you don't participate in video games, do you? Such a bas
Oct 24 20:14:32 <gumbal1> e hobby."
Oct 24 20:16:05 <Nemi> "Greco-Roman .. 1940s.. action game. Okay." Madeline rubs at her nose. ".. and um, not really? Like, with friends I did, and I like, I like the Souls series, but on my own I just like, don't see the appeal at all anymore. I think I'm tooooo ooooold.."
Oct 24 20:18:35 * DarnellJermaine has quit (Read error: Connection reset by peer)
Oct 24 20:19:32 <gumbal1> "Good. Less distraction and potential radiation interference. Now," Miriam points to the sleeping man once more. "If that shall be all, you are to enter Mr. Tanaka. Do not disappoint me."
Oct 24 20:22:33 <Nemi> ".. yeees ma'am.." Madeline had to admit that, while she wasn't fond of Miriam, her methods DID work on getting the otherwise idle or easily cowed Madeline into gear.
Oct 24 20:22:46 <Nemi> And so she enters Tanaka's dreamscape, so effortlessly by now that she doesn't rmeember how.
Oct 24 20:29:19 <gumbal1> So easy, the process. Effortlessly, Madeline exits reality, out into a vast, clouded cityscape. The people whiz by as if by timelapse, faces blurred and obscurred, or perhaps their faces just look like they are. After all, the only real things in the dream are Tanaka and Madeline. The buildings are professional, well made, and yet unimaginative, more like giant concrete bricks with glass panes attatched at exact intervals. And yet…there is o
Oct 24 20:29:19 <gumbal1> ne building, one that Madeline finds herself facing, that isn't. A large, twisted tower, built of obsidian and granite, with a single entrance much like the archway to a colosseum. A commotion of a thousand voices can be heard from within.
Oct 24 20:30:23 * Knave has quit (Quit: Knave Out)
Oct 24 20:32:17 <Nemi> Perfect. This must be the place- the centrepiece for all his ideas for Philo Dough: Extract. Madeline lets herself be lost in the crowd, drifting through the non-people on until she reaches the tower, to file in through the archway and inside.
Oct 24 20:38:16 <gumbal1> The building…it isn't what it is one the outside. Rather, it feels as if Madeline had entered a giant studio the size of a city block, in which a giant ring, filled with all manner of entities in the bleachers, sat. Currently, it appears to be a fight between a giant, eight-headed lizard, and a bronze golem. Oddly enough, both of them are wearing black jeans, with bandage tied around their chest…come to think of it, the entire crowd is adh
Oct 24 20:38:16 <gumbal1> ereing to that dresscode. Even the desk clerk at the entrance, some middle-aged balding man, seems to be dressed like everyone else. What the hell has she stumbled into?!
Oct 24 20:42:00 <Nemi> What the hell indeed. This seems .. Seems? Like it /might/ be appropriate, given the subject matter, though Madeline isn't entirely certain about it. She heads up to the front desk as a reasonable step one to investigate.
Oct 24 20:45:15 <gumbal1> The clerk, as Madeline approaches, adjusts his glasses before speaking. "You…aren't on the list." Of course, Tanaka only knows Japanese, Arabic, and a bit of English, so all of this is said in his native tongue. Back in the ring, the colossus tears one of the lizard's heads off. "If you aren't on the list you're gonna have to get in line, pal."
Oct 24 20:49:54 <Nemi> Madeline folds her arms. "Well, who's on the list, and how do you get on?" A look back to the 'line', sure.
Oct 24 20:53:49 <gumbal1> The line to the ring is rather varied, though all of them are in 'dress code'. A tentacle beast that looks like it should be eating Odysseus's crew members, a bipedal she-wolf who's legs have been mangled to hell, and…some odd girl, about an inch taller than Madeline, maybe, that looks straight off the streets of Osaka.
Oct 24 20:57:04 <Nemi> The wolf thing, the tentacle thing, those fit. The girl doesn't. Madeline tries to get a read on her, to see if she's an 'idea' or a visitor.
Oct 24 20:58:48 <gumbal1> She isn't a dreamweaver, that's for sure. Nor does she seem to have any sort of human soul. More than likely, just some stray figment of imagination. Perhaps a girl Mr. Tanaka wished he'd married, or a daughter he fears might not grow as she should. One thing's for sure, however: in the context of the dream's internal logic, she isn't out of place.
Oct 24 20:59:58 <Nemi> No. Not an idea, not out of place. Madeline discards the thought. No, she's looking for things vying for Tanaka's imaginative focus.. She swivels to the clerk, brows up, awaiting his answer.
Oct 24 21:02:02 <gumbal1> "…list's long, pal. Unless you can prove why I should put you on, you're not getting on." The thing at the front of the line, a dragon with six legs and swastikas for pupils, is let in for entry.
Oct 24 21:03:36 <Nemi> That… Well, technically it fits, 1940s and all.. And as usual, Madeline's not sure how to proceed. She sighs and moves to fall to the end of the line, looking around to see if anything jumps at her. She felt frustratingly stupid.
Oct 24 21:04:32 * LipstickThespian has quit ()
Oct 24 21:07:06 <gumbal1> Just her luck, she's placed near the inexplicable Japanese girl, though an oncoming boar with very delicate ankles means that hey, at least she isn't last in the queue anymore!
Oct 24 21:08:26 <Nemi> Wait. No. Japanese girl. Greco-Roman. That's… No, no, on second thought, that isn't right at all. Tonally, yes, but she shouldn't be in the ring.. Madeline reaches out to tap at the girl's shoulder, and to disperse her into raw dreamstuff.
Oct 24 21:10:07 <gumbal1> The idea breaks apart, but not without a sharp scream that goes unnoticed by the others. That leaves her behind a great iron furnace, moving around on seven uneven tendrils.
Oct 24 21:12:14 <Nemi> Madeline is left shivering in the wake of the scream. Idea or not, that chilled her, perhaps by virtue of Madeline being an idea herself. The furnace.. doesn't quite seem right either. Neither Greco nor Roman, and perhaps TOO industrial and crude for the 1940s setting. Madeline reaches for that one, to disperse it too.
Oct 24 21:14:11 <gumbal1> The roar of the brass bull can be heard, before Madeline finds herself behind the she-wolf. "You aren't from around here, are you?" The She-Wolf, meanwhile, speaks in a psuedo-Latin based in a Japanese understanding of linguistics. Hey, not everyone's a linguist!
Oct 24 21:14:49 <gumbal1> "Osaka? Tokyo? You look like a city girl. You aren't even dressed for a real fight."
Oct 24 21:15:22 * Complete_Zero is now known as Cezar
Oct 24 21:16:12 <Nemi> The shewolf fits. Very well. In fact, Madeline's certain she's from a Roman myth.. She takes a moment to reimagine herself, to give her some black jeans and a bandage sarashi of her own. "Something like that," Madeline replies, in- conveniently- the appropriate Pseudo-Latin.
Oct 24 21:21:48 <gumbal1> "Well. You're a long way from home, pup." The line moves again, leaving the two of them one step closer to entrance into the ring. "Me, I got kids back home." Ah, the classic "it's a dream what the fuck is happening" pivot. "Romulus, Remus, and Akira. You got anybody to spend the prize money on?"
Oct 24 21:23:03 <Nemi> "Akira- nevermind. I um. I do. I've got a girl of my own.. Even if she wanders. I think I'm boring to her." Madeline moves up with the line.
Oct 24 21:26:36 <gumbal1> "Seriously? Girl your age should be focusing on her studies. Older men aren't worth the trouble." Three more enter the ring, and one of the people, an upside-down tank walking on spider legs with an eye where its barrel should be, abruptly leaves. "Learned that back in uni."
Oct 24 21:27:49 <Nemi> Riiight. Automatic dialogue. Doesn't matter exactly what she says- S.O. is enough for the She-Wolf to translate. And.. That tank isn't quite right. Not at all. "You went to Uni? What was that like?" As the tank-spider leaves, Madeline casually leans over and taps it as it goes by, to just give that little impel of dispersion.
Oct 24 21:32:40 <gumbal1> "Not very nice. I was an art major before I got guilted into programming. Had a fling with one of the teachers, before I realized I didn't mean much to him." The queue seems to empty on its own, until it's Mads and the She-Wolf sitting outside the arena, looking in on a fight between an icy serpent and what looks to be a circle of six floating priests, none ever moving ecxept in motions relative to each other.
Oct 24 21:34:31 <Nemi> "You were an art major? I kind of want to do that, see if I can do anything with my photography, but I'd probably be better off just freelancing or opening a business doing prints and stuff instead. What'd you end up programming?" Madeline's content to continue the conversation- background fill, perhaps?- as they observe the fight. Both of those fighters in the ring are appropriate
Oct 24 21:34:31 <Nemi> enough that Madeline's content to leave them. The crowd at large, though, is scanned.
Oct 24 21:36:30 <gumbal1> The crowd is just as diverse as the queue, with some appropriate for the time, some appropriate for the setting, and some appropriate for both or neither. "A few shitty games. They sold well and I got promoted to designer. Can't imagine why."
Oct 24 21:37:35 <Nemi> Ah. The She-wolf must be Tanaka's reflection. She can leave that… Madeline reaches through the fabric of the dream to disperse some of the figments least appropriate, but leaves many of them remaining. Careful culling, careful culling. Nothing to extreme lest they have aftershocks she can't predict.
Oct 24 21:39:59 <gumbal1> And there stands Tanaka Toshikazu, director, programmer, designer, family man, depressed wreck of a human being, what say you. "Well then. Now we just gotta wait for our turn, then."
Oct 24 21:43:05 <Nemi> Why was it that so many game designers, artists, and general tech weirdoes had strange self-inserts? The mythic Roman She-wolf, really? Oh, well. Madeline supposes she shouldn't judge, what with her being an idea of .. herself. It was probably better not to dwell on that. "Mmmhm!" And a little adjustment to return Tanaka to his setting-appropriate look. Can't have the creator
Oct 24 21:43:05 <Nemi> garishly out of place. It might spoil the dream.
Oct 24 21:45:57 <gumbal1> As Toshikazu's problems and pains are reinserted into the mold of a she-wolf, a U-Boat, crawling towards the two like a slug, clears its…throat? "You, wolf, you're spared. You, Korean. Get in there." It doesn't point, but it does tilt its head towards the arena, currently containing but a massive, twelve-legged spider with the Italian flag printed on its back.
Oct 24 21:49:01 <Nemi> Korean? Oh- right. Madeline's idea was phenotypically half-Korean, wasn't it? She never really figured out the specifics, what with being with Nemie and hitting 'randomize' in real life a few dozen times. Okay, the U-boat thing fits. Stylzed, but it fits. Same with the spider-monster. A little more out there, but the Italian flag was '40s enough that it could stay. "Good luck,"
Oct 24 21:49:01 <Nemi> Madeline whispers to Tanaka's reflection, and climbs on down to the ring.
Oct 24 21:53:27 <gumbal1> It's not like Japan really had the best relationship with either Korea. A call by phenotype wasn't unexpected. As Madeline climbs down, chicken wire shoots up from the sides of the ring, before turning a bright red. "Ladies, Gentleman, and Undesireables: Maria Spinerella Mussolini fights…ergh," The disembodied voice, once abstract, now manifests besides Madeline in the form of a sickly circus ringman. "What's your name?"
Oct 24 21:54:36 <Nemi> Maria. This better not by like Orange Maria, as Madeline sometimes thought of the priestess. She leans in to murmur a reply, "Sang-mi Gangjeon."
Oct 24 21:56:41 <gumbal1> The ringleader disappears, and the voice returns to its uniquitous quality. "Sang-mi Gangjeon! Ready! Set! Open the-" "Wait!" Madeline, suddenly, is pulled out of the arena, into a board meeting of around twenty men, all wearing suits and staring at a powerpoint. The room appears to be located in a skyscraper, looking over a vast, modern city. "How can we improve Mussolini?"
Oct 24 21:56:58 <gumbal1> …come to think of it, all the people look a hell of a lot like Tanaka.
Oct 24 21:57:29 <Nemi> Heeeere's where Tanaka's mind is making ideas. She remains where she ended up, quiet, easily ignored, and /studies/ the powerpoint and whatever's on display. Here's her chance to prune his ideas down into something solid.
Oct 24 22:00:02 <gumbal1> It's a diagram of the spider, showing an internal anatomy less like a normal arachnid and more like a submarine, complete with little Italian soldiers. Currently, the diagram is rotating, and appears to be in a sort of idle standing animation. One of the Tanakas raises his hand, before being shot down by a Tanaka in a more expensive suit without words.
Oct 24 22:03:04 <Nemi> Madeline attempts to gently coax the Tanaka into speaking anyway, shushing the 'boss'. Better to have more harvest to cull through than to stopper them before they can ever be articulated.
Oct 24 22:05:13 <gumbal1> The Tanaka briefly looks over to Mads, before nodding and looking back. "…what if we gave her a gun?"
Oct 24 22:05:15 <gumbal1> Beat.
Oct 24 22:06:07 <Nemi> "Make sure it's a 1940's gun. Like a Franchi SMG. Ooooor even better, one of those weird semi-auto rifles the Italian army actually used. That way you can stylize it but keep the theme recognizable."
Oct 24 22:08:08 <Nemi> "And like, go full Dieselpunk for the actual fight. Period but make it a /spectacle/, too."
Oct 24 22:09:34 <gumbal1> …and as the entire board room began clapping, Madeline is thrust back into the arena. In Mussolini's front two arms, she's holding smgs, and on her back is an upside-down ball turret. The sound of a roaring engine can be heard as Mussolini rears, weapons aimed at Gangjeon.
Oct 24 22:10:32 <Nemi> Aaand now to actually fight it. Show what the idea's all about and make it look good. … Without dying. This'll be interesting. Madeline kicks the floor and gets ready, already mentally tracking where the bullets will fly.
Oct 24 22:13:34 <gumbal1> Of course, Philo Dough is intended to recapture that classic Nintendo audience without throwing newcomers under the bus, so the shots fire in a predictable, if somewhat quick pattern. It's about four seconds before the initial volley is done.
Oct 24 22:14:50 <Nemi> Perfect. Enough time for Madeline to follow the pattern, some careful rolling and jumping being done to get out of the way, and then she LEAPS and double-jumps up to the top of the arachnid to make a mighty stomp!
Oct 24 22:16:48 <gumbal1> Of course, the ball-turret's gotta be the weak point, given how conspicuous it is. However, given how everyone in the audience seems to be writing down notes, it almost feels like nobody's thought of this before. Mussolini, predicatbly, rages for a bit, before drawing back and charging directly.
Oct 24 22:18:06 <Nemi> It's perfect from a throwback gameplay perspective. Ball turret weak point, strafe to avoid the spider when it charges- as Madeline demonstrates.. But every good boss needs its own unique twist, doesn't it? Why not go with the spider theme and have little spiderlings?
Oct 24 22:20:52 <gumbal1> There's oohs from the interns, designers, and execs that seem to make up the crowd as little clockwork spider soldiers emerge from the cracks in the ball. Lots of them, in fact.
Oct 24 22:22:06 <Nemi> And what better way to let the player use them than as bounce targets, to build up momentum and thus get a sneaky hit to the ball turret between shoot phases?
Oct 24 22:22:20 <Nemi> Madeline demonstrates. Of course. Less obvious gameplay patterns that'd reward skill and daring!
Oct 24 22:25:02 <gumbal1> A lot of the audience seems surprised. A speedrunning strat being displayed in dev stages? There's gotta be some sorta thing they can do to encoura-
Oct 24 22:25:13 <gumbal1> Madeline is shunted back into the meeting room.
Oct 24 22:26:26 <Nemi> And almost imediately she has a suggestion. Little score popups that increase with each time a spiderling is hit without touching the ground.
Oct 24 22:26:46 <Nemi> Make them integral to the fight so it's not just Bowser 2.0 with Projectiles.
Oct 24 22:26:54 <gumbal1> Big Tanaka has his elbows on the table, hair like oh, it's his forteenth cup of coffee since he woke up. "…this is good, but…I think we're on to something here."
Oct 24 22:28:53 <gumbal1> "How about this: Philo Dough: Extract, or How I Ended The War Before Tea. Speed game, emphasis on style, cool-looking moves."
Oct 24 22:32:06 <Nemi> "Perfect. Not that big a change systems-wise, but something that'll help foster long-term competition and thus increase the game's life. Include ability to generate and share user-made levels too."
Oct 24 22:32:15 <Nemi> "Heck, just make your own dev tools available to players!"
Oct 24 22:35:45 <gumbal1> And at that, every single Tanaka in the room begins to brighten up.
Oct 24 22:36:35 <Nemi> "You can use the system's own online connectivity to share user-made levels.."
Oct 24 22:36:55 <Nemi> "Just add a quick UI, add some easy sorting and searching filters, a rating and commentary system.."
Oct 24 22:37:14 <gumbal1> And, as soon as the Tanakas begin jotting these down, Madeline's back in the arena, but it's not longer for fighting, anymore; a thousand tiny Tanakas are everywhere, seemingly building creatures out of assorted scrap and clay. It's a whole lot brighter, and nobody seems to be wearing the jeans and sarashi anymore.
Oct 24 22:38:44 * Nemi folds her arms and beams brightly as she observes. Everything seems so much more.. Cheerful. More playfully dieselpunk. And Tanaka's actually /into/ it. She can feel the weight of the dreamworld lightening as Tanaka's spirit and mind return and churn into action.
Oct 24 22:38:48 <Nemi> Madeline does that.
Oct 24 22:41:39 <gumbal1> Tanaka's got a few more hours before it's back to crunch time, but it looks like Madeline's done a pretty good inception.
Oct 24 22:43:23 <Nemi> Moreover, his mind's got /motivation/, which is more precious than anything. She culled the most outlandish ideas and planted the seeds for some (hopefully) great ones. She's content.
Oct 24 22:45:24 <gumbal1> It's a few hours before the office opens that Tanaka awakens, blinks, and immediately gets down to jotting things down. Firstly, that odd design for the spider he dreamed of.
Oct 24 22:46:44 <Nemi> And Madeline, of course, manifests a bit outside, looking for Miriam's telltale dreamsign.
Oct 24 22:49:48 * TrisSebell (moc.retrahc.aw.cwnk.pchd.870-32-314-14|aijG#moc.retrahc.aw.cwnk.pchd.870-32-314-14|aijG) has left #sunnybrook-fireflies (Leaving)
Oct 24 22:50:38 <gumbal1> Miriam…seems a bit distracted at the moment. Rather than watching Tanaka, her projection seems to be looking out the window of the apartment, into the streets below.
Oct 24 22:51:47 <Nemi> Madeline stuttersteps and appears beside Miriam. "So.. How'd I do?"
Oct 24 22:52:30 <gumbal1> "…you did well, Dreamweaver Maddox." And yet, her projection doesn't even look up.
Oct 24 22:57:47 <Nemi> "I like to um, think I cleared the chaff and um, gave him fuel to work with and jump from himself, so, that's good, right?"
Oct 24 22:59:36 <gumbal1> "I believe you've more than done your job, Dreamweaver Maddox." A car whizes by on the street below. "…what's it like, being human? The feeling hasn't come to me for several hundred years?"
Oct 24 23:01:55 <Nemi> "It's.. I dunno. I don't really think I've been um, otherwise enough to say. It's just.. Familiar. I feel things. Little things like joy and sadness and um. Anxiety. Fear. I like hot tea on cold days, and hugs from my girlfriend, even if she makes me upset because she always hits on and makes out with other people.."
Oct 24 23:02:03 <Nemi> "I guess it's like, feeling like you're in the immediate?"
Oct 24 23:05:11 <gumbal1> "…hrm. Well." Miriam looks up, and turns to face Madeline. Her gold mask, stylized to look like an abstract dove's face, has a line of rust running down from the eyes. "Enjoy it while it lasts. Years goes by far too fast."
Oct 24 23:05:25 <gumbal1> And with that, Madeline's back in her bed.
Oct 24 23:08:35 <Nemi> When Miriam /was/ human..? Madeline looks around, feels for the familiar shape of Katlyn beside her in their extra-large bed.. and is pleasantly surprised to find the sleeping French girl present. She rolls over and stares at the glowing face of the alarm clock. Hard to imagine time passing like that when every day felt like forever.
Oct 24 23:09:34 <gumbal1> -scene ended-

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