6th Mar 2020, 1:01 AM
Find a multiplayer game

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Find a multiplayer game
Wait.

"Games," you say with zero context.

Before Cici can inquire further, you continue. "In the dream I always have... like... extra abilities based on whatever game I played that night. Like, Magic Mustachio gave me jumping powers."

"Is-- is that really a thing," Cici asks, "or is this just an excuse to play video games? Be honest, 'cuz I don't mind if you just--"

"No," you insist, "it's a real thing thank you very much. ...I don't need an excuse to play video games."

You lead Cici to your bedroom.





While Cici looks at your room, you take stock of your games.

Your computer is a monstrosity you mostly frankenstein'd together, able to play (and record) a wide variety of console games in... mostly acceptable quality. You do have two controllers, but--

if Cici plays a game you've previously played (like Crush Souls or Mustachio), you can determine if she gets the same abilities, or if she gets a separate set. You can then play a game you haven't played before to find out what it does, maximizing how much information you obtain.

On the other hand

If you both play something new--a multiplayer game--it would probably be more fun and you'd be able to learn what a new game does in the dream while learning if it grants you and Cici the same bonuses.

The problem is that you only have one multiplayer game.

And it's Magic Mustachio Extreme Beach Volleyball.

And it was made by a different studio than most Magic Mustachio games and it's a bit

uh

risque.

Staring at your bed, Cici suddenly has a revelation. "Damn!," she exclaims. "I got so excited about pizza I forgot to grab my sleeping bag." She shrugs, and shoves more pizza in her mouth. "Oh, well, I can go back for it later."

You take a breath.

"Okay," you begin, "I... think I've decided what the best game to play would be. For purely scientific reasons."


MINUTES LATER


"There's nothing scientific about this game," Cici declares. "That is not how boobies work!"

"Look--" you sigh, "I swear to God, the game contributes a significant amount to the lore of the franchise--"

"I'm not judging you," Cici states, "but I am gonna have questions."

You end up... sort of tilting the monitor so you can play from your chair and Cici can play from the bed. While teaching Cici how to play, you also tell her about your experience heading to Kate's house.

"Oh, you can call animal control if you want somebody to escort you next time," Cici says. "You'll get Bebe or Deedee, and they don't have anything better to do."

...And you tell her about sitting down for tea with Kate's mom, Heather.

You ... leave out that Kate has kind of a hot mom. You do mention her mom's very nice house, though.

"Kinda makes me wonder why Kate doesn't just do her concerts out there," Cici remarks.

"It's too far of a drive," you reply, "and for how big it is, there's no garage."

"Do you need a garage to have a concert?," Cici asks.

"Nah, but it loses some of the..." what was it Kate said? "...the mystique."

You alternate explaining what you learned from The Back Room (about the house, at least; you leave out some of the... unrelated stuff), and more about the game. Specifically, that it was made by a studio that mostly does... er, fanservicey fighting and action games, rather than the usual company, Yamauchi. A lot of the sports spin-offs get outsourced and while the things they contribute to the Mustachio lore are rarely referenced or treated as canon by the main games, they're still interesting to incorporate into--

"So why is this character just the princess but with bigger tiddies?," Cici asks, switching which character she has highlighted on the select screen to demonstrate.

...You end up explaining a lot more of the nuances of the Mustachioverse than you do the backstory of the house. Cici does seem to enjoy herself, at least.

"My question is," Cici begins, attempting to juggle playing the game and eating pizza, "if the witches that owned your house were the same ones running the old library... why does the old library look like that and your place looks like this? There's symbols and stuff on the walls at the library, and ritual business everywhere. Your room's... almost clean."

Hmm. "Maybe the feds wiped this place," you suggest, "but not the old library. Maybe there were arcane symbols and shit on the walls before the men in black got here. ...Maybe they just saved all the bad witch business for the library, and didn't do anything too weird here. My dad used to say don't shit where you eat."

"Do you ever think about calling 'em?," Cici asks. She pauses. "Your parents, I mean."

"No," you say without hesitating.

A brief silence follows, filled only by the sounds of the game.

You breathe out slowly... and continue. "They made it pretty clear that if I didn't break up with Lora then they'd be kicking me out. No job, no car, totally cut off, because I insisted on being queer. ...If they didn't wanna live not knowing what happened to their daughter they shouldn't have been ready to fucking throw me out on the street. It would have just been the same situation the next time."

"...What happened to Lora?," Cici asks.

"Her parents gave her the same ultimatum," you reply.

You hesitate.

Your mind forms a hundred ways to say it before you settle on

"She took it."



Another long silence.



"I feel kinda weird not having parents," Cici finally admits. "I mean, I don't blame you for not calling yours, I just--" She shakes her head. "...You ever feel like you're not really an adult? Sometimes I look around the library and I'm like... wow, they really let me be in charge. I'm here by myself, I shouldn't be responsible for all this."

"Fucking..." you stifle a bitter laugh, "constantly."

"Really?," Cici asks, genuinely. "I thought it was just 'cuz I... you know."

"Popped out of thin air, fully grown?" You shake your head. "I've been growing up for 21 years, I'm still waiting to magically turn into an adult. The thing I realized about my parents is that I don't think they ever hit that point, either, or maybe they found it and somehow stumbled back. They're... they're fucking childish, putting their fingers in their ears and refusing to listen to anything they don't already agree with. They want to feel oppressed, they want there to be some nefarious gay agenda they can rally against because their own lives are so fucking vapid and hollow--"

You realize that maybe you should bring up what Marlow said.

Not to question Cici about it, just

...so she knows.

"There's..." Ugh. "There's something else someone said in The Back Room."

Over pizza and digital volleyball, you explain Marlow's conspiracy theory about the Misuschaqua Wildlife Resources Act.

You expect disgust. Anger, maybe.

You sort of feel like you deserve disgust and anger, but

"He's kinda right," Cici says, sounding neither disgusted nor angry. "There are 26 of us. Me and Bebe have been trying to track the others down, actually! Especially whoever A is. We're all letters, see--I'm C, Bebe's B--"

"--Why A, though? Specifically?"

"Well..." Cici gives a small shrug. "We met Gigi, who confirmed she's partnered with a Double H.

B, C, and D together,

G and H together...

E and F are probably together, too."

...Huh. "But A would be by herself," you mutter.

"Yeah!," says Cici. "She doesn't have anybody. She might not even know she has sisters, so we've been tryin' to track her down. I don't think I was given any anti-civilian training, though, it's all... zoo keepers and stuff. If we were secretly gonna turn on the town, we'd be really bad at it. I wouldn't rule out secret programming, but like... man, if I have hidden talents and I'm not allowed to know about 'em, I'd be mad."

"...What's it like?" You ask without really thinking about it. "Sorry if that's weird or... personal, or whatever, I've just never--"

"What's what like?," she asks. "The whole training thing?"

"...Yeah." You nod.

"It was..." Cici takes a moment. "It's like I'm 15 different people. It's like... I'm so many people, I don't even know who those people are. It all just blends together, but... badly. I can't tell who's who, and I don't know where anything came from. I know how to do first aid on a tiger--but I don't remember learning it, or why I wanted to know how to do that, I just... I know it. It's just there. ...You wake up, confused about who you are or who you aren't, and they say your name is Cici and you're gonna be animal control. ...And you go, okay."

It's maybe the most somber you've seen Cici.

There is very little smile there.

"And you just... get used to it. Being all those people and trying to make them be you. You get... feelings. You miss people you don't remember, you remember places you've never been. Deedee picked it up almost immediately, Bebe... I think she handles it a little better than me. ...I still feel like I'm waitin' for it all to click one day."

You're already this deep, you might as well bring it up.

"...I haven't met Deedee yet."

"She's..."

Cici finally pauses the game.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, she rests her face in one large hand.

"...She takes her job real seriously. And I don't blame her! She's good, she's better than I am. ...She wanted to be a real police officer. Took the tests and everything."

"...And it didn't work out?"

"No," Cici says, "she passed all the exams! ...A couple o' times. She just said... it's not always that simple, and she stayed with animal control. She's been kinda distant since."

Hmm.


You hear your front door slam.


"Hey," comes Kate's muffled voice from the living room, "I'm gonna burgle this house since some nerd left the door unlocked."

You and Cici emerge from your room.

Kate is waiting, with a six pack of beer and... a backpack.

"I have nothing to steal," you point out, "except my computer, and you'd have to kill me."

"Were you guys totally porking in there?," Kate asks. "Having a primo pork sesh? I can come back later, just know that I brought--"

she hoists the beers skyward-- "♪ party favors ♪"

"I don't think that's how porking works," you reply, and also "what's in the backpack?"

She places it, and the beers, on the floor... and begins to retrieve something from within the backpack.

"I was thinking, like, what should I bring to the most haunted house I'm ever gonna walk into, and there was only one real answer--"

Slowly, Kate retrieves a ouija board.

"No," Cici says immediately. "Hell no."

You, also, have to quickly shake your head. "Have you seen zero horror movies?"

"You can't fathom the number of horror movies I've seen." Kate holds the ouija board out with both hands. "You want answers, don't you?"

You breathe out slowly.

She's not wrong.

"We have better shit to do, anyway!" Cici declares. "Plaire found out there was two witches in this house, and one of 'em probably worked at the old library."

"We don't know they were witches," you point out. "That's pure speculation at this point."

Cici looks past Kate, out the glass of the front door. "...It is gettin' pretty dark, though. I think we should visit the old library as a group, while we're all three here together, but... maybe in the morning. We can still try the game thing with Kate--"

"No," Kate says, her eyes gradually widening. "Old library. Tonight. Ouija board."

"No," Cici says both more sternly and almost as a gasp.

Hoo boy.

"You had..." You take a second to breathe in. Focus. Nothing to be ashamed of, these people know what you're about. "...Anxiety medication. Last time."

"Had?," Kate slides the ouija board back into her backpack, only to pull a familiar unmarked pill bottle from her jacket pocket. "Have. You want Brainsate, I got Brainsate. I also have its good friend--" and from her other pocket, she pulls out a fairly large bag of--, "--a fuck ton of level. I told you, I got us covered on party favors."

Cici smiles, shaking her head. "That is... really illegal."

Kate grins back. "Gonna throw me in the pound, officer? I'm warning you, I'm a biter. Dude, let's get fucked up and fight ghosts. Let's make learning fun."

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6th Mar 2020, 1:27 AM
Morgenstern
I'm getting later and later with these updates
6th Mar 2020, 1:52 AM
And we still love each and every one of them. Don't stress too much about it.
6th Mar 2020, 4:02 AM
Seriously, if you need to take a day or week off, just say so. We can wait.

Especially with this one. Now we gotta decide between spook house + no ouija, spook house + ouija, spook library + no ouija, and spook library + ouija.
It might take a while to puzzle out the best course of action.
6th Mar 2020, 6:48 AM
spooky house + spooky library + ouija ?
6th Mar 2020, 6:47 AM
so long as "Quality" never drops I am okay with that
6th Mar 2020, 9:16 AM
I'm lucky with my timezone, it's always in the middle of the night.
6th Mar 2020, 1:33 AM
Might be best to avoid the drugs for tonight atleast.
We are atleast trying to do an experiment here, need to reduce the variables.
6th Mar 2020, 1:35 AM
Avoid the level, but take the brainsate. Brainsate makes us *function.*
6th Mar 2020, 10:21 AM
wierdweblurker
It makes us function in social situations. What we intend to head into is most definitely not a social situation. We can experiment with it later, but for now I think we should dream sober.
6th Mar 2020, 5:03 PM
Snervalton
+1 to dreaming sober
6th Mar 2020, 8:53 PM
6th Mar 2020, 1:39 AM
Okay, as an Actual Occulty Person, absolutely do NOT use the Ouija board lol. If you wanna get in touch with spirits, you make a black mirror or use a pendulum or stare into smoke, or you just meditate real hard. Hell, you can even read messages in everything from tea leaves to pancake batter. If the spirits wanna get a message across in this house, they don't need a Ouija board; mundane objects will do just fine.

An Ouija board is either a dangerous shortcut or a literal toy-- and given how this house weaponizes games, giving it a *dangerous toy* to play with is a *terrible* idea.

That said, we can totes visit the library, or we can just play more vidya and then go to sleep and see what happens. But no Ouija board! If we really want to give it a try *eventually,* gotta learn grounding and cleansing and how to give a spirit a *proper* dismissal first.
6th Mar 2020, 1:54 AM
Question: if it weaponizes games, will we be fighting giant Mustachio tiddies? I hope not, given what we faced last time.
6th Mar 2020, 3:19 AM
Lunar Waffles
i feel like if the dream wanted to use this game to hinder Plaire, it would giver he massive chest globes that don't obey normal psychics x:
6th Mar 2020, 6:54 AM
you know total honest it wouldn't surprise me if the spooky house doesn't use the Ouija for dangerous stuff and instead acts like a a paranoid millennial using the board to contact Plaire non stop for stupid stuff that has no wait weigh or danger what so ever
6th Mar 2020, 8:01 AM
Limrix
+1, if we want to try to get info from spirits, we should do something that doesn't involve people as the medium. Honestly the lightboard thing they did in stranger things would probably work really well, not that we have enough lights. We could use one and hope the ghost or some of its friends know morse code.
6th Mar 2020, 1:42 AM
Frission
Laughing so hard right now though. XD
6th Mar 2020, 1:43 AM
Macheman7
Morgenstern, if you ever want to call it a night and get some rest, I'm 99% certain that nobody will mind. Your personal wellbeing is more important that your update schedule.

Also hell no on the ouija board are you a fool we aren't shitting where we eat.
We'll use it at the old library.
Not the house.
Also, we can test if the game works on Plaire/Cici and how it treats Kate if she plays nothing.
That said, the game we play may need to come just before sleep? Hard to tell.
...Does Plaire have a third controller?
Re: Cici's sisters, maybe A is with Z. Unless X, Y, and Z are together. In which case... Hard telling.
Also Plaire, I told you to clean your room.
Now people can see your dirty pants and trash. Gosh darn it Plaire. Oh well, Cici is good people and hasn't judged you.
6th Mar 2020, 1:52 AM
Portal In Time
We've got two controllers, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Plaire's computer comes with a keyboard we could use, too.
6th Mar 2020, 1:45 AM
Portal In Time
While it's super cool that we've got both friends here (And that both friends brought something to help make this a real get-together), I seriously don't think that it's a good idea to head over to the Library right now.

I don't know what time of the year it is right now, but I'm gonna assume that sunset's going to happen in less than an hour.

Ask her for a brainsate, and let her know how bad of an idea it is, especially without any prep.

.. The ouija couldn't hurt, though.
6th Mar 2020, 9:18 AM
Snervalton
They could wait until morning to go to the old library, that way they could call Deedee and have her escort them there. If animal control will come to escort Plaire through tall grass, then why not through the territory of mutant wolves as well?
6th Mar 2020, 5:05 PM
The ouija could *definitely* hurt lol

Inviting in just any old spirit, without knowing how to prep the area, ground and cleanse, and dismiss the spirit properly? Terrible plan. Ouija boards are basically always a bad plan-- if you're sufficiently experienced in the occult to be able to use one safely, you don't need one.
6th Mar 2020, 2:08 AM
Well, we don't know if the level effect goes to the dream, and if our heart is pounding in the dream it pounds outside of it. And tbh, I don't think our heart exploding cause we're dreaming of fighting a monster is cool enough a death for us.
6th Mar 2020, 2:19 AM
undeadDreamer
I personally think we should NOT go to the library at night and especially not while any of us are on level unless we want our HEARTS TO EXPLODE.

On the topic of Ouija boards they're usually just a thing that tricks people into fooling themselves. Just keep that in mind so we don't get fake supernatural junk mixed in with our real supernatural junk.

Edit: In case my stance wasn't clear: I wanna use the Ouija board. No matter what it sounds like an interesting idea.
6th Mar 2020, 2:31 AM
+1
Old library = probable mutant wolves
mutant wolves = lots of physical excercise
physical excercise + level = VERY VERY FUCKING HELLUVA TERRIBLE IDEA I MEAN HOLY CRAP KATE ARE YOU HIGH ALREADY DAMMIT
6th Mar 2020, 2:43 AM
YetAnother
That was me, forgot i wansn't logged in
6th Mar 2020, 6:58 AM
Kate probably is high right now
6th Mar 2020, 5:46 AM
Eh, why not.
Follow up Mustachio Bros with Ouija's haunted board.
6th Mar 2020, 5:54 AM
Any chance brainsate somehow counteracts the potentially lethal effects of level?(doesn't seem likely to me, but I'm no drug expert) If not, a situation where we might have to run for our lives is extra unappealing.
6th Mar 2020, 9:13 AM
Snervalton
If anything that just sounds like a more dangerous chemical cocktail.
6th Mar 2020, 7:55 AM
Limrix
We are SO not going to the old library. We are in no way equipped to defend ourselves against a pack of wolves, much less giant mutant wolves.

Take the brainsate though. We ?probably? don't need a dose right now, but it's good to have on hand. If we are thinking of taking anything, check how it interacts with the other stuff.
6th Mar 2020, 8:56 AM
+1.

Taking the brainstate now has pluses but... It's late. What the heck is even the proper dosage schedule for brainstate?

If we want to take one in the morning so as to be more functional throughout the day, taking one right now might be a bit of self sabotage.

Not to mention we have no idea what brain medication would do to the dream castle, introducing another variable.
6th Mar 2020, 9:40 AM
Snervalton
"No Kate, we were just watching some softcore porn to get ourselves warmed up. We were waiting for you to arrive before starting the primo pork sesh!"
6th Mar 2020, 10:22 AM
Hari_Seldon
Kate seems to have ... enough drugs to drug several people so she has extra. Ask her if we could have a few days of Brainsate if she can spare it (so we don't have to visit her every day to get some). We could pay for it but then we would not have enough money for the dream ring ...
6th Mar 2020, 12:23 PM
Hari_Seldon
Plaire could actually accept Kate's offer to go to the old library because Cici could protect us. And yes it is at night and that is bad, but Cici has to work during the day so unless we wait until the weekend it is going to be at night anyway.

If Cici says she is not enough to protect us we could take the bus to Bebe and Dede (animal control is their job and Cici says they don't have anything better to do they are available to escort people) and invite them for an adventure (carefully so the Mondol spyware does not know exactly what the adventure is). They might even have animal control weapons (it's their job) that Cici does not have.

Alternatively, I'm happy to go to the old library tomorrow if that would give Bebe and Dede enough notice and enough time to see if Cici is a sleeper agent and reacts to sleeping over at the spooky house.
6th Mar 2020, 5:07 PM
Snervalton
+1 to going to the old library tomorrow with Bebe & Dede or whenever they are next available. Maybe Cici would be willing to call in sick for one day?
6th Mar 2020, 1:22 PM
Let's ask Kate where she's getting the brainstate. Might be nice to be able to get our own.
6th Mar 2020, 5:39 PM
Hari_Seldon
Twyll on the Discord has a good analysis of Ouija boards:

"... don't have proper instructions for cleansing the area properly beforehand to keep energies and entities from interacting, they don't teach you how to ground yourself to keep issues within yourself from causing problems, and they don't teach you properly how to dismiss the spirits and make them go away at the end. ... They do have instructions on how to dismiss the spirit-- however, it's a super weak method of basically just telling them "okay go away now." The problem is that the occult functions on intent and on how honed your Will is. The ouija board doesn't teach you how to hone your Will so that your words are actually effective. ... So yeah, the big issue with a Ouija board from an occult perspective is that it's a honey pot for nasty eldritch beasties who want to mess with unsuspecting, inexperienced people. ... But yeah, the point is, your Will might not be honed enough to bring anything through a Ouija board, but if you get multiple weak Wills trying to bring through something but not specifying what, those Wills might bring something but then be entirely unable to control it"
6th Mar 2020, 5:48 PM
Snervalton
Yeah, definitely something we don't need right now, best to leave the ouija board alone for the time being.
6th Mar 2020, 5:55 PM
Hari_Seldon
Yeah Twyll's recommendation is:

"And there's really usually very little reason to evoke. Why go to the trouble of bringing something to a world where it doesn't belong just to ask it questions? If you just wanna be like "yo, whatever spirits happen to be around, I have questions for you," you can use various divination methods like a pendulum or tea leaf reading."

"You could modify the spirit board method to ask present spirits, yeah. You could also use a pendulum with an alphabet board"
6th Mar 2020, 7:02 PM
Snervalton
Hmm, maybe Plaire could pick up some loose tea leaves the next time she visits Maria's...
9th Mar 2020, 1:19 PM
There are plenty of free turn based flash games, or something like liquid war that can be played on a single keyboard all at once.
18th May 2020, 5:51 PM
I guess it's possible for AA and ZZ to be partnered together?