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Dead Dust: Chapter 0 teegee 09/20/2021 (Mon) 04:13:09 No. 69
#nsfw This quest began in May of 2018 and is currently ongoing on Questden. I will be reposting this quest here on GYF, in full, until it has caught up with the quest in its currently-running state. At that point, I will transition to running the quest concurrently both here and on Questden, taking suggestions on both sites. At the time of this writing, this chapter is the first of three so far. Replies between updates are welcome, but no replies will be used as input to the quest until parity has been reached with the Questden version. ''This quest is NSFW and will become quite explicit at times.`` ---------- A foggy haze lifts from your mind, as though you just woke from a deep sleep. Your throat feels ragged and dry. Your vision clears, revealing a small, dimly-lit room carved out of solid rock.
Edited last time by teegee on 10/01/2021 (Fri) 01:23:02.
Instinctively, you go to wipe the blood off your mouth; you're surprised to discover that it's not blood, but a gritty, coarse powder. It feels quite like sand, actually, and falls out of your fur at the slightest disturbance; whatever this stuff is, it isn't blood. You brush as much of it off as you can, but it still leaves some minor stains. Aside from a sore throat, you seem to be unharmed, as far as you're able to tell. For a moment you entertain the idea that maybe you're dead and this is some kind of afterlife, but you dismiss the thought as silly. --- Glancing around the room, you notice the other people, who don't seem to be moving. At first sight, they don't seem familiar at all, but for some reason you feel like there's something important you're forgetting. Come to think of it, you don't quite recall how you got here, either; you feel like you should be able to remember, but your thoughts get fuzzy when you try to focus on it. You approach the figure slumped over in the chair, expecting the worst and fearing that you might have had something to do with his fate. As you get closer, however, you can see that he's breathing, although he doesn't respond when you poke him in the chest. As far as you can tell, he doesn't look injured in any outward way. You inspect the gunk on his face, and it turns out to be the same sandy material from before. You examine the other bodies as well, and find them in the same catatonic state, with more of the red sand on and near them. Judging from the mess on the floor, it looks like it came out of them, like they vomited or coughed it up.
The boxes at the very top of the bookcase are out of reach; the bookcase itself looks pretty flimsy, discouraging you from climbing it. Instead, you take stock of the few items on the lower shelves: > A hardcover book that appears to be missing some pages. It doesn't have a title. > A glass jar with traces of a purple liquid at the bottom. > A bronze metal sphere. It rattles when you shake it, but you don't see a way to pry it open easily. There are two thin openings on the top half, and three identical panels on the bottom; their purpose is unclear. --- The book is full of identical pages featuring some sort of advertisement, which are perforated at the margin. Looking at the glyph makes your eyes feel a little funny, like when you cross them for too long.
>name? You think hard for a moment, and it finally comes to you: your name is ♠░☼╠╝░▒╖☻ᴋࣿ҉╗▓♪. This seems obviously wrong, but nonetheless it's the only answer that comes to mind. You don't even know how to pronounce it. >species? You don't know how you know this, but your gut tells you that you're a human being. You feel completely certain of this, despite the fact that you have fur, a tail, and long, floppy ears. >sex? You decide that maybe it's best if you don't try to rely on memory for this one, and just have a look for yourself.
Just to make absolutely sure the sand isn't blood, you pinch a few stray grains of the stuff from your fur and deposit them on your tongue, where they dissolve almost immediately. Surprisingly, it tastes sweet, although with a pungent overtone that makes it unpleasant. You still don't know what it is, but you'd rather not put any more in your mouth. Perhaps against your better judgment, you decide to trust that whoever left the book here had good intentions, and tear out a page for yourself before pocketing the jar and sphere. ---- Nobody else here seems to even be conscious, so you figure it's private enough to do a quick self-examination. A cursory glance inside your jumpsuit confirms that you are, in fact, female, if somewhat androgynous. To your dismay, it also confirms that you lack undergarments. stompstompstompstompstomp
Oh shit! You scramble for the corner beside the stairwell, hoping he didn't notice you. You ready the jar in your hand as a makeshift weapon. The big guy just glances at you and grunts as he ambles past. "Figures. Friggin zombie weirdos," he mutters as he starts digging around in one of the boxes on top of the bookshelf. He doesn't seem immediately hostile, but you still really want him gone. "I-I'm not decent!" You stammer. He grunts in response, which you take to mean he doesn't care.
You zip your suit back up, feeling a little embarrassed about what he might have seen. Then again, if he did see anything, he's clearly uninterested. You feel somewhat grateful for that. The big guy finds whatever he was looking for, and crouches down beside the unconscious cat woman. The object makes metallic clinking sounds as he assembles it. "...A zombie?!" You exclaim. You're pretty sure zombies don't even exist... right? He sighs. "It's an expression. Whoever ya used to be, that person's gone now. Yer just the leftovers, an empty mind in some guy's corpse." ---- His lips curl into a mocking grin as he looks up at you. "A zombie."
You're not sure you get what he means, but you let it go for now. "So is this some kind of drug den?" He pauses. "Of course n--" He sounds annoyed at first, but stops himself. "...Y'know what? Sure. It's close enough and I ain't wastin' my breath explainin' it." "Do you... work here?" He rolls his eyes. "Bra-vo, Einstein, ya figured it out." "Can you at least tell me what's going on? What happened to--" "Look," he interrupts pointedly, his frustration with you clearly rising, "I ain't here to play 20 questions wit no zomb. You want answers? Ask them Vesper freaks." He points at the book. "And no, ya can't stay here. Scram." He stands up and pulls the cat up by her armpits. "Hup!" He steadies her on her feet, and she actually stands there. You thought she was unconscious. "What are you doing with h--" "I said BEAT IT, ya zombie FUCK," he snarls. Deciding that prying any further is hazardous to your health, you head upstairs. ---- The man at the desk barely acknowledges you, his eyes fixated on the hologram in front of him. You begin to ask him if the door in front of you is the exit, but the moment you open your mouth he interrupts you. "No refund," he declares in an unidentifiable accent.
You notice that he's watching holoporn, and the thought comes to you that showing some skin (or fur?) might entice him to give you some answers. You don't like the idea, however; your amnesia makes you vulnerable, and who knows whether he'd see it as an opportunity to take advantage of you. For now, you decide, you'll just try to ply some information from him and save your feminine wiles as a last resort. "It's okay, I don't want a refund," you reply. >He cocks an eyebrow at you. "You don't want refund? Not like most zombie. Usually big fight." "Can I ask you a few questions, though?" >"No. Busy." He gestures to the smutty hologram. You frown in response, but he doesn't seem to notice nor care. "Please? I'm in a really bad spot here." >"Why are zombie always so annoying," he complains to no one in particular, gritting his teeth. "Look, just give me a couple straight answers, and I'll be out of your hair." You glance at his hairless scalp. "Er, so to speak." ---- >He glares at you for a moment, sizing you up. Finally, he sighs, swiveling in his chair to face you. "Ask." "What do you know about Vesper?" >"Zombie, like you." "What about their book downstairs?" >"Help Vesper find you? Dunno." "What did I buy from you?" >"Rent," he corrects you. "Rent basement one hour." "I woke up with this red dust all over me, what is it? Is that the drug I took?" >He narrows his eyes at you and his tone becomes stern. "Enough question, you leave now," he commands. You get the feeling that he's at the limit of his patience, so you hastily exit through the door beside his desk. ---- You emerge from the building and into a run-down neighborhood. Aside from yourself and the others in the building, it appears to be a ghost town; you see nobody around, and judging from the extreme state of disrepair, these buildings must have been abandoned for years. The whole area is well on its way to being reclaimed by nature; various weeds and other plants sprout from the smallest cracks and crevices, and larger plants have taken root even inside buildings, breaking through and toppling some of the architecture. Unsettlingly, everything is bathed in an eerie, reddish-purple moonlight. The street here is long, disappearing on one end into the depths of the ruined city, and reaching a waterfront in the distance on the other.
>search pockets You search your pockets and find, aside from the page, jar, and sphere from earlier, a small empty vial with a faded label. GR____________O_PLEX-B PROG_________3__B PAYLO________6___ PROPER____F T______________NAMICS UNAUTHOR___D US_________________ITED ---- Gazing down at the waterfront, you notice a scattering of lights in the distance. ---- The road leading deeper into the ruins ends at a 3-way intersection. An orange glow envelops the area, flickering gently.
You decide going deeper into the city would be the more dangerous route, and instead head down the road towards the waterfront. Nothing stirs as you pass by, and you're thankful for it, but the quiet of this place still makes you uneasy. Even the insects are silent. The stillness is broken somewhat as you round the corner and come close to the beach; the sound of gentle waves and lapping water calms your nerves a little. A sand-covered road stretches far in front of you, flanked by a boardwalk separating it from the beach strand. The area is littered with amusements and shop stalls, all deserted. You guess they were abandoned in a hurry, judging from the boxes and various junk littered about, although the state of disarray it is in suggests that it was rifled through and looted since then. Several of the buildings here have evacuation signs plastered on them, all pointing further down the road. You notice that a nearby sand dune seems disturbed in an odd way; it looks like a section was carved or blown out of it, but at this distance you can't hazard a guess as to what caused it. Further down, you see a pale light emanating from one of the buildings. Choosing to be cautious, you remain still and watch for a few minutes, but you don't see any movement across the light. ---- Glancing at the lights across the water, you notice now that some of them are moving, but none of them seem to be getting any closer.
>why are you here? You wish you knew! >where are you going next? Somewhere more closely resembling civilization, you hope. Maybe across the water, towards those lights? >check pulse You place a couple fingers on the underside of your neck and, sure enough, you feel your heartbeat. Whatever you are, you don't seem to be undead in any way. >Is there something in the window top left? You're pretty sure that's just a lamp that got knocked over. >sneak towards the light You approach the lit storefront, trying to remain as quiet as possible. The moonlight can't reach this spot, leaving it to be illuminated by the pale fluorescent light coming from behind the shop's half-closed shutter. You stop in your tracks when you hear a faint rustling coming from inside.
>Inspect trail Aside from bits of trash and detritus on the ground, you notice a trail of some substance leading inside the shop. Upon closer inspection, you see that it's some kind of liquid that's had enough time to dry partway. You think it might be blood, but the blue hue of the light makes it difficult to be sure, and you'd rather not try tasting nor smelling it. Was someone hurt here? ---- You sneak over to the left side of the door, as quietly as you can, and peek under the shutter. From here, the place appears empty; but you still hear the rustling sound, which seems to be coming from deeper within the shop. It occurs to you that this might be a good place to have a look at that glyph, if you can get the shutter closed.