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Author Topic: Questionable Ethics  (Read 18965 times)

AlanL

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Questionable Ethics
« on: February 10, 2008, 01:14:00 am »

I've taken a break, and decided to start a new story. I think AKQ II might be the longest thing I'll write... at least for a long while. The emotions that drove me to write AKQ and AKQ II have become basically dormant... though, I will always love the characters. These stories from now on are basically now just a hobby... I don't know if the skill seen from my writing under those emotions carried over or not, but I might as well find out.
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It seemed all a dark fog around... Kazo felt his body's presence fading from his senses... Kazo found himself seeming to stand upon an invisible surface amidst the fog... all around him, the dim, dark purplish haze slowly churned.

He looked up. There seemed to be a rift, much like what he had seen from his friends portal, though there was no ring around it or any machine in sight at all. Kazo hesitated a moment... He and Blitukus had such great times together... he remembered the very first time he met his kobold friend... when he, Blitukus, and Arkus were all together. Kazo would miss them... he would miss them for a long time... but, he couldn't allow himself to dwell on it. As he looked into the rift... nothing but plain white on the other side... he realized, this would all be ancient history.

Kazo looked up at the rift. What lay beyond? Whatever it was, it might help to get his mind off the past. Kazo leapt up, and crossed through into the light. HE found the plain white light surrounding him, filling him. As he looked back at the rift, he found the rift had inexplicably ceased to exist. Soon though, he found the whiteness around penetrating through and flooding his very existence. Eventually, after a few moments, the whiteness began to fade away to blackness. Kazo felt himself awakening. He slowly came to his senses, his blurry vision adjusting to a sharp image. Kazo slowly rolled over onto his front, and got up. He felt as if surprisingly little time had passed, in fact...

That was a very short dream! I guess I haven't slept for very long?

Kazo looked around. He was inside of the same cave, the wind gusting across the tundra outside. It was daylight outside, the sun revealing several hills of snow. The clouds above, though there were some, were quite sparse. Kazo found that, for some reason, energy and force were irrelevant. He left the cave, and stepped out into the tundra. He noticed the wind seemed to not effect him in the least. He looked to his left. There was a 20 foot tall version of the statue he had seen in Blitukus' caves... a kobold cupping his hands... the statue was made of obsidian. So much for this taking his mind off of the past... He turned away, and inexplicably, two more statues of similar scale seemed to exist adjacent this. One of a female kobold, her grin... seemingly immortal... projecting itself across space and time. The third statue was of a dragon, holding a sphere of crystal, within which a small vortex of mana churned. All three of the statues then seemed to smile at Kazo, their glowing eyes looking at him. Kazo smiled back. A moment passed, then he waved to the past, and moved on. That there were 3 statues popping into existence hundreds of miles away from civilization never struck Kazo as odd, for it seemed logic itself played by different rules. Kazo looked down, noticing his feet making footprints in the snow. Somehow, the notion of having feet struck him as odd. The very act of finding something odd seemed to change the scene around slightly. Kazo looked up, and saw a mountain range had come into existence immediately ahead. He entered an oddly familiar tunnel. Yet, it did not lead to a kobolds home... only to an exit that was just like the entrance. Beyond the exit was jungle, rather than tundra. A path led through the jungle. The sun indicated about 10 o' clock AM, though no birds sang, and the wind hardly moved the leaves on the trees.

Kazo looked around again. He saw the ruins of a dragons tower, the spires laying next to the ruin, having broken off long before. Kazo turned around to see immediately adjacent the skeletal ruin of a titanium skyscraper. Both ruins seemed to have been forever before and forever since still and undisturbed. Kazo investigated both ruins... and found there was absolutely nothing inside but ruined walls and wrecked ceiling and floor tiles. It was as if they had actually been visited before, and all furniture, devices, all of it, had been taken out. Kazo walked back to the front of the rusted, leaning, skeletal frame of what perhaps was once a titanium skyscraper. There was one item left in front of it that he had never noticed before, laying next to a beam he had never noticed before. He walked over and looked at this item. It was a rusted, old rivet, sitting next to a hole which it likely once occupied. Kazo reached out to grab the rivet, and noticed he seemed to be holding a hammer in his hand. The spontaneously apparent hammer was an obvious hint. Kazo took the rivet, put it over the rusted hole, and hammered it back in. When that was done, he moved the hammer to reveal the rivet was shining again... and so was the beam. In fact, there was now fully intact and straight glass panes on each side of the beam. Kazo looked up to witness the skyscraper standing tall, shining as if it had just been completed the day before. Kazo laughed... that had to be the easiest repair job in history. Kazo looked back down. His hands were now empty, the hammer gone. The hammer itself seemed but only a vague memory anyhow... Kazo felt inexplicably compelled to continue down the path. He did so. Around a bend, and around another bend, into very dense trees until finally he reached a stone with a pool of water in it, water seeming to come out of the top of the stone and fall into the pool, which never rose despite no drain. He heard the sound of a waterfall running... suddenly, he heard the sound of birds singing. Odd that he had never noticed it before... in fact, something seemed odd in general. This somehow seemed to make a part of him deep down inside nervous of... losing some kind of challenge? That's what it felt like. He looked down, and found his adamantine exterior was pink. He tilted his head, and spoke, "HEY! Why am I pink? I'm blue!" He then looked up, and saw, just above a rock which was just high enough to sit on, a pair of floating eyes, looking at him. He made eye contact with this pair of eyes, and in that instant, the eyes expressed the kind of surprise one expresses when unexpectedly losing a game. Upon making eye contact, it dawned upon him. Things appearing? 20 foot statues in the middle of nowhere? The one hit repair job? Since when was he pink? It was all rather silly... it was all a dream.

Kazo observed again, finding the pair of eyes now belonged to an entity that seemed to be several parts of several creatures sewn together into the same shape as Kazo. This entity laughed, then spoke in the same voice as Kazo, "You got me!" Kazo smiled, waving his tail, "Why hello!" Kazo found himself able to levitate up, and did so. He looked back down, and saw the entity had vanished. Kazo landed, and looked around. Suddenly, a small, square crystal set in a mithril frame fell from the sky, Kazo catching it as it fell right in front of him. He looked at it. A voice from behind him spoke, "WHATS ON THE CLOCK?" Kazo smiled, "Let's find out!" Kazo turned it over, and saw that it read, "(AM*PM) 18:88:88". Either it was broken or the numbers ticked by so fast they simply blurred together. Kazo looked to his side. The entity stood right behind him, its head over Kazos shoulder. Kazo looked at the entity, the entity promptly grinning at Kazo. Kazo turned to face the entity to find he had vanished. Kazo turned around again... there was his counterpart entity, walking in a motion that suggested forwards but with a velocity that was backwards, crossing straight in front of Kazo. What time was it? He was fairly certain he had fallen asleep in the mid 1080s... when he woke up, it could merely be 1090. It could just as easily be the year 1090000. Perhaps he would wake up to be the only sapient alive on the planet... perhaps he would wake up and nothing would be different... perhaps- His counterpart interrupted, appearing before him with flames coming from his eyes, "Sun go BOOM!" All of a sudden, the jungle around was reduced to a flaming heap, which was promptly blown away with the rest of the atmosphere, and the entire world was reduced to a charred cinder as the sun above erupted furiously, scorching all worlds around. Kazo shielded himself, looked down to shield his eyes, and curiously looked up, to find himself standing among the trees again, the sun above as it was.

I don't think I'll sleep in THAT much!

His counterpart grinned, the flames still present in his eyes, "So you say!"

Say?

His counterpart continued, "Say! Say!" Kazo laughed... then as he observed again, noticed his counterpart had vanished and reappeared to his side. Kazo watched his counterpart run by him, but as he turned to view his counterpart, he noticed his counterpart had vanished again. Kazo looked around... suddenly, his counterpart dropped from the sky and landed before him. This behavior of seemingly sneaking about and appearing out of nowhere reminded Kazo of himself. Kazo snickered, "So I see you l-" His counterpart interrupted, pointing at Kazo as to touch Kazos nose with the tip of his claw, "Where do you think YOU got it from?" His counterpart continued to hold a claws tip against Kazos nose, moving it up and down, causing Kazo to move up and down following it. They both snickered. His counterpart laughed, grinned, turned around, then looked upward at such a ridiculous angle, he once again looked at Kazo, his head relatively upside down. It did explain the previously inexplicable urge to do that. Kazo approached his counterpart, who then turned again and poked Kazo. His counterpart spoke, "Poke!" Kazo snickered. His counterpart then seemed to pull a wooden spoon and a spatula out of nowhere, and stood with them in a fighting pose. His counterpart then spoke, "Let's spar!" Kazo snickered, "So then we'll have a cooking match?" His counterpart replied, "I'm the legendary spoon master elite!" Kazo laughed, thought about it, looked inwardly, then looked outwardly, to find he now stood in a dark arena. His counterpart spoke, "I brought my spoon army!" Kazo turned around. Before him stood a legion of 10,000 dwarves, each wielding a giant, masterwork, masterfully engraved steel spoon. The dwarves grunted in unison, and stood in formation. They seemed to be wearing spaghetti armor. Kazo turned around again, and smiled, "You're completely crazy!" His counterpart grinned, tongue hanging out, now wearing a pan as a helmet, handle off to the side, "That's half my job!" Suddenly, the room dimmed. The legion disappeared, and Kazos counterpart seemed surprised, quite surprised. Kazos counterpart ducked so low to the ground he seemed to partially sink into it. The spatula, spoon, and pan had ceased to exist. Kazo felt a sensation of freezing cold within his chest. Suddenly, the entire arena seemed to grow icicles. Kazos counterpart sprang to his feet, and ran over to Kazo. His counterpart yelled, an expression of sheer will on his face, "!!SECOND HALF OF JOB!!" A short moment passed. Kazos counterpart seemed to reach into Kazos chest, phasing through his exterior, and grabbing at what was now very definitely the freezing cold power source within. Kazos counterpart spoke, "WARNING! !!WARNING!! !!!" Kazos counterpart grabbed Kazo by the arms, and shook Kazo back and forth, speaking, "Heart go cold! Control! Control! WAKE UP!" Kazo felt something was going very wrong, but couldn't tell what. His counterpart took off the crown that he suddenly seemed to be wearing, and placed it on Kazos head in a symbolic gesture. Kazos counterpart pressed his face against Kazos, yelling, "!!DO SOMETHING!!" Kazo felt the cold... he knew what to do, but the part of his mind that knew it wasn't active... what was it?! Suddenly, the room began to dim to pitch black, dream reality, his thoughts, it all winding down as if it were a device running out of power... power... heat... RODS! At the very thought his mind was unified in the control signal.

Kazos crystal, mithril, and adamantine innards, having been at rest for eons, silence all around... suddenly clicked. It was a click that seemed to echo into the distance despite it being nearly inaudibly soft. A moment later, there was a snapping sound as the rods freed themselves from the various particles that had settled in the joint. The rods then extended out from the spherical device.

Kazo felt as though he were about to freeze through... and then he would be frozen for all eternity. But, the ice halted. Suddenly, flame burst forth from the walls of the arena, filling the area with light, and immediately melting the ice. Kazos counterpart danced among the flame, laughing, a few moments later running up to Kazo and hugging him. Kazos counterpart winked at him and grinned, "Have fun!" The light grew, and grew, until it drowned out all... Kazo felt reality shifting. The light faded to dark, and once again, he felt solidity.

Kazo felt very tired, a hunger within... but this hunger was filled, his exhaustion fading as the coldness within his chest turned to warmth. He felt the channels of his runes, the crystals within, all of his body, covered inside and out by settled dust particles... he had enough power to feel. He felt his power supply growing. This power flowed through the long previously dormant channels within him, weakly, but growing stronger. He felt more senses feeding in... he could taste, though there was nothing but dust. He could smell, and dust filled his nostrils. He could hear, but there was nothing to be heard but the dull sound of distant wind in a tunnel. He saw a dim, fuzzy image. The image grew brighter, and sharper... as his sense of balance restored itself, his eyes pointed in a proper direction, giving him a proper image. He had awakened.

He found himself unable to move. Not only were his joints full of settled particles to the point of being jammed, but he seemed to be held up by some sort of wire, hardly noticeable to view, but he felt it attached to him. He thought to himself... this was what it's like to be a museum exhibit? He could only look forward. He was in some sort of room, a large foyer of some sort looking upon a large, sealed exit. He stood upon a circular platform above the floor of a circular room that occupied the T-section between two corridors and the path to the exit immediately ahead. There seemed to be an old, ruined trade depot right in front of him as well. He found the wire posed him in such a manner as to strike a ferocious pose at both the depot and the exit... likely an entrance as well. He tried to move his head... he found he was weak, but his strength was increasing. It was taking surprisingly long for the device to warm up. Eventually, he found his strength was sufficient. He forced his head to move, the dust in his neck joint snapping away, resulting in a small puff of dust particles. He spat out and undid the wires holding his mouth and head in place. He bit through the wires holding hi arms in place, severing them. One by one, he freed his joints, unjamming them.

Eventually, he slowly fell over... this was before he had unjammed his leg joints... and fell from the platform. He landed on his tail and legs, resulting in no injury, rather, the force of the impact unjammed those joints all at once. Kazo really despised falling over... but at least it wasn't all bad. He got up, and flexed his joints until no more dust came out. He then brushed himself off. He felt his power level, once a deficit, was now a surplus. His soul, vacant of mana, slowly began to pick up a charge. He looked around. There were some clothes laying on the trade depot, the corridor to the right blocked off entirely by a cave in, the corridor to the left blocked off 3 doors down. What lay behind those 3 doors? Kazo was intent on finding out. He walked back to the first door, dust drifting off from his exterior the whole way. He opened the door, sending a plume of dust settling... the rooms, the entire area was vacant. Within was a smooth room, masterful furniture within, having withered with the passage of time. A masterwork bed, a masterwork chair and table, a masterwork coffer, and a masterwork cabinet... a 4 by 4 space room, with all of this in it, and no other indication it was meant for a noble at all. Perhaps it wasn't. The other 2 rooms were of the same size. Kazo checked the coffer and cabinet... empty and empty. He moved on to the second room. It proved it be identical to the first. He moved on to the third room... it seemed to be identical to the other two, but the coffer was locked shut with a heavy iron lock. Kazo crouched down, and picked the lock with his claw. This wasn't sufficient... Sparks shot out as he flash-heated the metal, after which it was much easier to manipulate. Kazo opened the lock, pulled it off, then opened the coffer. Within was an unadorned backpack that seemed to be remarkably preserved even though it was covered with dust. Kazo took up the heavy backpack and looked within it. It contained two bags full of gold coins... whether there was still any merchants to offer them to was still up for debate. Kazo brought the backpack with as he left the room. He walked to the trade depot, and looked back. There was a masterful engraving of a giant cave spider striking down a dwarf. Kazo really wanted to investigate the entire place. This could be the remains of a once legendary dwarven fortress after all. Unfortunately, Kazo lacked a pickaxe, and the halls were caved in. He looked down... all that was left in the trade depot was a coat, pants, and boots, all dark brown in color, matching the backpack. Kazo tried them on... they were quite well preserved, and hid Kazos form surprisingly well. The coats tails even hid Kazos tail. It would come in handy should he prove not to be the last sapient in the world. Kazo wore it and the backpack over it, using the hood to hide his head. He had seen all there was to see it seemed.

Now it was time to move on. Kazo walked toward the exit. He had no idea when or where he was... it produced a feeling that would give the impression he was on another world entirely, or that perhaps the ruined fortress was its own world. As he walked, he remembered one last time... all he had done with Arkus... he loved Arkus, and Arkus loved him... and now, he had to put it behind. He remembered his adventures with Blitukus... from mills to time machines, the armored vehicle, the wave generator, he, Blitukus, and Dracha working to improve the vehicle... his adventure through the future, and his role in his kobold friends adventure into the depths of hell itself. He had enjoyed their company... those were good times he had with them, but now they were quite evidently ancient history. What lie ahead? There was only one way to find out. Kazo walked up to one of the doors of the otherwise sealed exit, and opened it, stepping into the bright light on the other side. The light surrounded him. He stood still... wind blew gently across him. As his eyes adjusted, the light faded down until he could finally make out the scene.

He stood in pristine jungle, the sun hanging low in the sky, having just risen. The sound of birds singing and a nearby waterfall could be heard. The sky above was a beautiful blue, the suns rays piercing into sparse but thick clouds. He looked behind him... the rusted iron door with rivets in it leading back to a now pitch black tunnel. It seemed there was once a road running to this fortress, but now the road had been left to disrepair. In several places, stone was missing, and plants grew up through the cracks and holes. There was even a tree in the middle of the road. That iron door... this road... time travel, the machine, the demonic future, the bare necessities of a dire quest... was now something for his memory alone it seemed. He turned back around, and walked into the jungle, surrounded by plants and singing birds, humidity dense in the air. Kazo snickered at the thought of an iron door in a place like this... eventually it would rust to nothing, and all that would be left would be the jungle. He walked swiftly, grinning. The past was the past... and as the birds sang around him, he admired all that lay ahead. He loved the jungle... he enjoyed all of natures beauty, but had always been fond of the sheer density of the jungle... plenty of everything. Now, he was faced with an entirely new situation. He had nobody and nothing to be loyal to but himself. He lacked a goal at all, there was no big quest on his mind. Before him was a world of unknown date and unknown location to explore at his whim... at the very thought of this he waved his tail excitedly. He decided to start with the waterfall. He turned and walked over to it. As he walked, he noticed the device powering him seemed to need the rods extended more to produce the same power. Over the eons, perhaps, his basic functions keeping him alive drew too much energy? Perhaps the fuel just decayed naturally? It all made sense... had his dream continued much longer, he might have run out of power to wake up with. For the time being, there was likely a long, long time left before fuel became an issue. There were still no pressures on his actions and he was free to act as he wished. Should he come across a means of refueling in his travels, he would accept, but there was still plenty of time.

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Armok

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2008, 03:51:00 am »

FIRST POST OF ENTIRE STORY!!!  :D   :D   :D

BEYOND QUALITY!  :D

RRL.

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So says Armok, God of blood.
Sszsszssoo...
Sszsszssaaayysss...
III...

Reign on your Parade

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2008, 04:07:00 am »

Second post of entire story! I AM SO HAAAApPPPPYYYyYYY!!!!!
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ou''re just as free to state your opinion as I am free to completely disregard it.

Dark

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2008, 07:56:00 am »

Pure Epic.
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Fire of Algir Mountain - A quest that doesn't involve getting a crown.

AlanL

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2008, 11:13:00 am »

Thank you  :)

Looks like it did carry over after all. I'm definitely glad  :)

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Armok

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2008, 11:33:00 am »

At this level of dedication you could write complete junk and we would still scream BEYOND QUALITY! and declare you the emperor of awesome.  :p
But, it really IS awesome.
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So says Armok, God of blood.
Sszsszssoo...
Sszsszssaaayysss...
III...

AlanL

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2008, 11:40:00 am »

Thanks  :)

Although if I do manage to mess up down the line, it's good for me to hear about it.

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apache1990

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2008, 03:52:00 pm »

The spinning ¤story post¤ strikes Apache in the head!
It is stunned!

Awesome, your stories are great!

AlanL

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2008, 01:32:00 am »

Thank you   :)

This might be short due to a late start.
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Kazo continued to the waterfall. It was truly an example of natural beauty... the water came off of an outcropping of stone, glistened as it fell through the air, and landed in a cloud of mist, a small brook running from the bottom. The entire waterfall was surrounded with stone that sparkled with tiny quarts fragments. Kazo walked toward it along the brook, happening upon the rusted and rotten remains of a stone, wood, and iron screw pump, the output leading into an underground pipe. The pipe was dark below and contained a spiders web. Even though Kazo couldn't see down it, he wanted to see what was on the bottom, but he thought better of it. Considering the caved in areas and the likely long drop, and his lack of a pickaxe, it was likely he would get himself stuck for a long time. Kazo looked at the pump again. It was long useless due to decay, but it still retained its basic form. He remembered the door... it was thick, and despite this extremely rusted, indicating likely centuries of disrepair... but it could not be millenia, otherwise the door wouldn't be there at all. This fortress also couldn't have been made more than a few centuries after he had fallen asleep, for otherwise there would've likely been something more complex and advanced than a stone screw pump here. Life was abuzz all around... this was before the demonic future. He was beginning to get a bearing on what the date was... it was probably between 1400 and 2000. Still, that was a gap of 600 years, and even then the world could defy his expectations should it wish to do so. Kazo walked up to the waterfall, dropped his backpack and clothes near the side, and stepped into its pristine waters... These cold, pure waters were left as they were... Perhaps the waterfall had seen the sun rise since the days when dragons and elves lived in caves with only a fuzzy sense of what mana was even for. It still stood. Kazo smiled as he walked under the falling waters, the water splashing off of his surface, landing all around. Kazo laughed, looking straight up into the falling waters, then proceeded to finally clear the dust out of his joints and off of his surface, restoring his surface's shine. He smiled, and walked behind the waterfall. There was nothing but stone, but at least he had checked. He left the waters, put the clothes back on, and put the backpack back on, following the brook into the jungle. Perhaps he would happen upon a settlement adjacent the brook? He felt curious as to what such a settlement would be like. Still... the thought that all that had happened was over...

He looked around and took in all that he saw. A bird flew overhead. Next he saw the cocoon of a butterfly dangling... the butterfly actually seemed to be emerging. Kazo smiled, and walked tall and quickly... he was here and now. He spotted a fox drinking from the brook. The fox spotted him. Kazo waved at the fox, smiling. The fox tilted its head, and seemed to debate with itself whether to flee or to stay and watch this odd being. It decided upon the latter. As Kazo passed by, the fox sat, yawned, and watched him walk away. Kazo snickered. Kazo continued along the brook... he loved these surroundings but he was also eager to see whether he would happen upon a technological marvel of a city, or a simple town, barely more advanced than the time he had left behind. Either way, he had some catching up to do. He continued on, enjoying the sights of all sorts of flora and fauna, big and small, conducted their daily routine. The sun moved through the sky... the jungle seemed to glow as the sun crossed its noon position. The sun eventually set. Kazo looked behind himself, watching the reddish rays cast out scatter over the surface of the brook and reflect among the trees, for a few minutes making the entire jungle seem a different hue. Kazo continued into the night... the denizens of daylight tucked themselves away in their burrows and nests, while the denizens of the night came out to conduct their nightly routines. Kazo preferred daylight most of the time, though as a construct he never actually needed to sleep. As he continued, he noticed the brook merging into a river. He followed this river downstream. He looked up and noticed the stars were crystal clear. Even the skies were pristine... as well as the heavens above. There wasn't a single orbiting object to be seen, though, a moment later, he did notice a shooting star. He smiled at the event, and continued, watching nature carry out its tasks all around. Hours passed... eventually, thunder could be heard. Soon this sound intensified, lightning seen nearby. Soon after, it began raining. Eventually, the clouds ahead parted enough for Kazo to witness the sun slowly making its way up, above the horizon. Its colorful and changing rays once again illuminated the landscape. For a bit, the creatures of daylight and the creatures of the night were both active enough to effectively interact with one another. Then, the creatures of the night tucked themselves away as the creatures of daylight began a new day. The river widened as he progressed. Luckily though, should he need to cross, he was able to swim across just about anything he needed to.

It expanded, and became a lake. The ripples in the lake sparkled under the sunlight, and the lake was beautiful as well... but the lake was small, and the edges seemed to indicate the lake was actually relatively new... Kazo looked over to the front of the lake, where there was a cliff face. Where there would've been a waterfall was instead a concrete building standing between the lake on one side and a river on the other. Kazo approached this building. The roof of it also acted as a bridge from one end of the lake to the other. This building was actually relatively small, as wide as it was deep. There were steel floodgates on the river side letting out the water which flowed through the river, and also likely preventing the lake from simply overflowing. The floodgates were partially open. Kazo walked over, and crossed to the other side. There was an incomplete control panel there. Likely the technician, whoever or whatever he or she was, carried the missing piece as a security measure. Kazo looked around. Toward the rear of the building was a series of simple, basic electrical transformers, encased in steel, the posts on top wired to a series of black cables that were carried into the distance atop wooden poles sunk into the ground. These long distance connections went off in two directions, one more upstream, the other straight ahead. The one straight ahead led into the distance, where a bit of light grey smoke could be seen rising into the sky. It was proof that not only was he not the last sapient of that day, but he had arrived in a more advanced time. Perhaps he could somehow secure a source of fuel? It was not an immediate priority. His immediate priority was to see what that settlement was, how it was laid out, what it looked like, how the people were... He smiled, waved his tail, and walked toward the settlement, following the line of posts. As he approached, he noticed it was actually a sizable town. It lay within the middle of the jungle, fencing all around it, but it didn't seem to actually be causing any pollution problems. The buildings were red and brown. As Kazo approached, he identified this as wood and red brick, the grey smoke ascending from a sizable industrial building from the rear of the town. It was actually the only building in town to have sizable smokestacks. Apart from the occasional dirt cliff, all around was relatively flat terrain populated by the jungle, though there were mountains just barely visible on the horizon to the left. There seemed to be the stumps of recently harvested trees around as well, but new trees were planted in their place and none of the trees were clear cut. It seemed the town placed a high value on their convenient wood source. Kazo approached the town. There were gates in the fences by dirt paths that led out. The gates were left ajar but a guard kept watch over each one. Kazo approached a gate. The guard stood on duty, and noticed Kazo, but seemed to find no reason to do anything to stop him. The guard was a male human, equipped with a long crossbow that had a wooden body and steel mechanisms. The crossbow was not automatic, though the clever mechanisms on it allowed for an immense tension in the bow. Those mechanisms actually seemed to be a machine consisting of a combination of both ratchet and crank mechanisms. The guard had the crossbow put away, so the bolts were stuffed in the quiver where Kazo couldn't see them. He felt curious as to the bolt type, but he felt more curious as to what he would find beyond the gate.

He crossed through the gate and into the town. Between wooden and the occasional brick building lay dirt paths. He walked up to a bench near a wooden building with a steel saw blade resting against it. On the bench lay a rain-soaked newspaper. It had been raining off and on, although for the moment it had stopped. Kazo picked up the newspaper and began reading it. At first he noticed the title and date, "The Event Log, 14th of Slate, 1879". A small, black and white image of a log was printed under the title. A newspaper called the event log? A fitting and straightforward name, but not what he had expected. At least the date answered several questions of his. The tropical climate indicated the southern continents as well. Likely he was in the south central continents. Kazo began reading the articles.

One was titled, "We don't know!" It described a civilian who spread information regarding a clandestine military figure... known only as "Alias Milspec"... and happened to vanish inexplicably the day after. The local mayor was queried and explained it as a hiking accident, although this civilian was never known to go on hiking trips. General Silentslaughters was also queried, but refused to comment. There was a blank space below as if a lot of text had been hurriedly removed. Indeed, there seemed to be a lot of news involving the physical and political conflict of an energy war... Kazo realized, he had just awoken in the decades following the failure of the steam loop. The worst of it was over, as apart from some scattered skirmishes the conflict was merely political, and in most places energy was no longer a dire need. Unfortunately, in some places, it still was... Then, another observation made more sense... the reason the town was so caring and nice to the jungle around was that, apart from their small hydroelectric operation, that wood was the only fuel to burn. Two locations stuck out among the stories.

A town named Shadedports was reported to have an ever increasing organized crime problem, originally due to the overseas oil and coal trade, now due to a lucrative contraband trade. The chief criminal leader there was known commonly as "Daemon" or, alternatively, "G". The criminal control over the docks there had increased to the point where many consider it the namesake of the town. The local authorities were at a loss at what to do as narcotics and weapons trade boomed alongside 'forcefully requisitioned' fossil fuels. Though, it seemed the power of the authorities in the area was quite low save for some minor military presence anyway.

Another location of note was Steelflame, a relatively small but relatively advanced mining town of mostly kobolds. Not much was said, other than mentions of their leader, described as 'demonic', managing to attract both the anger of religious groups by publicly announcing some... omitted quotes. Their leader was also described as 'anticompetitive'... even though her practices were anything but. It seemed she had earned a long standing grudge with the western military thanks to her long standing, large supply of cheap, clean energy that happened to crash coal businesses and sink the price of oil in some areas, resources that had previously yielded a lot of money for the military both through taxable trade and... unofficial dividends. Long established powers never got along with her, yet newly established powers and the civilians under them tended to side with her, indeed, her popular support was the highest among all the western leaders, despite some rather questionable statements and acts. It was also noted that she called herself 'Nefarious'... which left the leaders of the powers that despised her often without an effective way to insult her in public view. It seemed he had awoken to a world where energy starvation had led to many more cases of questionable ethics... though in many cases this resulted in outright corruption. Still, there were benevolent... mostly benevolent... forces promising to bring change. Kazo smiled. The engines of progress and change were spinning up, and he was eager to view the gears turning within.
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I know there wasn't much happening, but it was probably a good thing I did this segment specifically, since it was late and it probably isn't a good idea for me to write action etc. when I'm tired.

[ February 11, 2008: Message edited by: AlanL ]

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Armok

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2008, 04:36:00 am »

BEYOND QUALITY!!!  :)

"This is a concrete Beyond quality award.
It menaces whit spikes of steel.
it is spun around in wires of copper.
it is encircled whit bands of magnetite.
in the item is a image of an oil tanker and a thunderstorm in rope red, the thunderstorm is striking down the oil tanker."

One thing, you shuld link all stories to each other, so they are easier to find.

I just love your writing.
Thanksye!  :)

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So says Armok, God of blood.
Sszsszssoo...
Sszsszssaaayysss...
III...

Dark

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2008, 09:42:00 am »

All I can say is, Yay Im Going To Be Able To Read This Story From Start To Finish. Though I probably wont understand some of it due to not being able to read AKQ2 because its so long, its daunting. Now a question:

What is Kazo? I realise he's some kind of magical sentient machine but thats leaving it a bit vague. I cant search for it in AKQ2 because there are so many pages, so much text, it makes my brain melt.

Perhaps an FAQ for those whose brains blew up while reading AKQ2 is in order?

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Fire of Algir Mountain - A quest that doesn't involve getting a crown.

AlanL

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2008, 04:45:00 pm »

Thank you    :)

Ah, Kazo is basically a construct in the form of an adamantine featherless raptor, basically, with some things adjusted to make interacting with items a bit easier.

Edit: Yes, I should link these stories together.

Link to the previous story: http://www.bay12games.com/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=11&t=000759

[ February 11, 2008: Message edited by: AlanL ]

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Alfador

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2008, 05:56:00 pm »

*emails link to self; FAR too long to read while at work*
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This is a fox skull helmet. All craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. It menaces with spikes of fox bone and is encircled with bands of fox leather. This item is haunted by the ghost of Alfador Angrorung the fox.

AlanL

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2008, 12:31:00 am »

Kazo continued to read the paper. There were some notes on production... apparantly, there was a high yield of malachite, cassiterite, and galena in the local mountains. The town of Steelflame actually exported quite a few silver and bronze items... although it was noted that their 'Nefarious' leader had dumped a massive amount of lead mugs on the markets of factions she didn't like, and especially offered it to their leaders... this was likely more of a taunt than anything else, since by now they knew better than to actually use them. On the bright side, a chart showed production levels climbing rapidly, having been near zero only a few decades before... that must've been when the steam loops failed. At the end of the paper, there was brief mention of a Tok Hammerblazes using explosives to ruin a barrier placed by the military. They never cought him, and the damage would be fixed in a week... though, the morning after, the troops woke up to find their base overrun with the local wildlife. There was also mention of pirates attacking zeppelins between Steelflame and Endlesslabors, a small, newly founded dwarven settlement which made itself economically viable by refining and exporting oil. Kazo finished reading, folded the paper neatly, and set it back down on the bench for the next curious passerby to read.

Kazo then walked into town, and looked around. There were quite a few wooden buildings, the brick buildings concentrated more toward the center and rear of the town. Noticeable near the rear of the town was a fenced off dirt strip. As this town lay within a jungle, there were no farms... likely they got their food from hunting, foraging, and trade. Kazo walked by a wooden building with small windows and a small smokestack on its roof. He walked up to the small window at the side, and looked in. Inside, there were several people operating rather heavy and cumbersome machines that quickly made bolts from the lumber the nearby mill produced and metal that likely came from around the building with large smokestacks in the back of the town. As there was no battle taking place, this was a clear indicator that hunting was a good source of food and income for the town. Kazo continued on, past some houses which he looked into... at one of them, he walked to the window to find a female human dressing inside. She noticed him and seemed startled, "Leave!" Kazo snickered and moved on. Although there was no real taboo against nudity, it was still considered invasive for someone to peep in a window. Kazo neared the center of town, and came across a 2 story wooden building. In front of it, a male kobold lay against the wall. This kobold wore goggles of steel and clear glass, a backpack full of likely thick clothes, and a scarf on top of everything else. Kazo walked up, "Why hello!" The kobold replied, "Greetings!" Kazo continued, noting the alternately hot and wet weather, "So you really like that scarf?" The kobold continued, "The higher I go, the colder it gets. Been here three damn days because that zeppelin hasn't shown up yet." Kazo asked, "So you work on the zeppelins?" The kobold replied, "No, I'm a pilot. My plane's the green one in the yard. The guys back in Ablefounded told me it would be a bad idea to fly here, but they didn't say what would happen if I did it anyway. I got here and the whole damn strip was all outta gas! I can't fly back on fumes! That zeppelin from Endlesslabors is supposed to be carrying some decent tanks of fuel for the strip here... and they're late. This put my whole business on hold, I got clients waiting for me to pick them up you know!" Kazo continued the questioning, "So you run this important business out of a single aircraft?" The kobold replied, "A plane IS important business. They cost more per ton than any other vehicle type, and only the advanced nations even make 'em. Heck, hardly anyone but the advanced nations even have real landing strips, the rest you gotta just find an open area. My clients are basically a bunch of richies that I don't care to talk to, but it's good money ferrying 'em around. I got lucky with mine. I found it as an ol' junker in a yard. It's a dead model, made before The Switch, but all I had to do was put in new engines and some gas tanks and it flew fine. Heh, that's the only way a guy like me could afford one. So how are you faring?" Kazo smiled, "I actually don't know yet! I can't wait to find out!" Kazo then looked around. The kobold replied, "My, you're an odd fellow." Kazo grinned, "Yes I am! Thanks for the information. Good luck!" The kobold chuckled, "Alright then, same to you."

With that, they parted. Kazo continued toward the middle of town, and eventually happened across a large brick building that had several large windows with simple blinds in them. The symbol of a coin near the front door indicated it was a bank. Kazo entered... this gave him an idea. He had always been curious about mathematical trickery could be used to trip up the financially minded. Then again, he was curious about anything that wasn't already fully known. There was surprisingly little business going on. Kazo walked up, and spoke, "Hello! I'd like to open an account!" A teller sitting at a nearby desk gestured at a stack of blank forms. Kazo took up one of the forms. There were many optional fields on it, in fact, it was really up to the person signing up whether it would be simple or complicated. One could simply put who they were and what account they wanted... or could also attempt to negotiate every single relevant number regarding the account. New accounts needed an initial deposit... this was all the better. Kazo sat down nearby a pen and ink, and proceeded to make use of every field he could think of an answer for, including many optional and even probably frivolous ones. He put down numbers that looked sane at first glance but were actually ridiculous... numbers that were meaningless, numbers that conflicted, numbers that referred to other numbers that referred to other numbers, and numbers that when combined properly, had a negative result. Kazo got up and smiled as he slid the form under the window to the teller. The teller was surprised for a moment to see Kazos blue, shiny, 3-fingered hand pushing it in. The teller looked away, then looked back, Kazo having already moved his hand away. Kazo asked, "Is everything OK?" The teller hesitated for a moment, then replied, "Yeah, just-... nevermind." The teller cleared his throat and began to sketch out math and look through records, processing the request... Kazo held in a snicker as the teller found his math looping back to itself, the records coming up dry. In fact, the tried and true calculations of his trade... said he should give Kazo money to open an account. The teller rechecked several times, Kazo waiting and watching. Eventually, the teller looked at the form... at his paper full of math... at the form again... then at Kazo, "Hey, what're you tryin' to pull?" Kazo snickered, "I was wondering how long it would take you to notice!" The teller was not amused. Kazo smiled, and walked away, leaving the building.

Kazo continued walking toward the back of the town. It began raining. He passed through an industrial complex. It turned out that the smaller buildings did much of the manufacturing, while the larger one with its large smokestacks was indeed the smelter. Within the buildings, several people worked with heavy machinery to produce the desired good. Likely much of the result was earmarked for trade, since there were only certain resources available to this town, the rest needing to be imported. Kazo dragged his feet... he needed an excuse for leaving such odd footprints in the now muddy road. He noticed that the smelter worked with very large vats and buckets of molten metal. It likely was seldom run fully, even though it was the only smelter in town, since it looked like the nearby mine wasn't actually that big. Kazo continued, and found himself at a steel fence, overlooking what was once a long dirt strip of land... temporarily now a mud strip. Kazo noticed the rain splashing off of several buildings, and in the front right corner, a few flying machines were present. He saw the green flying machine of the kobold... it was partially rusted, and had two pairs of vaguely insect-like wings, one right over the other. Between the two pairs of wings were two engines, one on each side, propellers in back. It seemed the engines once housed steam pistons and steam loops... that had been gutted out and replaced with simple internal combustion engines, lines leading to fuel tanks which seemed to be attached in an improvised but secure manner to the side of the aircraft. The aircraft had a fixed landing gear, and an open cockpit, behind which was room for 2 passengers. The cockpit and passenger areas had a tarp draped over it to prevent the rain from ruining the interior. Next to it was a flying machine that had 3 pairs of wings, the second pair attached to the middle of the aircraft, a single engine mounted on the nose. Again, the aircraft had a fixed landing gear and an open cockpit with a tarp over it. These aircraft were relatively simple, but it seemed new methods had been adapted to powering them rather well. Suddenly, a horn blared. Kazo turned around to witness the approach of an airship... much of the frame was actually wooden, the envelope covered with fabric over this. There were a few electric lights also visible, although they were connected to their power source with a visible black cable, a power source that was inactive. The airship was also visibly fighting the wind in its attempt to properly land at the strip. Kazo smiled and waved his tail excitedly. He now had a chance to gain speedy transit to one of the more interesting towns of the region, places he couldn't wait to visit.
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As always, I'm hoping I didn't mess anything up. Maybe I should get earlier starts...

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Impending Doom

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Re: Questionable Ethics
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2008, 01:13:00 am »

Reminds me somewhat of my old Crimson Skies gaming days.

Awesome as always, Alan.   :)

Edit: FIRST POST!!

[ February 12, 2008: Message edited by: Impending Doom ]

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Quote from: Robert A.Heinlein
Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion, that violence has never solved anything, is wishful thinking at its worst.
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