When we last left off…it was 4:15 and our grubby heroes were standing before an automated kiosk (Kiosk 73) in Pintram Hall, a discouraging note typed onto ticket-tape in their hands, instructing them to insert a student identification card that they didn’t have.
4:15PM: Pintram Hall, 5th Floor.
- The characters went back to the previous kiosk they’d been at, which was closing up for the day, a sign already hanging in the window. The man behind the desk stuttered and stammered out a response about how they could obtain Student Identification Cards.
- The characters consider making the trip, but realize he meant they’d have to enroll as students to get IDs. When they look to the Kiosk again, the man appears to have exited through a door in the back of the kiosk, presumably into some kind of service hallway.
- At this point, the characters stood around talking about what to do, and a familiar figure showed up, hands outstretched in the manner it had learned from Fermi:
- Reaching Emmeline, it projected the thought, “Kiosk 53! Where is Kiosk 53?” Emmeline, horrified, kicked the poor creature down the stairs and then turned back to the discussion with her fellow adventurers.
- Tantalized by the possibility that there might be forms in the back hallway, they attempt to break the glass window of the kiosk, each beating it in turn with Nujanai’s broken gun. They each try, and each fail. (That glass must be reinforced or something!)
- The noise of the attempted break-in attracts the attention of a rather odd-looking lecturer from a nearby classroom:
- The professor reprimanded the group, ordering them to be quiet. They tried to taunt him into helping them. This failed, and he returnnd to his “very important lecture on Astrognostic Propulsive Goetia.” During the scolding, Emmeline noticed over his shoulder that only a handful of students were in the classroom.
- The group decided that, with so few students in the room, they might be able to use their mob of Mockeries to distract everyone and perhaps steal a student’s ID card:
- However, when they went to the door and knocked, they were met by an enormous, seven-foot-tall giant of a man who blocked the doorway and stooped down to get a good look at them.
- Emmeline, fully aware of the fact she’d lost her nose a few days ago (and not replaced it), and had her teeth smashed from her mouth not two hours earlier by a rampaging Giraffelope, attempted to charm him into helping the group. Somehow, she actually pulled it off. (Hey, there’s someone for everyone.) He introduces himself as “Guelphman Ghibbelinus.”
- She mistakenly asked Guelphman to get Form 237B, which he did, handing it to Nujanai, who read it and quickly discovered it was a Debt Payment Application Form, not the Research Disbursement Invoice Submission Form that the group needed.
- After they gave Guelphman the correct form number (237A), he punched the code into the automated kiosk, at which point a scream was heard from somewhere… was that behind the kiosk? A ticker tape then was fed out the kiosk’s slot, advising the reader that the kiosk was broken and would be repaired in 2–6 weeks.
- Unwilling to wait that long for their much-needed form, the group decide to remove the kiosk from the wall, a task which Guelphman performed, using a set of robotic arms that he suddenly produced from within his coat, Doctor Octopus-style, until this very moment. When the kiosk front-end toppled off the wall, it fell into the hallway, partially blocking it, which brought more scowls from students and professors peeking out into the hallway.
- In the space behind where the kiosk stood was an empty room with no other entrances. Within it were shelves upon shelves of forms, as well as a rhinoceros Mockery named Tantey, who turned out to be a long-ago companion of Nujani’s small batallion of Mockeries. He had, apparently, been walled-in by the kiosk front-end and left to work eternally from inside it. He’d been there “At least two weeks!” (Try a year.)
- The Mockeries caught up, while the humans searched the shelves, eventually finding a the stacks of Form 237A in pink, blue, and green. At just that moment, a shot rang out in the hallway, and a voice shouted, “I want the books!”
- Nujanai peered out to discover it was the figures they’d seen earlier: some strange version of the couple they’d met at the Buttonsnemp Researchery, except the woman looked a decade younger and no longer scarred in the face, and the man seemed to be a hologram.
- Nujanai stepped out into the hallway, hoping to parley, and was shot in the head with a rifle, his brains and blood spattering everywhere.
- “Just gimme the books, or else!” cried the woman, insistent on the prize. As the characters deliberated what to do, the hologram appeared at the opening of the kiosk, grinning and relating to his partner what they were up to, their numbers, and so on. This prompted the group to action:
- Fermi reached an arm out into the hallway, hoping to calm the woman down, and almost got it shot off. Then he and the Mockeries charged the woman, who retaliated by shooting at Fermi (and merely grazing her) and then excreting a kind of acidic green slime.
- Meanwhile, Emmeline was more concerned with finding the source of the hologram, and threw handfuls of forms out into the hallway, hoping both to distract the woman with the rifle while also getting some sense of the source from which the hologram was being projected. She succeeded, spotting a silvery spider with a large projection lens on its back scuttling away along the ceiling. Emmeline called to Guelphman, urging him to grab the spider, but he sat huddled in the corner of the kiosk backchamber, shuddering and gibbering in fear.
- The mockeries managed to club their attacker’s knees, knocking her down, and Fermi shot her. Then Emmeline charged her, bringing the sabre down into her shoulder and slashing downward. But instead of slicing open like a human, the attacker screamed and collapsed into a puddle of acidic green goop.
- At this point, Guelphman fled in terror, almost certainly forever changed for the worse. Shrugging, Emmeline grabbed a pile of copies of Form 237A—a dozen or so in each color—and the group made for the exit, planning to return to Sintram Hall to drop a filled-out form at Kiosk 63 along with their £2000 voucher to collect their earnings. (Ah, how naïve.)
5:00PM: Pintram Hall, 5th Floor.
- Outside the building, the Giraffelope, still running amok, charged past. In the distance, screams were audible, and stepping just out of the building, the group saw a pack of mechanical velociraptors tearing students apart.
- Wisely, the group avoided that route, instead cutting through Vintram Hall, which they discovered be occupied by (random roll) aliens and (random roll) members of the Hallucikinetic Parade (a campus club of halluciogen enthusiasts), taking shelter inside the building.
- The aliens were smoking strange cigarettes, mostly puffing and exhaling the smoke rather than inhaling it. The Hallucikinetic Paraders were stoned out of their minds, and tried to urge the group to join them in their reveries. Unimpressed, Emmeline pulled her now-signature move, kicking the woman aside and striding away.
- Free of Vintram Hall, the group made their way to Kiosk 63, only to find it had been converted to a (both-sexes) bathroom. Fermi, investigating, discovered an apologetic sign, explaining that Kiosk 63 had been relocated to the 6th floor of “Building 8.”
- When we ended, Fermi was on the immaculate toilet in one of the stalls, loudly debating with Emmeline about whether the whole business of submitting the form and disbursement invoice was a lost cause. The characters came up with three options for their next move:
- go to Building 8, where Kiosk 63 had (supposedly) been relocated, to submit the invoice and form(s).
- go to Building 24, the Librarium, and try to sell off the books they had.
- attempt to find a campus Bookstore—there must be one, right?—and perhaps sell off the books here.
And that’s where we left off.
Rest in Peace, Nujanai.