anxiogenic: (Dread)
Dr Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow ([personal profile] anxiogenic) wrote in [community profile] maskormenacelogs2015-08-15 10:11 am
Entry tags:

Fearfest 2k15

WHERE: De Chima University; exhibition center and campus grounds.
WHEN: Saturday August 15th, 4.45pm start.
WHAT: A registration at the annual technology fair, with a fireworks display!
WARNINGS: Non-consensual use of fear toxin, disturbing mental images, cannibalism and violence. Characters are going to be a psychological mess.

"A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more."
- John Steinbeck, East of Eden.

Disunity had been the aim of last month's game. Secrets and lies and truths in fiction. Suspicions in minds. Doubts on tongues. Gossip block-printed in rags. Newspapers, from tabloids to broadsheets, had carried the news; some left-leaning publications had made a greater dinner of the expose than others. Scandalous magazines and imPort celebrity weeklies showed versions of the same 'exclusive', and many daytime shows pandered to the demographic who believed there was nothing to worry about if you had nothing to hide.

The last swearing-in of the summer has people gathering in the Exhibition Center of De Chima University, where certain imPorts have worked before. Spread out over the campus, every imPort will rub shoulders with the local students and faculty of the School of Applied Technology. Inside they will see a staircase with an events banner strung over the atrium. Outside there are modern interpretations of classical statues, on square plinths, and inside there's metal sculptures of scientific and technological principles. Rules discovered by those who studied the world they lived in; procedures and concepts of both organic and inorganic forces. Next to them are standing banners flapping in the breeze, tied to weights, to which blue, purple and silver balloons have been tied with thin string.

The Exhibition Center, located next to the park, is hosting the annual highlights of scientific progress this Saturday evening. The spacious Exhibition Hall that occupies most of the interior space serves as the focal point for the annual technology fair, and expects a smart-casual dress code. The focus of this evening is on medical technology and the benefits imPort involvement can bring. People are free to wander in and out of the building as they wish. The forecast is for a warm, clear evening, with no coastal wind or rain to bring cool relief. People are also free to wander around the center to explore rooms and corridors not locked and bolted to the crowd. Everyone is free to investigate for troublemakers or to cut through the crowd - or to see what isn't locked down and there for thieving. But try not to be caught by the security cameras!

If you climb upstairs or catch a lift to the upper levels of the Center, you will be able to access the grand and expansive glass floor that gives you a bird's eye view of the Exhibition Hall far below - if you've got the guts! There's a stack of supplies stored behind a large exhibition banner attached to the far wall, and you may peek inside to check them out. There's nothing that seems suspicious. A couple of anti-flammable canisters, containing nothing more suspicious than foam. Just try to enjoy the sights beneath your feet.

MEDTEC - the National Exhibition for AMERICAN Medical Technology

With the minutes passing by, with hundreds of figures in the crowd moving between the Exhibition Hall and the various function rooms, the event seems to pass without celebration or accident. That is no promise the evening will be uneventful.


The doors are thrown open to the crowd, who are free to collect their passes in advance from any available kiosk, or by digital means; electronic tickets on their phones to hard passes collected from the mailman or the University's box office. For those last-minute registrations, passes are available just inside the doors. Feel free to arrive early or wander in ten minutes before closing. It's all good!

MEDTEC - 4.45PM - 8PM

Get out on the floor. You are free to watch any of the displays local companies and R+D have to offer. This is a good time to watch the crowds or to slip out for a visit to the rest of the center. If you wander upstairs, you'll find locked corridors and rooms. But feel free to wander towards the glass ceiling that's above the Exhibition Hall.

Companies who provide to both civilians and the military are here - though you'll notice a lack of high-level technology for the latter. There's a hexagonal stage at the back of the Exhibition Hall that's standing ready for the imPort displays coming later. Please do not touch the tech if signs say not to. But don't think that means you can't try.


The stage is lit. You may want to head over if you wish to see what your fellow imPorts have cooked up - or even to put on your own show! You'll get an explanation about the cash prizes on offer, and the scholarships. Or you'll wonder why you're watching this ass-patting when there's hardly an inch of space anywhere around the stage.


The Exhibition Hall is closed. The function room next door is thrown open for imPort milling. Make friends around the tables and order free food and drinks from the bar. Sit back, throw your feet up and take a load off. Lighten up! You're here to let your hair down. Please listen out for the public address that announces the upcoming awards show in Conference Room 2, and the fireworks display that's scheduled at 9:10pm outside. You'll get a good view of it from the park.


To those exploring the grounds outside the center. Have fun. The balmy night is perfect for walking around without a jacket. Feel free to sling it over your shoulder and enjoy the hot summer air. How the hell is it this warm, anyway? Don't jump in the fountain by the park, kids. Don't put bubble-bath or soap in it, either. Go past it and check out the park, or not. 7You may like to step back into the city. Just be careful of the traffic.

You are free to avoid the main roads for smaller side-streets, but that won't help you. The trash bins hold too much litter. You may wish to investigate them, but will find nothing. But much of the urban area and parkland is turned to a new, sinister purpose. There are minute bombs hidden in drains, or in flower baskets. In every miniscule place in the corner of your eye that escapes your notice. Timed devices primed to detonate in sync with the green and yellow fireworks overhead.

At 9.30PM, the earth will seem to split open and rumble. People screech and shriek about a range of hallucinations; from finding their loved one's body in the city morgue, to being the meal for a pack of monsters, to a flock of crows diving from the railings and rooftops to rip them apart. Those terrified of spiders see nothing but; on the floor, in windows, crawling up the walls. Some folk cough and splutter. Unable to breathe, they suffer a heart attack and can die on the spot. Others are given to a frenzy by the gas, and some experience flashbacks to hideous crimes - except they are the lunatic responsible for murdering children, or the killer stalking people through the streets at night.

It smells of pollution. It smells of fireworks. It smells of street food. There's the sound of blaring horns due to the traffic. There's the smell of fire, caused by the delirious rioting, and blood spilled by those around them, whom they cannot see. The gas enters cars, apartments and buildings with their windows open; the chaos echoes indoors as much as out. Those driven to a murderous lunacy pursue other victims of the gas through a twisted, nightmare version of their neighborhood, and violently resist any calls to cease and desist.

The gas hangs heavy on the air and fills the campus, engulfing the streets, entering the university buildings and student apartments. People around you are panicking, violent, delirious. You might experience what they do. You might hear the screaming, the illegible yelling and see cowering people talking of spiders, ghosts and scarecrows. You might rush indoors to help. You might meet friends who you wish to kill. Or you might run off in a manic state - unable to realize you're running into open traffic. Oh dear.


Celebration time. The University has arranged a judging panel that has deliberated on the technology imPorts put on offer - this is the hour where your contributions to local society are being noticed and celebrated. Between the floor and stage, to the assembled chairs and technological displays dotted around the vacant exhibition hall, there's little standing room. You're free to stare down from the glass ceiling high above, or to stand at the back of the crowd below, but don't crowd the doors.

At 9.30PM, with the judges leaving the hexagonal stage so the Head of Applied Technology can present the first award, you might hear a loud hiss of air. A gas leak! The particles are colorless till they meet the oxygen in the room and form a grey cloud that fills every inch of space, from the upper echelons of the ceiling above the glass, to the chairs and the floor down below.

It doesn't smell, and the effects are instantaneous. All noises and images will twist and warp. You might find the neon lights burn as hot as sun-fire. You might see the room on fire and hear the horrific screaming of those trapped and dying in the ruined building you now find yourself in. Perhaps you smell ashes. Or perhaps you smell saltwater and brine - you're drowning! Or you might be one of the few. The brave. The unaffected. Look around and you will see some in the crowd clawing their faces to oust whatever they think is wriggling beneath their skin. They scream and they cry. Others devour their own skin, suffering from hunger - or they eat the flesh of others. They turn on each other. They turn on you.

If that's not enough there's a different show in store. You might be unfortunate enough to be on the glass floor when it kicks off. Enjoy it or don't. It's all the same.

GOGO - 9.30PM - 10PM

At 9.30PM, you may think the metal warping around you is just another part of the hallucination. But it's real. The expo hall groans as the walls react to another power, and the displays twist as if a greater force is squeezing them and pulling.

Before too long, the smaller things rattle and jump back and forth across the room. Pens, instruments, small change, etc; even piercings will tug at the skin with increasing force until they may just rip out to join the rising storm of metal. You can stay and test your luck, dodging unpredictable attacks, or you can risk escaping into the night, out from underneath an increasingly unstable roof. Just pray the decoration in the hall doesn't crash into you as you flee.

At 10PM, the stress of the chaos is finally too much for the expo hall. The supports have twisted beyond recognition, the walls damaged by their own warping and displays crashing into them at force. There's a loud crack as one of the supports snaps under the weight of the glass ceiling and with a heavy shudder the whole network starts to unravel and sends the ceiling crashing down. Anyone on the second floor may be lucky enough to get out of the way before it drops, or perhaps they can grab hold of a railing that will creak under their weight.

Or maybe you are one of the unlucky ones who rides the glass from above, all the way to where it shatters across the floor.


Ten minutes past the hour, as a loud bang echoes for each firework shot into the night, the sky over the park is filled with the sort of brilliance one would only see on the Fourth of July. You might ask what's a nighttime event without fireworks, anyway?

For that charming couple on their date, to the curious student, an extravagant display comes on the rocket-propelled tails of rockets and bombs and flares. Look to the sky and lose yourselves in the colors as they appear - crimson stars and butterflies, and the pink crackling comets that leave behind a tail of effects. A red geometric circle of lines and dots glitter and break apart into smaller circles, then scatter and disappear, their fuel and powder spent. Memories of the sight are left behind; the smoke barely visible overhead; the smoldering gunpowder - and the warm company of whoever you're with. Perhaps you're one of those unafraid to visit such events alone. Perhaps you have a brilliant memory and the sight has burned itself into your eyes. One display follows another till the last; the end of a 25 minute display mentioned over the public address and published in the brochure.

At 9.30PM, the fireworks fizzle out. The display is over. It should be over. Then there's one more show - a collection of rockets and flares colored in yellows and greens, the colors one associates with poison and sees in cornfields. The colors are sickly and nausea-inducing as they explode in the night sky. It's just another display, right? Then cracks appear in the sky itself! All the yellows and greens, blacks and blues run into the white, hollow emptiness.

Perhaps you believe those eyes in the firmament are real. Or you're part of the crowd who believes the entire sky is falling down. A stampede breaks out. The slow are trampled underfoot. Students, faculty and guests stand shock-still. Some are clawing at their eyes. Others cannot contain themselves and empty their lungs with unfocused wailing. From the sky fall shards of glass. A flood of color threatens a deluge, even as the smoke and particles of the toxic gas contained in those green and yellow fireworks are carried by the wind over the locality.


There's a collection of police, emergency services and reporters in a boundary around the university area and affected streets. Safe on the edge of the gas cloud, they are evacuating the surrounding areas. Ambulances and stretchers are ready for the wounded; RISE and any relevant factions may be helping with the chaos - or caught up in it themselves.

You might be trapped within the gas, cowering in fear. You might irrationally run into the lights you see in the haze, not knowing what you are seeing or the faces that watch you scramble by, screaming illegibly. You might be directing others in the chaos. You might be one of the people driven manic by it all. You might emerge from the mist with blood on your hands. You might recall how it got there. You might not. But you won't forget this night, will you?
superposition: ((see i told you it would work))


[personal profile] superposition 2015-08-20 05:00 pm (UTC)(link)
You know what's cool? Aliens. Kind of a pain when certain of them keep trying to wipe out your species, but Qubit's been around the block enough to know the vast majority of them aren't, so. Garrus caught his attention just by existing.

So at some point he moseyed over, hands in his pockets, expression casual. "Enjoying the festivities?" he asked.
calibrating: (Now that's just wrong)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-08-25 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
Garrus tilts his head in Qubit's direction at the greeting and gives it a little dip as a response. During the short couple of months he'd spent on this version of Earth, he'd gotten used to humans and their seemingly unending curiosity-- a fact that wasn't nearly as annoying as his grandparents had instilled in him after First Contact.

"As much as I can," Garrus muses as he gives the glass of water in his hand a little shake, "Couldn't tell you how good the food is. Can't eat it. Yourself?"
superposition: (I think I can rely on you)

[personal profile] superposition 2015-08-27 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
At least this one doesn't need a lengthy explanation of levo vs. dextro; he just chalks it up to alien biology and that's sufficient. "You're not missing much, it's a little on the cheap side," Qubit says. Whether this is true or just his inner food snob talking, who can say.

"As for the tech show, I'm not that far off from a kid in a candy store, if I'm honest. Ah - sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm Qubit," he adds. "You are...?"
calibrating: (Say what?)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-08-31 02:43 am (UTC)(link)
"Garrus," he offers a three-fingered hand in Qubit's direction, "and happy to meet someone else who appreciates good tech."

It's true, too. The whole 'retro-technology' thing got old weeks ago, despite how much Garrus thoroughly enjoyed poking around at what this version of Earth had to offer. He could get the appreciation some people seemed to have for the toys of the past, but really, a little (or a lot of) progress couldn't hurt.
Edited 2015-08-31 02:43 (UTC)
superposition: (Through hell and high tide)

[personal profile] superposition 2015-08-31 02:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Obliging, Qubit shakes his hand. (Whether Garrus is wearing gloves or not just determines how much it stings. Probably not as much as with a human either way, because carapace, but still.) Interesting that that's the gesture he picked, though. It's not even universal among humans. Does his culture use it, too, or has he just been living in America long enough to pick it up?

"Used to something a little more advanced, I'm guessing?" he asks. Because if so, alien tech, yes please.
calibrating: (Your shirt has a stain on it)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-09-03 02:49 am (UTC)(link)
He's been around humans long enough to pick up a few things about them, handshakes in particular, but also some choice sayings that he'll no doubt botch to kingdom come. To him, the handshake is nice and friendly-- a good start. If Qubit is hiding something malicious, he'll know soon enough, but until then, everybody's favorite turian remains cautiously optimistic.

"A lot more advanced. Flying through space style advanced. Yourself?"
Edited 2015-09-04 00:33 (UTC)
superposition: (So let it be known)

[personal profile] superposition 2015-09-04 02:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Qubit waggles his hand in a "so-so" gesture. "Yes and no. On the whole my Earth's a little behind this one - no flying cars, for a start, and more's the pity - but personally you might say I'm quite a ways ahead of the curve." That's actually understating it; Qubit's tech is literally the most advanced his planet has.
calibrating: (Hang on. Cool pose time.)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-09-06 03:15 am (UTC)(link)
Garrus' brow plates lift in the closest approximation to a raised eyebrow a species with stiff scaley armor could get. His interest is piqued, but so are his suspicions. But he'll play it off cool-- no sense in implicating someone who hasn't given him reason. Yet.

Let it never be said that Garrus Vakarian isn't the master of paranoia.

"Hoarding all the good stuff for yourself?"
superposition: ((beings of strategy))

[personal profile] superposition 2015-09-09 02:27 am (UTC)(link)
Haha, good old Reed Richards Is Useless syndrome. Qubit sputters for a second, waving his hands as if he's momentarily lost control of them. "I'm not - it's not hoarding," he replies, talking faster than usual in his vehemence. "I'm an inventor. The technology I work with is largely experimental and, in the wrong hands, dangerous. Definitely not ready for mass market. Or else it isn't cost-effective to produce conventionally, or to maintain, or distribute, or what have you-"

At this point he realizes he's rambling and takes a deep breath to interrupt himself. He runs a hand through his hair, acutely self-conscious. "That ... was a rhetorical question, wasn't it."

Not gonna lie though, it is a topic he feels conflicted about. In case that wasn't patently obvious.
calibrating: Feel free to use! Just credit, please! :) (The cocky bastard says hi)

Apologies for the delay!

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-09-18 02:16 am (UTC)(link)
"Not anymore it's not."

But with the way Garrus' mandibles are spreading, it's obvious how much fun he's having with Qubit's reaction. The paranoia's still skulking around back there in his head, but it's off playing second fiddle to his natural curiosity. Humans had this odd diversity that just isn't seen in most other species. Turians are generally militaristic in one way or another, asari have a similar air about them, salarians all talk too fast to even get an idea of their individual personalities, but humans? Humans produced people from Udina, to Shepard, to this guy here, flailing his arms like a louza with its toes caught in a net.

"So, you're an inventor, huh? Tell more more about that."
superposition: ((the implications))

no worries! (go go gadget dialogue wheel!)

[personal profile] superposition 2015-09-22 06:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Momentarily Qubit wonders how he ended up as the one answering questions. He's not sure how he should read that facial expression, but at least the tone of voice still sounds friendly, so he probably didn't put his foot too far into his mouth, at least.

Now, showing off and talking about his technology are two of his favorite things to do, instinctively. Everybody likes external validation, right? But his audience here belongs to an advanced alien species, and for all he knows, his greatest achievements may be run-of-the-mill where Garrus is from. He's certainly had that happen before. It's a humbling experience.

"I'm not sure where I'd start," he says after a moment's thought. "Most of my tech boils down to applied quantum mechanics, really. Quantum computing, AI, nanotech, teleportals... The teleportals are the biggest thing, I'd say. Those opened up whole new universes to explore - quite literally."
calibrating: (THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-09-28 07:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Qubit isn't entirely wrong with the whole advanced alien species thing, although Garrus gives the list an empathetic nod with each accomplishment. Quantum computing? Check. AI? A very suspicious check. Nanotech? Checkity-check-check.

But teleportals?

Looks like Qubit is right about something else-- that is most certainly the biggest thing, and actually makes Garrus pause. If what the man says is true, that he's managed to open up entirely new universes, then that goes beyond amazing.

"So you mean to tell me you've managed to create technology that allows travel to a whole different universe?" He's skeptical, and rightfully so, but underneath said skepticism is a cautious undertone of amazement.
superposition: ((william hartnell eat your heart out))

[personal profile] superposition 2015-09-29 09:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Garrus is probably right to be wary of the AI. Qubit may or may not have programmed one to emulate his world's nastiest supervillain, and there may or may not be three copies of it locked in his house right now, plotting against him. He can neither confirm nor deny any such allegations.

Some pride sneaks back into his expression. "That's right." He's definitely pleased to have found something he's developed that they haven't, though he wouldn't readily admit it out loud. (Who says it's not a competition?)

"And before you ask, yes, I am working on it," he adds, grasping his lapels. "Granted, the original Porter's time-travel capability presents some complications, but I've dabbled a little, I'm sure I can suss it out."
Edited (tfw you forget what month a thread is taking place in :|) 2015-10-01 17:31 (UTC)
calibrating: (A little trust wouldn't hurt)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-10-08 05:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Thankfully, Garrus doesn't know anything about such AI related shenanigans. If he did, there'd be a crowning moment of I TOLD YOU SO up in the horizon shining like a star made up of the hopes and dreams of organic people and the subsequent setting on fire thereof.

Instead, he chooses to focus on the next thing Qubit says and regard it with a stoic glance, even if there's the tiniest allowance of hope in his tone. Super tiny. Like almost minuscule.

"That means, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you may be able to get us back to our homes?"

Because that's the best news he's heard for the past couple of months. If it's true. Or feasible. Or highly resilient to that natural cynicism creeping up in Garrus' brain.
superposition: (Through hell and high tide)

[personal profile] superposition 2015-10-22 11:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Qubit nods. "It means exactly that. If all goes well, I hope to begin testing by the end of the month," he says, with a conspiratorial smile. He can hear that note of hope in Garrus's voice, too, which he likes. Maybe this guy will have a little faith in him, unlike a certain billionaire tech mogul he may have spoken to the other day.
calibrating: (NO. SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE FUCK.)

[personal profile] calibrating 2015-10-28 03:38 am (UTC)(link)
Alas, that little ray of hopeful sunshine may be all that Qubit gets from the galaxy's most cynical of dinobirds, but at least he managed. As it stands, Garrus has a bit of a love-hate relationship with technology, so the words 'if all goes well' and 'testing' don't sit all too easily with him. He tries to play off his next words in as jovial a fashion as he can, but it's not hard to tell he's at least a little bit serious.

"Just make sure you're careful with it. Building tech to warp home isn't gonna be worth it if we're not around to reap the benefits."