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Choose Your Own Adventure: Bike Quest

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329
#51
FORENSICS

You approach the body. You aren't going to do an autopsy or anything, but maybe if you find some sort of wound, you could derive some clue from that.

You never really knew her, you don't really know anyone here, so you aren't terribly shaken up by this. Your heart is pounding in your chest, and you've been under a cold sweat ever since you heard of a murder, but you're still able to think clearly. Secretly, you've always liked the idea of being Batman, the world's greatest detective, so you're not opposed to the idea. Seeing a dead body up close, however, is still repugnant.

You suppose that rule #1 is to not touch anything. That might disturb the scene of the crime and destroy evidence. Fortunately, she's far enough away from the table so that you can navigate completely around her, and her chair, without touching anything. From the back of the chair, you can see that it has been pierced with something. A trickle of blood oozes out the back from a small, vertical slit. Possibly from a sword?

You don't notice any holes in her abdomen, where the other side of the piercing would have been made, but that's probably normal, because her whole abdomen is saturated with blood. You'd have to move her clothes around to see if there's a slit, but you don't want to do that. You think you might disturb the scene, perhaps. Also, you'd want gloves. You conclude that she was stabbed in the upper abdomen, perhaps right in the stomach.

The blond guy is standing some distance away, letting you do all the work, apparently.

"She was stabbed through abdominal aorta, probably by a sword. Passed out almost immediately. Bled to death afterwards."

You look up at him, from your squatting position.

"X-ray portal. There's a dimension out there that's lousy with radioactivity. You might wanna stand back, you could get cancer or something"

Well, then. You look for signs of a struggle elsewhere. The top of the giant table might make a good battleground. Maybe if you see some slashes on the top of the table, the sword hypothesis would be even stronger. You hoist yourself on top, after removing your shoes (people eat on this thing), and walk around. The table, apart from the edges, seems to be carved from a solid piece of wood, like a ring from a massive tree. It's face is intricately carved with deep gouges. There are scenes and people carved into it, scenes of battle against giant monsters. The carvings are so deep, it's difficult for you to keep your footing and not roll an ankle. You don't spot any evidence of a struggle, so you return to the floor.

You ask if there should have been more signs of a struggle, or if it was possibly a sneak attack, perhaps through the back of the chair.

"It wasn't from the back, it was from the front. She pressed herself into the chair, not away from it, so she was trying to get away from the blade, her assailant. It wouldn't have been a sneak attack."

What if it was from the front, but she just wasn't expecting it? What if it was someone she trusted?

"Could have been. But then that would be a surprise attack, rather than a sneak attack. There's a subtle difference."

"...Here, there's something you should know. You'll be taught this later, in the chair, but for now, do you remember when that purple fire covered the room? That's a disruption field. It's made when portals open inside portals. The result is interference, which means you can't use powers if you're inside of one of these fields. You can apply this to objects too. You could, for example, coat a sword with a disruption field.

Let me back up a bit. You were offered the power to be bulletproof, remember? That power involves forming a portal around your skin that leads to a solid space, so bullets would go into a dimension where there isn't any space to move around in instead of hitting you.

Disruption fields close portals, so if a sword coated with one were to come into contact with this shield, it would cut through it and hurt you. We all have these shields on, all the time, even when we sleep. Nobody can really hurt us with a bullet or sword unless a disruption field is used. That's how Enforcers really fight: With physical weapons."

So either the room or the weapon was disrupted, which would bypass her defenses?

"That's what I think. It should have been the weapon, because if it were the room, she would be on the alert."

To you, that doesn't change much about the physicality of what happened. She was stabbed without a struggle. You ask if anyone is partial to the sword. He tells you that the lady uses a specific type of straight saber called a backsword. The messy-haired man uses a knife, on occasion. He uses a gun, which you would think would be the most effective, but he tells you that it's situational. You don't know what that means, but that's beside the point. Both twins have never been known to use physical weapons.

The knife would be too small to stab through both her and the chair, so your prime suspect appears to be the lady, though it's not solid evidence, as anyone could pick up a sword, couldn't they? You have means, but you don't have motive. Opportunity is a given, since nobody has an alibi.

Perhaps you could find out if anyone would have a reason for doing this

A) Interview her sister, also a suspect
B) Interview her Ambassadors
C) Interview the lady, your prime suspect for the time being
D) Interview the messy-haired man
E) Interview the blond guy
 
Messages
329
#54
INTERVIEW

You decide to interview both the twin's ambassadors, and then the Lady, in that order.

The blond guy lightly presses against the collar of the deceased, and asks the ambassadors to assemble in the war room. Then he sits on the table and waits.

You wonder why they didn't just appear instantly out of a portal.

"They have to walk. Only humans can make portals. Didn't you know that?"

You did not.

"Yeah. I'm sure it says something about it in the tome. But basically, our brains are just wired differently. I guess we just mesh with the fabric of the universe or something. Of course, we're also the only ones who get portal sickness... But that's why nobody messes with us. We have powers that nobody else can beat. We're like gods to them. And if there were a war? We'd win. If there weren't so few of us, we could probably conquer the universe. Universes? But we like it here, so we have no reason to. Nobody really has any reason to wage inter-dimensional war. The thing about it is, is that space is infinite. There are an unlimited number of dimensions, with an unlimited amount of resources. The only people who try to fight over things are the people that don't know that."

So why would anybody want to come here, to Earth? Why the school?

"They're all mostly just refugees. Since not everyone can just pop into a new dimension and settle down, they have to go to where civilization exists. We're just nice like that, we let them in. We have a system. They do something good for society, and we reward them with comfortable living. Win-win."

You ask if any famous people were inter-dimensional, or if any well-known inventions were made by them

"Nah. Enforcers don't really like it when they try and outdo humans, so they all try to stay under the radar."

The door to the hall is open, and you can hear a flapping noise echoing in from the hallway. A flamingo-bird-looking creature skids in. From its back drops a mouse wearing a tiny backpack. Some sort of alien creature which looks to be a blob on stilts walks in, followed by a humanoid thing with four elbows on each arm. They all gather around the body, which the blonde guy protects with a portal that only light can pass through, preventing evidence from being disturbed.

He announces that, as they can see, their Enforcer has been murdered, and asks if she had any enemies.

They reply that, no, she rarely ever left her room. They had never known her to fight with anyone, or even to exercise her authority as Enforcer in any capacity. The ambassadors were also never called upon to do anything more than to bring food to her room on occasion, and as such, they never really saw her beyond their initial meeting, when they were individually chosen.

The blond guy asks when it was that they last saw her alive. The answer was weeks.

He asks if they have alibis for the last few hours. They were all in class.

So they weren't much help. They couldn't even be considered as suspects, due to the fact that they're inter-dimensionals, and unable to cause the disruption that would have penetrated her shield.

So you interview the lady next, which could very well be the killer, but whose plan it was for everyone to be under house arrest. If she's guilty, what would she do? Kill the both of you and escape, with everyone else helplessly locked away, free to do... whatever the killer's end goal is?

"Nah, we'll seal the portal after us. That way, the only way to get back out would be to use a token, and she dumped all of hers on the table. I have one, so we can get back out. And before you suggest it, no, she wouldn't be able to use mine. Tokens are individualized."

You get the feeling he's getting sick of explaining all these things to you, but then again, neither of you expected to have to deal with a murder, and a supernatural murder at that, the logistics of which require greater knowledge than you currently have.

Your blond companion breaks the seal around her door, and together you enter her room's dimension, which, if it's anything like yours, should be a recreation of one's most recent home. You find it a little depressing that hers appears to be either an orphanage or a military academy. You're in a barracks of some sort. Bunk beds line the room, except for a clump in the middle of the area, where she's laying, reading her tome. Bunk beds have been hacked apart and stitched together in order to form the equivalent of a king size mattress. It makes sense. People grow, and tiny beds made for children would have no longer supported her adult body.

Which makes you wonder how long ago she was taken, and how long she's been here.

The blond guy asks her a couple of questions, but she pleads the fifth.

You hazard a guess that the constitution doesn't exist here, being not a part of Earth, and this being an investigation conducted by amateurs with no oversight. You could probably even torture her if they wanted.

"The amateurs part is why I refuse to cooperate. If I were to say something that you misconstrue, mishear, or misremember, it's my neck for it."

But if everyone were to act like she does, how would the killer ever be found?

"Use your imagination."

You look toward the blond guy for answers. He shrugs. Maybe her ambassadors would be more helpful. Or maybe if you could come back with evidence that points to her, she would be pressed to defend herself.

A) Interview the other twin
B) Interview the lady's ambassadors
C) Interview the messy-haired man
D) Interview the blond guy
 
Messages
329
#56
ALTERNATIVE

You decide to talk to the lady's Ambassadors.

You can't just grab her collar to communicate with them, like you could with the deceased, because the lady is very much alive, and, inside of her own dimension, would have powers. You two decide it prudent to reach them the old fashioned way, by walking.

The blond guy has only ever known her to have one Ambassador, living in the Black Diamond. You walk.

You ask why you can't just teleport there.

"Unless you know exactly where the portal will exit, you can't open a portal there. It's like thinking of a color you've never seen before, it can't be done. That's why we have tokens. They help us see the place in our minds, so that we can go there. But if you've memorized the place, like it's someplace you go often, or if you're just a genius, then you can go there. Also, if it's within sight, you've already figured that much out by doing it."

You try it out, attempting to open a portal to the Black Diamond. You know it's just down the road, but you don't know what it looks like. You only succeed in making a wavy purple wall.

The blond guy stops walking, and puts a hand on your chest. Your wall disappears, revealing a hooded, masked, figure standing on the road, wielding a bow. Facing you.

"Don't worry, it's just some inter-dimensional. It can't hurt us, especially not what that piece of primitive technology"

Actually, you're sure that it can hurt you, since you didn't pick the "bulletproof" power. The best you can do is try and catch any projectiles in a portal and send them away, which you only did with limited success during your one practice session. You get far behind the blond guy.

He simply grabs his gun, some sort of Trench Broom, and brandishes it, announcing that our way is impeded, and if it is not unimpeded without incident, that there will be an incident.

What happens next, happens in about a total of ten seconds. The hunter fires an arrow, and hits the blond guy in the chest. To your surprise the arrow pierces him. You can see the tip of the arrow come out of his back, licking at the air with purple flame. The blond guy falls backwards into a portal, which closes behind him. The hunter is now simultaneously gathering back the arrow, attached to a string, and sprinting towards you. You don't get time to decide whether to fight or fly, when the hunter spear-tackles you.

You land somewhere else, with the hunter straddling you, a knife to your throat.

This somewhere is loud. You can hear a loud bass vibrating the walls at regular intervals. Sounds of a clamor. No, a party. You're on a bed. You're in a house, someone's room.

You didn't get knocked out, you just needed a little time to process all that happened within the last minute. When you're able to look the hunter in the eyes with some degree of clarity, the hunter removes the hood and the mask, the latter being a bandanna tied under the eyes.

It's the girl. The girl who stabbed you, killed you, brought you here, and gave you the tour.

She leans in close to your ear in order to speak to you over the thumping bass, with the knife still threatening your neck

"I need your help"

You don't think you can help her. She presumably just killed the blond guy. What could you possibly do to help, even if you wanted to, which you probably don't.

"He'll live. He opened a portal to the infirmary. They'll heal him, even if I hit his heart, they'll heal him. We have about thirty minutes. I just needed to speak to you alone."

No. You're done. You're sick of this. You can't solve murders. You can't hear out this crazy girl. You can't open portals and stop inter-dimensional wars or fight Enforcers with a sword, or anything else they want of you. You just want to go home. You summon your super-strength and push her off you.

To your delight, and surprise, you succeed. She hits the ceiling. You roll off the bed and land on your feet, she taking your place, followed shortly by bits of ceiling.

You turn to leave, but before you can touch the handle of the closed door, you feel a wire around your neck. The girl has strung her bow over your head, and is pulling you back. You reflexively attempt to grasp at the thin wire.

"If you walk out that door, we're both dead."

You manage to grab the bow instead of the wire, and break it, using the back of your head as a fulcrum. This actually makes it worse, as she now can deal more freely with the wire. She wraps it around your neck twice, turning you to face her in the process. Her eyes and her mouth are literally blazing with a purple fire. You try to push her off, to throw her hands off the wire, but this time it doesn't work, even with your super-strength.

"Listen. He's the one who killed her."

She knees you in the abdomen, and releases you from the garrote.

As you catch your breath, you decide:

A) Hear her out
B) Refuse
 
Messages
329
#58
LISTEN

You decide to hear her out. But first, you have some questions. How could he have been the murderer? He was with you when it should have happened.

"He didn't do it himself. He ordered one of his Ambassadors to do it. Since Ambassadors are bound to obey their Enforcers, whatever the request, they are held responsible. Those are the terms written in the contracts."

But that doesn't make sense either. Ambassadors, any inter-dimensional, shouldn't be able to hurt an Enforcer. They're supposed to have shields around them all the time, or something.

"You saw me put an arrow through his chest, did you not?"

Oh, right. Yeah, how did she do that?

She startles you by reaching in her pocket, producing a pill, like the kind you had earlier. You jump because it's the first movement she's made since the beginning of this conversation. She holds the pill out for your inspection, and stays in that position.

"I'm half-human. I can eat these, and then I'll have powers for a period of time. I could hurt Enforcers, if I wanted to."

So besides him being the killer, why did she attack you? Why bring you here, why tell you all this?

"You're the only one who could help me right now. I brought you here to ask that. As for why I attacked him, he would kill me to stop his secret from being revealed."

Yeah, but you two could have spoken privately, you're sure. She could have just asked to speak to you alone. There would be nothing suspicious about that, would there? No need to put an arrow through someone's heart just to have a discreet conversation, right?

"He would kill me on sight."

Why would he do that? Would he know that she knows his secret?

"I'm his Ambassador"

Then... She was the one who actually carried out the murder?

"Yes"

This time, she actually takes the initiative to speak without having first been asked a question, making you jump again.

"I'm doing this to protect myself. He'll kill me to cover his tracks. He would frame you or somebody else, I'm sure. It's in both of our best interests to work together."

But, why? You know you haven't been here very long, and you hardly know anybody, but why would anyone order you to kill an Enforcer?

She doesn't know. She only does what she's told, what she's contractually bound to do. And what she has to do, to survive.


A) Work together
B) Ditch her
 
Messages
329
#60
TEAMWORK

You suppose you have no choice. You do, but it would involve more risk. Both options, you think, are equally dangerous, and involve death if the killer were to turn his glance, or his Ambassador, on you. Speaking of, you'd like to make sure that, if ordered, you won't get an arrow through the back. You ask her to give you this assurance.

Silence... And then:

"If we act quickly, that shouldn't be able to happen."

That answer doesn't fill you with confidence.

"You have some time before they heal him. Tell the other Enforcers. Get them on your side. Confront him while he's still recovering. I'll go into hiding. If he does escape, he won't be able to find me."

A) You'll do that.
B) You'll do that, but she should come with you.
C) *some other plan*