Chapter 9: Run!

Chapter 9: Run! Dikiyoba Thu, 08/13/2009 - 00:51
Several large, fat spawners had been grown in the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum over the previous week. Now Schrodinger and Delicious Vlish gave them the order to produce various creations. The creations stood around, looking confused, until the first bots entered the forum. Then the creations charged.

The Almighty Doer of Stuff stayed well away from the fighting. He looked slightly ill. "Isn't this unnecessarily cruel?"

"Nah. They're basically mindless. All they know is that they want to fight intruders. See?" Delicious Vlish grabbed a passing roamer. The roamer kept trying to run towards the bots. He let it go. The roamer ran to the nearest bot, bit into its leg, and dragged it off its feet. A nearby battle alpha finished the bot off. "Besides, you don't seem to mind using the fluffy turtles as an attack force."

"I do mind! I just get overruled!" the Almighty Doer of Stuff said.

Nalyd poked Azuma. "Shouldn't we tell the skeletons to attack now?"

"Er, I don't think so. We only have a few, so I don't think it will, um, make much of a difference. Besides, ET hasn't given me the order to. Er, and I also think it would upset the rats."

Nalyd sighed. "You're no fun."

Suddenly, Schrodinger gasped. He was staring at the entrance to the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum.

"What is it?" Iffy asked.

"We're cut off from behind, too!" Zeviz said.

"What's hap--oh, I see." The Almighty Doer of Stuff watched as both entrances to the forum shimmered and became walls.

"I still don't see anything odd," Delicious Vlish said.

Schrodinger ran to the wall that had once been the entrance to the Avernum 4 Forum. He touched it carefully. It was solid. He put his shoulder against the wall and shoved. By now, most of the Spiderwebbers and rats were watching him struggle against what was apparently empty air. "We're trapped!"

"Whatever it is, the bots can still get through," the Almighty Doer of Stuff said.

The Silent Assassin walked past Schrodinger into the Avernum 4 Forum. He shrugged.

Delicious Vlish looked horrified as he saw the walls appear. "What are you all still standing around for? Retreat! Get out of here!"

"Abandon a Geneforge forum without a fight? You must be joking! No one cares about all the nonsense in General, but just think of all the valuable information in here!" Emperor Tullegolar said.

"Nalyd thinks it's best that we just go."

"Oh, all right," Emperor Tullegolar said.

Soon, everyone who could had made it out. Schrodinger, Archmage Alex, Delicious Vlish, Zeviz, and the Almighty Doer of Stuff grouped together around a spawner that created wingbolts and prepared to hold out as long as they could.

---

Synergy had just exited the Geneforge Series Forum when Slartucker noticed something odd. He wiped the rain out of his eyes. The exit was definitely shimmering. Suddenly, it became a wall. "Synergy!"

Synergy reentered the forum, apparently walking right through the wall. "What?"

"Can you..." More thunder and lightning cut Slartucker off. "Does anyone else see a wall where the entrances should be?"

"I don't see anything unusual," Arancaytar said.

"So, no one else can see the walls?"

"Nope," Jewels said.

Deathwhisker and Drew paused.

"What do you want us to do?" Drew asked.

"Just continue for now." Slartucker tested the wall. It was solid.

"Um, what are you doing?" Duck asked.

Another bolt of lightning struck the summoning machine. Deathwhisker was electrocuted. Drew was thrown backwards.

Arancaytar hurried over and tried a few buttons. None of them had any effect. "Uh-oh."

"This is insane," Slartucker said, "Synergy, are you still willing to try and get a message to the others?"

"Sure."

"Good. Then everyone else will retreat. Get to the secret exit in the Avernum Trilogy Forum. I'll stay here and... deal with the remains of the summoning machine, I guess. I really don't want Ecksian to get his hands on it."

---

Spiderwebbers and rats sprinted blindly through the Avernum 4 Forum. Most were able to escape into the Nethergate and Nethergate Resurrection Forum. A few discovered a wall where the exit had been.

"Perhaps we took a wrong turn?" Andraste asked.

"No. The others managed to get through here. We're in the right spot," Zorro said.

"Then I suppose we're stuck here, unless anyone has any ideas," Student of Trinity said.

"You're the mod. Do you know what's going on? Why did Alorael freak out?" Andraste asked.

Student of Trinity shook his head. "I'm afraid I don't know. I'm also worried that this is happening in all the other forums too."

Several blue rats finally caught up with them. They hesitated.

"I take it you can't get through?" RatX521 asked.

"Yes. You go ahead and go through," Andraste said.

"So, what should we do?" Zorro asked.

"I think we should head into the side tunnels. We can stay hidden and harass the bots better th..." Student of Trinity trailed off as the ground under them began to shake.

The shaking knocked the Spiderwebbers off their feet.

"What's happening?" Andraste asked.

"Board instability," Student of Trinity muttered.

"What?" Andraste asked.

The shaking continued for several minutes. Large cracks appeared in the cave walls and chunks of rock fell from the ceiling. One boulder narrowly missed Zorro. Finally, the entire forum completely collapsed. Andraste, Zorro, and Student of Trinity were crushed by tons of falling rock.

---

More Spiderwebbers were trapped in the Nethergate Forum. Niemand watched as Nalyd slammed into the wall while Emperor Tullegolar, and Ackrovan, and Neossokrass escaped.

Azuma paused. "Shouldn't we try to help him?"

Emperor Tullegolar didn't even slow down. "No!"

"Of course! We're being cut off by member number!" Niemand said.

Synergy shook his head. "And at this rate, no one is going to make it out. Hey, Nioca, Tyranicus! You probably don't want to be trapped in the Geneforge Series Forum."

"I don't want to be trapped in the Nethergate Forum either." Nioca exited.

Tyranicus halted. "How bad is it?"

Another tree was split down the middle by lightning. Most of the red rats had already crossed the Geneforge Series Forum when the rest of the rats and remaining Spiderwebbers entered. Slartucker had managed to destroy the summoning machine beyond repair before being killed by lightning.

Nemesis stopped when he saw the walls appear. "Aw, man."

Emperor Tullegolar kept going. He shoved the wall. "Come on!"

Ackrovan, Neossokrass, and Azuma passed right by him.

"Cowards! Come back here and help your Emperor!"

"No," Azuma said.

"Fine! I didn't need you anyway! I'll win in the end, you'll see!"

Meanwhile, the first bots entered the Nethergate Forum. Lazarus was killed twice in a row. A blue rat who had decided not to continue died a minute later.

Tyranicus kept staring at what was now the route to the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum. "What number do you suppose it's at now?"

Synergy shrugged. "It's been a while since I could get out, so who knows?"

"That's odd. There's still nothing unusual across the entrances for me."

"Give it another minute. If you can still escape, you should. We don't know whether anyone else will make it."

---

Ecksian and EcksianBot winced when they saw the Avernum 4 Forum collapse.

"How many bots did I just lose?" Ecksian muttered, "Bots, report!"

Over the next several minutes, various bots informed Ecksian, Eternal Flame, and EcksianBot that no bots had been lost when the Avernum 4 Forum collapsed, that the Spiderwebbers and rats were in disarray, and that they were about to take control of the Nethergate and Nethergate: Resurrection Forum.

"Suddenly we're doing really well?" Eternal Flame asked.

"It's probably a trap," EcksianBot said.

"Right. No more bots should go inside. If Spiderweb's defenses really have fallen apart, the bots already inside should be able to handle it. If it's some sort of trap, though, at least we won't lose too many of them," Ecksian said.

"You should send more bots over to the secret exit. They might be trying to escape," EcksianBot said.

"Of course." Ecksian gave the orders.

---

Arancaytar, Zephyr Tempest, Jeran Korak, Duck, and most of the red rats waited in the Avernum Trilogy Forum.

"Do you think anyone else will make it?" Arancaytar asked.

A red rat shook his head. "I don't think so."

"We should wait a few more minutes, just in case," Zephyr Tempest said.

Arancaytar spent the next few minutes looking around nervously. "Right. That's long enough." He flew over to the cave tree and pushed the correct knothole. The trapdoor opened.

"Wait!" Tyranicus galloped into the forum and collapsed. "Everyone else... stuck. Bots already... to BoA Forum. Can we... still... get out?"

"I hope so," Arancaytar said.

Several red rats helped Tyranicus up. Everyone walked down the secret tunnel. There were no problems until the last person stepped outside. Then a huge mob of bots charged out of their hiding places.

Duck winced as the rat next to him was killed. "There's too many of them! What will we do?"

Arancaytar flew straight up into the air. "Run!"

"No. I have a better idea," Zephyr Tempest said, "ARCANE SUMMON!!! ARCANE SUMMON!!!"

Several shamblers and hydras appeared.

"Wait. You aren't supposed to be able to do that. Arghhh!" A bot stabbed Tyranicus.

---

The Lurker and Danielle watched the survivors leave the Avernum Trilogy Forum through the scying pool. Dintiradan guarded Alorael and Stareye. Both of them were still deeply asleep.

"I think everyone is out now," the Lurker said.

"Good. I don't understand why Arancaytar or Tyranicus weren't trapped, but we can deal with it," Dintiradan said.

"How are we getting out?" Danielle asked.

Dintiradan produced three haste potions and three invulnerability potions. "I'll carry Stareye. Lurker, you take Alorael. I'm going to reopen the Moderator Board. After that, we run like mad."