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Chapter 25: Shifting Forums

Chapter 25: Shifting Forums

Meanwhile, Drakefyre was the first one to reach the Announcements Forum. Nioca was right behind him. Almost everyone else crowded in behind them.

There was a thump on the door and the entire forum shook. Several announcements shook loose and floated to the floor.

"What was that?" Jewels asked.

Nioca cast a healing spell on Alorael.

"I believe that was probably the gargantuan rat," Alorael said, "I need a curing spell too, Nioca. I was bitten by mung rats."

"Oh. Sorry." Nioca cast a curing spell on Alorael as well.

The gargantuan rat thumped against the door again.

Synergy picked up the submission baton. "What do we do now?"

"Saunders, ADoS, get the fluffy turtles and bring them here as fast as possible. The rest of you, get your weapons ready. This door isn't going to hold," Drakefyre said.

The rat struck the door for a third time.

The Silent Assassin looked at Lenar.

"Don't worry. I've got my reaperdisks," Lenar said.

"Oh. I didn't want to get in another battle," the Stew Boy said sadly.

"What sort of scripting do you use in a situation like this?" Nemesis asked.

"Well, in these cases, I like to use this." Niemand pulled out the Jade Halberd.

"I see." Nemesis joined the others running for the Tech Support to get weapons.

"Yay! It's double-fisted skull smashing time!" Andraste pulled out a second club and swung them both.

"You mean it's feisty tentacle slap of pain time!" Delicious Vlish said, waving his tentacles in her face.

"Actually, it's..." Kingy looked at the empty beer can he was holding. "That's not a weapon. Never mind." Kingy stumbled off to get a weapon.

Thump! The rat hit the door again.

Randomizer entered. "Drakey, the scrying isn't going so well. But if you can get the rats away from the door for a short while, I'll go scout out the summoning machine while Zeviz watches in the scrying pool."

"I know a way to do that," Drakefyre said.

Thump! Some of the wood around the lock splintered.

"And it looks like I'll be using it soon anyway. Hurry!" Drakefyre said.

Synergy twirled the submission baton. "Are you looking for someone to go with you?"

"I was just about to ask you that. Let's go," Randomizer said.

"I'll help Zeviz write down the route he sees you take," Schrodinger said.

"Actually, cover up the scrying pool for now. You'll know when it's safe to use it again," Drakefyre said.

"Why?" Synergy asked.


"You'll see," Drakefyre said.

Randomizer, Synergy, and Schrodinger exited. Stareye entered. "I'm here now, Drakey! What are we up against?"

"More rats than you've ever wanted to think about," Drakefyre said, "Zorro, get to the General Forum. Make sure you have a copy of Galactic Core and that Zeviz has full spell points and an energy potion or two if there are any left. If everything goes wrong, get out of here. Get to the Ermarian Network and revive Stareye and me there."

"That's not likely to happen, is it?" Marlenny asked.

"Who knows? And who cares, really?" Fatman said.

"That's terrible!" Marlenny said.

"Sheesh. Can't you people detect sarcasm?" Fatman asked.


"Wait, where's Smoo?" Drakefyre asked.

"I thought he was in the General Forum," Andraste said.

"I didn't see him there," Stareye said.

"Are you sure he wasn't in the Tech Support Forum?" the Lurker asked.

"No, that was the wererat," Dikiyoba said.

"I don't have the time for this! If you see Smoo, kill him," Drakefyre said.

Emperor Tullegolar pointed his slith spear at Riibu. "Does this apply to all members?"

"Absolutely not," Drakefyre said.

Alorael stepped out of the shadows and lowered his sniper rifle. "Come on, Drakey. You're no fun at all."

"You were aiming at me!" Emperor Tullegolar said.

"Try not to take it personally," Alorael said, "You just happen to be the perfect target."

"And this is the perfect opportunity," Emperor Tullegolar mused, "Let the oldbies and the rats fight while we take over the boards."

"How?" Garrison asked.

"By building our own summoning machine, of course. We'll summon a bunch of canisters to make ourselves powerful, and then an army of loyal serviles to take out whoever is left alive after this battle."

"Do you know how?" Garrison asked.

"I got instructions from the Lurker," Emperor Tullegolar said.

"And don't you need a mage for it?"

"I'm intelligent enough to figure out a way around that particular flaw in the design," Emperor Tullegolar said, "Come on."

"But what about Nioca?" Garrison asked.

"I'm afraid Nioca is loyal to the oldbies. Leave him."

"And Nemesis?"

"Get him, but don't tell him too much. Just tell him that we're working on a backup plan to save the forums," Emperor Tullegolar said.

"I think he's still in the Tech Support Forum," Garrison said.

Emperor Tullegolar and Garrison entered the Tech Support Forum. Several people were rummaging through the inventory.

"I can't find it!" Jewels said.

"Where is it hidden?" Jadewolf asked.

"Looking for this?" Kingy had a drunken grin plastered on his face as he held up the Heartstriker Bow. "Too bad, I found it first. Now, where is the ammunition that goes with this?"

"Nemesis, we need your help," Emperor Tullegolar said.

Nemesis stopped looking for bolts. He had a sword slung across his back, a wand tucked into his belt, and held a crossbow in his hand. "For what?"

"Help us carry some equipment and then stand guard. We've got a backup plan to save the forum from the rats." Emperor Tullegolar sorted through some mechanical parts and handed them to Nemesis.

"But where will we make it at?" Garrison asked as Emperor Tullegolar gave him some equipment.

Emperor Tullegolar pulled the key to the Moderator Board out of his pocket. "Where do you think?"


Synergy, Randomizer, and Schrodinger entered the General Forum. Zeviz sat by the scrying pool still. Schrodinger grabbed some paper and a pen. "I'll take the notes, so you can concentrate on the scrying. But for now, Drakefyre wants the scrying pool covered."

"Did he say why?" Zeviz asked.

"No." Schrodinger snapped a lid onto the bucket.

Synergy struggled with a package of madness gems. "Why must they make these so difficult to open? Anyone got a knife on them?"

"Here you go." Zeviz handed Synergy a small silver dagger.

"I thought you said you didn't have anything," Randomizer said.

"I didn't want to give it to the Mystic," Zeviz said.

Synergy sliced the packaging open and then looked at the knife closely. "I don't blame you. This is an Assassin's Dagger." He handed it back to Zeviz.

"I know. It's very useful," Zeviz said.

"Hand me two of those madness gems, Synergy," Randomizer said.

"Here you go, Randomizer," Synergy said.

Randomizer stepped into the coat room. "Here. I'll trade you two madness gems for a recall crystal."

The Mystic grabbed the madness gems and stuffed them into his pack. "That seems fair enough." He handed Randomizer a recall crystal.

"Let's go," said Randomizer, "Oh, and you should bring your pack down to the Announcements Forum. What's the point of collecting all your stuff for if you don't use it in an epic battle?"

"Because I like having it around," the Mystic said.

Zorro handed Zeviz an energy potion.

"What is this for?" Zeviz asked.

"Drakefyre wants you to be prepared in case we have to revive people," Zorro said.

The Almighty Do-er of Stuff opened the trapdoor to the fluffy turtle pit. "Come on, Inspector Walnut. We've found a source of sanity for you, but you will have to fight for it."

The fluffy turtles climbed out of the pit and shuffled around agitatedly. Saunders jumped into the pit and lifted out a few who were so weak they couldn't climb out on their own.


In the Moderator Board, Garrison and Nemesis dropped the equipment in a pile.

"Nemesis, guard the door. Garrison, start putting everything together." Emperor Tullegolar walked towards the Administrator Panel.

"But I don't know how!" Garrison said.

"You'll figure it out!" Emperor Tullegolar examined the Administrator Panel. It was dark. He pushed a button and the displays came to life. The largest one read, PASSWORD REQUIRED. "Password? I have no idea, and I don't want to set off any alarms. Oh well." Emperor Tullegolar joined Garrison.

"No, no, no. You're doing it all wrong. Here, attach this piece to that piece, and then run this wire from there to there. See how easy it is?"


The Almighty Do-er of Stuff led the fluffy turtles to the Announcements Forum. "Make way, let the fluffy turtles through!"

The door was badly splintered now but still held.

"Where's Randomizer and Synergy?" Drakefyre asked.

"Right here," Synergy said.

"Good. I hope you're ready." Drakefyre stepped into the Moderator Board, not noticing that it was already unlocked. He crashed into Nemesis. "What are you doing here? And you, Garrison?" he demanded.

Garrison looked at the half-finished summoning machine. Emperor Tullegolar was nowhere to be seen. "We were... we were..."

"Never mind. I'll deal with you in a moment." Drakefyre dashed for the Administrator Panel. He flipped a few buttons. "This is a terrible thing to do when the boards are still up and active, but I don't have any other choice." Drakefyre flipped a switch. There was a grinding noise and the entire forum began to shake.


In the Announcements Forum, everyone waited nervously for the next hit from the gargantuan rat and for Drakefyre's plan to begin.

Thump! Crack! The lock snapped and the door started to swing open. Stareye threw his weight against the door.

"Hold them back!" he yelled. Several other Spiderwebbers joined him against the door. Others readied their weapons.

Thump! The gargauntan rat slammed into the door again. Stareye and the others were knocked to the ground and the door swung open. The rats cheered squeakily. The gargantuan rat charged into the Announcements Forum. Halfway through the door, it got stuck. It couldn't push itself forward or backward. It emitted a squeak that was more like a roar and attempted to crush Stareye beneath a paw. Stareye rolled out of the way just in time. The gargantuan rat slowly pushed its way into the forum.

"Missile users, fire!" Stareye said.

Suddenly, the whole forum began to shake. Spiderwebbers were thrown against each other and onto the floor. The posters and bulletin boards all fell off the wall. The gargantuan rat was thrown out the door. Stareye managed to stagger to his feet. He caught a glimpse of the outside and the lake before he slammed the door shut.

"What did Drakefyre do?" Khoth asked.

"He's changing the order of the forums," Stareye said.


In the SubTerra Forum, the movement shook the gash in the wall from the ur-noob months ago loose again. Water began seeping through the hole, slowly at first but faster and faster as the water pressure made the hole greater. Soon, a layer of spam floated on several feet of water, and water continued to pour in.


In the General Forum, Zeviz grabbed the scrying pool and Zorro grabbed Galactic Core off the table as everything began to shift around. The table slid across the forum and crashed into the wall. Things fell and shattered in the kitchen. The second story window slammed shut and the Periodic Table of Spiderwebbers crashed to the ground. Schrodinger caught Nikki as he slid by.

Nikki woke up. "What's happening?"

"I'm not sure," Schrodinger said.


Outside, Arancaytar returned from the Ermarian Network. He stared at the quaking message board in disbelief. The boards separated between the Avernum 4 Forum and the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum and the top forums rose into the air. Then the Avernum 4 Forum broke off from the general forums and the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum split off from the rest of the games forums. Something fell from the Announcements Forum and landed in the lake. The Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum reattached itself to the Announcements Forum and the Avernum 4 Forum landed on the Geneforge Series Forum. The two halves of the message board reconnected. Then it sat still. Arancaytar waited a few more moments to make sure it was really done. He swam across the lake, climbed the rope, pushed the window open, and crawled inside.