Skip to main content

Chapter 26: The Saga of Synergy and Randomizer

Chapter 26: The Saga of Synergy and Randomizer

As soon as the shaking stopped, Stareye opened the door.

"It's clear. Go," he said.

Synergy and Randomizer ducked under the construction tape and sneaked away. Randomizer carried the last energy potion and the recall crystal. Synergy had the submission baton, a pouch of thorns, and several madness gems.

"So, what are we going to do?" Synergy asked.

"We search the Blades of Avernum Forum until we find the summoning machine, of course," Randomizer said.

"And if we see any rats?"

"You shoot, I cast spray acid, and we both run."

"Sounds like a plan. But what if we get cornered by a whole bunch of rats?"

"You throw a madness gem. Then you shoot and I cast spray acid while we run."

"What if that doesn't work?" Synergy asked.

"You'll talk our way out of it one way or another," Randomizer said.

Near the exit, Synergy and Randomizer shrank against a wall and waited quietly. A horde of rats entered the forum.

Synergy attempted to count them as they charged past but soon gave up. "The others will certainly have their work cut out for them. That's a lot of rats."

Randomizer waited until the last few rats were past him. "Spray acid... spray acid... spray acid," he whispered, "There. Now they have a few less to worry about."

"Don't use up all your spell energy now. We might need it later," Synergy said.

"Relax. I'm keeping track. Ready?" Randomizer asked.

"Ready," Synergy said.

Randomizer cast haste and they ducked into the Avernum 4 Forum.


Zeviz picked up the book and quickly read the section on scrying. "Just double-checking to make sure I haven't missed anything." Then he uncovered the scrying pool.

"What can you see?" Schrodinger asked.

Zeviz frowned. "Nothing. It's completely dark."

"Hmm. They must already be in the Avernum 4 Forum," Schrodinger said.

"Ah. You're right. They just entered the Geneforge Series Forum," Zeviz said.

Zorro slammed Galactic Core down on the table in disgust. "How does he keep doing that? Icshi beat me again!"

Nikki and Zeviz both looked around in confusion, but they couldn't see Icshi.

"Zorro, be careful. That might end up being the only way to revive people," Schrodinger said.

"Icshi always said this game is like cotton candy. Can you damage cotton candy by hitting it against that table? I think not. Besides, even if something were to happen to this copy, there are three other copies in the Tech Support Forum," Zorro said.

"Oh, fine," Schrodinger said, "Zeviz, where are they now?"

"They're at the edge of the Geneforge Series Forum. The entrance to the Blades of Avernum Forum is guarded by rats, so they've stopped to discuss what to do."


Synergy finished counting the number of guards. "Actually, there aren't as many rats as I first thought. They just follow a circular path, so it looks like more than there really are," Synergy said.

"We could sneak past them easily enough. We're hasted, and there are several blue rats we could dodge past," Randomizer said.

"Nope, there's always a red rat near a blue rat. They're fast and hard to see, but they're there," Synergy said.

"Then we will just have to take a few out on our way through," Randomizer said.

Synergy stepped into the open as a blue rat lumbered past with the red rat scampering around it. "Hey!"

The rats halted in confusion. Before they could recover and call for help, Synergy shot the blue rat twice and Randomizer hit the red rat with the spray acid spell. They rolled the bodies out of the way and hid as a giant rat neared.

"Do we try to get that one too?" Randomizer asked.

"Let's not push our luck," Synergy said.

They waited until all the rats had passed and then used the opening that the blue and red rat should have been guarding to sneak into the Blades of Avernum Forum.


"They're in. They haven't seen anything suspicious yet, so they're just scouting. Oh, wait, they've stopped." Zeviz appeared to be slightly nervous as he stared into the scrying pool, but Schrodinger didn't notice.

"Where?" he asked.

"At the, um, base of a small hill with a... a boulder near the top of it," Zeviz said.


Synergy and Randomizer hid at the base of the hill. Randomizer spotted three rats on the boulder. They seemed to be watching something below them.

"What do you think they're up to?" Randomizer asked.

Synergy reloaded his baton. "Let's find out."

Synergy killed two of the rats with thorns. Randomizer got the third with his spray acid spell. Then they cautiously climbed the hill. At the top, they found Smoo tied up, gagged, and badly beaten.

Synergy and Randomizer looked at each other in confusion.

"Didn't you see Smoo back in the General Forum?" Synergy asked.

"Yeah, I did. But if Smoo is here, it must have been a wererat," Randomizer said.

"I think we caught it, though. Remember how Smoo went missing after the commotion in the Tech Support Forum?" Synergy said.

"I think the wererat escaped, actually."

"Well, that's unfortunate. But the point is, it's no longer a danger."

Smoo started struggling for the first time and tried to say something. Synergy removed the gag.

"There were two wererats," Smoo gasped out.

"What?" Synergy stared at Smoo in disbelief.

"Attorosi had just sent one wererat disguised as me back to the others when I managed to escape. But the guards realized I was missing and recaptured me. Then Attorosi sent out another wererat disguised as me. That way, if one failed the other probably wouldn't," Smoo said.

"And it worked too," Randomizer said grimly, "Drakefyre was convinced that one of the wererats was you. But how did it know who Drakefyre was? Wait... did you tell this Attorosi who everyone was?"

"Not everyone. Just a few names." Smoo winced. "And before Attorosi sent the second wererat, I told them what the administrators looked like. I'm so sorry."

"Did either one of the wererats return?" Randomizer asked.

"I don't know. I only know the wererats were sent out because they needed to see me up close to assume my form," Smoo said.

"How do the wererats transform, anyway?" Synergy asked.

"Some sort of magic. I don't really know how," Smoo said.

"But why did Attorosi keep you alive? Can wererats only take on the shape of people who are alive or something?" Randomizer asked.

"I don't see why a person would have to be alive for the wererats to transform. Attorosi was just afraid someone would revive me if the rats killed me. And it needed information from me anyway."

Synergy started to untie Smoo's hands.

"No, don't do that. Kill me," Smoo said.

"Kill you?" Synergy said.

Randomizer shrugged. "Makes sense to me. We'll make sure he's revived as soon as we get back. He's in no shape to escape or to spy with us. We can't leave him here or the rats will get more information from him. Like information about us."

"You're right. Sorry, Smoo." Synergy aimed the baton at Smoo and fired. Then he turned away, unable to look.

Randomizer checked for a pulse. "He's dead. Now let's get out of here before any rats show up."

"Which direction?" Synergy asked.

Randomizer looked around. He pointed to a small cliff. "There. See, doesn't that look like a small crack in the base of it?"

"Perhaps. We have to get closer to know for sure."

As Synergy and Randomizer crept closer to the cliff, Synergy whispered, "Do you think we should go back and tell the others about the second wererat? I mean, we may or may not have a wererat loose in the remaining forums and it may or may not be able to transform into whoever it wants."

"I wish we could, but this is our one chance to find the summoning machine. Finding it is more important than finding one wererat," Randomizer said, "Besides, Zeviz is scrying us, remember? By now, Drakefyre and Stareye probably know about it."


"Zeviz, you've been quiet for a while. What do you see? Are you still tracking Synergy and Randomizer?" Schrodinger asked.

Zeviz was visibly anxious now. "What? Oh, yes. They just stopped to discuss where to go next. They've decided to go, uh, towards the mountains now."

Schrodinger jotted a few notes down. "Got it. Are you okay?"

"Yes, I... yes. It's just the strain from scrying for so long. But I've got it under control now."

The Mystic emerged from the coat room with his pack. "I think I'll do what Randomizer suggested and join the others. But it's so hard to let go of all my stuff. On second thought, maybe I'll just..."

Nikki picked up the pack and held it out of the Mystic's reach. "It's not your stuff." He pulled out a stack of pink stationary. "See? This is mine."

"Hey, give it back! Give it back!" the Mystic said.

Nikki slid the pack onto his back and ran towards the Tech Support Forum. "I think not. Your stuff belongs to everyone, so I'm taking it back to everyone."

"No, don't do that! Wait! Wait!" The Mystic ran after him.

"They just reached the base of the mountains and are hiking up that small trail to the top," Zeviz told Schrodinger.

Arancaytar entered the General Forum and wrung water out of his scarf. He looked around and saw only Zeviz, Schrodinger, and Zorro. "Where is everyone?"

"Synergy and Randomizer just reached the spot where the ambush took place. Now they're looking around," Zeviz said.

"In the Announcements Forum, Arancaytar. The rats have just started their attack," Schrodinger said.

"Okay, thanks," Arancaytar ran off.

"Be careful around Nikki, he's already down there," Schrodinger said.

"Synergy just boosted Randomizer over a small cliff. The ruined city is on the other side. There are rats swarming everywhere," Zeviz said.

"So they've found it?" Schrodinger asked.

"I'm not quite sure exactly where yet, though," Zeviz said.


Synergy and Randomizer both halted and hid behind a boulder.

Synergy inspected the crack in the cliff. "It certainly looks like it could be the entrance to a cave. What do you think, Randomizer?"

Randomizer was several feet away, crawling towards the cave. A moment later, he crawled back. "It's a cave. There are several blue rats standing around just inside and I could smell mung rats."

"That must be where the summoning machine is, then. Any chance of sneaking inside unseen?" Synergy asked.

"Not at all," Randomizer said, "This is as close as we can get."

"Then get out the recall crystal," Synergy said.


"There!" exclaimed Zeviz, "A rat just came up near the base of a ruined statue. The summoning machine must be below it."

"Are you sure?"


"Which statue?"

"It's the only statue that's left standing."

Schrodinger wrote it down and stood up. "Thanks. I'll go tell Stareye and Drakefyre." Schrodinger exited.

Zeviz looked around. He and Zorro were the only ones left in the forum. He stood up and drew his dagger.

"Yes! Yes! I won! I finally beat Icshi! I..." Zorro collapsed as Zeviz drove the dagger into his back. Zeviz smashed Galactic Core and walked into the Tech Support Forum.