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Chapter 31: Where's the Deranged Subterfuge?

Chapter 31: Where's the Deranged Subterfuge?

Stareye looked at Drakefyre's body and the mess that was currently the Moderator Board. "Okay, Filth Finder, so Ephesos is comatose, Zeviz is dead, and all known copies of Galactic Core have been destroyed?"

Filth Finder nodded.

Stareye sighed. Then he kicked Emperor Tullegolar's body for good measure. The mechanical pencil fell out of his pocket.

"Wait! The wererat said he couldn't find the third copy of Galactic Core," said Filth Finder.

"Of course! Zephyr Tempest must have it." Stareye rushed out, accidentally kicking the pencil into the Announcements Forum. He entered the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum. "Zephyr! Zephyr!"

"Icy rain!" Ice pellets struck all the rats crowding around Zephyr Tempest. "Coming, Stareye. Ice lances!" Zephyr Tempest approached Stareye. "What is it?"

"Do you still have a copy of Galactic Core?"

"Oh, yes." Zephyr Tempest pulled it out.

"Good. Go revive Drakefyre, and Zeviz as well. Whatever you do, don't revive Emperor Tullegolar," Stareye said.

"Right." Zephyr Tempest ran off.


Dikiyoba searched for graymold in the Avernum 4 Forum. It was so dark that finding it was more a matter of chance than skill. Dikiyoba had collected several pieces when Dikiyoba heard squeaking and shrank against a wall. Attorosi and the other rats passed through the forum and entered the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum. "Dikiyoba does not like the odds of getting back in one piece."


A curse ray knocked Dintiradan's helmet off. He threw his arms over his face. "Argh! Nobody look!" He scrambled after it. Lenar held off the rats while the Silent Assassin set Dintiradan's helmet back on his head. Dintiradan whacked a rat with Homeland. "Why can't you two be part of my Legion of Terror?"

The Silent Assassin gestured something.

"Sorry, he said the only deranged subterfuge we do is our own," Lenar said.

Wanderer joined the three of them. He stabbed a blue rat. "Take that!"

Dintiradan slammed Homeland into another rat's skull.

"Nice job, but I'm getting twice as many!" Andraste called. She clubbed two more rats.

Fatman sat on the edge of the fountain.

Jumpin' Salmon fired again. "Why aren't you helping any?"

"I'm badly wounded. See?" Fatman pointed his scratch out.

"Oh, for crying out loud. Here." Slartucker threw a bag of beef jerky at him. "Eat some and you'll feel better."

"Never mind, I'm not as injured as I thought." Fatman slunk off.


Dikiyoba had enough graymold for several graymold salves. Dikiyoba entered the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum with a dagger in one hand and the invulnerability potion in the other.

Attorosi and the white rats were busy hasting blue rats and blessing red rats. Dikiyoba attempted to go around them but suddenly broke into a coughing fit.

"Hey! You! Human!" The rats heard Dikiyoba.

Dikiyoba gulped the invulnerability potion and ran. "Someone help Dikiyoba!"

Kingy joined Jumpin' Salmon at the fountain and shot at the rats chasing Dikiyoba. Between the two of them and the invulnerability, Dikiyoba managed to get through.

Dikiyoba coughed again. "Thanks." Dikiyoba entered the Tech Support Forum.

"Idiots!" Attorosi squeaked.

"Our claws and teeth kept bouncing off!" a giant rat said.

"Um, do you think we have enough rats hasted and blessed?" a white rat asked.

"Yes. Go for it," Attorosi said.

The red and blue rats charged towards the Spiderwebbers. Although the blue rats were hasted, they couldn't keep up with the red rats.

"Look out for the red rats!" Thralni said.

"Come on, they're red rats. They couldn't possibly... arghh!" Alec went down under a mass of buffed red rats.

Thralni fired off as many arrows as he could. "Help!" A red rat tore into his arm.

Jewels came to his aid.

"Oh, all right. You would have healed me, I know you would." Fatman joined them.

The Stew Boy grabbed Thralni and carried him to Nioca. Nioca healed him.

"Thanks, Nioca. May the chicken gods bless you."

"Er, what?" Nioca asked.

Thralni shrugged. "Oh, never mind." He ran off to rejoin the battle.

The Stew Boy stopped to pick up the mechanical pencil.

"Be careful with that," Nioca said, "If that's what I think it is, it's poisoned."

"Oh. Okay," the Stew Boy said.

A mung rat managed to bite Lenar. "Ow!"

The Silent Assassin stabbed the rat, picked Lenar up, and carried him over to Nioca.

Nioca cast a healing spell. "Was that a mung rat bite or another rat bite?"

Lenar coughed a few times. "Mung."

"Go to the Tech Support Forum. We're trying to contain the disease as much as possible," Nioca said.

The Silent Assassin helped Lenar into the Tech Support Forum and into a bed. Alorael and Ephesos were still unconscious. Dikiyoba was halfway through making a batch of graymold salve. Dikiyoba turned away from the mix and began to cough.

"That doesn't sound good." Lenar coughed several times.

"Yes, but Dikiyoba is almost... almost..." Dikiyoba fainted. The Silent Assassin set Dikiyoba on a bed as well.

Lenar looked around. "It looks like I'm the only one. Maybe I can..." Lenar tried to stand up but the Silent Assassin pushed him back down. Then the Silent Assassin pointed to himself. "You? I think not. You'll blow up the entire forum. Remember what happened to the cat the last time you messed around with alchemy?" Lenar broke off in a coughing fit.

The Silent Assassin took this opportunity to pour the crushed graymold into a beaker and place the beaker on a burner. He added a few more ingredients. Lenar closed his eyes and waited for the explosion as the potion boiled. The Silent Assassin pulled the salve off the burner and handed it to Lenar.

Lenar pushed it away. "No, the others need it more than I do. Give it to Alorael, otherwise I don't think he'll live much longer." Lenar coughed again. "That way if the potion kills him, well, no harm done."

The Silent Assassin carefully gave Alorael the potion and began to mix up another.

Lenar laid back and closed his eyes again. "The first one was a fluke. This time he's going to blow everything up."

The Silent Assassin completed the salve and gave it to Ephesos just as Alorael woke up. He coughed feebly a few times but looked to be in much better condition.

"All right, what's going on? Where's my sniper rifle?"

"You were sick, so Salmon took it." Lenar coughed again. The Silent Assassin pushed the third dose of graymold salve into his hands.

"What? He has my sniper rifle? I think not!" Alorael jumped up and rushed off.

Ephesos began to stir and opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was the Silent Assassin standing over him. "Gaahhh! Repel sp... oh, it's just you. Don't ever do that again."

The Silent Assassin gave the final graymold salve to Dikiyoba. After a moment, Dikiyoba woke up.

"I... I almost don't believe it," Lenar said, "You don't just engage in carefully planned wanton destruction after all."

The Silent Assassin smiled.

"I guess I'm going to have to stop trapping you in the laundry room after this. Er, I mean I'm going to have to tell the cat to stop trapping you in the laundry room."

The Silent Assassin glared at Lenar.


Zephyr Tempest stood in front of the Periodic Table of Elements. "Let's see now... Drakey has nitrogen." Zephyr Tempest summoned some nitrogen and combined it with Galactic Core. Drakefyre was revived. He rushed out of the forum without a word. Next, Zephyr Tempest summoned some hafnium and revived Zeviz. They followed Drakefyre, leaving Zorro alone. He slammed Ocean Bound on the table angrily.

"Every time! I just don't understand this game. Why do I keep losing population?"


Riibu hung back from the battle. She realized too late that Khoth was alone and surrounded by rats. He went down.

"Khoth!" Riibu ran recklessly towards him. The rats managed to surround her as well. Riibu drew her dagger. "Get back!"

A rat snapped at her but she disappeared. The rat halted in surprise. "What?"

Riibu, now invisible, stabbed it. The other rats tried to claw her but couldn't ever figure out where she was. Finally, she stabbed so many that they retreated.

Niemand was surrounded by rats as well. He hacked at them with his Jade Halberd, but eventually a blue rat buried its claws in his chest. Niemand died.

Tyranicus and Lazarus were forced to retreat until their backs were against the fountain.

"They'd better shut down that machinery soon, or we're all doomed," Tyranicus said, "We're already losing. Look out!" Tyranicus hurled himself out of the way as a firebolt struck the fountain, blasting a huge chunk out of it. Kingy was knocked from his perch but jumped up in time to fire at the white rat before it could cast again.

"Lazarus, are you okay?" Tyranicus asked, "Behind you!"

Lazarus, Tyranicus, and Kingy were attacked by a mob of red rats. Jumpin' Salmon pulled Tyranicus up onto the fountain. Tyranicus pulled Lazarus onto the fountain as well but Kingy was killed by the rats. One of the rats grabbed the bow and ran away with it.