Author’s Note: This was written live on stream, with the tone being determined by the numbers under minesweeper tiles. The audience could bid tokens earned in stream to reveal random tiles. A mine hit results in the death of all characters, unless they are temporarily saved by a lump sum of tokens. If characters make it to the end of the stream, they survive to be seen another day. Join us at twitch.tv/blainearcade if you wish to participate.
1-peace 2-alert 3-escalation 4-action 5-tragedy 6-world-changing
The pips have rolled again, The conveying Minefield connects the Trap to a new world. Three enter, seeing only a shredded sky in the distance: Enoch the mood-swinging cartwheeler, Spleck the shoe shine polish dust bunny, and Moroot the unemployed depressed rutabaga.
The latest additions to the Minefield were literally dumped into it out of a giant dumpster. The groaning green monstrosity, covered in rust and condiment stains, poured out all sorts of garbage alongside all kinds of beings labeled just as useless and.
Enoch rolled out rather gracefully, tumbling down the slurry in a perfect cartwheel. His technique was flawless, but only because of the emotional disorder that had him tossed out in the first place. Any extreme emotion on his part, like, say, the sorrow of being discarded, turned him into an involuntary acrobat.
Rolling alongside him thanks to its round shape, was Moroot. Moroot was a rutabaga, but one always passed over for the cutting board and the casserole. He established a telepathic connection with Enoch, allowing the to share their sorrow as they moved deeper into the Minefield. They were joined by Spleck, a tiny oily pixie of a thing, resembling a cross between a dust bunny and a smudge of shoe polish.
“I would be great in a salad you know,” Moroot stated with an implied sniffle. “There’s this one sweet spot on one side of my center. It’s almost like a heart, but I’ve never been able to show it to anybody.”
“That’s tragic,” Enoch panted, already out of breath from the exertion. His ankles were sore, for they had to compensate for the constant vibrations of the Minefield’s churning ground. “Do you… want me to eat you? I like rutabagas.” Before the vegetable could answer, Spleck, without a word, flew over to Enoch and inserted himself under the man’s sneaker.
The grease caused him to slip and land flat on his face. The little black smudge then journeyed up his body, all the way to his face, little gooey limbs flailing in an attempt to communicate something.
“What are you…” Enoch started to ask, but then he realized the the subject of the warning. There was another garbage truck from their world, only this one wasn’t simply dumping its cargo. It was barreling forward, right toward them. Its lights were a deep red and its windshield tinted to blackness.
They were going to get run over if they didn’t do something quickly. Spleck was the only one with any magical powers, excluding the rather common telepathy of the vegetables from their world, so it was up to him. The oily little pixie glued himself to Enoch’s ear, pulling the man across the ground in a scuttling crab-walk over to Moroot.
He adhered himself to the vegetable as well and then pushed both their faces into the dirt. The garbage truck passed just overhead, the smell of it flooding over them. Whatever was inside wasn’t normal garbage; it smelled more acrid, as if you simply knew that cruel act had produced it. It was the bone-filled waste of a man-eating beast or the expended fuel from an industrial electric chair.
Spleck acted again the moment the shadow was gone, stretching up and grabbing one of the handles on the back. Enoch and Moroot were pulled along, the man finding a grip on the pole as quickly as he could. The garbage truck seemed not to notice their presence. It merely continued its breakneck pace toward the other end of the Minefield.
“What do we do now?” Moroot asked the other two. “I can’t go in the garbage; I’ll rot. My sweet spot will go first. I just know it will!” Spleck molded himself into a different shape: an arrow pointing to a panel on the humped back of the truck. He wanted them to look inside.
“I’l just peek,” Enoch assured Moroot. “I don’t want to find anything bad either; it’ll just make me flip out again.” The rutabaga nodded. The poor thing’s leaves were practically ripped away from its stem by the wind. The man slowly climbed the pole until he could reach the hatch. There was a spot for a padlock, but there was nothing there.
He opened it a crack and peered inside. At first it was completely dark, but his eyes adjusted, revealing more than a hundred square edge pressed against each other like the tops of flattened and compressed cardboard boxes. They looked very light, so he reach one hand in to grab a corner.
(Chat-Determined) – 1+1=2
Enoch thought Spleck would grab the card, but the shoe polish bunny seemed afraid to touch it, or perhaps to stain in. He had to grab it with three fingers and pull. It took some wiggling, but the flat card eventually rose out of the group and he was able to examine the picture across the front.
They were stunned. They knew these cards. These were not garbage, at least not according to those in power back in their world. These were some of the cards of morality, bearing the original decrees that it was okay to be cruel as long as you were joking.
“These are our cards,” Moroot said, shaking its stem in disbelief. “What are they doing all the way out here? Why would all those monsters throw these away?” Spleck whipped Enoch’s hand, getting him to drop the card, but it didn’t sink back into the pile. It just wobbled back and forth menacingly, as if shouting at them for disturbing its rest.
The little blob morphed again, into a deck of cards. He shuffled himself and then split off a small piece, turning it into a lumpy boulder shape. The cards slipped under it. A moment later an evil face appeared in the boulder shape.
“What are you saying?” Enoch asked, but then it hit him. “Somebody is taking these cards to the other side. They want whatever world is over there to be as cruel as ours!” Spleck turned into a gooey black hand and snapped his fingers.
The card flapped madly, almost making Enoch lose his grip. All the others in the stack rattled, trying to break free. They didn’t like that they’d been figured out. Enoch slammed the hatch shut, but not before the edge of a card slipped out and sliced a foot-long paper cut into his left arm. It also cleaved one leaf from Moroot and sent it to the wind.
Enoch had to close his eyes and focus to avoid leaping away into an acrobatic routine. Falling could mean death, especially now that they grass had given way to jagged rocks. The truck veered back and forth to avoid outcroppings as they rushed by.
The man might’ve kept his focus, but the disturbance had finally drawn the attention of the driver.
5 – Spleck saved
It wasn’t a driver at all, but some sort of machine. They only noticed something was changing because of the horrible sounds the machinery in the truck’s cab made. Enoch pumped his arms, lifting his head over the back. A slot opened behind the driver’s seat, and something emerged like toast popping out of the toaster.
The truck must have been on some sort of autopilot, as it still swerved around the rocks while the strange machine walked across the top. It was a robot, that much they could tell, but its body was like a frame holding one of the cards, using its malice as a power source. Perhaps the cards were distributing themselves to the new world.
They had nowhere to go, but were forced to make a decision when the robot’s arm unfolded into an electric prod. It touched the device to the handle Enoch hung from, shocking all three of them. Spleck popped, spraying polish all over the faces of the other two. Eventually the man’s grip failed, and they were sent to the ground, but his panic turned into a perfect Olympic level dismount.
5+1=6 (Number one has been obliterated)
They had shaken the cards a little too much. A trio of weirdos on their transport, going unnoticed for several minutes? The cards had to deploy now, even though they weren’t across the Minefield. The robot pulled open the hatch.
Cards flew out into the air, their black backs cutting out the light. The lingered in the sky for only a moment, then dived at the ground. Enoch cowered, afraid one of them would slice him in half. Moroot was sheltered underneath him, as was Spleck, who slowly gathered his splashed droplets back into one body.
The cards ignored them, cutting into the moving dirt, burrowing deep underground. They entered the cavern of the chaos mines. Each card inserted itself into a slot on the bottom of the mines, just above their chains. Their cruelty proved compatible with the pieces of a game that was almost equally mean-spirited. The mine engines churned, processing the invigorating darkness of Cards Mooning Decency. The Minefield would be so much more hazardous now, much more eager to laugh at flying body parts and raining blood.
(Chat-Determined) Mine! (everybody saved)
The cruelty of the cards increased the blast radius of the chaos mines. They didn’t know it, but the trio was hopelessly trapped. They didn’t even have a choice over what ground they covered, as the Minefield moved on its own.
Before they could even recover it pulled them over one of the malicious new mines. The result: the garbage truck turned around, driving against the pull of the land, and targeted them. It seemed the cards could turn the chaos into whatever that wanted it to be. They wanted Enoch, Spleck, and Moroot dead for forcing them to deploy early.
Spleck had a plan this time, unfortunately there was no room for asking permission. The magical blob of polish grabbed Moroot. He stretched his body around Enoch’s arm, turning all three of them into a catapult. He launched himself and the rutabaga at the approaching truck, but not directly at its windshield.
They veered off to the side. Spleck grabbed the back, swung around, stretching to his limit, and stuffed Moroot in the tailpipe. The vehicle backfired and swerved before it could reach Enoch, crashing into a boulder and turning into a flaming smoking column.
Enoch passed out at the sound of the explosion, though his body flipped through the air in response to the shock. It eventually settled into a cartwheel. When he regained consciousness that cartwheel was still going. He had no idea for how long, but a scorched Moroot was stuff into his pocket and and Spleck was wrapped around his wrist like an obsidian bracelet.
He took a deep breath, finally calming himself enough to return to his feet and stand still. He could see the end of the Minefield now, pieces of its tattered sky waving in the breeze. There were birds flying around, though they looked very strange.
“You’re awake,” Moroot telepathically coughed. “Good. I didn’t know if your dead body still had all your sweet moves. I’m alive by the way. Kind of grilled, but probably still delicious.”
“We’ll get you through this and straight into a salad,” Enoch promised. “What kind of dressing do you want?”
“I’ve always been partial to blue cheese,” the rutabaga sniffled. “My sister said it was very comfortable when she got plated. I still remember her contented sigh as she was methodically devoured by a family of seven.”
“What about you Spleck?” Enoch asked his bracelet. Spleck formed a tiny head to indicate he was listening. The ears on it were comically large. “What do you want to do most when we get to the other side?”
The polish pixie never spoke, probably couldn’t, but a whole scene played out across the curve of the bracelet. A hundred little people were walking. It looked like all their shoe laces were tied together, but Enoch realized that was just supposed to represent Spleck. He wanted to be broken up and sued to polish a thousand shoes. He wanted to be dulled out of life by their adventures.
“So you guys are just looking for a peaceful way to go,” Enoch realized out loud. “Whatever happens to me, I’m going out like a trapeze artist. Nothing peaceful for me. I think I’m okay with that. This has been sort of fun, even with us being deemed garbage.”
They made it to the treacherous crevice between the Minefield and the Trap, but were saved by, picked up off the ground, by the jaws of the strange ‘birds’ they’d witnessed earlier. They turned out to be bird-dog hybrids. None of them knew of Danderlid and the armies waiting for their help in the Trap, but they sensed that not all was right.
The border was a mess of falling rocks, broken machines, giant shredded napkins, and residue they couldn’t even identify. Much had happened there, and they were forced to wonder if any world could recover from such damage.
When the dog-bird took them through the shredded sky as if it was shower curtain, they finally saw the edge of the Trap. It was a war zone! Creatures of all sorts were doing battle with what looked like an ocean of rats, driving them off the edge and into the black crevice.
Their intense squeaking was so loud that they couldn’t hear anything else. A few rat-operated catapults tossed flaming piles of plastic at them, but the dog-bird dodged them with amazing swoops and rolled. Moroot wound up a little more singed, but they wer eventually set down at the edge of Danderlid, now supported atop a tower of cages.
There was barely a moment to relax. They were told the nature of the Trap. Two would have to take an elevator down into the cages. Only one could stay and fight.
Spleck had done the most work to save them, and the warriors of the Trap had very dull boots. It was decided. The magical blob of polish would spread himself over the conflict, and finally get his wish.
Minefield traversed! Spleck will join in the final story ahead.