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AATAFOVS: Noisy Valley
Season 3, Episode 11. Preceded by The Homeland, followed by Punishment.
In the previous episode, the Benders fought to stop the Undead who had risen in their world. Their town was saved when they destroyed the bridge connecting it to the source of the zombies, the city Metropolia. Avatar's parachutes saved them from certain death, but they have been separated. Now, we return with the continuation!

The episode opens with two parachutes landing at the dry bottom of a huge canyon. Around them are splattered human corpses.

Sue (struggling to get out of her harness): Is that you, Krystal?
Other Bender (who is hidden beneath a huge mass of canvas): No, it's me, Nerdly!
Sue: Great! (Nerdly manages to escape his parachute) What's with all the bodies?
Nerdly: Those are some of the zombies from the bridge. Not even the Undead can survive hitting the ground at over 1,257 miles per hour.
Sue: 1,257?
Nerdly: Yeah, the Bridge is over 10 miles, or 52,800 feet, above the Valley floor. Gravity accelerates at 32.2 feet per second per second, but the distance traveled down is only 16.1 feet per second per second. 52,800 divided by the constant leaves 3279.503 feet per second per second, or a fall of 57.2669 seconds when you take the square root of that. If you multiply that by the acceleration of 32.2 feet per second, that is a final velocity of 1843.996 feet per second, or 1,257.27 miles per hour! Did I forget the air resistance? (He faints)

Sue rushes over to him. A quick glance reveals that the gash in his arm is still bleading. Sue quickly does her best to bandage it. She looks to see if any of the other Benders are nearby, but none are in sight.

Sue: Well, it's great to know that the zombies who were after us hit the ground at 1,257 miles per hour and the town is safe, but I'd trade that to not be alone with a half-dead friend at the bottom of a 10-mile canyon that everyone keeps calling a valley.
#
Avatar has landed in a different area. The (un-undead) remains of zombies are here too. After several minutes, Krystal walks over from around a corner. After not seeing any of the others nearby, Avatar attempts to create a Story Gate to go look for them. He is unable to, though, and reminds Krystal that this indicates the presence of mental patterns that distort the psychic field. He begins to fiddle with some unseen item in his pocket.

Krystal: What are you doing?
Avatar: Checking the gadgets that came down with us.
Krystal: Should we start looking for a way out of here?
Avatar: How?
Krystal: Well, we could look on that side of the Valley (points to a sheer cliff face with some caves in it).
Avatar: Do you see any parachutes over there?
Krystal: No, ours are over here (points to Avatar's nearby parachute, and around the corner).
Avatar: Aren't you worried about the strange mental presences?
Krystal: Terribly! Come to think of it, we should head that way (points in opposite direction).

Avatar fiddles some more with the object, turning his back on Krystal. She walks over to him and puts her hand on his shoulder.

Krystal: What are you working on?

At this point, Avatar calmly turns around, and shoots Krystal several times at point blank range. We see that he is holding the gun from the previous episode, still configured for bullets. Krystal tumbles onto the ground, where her body writhes before turning into the corpse of a four-legged, furry creature with a hooked bird's beak and 3-inch claws.

Avatar: Checking that I had enough shots to take out whatever organs you have. It seemed really weird that you never once mentioned looking for the others, but the hand-on-shoulder thing clinched it. Now to find the real Krystal.

He walks back the way the shapeshifter creature. Some way back around the corner, he finds an identical Krystal, with the exception that this one has been tied up with her parachute's ropes, and is lying on the ground in a highly suggestive position.

Avatar (staring down for a moment at the catgirl before starting to untie her): I thought you could beat things up with your hands tied behind your back.
Krystal: Hey, this isn't "hands tied behind my back," all that's missing is a huge monster coming to devour me.

Krystal is eventually freed, with rather more thrusting her chest forward than seems strictly necessary. Fortunately for the dignity of everyone involved, her clothing is only slightly torn as compared to its state in the previous episode. Avatar points out that there may be other such creatures nearby, so they should get a move on.
#
Fluffy and Solo have landed yet elsewhere. In moments, Fluffy declares that while all nearby zombies are dead, something else is distorting the psychic field. Suddenly, she tenses.

Fluffy (in the shape of a 6-foot-long dragon): Get on my back, now.
Solo (complying): What are you going to do? You can't possibly fly us out.
Fluffy: No, it'll be enough to run.

Fluffy does so, as the two find themselves pursued by a group of humanoid creatures. The creatures look just like humans, even to the point of clothing, but run on all fours and have a feral appearance. Their teeth, when shown in a close-up, are serrated, and 2-inch claws grow on their hands.

Fluffy charges off down the canyon, with the horde in hot pursuit.
#
Sue has dragged Nerdly into the shadow of a rock overhang. His wound has stayed about the same. Now, she looks around. Several bundles of sticks are moving slowly towards them, currently about fifty yards away. Each is about two feet in diameter, and looks like a wind-blown pile of sticks except for the slow, purposeful direction of their movement. Sue starts looking for a weapon, expecting the worst.
#
Avatar and Krystal are walking through the canyon, discussing how to get out.

Avatar: Given a few days, we could build a helicopter and fly straight out.
Krystal: How would you power a helicopter to go ten miles straight up? The materials here suck, and it's a long way going down. Even I wouldn't survive, though Fluffy may have a good chance as a kitten.
Avatar: We could scale the walls...
Krystal: That'd take days, and there might not be any place to rest. If there are, what if some sort of creatures have moved in? This canyon could be full of the shapeshifters.
Avatar: Giant cannon?
Krystal: Say that again with a straight face.

Yelling ensues, the words barely recognizable. They lean closer, and suddenly stop. They lean inwards, seemingly looking into each others' eyes. Just when a kiss seems imminent, Krystal leaps over Avatar, and lands, clawing, on a feral human, who had been creeping up on them. Avatar draws the gun and shoots a bundle of sticks that had been rolling slowly towards them. They stop, and fall apart, revealing a burnt, shriveled brain.

Avatar (to Krystal who has just finished off her opponent): Brains without bodies... doppelgangers... wild, human-like predators... This place is really messed up.
Krystal: Agreed. Let's find the others before more of them show up.
#
Solo and Fluffy have lost the wild human things for the moment, having climbed a rocky outcropping several dozen yards in diameter. They now sit at the top, keeping close watch over the surrounding miles of canyon bottom. Fluffy has reverted to a kitten.

Solo: So we're stuck here?
Fluffy: Yes. The canyon is so deep and steep-sided that we have no chance of leaving it physically. I sense many strange creatures no better than the undead, who distort the psychic field. They all seek to kill us, for the smallest bit of energy.
Solo: So we're going to die?
Fluffy: If we stay separated, it won't take long. But remember, as a group, we have more power at our disposal. Between them, Avatar and Sue could make defenses. Unfortunately, we have almost no food.
Solo: Then we should keep moving. We could travel out through the end.
Fluffy: What is there outside? Metropolia, a major city, has become infested with undead. They travel as fast as we do. You have to realize, by the time we're out of the Valley, they'll have spread for hundreds of miles in all directions.
Solo: Couldn't we go back to the town?
Fluffy: It will have no live humans.
Solo: But the wall...? And the Valley?
Fluffy: You think that bridge we wrecked was the only one over the whole canyon? Those things have probably already crossed over the next one over, about 35 miles away. As for the wall, be realistic. It's only 12 feet high. We could cross that without any special tricks. How about hundreds of "zombies"?

At this point, Solo spots several figures in the distance, who we are told are Avatar and Krystal. They set out at once to join them, Fluffy promising that both are exactly who they seem.
#
Soon, the two groups have rejoined, and now come upon Sue, who is defending an unconscious Nerdly from the psychic brains that Avatar and Krystal had encountered. A dozen have assembled. Others lie smashed at Sue's feet. Suddenly, Sue stands still, clutching her head as if from a mental attack. The Benders start fighting the brains, which move small objects through the air with surprising speed. They are winning easily enough.

Krystal: For a moment there I thought we had a chance. You had to use a deadly plot word. (A group of identical Benders enter the fray, clearly shapeshifters, and the Benders soon find themselves fighting body doubles and trusting no one)
Solo (probably the real one): Can it get any worse than this? (A horde of the feral humans shows up, and the battle becomes even more chaotic)
Krystal (now able to identify the real Solo, and fighting back-to-back with him): Can't you do anything right?!?
Solo: Nope. Nothing Can Save Us Now. Sorry.
Krystal: Nice job! Now we have a chance. Hold on, it'll take a moment for the plot to reverse direction.

Suddenly, there is a flash of light, and all the creatures fall to the ground, howling in pain. Sue rejoins the group, which runs over to where Nerdly was previously lying. He is now sitting up.

Avatar: Hey, I can sense the psychic field! How come? There's warped things all around us.
Nerdly (slightly shaken): I just realized how the Undead, both down here and beyond the Valley, interrupt the psychic field. Their minds emit noise which makes psychics unable to "hear" the field. That keeps them from maintaining their psychic "balance".
Krystal: You've got to be kidding me. How come the monsters are down at the moment?
Nerdly: I reflected the static energy back at them, since it hurts them as much as it limits us. You've passed the audio-psychic mirrors, so you're in a bubble without static.
Avatar: Hmm... This could be useful...
Nerdly: It was a one-time thing. I think I briefly gain new abilities, but only when it's really extremely important. Now let's get out of here; more monsters are coming from further down the valley, and they're outside the mirror area.
Krystal: That's a terrible explanation and has gaping logic faults, but the episode's been going too long already, so let's leave for now.
Avatar: We'll be back! (others stare at him) Why? Umm, because it's The Homeland (second one, anyway), and this silent Valley of psychic noise has to be cleared up.

The Fellowship departs through a storygate. Behind them, the monsters slither and scurry away, and the Valley is silent. Cut to the Bender's town from the previous episode, the wall a pile of rubble and the streets filled with zombies.
Roll Credits

The HomelandAATAFOVS/Episode GuidePunishment

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