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Ozbourne self-portrait with cat from if it fits, I sits Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
self-portrait with cat
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:34:46 PM

Come on last 25 minutes of work, hurry up and pass 8y so I can go nom tacos and hug my cat.

No, they are not derpy tacos.

Stupid doomed timeline...
Ozbourne self-portrait with cat from if it fits, I sits Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
self-portrait with cat
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:35:07 PM

why did derpy tacos pagetop

Stupid doomed timeline...
GhostElm Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:37:39 PM

Or a skeletal wolf if you can find one, that'd fit with your name if you wanted to go with that...

"I'm as free as the dust in the solar wind."
death_vlk So, who's got a camera? from The Nightmare Corpse-City of R`lyeh
So, who's got a camera?
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:39:03 PM

No on phoenix, maybe on skeletal wolf.

I have to return some videotapes. My Wall
Demetrios Beauty and Strength from Wheeling, Illinois Relationship Status: Wishing you were here
Beauty and Strength
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:41:36 PM

How about some form of phoenix?

Jean Grey Phoenix? grin

I, for one, welcome our new Disney overlords
GhostElm Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:42:27 PM

Or maybe just start listing media you like and see if there's something that might work for you... that's more or less what I do.

"I'm as free as the dust in the solar wind."
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:43:02 PM

Oh come on I just like joking about it,I'll stop if It's seriously pissing you off.

edited 13th Jul '15 1:43:14 PM by LiorVal

SolipSchism Programmer-At-Arms from the Transcend Relationship Status: Less than three
Programmer-At-Arms
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:43:49 PM

"No," he said—groaned, really—as I shut the door behind me. He mumbled something that I didn't quite catch, even with my artificially-heightened sense of hearing. (That wasn't entirely accurate; I didn't exactly have better hearing, but the submicroscopic metal bugs in my skin constantly monitored vibrations in the air and on visible surfaces, including my skin itself, translating their readings into something my brain could interpret as sounds.)

I closed my eyes and hesitated a second, then flipped the switch above the doorknob. I'd half-expected to feel something, some signal detectable with my internal machinery, but there was nothing. Of course.

I turned from the door and looked at him. His skin was the color of milk that had gone off. I fought down the instinct to ask him how he felt. I knew exactly how he felt. I'd tested the illness myself; he was in the throes of Stage VI, and the switch I'd just flipped—which broadcast a signal intended to disable communications software, reasonably effective on devices that followed legal restrictions on wireless signal interference but mostly just intended to quell concerns about confidentiality—had just activated the nanomachines in his corpus callosum. Judging by the readouts flitting past what my brain thought was my retinas, I had just over five minutes before he started convulsing, writhing, screaming, and shitting (what felt like) his internal organs into the pan underneath him.

That was only a fortunate side effect, though.

"I take it you know who I am," I said as I approached the bed.

"I know who you fucking think you are," he groaned.

"Then you know what I want."

He didn't respond. Fair enough. I hadn't expected this to be that easy.

I looked around, though I knew exactly where the chair in the corner was; still, I made the pretense of needing to remind myself, and pulled it up so that I could sit beside the bed. I crossed my legs and leaned into my fist, tilting my head at exactly the angle that would say, I have better things to do with my time.

A chirp in the back of my skull: Four minutes, twenty-eight seconds.

"I can save you the effort of asking me," he said. "No fucking way. He's more important to us, to me, than any threats or offers you could possibly make."

I leaned forward. I had no chance of catching the engineered disease. It wasn't a matter of being immune, having already had it once—it was a simple matter of the disease being harmless to any human without a brain full of precisely-tuned nanomachines designed to facilitate the activation of the third stage of the disease. We'd gotten those into him the old-fashioned way: A bit of tasteless, odorless white powder tipped into an unattended drink, two days prior. Yesterday he'd collapsed on a train. The rest, as they say... well, it certainly wasn't history; it had been too discreetly executed for that.

"You're going to die in twenty-four minutes and sixteen seconds," I said.

"Fuck you."

"There's nothing I can do about that," I lied. He didn't need to know that the same nanomachines carrying the virus to his hindbrain were just as capable of halting the entire process. That was a failsafe, in case one of the project's virologists had been exposed. I had no intention of flipping that particular switch. "But you know, you're not the only person infected with this little feat of engineering. Did you know—this virus we've smuggled into your system is not nearly as effective in children below the age of, oh, around four?"

He stared at me, lips trembling. That didn't mean much; three minutes, fifty seconds. He might have just been feeling the rumblings of his traitorous body preparing to assault itself.

"...Fuck you."

"I had you pegged more as the creative type," I said wistfully, leaning back again. I examined the ring fingernail of my right hand and idly picked at a spot of dirt underneath it. "I mean, it's not entirely accurate to say it's less effective so much as less efficient. You've got less than a half-hour, and as far as your symptoms are concerned, when all is said and done, you'll have only suffered for a day or so. Your little girl, though, might not have it so easy."

I grinned in a predatory caricature of excitement, looked up from my nail. "You know, she might even survive, although the fever will almost certainly result in permanent brain damage. I wonder if she'll even be able to walk, let alone have any use for those adorable little dancing slippers. Hell, she might not even answer to her name anymore. A good portion of our test subjects—the little ones, of course—ended up as vegetables."

He opened his mouth, closed it. You sick fucks, he'd been about to say, but he was a smart man; he knew there was no point in insulting me. Insulting us.

"You're beyond saving," I continued, savoring the lie, "but your little girl is far from it. All it would take is a radio signal broadcast from a transmitter the size of a cell phone, within a half mile of that precious little girl, to instruct the tiny little monsters in her skull to dive into her bloodstream and dissolve themselves into harmless compounds. The virus need never progress into its active stage. It can incubate, harmless and invisible, until she dies of only the most natural of causes—if you give us what we want."

He was silent. Two minutes, forty-four seconds. I pursed my lips. He was at the top of my list—at least, the uppermost name that hadn't already been crossed off. I could move on down the list, but these fucking fanatics—the irony of the way I thought of them didn't escape me—were canny, good at keeping secrets. They were like a family, except that I'd managed to turn family members on one another before. None of these fuckers had ever cracked.

But I wasn't done yet.

"What kind of hold does this family—this Tree or whatever you call it—have over you? What makes it more important than the life of your little girl?"

"You wouldn't fucking understand," he spat, and groaned. I didn't move, but checked the countdown timer embedded in my optic nerves: Two-twenty-three.

"Try me. I've got three brains, and half of my subconscious processes are performed by supercomputers on three continents—not including this one. I've got a mind the size of a planet."

He rolled his eyes and suppressed a snort; I was impressed. I hadn't expected him to catch the Hitchhiker's Guide reference, particularly in his condition.

I leaned in again. "All I want is a name. You have two minutes. Just a name. Stay silent, and your little girl will have to endure this for... days? Weeks? Months?"

He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. "Vlk."

I fell back into the chair, closed my eyes, and rubbed my temples. "Not your name, you fucking... The name of your goddamn messiah." I was being too rough; little starbursts danced through the darkness behind my eyelids. I eased up and opened them.

He was staring at me, smiling. One-forty-one.

"I should give you his name," he mused. "There's no rule against it, you know. We all just... Well, you know. We're like a family. But closer, more tightly-knit. The Tree is an identity—all of our identities—bound up in one."

"A hivemind? Some kind of aggregate... superintelligence?"

He sighed, a wheezing sound that would have sounded more appropriate coming out of an ailing centenarian.

"You people. Always thinking in terms of technology. Like the universe is a cellular automaton just ticking away, little subatomic calculations leading inexorably from one moment to the next. Like the mind is a computer than can just be synchronized with another one to double its processing power. You have no idea what the Tree is. You couldn't hurt it even if I gave you the name of every single person in it."

My lips quirked with a suppressed smile. "Why don't you, then?" Forty-nine seconds. I was so fucking close.

"See for yourself. His name..." He coughed. My own breathing hitched—not now. God damn it, I only needed a few seconds. I wasn't going to save this fucker's life this late in the game. Forty-one. "...it's Hope."

There was a long—wasteful—silence as I processed that.

It had to be a pseudonym for someone else.

Thirty. I shook myself out of it. "Hope what?"

He smiled. "You know him, I take it."

"It's not him, you delusional fuck. It's not the same guy. Give me something more. Some way to identify him."

He relaxed into the pillows. He knew he didn't have much more time for relaxation. He would be dead in twenty minutes, but it was going to be a long, loud, painful twenty minutes. Starting in fifteen seconds. I felt myself sweating.

"Vlk, you stupid son of a bitch, give me something more!"

"I'll see you in hell," he said. "Don't take too long." Ding.

00:00:00 flashed in the corner of my vision, and Vlk had stopped breathing for a second.

Surprisingly, it wasn't difficult for me to file the entire conversation away in nonvolatile memory for later perusal. I knew I wasn't going to find any hidden cues, any significant patterns that would tell me anything I didn't already know. I was done here.

I got up and made my way around the bed as Vlk emitted a low groaning sound. I ignored it. He was, well and truly, beyond saving now. The final stage of the virus had been activated, and even now it was liquifying the inner layers of his intestines; no amount of magical signals from me would stop the process. There was no reason for me to subject myself to the rest of the show. I was frustrated, but it wouldn't give me any satisfaction to watch his body destroy itself.

I flipped the switch on the door and left the room. The little red emergency light above his door was on; it would have been easy enough to tamper with it invisibly, to ensure that Vlk would not be discovered until he was already dead. I didn't bother. The results of the simulations were indisputable: He was beyond saving.

Besides, I had more important things to do. After months of fatal interrogations, I finally had what we'd been seeking all along: The name at the center of the Tree. The one who had spawned that fucking thing. But first I had some questions for him—because Hope (Hopey, as we affectionately called him) was not just the man who had spawned the Tree and its cult.

He was the one who had set me on this task in the first place.

He was my boss. He was the leader of my organization.

I left the hospital, signaled for a cab.

It was going to be a long fucking night.

Everything is about to change.
Ozbourne self-portrait with cat from if it fits, I sits Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
self-portrait with cat
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:43:58 PM

We seem to 8e closing a little early.

Stupid doomed timeline...
death_vlk So, who's got a camera? from The Nightmare Corpse-City of R`lyeh
So, who's got a camera?
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:45:00 PM

Media...I...like...

..........................................

-brain short circuits-

[up][up][up] Oh, I know you're kidding and it's not genuinely pissing me off. But I did kind of want to change it anyway lol

edited 13th Jul '15 1:45:20 PM by death_vlk

I have to return some videotapes. My Wall
Ozbourne self-portrait with cat from if it fits, I sits Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
self-portrait with cat
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:45:53 PM

tacos

also lol I was looking 8ack at some of my old posts here and it seems like my most common things I mentioned having for dinner were: Tacos, chicken, ramen, pasta, and rice-with-something. [lol]

Stupid doomed timeline...
death_vlk So, who's got a camera? from The Nightmare Corpse-City of R`lyeh
So, who's got a camera?
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:47:19 PM

A wild Solly appears! Wild Solly uses Really fucking long post! It's super effective!

I have to return some videotapes. My Wall
GhostElm Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:47:22 PM

How long did that take to write out, Solly? It's really well written by the way.

"I'm as free as the dust in the solar wind."
SolipSchism Programmer-At-Arms from the Transcend Relationship Status: Less than three
Programmer-At-Arms
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:47:35 PM

VLK DO YOU LIEK MY STORY

YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER

[up] A REALLY LONG FUCKING TIME

edited 13th Jul '15 1:48:10 PM by SolipSchism

Everything is about to change.
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:47:55 PM

Oh.

Well then.

Want me to search for you a dinosaur for an avatar?

Dinosaurs need more representation.

-He said while not going to change his own avatar to further his cause in any way-

GhostElm Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:51:58 PM

I can imagine...

Come on, vlk, there must be something you like that you might want to use as an avatar...

"I'm as free as the dust in the solar wind."
death_vlk So, who's got a camera? from The Nightmare Corpse-City of R`lyeh
So, who's got a camera?
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:52:00 PM

I DIDN'T READ YOUR STORY BECAUSE IT'S TOO FUCKING LONG
Maybe I will read it now though. Who knows? Not you.
I don't know if I am pro-dinosaur enough to have a dinosaur avatar.

[up] Yeah but I also like being an indecisive, whiny bitch when it comes to things like this too so.......lolololol

edited 13th Jul '15 1:53:15 PM by death_vlk

I have to return some videotapes. My Wall
OhBoyTime from Your Screen
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:52:39 PM

Hopey Tree, eh? It's some fine work you're pursuing here, kak. A fine job for a slightly above average hoe. PS: I liked it, a lot.

SolipSchism Programmer-At-Arms from the Transcend Relationship Status: Less than three
Programmer-At-Arms
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:52:59 PM

Oh what the fuck vlk

I wrote that whole fucking thing for you

Everything is about to change.
SolipSchism Programmer-At-Arms from the Transcend Relationship Status: Less than three
Programmer-At-Arms
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:54:21 PM

What is the Hopey Tree

Who is Hopey

Who is the cybernetically augmented interrogator who kills for information

Find out On the Next episode of The Trash Heap

Everything is about to change.
yarrunmace Ghosts' Poet from Seine
Ghosts' Poet
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:55:47 PM you'll then have a grave in the clouds where you won't lie too cramped
SolipSchism Programmer-At-Arms from the Transcend Relationship Status: Less than three
Programmer-At-Arms
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:57:14 PM

~inhopelessguy I know you'll like my story unlike vlk, who is a butthead.

Everything is about to change.
Jul 13th 2015 at 1:57:50 PM

How about some Placodermi then?

death_vlk So, who's got a camera? from The Nightmare Corpse-City of R`lyeh
So, who's got a camera?
Jul 13th 2015 at 2:02:05 PM

Why...would you write that for me? What.

Also fun fact, I have never read Hitchhiker's.

WAIT, WERE YOU MAKING FUN OF MY LACK OF POP CULTURE?! Because if so, I don't really care lol

edited 13th Jul '15 2:02:27 PM by death_vlk

I have to return some videotapes. My Wall
Inhopelessguy 🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂&#1 from Birmingham Ctl, UK Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂&#1
Jul 13th 2015 at 2:04:20 PM

oh

my

fucking god

holy shit

I WANT FUCKING MORE SILKYDAD HOLY SHIT GIVE ME MORE

I feel annoying most of the time. But I keep on talking just to keep my mind off, Just to keep my mind off you.

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