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UC: I’m going to put the Totem Lathe there.
ES: Okay.

You turn away from your computer and finally take a closer look at that large thing Kyrianne just put in your living room. You’ve pretty much exhausted your rage at that particular impossibility. For now.

The large monstrosity has a wheel on it. Might as well try to turn that damn thing and see if something interesting happens. Okay, nothing does happen, because you can’t even turn it. Why in the seven levels of hell is that thing stuck like?

It feels like something is pushing from below it, but even that doesn’t seem to be enough force to push the lid off of the thing. What was it called again? Cruxtruder? Who came up with that? Seriously.

“Hey Lesley, would you care to lend a hand here?” you call out.
“Of course.”
He comes over to the Cruxtruder, takes the wheel and, of course he manages to turn it in one go. There is a bright flash of light and before your eyes can recover from that grievous assault to their delicate health you can hear something heavy hit the ground, which you presume is the lid.

Once you open your eyes again there is something, err, floating in front of you. It’s an orange, pulsating, glowing orb with spyrographs on it. What. The. Hell.

That’s it, physics is officially dead. It will be missed. Time to move on.

Lesley is also staring at it, somewhat confused. This reassures you that you are not simply going crazy and he can actually see the physical impossibility as well. Hooray.

“What is that thing?” you ask him.
He stands in silence for a second before finally saying: “I have no idea.”
Well that’s disappointing.
“Okay. Now what?”
“It looks empty,” he says. “Like something that needs to be fed.” Okay that has to be the most obvious hint in the history of ever.
“So I’m supposed to put something in it?”
“Maybe.”
“That’s as close to a ‘yes’ as I’m going to get, isn’t it?”
“I think so.”
“I’ll take it.”

There is something else that came out of the Cruxtruder. You didn’t notice that at first because you were distracted by the floating orb thing and god damnit that thing needs to stop glowing. The other thing you see is an orange cylinder. You wonder why all of this stuff is orange. Granted, you only do this because it stops you from wondering anything else and you basically don’t care for the answer anyway. Orange is the best colour.

You’re twenty and you still have a favourite colour. This is quite sad.

You pick up the orange cylinder, which doesn’t seem to magnetically push you away like that orb thing does, for some odd reason. You really don’t like that you’re apparently pushing against a force field or something. That should not happen. You are in control damnit! You won’t be stopped by something you can’t see! Okay, calm down now. Insanity is not what you need at the moment.

You captchalogue the orange cylinder thing, which puts it in your Sylladex and you discover that it’s called a Cruxite Dowel .

Once again, what the hell.

Well, at least the game is compatible with your Sylladex system. That’s interesting. Maybe the designers weren’t complete idiots after all.

“Okay, what do we throw in this thing?” you ask, feeling the urge to move on.
“Kernelsprite,” Lesley says.
“What?”
“That’s what it’s called.” He doesn’t look all too comfortable. And if you, of all people, are able to tell, that’s saying something.
“How do you know that?”
“I don’t know.” He’s staring intensely at the kernelsprite and definitely not looking like he’s in a very pleasant mood.
“Dude, I’m the panicky one, okay? You’re supposed to keep me calm.”
“You need to prototype it. At least once, possibly twice. If you don’t it messes the game up.”
“How do you know that?”
Lesley swallows. “It just told me.”
Okay, now this is starting to really freak you out. “What?” you ask, carefully stepping away from both Lesley and the orb of hell with your eyes wide.

“You just have to put something in it and then you’ve completed the first stage of prototyping.” He still hasn’t looked away.
“Lesley.” You try very hard not to sound scared out of your senses right now. You also fail horribly at this. “Please turn away from that thing now.”
“Yeah,” he answers. “I think I’ll do that.”
The orb of hell releases him, you assume, since he shakes his head and takes a very large step back. You already hate this game more than you have ever hated anything else.
“How about we don’t do anything with that thing ever?” Your eyes are still wide and you can’t seem to stop them from staying that way.
“We can’t,” Lesley says, obviously also trying to keep himself calm and succeeding at that much better than you do. “It’ll doom us all.”
Under other circumstances you would’ve said something about how cheesy that sounds, but right now? You totally buy it.

“Okay, so what happens when we do?” you ask cautiously. You’re not looking forward to this thing going on a killing spree with whatever you give it.
“It,” he rubs them temples of his head, “it creates a guide for the game.”
“That’s what it told you?”
He looks at you helplessly. “Yes.”
You take a quick glance at the doom-ball. “Okay, so we’re not buying that, right?”
“I don’t know.”
“Okay, I have an idea. Don’t look into it, I’m going to get something.”

You don’t even know what thought process led you to this idea. It’s entirely possible there wasn’t one. That would make sense. You didn’t really think about anything at all, as you took Petey out of his cage and made your way back to the living room.

You still can’t come close to the kernelsprite. At least, you assume you can’t because you sure as hell aren’t going to try anymore. This leaves you with only one option, namely throwing your bird into it. You decide to do it at least somewhat respectfully and not practice pitching while you’re at it.

As soon as Petey hits the orb of doom there’s a bright flash. Again. What is it with that thing and bright flashes? Once your eyesight has decided it’s safe to come out again, you see that the Kernelsprite now looks a lot like a giant bird’s head.

You can’t even form any thoughts about that because someone’s pestering you again.

UC: what the hell just happened?
ES: Okay, so you saw that?
UC: what did you do to your bird?
UC: why does that thing suddenly look like a bird?
UC: what is that thing?
UC: what’s going on?

ES: Welcome to my world.
UC: that’s not funny!
ES: Short version.
ES: That thing’s a kernelsprite.
ES: It’s spawned from the depths of hell and you do not want to look at it ever.
ES: I just prototyped it.
ES: Which we have to do otherwise we’re doomed.

UC: I don’t think I like this game anymore.
ES: Likewise.
ES: But we have to keep playing.
ES: DI says so.

UC: okay
UC: i’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.

ES: Me neither.
ES: But we don’t really have a choice at this point.
ES: What else did you do?

UC: dropped the Alchemiter outside
UC: dropped the card behind you
UC: Turns out we’ve got a Punch Designix too.
UC: but we don’t have the right stuff for that yet.

ES: Putting that on my list of shit that isn’t important right now.
ES: What am I supposed to do now?

UC: i have no idea.
UC: also, what’s that timer counting down to?

What timer is she talking about?

Oh, hey, look, the small window on the Cruxtruder is apparently counting down to something. It’s at 10:22 now.

What could that be counting down to?

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:50 --

AD: ES?
AD: are you there?
AD: please tell me youre there

ES: I’m here.
AD: awesome
AD: theres a meteor heading straight to your house

ES: Let me guess.
ES: In ten minutes?

AD: ...
AD: how the hell did you know?

ES: Call it a wild guess.
ES: I’ve got to hurry.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 20:50 --

UC: what are you doing?
ES: Timer’s counting down to meteor strike.
UC: oh shit.
ES: GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:50 --

TR: ES
ES: WHAT
TR: About this game
TR: Wow, what’s up with you?

ES: I do not have time for this.
TR: Listen, I don’t even know how you convinced me to play this.
TR: But I really don’t think I want to.

ES: Seriously?
ES: You’re bothering me with this NOW?

TR: I just woke up!
ES: Just play the goddamn game.
ES: Talk to someone else if you want to know why.

TR: Fine, jeez.
ES: I’m busy.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering tyrannosaurusRock [TR] at 20:51 --

UC: what’s wrong?
UC: hello?

ES: Why am I this popular all of a sudden?
ES: I wasn’t this popular on my fucking birthday!

UC: ES, calm down.
UC: You have work to do, remember.

ES: Fine.
ES: I’ll go check that Lathe thing.

UC: Don’t forget the card!

You pick up the Pre-punched card, which looks a surprising lot like every other card in your Sylladex, only with holes in it? Whatever.

You run upstairs and see the Totem Lathe in your doorway, pretty much blocking every way inside. Well, no, you’re a skinny guy, you can get in damn near everywhere. Yay for having one of the most messed up metabolisms ever. You start to wriggle your way into your room.
“Peter!” Lesley calls.
You want to turn around and ask ‘what?’, but there’s a giant bird head in front of you. You jump back, or at least as close to that as you can, stuck between your door and the Lathe and fall into your room.
“That thing is following you!”
“Yeah!” you groan. “I noticed.”

The bird’s head looms over you and you quickly crawl back on your feet. It doesn’t look like it’s about to do something but you’re not going to let it out of your sight. Which is rather difficult when you’re also trying to figure out what this Totem Lathe’s supposed to do, so this takes a bit longer than expected.

Okay, there’s a small card slot at the side of the Lathe and the actual Lathe itself. Looking at the items the game has given you so far, the next course of action is rather obvious. You put the Pre-punched Card in the card slot and clam the Cruxite in the Lathe.

Nothing happens, of course, because you forgot to activate it. You push one of the buttons. They don’t seem to be labelled so you guess it doesn’t matter which one you push.

And indeed, your Cruxite gets carved into a nice new shape. It looks like pottery to you, but what do you know?

You take that new item (your Sylladex calls it a Totem, which makes sense you suppose), put it back in your Sylladex and get back downstairs, very much avoiding the Kernelsprite still following you.

You’ll describe your room later.

“How much time left?” you ask, as you arrive downstairs.
“Six minutes, fifteen seconds,” Lesley replies.
“Plenty of time to figure out what this is supposed to do, then.”
You show him the recently obtained totem.
“That’s supposed to do something?”
“I don’t even care anymore. There’s a meteor coming and I’m basically just watching my body move here.”
He chuckles at that, despite everything else going on at the moment, and it slightly lightens the mood for both of you.

ES: Okay, I got a totem.
ES: UC?
ES: Ky? You there?
ES: Great.

“UC’s AFK.”
“Do we still need her at this point?” He doesn’t want to be insensitive, but some things let you get away with that.
“I guess not.”
“What was on that card, by the way?”

Hmm, that’s a pretty good question, why did you not look at that before? You take out the card and look at it.

It shows a crystal ball. An orange crystal ball.

“Okay, that’s weird.”
“What?”
“Why do I recognise this as a crystal ball even though it’s orange. It could be anything. Why does my mind come to the conclusion that this is a crystal ball.”
“Because it is?” Lesley asked, knowing full well where this is going.
“Well, yeah, but how do I know that?”
“The game thinks you’re messing around too much and wants you to get this stage over with?”
“Meaning that it can control my thoughts?”
He looks uncomfortable, for very good reasons. “Yeah.”
“Then why does it even let me have these thoughts? What’s the point? Why not control me all the way?”
“Can you have your existential crisis later, please? I’d rather you didn’t go all nihilist on me right now.”

You start walking outside, but you’re not dropping the subject yet. “I’ve always been nihilist. There is no real point to existence, so we might as well enjoy it.”
“You realise what this means, right?” Lesley asks.
For a second you’re confused, but then realisation hits you. “Huh.” It is pretty funny how your position can turn 180 degrees, simply by listening to yourself talk. It’s unnerving that it happens quite often, though.
“All better?”
“I guess.” You walk on, a smile now on your face and you would laugh if it wasn’t for the fact that this really isn’t the time for that.

You reach the Alchemiter and put the totem on the spot it seems to belong in. Immediately, the device on the end of the arm you mentioned moves in position and run a laser past the totem, presumably to read it. A bookcase appears on the large platform. In orange, of course. There’s nothing from this game so far that hasn’t been orange. An orange crystal ball rolls out of it into your hands and then the bookcase disappears.

Now what? The garden is growing lighter and lighter because of the approaching meteor and you can actually see the rock now. What do you do with this thing? Look into it? There’s nothing to look into! It’s freaking orange! Oh crap oh crap oh crap that thing is way too close and why does this thing not do anything? Out of frustration you throw the crystal ball against the Alchemiter. It breaks and there’s a flash of light.

And then you’re gone.