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let the flames begin

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You're inspecting your apiary mainframe when It begins. "It" lacks a specified definition because it's unlike anything you've experienced before. "It" also wouldn't even make your list of issues worth pursuing if the situation wasn't so damn annoying.

"Psst," a voice says.

This wouldn't be the first time someone's dropped into your hivestem unannounced. You give the voice the benefit of the doubt, because you're a powerful psion and usually ill-intentioned people don't bother getting your attention. And because "shoot first ask questions later" only tends to work for highbloods, and because you'll feel kind of bad if you murder one of your friends because you were startled.

You turn around, fully expecting Karkat to tackle you or Aradia to be grinning in your face - hello, surprise, did I scare you! - but there's no one there.

"Psst," the voice says again. It might be... above you? You glance up at the ceiling just in case, but there's no one there either. Of course.

"What the hell," you say.

Your bees buzz noncommitally. They don't seem perturbed by the intruder, which is as good a reason as any to believe you're not in danger.

"Ahahaha, holy shit, is this working? Holy fuck."

"What the hell."

"Nice place you've got here." There's something off about the voice - something detached and mechanical, something toneless that still manages to pull off dry amusement. It's a little unnerving. "Sweet electronics setup. Do you game?"

"Okay," you say. "So is an Imperial Drone hovering above my hivestem making conversation, or."

The voice laughs more quietly. "Your genes skipped over a sense of humor, I see."

"Well, I feel like standing in the middle of my living area mumbling to a disembodied voice makes me more the butt of a joke than in on it."

"Fair." The voice snickers. "I'll fuck off for now, then. I was just testing something."

You wait for a good fifteen seconds and then say, "Still here?"

No response.

Hmm. You don't want to give an obnoxious voice in your head the satisfaction of knowing you're curious, but you also don't want to give it the satisfaction of not indulging your curiosity. Usually when confronted with an unknown entity, your best bet is to learn about it rather than ignore it out of spite. This you've learned a few times the hard way.

--twinArmageddons [TA] has begun trolling apocalypseArisen [AA]--

TA: 2o you're a necropath, riight.
AA: you know you don't have to start every conversation about death with "so you're a necropath right"
AA: i think we have safely established that i am indeed so a necropath
TA: ok 2o you can probably an2wer my que2tiion2 about dii2embodiied voiice2, riight.
AA: hmm!
AA: i don't know sollux i have clearly NEVER indulged your curiosity about disembodied voices
AA: this is completely uncharted conversational territory for us
AA: in fact you may be overstepping your bounds
TA: ok, fuck off.
AA: one of those nights huh
AA: what kind of disembodied voices are we talking about?
TA: uh.
TA: alriight actually we're goiing two backtrack a biit here.
TA: 2o ii am not a necropath. probably.
TA: ii ju2t get two lii2ten two all the a22hole2 iin the proce22 of dyiing iin2tead
TA: becau2e that'2 not a poiintle22 power at all.
AA: yes i am aware
TA: ii2 iit po22iible two 2pontaneou2ly develop necropathy.
AA: well
AA: that is a pretty broad question
AA: i could probably give you better answers if you stopped being cagey
TA: ii'm not actually 2ure what two a2k
TA: liike iin thii2 ca2e ii'm not even beiing cagey on purpo2e. ii'm ju2t vaguely confu2ed, but iit would be ju2t liike me to dii2cover yet ANOTHER fucked up p2ychiic thiing about me. becau2e ii'm not fucked up enough to begiin wiith.
AA: what happened?
TA: uh.
TA: actually iit'2 not even a biig deal and ii feel dumb typiing iit 2o let'2 ju2t forget about thii2 conver2atiion entiirely
TA: what are you weariing?
AA: wow
TA: don't leave me hangiing here.
AA: you know i have heard enough of your weird shit over the sweeps that i am probably not going to judge you
TA: yeah but ii feel 2tupiid 2o.
AA: yes but now i'm burning with curiosity!
AA: indulge me
TA: iit'2 not that iintere2tiing okay.
TA: ii ju2t had a conver2atiion wiith a dii2embodiied voiice iin my hiive2tem whiile tryiing two do maiintenance on the hiive.
TA: there wa2 no one iin here and no one out2iide and the voiice 2ounded weiird iin a "probably not corporeal" way 2o ii wa2 ju2t wonderiing iif iit'2 po22iible 2ome gho2t latched ontwo me for 2ome godfor2aken rea2on.
AA: hmm
AA: that is pretty odd considering you don't usually contact the dead
AA: but if a spirit really wanted to get through to you i believe you have the psychic sensitivity to pick up on it
AA: what did you talk about? did they sound upset?
TA: no. hone2tly they 2ounded liike a huge jacka22.
AA: how long was the conversation?
TA: liike. two miinute2.
AA: and it's really bothering you?
TA: ii just don't liike not knowiing what the fuck ii2 goiing on iin my pan.
AA: i highly doubt you're crazy
TA: any craziier than u2ual, you mean.
AA: you're never crazy sollux
AA: this might have been a one time fluke or the spirit might come back
AA: usually the dead have unfinished business, and latch onto the living because of that
AA: so if they come back you should try to figure out what the unfinished business is and help them with it
AA: if i know you at all, you'll have a bigger problem with insensitivity than with being haunted
AA: everything's okay
TA: . . .
TA: ok.
TA: thank2 aa.

That's... reassuring enough. As long as you're not losing your mind, you figure you can put up with an obnoxious ghost. That is, assuming they come back. Maybe they won't. Maybe just this once, you can have a Weird Pan Thing be a one-off fluke and keep it from blowing up into a full fledged Issue.

That doesn't happen. You're not even surprised. Hope or no hope, it's not like luck is ever on your side.

"Kid, wake up," the voice says three nights later. You're conked the fuck out on the red side of your coon and have zero intention of getting up, so you raise an elegant middle finger to the room at large. Fuck off, ghostie.

"Up and at 'em."

"Fuck off, ghostie," you mumble, slumping over the rim of the coon. "I'll be open for conversational business in an hour."

"Yeah, but we should do this while I'm not distracted. I lose sweeps easily. Get up."

"Not a chance in the coldest pits of hell."

"Fine," the voice says. "I guess I should see if I can get the hang of possession too."

Your finger twitches. You are positive you didn't tell your finger to twitch.

"Okayokayokay fuck fine I'm getting up." You slither your way out of the coon. There's about a 99.9% chance the spirit isn't powerful enough to take over your whole body, but considering they're powerful enough to contact you from the afterlife, you're not taking any chances.

"You win this round, asshat," you say, toweling off the slime. "What do you want."

"Go to your computer."

"Uh, excuse you? I'm taking ablutions first, at least. I've got sopor in my grubscars." You flap the edge of the towel at the empty room. "Don't follow me into the ablution block, you fucking creep."

An exasperated sigh. "Go to your computer. The telepathy thing is exhausting."

"Oh, so if I sit around long enough then you'll fuck off? What if I fight you out? What if I throw up a few mental walls?"

"Then you'd be an idiot, and a dead man besides. Go to your computer."

You go to your computer.

With your luck, Asshole Ghost is going to possess your hands and make you delete system32, and then wheezelaugh about it. You make a mental note to ask AA about how to shoo away malevolent spirits. Will spritzing yourself with clean water do the trick? You side eye the ablution block again.

"Kid. Focus."

"What am I supposed to be focusing on," you say, which is when you realize your Trollian client is pinging a new chat.

"On that, maybe. I know you see the alert. Click the window, fuckhead."

You open the window.

--battleshipCondescension [BC] has begun trolling twinArmageddons [TA]--
BC: hey kIId
BC: lII2ten up.
TA: what the FUCK.