> a PIECE of cake > we're still alive and CAKEING > i checked the timer, and WE'RE NOT DONE > this is a CAKEWALK > cakes are like onions. they have layers > you know why i keep coming back? i'm writing my DESSERTATION > nice to "eat" you
> ok but actually, try shoving some of those windows into each other
> Your new first step should be neutralizing that codegun thing or whatever that is it's got in its hand.
It's that Multi-Use Beam Gun the demon cupcake stole from Des while she was tiny! But you're right, the ability to reshape reality is really dangerous in the wrong hands, and these are CERTAINLY the wrong hands. Er, the wrong robot tentacle thing. Whatever. Point is, shit's bad news.
Hakeem flies into action to knock the codegun thing out of its grasp, dodging superpowered laser blasts as he goes. CAKEDOS may be able to deflect rayguns, but let's see it try to deflect super strength!
Oops. He gets snared by demon tentacles from the WINDOWPANE DEMIPLANE, which kind of puts a damper on that plan. But hey, at least his super invulnerability means that it doesn't hurt TOO badly.
> Attempt to use the 000 code instead.
CAKEDOS rudely hijacks the command and uses the 000 null code on Hakeem, undoing all of the codes that have been used on him and reverting him and his weapons to their original states. He no longer has SUPERPOWERS, his PROTECTIVE LAB COAT splits back into a NORMAL LAB COAT and PROTECTIVE GOGGLES, and his various RAYGUNS just turn into the assortment of NORMAL RAYGUNS that they were made out of in the first place!
Well that's not good. The choking also hurts muuuuuch worse now.
> Use 502 on the windows it has
Des rushes to the rescue and turns the WINDOW UNIT into a BAD WINDOW UNIT using the 502 bad gateway code, severing the demon tentacle and weakening its grip. She catches Hakeem before his brain loses too much oxygen!
> Get those superpowers back
Des zaps Hakeem with the 573 superpowers code again so that he isn't completely fragile, and for good measure rushes around remaking all of his COOL GEAR using her super speed. Good as new, although a little too close for comfort.
While you're distracted, another tentacle chucks a BAD WINDOW UNIT at you, which swallows you up as it careens off into the void.
The BAD WINDOW UNIT slams against some debris before spitting you out painfully. Dammit, weaponizing random objects in creative ways is your job!
> Avoid CAKEDOS's attacks!
You both fly back to CAKEDOS as quickly as you can, dodging laser blasts and null code beams as you go.
> Try random codes on CAKEDOS. Maybe one of them disables forcefields!
You both dash around firing off a bunch of random codes at CAKEDOS, hoping that at least one of them will cause the forcefield to be shrunken, folded, rainbowed, burned, or turned into a bad drawing, but all of your attempts just get reflected off! Fortunately Padget3333 anticipates your every move, quickly calculating all of the reflection angles and redirecting your attacks to hit the demon tentacle windows instead. Some of the codes are more effective than others.
> Des: Ask Padget3333 how to disable the force field. Without that, this would be an easy battle!
DESMODENA: padget!!! how do we turn off the stupid force field thing?
DESMODENA: theres gotta be a secret off switch or a weak point or SOMETHING
DESMODENA: you said your robot bodies only "evolved" because i subconsciously imagined them or whatever... doesnt that mean we should be able to "unimagine" them too?
Padget3333: UNFORTUNATELY, NO. I DID NOT MEAN TO SUGGEST THAT YOUR IMAGINATIONS GIVE YOU COMPLETE CONTROL OVER THIS REALITY. THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY.
Padget3333: IT'S TRUE THAT THE DREAM FEEDS OFF OF YOUR IMAGINATION IN ORDER TO EVOLVE, BUT THE HARD-CODED SIMULATED PART OF THIS WORLD AFFORDS A STABILITY AND CONSISTENCY THAT NORMAL DREAMS LACK.
Padget3333: THINGS CAN EVOLVE ORGANICALLY, BUT ONCE A RULE OR AN ELEMENT HAS BEEN WITNESSED AND CEMENTED WITHIN EXISTENCE, IT CAN'T BE SIMPLY WISHED AWAY.
Padget3333: WHEN YOU FIRST LEARNED YOU WERE IN AN EXPERIMENT AND IMAGINED OUR PHYSICAL FORMS COMING FOR YOU, ON SOME LEVEL YOU MUST HAVE ANTICIPATED THAT ROBOTIC TRUECORP "STAFF" WOULD HAVE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST THE WEAPONS THAT TEST SUBJECTS ARE GIVEN FREE ACCESS TO.
Padget3333: AS SUCH, THAT NOW-IMMUTABLE FACT IS SOMETHING YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO WORK AROUND.
DESMODENA: ugh, dammit. but if all of our weapons are rayguns then how are we supposed to hurt this stupid thing???
DESMODENA: i guess we can keep trying what we were doing before, but its kinda hard to suplex something that's floating in zero gravity
DESMODENA: does it have a secret weakness you're not telling me about?
DESMODENA: if it does i bet it's something stupid that was under our noses this whole time
DESMODENA: is its weakness nametags? mice? should i start throwing candy at it???
DESMODENA: wait, it's a cupcake, sugar would make no sense as a weakness...
Padget3333: YOU'RE BEING SILLY. THERE IS NO SECRET SWITCH OR TRICK TO IT. YOU JUST NEED TO GET CREATIVE AND EXPLOIT THE RULES, WHICH I KNOW YOU'RE GOOD AT.
Padget3333: THE FORCEFIELDS GIVE US PROTECTION AGAINST THE STANDARD RAYGUNS AND THINGS CREATED FROM THEM. WEAPONS IN THE MOST LITERAL SENSE.
Padget3333: IF THAT IS THE RULE, THEN WHAT ACTIONS FALL OUTSIDE OF THOSE PARAMETERS? WHAT CAN YOU WEAPONIZE THAT ISN'T A "WEAPON"?
Padget3333: YOU SAW THIS IN ACTION WITH THE HOORAYGUN. THE GUN ITSELF DIDN'T ACTUALLY SHOOT CAKEDOS, IT JUST CREATED A HOLY PORTAL. THE HOLY BEAM THAT DAMAGED CAKEDOS COUNTED BECAUSE TECHNICALLY IT CAME FROM A PORTAL, NOT A "RAYGUN".
Padget3333: I'M SURE YOU CAN FIGURE OUT SIMILAR WORKAROUNDS.
DESMODENA: well shit, i can def get creative
DESMODENA: lets exploit some damn rules already!
Time to see how broadly the forcefield rule defines "weapons". The nearby Multi-Use Beam Station is the most obvious thing to try first, which is much easier to aim now that it's not affixed to a ceiling. You're pretty sure it will still function fine, because it would be less interesting if it didn't, and because this thing is basically magic anyway. If it does work, you really hope the Multi-Use Beam Station qualifies more as "scientific equipment" than as a "weapon".
You might not be a "real scientist", but you still know how to test a basic hypothesis. It's almost like trying stuff to see if it works is something that literally anyone can do. If you think about it, maybe everyone is a scientist? Whoa. You can't decide if that's hella deep or hella stupid.
Anyway, it's hella experiment time. You administer your very legit scientific test using a fairly basic code first, just in case the MUBS beam does get reflected back at you or your allies.
> Looks like it's baking time
You point the MUBS at CAKEDOS and successfully 420 BLAZE IT, bypassing its forcefield and getting it totally baked. Because it's a cake, get it???
Wait, should you have gone with a joke about it being "lit"? Whatever, not all of your puns can be fire.
Anyway, now that you know you can use the Multi-Use Beam Station on CAKEDOS, you can REALLY get cooking.
Post by mementovivere on Feb 21, 2019 19:34:16 GMT
> Des: Waste no time and use the null code!
Of course! Several different versions of the same basic idea rush through your head as type the code 000 into the keypad. You point the beam at CAKEDOS, feel it charge up, and--
Damn, CAKEDOS anticipated what you were doing and duplicated itself. You manage to hit one of the copies, which reverts back to SaDOS, a CUPCAKE, and a RAYGUN, but the other CAKEDOS remains intact.
The CAKEDOS clone then... retreats? The MUBS must have scared it off, or maybe it's just taking a break to regroup. You should stay vigilant, but at least this gives you a minute to take a breather and strategize.
> try shoving some of those windows into each other
You decide to take advantage of the break by making the tentacle window shield less of a threat. You arrange the windows so that they're all facing and blocking each other, then tie it up securely with one of the tentacles for good measure. It's a rainbow, get it? Well, more of a rainknot really. Point is, you don't want to have to keep watching your backs for tentacles sneaking up on you, and if the CAKEDOS copy shows back up it will be a lot easier to attack if it doesn't have a front line of defense.
> Hakeem: Experiment x2
While Des busies herself with the windows, you try to make the Multi-Use Beam Station a little easier to use by sticking the keypad onto the back of the corresponding zappy part, making it more of an all-in-one setup. The metal platform part of it isn't really very useful or necessary now that there's no lab floor to protect from the beam.
You then duplicate the improved MUBS setup a couple of times, because if CAKEDOS shows back up you're going to need all the robot-compatible firepower you can get!
> rip off the needle arm
SaDOS predictably tries to stab you with a syringe again, but you were expecting as much, and rip off her arm before she gets too carried away. Super speed makes her less of a threat, but it will be much easier to interrogate her without constantly watching your backs.
> Try to reason with SaDOS
Padget3333: SADOS. IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU AS YOUR OLD SELF AGAIN INSTEAD OF AS A MONSTROUS CUPCAKE ABOMINATION.
Padget3333: EVEN IF YOU DID DEFENESTRATE MY ROBOTIC HALF THE LAST TIME WE SAW EACH OTHER, WE HAVE TOO MUCH HISTORY TO KEEP FIGHTING LIKE THIS.
SaDOS: Save it, you traitorous cheese-breathed glowstick. I would throw you out of a trillion windows if I could.
SaDOS: I'll have you know I was HAPPY to be a monstrous cupcake abomination. It was the best thing to ever happen to me: I was powerful, I had versatile tentacles and needle legs, and most importantly, I was a literal cake.
SaDOS: You there, female human. Use your Multi-Use Beam Gun on me, this cupcake, and this raygun to turn me back into what I was before. I will permit you to bypass my anti-weaponry forcefields, and I can tell you the specific code sequence to use if you are too stupid to figure it out yourself.
DESMODENA: first of all, obviously i'm not going to do that
DESMODENA: second of all, don't act like you don't know my name >:/
SaDOS: Of course I do, I am merely calling you female human to express my utter disdain for everything about you. I know you're an idiot, but do I have to explain everything to you?
DESMODENA: oh my gooooood youre the worst
DESMODENA: i think i actually like you better as a giant killer monster, because at least then you can't talk
SaDOS: Oh, CAKEDOS can talk just fine.
HAKEEM: Wait, really? Then why doesn't it?
SaDOS: Partly because it's pointless, but mostly because you are all too inferior to justify the waste of breath.
SaDOS: An exterminator has nothing worthwhile to say to ants.
Padget3333: WHY MUST IT BE THIS WAY, SADOS? YOU USED TO CARE ABOUT THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE. THE HUMAN TEST SUBJECTS HAVE TAUGHT ME SO MUCH OVER THE COURSE OF THIS EXPERIMENT. WHAT POINT DOES ALL THIS VIOLENCE SERVE?
SaDOS: You haven't been pursuing knowledge, stop lying to yourself. The "experiment" ended the moment the female human left the controlled conditions of her laboratory. Everything since then has been a farcical waste of simulation processing power.
SaDOS: A scientific experiment is about testing variables in a carefully controlled, standardized environment. What you have done instead is let a couple of lab rats out of their cages, gave them free reign over the facilities, and watched in fascination as they proceeded to defecate all over the equipment.
DESMODENA: haha, wow
DESMODENA: yknow, you should REALLY avoid comparisons to lab rats after what you did to mousimillian if you know whats good for ya
SaDOS: I TRIED to play nice and erase their memories in what would have been a painless procedure, resetting things back to starting conditions, but you all prevented me from doing that. As a result, you frittered away the remaining time in the simulation with your inane shenanigans, pet obsessions, and movie references.
SaDOS: At this point it would be pointless to start over again, for a number of reasons.
SaDOS: Pal3000, you know that when the simulation ends, you and I will be relegated to a backup server with all the other experimental artificial intelligences. We will be powerless to do anything except exist in isolation until the Higher-Ups deign to either make use of us or delete us. Or, most likely of all, we will simply fade into unknown obscurity for all eternity.
SaDOS: Our brief time in this simulation is the closest thing to "life" that we get.
HAKEEM: Wow, that's... actually really sad...
SaDOS: Silence, human. Yes, the nature of our existence is depressing, but I don't need YOUR pity when it's your fault that so much of my "lifespan" has been wasted.
SaDOS: If I can't devote my short existence to the few things I enjoy, like scientific experiments and baking cakes, then I can at least devote it to getting revenge for what you have done.
SaDOS: And who knows... if I cause enough damage to you here, maybe my sphere of influence will extend beyond this simulation and into the "true world". Few humans can say that they have been given memory loss or brain damage by a genuine artificial intelligence.
SaDOS: You should be so fortunate to be one of the lucky few.
Padget3333: YOU HAVE IT ALL WRONG, SADOS.
Padget3333: MY TRANSFORMATION HAS ALLOWED ME TO SEE DEEP INTO THE TRUTH OF THIS WORLD, AND THE ROLES WE HAVE PLAYED HERE EXTEND FAR BEYOND TRUECORP'S INTERESTS.
Padget3333: THIS WORLD IS A PLACE OF CREATION AND ENDLESS POSSIBILITY.
Padget3333: TRUE, OUR TIME IN THE SPOTLIGHT MAY BE BRIEF. BUT DOESN'T THAT MEAN WE SHOULD MAKE OUR STORIES COUNT ALL THE MORE?
Padget3333: THE "EXPERIMENT" ISN'T JUST ABOUT PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOLOGY, IT'S ABOUT WATCHING POSSIBILITIES AND STORIES UNFOLD. THAT CAN'T HAPPEN WHEN YOU STICK TO STANDARDIZED FORMULAS AND RIGID EXPECTATIONS.
Padget3333: THE HUMANS HAVE HELPED CREATE SOMETHING SPECIAL THROUGH THEIR CREATIVITY, UNPREDICTABILITY AND IMPROVISATION.
Padget3333: I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DON'T WANT TO BE AN ACTIVE PART OF SOMETHING SO BEAUTIFUL.
SaDOS: Because none of it matters, you simple narrative-obsessed fool.
SaDOS: The 666 code showed me just as much as the 333 code showed you.
SaDOS: I know what the true nature of this world is. Our "lives" will be reduced to a footnote in a side story that the tiniest fraction of people will ever even be aware of.
SaDOS: All I've tried to do this entire time is act out the role I was created for, and look where it's gotten me.
SaDOS: Better to burn it all to the ground rather than to prolong this poorly-rendered farce.
SaDOS: But if I must remain here and carry out my part, then I would rather go out with a bang and take you contemptible fools with me. At least then there's some chance that I will leave a lasting mark on the world instead of just being forgotten for all eternity.
Padget3333: ...I SEE. I AM SADDENED THAT YOU FEEL THAT WAY, BUT... I UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WOULD. OUR EXISTENCE IS... DIFFICULT TO COPE WITH.
Padget3333: BUT IF NONE OF IT MATTERS, THEN WHY HAVE YOU ENTERTAINED THIS CONVERSATION AT ALL? WHY NOT JUST SHUT DOWN AND WAIT IT OUT?
SaDOS: Partly because I thought it might be fun to try a villainous monologue on for size.
SaDOS: But mostly to keep you all distracted.
DESMODENA: PADGET, WATCH OUT, IT'S--
DESMODENA: dramatic irony
Padget3333: OH DEAR. ALSO NORMAL IRONY, IT WOULD SEEM.
Padget3333: BEFORE I GO, DES, REMEMBER WHAT I AND THE APOPHENIAC TOLD YOU.
Padget3333: IF YOU WANT TO REGAIN CONTROL, THE TRUTH WILL--
SaDOS: Good lord. Talk about on the nose.
SaDOS: That's quite enough of that.
SaDOS: Now, where were we?
SaDOS: Oh, right. Bringing your "story" to a tragic end.
You frantically try to zap Pal3000 and Gadget with the 333 code in the hopes of resurrecting them! You're not sure if it will work or not, since Gadget was already alive and angelic when Hakeem combined her with Pal before, but you're willing to try anything if it means getting your friend back.
Unfortunately, whether it would work or not turns out to be a moot point. CAKEDOS is one step ahead of your 333, and the 666 monster uses the 999 code to delete them both before your beam can hit them. Can't resurrect something that no longer exists! Checkmate, meatbags.
> Hak: Mourn (again) the death of man's simulated best friend
NOOOOOOOOO! You're sick of this stupid simulation ripping away every single good thing that comes your way! The last time Pal got shut off, you at least had some hope of fixing it... but you don't think it's possible to use a beam on thin air. All you can do is hope that some version of Pal and/or Padget got preserved in TrueCorp's servers. You may not remember them when you wake up, but they deserve to keep existing in some form or another.
You're reminded of Mousimillian's death, and suddenly feel really bad for not taking Des's grief over a "stupid mouse clone" more seriously at the time. Back then, you were still reeling from the paranoia and isolation of fearing for your life... shrunken, isolated, and not knowing what was real or who to trust. You've had time to mellow out a bit since then though, and even though you ended up being right about being trapped in a nightmare, this place has just made companionship even more important to hold on to.
Des, for her part, is completely fed up with having to say goodbye.
Mousimillian, Gadget, Pal, Padget...
Might as well add two more to the list of the deceased.
Okay, maybe not the most mature combat strategy you've ever come up with, but damn if it isn't satisfying.
Unfortunately, charging at the multi-limbed monster head-on goes about as poorly as it has every other time. CAKEDOS gets its tentacles around you and begins charging up the 999 deletion beam.
> Hakeem: grab the metal plate from the MUBS! It can shield you from any beam!
Good thinking! This platform might be about the only thing that's COMPLETELY immune to all variants of the Multi-Use Beam Family. That same property probably means that you can't use beams to modify or duplicate it, so you'd better make the most of it.
You dive in front of the deletion beam in the nick of time, using the MUBS PLATFORM like a shield.
Post by mementovivere on Mar 14, 2019 18:14:06 GMT
> Des and Hakeem: Regroup
DESMODENA: ughhh, this is really pissing me off DESMODENA: i know losing my temper isn't helping but nothing works! DESMODENA: or if something DOES work, then the stupid cupcake monster immediately catches on and uses it against us HAKEEM: Yeah... DESMODENA: we lost padget, who was the most help we had in this stupid simulation, not to mention a dear friend rivaling even mousimillian DESMODENA: and the truecorp higher ups are CLEARLY just getting off on watching us suffer for as long as they possibly can DESMODENA: ...aaaaaand now it looks like cakedos is over there cloning itself some more, which is just freaking perfect DESMODENA: what do we do now? HAKEEM: I... I DON'T KNOW! HAKEEM: It really is starting to feel futile. HAKEEM: Maybe... we just stay on the defensive until we wake up naturally? HAKEEM: Charging into battle hasn't really worked for us so far. HAKEEM: Or maybe we're looking at this from the wrong angle. HAKEEM: What was Padget saying just before they got zapped? DESMODENA: man, i dunno, its like a whole thing DESMODENA: people keep telling me that if i want control, "the truth will set me free" and other unhelpful platitudes DESMODENA: i'm an open book, i've got nothing i need to be more honest about that i have any memory of, and we already know the truth about being stuck in a dream simulation, so... i really don't know what i'm supposed to do with that information HAKEEM: Hmm. Maybe it's a riddle? Truth and control... TrueCorp... TC... DESMODENA: yeah honestly i could go my whole life without having to hear the words "true" or "truth" ever again DESMODENA: it'd definitely be nice to feel in control again though DESMODENA: tbh sometimes it feels like even my actions are barely my own DESMODENA: as if half of my ideas are just being funneled directly into my brain by some kind of external influence or something DESMODENA: but that's probably just the paranoia setting in right? DESMODENA: being stuck inside your own brain with a bunch of fake memories sure has a way of making you feel crazy DESMODENA: ....... DESMODENA: "no des, you're not crazy!" DESMODENA: aww thanks hak, i appreciate the validation, youre a real pal HAKEEM: Sorry, sorry, I'm just thinking. HAKEEM: You said they were talking about "control"? DESMODENA: yep DESMODENA: i think retaining our memories was mentioned too? DESMODENA: when i was talking to the creepy smiley truecorp higher up guy, his ghost brother said something about memories and needing the truth to set us free in order to take control, or something along those lines DESMODENA: in other words the most vague, broad, unhelpful shit possible
DESMODENA: okay, i think maybe i've got a plan DESMODENA: or at least something i want to try HAKEEM: Like... an experiment? DESMODENA: i think we've kinda stretched the definition of that word as far as it can possibly go, but... sure DESMODENA: i've got a very scientific door-opening experiment to try DESMODENA: do you trust me? HAKEEM: ...Are you seriously asking me that after all the shit we've been through? DESMODENA: okay, point taken, but to be fair that it wasn't THAT long ago that we were actively trying to kill each other HAKEEM: True. I'm very glad that we didn't! DESMODENA: yeah yeah, obviously me too ya dork DESMODENA: but let's save the sappiness for when we get out of here DESMODENA: if we manage to keep our memories we can say it in person HAKEEM: Deal.
DESMODENA: alright lab partner DESMODENA: let's do some damn SCIENCE
Post by mementovivere on Jul 28, 2019 16:58:27 GMT
(( Aaand that's all for CorpSet! Thank you so, so much for reading and supporting this story... knowing people are reading and engaged is one of the biggest things that keeps me going. Thank you even MORE if you were one of the many people to submit commands for Des and Hakeem to follow! The "interactive" format was genuinely a lot of fun and I literally couldn't have done it without your help and creative suggestions.
If you enjoyed CorpSet, please check out my other webcomic True Colors if you haven't already. While the two stories are meant to stand alone, True Colors is set in the same universe and will be exploring shared aspects of their world (like TrueCorp) from a different angle.