Yeah, I'm showing my age, aren't I? These days, most officers and hunters use Slambams or Rapid-Fire Rockabillies. But never doubt the power of a good Ghettoblaster!\n\nSo, anyway, back to the story:\n\n<<display 'COrchid'>>
"Cornered" is like when you have nowhere else to go.\n\nAnd I had Orchid co-nerd on a small stretch of forest -- yes, on New Salvador, remember?\n\nSee, I had made a deal with the local algae lakes for them to swell to high tide, in exchange for immunity in some high-profile war crimes cases.\n\nThere I was, with my [[Ghettoblaster Special MK-2]]. I only had three minutes loaded in it, but I was convinced it was enough. So I crept slowly through the ruby thickets, on the sides of my feet -- see, look at my feet Lisa, I walked just like this! -- and then...\n\n[[Then I saw Orchid, sitting at a small fire she had made. She was cooking a small fish and motioned with her paws to offer me some.|COrchid]]
Mind you, these weren't ordinary minutes. \n\nThey were clips from a vintage Andre Nickatina EP that I ripped from a rare vinyl that I found in a bargain crate in an East Village basement. The Cat Lady wasn't too happy.\n\nBut seriously, I wouldn't even waste these minutes on a Bruja. They were exceptional. They were intended to drill directly through Orchid's mask and into her skull!...\n\n* [[Uncle Rook, I'm thirsty.]]
What? You had two glasses of water and a juicebox, like, an hour ago!\n\n* [[But I'm //thirsty!//|thirsty2]]
Alright! //One story.// That's all you get, missy.\n\nIt's a damn good story though, and I know it's damn good because it happened to me.\n\nNow, this story's set on [[New Salvador|CNewSalvador]], Lisa. \n\nYou ever heard of New Salvador?\n\n* [[No!|CNewSalvador]]\n* [[Shut up! <giggle>|No bed!]]\n* [[No bed! Go away!|No bed!]]
... You're lucky I got a soft spot for little folk. Just remember your words can have consequences, okay? \n\nWhat you say can hurt people's feelings. Even Uncle's. <<set $emotion = $emotion + 1>>\n\nNow where was I?\n\nOh, yeah. New Salvador.\n\n<<display 'CNewSalvador'>>
Maybe when you're a bit bigger, I'll take you there for a day or two. Won't that be nice?\n\nLet me tell you, Lisa, it's a gorgeous world, that New Salvador! Big lush ruby forests, big purple lakes of algae, and the best barbeque tofu I've ever had... It's one of the few places that survived the [[Porcelain War]] intact.\n\nAnyway, I was there on a secret mission for PWK, tracking a really bad person named [[Orchid]].\n\n... Of course, I never caught her. But I was the first one who fought her //and lived.//
... I should've known better than to reason with a toddler.\n\n* [[SEVEN stories! SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN!...|CStoryStart]]\n* [[<Start dancing on your bed.>|CStoryStart]]
The Porcelain War? Well, I wasn't much bigger than you when it happened. \n\n... But it was bad, Lisa. The Bruja were one thing. This was... well... I mean, my mom -- that is, Grandma Regina -- yes, that Grandma, the one we visited at Rose Hills a few months ago -- was hurt really bad in it. That's why you never got to meet her.\n\nThe Tarsanics did something really bad to her, Lisa. They made us watch.\n\nDon't tell your mom I mentioned this to you. We don't like talking about it, especially mom. <<set $emotion = $emotion + 3>>\n\n* [[Sorry, Uncle Rook.]]
Go to sleep, Lisa. I mean it. <<set $emotion = 1>>\n\n* [[But I'm not tired!]]
Well, if that's really how you feel, then I guess Uncle Rook is just gonna go on and leave then...\n\n* [[...|CNewSalvadorPre]]\n* [[Uncle! Uncle!|CNewSalvadorPre]]
What if I told you a story? Would you go to bed then?\n\n* [[I want SEVEN stories!]]
... You know, I'm glad you can't actually form any coherent sentences. \n\nGood night, Lisa.
It's okay, kid. I need someone to push my buttons every once in a while.\n\nYou know, you kinda remind me of [[Orchid]] that way.
The Circular Ruins
by Robert Yang
Now where was I?... Okay, right, Orchid was cornered. But in a way she also cornered me too.\n\nSome time passed.\n\nThen I heard her eating the fish. I thought it was the perfect time to strike.\n\nI dove out from behind the petrified swan and fired another minute at her. It hit her in her firing paw. She dropped her Slambam (only a military-grade prototype at the time that she had stolen, mind you) and she howled in pain.\n\nI had one more minute left. I loaded my Ghettoblaster and approached her. Now she was whimpering.\n\nDo you know what I did?\n\n* [[Yes Uncle!|ending1]] ("You shot her in the face, sold the mask on the black market, but kept one petal of the mask for yourself. That petal still haunts you at night, when you think you hear whimpering, but really it is only the darkness of an unfathomable loneliness of your exceptionalism. You're afraid that you killed the only person who could've understood you in a way that no one else could. Because it's lonely at the top.")\n\n* [[Yes Uncle Rook!|ending1]] ("You shot her in the face but pushed her colossal body into the algae lake to hide the evidence and make the world think she disappeared into the ether. That's why the algae lakes don't talk to anyone anymmore, to avoid incriminating themselves and their complicity in your awful crime. You killed a polar bear!")
Well, can I just finish my story first? Then we can go down to the kitchen and get you a glass of water. How does that sound?\n\n* [[... Okay.|CStory2]]
Young lady, I've been all over the Main Sequence. \n\nI've hunted down criminals wanted in no less than three different galaxies, who could fire C-Beams with //their minds.// My advances in quantum biology and polymorphic software have saved thousands of colonies from Bruja plagueships. Emperors have been known to bow at my feet. I have achieved a dignity previously unknown to any living being before me.\n\nAnd you have the //gall// to tell me that you won't go to bed?\n\n* [[No bed! No bed!]]
I dove behind a petrified swan for some cover, fired a minute at her -- then, silence.\n\nThen? She started laughing. That horrible laughter! I couldn't pinpoint where the laughter was coming from, it sounded like every ruby around me was echoing and resonating to her frequency.\n\nI had [[two minutes left]] in my Ghettoblaster. I had to make them count.
How can I describe Orchid?... Supposedly she wrestled a Bruja with her bare hands and robbed ten flamingos with nothing but a candy bar. She was probably the most notorious criminal of our time, always outrunning hunters and leaving them guessing.\n\nHer name's Orchid but we weren't even sure if she was a she. Orchid always wore a mask, made of freshly-cut orchid petals as gold as Martian alabaster. \n\nI never saw her (or his?) face, but for the broadcasts around the Sequence we just gave (it?) a gender and a name.\n\nOn New Salvador, I thought I had her cornered.\n\n* [[Co-nerd!]]