Sand-dancer — 38 of 48

Aaron Reed and Alexei Othenin-Girard

Release 7

Chapter - Sinister Voices

Sinister Voices is a scene. Sinister Voices begins when Rabbit's Offer ends. Sinister Voices ends when Sand-dancer's Arrival begins.

Every turn when going and location is Break Room during Sinister Voices: now radio is switched on; now frequency tuned to of radio is emergency frequency; say "[one of][sinister-radio-1][or][sinister-radio-2][or][sinister-radio-3][stopping]."

To say sinister-radio-1: say "With a sudden growl of static the radio springs to life[radio left off] and it freaks the hell out of you. The voice weaves in and out of crazy whirling distortion and shifting blasts of static. 'Hey... receiving? ...never told... you'll never, never--' A wail like an 8-bit banshee screams through the signal. '...waste of time... who do you think?...' Static, static. 'Very soon now, Nak... akaibito... very...'[paragraph break]Uh. You're pretty sure you never told that dude your name. Maybe you're just hearing things".

To say radio left off: if radio was switched off, say "[first time], which is weird because you're damn sure you turned it off[only]". [Added this and tweaked the radio text to incorporate it. This allows us to make sure the player gets the acknowledgement that they turned the radio off, no matter when in the progression they try this. It disenfranchises players when it seems as if the state changes they're making to the story world aren't being honored.]

To say sinister-radio-2: say "The radio growls to life again[radio left off], the voice distorted now under a constant barrage of electronic rain. 'Where do you think you're going?' it says. 'What are you trying to do? You can't...' A snap, some syncopated crackles. '...can see you, Na... know where... never going to work. Never g--' And the voice cuts off, replaced by a low, tooth-rattling hum.[paragraph break]The voice sounds different than before. I mean it still kind of sounds like the first guy you talked to but it sounds like someone else now too, someone you know, you've known for a long time. Someone you're afraid of".

plan-threatened, memory-threatened, talent-threatened, and final-threatened are truth state variables.

To say sinister-radio-3:

if plan-threatened is false and the player holds something required by a plan (called the item):

now plan-threatened is true;

say "Static squeals from the radio[radio left off]. 'Hey,' the speaker shouts, 'hey, do you really think that [item]'s going to help you with anything? You can't even--' and static reclaims it again";

otherwise if memory-threatened is false and emotional baggage contains a memory (called the selected memory):

now memory-threatened is true;

say "The static on the radio resolves into overlapping whispers[radio left off]. 'It makes for a nice story,' the whispers say, 'but you're remembering [the selected memory] all wrong. That's not really how it happened, was it? Was it, Knock? Was--' and they repeat and overlap and echo and fade back into the mutters of the static";

otherwise if talent-threatened is false and the player holds a talent:

now talent-threatened is true;

say "'You think just because you've got [a random talent held by player] now you're going to be anything other than a pathetic failure?' the radio squawks angrily[radio left off], before dissolving into harsh buzzing distortions";

otherwise if final-threatened is false and the player holds a talent:

now final-threatened is true;

say "'You're nothing,' the radio spews, 'your [list of talents held by player] [is-are] worthless. You'll never amount to anything, and neither will your kid, just another half-breed loser destined to die in poverty and live in debt, isn't that right, Knock?' and with a sudden shock you realize why the voice sounds so familiar. It's your voice. It's your own god-damned voice";

otherwise:

say "[one of]The radio fizzles and growls through weird twists of distortion[or]Angry distortion bubbles and pops from the radio speaker, twisting in weird rhythmic patterns[stopping]".

Understand "unplug [radio]" as a mistake ("[one of]You rip the cord out of the wall[if radio is switched on], but the speaker keeps buzzing and the lighted dial keeps flickering[end if].[or]Damnit, you already did![stopping]").

Instead of attacking radio: say "[one of]You slam a fist into the top of the radio, but it just keeps hissing with static.[or]You kick the radio off the table and it clatters to the ground, but still keeps laughing with hisses and whines.[or]You smash the radio over and over again, until it lies in pieces on the ground, but the static still continues, and more and more it sounds like sand.[or]The radio is destroyed, but the sound still plays, echoing and reverberating through the room.[stopping]".

Before saying hello to the emergency radio: if emergency radio is switched off, try switching on emergency radio instead; otherwise say "You try to raise someone, but there's no response[if frequency tuned to of radio is not the emergency frequency], at least on this frequency[end if]." instead.