- “The Moon Disaster,” by Pink Ranger, opening crawl.
This is a tempestuous time for the V&V Empire. The good Emperor Vainqueur, wealthy may he grow, triumphed over the Legions of Thieves who would threaten his hoard. The path to the stars is open!
Among the scraps of destroyed arrows of metal, the courageous Buzz Jelly prepares to board a ship to the Mooooon! Its mission: to claim the new planet in the name of the empire and greed! Much gold awaits in the far reaches of space, but so do dangers!
Before a crowd of Moon Man cultists, Buzz Jelly received the blessings and buffs of their prophet (and the Emperor’s secret true love), Lord Victor, first among the minions. His Majesty Vainqueur himself wished the young slime luck, as it hopped to board the 'Sword Rocket.'
But none could foresee the tragedy, that would become forever known, as the ‘Moon Disaster.’
Buzz Jelly looked up at the night sky, where the object of its dreams glittered true. A mighty sword of metal, the biggest Buzz had ever seen, pointed at the aster, ready to pierce the planet with its sharp pointiness. Enormous dwarves had opened its belly, into which Buzz would hop, with its adoptive spawner ready to give the stuntman a last hug.
“Young!” Vainqueur Junior, or ‘Excalidad’ as its protégées nicknamed it, protested. While it had agreed to let Buzz pursue its dreams, now that the fateful day had arrived... “Young!”
“Sword rocket,” Buzz reassured its adoptive spawner, by reminding it of the absolute superiority of swords over all other shapes. Lord Victor also had every buff possible cast on the slime, to ensure the mission's success.
“Sword rocket,” Excalidad conceded, although still worried. “Far!”
“Return!” Buzz promised, before passionately reaffirming the pursuit of its passion. “Dream!”
Convinced by the faultless rhetoric, Excalidad nuzzled against Buzz and wished it luck.
“Let us do a final rundown,” Buzz’s trainer, the dwarf Marbré, briefed it alongside the engineers. “We only have enough powerstones for a one-way trip. To hasten the date of the launch and give hope back to the people after the insurgency, we have stripped the ship of any non-essential part. Seats, air, food…”
“Anything other than a slime or ghost wouldn’t survive the journey,” an engineer said, which Buzz took as praise. “You alone can survive the acceleration, the vacuum of space, and the lack of coating.”
“I remind you that your craft is safe, for you have a chance to survive it,” Marbré added. “You, slime, are a true soldier of the Averagist Revolution. You can make it. You can export the revolution to the stars.”
“Stars!” Buzz agreed, although it privately didn’t agree with the cause. All that mattered to the slime, was to fulfill its dream and serve its country.
“Your role is twofold. First, you must survive all the way to the crash. Second, you must push the red button in your cabin, so our [Warp Projector] can open a gate between our two worlds. We will immediately move to reinforce the portal and ensure a permanent gateway between Murmurin, and the Moon.”
“Push!” Buzz repeated. “Button!”
“Remember your training,” the immense dwarf told the jelly, reminding him of the countless times ‘invisible vampiro-capitalist insurgents’ tried to sabotage the mission by blowing up prototypes. “Survive, and push the button!”
The jelly hopped in response, before turning one last time to see the crowd of legged creatures who would witness the launch. It recognized the giant among giants, the great Vainqueur Knightsbane, and the Grand Vizier Victor, who had always believed in the slime. Its heroes!
“Believe!” Buzz, fueled by passion, delivered the most verbose speech known to slimekind. “Dream! True! Work! Fly! Moon moon! Sword! Heavens!”
The speech led to much controversy amongst the audience, however.
“Did the chosen jelly say heavens? Is it a political statement?”
“It’s an angel product placement!”
Buzz turned back and hopped inside the Sword Rocket. The metal door closed behind it, sealing the jelly inside a cabin full of steel gears, tin pipes, and other machine stuff; the big, rounded red button awaited its touch on a wall. Only a glass window allowed the stuntslime to see the outside world.
The dwarves, as eager as Buzz to pierce the heavens themselves, immediately initiated the launch. The slime shook in trepidation, awaiting the fateful moment.
Pushed by a mix of fire and gravity powerstones, the Sword Rocket flew straight to the skies at extreme speed. The sheer, overwhelming pressure flattened Buzz like a puddle on the ground.
Almost immediately, as the craft reached past the clouds, one of the pipes broke, shoddy bolts erupting in all directions. Steam entered the cabin, threatening to heat up the entire craft!
Having grown used to botched dwarfwork, Buzz instantly moved to action. The slime twisted its body into the shape of a pipe and replaced the metal one. The steam burnt it, making its sliminess boil!
|You are taking medium [Fire] damage! [Regen] activated!|
The heat hurt, but Buzz endured the pain. It had the HP, it had the will!
For long, painful minutes, the slime held on to the ship, even as it shook and threatened to shatter like all the others before.
At long last, when the blue outside started turning black, the steam lessened, the fire powerstones exhausted. Buzz quickly caught the metal pipe flying in the cabin, hopped it back in place, and did the same with the screws. It did well even without hands, thanks to its sliminess, but a tiny bit of steam still escaped into the cabin.
But it gave Buzz enough respite to slam its body against the window, so it could fully see!
The giant blue slime, which the legged called the ocean, covered almost the entire world! It must have eaten the other continents! Murmurin had become a large speck of sand surrounded by seas, and the jelly marveled at the perfect roundedness of the world.
The slime could see the mythical island of Atlantis between its home and the edge of another massive continent. It noticed other wonders: islands floating in the skies, anchored by beans to the earth; a tree taller than mountains; a giant sleeping under the ocean; even a smaller, black moon orbiting around the world, hidden from view by dark clouds!
After a quick ascent, the craft slowed down, entering space. Buzz could finally gaze at the stars, these shining, maddening lights floating in the dark.
Congratulations! By being the first slime to reach into space, you earned ten levels in the ultra-prestigious [Cosmonaut] class! You earned the [Starshotted], [Blue Ozone], [SpaceZ], [V-Galactic], and [Eldritch Probe] Class perks!
+600 HP, +50 SP, +8 STR, +10 VIT, +7 SKI, +6 AGI, +10 INT, +1 CHA, +8 LCK.
[Starshotted] : You take only half damage from [Physical] effects; this reduction applies before factoring your natural or magical resistances. You gain Advanced Proficiency at piloting any space-faring vehicle.
[Blue Ozone] : You can survive in the vacuum of space as if it’s your native atmosphere. You no longer need to breathe, and you gain resistance to [Fire] and [Frost] .
[SpaceZ] : Technique, 40 SP. You can accelerate your body to turn yourself into a deadly projectile, but you cannot stop by yourself after launch. Upon stopping, you recover a third of your total HP.
[V-Galactic] : You can see perfectly in darkness, and teleport to any planet, natural satellite, or asteroid which you already visited; you will always be teleported at the area where you made your first landfall.
[Eldritch Probe] : Spell, half your SP. You can call upon cosmic powers to summon an Eldritch Probe (Artificial/Eldritch) whose HP is equal to the SP you sacrificed. The creature obeys your orders but also serves as a beacon for eldritch old ones.
Warning: You have reached the 30 level threshold. You will not longer be able to take new levels until you find a [Crest].
Jelly ignored the notification, mesmerized by the sightseeing.
Then the sword rocket shook, having hit something.
Buzz’s eyes peeked at the edge of the window, where a monster came into view.
The creature was unlike anything Buzz had seen on the rounded world: a pinkish, fungo-crustacean anomaly with a head covered with antennae. While it had batlike wings, it mostly hanged to the craft’s surface thanks to countless paired appendages wriggling beneath its body. It then watched through the windows, its alien mind making telepathic contact with the young Buzz.
“Look at that!” the creature thought-spoke in R’leyhan, the language Buzz had learned to speak with the moonlanders. “An immigrant!”
“Moon sword rocket!” Buzz mentally argued while hopping back into the cabin, surprising itself by its ability to make three words sentences. It then remembered that its intelligence had grown by ten points! “Empire peace money!”
“Don’t lie to me, I know your kind! You’re a dirty carbon-based foreigner intruding in our space! You play innocent, but the second I stop watching, you will molest our squids and play trumpets on our asteroids!”
“Air no sound!” Buzz pointed out that there couldn’t be any music in space since it lacked an atmosphere.
“I’m just saying if you carbon creatures were good for anything, why do you need an opposite-sex mate to reproduce? Instead of face-hugging an inferior lifeform so it carries your egg?” The creature peeked through the reinforced glass and noticed the red button. “What is this, some kind of carbon egg sack?”
Buzz panicked, recognizing a threat to the mission. “NO TOUCHING BUTTON!”
The eldritch alien shrieked back and unleashed a blast of pure psychic energy, shattering the glass and throwing Buzz against a wall. “[Brain Jammer]!
The creature assaulted Buzz through their telepathic link, invading the young slime’s mind with terrifying visions of eldritch horrors beyond the stars. Of great, forgotten gods with tentacles and mouths and eyes!
Buzz immediately hopped at one of the horror’s eyes…
And ate it!
|[Madness] ailment negated!|
The vision collapsed, returning Buzz to reality; that of chewing the alien’s head.
“That dirty foreigner bit me!” the alien complained, managing to throw Buzz off its ‘face.’ What little oxygen remained inside the cabin had left, alongside gravity. The slime managed to land on a wall, before exploiting the momentum to throw itself back at the invader.
“Eye treasure tasty!” Buzz roared like a lion, before attempting to slim-slam the enemy again.
But the alien beast, being bigger, simply swept Buzz aside, before trying to invade the cabin. The enemy approached the button with one of its appendages, threatening to end the mission.
The thought of failing its country spurned the young slime’s warrior spirit. Buzz hopped the damaged pipe, and knocked it out; then, shaping its slimy body, it redirected the focused steam at the alien. The beast screamed in pain, as the jelly sprayed the heated gas at its antennae.
Buzz then closed the pipe with its body, letting pressure build-up and reach a boiling point.
An explosion of steam threw the young slime at his foe like a cannonball, forcefully ejecting it from the cabin with a brutal collision. Buzz repeatedly bounced back into the cabin, shattering some gears, while the invader flew across space, distanced by the Sword Rocket.
Managing to glue itself to the craft’s wall, even without gravity, the young cosmonaut glanced through the destroyed window, to see the Mooooooooon with its own eyes.
It was almost as beautiful as it imagined; even if on a closer look, it seemed less silvery and more of a dull grey. The slime noticed sprawling cities of black spires and lakes of noxious tar on the surface, which the outrelanders had mistaken for spots. Tentacles sprung from craters where the dark side of the Mooooon began, wriggling in a maddened dance and spreading purple clouds to the bright side.
In short, it was the perfect place where to settle a colony!
However, as expected, the Moooooon had an atmosphere; which meant a hard crash.
Worse, the alien had pierced through the coating! Buzz had to protect the cabin, or the entry might damage the button!
Stretching its body, Buzz covered the hole made by the broken windows, gluing itself to the craft’s metal as it entered the Moooon’s atmosphere. The ship ignited, burning the surface of the slime’s jellyskin.
You are taking heavy [Fire] damage!
Warning: You have lost one-quarter of your HP.
The pain was unbearable, but Buzz wouldn’t let go. No flame would enter the shuttle, so long as it lived!
|Warning: You have fallen below half your HP!|
In spite of everything, Buzz drew into the last of its willpower to hang on to the craft, closing its eyes. It had to live… to land on the Mooooon and look up at its homeworld… with patriotic pride!
The thought of its adoptive spawner waiting for its return flashed in the slime’s young mind, as the Sword Rocket crashed on the Mooooon’s surface. The craft shook, the fires extinguished by a storm of grey sand until the craft slowed down.
When at long last Buzz opened its eyes again, the ship had broken in half, but the cabin—and the button—remained intact. Two tentacled white beast watched the young slime from the grey shores of a tar lake.
As Buzz landed on the sand, already recovering from its burns, it thought: what a small hop for a slime.
But such a great leap… for the Empire!
You entered the [Outremoon] Field! Traits: [Low-gravity], [Cold Atmosphere], [Hallucinatory Terrain], [Nocturnal].
[Abomination], [Alien], [Eldritch] and [Insect] types will have their stats increased by one stage, while [Frost], [Darkness], [Gravity], [Psychic], [Unholy], and [Eldritch] effects will have their effects strengthened. [Moon] and [Madness] effects will be greatly strengthened.
Divine-classes associated with the Moon Man or possessors of the [Claimed by the Moon Man] Perk are immune to all negative effects of the Field and gain +5 on all checks.
“It survived?” the first squid asked in R’leyhan.
“You owe me twenty-thousand seashells,” the other creature replied to its grumbling companion. “I am Thul-Gathar, chosen slime. Welcome to the Moooooon!”
|For becoming the first carbon-based being of Outremonde to reach the moon against all odds, you earned a [Heroic Crest].|
Buzz glanced up, seeing a rainbowy, shiny treasure descend from the sky. The slime observed it, but a quick glance disappointed the young adventurer.
Not swordy enough.
The cosmonaut decided to offer the treasure to Excalidad as a souvenir and then jumped back into the sword rocket’s wreckage to do its patriotic duty.
The mission was not over.
Buzz hopped and smashed the big red button.
When the rift in space opened, Vainqueur could barely contain his joy. The entire crowd had turned speechless, their heart overtaken by religious silence. Finally, after an agonizingly long minute, a white squid and the jelly hoped out of the gate, carrying a strange Crest.
The seafood appraised the minions, waved a tentacle at Manling Victor, and then addressed the audience. “We come in peace, gametes!” the squid declared in its kind’s primitive language. “The will of our father has been done!”
Manling Victor’s zealous minions let out a shout of joy and relief, although they probably didn’t understand the language.
“Suck my tentacle!” the squid added, the cultists shouting as happily as before. The creature let out a sound which Vainqueur took for a sigh. “Love thy flock, they said...”
“Is there air on your Moon?” Manling Victor asked, more excited than Vainqueur had ever seen him. “There isn’t any on mine.”
“Ah, it is true that you gametes need oxygen to live,” the squid said, “We have an atmosphere where your kind can survive. Do not eat the food though, unless you want a third leg.”
“Then me first!” Manling Victor immediately crossed the gate.
“Finally, a new world free of dragons, but full of quests and adventures!” Vainqueur rejoiced, taking steps to cross the portal himself.
Only for his lackey to step out, his skin drained of all colors, his expression torn between panic and shock. “Your Majesty, no!” he pleaded to his master. “Don’t cross it!”
What? Why? “I wish to see the planet moon with my own eyes, minion.”
“Your Majesty, if you… if you see what’s beyond… you will never come back from it!”
Oh? Was the moon made of gold? Vainqueur immediately leaped through the portal, overtaken by greed.
He slowly landed on the other side, his claws sinking in a desert of dull gray sand. The sky was dark as the grimmest darkness, Outremonde a blue sun above his head. The air smelled of dreadful, terrible scents. Vainqueur felt an overwhelming sense of dread, his intuition telling him that he had stepped into a place where no dragon should tread.
Why? Why did his dragon survival instinct went into overdrive? What could possibly threaten him? A worm biting his ankle? He looked down to check the ground.
Vainqueur’s voice died in his throat, as he recognized the substance his legs had sunk into.
Vainqueur frantically glanced around himself, witnessing whole mountains made of the cursed metal surrounding him. The terrible, mad revelation dawned on him, an ancient cosmic truth blasted unto his naive mind.
The Moon was made of lead!
|Vitality check failed!|
Vainqueur felt tremendous pain in his chest, right at his heart’s location. For the first time in his long life, the dragon struggled to breathe. “Min… minion…” He managed to sputter before his limbs gave out.
The emperor collapsed onto the lead, on the verge of death.
Murmurin almost lost its beloved ruler that black day. The good Emperor Vainqueur, who had triumphed over countless foes, was brought low by a stroke; his kind heart broken by the terrible cosmic truth.
Only the good thinking of Grand Vizier Victor, and the efforts of the loyal minions, saved the Emperor from death. They carried the great dragon to the one place that could save his life: his hoard. For hours they showered him with gold and gems until at long last, the great dragon’s heart beat again. One minute too late, and Murmurin would have lost its beloved master.
“Minion…” were the good Emperor’s first words, upon awakening.
“Yes, Your Majesty?” Handsome Victor asked his beloved master, his voice full of concern.
“The planet Moon cannot sustain dragon life...” the good Emperor lamented. His dream to fulfill quests in space had ended, shattered forever.
For we often look up to the skies, hoping for gold.
But sometimes, there is only lead.