[Chapter 1 - 022]

I woke up earlier than expected on that fateful day. I tried to move, but my limbs felt so heavy… Was the lack of food already taking its toll?

No, that wasn’t it. I hadn’t quite woken up enough to process anything visually, but it felt for all the world like something was… crushing me. Something warm, squishy, that smelled like sweat and dorito dust…

Oh god.

To his horror, Tim wakes up to Ishi in his bed.
Timaeus
Ishi…?! Ishi!! I can’t breathe with your freaking boob in my face!!!
Ishi yawns.
Ishi
Ow… man, only you would complain about that.

A half-awake Ishi shoved herself upright and put her sling back on as I gasped for air.

Tim screams.
Timaeus
What are you even doing here?!
Ishi blinks.
Ishi
The door was open.
Tim blinks.
Timaeus
Oh.
Tim starts yelling again.
Timaeus
Wait that doesn’t explain anything!!!
Ishi yells too.
Ishi
Look, I couldn’t fuckin’ sleep, okay?! I can’t ever get any sleep in that goddam room! It’s so fuckin’ noisy!
Tim looks confused.
Timaeus
Noisy…?
Ishi frowns.
Ishi
And… well… I was scared. Didn’t wanna be in my room alone.
Tim smiles gently.
Timaeus
Ah… that’s okay, I get it. Just, uh, tell me first next time? And why were you…
Ishi grumbles.
Ishi
Jeez dude, I just rolled over in my sleep! I’m not going around shoving my boobs in people’s faces on purpose, unless they’re like, into it–
Tim grumbles.
Timaeus
Yeah thanks, I appreciate the consideration there–
Ding dong bing bong! And here I thought I'd get to sleep in today.
The morning announcement.
MONO-9000
Good morning, scrubs! It’s 0700 on the dot, which means it’s now officially daytime! The kitchen and laundry room will unlock shortly. Have a miserable day!
Tim frowns.
Timaeus
Why don’t you, uh… go change, and I’ll see you in the cafeteria?

Ishi grumbled in vague assent and staggered out into the hallway. I pulled on another red turtleneck (why were there so many of those in my closet) and fixed my hair in the mirror.

If everything went according to plan, we would all meet in the cafeteria for one last search of the station. There wasn’t much more “plan” than that, but… with all of our minds working together, surely we could find a way to escape. Or something we could do, before anyone else gets hurt…

But nothing works out that nicely in real life, does it?

I had just left my room when a shriek, strained and terrified, shattered the early morning quiet.

???
AAAAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

I ran for the door to Sector 1 as fast as my spindly legs could carry me. Ishi barreled past me into the cafeteria, with her lime green lipstick still in hand. The place was empty, except for Vasundhara, who stood trembling in front of… the laundry room?

Tim yelps.
Timaeus
Vash?! Are you okay–
Vash sobs.
Vasundhara
D-don’t go in don’t go in–

Ishi, of course, tried to go in. Whatever she saw past that doorway made her absolutely lose her shit.

Ishi screams.
Ishi
What the fuck? What the fuck?! Let me in there I have to–
Vash screams at Ishi.
Vasundhara
NO! It’s too dangerous! You have to stay outside! P-please…!

Vasundhara shoved her back with an unexpected ferocity, guarding the doorway like a linebacker.

Tim looks terrified.
Timaeus
What’s going on?!
Vash sobs.
Vasundhara
I-it’s horrible!! She… th-they…

But she couldn’t get any more words out between her hyperventilating breaths. Instead, she slowly, hesitantly stepped to the side, still ready to spring into action if Ishi tried to push past her.

We looked inside the laundry room…

Gugalanna and Ping lie dead on the laundry room floor. The lights are off, but electricity arcs dramatically from Ping's ruined chassis.

As the others crowded around the door, Ishi tried to force her way inside again. Out of options, Vasundhara finally resorted to pulling her into a mighty headlock.

Ishi sputters as Vash nearly lifts her off the ground.
Ishi
She might still be alive! Fuckin’ let me go already!!
Vash looks miserable.
Vasundhara
STOP IT!! Y-you’re gonna get yourself ki–

DING DONG BING BONG! That dreaded alarm silenced them both. The only sound in the laundry room was the crackle of electricity as MONO-9000’s grating voice rang out from the speakers.

MONO-9000's body discovery announcement.
MONO-9000
Surprise, surprise! A body has been discovered! Following a short period of investigation, we will begin our very first Class Trial! Be sure to check your Electro IDs for some basic information to get you started!~

The finality of those words stole the fire out of Ishi’s eyes. She slumped out of Vasundhara’s grip.

Ishi sighs.
Ishi
…This is… fuckin’ bullshit…

I nodded weakly. There wasn’t any other way to put it.

The rest of the students charged in behind us, replacing the echoes of MONO-9000’s blaring announcement with panicked whispers and screams.

Michi looks terrifed.
Michi
…What the fuck?
Sal freezes.
Salvatore
…Already…?
Sieg frowns.
Siegfried
I knew something like this would happen…
Nik panics.
Nikola
Oh no oh no oh nonononono–
Riko looks furious.
Riko
Who’s responsible for this?!
Tiffani grimaces.
Tiffani
It hasn’t even been a day! Jesus!
Yusra freezes.
Yusra

Yusra looked as if she was about to say something, but her mouth clamped shut. Instead, she pulled out her Electro ID and tapped at it furiously.

Right… MONO said something about that, didn’t it? I pulled mine out and found a new icon at the bottom of the screen…

Evidence List Updated!

MONOFile #1
  • VICTIM: Gisela “Gugalanna” Velasquez
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Electrical shock
  • TIME OF DEATH: 11:01pm
  • TIME OF DISCOVERY: 7:18am
  • BODY DISCOVERERS: Vasundhara, Ishi, Timaeus

Guga… really was dead, wasn’t she? I’d known it as soon as I looked in the room, but seeing it in those glowing red letters left no room for wishful thinking. Guga and Ping lay dead in front of me and I couldn’t…

Wait a minute… I started to speak, but Aoi beat me to the punch.

Aoi yelps.
Aoi
Hey, why isn’t there a file for Ping? What’s going on?
MONO-9000 looks confused.
MONO-9000
Because… she isn’t dead yet? Duh!

We whirled around to find MONO-9000 floating behind us.

Honoka gasps.
Honoka
Wh-what?! But she’s–
Ishi's big mad.
Ishi
You better not be fucking with us or I’ll tear those shitty noodle arms off your–
Vash puts Ishi in a headlock again.
Ishi
Hey! Put me down!!
MONO-9000 sparkles.
MONO-9000
Isn’t it obvious? See how her head’s completely intact? Whoever tried to kill her sure did a shitty job of it!
Jurou yells.
Jurou
W-wait so, y’can fix ‘er, right?! That’s what yer sayin’? Y’can’t just leave ‘er there!!
Sal frowns.
Salvatore
And we can’t exactly investigate if we can’t get closer to the body without electrocuting ourselves…
MONO-9000 thinks.
MONO-9000
Hmmmmm… Decisions, decisions…

[VOTING CLOSED]