The TORC Conspiracy

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Postby Lindonbayne » Wed Jun 12, 2002 6:43 am

i warn you now, this will be kind of weird.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> everyone's welcome, especially those from the 'mod paranoia' thread. it'd be nice if a mod would play along though.<BR><BR>IC<BR><BR><i>Emily sat at her computer, typing away on her favorite website. She was trying to shake off the feeling that she was being watched.</i><BR><BR>I'm just being paranoid, <i>she thought to herself<i> there's no-one else in the house.<BR><BR><i>She shook her head and resumed typing.</i><BR><BR><b>Edited to change Title</b>
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Postby SilverScribe » Wed Jun 12, 2002 7:51 am

<BR><i> Scribbles typed furiously, hit DONE then quickly hauled up another large, truly work-related window onto her computer screen and instantly appeared absorbed in yet another thorny client problem . . .<BR><BR>Glancing around, she realizes that it is not THE BOSS she fears, but THE MOD. Did she type that reply too fast? Did she unwittingly type something against the TOS? Was a White Council Moderator pouncing on that last post even now?? 'To edit, or not to edit' . . . began rolling through her brain . . . she begins to sweat . . . she looks around again . . . okay, one quick check, no one will know . . . </i><BR><BR>((OOC: This could be fun . . . now remember, no one-liners!! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>))<BR><BR><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>:
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Postby Lindonbayne » Wed Jun 12, 2002 8:16 am

<i>Emily eagerly checked up on the Poet's guild thread.</i><BR><BR>hey, look. someone's posted, <i>she thought to herself, clicking on it.<BR><BR>She gazed in horror at her moniter, almost not believing what had happened. Not one, but two mods had posted, telling her and her friends to buck their ideas up. One added insult to injury, saying the immortal words 'this is not a threat'.<BR>She came to her senses, and went to another thread.</i><BR><BR>there arent mods in the bard's guild, <i>she thought</i> I should be safe there for a while.
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Postby Leoba » Wed Jun 12, 2002 8:48 am

<i>Many, many miles away, Leoba was sat in a pose similar to SilverScribe’s, with very similar concerns running through her mind. <BR><BR>In the months since her TORC addiction had begun, the young woman’s ears had become finely attuned to the tell-tale squeak of the boss’ feet on the floorboards outside the room. And she had developed to a fine art the knack of keeping the TORC window small and half covered over by Outlook or Word. Of course, there was always the distinct possibility that her persistent internet use was being remotely investigated anyway. But why should she worry about something as insignificant as that, when in all probability the real reason to live in fear lay not with ‘Little Brother’ at work but rather with ‘Big Brother’, aka the TORC Mods.<BR><BR>She hit the ‘done’ button.</i><BR>
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Postby Leoba » Wed Jun 12, 2002 8:48 am

Oh heck! A double-post.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif"border=0> <BR><BR><BR><BR><i>She waited for the edit to go through and the main thread to re-open.I]<BR><BR>“Sh*t!”, <i>Leoba muttered under her breath, as one of the senior managers crept up behind her - he had someone made it down the corridor without stepping on the squeaky floorboard.<BR><BR>With a deftness that came from a great deal of practice, Leoba hit the ‘Outlook’ icon. The window expanded just enough to cover the TORC screen. </i><BR><BR>“Can I have a quick word?”<BR><BR><i>Locking the computer behind her, Leoba followed him over to his office, desperately trying to tune her mind out of the TORC world and back into the consideration of the relevant projects.</i><BR>
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Postby Cynara » Wed Jun 12, 2002 10:28 am

! In the disatant land of snow and ice (eg, Canada), a lone student sat at the library moniters. Although she was completely alone in the library, there were small chills and prickles running up Cynara's back. <i>'But there's no one here,</i> she thought to herself, checking over her shoulder quickly. <i>'Or is there...?'</i><BR> Quickly looking up on the taskbar, she saw the Dreaded Eye Icon. It disappeared nearly instantly...<BR>
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Postby Lindonbayne » Thu Jun 13, 2002 2:34 am

<i>Emily had way too much time on her hands since her exams were now over, and because of this, like so many before her, she had become addicted to TORC. like all addictions, however, there are always side affects. Paranoia being the major one.<BR><BR>Not being able to think of anything to say, she started to type an almost random (but amusing) post. Her curser hovered over the done button.</i><BR><BR>Dont show fear, they love that. <i> She told herself </i> Be brave.<BR><BR><i>She clicked and moved the mouse up to the task bar as if to hide what she had done, feeling sure that she would soon regret it.</i>
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Postby Cynara » Thu Jun 13, 2002 1:28 pm

Cynara started sweating. Who was watching her? Could it be...a Mod?<BR> But why? Had they seen the angry rant in the Bird and Baby? The score of one-line posts in the Pony? Or perhaps she had been spotted in one of the 'naughtier' threads, SMOOTCHing with her knight?<BR> Yes, that was it. The SMOOTCHing! Of course! <BR> <i>'It has to be stopped, and so they have decided on assassination as the best method. THEY KNOW WHERE I LIVE!!!'</i>
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Postby SmaugsBane » Thu Jun 13, 2002 2:28 pm

<i>SB walked into work and sat at his desk as usual. He put his keys down and turned on the lamp in his cubicle. Pulling out the black leather chair (what coup it had been to get an exectuive chair when he was so new to the company) he sat and hit ctr+alt+delete on his keyboard. The familiar login window popped up and SB entered the login name and password. <BR><BR>Nothing happened except the same blank window asking for his login information again. SB tried it again. No luck. He picked up his phone and dialed the tech support supervisor to ask if there was a problem with the server.</i><BR><BR>"I have a note that you are supposed to talk to (name withheld) about your login."<BR><BR><i>SB marched down the hall to (name withheld)'s office and kncked on the door.</i><BR><BR>"(name withheld), I can't seem to login this morning, I called tech and they said I should talk to you."<BR><BR>"Yes, have a seat," said (name withheld), who picked up his phone and dialed the vice president, "yes, he's here, shall we do this?"<BR><BR>"Do what?" SB murmured.<BR><BR><i>When the vice president arrived, he closed the door to (name withheld)'s office and sat beside SB.</i><BR><BR>"Alex, you have worked here 6 months. And in that time you have progressed very slowly. (name withheld) and I have been trying to figure out why you are so far behind your peers." the VP produced a piece of paper, "So we checked on your internet usage."<BR><BR> <i>SB began to sweat. He squirmed in his seat and gripped the armrests so tightly he nearly tore the fabric.</i><BR><BR>The VP continued, "Alex, what is www.tolkienonline.com? <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP <BR><BR><i>SB wakes up to the sound of his alarm. It was all a nightmare.<BR><BR><BR><BR>SB's wife, who'd woken up earlier walks in from the living room. </i><BR><BR>"Alex," SB's wife's normally silken voice is full of worry. "There's a man here named ThreadStalker and he says he's here to confiscate the computer for violations of the TOS. I told you about taunting the mods, didn't I? Now you've gone and done it."<BR><BR><i>Just then, a husky man with spiked gaunlets and a hood, enters the room and handcuffs SB.</i><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Whew, it was all a dream........... <BR><BR><BR><BR>Or was it?
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Postby Elenath » Thu Jun 13, 2002 2:49 pm

<i>Elenath sat huddled in front of her computer, biting her nails. Had her last post in the RP been good enough? Had she put enough depth into it? And what about that joke she told: had it violated the TOS? She jerked upright at the sounds of footsteps outside her door, then relaxed as they continued down the hall.</i><BR><BR>"You're being silly," <i>she told herself.</i> "What could they do to you, after all? It's just a website."<BR><BR><i>She checked her email, and there was a message from one of her friends at TORC. She opened it, and suddenly her screen went black. Fiery red letters appeared that said:</i><BR><BR><b>"Elenath: You are in violation of the TORC TOS. We are now tracking your computer."</b><BR><BR><i>Elenath gaped in horror, then tried desperately to shut the computer down, but nothing worked. Finally she yanked the plug out of the wall. She looked around wildly, and grabbed her purse. Then she forced herself to relax. It must have been a joke. The Mods couldn't find her here. They might be powerful, but they couldn't be <b>that</b> powerful. She sat down again, and laughed weakly at herself for being so gullible.<BR><BR>Then she froze, as she heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall, accompanied by the tap of a powerful staff...</i><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><b>The Truth is out there...</b>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Jun 13, 2002 3:06 pm

<BR>‘OK … just one quick refresh of Yahoo Mail..’<BR><BR>HJ hit the F5 key. The University’s trusty computer system delivered the command through the entrails cyberspace and as expected, the screen refreshed. She had 3 new emails in her bardhwyn_of_dale account.<BR><BR>‘Update, Update.. Oh good, LebCon’s been updated. Must read. Oh, and email from Scribbles..’<BR><BR>Several mouseclicks later, HJ is deep into an email from her e-friend..<BR><BR>"<i>**Snerk**</i> Of course what you wrote is plausible but I would edit that one bit in the last paragraph. You might be in violation of the TOS…”<BR><BR>HJ furrows her brows. ‘They’re only kissing. It is a simple kiss. Nothing more, nothing less..’, she thought.<BR><BR>With a few strokes of the Alt Tab keys she throws up the TORC screen and clicks her way to her last post. She was too late. It had already been edited out. <BR><BR>Bardhwyn, the long-suffering Archer of Dale, the traitor with a heart of gold, had been deprived of her first TORC kiss. In bold font at the bottom were the words… <b>Edited by The White Council</b>…<BR><BR>In frustration, HJ pounds futilely on her desk.<BR>
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Postby SilverScribe » Thu Jun 13, 2002 4:35 pm

<BR><i> Scribbles shut down the browser window displaying the Help Desk tracker, then the internal office e-mail window, then the Windows Explorer, then the browser window with Yahoo mail, careful to sign out first of course, and on and on through the normal office end of day routine. It was late, no one was around, so when the layers of windows finally cleared only one was left. She smiled to herself, at least she didn't have to first look over her shoulder at this late hour.<BR><BR>She put her chin in her hands and gazed at the Tolkien Online Logo wistfully. Glancing at her watch, she decides that she has just enough time to check if anyone posted a reply to her last rib-tickling post. Hitting the refresh button, she began tidying up her desk as she waited for the browser to reload the screen.<BR><BR>Half a minute later, and the screen was still static. She frowned and checked the little globe in the top right hand of the browser window, yes, it was still spinning furiously.<BR><BR>She leaned forward, squinting. What was that, that shadow behind the familiar forums list? Suddenly, a black mailed fist protruded from her computer screen, morphing out like some giant armoured flower. Her eyes bugged out as the hand caught her by the front of her shirt and began pulling her towards the screen.</i><BR><BR>"What the devil?!!!" <i>she gasped, then began to struggle.</i><BR><BR><b>"RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!!"</b> <i> A deep, throaty male voice boomed.</i> <b> "YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE TOS!!"</b><BR><BR><i> Scribbles struggled harder as she was dragged inexorably towards the screen, which now showed a dark, dank scene made up mostly of slimy looking stone walls lit by guttering torches.</i><BR><BR>"Wait!!" <i> she hollered.</i> "This isn't possible, I can't go through the screen!! Wait, no!! What is that place?!!"<BR><BR><i> Suddenly, with a distinct "pop" she was standing in the midst of the scene she had previously only witnessed from the safety of her office chair. She looked up and behind her, then her jaw dropped as she saw that selfsame chair and the familiar background of her office, high up on the stone wall, as if she was looking out of a small basement window. She saw a transparent and backwards image of the familiar "Windows is shutting down your computer" screen, then the inside out image of her lockdown screensaver. It couldn't be. She was inside cyberspace.<BR><BR>But where exactly was "inside cyberspace"?<BR><BR>She was just beginning to turn around when the deep male voice boomed again from behind her, raising goosebumps all over her flesh and rooting her to the spot.</i><BR><BR><b> "WELCOME SilverScribe, TO THE DUNGEONS OF TORC."</b><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby lalatiel » Thu Jun 13, 2002 5:36 pm

Lalatiel agonizes over the Prancing Pony again. Was that a one-liner? She was sure it was at least five lines, but what does she know? <i>She</i> isn't an all-powerful <i>MOD</i>! She scurries away from her spot at the computer screen long enough to get some food, but is drawn back before she even has a chance to take a bite. Oh no! What's this? <i>HER RP IS CLOSED?????????</i>. What did she do? With trembling fingers she double-clicks on the link. One-liners? Oh no! Some onelining idiot has killed her RP! Wait... she bites her nails as a horrible thought occured to her. Was <i>she</i> that onelining idiot? Oh no! It's impossible to tell! It's a disease that can't be diagnosed!!!! NO!!!! ATTACK OF THE, um, MODS!<BR> Suddenly the familiar TORC window morphed into an awful, dark, dank place. This must be the lair of the Mods! She fidgeted nervously until a black shadow materialized in front of her. Before she could begin her question, a deep, rather posessed sounding voice came out of the shadow:<BR><b>You have violated Pony guidelines. Please regard the following thread:</b><BR>A bright blue link was suddenly floating in the air in front of her. She pushed twice on the link, which felt soft and rather cushy. Suddenly she was taken to another dark, dank place, this time decorated in a horrid green shade. Little blue links were floating all over, as well as bits of normal text. She caught one floating nearby. Ah, this one was well worn. <i>No one liners...</i> she said out loud. A tear started in her eye. She honestly thought she hadn't been posting oneliners. She was wrong... or maybe it was the MODS!
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Postby Running-Deer » Thu Jun 13, 2002 8:28 pm

A noise could be heard from the speakers of all who surrepitiuosly were reading, writing, and posting to this thread. It was a den of covert activity and Running Deer had found the back way in ... a signal was sent and each computer posting to the thread was now surruonded .... Running Deer set the <u>EMI Audio Disruptor</u> to high frequency and these words came blasting out of everyone's speakers as it was announced:<BR><BR><i><u><b>YOU ALL ARE UNDER ARREST!</u> <BR>DO NOT TRY TO FLEE FOR YOU ARE WATCHED! </b><BR><BR>"We have been watching you since you have registered with our Reverse Video CRT/LCD Camera Imaging Device. We have your faces recorded. We have your fingerprints from your keyboard, we have the encryption codes from your computer, and we have counted in sequence all your keystrokes since registering. We control the Horizontal! We control the Vertical! We can focus your screen to the sharpest image, or a fuzzy blur ... for the next .............</i><BR><BR>* music fades in * <BR>HELP! I'M STEPPIN' INTO THE TOLKIEN ONLINE ZONE OR IS IT THE TWILIGHT ZONE!<BR>THE PLACE IS A MADHOUSE<BR>Feels like .... *fade out*<BR><BR>YOU ARE WATCHED!
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Postby Leoba » Fri Jun 14, 2002 1:52 am

<i>As Running Deer’s voice blasted out from the computer’s speakers, Leoba leapt about a foot in the air in shock and gave a little shriek of surprise. She spun around violently on her chair, desperate to check whether anyone was watching, whether anyone had overheard. The office was empty, no-one knew she was still there. <BR><BR>Although her hands were still shaking, she began to regulate her breathing and relax. She calmed her confused mind; there was no-one here. It must’ve been a joke email or some such - nearly as terrifying as that one with the ghost which suddenly appeared out of nowhere and almost as embarrassing as the one she had forwarded on to her Welsh friend which when opened had happily announced to anyone within earshot: ‘hey everyone, I’m looking at porn over here!’. <BR><BR>She was on the verge of swivelling her chair back around to close the TORC window and copy all her RP posts onto disk for the night. But Leoba never had the chance to turn back. She felt a strong pair of hands gripping her, the nails digging into her soft flesh. A soft hissing was made in her ear and she was hurtling at full pelt backwards through the computer screen. Leoba closed her eyes - no this couldn’t be real? It all went very suddenly quiet, broken shortly by a distinctive Canadian accent. </i><BR><BR>“You can open your eyes now.”<BR><BR><i>Leoba responded by doing just that. She took in with amazement the sight that was before her eyes: a fell dungeon, sparsely lit by a row of high windows and devoid of furniture. The walls oozed with slime and were hung about with chains and manacles. The floor was strewn with none-too-fresh rushes. She squeaked in disgust as a mouse scuttled across, mere inches for her toes.</i><BR><BR>“My goodness! What on earth is this place? And who are you?”<BR><BR><i>The other woman replied, </i> “It’s not earth, we’re trapped in TORC. I’m SilverScribe. And you are?….”<BR><BR>“Oh. Um… Leoba. My user-name is Leoba that is.”<BR><BR><i>Leoba was stunned and not a little confused. Part of her thrilled to the excitement of the unknown; she had secretly longed to be able to slip into the TORC World. She had debated with herself what it would be like to actually have a drink in the Lucky Fortune, to really meet the famous Bard. Just 24 hours living her fantasy life was all she had wanted. But now she feared that her wish had backfired on her in a major way. For this was not the TORC that she had hitherto known and loved. She looked down at herself, clad still in a skirt-suit and high-heels. Feeling her head and touching her short, fine hair, she knew that she was most definitely herself, not her role-play character. Oh yes, something had gone very wrong indeed. </i><BR><BR>“We’re actually inside TolkienOnline.” <i>It was a statement rather than a question, but nevertheless addressed to Scribbles.</i> “It’s not one bit like I imagined it would be. And I never thought we’d meet like this. And I was joking in that Bards’ Adventure Aside about Threadstalker bring everywhere. Are They really as omnipotent as they make out?”<BR><BR><i>Her words were curtailed by the squeak of moving metal, for the little window in the dungeon door was being painfully pulled aside. Both women stared at the opening. They were being watched. At Leoba assumed that they were being watched; it wasn’t too easy to tell. The window was filled by a masked face. Anonymous to the last, the Mod who was watching them did not disclose their features or even their gender. It was the nameless visage of an ancient Greek tragic actor’s mask, complete with gaping mouth through which to convey their all important commands and warnings.</i><BR><BR>“Scribbles, we have to get out of here”, <i>Leoba whispered.</i><BR><BR>
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Postby Lindonbayne » Fri Jun 14, 2002 4:34 am

<i>Emily jumped, as her dad came in from work. She hastily clicked on solitaire. It covered the screen just as he came into the living room, with the speakers, which had recently broken. </i><BR><BR>Your not on that Tolkien thing again are you? <i>he asked her</i><BR><BR>no, look, <i>she told him, leaning away from the screen. Her father nodded, and went upstairs, as she breathed a sigh of relief. she was beggining to play the card game, when she noticed that the TORC taskbar was flashing. Puzzled, she opened the window, trying to shake off her tiredness. She blinked long and hard.</i><BR><BR>What the..? <i>she exclaimed. she suddenly found herself in a damp, stagnant, stone cell.</i><BR><BR>oh, i guess i fell asleep, <i>she thought out loud.</i> hey this place looks kind of familiar,<BR><BR><i>she heard a door creaking some way off, and footsteps coming towards her</i><BR><BR><b>No! </b><i>said a booming voice</i><b> you are not asleep. you are in the dungeons of TORC </b><BR><BR><b>NOOOO! </b><i>Emily yelled, dropping to her knees. Her voice echoed right through the ghastly dungeons.</i>
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Postby wisteria » Fri Jun 14, 2002 5:20 am

<i>Wiste had been tired the night before, shutting TORC down and going to bed early. At work now, still not fully awake, she checked her email and booted up the Internet -- perhaps Scribbles had written another piece for Redemption, or the Bard's Adventure had found out about the smoke in the distance. She didn't have a lot of time this morning, but if the gods of the Internet were amenable, she should have enough time to check those two sites before her day got underway.</i><BR><BR><i>The messageboard appeared and the first thing she noticed was the font colors. They used to be black, but now they were a pretty shade of green. And when she ran her cursor over them, they turned green! Jon and Ted must be playing, she thought as she scrolled down to the Pony to check out the two threads she was interested in. The listing of RP threads came up and immediately she noticed a disturbance on the boards.</i><BR><BR>The last person to reply in every single thread is ThreadStalker? What is he doing?<BR><BR><i>Unaware that she'd spoken outloud, Wiste clicked on the first RP listed -- what was that Mod up to? Sure enough, a warning appeared from the Stalker of Threads:</i> <b>No one line posts!</b><BR><BR><i>Boy, she sure was glad she wasn't involved in THAT thread. She hit the "back" button and scrolled down the page for her own RP's.</i><BR><BR>One's missing! I know it was right there last night -- it was the last one I posted to before I went to bed! Where did it go?<BR><BR><i>Suddenly Running Deer's voice boomed from her computer.</i><BR>YOU ALL ARE UNDER ARREST! <BR>DO NOT TRY TO FLEE FOR YOU ARE WATCHED! <BR><BR><i>The people around her at work looked at her strangely. She managed a weak smile and waved her hand at them.</i><BR><BR>Just a joke! Someone sent me a joke, that's all!<BR><BR><i>But it wasn't a joke and Wiste knew it. Something had happened at TORC and she needed to get to the bottom of it.</i>
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Postby Elenath » Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:50 am

<i>Elenath yawned. One last check through the forums, and then she'd turn it off. She'd better check that TORC Conspiracy thread, that was a good one...</i><BR><BR><b>YOU ALL ARE UNDER ARREST! DO NOT TRY TO FLEE FOR YOU ARE WATCHED!</b><BR><BR><i>Elenath gaped in shock at the booming voice coming from her speakers. What the %#@$ was that? Was this someone's idea of a joke?? Or... what if it wasn't a joke? Nah. Sure, she'd written that silly post about the mods being all-powerful, but that was just a joke.<BR><BR>Elenath turned to get up, but suddenly she felt a hand grip her arm. She barely had time to turn back and look before it yanked her toward the computer screen. </i>"I fell asleep. I must be dreaming," <i>Elenath told herself as, with a slight popping feeling, she fell through the screen. She found herself on a floor, and just lay there for a minute, getting her bearings. The floor was cold, rough, and damp. As she looked up, she heard a voice say,</i><BR><BR>"Look, Scribbles, it's another one."<BR><BR><i>A shiver ran down her spine. Scribbles? This was getting really weird. She looked up to see two other women standing there.</i><BR><BR>"Hi, I'm SilverScribe, and this is Leoba. Welcome to the TORC Dungeons. What's your login name?"<BR><BR><i>Elenath just stared at them in disbelief, then managed to gasp </i>"Elenath."<i> This couldn't be happening...</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Fri Jun 14, 2002 9:04 am

<i>'The stream is low today.' HJ said to herself as she walked onto the bridge that spanned the brown muddy stream running the length of the University campus. She stopped to watch one the vast army of grey squirrels scamper up a tree. Ascending the steps of her building, she braced herself for another very quiet summer day at work.<BR><BR>The computer at her desk faithfully booted up...log on screen... tap,tap,tap....pretty Windows sound. She left it to chunter away, feeding the fish in the next room. Upon returning she tapped in more access codes and passwords.. then, with a sigh of relief, opened TORC and her Bardhwyn Yahoo Mail account.</i><BR><BR>"Let's see.. email from Lys.. one from Can,... hey one from Maeglin, that's nice. Update, update.. spam, delete that. Nothing from Scribbles! Huh. That's strange."<BR><BR><i>With a few clicks, HJ opens the My Buddies window. The dot next to Scribbles' name was black and the name a pale grey.</i><BR><BR>"Well, isn't that odd. She's ALWAYS logged in." <i>HJ laughed to herself..</i> "Like me! Hah!" <BR><BR><i>SB was online, though. Good ole trusty SB... <BR><BR>Flipping to the Yahoo Mail window, HJ typed out a quick email to Scribbles asking how she is. She clicked send and looking up, noticed the important peice of mail that had to leave first thing. Leaving her computer on, with all her screens up - for she works alone in a little cubical with no one around - HJ quickly grabbed the post, locked her cubical door, locked the outer office door and trotted to the mail room.<BR><BR>Finally TORC loaded and opened the TORC Conspiracy thread, displaying it to an empty chair.....<BR><BR>On the screen in black ominous letters appeared:<BR><BR><b>YOU ALL ARE UNDER ARREST! <BR>DO NOT TRY TO FLEE FOR YOU ARE WATCHED!</b><BR><BR>The startling sound of a booming voice blasted into the empty cubical and a hand, wearing a black gauntlet studded with sharp stainless steel spikes emerged from the VDU, grasping at the empty air, to no avail.<BR><BR>HJ wasn't there.<BR><BR>The hand retreated back into the computer and these words appeared....<BR><BR><b>"I'LL BE BACK....."<b>
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Postby SilverScribe » Fri Jun 14, 2002 9:43 am

<BR><i> Not daring to turn around, Scribbles closed her eyes and clenched her hands into fists, forcing her heart to slow down and her breathing to return to normal. 'Be sensible,' she told herself. 'You are a reasonably intelligent computer professional for heaven's sake, you KNOW this sort of TRON stuff does <b>not</b> happen in real life . . . ' Drawing a deep breath, she spun around quickly and opened her eyes. Nope. No one there. But, it was still NOT her office. Walking over to the walls, she reached out and laid a hand on the stone. Yowzer! It was solid, and just as cold and slimy as it looked.<BR><BR>A soft pop made her look back up over her shoulder. Another small glowing window was just dimming and there at the base of the wall was another figure. Scribbles shrugged. 'Well, I guess if this is what insanity looks like, it's nice to have company,' she thought wryly.<BR><BR>The figure was a woman, standing with her eyes tightly shut.</i><BR><BR>"You can open your eyes now."<BR><BR><i> Scribbles was delighted to discover that the newcomer was Leoba and agreed that it was not a method of meeting that she had ever thought of either. When Leoba suggested that they leave, Scribbles grinned.</i><BR><BR>"Yep, my thoughts exactly. I guess first things first then, let's see how big this dungeon is and whether there are any obvious exits. I doubt the entrances are going to do us any good," <i> she answered, looking up at the hazy little windows that were too high to get at anyway.<BR><BR>They were just discussing their options when another soft pop sounded and yet another figure dropped into the dank room. Leoba pointed, her hand shaking only just a little.</i><BR><BR>"Look Scribbles, it's another one."<BR><BR><i> After the introductions, Scribbles couldn't help but laugh.</i><BR><BR>"Well, well, well now, isn't this just the bee's knees. Elenath and Leoba. Hmmmmm, my guess now is that we are not alone. I think there may be others just like us, being yanked into other cells. Since we seem to be inside TORC Online, that means reality as we have known it is suspended. That also means that to a certain degree, we can control some things."<BR><BR><i> She looked down at her clothes. A respectable, tailored navy blue pantsuit, with a bright turquoise silk v-neck tank and stylish but sensible sandals were fine for a Canadian consulting firm, but they would just not do now, not here. She looked up at her two 'new' cyber-friends and winked.</i><BR><BR>"Well, if it's gonna be Scribbles, it's gonna BE Scribbles. And that means that I should be able to . . ."<BR><BR><i> She shut her eyes, crossed her fingers and murmured a few soft words in Elvish. A tingling sensation went through her body and she heard the other two women gasp.<BR><BR>Opening her eyes, she looked down once more, then grinned from ear to ear. In place of the "office attire", the familiar worn blues and greys of her TORC characters travelling clothes greeted her eyes. She checked herself carefully, then sighed when she found the swordbelt, but found the sheath missing. She eyed the other two women.</i><BR><BR>"Well, somewhere in this maze is my pack and my weapons. Anyone game for a little adventurous search and escape?"<BR><BR><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>
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Postby wisteria » Fri Jun 14, 2002 10:04 am

<i>The room Wiste shared with others had grown quiet as one by one, her fellow workers had left for lunch. Now that she was alone, she could investigate this message.</i><BR><BR>Hmmm. . .The interface looks the same, except Running Deer's name is now interspersed with ThreadStalker's as the last name in each thread.<BR><BR><i>Her hand hesitated over the mouse. Which thread should she pick? How best to solve this mystery?<BR><BR>Her eye fell on one she'd not noticed before, "TORC Consipiracy". Sounded like just the right place to begin. She clicked.<BR><BR>And the interface changed. A dark screen appeared, a hazy image forming. And there was sound. Conversation? She heard the names "Scribbles" and "Leoba" but couldn't make out the last one.</i><BR><BR>"Scribbles? Is that you? Is this thing acting like a telephone? Can you hear me? Leoba?"
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Postby Elenath » Fri Jun 14, 2002 10:32 am

<i>Elenath shook her head, trying to clear the fuzzy feeling. Scribbles was saying something about the dungeon: she tried to concentrate.</i><BR><BR>"...that means reality as we have known it is suspended. That also means that to a certain degree, we can control some things."<BR><BR><i>Scribbles closed her eyes and murmured to herself. Elenath blinked and gasped as a sort of mirage effect enveloped Scribbles. When she emerged, it was the familiar Scribbles from TORC, swordbelt and all.</i><BR><BR>"Well, somewhere in this maze is my pack and my weapons. Anyone game for a little adventurous search and escape?"<BR><BR><i>Elenath had to grin. This could be fun...</i><BR><BR>"Just a moment." <i>If Scribbles could do it, so could she. She stood up, closed her eyes and concentrated. She whispered a few elvish words, and felt a strange sensation. Opening her eyes, she looked down and found herself clothed in grey travelling clothes, just as she had pictured them. Unfortunately, just like Scribbles, her knives were missing. She grinned viciously at Scribbles and Leoba.</i><BR><BR>"Let's blow this joint!" <i>Then she laughed.</i> "I've always wanted to say that."<BR><BR>Suddenly they heard a voice. It was rather fuzzy, but they could just make out the words. They looked around: the voice seemed to be coming from a small window, or screen, up on the wall. Scribbles peered up at the picture.</i><BR><BR>"Wiste? Is that you?"
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Postby wisteria » Fri Jun 14, 2002 1:02 pm

"I hear you! Who is this? Where are you?"<BR><BR><i>Wiste peered into the depths of the screen, but the light was too dim. She squinted, looking first out of the bottom of her bifocals, then moving back and looking out the top. Nothing. Just a gray dimness with small specks far inside.<BR><BR>Wait! One of those specks sparkled for a moment, then returned to the grey. Wiste whipped off her glasses and got in for a closer look. There is was again! A different speck sparkled, then went dim. What was happening in there?</i><BR><BR>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Fri Jun 14, 2002 1:40 pm

“She wasn’t at her desk.” <i>The deep bass voice boomed out from the depths of the blackened hood. Thread Stalker then folded his arms and stood patiently, waiting for his next set of instructions.</i><BR><BR>“What do you mean, she wasn’t at her desk?” <i>Jonathan rolled back in his chair; away from the three PC’s arrayed in front of him and looked up at the intimidating Moderator. (Intimidating to the average TORC’er , of course but not to him, David or Ted. To the Moderators, they were the most intimidating people on the planet.)<BR><BR>Jonathan looked over at Ted, who merely shrugged and said:</i> “One of ‘em was bound to avoid us. Figures it would be her…” <BR><BR>“I said I would be back.”<i>Thread Stalker announced.</i><BR><BR>“Well, go back!” <i>Jonathan shouted. He wheeled himself back to his array.</i> “Her computer is still idle, get yourself into position and be ready for when she gets back… and make sure she gets into a dungeon on the third level and not with Leoba and Scribbles. That was a mistake, putting those two together.”<BR><BR><i>Thread Stalker bowed, walked over to a networked PC and melted into the VDU screen with a sound like that of wraiths howling on Barrow Downs.</i><BR><BR>“I wish he’d stop with the sound effects.” <i>Ted said, sipping his coffee.<BR><BR>******<BR>While sipping her coffee, carefully through the lid, HJ unlocks the various doors and breezes into her little cubicle. He jiggles the mouse and sends the LOTR Legolas screen saver off into cyberspace and snickers to herself, thinking: ‘If my friends ever found out I was a secret ‘Legolas Swooner’, I would NEVER hear the end of it.’<BR><BR>From the corner of her eye she sees the words…<BR><BR><b> I’LL BE BACK….</b><BR><BR>‘Funny, I don’t remember that being on the screensaver..’<BR><BR>From the VDU screen emerged a gaping hand, gauntleted and spiked, reaching right for HJ’s throat. She wheeled back, hitting the waste bins behind her and grabbed the stapler sitting on the desk. With all her might she came down on the grasping hand and arm, beating furiously with the stapler …</i><BR><BR>“GET BACK! GET BACK! HELP! HELP!” <i>she screamed. Being all alone, in her end of the building, no one could hear her screams.<BR><BR>The hand grabbed at the stapler, wrestled it free and threw it to the floor. By this time a full arm had extended itself into the room, bare and exposed. HJ grabbed her hot coffee and doused the arm, the keyboard and computer. A fierce yell emanated from inside the VDU and the hand went back in but the elbow was still protruding. <BR><BR>Not knowing why, HJ impulsively hooked her hand in the extended elbow and was pulled out of her cubicle and into a completely different space….</i>
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Postby Cynara » Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:14 pm

Cynara, after a good night's sleep, was on her home computer.<BR> <i>Hmmm, let's see...Lebennin? Odd, no one's posted since yesterday. I know Khor's away, but where's Bardhwyn?</i><BR> In seeming echo of her though, Cynara heard a small, vague voice. Frowning slightly, she perked an ear. Yes, it was definite conversation. Blasting the speakers, she found that the voices did, in fact, come from her PC. <BR><i>Odd,</i> she thought, but being a true TORC-nut (eg, the belief that all TORCers share a deep, true bond) didn't find it so hard to believe. Minimizing the window, the voices cut out. Reopening it, she found herself listening, not to conversation, but to a low, indistinct but threatening murmur. Suddenly, with a familiar roaring sound (a la Sauron's Eye from the movie) the murmur became a loud, deep male voice. <BR> <b>YOU ARE A THREAT TO OUR SACRED BOARDS! YOU MUST LEARN A LESSON!</b> A leather-gauntleted fist popped out of her screen. Wide-eyed, Cynara rolled her chair to the other side of the room. Up against the wall, she began gibbering, but the arm came for her, mercilessly unbending.<BR> Closing her eyes, she felt the spiked hand grab her and pull her forward. Cool air rushed by her face, and when she opened her eyes, she was crouched in a dark, dank cell, alone.<BR> A man whose fist she well-recognized came through she wall. Cynara backed up quicker then she thought possible on all fours.<BR> "Well, <i>Cynara</i>," the menace whispered cruelly, "At last we meet. I am ThreadStalker. Tell me, did you really think you could get away with it? All the personalities? One was bound to betray you. All the SMOOTCHes? One was certain to be spotted." ThreadStalker shook his head in mock-pity. "Really. I suppose you'll just have to face up to it. How many Cynara's have you mocked, or nearly killed lately? Well now, you get to know..."<BR> The Man faded out, and Cynara was left alone, but not for long. Soon, voices flexed in and out around her. Familiar bits of conversation pulsed through the cell, and then the scene flickered and popped, as a computer screen does when resizing. A little elf stood in front of Cynara.<BR> "Hello," the little one said quietly, "I'm Erniel, from As the Dawn Rises over a Sea of Blood. Why'd you make me, if only to be abandoned after four pages?"<BR> With a groan, Cynara realized that this might be a long day.
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Postby Leoba » Sat Jun 15, 2002 5:05 am

"Elenath, we meet at last." <i>Leoba watched in amazement as the two TORCers made the most of their talents and metamorphosed into their role-playing alter egos.</i> <BR><BR>"Say, Scribbles does this mean that you have 'any number of other little hidden surprises' at your disposal? I'm thinking lock-picking in particular…."<BR><BR><i>Leoba decided that she'd just have to make the best of a bad deal. Kicking off the impractical shoes, she resolved that she'd be able to move better simply in stockinged feet, at least until she could find and retrieve some decent shoes.</i><BR><BR>"Okay guys, this is the point where I wish I'd used a little more creativity in my writing. You guys had the forethought to give yourselves useful powers, whereas I guess I'm pretty much stuck unless I can lay my hands on some weaponry; I can at least use a bow reasonably well in combat. Unless your training with Luinil would enable you to help me, Scribbles?… "<BR><BR><i>Scribbles was distracted from replying by the advent of a voice from on high. Squinting up at one of the 'windows', the three women could make out a dim figure. </i><BR><BR>"I think it's Wiste." <i>Scribbles shouted up at the light. <BR><BR>A voice bounced back:</i> "I hear you! Who is this? Where are you?"<BR><BR>"I think we're inside TORC!" <i>Leoba shouted back</i>, "Like, really stuck inside cyberspace. Please help us! But be careful not to fall through, yourself."<BR><BR><i>She paused a moment, the cogs of her mind turning over and over before addressing Scribbles and Elenath.</i> "You know what, I have an inkling about where exactly we are. I know what most of the TORC forums look like, but if my memory hold true, then there's one forum that none of us have ever seen. A while back, in 'The One Ring', I read that the Mods have their own secret forum that only they can access; the place where they torture miscreants and plot against ordinary TORCers. Do you think that this could possibly be it?<BR><BR>In any case, here we are. And we have some fortune at our disposal. There are three of us together, so we can pool ideas and resources. You know, this is horribly like the bit in LOTR, on the stairs up to Cirith Ungol when Sam and Frodo are talking about falling into a tale and not knowing how it's going to end. Of course, one of the really frustrating things right now, is that I'm here not at home and can't even check the exact reference in the book. But I digress. Just like in roleplaying, we could produce something amazing by working together rather than alone. Who knows, there might even be other TORCers in the same position as us?"<BR><BR><i>As if to corroborate her last words, the Three heard a resounding thump and a little squeal of pain and/or shock from a few floors below. They didn’t know it yet, but it was Bardhwyn/HJ, inadvertently joining in the little adventure. As the Mods cracked down hard around the boards, cells and dungeons were filling up. </i><BR><BR><BR>[OOC: Now, if we can just get out of the dungeon, the fun should really begin.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> LOL Cynara - meeting your other less-used characters. I just hope mine don't gang up on me or anything, because I have quite a few out there.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0> ]<BR>
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Postby SilverScribe » Sat Jun 15, 2002 11:14 am

<BR>(OOC: thank goodness Scribbles is the only character I have to torment . . . LOL ))<BR><BR>IC:<BR><BR><i> At Leoba’s mention of “hidden surprises” Scribbles quickly patted herself down. Now lock picking was not exactly what she had had in mind when she had written that little tidbit into her bio, but one just never knew. She found a small lump in an inside vest pocket and with a cry of triumph pulled out a . . . a travellers sewing kit??? “Aw hellsmittens anyway,” she grumbled in embarrassment.<BR><BR>When Leoba mentioned useful powers, Scribbles grinned sheepishly, but was prevented from speaking by a disembodied voice. Ah! Someone had found them, they were saved! Well, sort of, Wisteria had found them, but was still on the outside. But that could work to their advantage, knowing how clever Wisteria had proven to be on other occasions.<BR><BR>After Leoba’s ruminating, to which Scribbles and Elenath both agreed, Scribbles cleared her throat.</i><BR><BR>“Well, you can’t go anywhere dressed like that. Hmmmmm, of course!! Let me see now, okay, even if you didn’t give yourself any big bangup powers, you were creative enough to provide yourself with some clothing options. Now, if I remember your bio from Redemption correctly . . . let me see, let me see . . . ah . . . and I quote:<BR><BR>**Leoba usually travels dressed in male garb (pale sky-blue linen tunic, leather ankle boots, leaf-green hose and matching hood, brown woollen cloak pinned at the neck) for ease and comfort. She wears female clothes when she’s not on the road: a dark green gown, embroidered at neck, hem and sleeve with gold thread. It is fastened at the neck with an amethyst and silver brooch, her waist encircled by a silver girdle which looks as though it has been fashioned from interlaced ivy-leaves.**<BR><BR>All you have to do is choose your preference and I’ll take a whack at it,” <i> she chuckled. Leoba, of course, chose the more sensible male garb.<BR><BR>Scribbles picked up Leoba’s discarded shoes and closed her eyes, wracking her brain for the proper conversion spells. She mumbled a few words and the shoes in her hands turned to oranges. With an apologetic smile, she tried again. The shoes turned to a deck of cards. Blushing, she tried a different spell. The shoes promptly turned back into, well, shoes. Cursing softly, she tried once more. Suddenly, her hands were empty. She looked up and there was Leoba, dressed exactly like her own description. Well, except for the fact that the ankle boots were a lovely shade of dark green suede instead of plain leather.</i><BR><BR>“Ah, sorry about that, I must have got distracted,” <i> she mumbled. She was interrupted by Elenath snapping her fingers with her own idea.</i><BR><BR>“Scribbles, hand me that sewing kit. I think I just might be able to work a few tricks of my own. I mean how hard can it be to turn a few safety pins into a lock pick, hmmmm?”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles handed the kit over with a grin, then all three began exploring the shadowy corners, looking for the door.</i><BR><BR>
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Postby Elenath » Sat Jun 15, 2002 12:27 pm

<i>Elenath watched as Scribbles used Leoba's shoes to get her some appropriate clothes. Suddenly she snapped her fingers as an idea came.</i><BR><BR>“Scribbles, hand me that sewing kit. I think I just might be able to work a few tricks of my own. I mean how hard can it be to turn a few safety pins into a lock pick, hmmmm?”<BR><BR><i>Scribbles handed her the kit, and Elenath looked through it as they searched for the door. </i><BR><BR>"Hmm, no safety pins," she mumbled to herself. "But these straight pins and the needle should work..."<BR><BR><i>She thought for a minute, then closed her hand over the pins and muttered a few phrases in elvish. (Luckily, Elenath the elf's knowledge of elvish seemed to have been included with the clothes.) She opened her hand, and there was a nice, nifty little lock pick.</i><BR><BR>"Over here!" <i>Leoba said. She had found a small stone door, set into the rough wall so that it was hard to find. <BR><BR>Elenath handed the lock pick to Scribbles with a grin.</i> "Here you go! Now let's hope this works..." <i>Scribbles took the pick, and went to work on the door. It only took a minute before there was a slight clicking noise, and Scribbles stood back.</i><BR><BR>"Here we go," <i>she said softly, and pushed the door open. She peeked outside, but didn't see anyone around. One by one they crept through the door, and Elenath closed it behind them. <BR><BR>They were standing in a long, dark hallway, lit by a few torches on the wall. They could see more doors on either side of the hall, and a stairway at one end. It was cold, and dank, and very unpleasant.</i><BR><BR>"If you're right about this being where the Mods hang out," <i>Elenath said,</i> "no wonder they're so twisted. Of course, there's probably a top floor which is done up like the Arabian Nights!" <i>She snickered.</i> "Seriously, though, what should we do now? Should we check out these other rooms, or try and find the source of what's going on here? Personally, I think we could use some reinforcements. I wonder who else that we know is trapped in here?"<BR><BR>
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Postby Cynara » Sat Jun 15, 2002 3:12 pm

Cynara was, at that moment, feeling a bit crowded out. Erniel had been joined, one by one, by the other characters, who had heard that their Maker was in and could hear their complaints.<BR> "I don't like my personality. It's scary!" whined Th' God-Mammy.<BR> "I feel so alone!" sulked Erniel.<BR> "Why'd you give me such a pathetic name?" scowled Serenfea.<BR> "You killed me!" growled Aliya.<BR> "<b>Enough!</b>" Cynara shouted. "That's it, I don't care that I've murdered most of your social possibilities! Or that QoR-Cynara should be blonde! Or that your character is pointless. I'm your Maker! I gave you life, and I can take it away!"<BR> This, of course, set off a babble of outraged response.<BR> "What a...!"<BR> "Most of us are older then her, anyway..."<BR> "Can you believe she...?"<BR> "Didn't I tell you..."<BR><BR> Cynara groaned and put her hands over her ears, which provided only momentary releif. She became gradually aware of a dead silence in the cell. She opened her eyes and then really wished she hadn't. There, surrounded by the motley crew of long-unused chars, stood Alessya and QoR-Cynara, her only two in-use characters. QoR-Cynara stood, glaring, and looking like a general mess. Covered in dirt, her left arm was hung at a very odd angle, her face was gashed, and she was very bruised. Alessya was perfectly healthy, but looked rather odd, with only half her body in attendance.<BR> "We've got a few bones to pick with you, Cynara..."
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Postby Maiden_of_the_Ice » Sat Jun 15, 2002 3:54 pm

<i>Maiden slurped up the last of her coffee, eyes focusing in a blur on the screen. Gulping, she prepared to click from yahoo to Torc. She had that familiar sensation of being watched. It sent shivers down her spine. Her tussled blonde head bent over the keyboard, pressing the 'enter' button with some reluctance. Suddenly, her computer emiited a series of strange clicks and hums, causing her to heave a sigh and mumble about her modem. Humming slightly, she closed her eyes and leaned back, swiveling around on her chair. Upon opening her eyes, her mouth dropped about a mile downwards. Instead of the familiar picture in the top left hand corner, and the green column where the word 'Messageboard' was usually located, all she saw was a dankish, green. slimy sort of pit. Little black words like, one-liners and the like swirled wickedly about the screen. she rubbed her mosquitoe bitten forehead in confusion, but before she realized what had happened, her swiveling chair tipped her forward, falling down, down into the dungeons. She landed with a thud on the stone floor, and stood, rubbing her aching knee where it had hit the stone floor. Glancing around, she noticed a big blue link up on the wall. It read, 'Back to Torc.' She pushed it, and the sounds of a connecting modem infiltrated the relative silence. Suddenly, that wall flashed white, and the evil letters, Error Diagnostic Processing swirled in a taunting way around the screen.</i><BR><BR><b>DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT ESCAPE! THE DUNGEONS OF TORC ARE INVINSIBLE! LONG LIVE THE GLORIOUS NEW PONY!</b><BR><BR><i>She felt a gush of air as the screaming voice broke her ear drums. So, this was what Torc was in reality. Well, why wasn't she Brilta and not her stupid old self. Where was her alterego when she needed it most? Not knowing what else to do, the teenager burst into tears.</i>
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