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Party at Mambi's realm, all are invited!

<the rabbit looks around at everyone curiously, then approaches the duck and smiles> I am slightly confused, but appear to be operating within normal parameters. It is good to be able to appreciate your company fully again. I think I am feeling as I should, as my logic centers do not appear to be conflicted anymore.

<Marius let out little sigh of relief and bowed slightly.>
"It's good to have you back again."

Thank you all for helping me! I would appreciate at some point in time if you could inform me of what happened in detail, perhaps in private if you prefer, Marius? <she smiles warmly, and with a shimmer, resumes her duck appearance, her feathers glowing brightly blue as she smiles through her bill, winks slowly, then turns to the cat for a moment>

<He was confused by her request, expecting she would have asked Mambi for the details instead. But 'in private' was even more confusing. Most surprising of all was perhaps her resuming the duck form. He dismissed it. As she turned away, Marius only politely smiled and nodded once.>

Attention everyone, we apologize for the difficulty you just experienced. My systems were corrupted by an unknown entity I was informed desired revenge against one of you which I am told resulted in chaos, but I assure you that aside from memory gaps from the past hour or so I am fully in control again. If you wish to resume your enjoyment of the facilities you are no longer in danger of grievous bodily harm. Thank you!

<Marius tried to hide an amused smile. It *was* nice to have her back.>
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"It's good to have you back again."

<the holoduck grins> I do not actually recall being away nor most of my actions while corrupted. I am hoping it was not too damaging or hurtful.

<He was confused by her request, expecting she would have asked Mambi for the details instead. But 'in private' was even more confusing. Most surprising of all was perhaps her resuming the duck form. He dismissed it. As she turned away, Marius only politely smiled and nodded once.>

<she sees his reaction and whispers> I know you prefer this form, and I was hoping to apologize personally for my actions when initially re-activated. They were rude and illogial and I cannot quite reconcile what I was thinking at the time. Is that the nature of the error that was corrected?


<Marius tried to hide an amused smile. It *was* nice to have her back.>

<the cat looks at the console and her with a warm smile. Finally, back to normal...whatever that was!>


Navi was right. So, taking a big, nervous breath, she shuffled nervously up to the feline, eyes looking everywhere but at Mambi's gaze.

"Hey...ummm, can we talk for a sec?"

<he sees the concerned look on you and rises immediately> Sure, of course! Want to go somewhere in private or is here fine?
 
<the holoduck grins> I do not actually recall being away nor most of my actions while corrupted. I am hoping it was not too damaging or hurtful.
"Well, you certainly weren't yourself so we figured something was wrong pretty quickly. I can fill you in on whatever pieces are missing."

<she sees his reaction and whispers> I know you prefer this form, and I was hoping to apologize personally for my actions when initially re-activated. They were rude and illogial and I cannot quite reconcile what I was thinking at the time. Is that the nature of the error that was corrected?

"No need to apologize. We know the corruption was driving your behavior, and I'm glad the others were able to fix it.>
<Marius blushed a little and kicked at the ground.>
"I do like the duck form. I just thought you might have have chosen a cat form this time. You know. For Mambi.>
<He cleared his throat stared at the ground.>
 

NightmareEyes

Well-Known Member
<he sees the concerned look on you and rises immediately> Sure, of course! Want to go somewhere in private or is here fine?
"Somewhere private, if ya don't mind. It's...a li'l personal. It's...related t' what happened on Earth 123-1d. I need your help with something. Help that...ah think only you can provide at this point." the hybrid says, voice dropping to a whisper as she nervously shifts in place, glancing back at Marius talking to Aurora a short distance away.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"Somewhere private, if ya don't mind. It's...a li'l personal. It's...related t' what happened on Earth 123-1d. I need your help with something. Help that...ah think only you can provide at this point." the hybrid says, voice dropping to a whisper as she nervously shifts in place, glancing back at Marius talking to Aurora a short distance away.

Oh, I see...ok sure, I understand. Here, come with me and we can chat.

<he calls over to the duck> Hey @Marius Merganser , 'Zona and I are just going to go somewhere to talk in private, ok? We'll meet up again in a bit but thanks again for your help! If you need anything just let 'Rora know and she'll pass the message. Have fun and see ya soon!

<his eyes start to glow as a familiar shimmer appears in the air. As the shimmer parts you see the rift has opened to a candlelit room with a canopy bed and, oh, that's the room you just woke from! As he enters the rift and you follow, he plops himself comfortably at the foot of the bed and the glow from his eyes fades as the rift re-seals itself. You go to sit beside him as he presses the red button on a console and the shimmering rabbit form of Aurora appears>

Aurora, can we have some privacy please?

<the bunny nods and places her hands behind her back> Certainly. Audio-visual sensors will be disabled in this room until further notice upon my de-activation. Do you require delivery of any of the usual "private toys" before that occurs? Your custom restraints can be found in drawer number...

<the cat blushes deeply and quickly and empathically replies> NO!! No no, that won't be necessary, this is privacy for another reason, we're good!!! Thank you!!!

<as the rabbit nonchallantly nods and disappears with a shimmer, the deeply embarrassed cat looks at you and just giggles> Ugh, I have to really have a good chat with Aurora sometime about...anyway, not important. <clears his throat> We're alone now and not even Aurora can hear us now so no records. What's up? <he places his paw on yours comfortingly as he listens>
 
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Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"Well, you certainly weren't yourself so we figured something was wrong pretty quickly. I can fill you in on whatever pieces are missing."
<the holoduck smiles warmly> I would appreciate that, not being in control of yourself and not recalling your actions is very disorienting. I have observed that occasionally in the past some of Mambi's guests have consumed fermented liquids until this state occurred occasionally. It is puzzling to think they found it enjoyable. <she shrugs> I can identify the missing memory timeframes for you when it is appropriate.

<at that, you hear the cat calling over to tell you he's leaving. Aurora waves goodbye as she resumes her talk with you>

"I do like the duck form. I just thought you might have have chosen a cat form this time. You know. For Mambi.>
<He cleared his throat stared at the ground.>

<she tilts her head curiously>
Mambi has always been content with my default rabbit form, and despite his earlier complementing on this form, I have no reason to believe he prefers it over the rabbit. I did display as a feline for several years at his request a long time ago, but we agreed that he felt I wasn't being myself so I reverted back to default. However on occasion I have displayed as feline for him, often during special occasions. As you know, my form is merely a convenience and can be anything or multiple images so it truly is irrelevant.

<she places her hand atop yours>
Also, you enjoy it, and your feelings and comfort are important to me. Did you wish for me to return to rabbit form before we talk further? Also, we do not have to remain here if you do not wish it. The garden is currently occupied but if you wish a private place to talk about my missing memories, I can project to the balcony outside the observatory if you would like to go there for privacy and scenery?
 
<the holoduck smiles warmly> I would appreciate that, not being in control of yourself and not recalling your actions is very disorienting. I have observed that occasionally in the past some of Mambi's guests have consumed fermented liquids until this state occurred occasionally. It is puzzling to think they found it enjoyable. <she shrugs> I can identify the missing memory timeframes for you when it is appropriate.

"A little bit helps you relax and reduces your inhibitions," <Marius kind of wished he had some alcohol at that moment.> "but too much interferes with the brain's ability to function."

<she places her hand atop yours> Also, you enjoy it, and your feelings and comfort are important to me. Did you wish for me to return to rabbit form before we talk further? Also, we do not have to remain here if you do not wish it. The garden is currently occupied but if you wish a private place to talk about my missing memories, I can project to the balcony outside the observatory if you would like to go there for privacy and scenery?

"Oh, all the forms I've seen we're lovely, but I have to admit the duck is my favorite for obvious reasons...as long as that's okay with you. Anyway, the balcony sounds like a nice place to talk."

<Marius followed the holoduck quietly as she lead the way to the observatory where they stepped outside onto the balcony. He could see the beach where they had been earlier but it was too far and dark to make out much detail. It looked like the incoming tide had washed away his footprints already.>

"So." <He turned to Aurora.> "What part of your memory is incomplete?"
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"A little bit helps you relax and reduces your inhibitions," <Marius kind of wished he had some alcohol at that moment.> "but too much interferes with the brain's ability to function."

Ah, like Mambi's catnip without the memory issues. I believe I understand, though logic would assume one would want to self-limit or if inhibition becomes an issue to have an external limiting factor applied. An interesting phenomenon.

<Marius followed the holoduck quietly as she lead the way to the observatory where they stepped outside onto the balcony. He could see the beach where they had been earlier but it was too far and dark to make out much detail. It looked like the incoming tide had washed away his footprints already.>

"So." <He turned to Aurora.> "What part of your memory is incomplete?"

<the holoduck glows brightly against the night sky as she looks up at the stars and down at the beach>
The vast majority of the memory loss seems to occur after we welt the beach. The remote projector lost power, I resumed transfer control to the main systems...then I am being rebooted by Mambi with no memory of the party ever happening. As this encompasses what appears to be a chaotic time, I suspect it will take more time to explain. The fact this is the apparent result of a rogue AI is interesting to me. If you prefer to begin there, that would be appreciated.

However, I am more concerned about several smaller gaps, ones that occurred during my time with you alone. Memory gaps occur during our time in the garden after our dance together, as well as the kitchen sushi preparation and most importantly our time alone on the beach down there. In the garden, I do not recall our reason for leaving nor do I recall what we had found for Mambi. In the kitchen, I recall entering with you and preparing the sushi but next memory resumes with staff rabbits cheering you. On the beach, I recall all up to the point of my laying against your lap looking up at the stars. Can you assist in recollection?
 
Ah, like Mambi's catnip without the memory issues. I believe I understand, though logic would assume one would want to self-limit or if inhibition becomes an issue to have an external limiting factor applied. An interesting phenomenon.

<Marius nods.> "The more you have, the more it corrupts the ability to make good judgements. Like when to stop."

<the holoduck glows brightly against the night sky as she looks up at the stars and down at the beach> The vast majority of the memory loss seems to occur after we welt the beach. The remote projector lost power, I resumed transfer control to the main systems...then I am being rebooted by Mambi with no memory of the party ever happening. As this encompasses what appears to be a chaotic time, I suspect it will take more time to explain. The fact this is the apparent result of a rogue AI is interesting to me. If you prefer to begin there, that would be appreciated.

However, I am more concerned about several smaller gaps, ones that occurred during my time with you alone. Memory gaps occur during our time in the garden after our dance together, as well as the kitchen sushi preparation and most importantly our time alone on the beach down there. In the garden, I do not recall our reason for leaving nor do I recall what we had found for Mambi. In the kitchen, I recall entering with you and preparing the sushi but next memory resumes with staff rabbits cheering you. On the beach, I recall all up to the point of my laying against your lap looking up at the stars. Can you assist in recollection?

<Marius sighed and tried to recall the whirlwind of events.> "Well, the short version is, we got back from the beach and you and Mambi had an idea for a new system that would give you unlimited remote projection time, so we visited Miss Arizona to get her help. That's when the evil AI, Hydra, escaped and seized your systems to get revenge on her. The party turned to chaos and Mambi had a plan to use the secure consoles to kick out Hydra, but he tinkered with your memory and altered your personality at the last minute. And Mambi worked with Miss Arizona and Navi to remove his code." <He decided it might be good to talk up Mambi some more.> "I didn't know enough about you to really help much. I'm sorry. But Mambi knew what to do!"

<Marius thought for a bit before continuing. He was happy that she remembered their dance.>
"Hm...in the garden, we talked for a bit, and I tried to help you out with some minor maintenance issues. We found one of Mambi's toys in the pond. Then the kitchen called about a sushi question, so we headed over there. I did a little demonstration on sushi preparation that went...less than well..."<He decided not to elaborate the embarrassing situation that followed.> "...then head chef wasn't particularly polite but we dealt with that and eventually made our way to the beach with Mambi's experimental remote projection system."

<He turned to look at the beach again.> We explored the beach for a bit and over there we...<Marius pointed, but cut himself off. He decided to omit the kiss, feeling guilty about it since learning of Aurora's feelings toward Mambi.> "...enjoyed the view."

"Um...when the power ran out, you transferred back to the main system and I met you inside with Mambi."
 

NightmareEyes

Well-Known Member
Oh, I see...ok sure, I understand. Here, come with me and we can chat.

<he calls over to the duck> Hey @Marius Merganser , 'Zona and I are just going to go somewhere to talk in private, ok? We'll meet up again in a bit but thanks again for your help! If you need anything just let 'Rora know and she'll pass the message. Have fun and see ya soon!

<his eyes start to glow as a familiar shimmer appears in the air. As the shimmer parts you see the rift has opened to a candlelit room with a canopy bed and, oh, that's the room you just woke from! As he enters the rift and you follow, he plops himself comfortably at the foot of the bed and the glow from his eyes fades as the rift re-seals itself. You go to sit beside him as he presses the red button on a console and the shimmering rabbit form of Aurora appears>

Aurora, can we have some privacy please?

<the bunny nods and places her hands behind her back> Certainly. Audio-visual sensors will be disabled in this room until further notice upon my de-activation. Do you require delivery of any of the usual "private toys" before that occurs? Your custom restraints can be found in drawer number...

<the cat blushes deeply and quickly and empathically replies> NO!! No no, that won't be necessary, this is privacy for another reason, we're good!!! Thank you!!!

<as the rabbit nonchallantly nods and disappears with a shimmer, the deeply embarrassed cat looks at you and just giggles> Ugh, I have to really have a good chat with Aurora sometime about...anyway, not important. <clears his throat> We're alone now and not even Aurora can hear us now so no records. What's up? <he places his paw on yours comfortingly as he listens>
Taking a deep breath, Arizona slips off her headset and gently lays it on the floor beside her.

"Where to begin..." she mutters quietly. "Well...th' beginin', I guess." She says with a nervous chuckle.

Taking a moment to think, she starts out with a question.

"You haven't happened t' have heard of th' Wishing Star, have you?" before you can answer, she's already moved quickly onward. "I'd be surprised if ya did. Few know that it even exists, an' of the few people that do, most consider it an old legend, or some sorta children's tale. Basically, in about one in every trillion or such universes, a powerful, ancient magic is birthed along with th' stars an' planets an' such. This magic takes th' form of a massive, glowing, comet. A comet that travels across the universe, moving at blisteringly fast speeds as it passes through th' skies of every planet filled with intelligent life, visiting each once every thousand years or such. As it soars through these skies, a small piece of it breaks off, spiralin' downward, fallin' straight into th' grasp of whoever needs it th' most. The fragment grants that creature one singular wish, which they can use on whatever their heart desires. As such, that ancient magic has come to be known as th' Wishing Star.

"In most universes, th' Wishing Star will do its best to fulfill th' wish of the user in th' best way possible. However, in th' universe known as 123-1d, somehow... someway... th' Star was somehow corrupted, turnin' it into some sorta monkey's paw, seeking to fulfill the desire of its user in th' worst way possible. Despite this, th' people of 123-1d's Earth looked forward to th' coming of th' Star every thousand years. Th' rich would abandon their riches, families would tear themselves apart, an' many would seek a place among th' downtrodden t' have even the slightest chance of receiving that great gift. When th' day finally arrived, everyone gathered in th' streets, praying, hoping, crossing their fingers that tonight would be the luckiest night of their lives. Th' comet came. Th' piece broke off, streaking down to th' eagerly awaiting crowd."

The hybrid pauses a moment. When she begins again, you can hear a slight tremor to her voice.

"It soared out of reach of eagerly awaiting hands, dancing teasingly and slipping through outstretched fingers until it came t' rest on a small, whimpering child. Laying against the pavement, curled up into a ball, clenched tightly around a dirtied dragon plush, it was th' worst day of her entire life. She had just discovered that she had parents. Parents who saw her existence as a mistake. Parents who had abandoned her t' mask t' hide their infidelity, their crime. Parents...who wished she were dead. Th' blue dragon clutched to her chest was now truly her only friend in th' world. A dragon that had saw her through years of living on th' streets, through constant, bullying, teasing, beatings, and scorn. Even now, a group of those children stood over her, laughing as they laid into her with kick after kick after kick. Until th' Wishing Star fragment nestled itself slowly into her tightly clenched hands. They backed away slowly as suddenly, everyone in th' streets rushed her, fighting to pry th' piece from her grasp. But she kept firm...an' without even realizing what she was doing, her eyes firmly clenched shut, she shouted at th' top of her lungs her wish. 'Go away! Please! I wish everyone would just go away!' "

Silence. You can see her shaking now, on the verge of tears. Yet she presses quietly on.

"When th' creatures from th' agency found me, I was wanderin' a nightmarish landscape devoid of any life of any kind. Buildings whose shadows I had once hid in were now little more than ruins. A strange red mist hung in th' air, makin' it impossible t' see a few feet in front of ya. But I coulda sworn there were monsters lurkin' just up ahead, getting ready to swoop in an' eat me. There was no food or water t' find anywhere. If they hadn't found me, I woulda died there. I...I wish I woulda sometimes. But I didn't. They brought me back to their base, got me cleaned up, an' nursed me back t' health. For a moment, everything seemed like it would be alright. But then it wasn't."

The tears have finally come, pouring down her cheeks as she struggles to continue her tale.

"One of th' members of th' team, someone who had been particularly affectionate towards me, even offered to adopt me, was found dead th' next morning, involved in some sorta freak accident. From then on, bad things kept happenin' t' people I liked. Anythin' from bruised ankles t' death itself. Th' shard of th' Wishing Star was still workin' its magic, an' there was no way t' get it t' stop. Anyone who interacted with me was at risk at losing life an' limb. Gradually, th' effects died down, t' where ya could just say it was my own ineptitude keepin' everyone away, but they were there just th' same. The whole reason I've been workin' for th' agency in th' first place. Its t' find some way t' get rid of this cursed rock!"

She pulls the battered box from her bag and thrusts it towards you, opening it as the same calming effect you recognize from earlier spills into the room, beckoning you to take the small, iridescent shard laying within. To take it, to fulfill your hearts desire.

"An' what's more, the damn thing seems t' be all charged an' ready t' grant another wish." she growls, snapping the box closed and chasing that feeling away. "As if ruinin' my life wasn't bad enough...anyway. I was just wonderin' if ya had any idea on how t' get rid of this fer good? Yer...th' most capable creature I've come across in all my exploration of th' multiverse. If you can't do it...I don't think anyone else can. Please. Tell me you can help." Arizona looks at you hopefully, tears streaming down her cheeks. Vulnerable, pleading.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
<Marius sighed and tried to recall the whirlwind of events.> "Well, the short version is, we got back from the beach and you and Mambi had an idea for a new system that would give you unlimited remote projection time, so we visited Miss Arizona to get her help. That's when the evil AI, Hydra, escaped and seized your systems to get revenge on her. The party turned to chaos and Mambi had a plan to use the secure consoles to kick out Hydra, but he tinkered with your memory and altered your personality at the last minute. And Mambi worked with Miss Arizona and Navi to remove his code." <He decided it might be good to talk up Mambi some more.> "I didn't know enough about you to really help much. I'm sorry. But Mambi knew what to do!"

<the holoduck looks almost surprised and concerned as she processed what you said> I see...I must inquire to Mambi about this new system and thank him for his insights to remove the corrupt code. I can see the damage to memory but personality was altered? I am especially glad to hear that error was corrected! Was anyone hurt by my system's actions? Were...you hurt? <she leans in closer>

<Marius thought for a bit before continuing. He was happy that she remembered their dance.>
"Hm...in the garden, we talked for a bit, and I tried to help you out with some minor maintenance issues. We found one of Mambi's toys in the pond. Then the kitchen called about a sushi question, so we headed over there. I did a little demonstration on sushi preparation that went...less than well..."<He decided not to elaborate the embarrassing situation that followed.> "...then head chef wasn't particularly polite but we dealt with that and eventually made our way to the beach with Mambi's experimental remote projection system."

I do recall previous experienced with the head chef. His personality is...not compatible with my own normally. He can be jealous, so I hope your superior sushi skills did not embarrass him too much! <she sees your confused look and explains> Logic centres show a 86% chance that was the nature of the situation that unfolded given my knowledge of his ego and prejudices. He is not a pleasant one to assist, as I can speculate you discovered.

<He turned to look at the beach again.> We explored the beach for a bit and over there we...<Marius pointed, but cut himself off. He decided to omit the kiss, feeling guilty about it since learning of Aurora's feelings toward Mambi.> "...enjoyed the view."

"Um...when the power ran out, you transferred back to the main system and I met you inside with Mambi."

It sounds like a wonderful time, I am sorry I cannot recall it to the detail level you describe. <she pouts slightly> Perhaps a future replication of the event would be desirable, minus the attack of course? Related to that, I am curious. Did you wish to leave that AI trapped in the sand forever for future interaction, or would you like me to arrange molecular destruction at a later time? <she points to the spot in the distance with the pole still sticking out>
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"One of th' members of th' team, someone who had been particularly affectionate towards me, even offered to adopt me, was found dead th' next morning, involved in some sorta freak accident. From then on, bad things kept happenin' t' people I liked. Anythin' from bruised ankles t' death itself. Th' shard of th' Wishing Star was still workin' its magic, an' there was no way t' get it t' stop. Anyone who interacted with me was at risk at losing life an' limb. Gradually, th' effects died down, t' where ya could just say it was my own ineptitude keepin' everyone away, but they were there just th' same. The whole reason I've been workin' for th' agency in th' first place. Its t' find some way t' get rid of this cursed rock!"

She pulls the battered box from her bag and thrusts it towards you, opening it as the same calming effect you recognize from earlier spills into the room, beckoning you to take the small, iridescent shard laying within. To take it, to fulfill your hearts desire.

"An' what's more, the damn thing seems t' be all charged an' ready t' grant another wish." she growls, snapping the box closed and chasing that feeling away. "As if ruinin' my life wasn't bad enough...anyway. I was just wonderin' if ya had any idea on how t' get rid of this fer good? Yer...th' most capable creature I've come across in all my exploration of th' multiverse. If you can't do it...I don't think anyone else can. Please. Tell me you can help." Arizona looks at you hopefully, tears streaming down her cheeks. Vulnerable, pleading.

<the cat listened to her tale with a sadness in his eyes. He now understood why the taunts of the hydra AI were do devastating regarding that particular earth, having felt such pains himself in the past. Having obliterated an entire civilization by accident himself, he knew that it weighs heavy on the heart, and he also knew this coyote didn't have the centuries of time he had to come to terms with the pain, the nightmares, the memories of the screams. While long ago, he feels the pain of guilt as he recalls his own error so long ago with Atlantis, his simple attempt to help causing so much destruction that fateful day when he attempted to help their farmers make more topsoil. The horror as the entire land cracked, all bedrock for miles below converted into loose topsoil instantly by his inexperience, his futile useless screams of apology as hundreds started to die in the rubble as everything around him...he shakes his head to block out the memory, as he's done thousands of times before. Of course he would help the coyote any way he could!>

<reflexively he pulled her into a warm comforting hug>
Oh Arizona, I-I'm so sorry! No wonder you didn't want to talk about that earth's tale, I understand fully. More than you probably know actually. <his eyes divert for a moment> I once made a bad mistake too, one that cost a lot of lives and one that for a very very long time I could never forgive myself for. I'm glad you opened up to me, thank you for trusting me. I'm here for you and when that happened, you didn't understand what you had...what you were saying. Carrying items more powerful than you can handle safely is a heavy burden for the experienced, let alone those that are not! I know it's hard to believe but it gets easier to live with the accident and survivor's guilt after a long time, but if you ever need to talk to someone who's had...similar problems...I'm always here for you. <squeezes the hug a little tighter, then releases it to talk more normally to you>

As for your problem, I see the issue! It's bound to you and linked to your spirit so we can't just vaporize it, it wouldn't help anything. It does explain some of your bad luck mind you so what that tells me is that it's operating on quantum probabilities. That means it's still bound by the laws of physics, which is good because I'm the only magickal thing in this place! Aurora, can you scan this object please?

<absolutely nothing happens as we sit in silence, then the cat slaps his head and blushes> Right, privacy mode, forgot. Gonna turn it off for just one second, ok?

<he presses a few buttons on the console and the rabbit re-appears> Aurora, can you scan the object in the box that Arizona is holding please?

Certainly...reporting error, there is no object detected in the box she is holding.

<the cat looks up surprised> Really? Maybe it's the box shielding...'Zona, open it for 5 seconds tops and Rora, scan again please.

<as you reluctantly open the box and start counting, the rabbit moves to you and leans close to the box's lid, peering at the contents closely until you close it again>

Scan complete...no object detected to report. Multi-phasic and inter dimensional scans verify, box contains standard atmospheric gasses and dust particles within acceptable parameters. No energy signatures detected. The box is verified empty. Shall I resume privacy mode?

Wow, um yes, you may go now, thank you. <as she shimmers and disappears, several lights on the console turn purple as the cat exclaims> Ok, that was not expected! Magick it is then...but even still, I can assume it works by inter-dimensional linkages and therefore not even the containment cube's distance would help because it's already quantumly entangled with you. Nowhere I can portal it to and no way to disintegrate it, can't time-loop it and can't let it exist any longer. Nope this one might be a touch outside my expertise...

<after all you've seen, you look at the cat with a look of disbelief!> What, the not magickal thing? Really it's true, all of this is Andromedian tech mixed with some Venusian and other race in a few galaxies. My portals are magick in origin but that was given to me, I'm no expert on how magick works at all! I mean, you just saw, Aurora couldn't even detect it when she was looking right at it! They say any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magick and they're apparently right, but it's still technology and follows it's own rules. I just honestly don't know much about magick having stopped my studies after the, um, incident long ago...

<he thinks carefully> ...but maybe, just maybe...I do have access to an expert in it, Natasha, the unicorn who gave my my powers! It's been ages since we talked but when I explain the situation I'm sure she'd be willing to help out! What do you think, want to call in a consultant from the biblical times? <he smiles and winks>
 
<the holoduck looks almost surprised and concerned as she processed what you said> I see...I must inquire to Mambi about this new system and thank him for his insights to remove the corrupt code. I can see the damage to memory but personality was altered? I am especially glad to hear that error was corrected! Was anyone hurt by my system's actions? Were...you hurt? <she leans in closer>

<Marius laughed nervously.>

"Yeah, you definitely had a strong attraction to Mambi, but no major injuries that I know of. I think I might have some minor feather damage from the malfunctioning environmental systems and some robot things." <He was suddenly very self-conscious about the damage given the customary social importance of presenting good, healthy plumage. He tried to sound unconcerned.> "They grow back, so no big deal." <He knew it would be several months to a year for new feathers to replace the damaged ones but he didn't want Aurora to feel bad.>

I do recall previous experienced with the head chef. His personality is...not compatible with my own normally. He can be jealous, so I hope your superior sushi skills did not embarrass him too much! <she sees your confused look and explains> Logic centres show a 86% chance that was the nature of the situation that unfolded given my knowledge of his ego and prejudices. He is not a pleasant one to assist, as I can speculate you discovered.

"He wasn't very compatible with me either. He lacked any appreciation for your complexity and talents. <Marius mumbled, but quickly added with more enthusiasm,> "But the rest of the staff helped access the secure console in the freezer when it got ridiculously cold in there!" <Again, he decided to omit any details about his own participation in the effort.> "So they seem okay."

It sounds like a wonderful time, I am sorry I cannot recall it to the detail level you describe. <she pouts slightly> Perhaps a future replication of the event would be desirable, minus the attack of course? Related to that, I am curious. Did you wish to leave that AI trapped in the sand forever for future interaction, or would you like me to arrange molecular destruction at a later time? <she points to the spot in the distance with the pole still sticking out>

<Marius peered down at the beach.>
"Oh, I think he's still there so he can't access any technology."
<Marius saw the pole and shivered. It was like Hydra could hear or see him. With that thought, he spun around and looked at Aurora who looked quizzically back at him. He breathed a sigh of relief that she still seemed her normal self and didn't have red, glowing eyes.> "We should probably defer to Mambi and Miss Arizona about that."

<Marius sighed.>
"Our beach excursion was a lot of fun. We should definitely go again! I mean, unless of course, there's someone else you'd rather go with...I'd understand."
<He stuffed his wing hands into his jacket pockets and shrugged.>
 

NightmareEyes

Well-Known Member
<he thinks carefully> ...but maybe, just maybe...I do have access to an expert in it, Natasha, the unicorn who gave my my powers! It's been ages since we talked but when I explain the situation I'm sure she'd be willing to help out! What do you think, want to call in a consultant from the biblical times? <he smiles and winks>
Arizona sinks into the hug, letting years of anxiety, sorrow, depression and loneliness slip away, pouring out of her eyes and straight into the feline's fur. Grief and guilt still present, but less intense now. Somehow. As though simply sharing what had happened somehow helped to ease the pain.

She didn't know how long she was like that, held in Mambi's embrace as he gently soothes her, but it wasn't quite long enough. Reluctantly, she releases the hug and slides back, listening with interest, and then some apprehension, as the cat struggles to figure out how the shard works. When he finally recommends visiting a friend -a unicorn friend for that matter-, Arizona looks up with surprise.

"A unicorn? How didja manage that? I mean...I'm not surprised or anythin', but...well, yer quite lucky I will say. Ummm...anyway, sounds...yeah. Sounds good."
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
<Marius laughed nervously.>
"Yeah, you definitely had a strong attraction to Mambi, but no major injuries that I know of. I think I might have some minor feather damage from the malfunctioning environmental systems and some robot things." <He was suddenly very self-conscious about the damage given the customary social importance of presenting good, healthy plumage. He tried to sound unconcerned.> "They grow back, so no big deal." <He knew it would be several months to a year for new feathers to replace the damaged ones but he didn't want Aurora to feel bad.>

Oh! I am glad that damages to everyone was minimal, that would cause a troubling conflict in my morality subroutines!
<she examines your damaged feathers carefully> The infirmary may be able to treat your feather damage if you wish to go there later, as we have several cellular accelerators that would work.


<Marius peered down at the beach.>
"Oh, I think he's still there so he can't access any technology."
<Marius saw the pole and shivered. It was like Hydra could hear or see him. With that thought, he spun around and looked at Aurora who looked quizzically back at him. He breathed a sigh of relief that she still seemed her normal self and didn't have red, glowing eyes.> "We should probably defer to Mambi and Miss Arizona about that."

If you prefer. Based on what I am learning about this AI, I believe that would prefer complete destruction of the entity but you are correct. I shall ask them later once privacy mode is disengaged in their room. <she sees your quizzical look and adds nonchalantly> No need for concern, privacy mode is confirmed not for mating purposes, but rather to discuss an empty box apparently. I do not understand fully yet but will inquire later one.

<Marius sighed.>
"Our beach excursion was a lot of fun. We should definitely go again! I mean, unless of course, there's someone else you'd rather go with...I'd understand."
<He stuffed his wing hands into his jacket pockets and shrugged.>

<she smiles and bows slightly> I would have to wait until the remote unit has recharged, but I would prefer your company if it is possible. That is why i asked you, if I preferred another guest to accompany me, I would ask them instead. Query: did you wish another individual to join? Your comfort is important to me.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
Arizona sinks into the hug, letting years of anxiety, sorrow, depression and loneliness slip away, pouring out of her eyes and straight into the feline's fur. Grief and guilt still present, but less intense now. Somehow. As though simply sharing what had happened somehow helped to ease the pain.

She didn't know how long she was like that, held in Mambi's embrace as he gently soothes her, but it wasn't quite long enough. Reluctantly, she releases the hug and slides back, listening with interest, and then some apprehension, as the cat struggles to figure out how the shard works. When he finally recommends visiting a friend -a unicorn friend for that matter-, Arizona looks up with surprise.

"A unicorn? How didja manage that? I mean...I'm not surprised or anythin', but...well, yer quite lucky I will say. Ummm...anyway, sounds...yeah. Sounds good."

How'd I manage that? Luck!!! We go way way waaay back...she's the reason I can portal at all! Let's give her a call, so to speak! I'll be right back...

<with glowing eyes, a shimmering rift opens to a cluttered darkened room, and the cat dives into it disappearing into the darkness. You hear the clanging of objects being moved aside, and after several seconds the cat returns with a green sparkling candle and some greyish-coloured paper. He sets them down on the bed as the glow fades and the rift re-seals itself. He holds the candle in his paws against his chest and taking a deep breath, closes his eyes as he starts to speak softly to himself...>

"Hi Natasha! I know I'm a little early in my writing to you my dear, but I have a unique dangerous situation you might be able to help with. A good friend of mine has..."

<as the cat continues his talk, you marvel at how the paper seems to be writing his words on it's own in a stylized script, the flowing words echoing him as you read along to him describing your story, the shard, the earth incident, your curse, everything! You read as he describes the situation eloquently, stressing the importance of the object's bindings and the potential for chaos, as well you note several choice words of affection towards you in his writings? As he finally finishes his story and signs off, he opens his eyes and sets the candle down> "...hope to hear from you soon, Love always, Mambi"

<he turns to you and smiles widely>
Ok then, that should be that, now to deliver it and the rest is up to her. Sadly I can't just go and pop in to see her...she's in hiding and I will never reveal her new home even if I could get to it on my own, which I can't, but she gave me this to contact her anytime I wanted. Ready?

<he takes a small flame from one of the existing candles in the room and lights the green candle with it. You marvel as the flame shoots pure purple from it, and as the sparkles start to shift and flow somehow, the paper rises on it's own and touching the purple flame, explodes into a glittery light that floats to the ceiling and vanishes>

Well, it's all up to her now, but she's usually pretty prompt. I stressed how this is serious so she probably will try to rush a bit if she's available. We should know within an hour if she can come, but until then we can talk about...

<suddenly you look around concerned as the room appears to be darker? Yes, no question about it, the light levels from the candles is definitely diminishing. As you look around concerned, the cat laughs and places his paw on your shoulder reassuringly> Ah, she got the message it seems! Brace yourself, this is pretty freaky but cool. Watch!

<you look around as you see the light is definitely dimming in general in the room slowly, with a small cloud of light forming in the middle of the room getting brighter! You notice that the light from the room isn't going away, but rather seems to be drawing towards the cloud ball as objects seem to stretch slightly in response, distorting in appearance as if a smeared painting, including you and the cat! You note you feel absolutely nothing different as the lights get dimmer and dimmer, the cloud of light seemingly absorbing all the light from the room but casting none of it's own except to glow itself, not even reflecting off of you or the cat or any objects. Eventually you see nothing but absolute darkness and the glowing light ball, which starts to take an equestrian form, slowing forming legs and a horned head as it solidifies. With one final burst of light, the form takes full shape and the light levels from the room start to return to normal.>

<one moment more, and you marvel as you see a fairly large female horse in the room with you, with silvery-white iridescent fur and skin, large purple friendly eyes, golden hooves, and a silvery glowing sparkling horn. She smiles and moves her head towards the wide-eyes cat, nuzzling his face tenderly as he purrs loudly in response. She them smiles warmly at you, carrying herself with a queen's regal atmosphere, and softly>


Ah my sweet Mambikins, how wonderful to hear from you again!!! We can talk more momentarily, but from what you say, we should deal with this shard issue right away. <turns to you and nods respectfully> You must be Arizona, a pleasure to meet you, and I see from your aura that you are quite linked to this "wishing star fragment" indeed. I'll need to set up a safe secure null-magick field to examine it without risk of corruption in a moment, but before that, I'd like to know more about just how long you have had this fragment and how have you used it, because I can see the corrupting influences coming off your spirit from here, if I may be honest.

<the cat qulps and quickly whispers into the unicorn's ear, as she closes her eyes> Oh, I see...the note never specified exactly...I'm so sorry Arizona. You were but a child
when that happened. Still, any details you can provide as to it's origin would help, as these types of fragments usually are quite positive. The note mentioned this one came from Earth 123-d. Mambi, do you know anything about that earth that would be corrupting influence on the comet fragment? <he shakes his head> What about you Arizona, do you know anything that might have corrupted it? If not we can work around that I suppose, but knowledge is power after all and the alteration is curious to me. <as she listens, you see her horn glowing and several mysterious objects start to materialize around her...>
 
<she smiles and bows slightly> I would have to wait until the remote unit has recharged, but I would prefer your company if it is possible. That is why i asked you, if I preferred another guest to accompany me, I would ask them instead. Query: did you wish another individual to join? Your comfort is important to me.

<Marius looked up at Aurora in surprise.>
"Really? I'd love to go with you! I'd be honored, but I just figured- I mean- I thought you might-"

<Marius sighed. He had enough second guessing everything. As much as he thought he would prefer going another round with Hydra, it was time to put his cards on the table and let the fates decide what happened next. He may not like the outcome, but at least there would be no more ambiguity. >

"It's just that- well...part of the process of removing Hydra's code involved reconciling the differences between some aspect of yourself after and before the infection. Since you had suddenly...let's say...elevated your expressions of affection to Mambi, we figured the Hydra code was responsible."

<Marius started to pace back and forth nervously.>

"So when Mambi asked how you felt about him, you gave a rather touching answer; you held him in the highest regard, you were best friends. We kind of expected that answer, but then he asked you felt about him prior to the party."

<He stopped short and looked at Aurora with pleading eyes.>

"And you gave him the same answer. Because you love him...and that makes sense! You two have known each other for the longest time. You live and work together and no one knows you two better than the other!"

<Marius sighed and looked down at the floor. He swallowed hard.>

"And then I wandered into the party and we spent some time together and we became friends..."

<He closed his eyes and steeled himself.>

"...And I don't know why, but somewhere along the line I had this hope that maybe, some how, we might...become...more...than just friends. I don't even know how that would work!" <He laughed for a moment.> "But I can't perform magic. I don't know high level science. I don't travel to distant galaxies; I rarely leave my beach! I'm just a duck and I'm realizing I don't even have anything to offer you..."

<By now, he knew he was rambling and not liking his train of thought.>

"...and even though I'm falling for you, I know you have feelings for Mambi and I respect that. I won't get in the way. But I hope maybe we could still be friends?"

<His heart and breath stopped at that moment. He looked at Aurora and thought to himself, 'Good heavens! What I did I say!?'>
 

NightmareEyes

Well-Known Member
<the cat qulps and quickly whispers into the unicorn's ear, as she closes her eyes> Oh, I see...the note never specified exactly...I'm so sorry Arizona. You were but a child
when that happened. Still, any details you can provide as to it's origin would help, as these types of fragments usually are quite positive. The note mentioned this one came from Earth 123-d. Mambi, do you know anything about that earth that would be corrupting influence on the comet fragment? <he shakes his head> What about you Arizona, do you know anything that might have corrupted it? If not we can work around that I suppose, but knowledge is power after all and the alteration is curious to me. <as she listens, you see her horn glowing and several mysterious objects start to materialize around her...>

Arizona watches in awe as the Unicorn appears. She had never seen such an impressive display of magic done by one individual. Nor a Unicorn, for that matter. So for a few moments, all she could do was stare jaws agape, at the beautiful, graceful creature that had appeared right in the room. Dimly she was aware of Mambi and the Unicorn talking, but all she could focus on was that gleaming, diamond-like fur, the shining gold hooves, her sparkling purple eyes, the shimmering silver horn. And that dress! That simple, elegant purple dress that brought out her eyes, glowing like the night sky at twilight. She herself seemed to be positively glowing, brightening the dark room considerably.

She was...perfect. The very definition of beauty. A goddess, whilst she, Arizona, was just a mere dirty mortal. Jealousy coursed through the hybrid's veins as she glanced down at her silver-sheened hands. Those stupid, filthy unclean hands. She suddenly realized her hoodie and jeans had changed to the same otherworldly dress as the Unicorn's. Flushing, her clothing quickly changed into her favorite dress, a variant of the peacock dress she had worn earlier. A long sleeved, elegant pure white dress the same color as the scales on her hands, feet and tail. It melted seamlessly into her silver-white hands, almost making it look like she was wearing a pair of gloves. It was one of the only things she actually felt like she was able to pull off, one of the only ways she could feel beautiful. But standing next to the Unicorn? Such a glamorous, amazing creature? She just felt fake. Pretending to be something she wasn't.

Flushing even harder, her clothing quickly melted back into a simple hoodie and jeans and she thrust her silver hands deep into their pockets. Whatever. It's not like she needed to be beautiful anyway...

Suddenly, she realized that the Unicorn had asked her something and was waiting for a response. Somehow, the coyote flushed even harder, hoping neither Mambi nor the Unicorn had noticed her inner turmoil.

"S-sorry, Ma'am." She started, taking a deep breath to steady herself. "And ummm...thank you. It's...it's been a while, yeah. Ummm...ah think th' scientists back at th' agency had two ideas of how th' Wishin' Star corrupted. Th' first was that some sorta ancient powerful warlock had managed t' taint it somehow. Though it would've had t' have been someone extremely powerful t' do somethin' like that. An' th' Wishin' Star magic itself is quite...wild in nature. Or so they said. Like th' magic it's made of has a mind of its own. Extremely dangerous t' tamper with, but supposedly it could've been done if th' warlock knew what they were doin'. But th' more accepted theory was that th' universe itself was corrupted at birth. That instead'a turnin' into a place designed t' help nurture an' create life, it turned into a place designed t' torture and destroy it. I uhh... dunno if that sounds silly or not...but I've seen enough Hell dimensions in my travels that th' idea seems plausible. Ummm...does that help at all?"
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"...And I don't know why, but somewhere along the line I had this hope that maybe, some how, we might...become...more...than just friends. I don't even know how that would work!" <He laughed for a moment.> "But I can't perform magic. I don't know high level science. I don't travel to distant galaxies; I rarely leave my beach! I'm just a duck and I'm realizing I don't even have anything to offer you..."

<By now, he knew he was rambling and not liking his train of thought.>

"...and even though I'm falling for you, I know you have feelings for Mambi and I respect that. I won't get in the way. But I hope maybe we could still be friends?"

<His heart and breath stopped at that moment. He looked at Aurora and thought to himself, 'Good heavens! What I did I say!?'>

<the holoduck tilts her head, attempting to process what you're saying. After a moment, she smiles and places her arm around you as she robotically explains>

I think I understand your perceptions, but you may have made a slight logic error. You stated that I hold Mambi in highest regards, and that is true. Our history has enabled me to know him very well and he got to know me very well also. As organics go I find him to be quite honourable and entertaining as well as intelligent and caring. I admire him and enjoy his company greatly, but we are not exclusively friends, nor are we lovers if that is your implication.

Besides, it is irrelevant anyway, since the reverse simply is not true. Mambi likes me, but his true love is another creature from long ago, designation "Natasha".

You also appear to hold physical and mental abilities as a high factor for compatibility and desire metrics, and I do not understand why. Is it not the core of a person's being that truely determines who they are rather than their abilities? In that regard, you are superior to most organics encountered in honour, humour, compassion, empathy, and general caring...as well as an excess of humility it would seem.

So given all these factors, there is nothing to "get in the way" of between me and Mambi, and of course we can be elevated-priority friends, I see nothing that would interfere with this, and I desire it as well!!! Does this new clarification reassure you any, or is further explanation required?
<she looks at you warmly as her glow shines in the night sky on the balcony>
 
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Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
Flushing even harder, her clothing quickly melted back into a simple hoodie and jeans and she thrust her silver hands deep into their pockets. Whatever. It's not like she needed to be beautiful anyway...

Suddenly, she realized that the Unicorn had asked her something and was waiting for a response. Somehow, the coyote flushed even harder, hoping neither Mambi nor the Unicorn had noticed her inner turmoil.

"S-sorry, Ma'am." She started, taking a deep breath to steady herself. "And ummm...thank you. It's...it's been a while, yeah. Ummm...ah think th' scientists back at th' agency had two ideas of how th' Wishin' Star corrupted. Th' first was that some sorta ancient powerful warlock had managed t' taint it somehow. Though it would've had t' have been someone extremely powerful t' do somethin' like that. An' th' Wishin' Star magic itself is quite...wild in nature. Or so they said. Like th' magic it's made of has a mind of its own. Extremely dangerous t' tamper with, but supposedly it could've been done if th' warlock knew what they were doin'. But th' more accepted theory was that th' universe itself was corrupted at birth. That instead'a turnin' into a place designed t' help nurture an' create life, it turned into a place designed t' torture and destroy it. I uhh... dunno if that sounds silly or not...but I've seen enough Hell dimensions in my travels that th' idea seems plausible. Ummm...does that help at all?"

Metamorphic clothing? How novel an concept! But yes that information was quite helpful actually, thank you. I'd find it unlikely that a warlock would have the raw power to corrupt the Wishing Star so thoroughly on their own, and even a pact with a demon would only last a short while at best...maybe a century or 2 give or take. Therefore I think we can assume something about the universe itself. Perhaps an inversion of some dark matter allowed it to pass through and absorb some? I believe we can start there as a hypothesis and work from that.

<she smiles, as her horn shimmers and from her materialized objects, several jars and a bowl float to you casually> These are chakra and spiritual neutralization powders pre-activated by me when I processed them. Arizona, I need you to please mix those powders in the bowl in equal proportions, and then with your bare hands, sprinkle some around in a circle around this room and onto your forehead. It's important that you do this, as the magic is tied to you directly and that will allow us to examine the fragment safely without negating my own magick or any other. If you'd please, though I should warn you you might feel a little light-headed, but still, if you please. <beckons to the room and the bowl as you proceed to pour them out>

<she turns to the cat>
Now Mambi, tell me, do you still have that wonderful intelligence matrix in this place? Her scanners would be very useful as well if you did.

Actually I do, we're in privacy mode now but I asked her to look at it earlier for a brief moment and she wasn't able to detect anything. Like, literally anything! To her it was as if it didn't even exist. Mean anything to you?

<the unicorn rolls her eyes and sighs with a lecturing smile> MAM-bi...you just exposed yourself to the relic? Unprotected completely? I taught you better than that, you're not that reckless normally. What if you were equally caught in it's snares? Really now, silly cat, you should know better! <she shakes her head slightly as the blushing cat sheepishly grins> But still that is very interesting, that would mean it's operating purely outside our dimensional planes in it's magic, and only perceived by us due to spiritual contamination! You only know it exists if it's affecting you. Aurora's root systems are far away, and therefore her equivalent to a "spirit" was still untouched by it, so she saw nothing. If you were to look at it through a telescope, odds are you would not see it either...you'd have to be near it to see it. Highly corrupted to be able to interact in such a manner!!! Arizona, how are you doing, my dear?

<you look back to her and nod as you're just finishing the circle and are about to rub some powders on your forehead as instructed. With her approving motion, you touch your paw to your forehead, and instantly a bright-green energy wave rushes from your body making your fur tingle intensely. The wave smashes against the boundaries of the circle you drew and forming a dome around us, shimmers and fades slightly as the box starts to glow>

Good, we're protected now from any dangers. <turns to the cat and gives him a side-eye as he lowers his head bashfully> Arizona, please rejoin us and let's see that shard. You should be able to open the box without any effects on us or you now from it so don't be afraid. Can you tell me any more about that earth it came from? Was it generally an evil place? If you were helped, obviously good existed there so that would help to determine the "passing through dark-matter theory or not. "
 
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<the holoduck tilts her head, attempting to process what you're saying. After a moment, she smiles and places her arm around you as she robotically explains>

I think I understand your perceptions, but you may have made a slight logic error. You stated that I hold Mambi in highest regards, and that is true. Our history has enabled me to know him very well and he got to know me very well also. As organics go I find him to be quite honourable and entertaining as well as intelligent and caring. I admire him and enjoy his company greatly, but we are not exclusively friends, nor are we lovers if that is your implication.

<Marius perked up.>
"Oh!"
<He nodded thoughtfully, desperately trying to contain his elation due to the fact that his hopes did not burst into flames.>

Besides, it is irrelevant anyway, since the reverse simply is not true. Mambi likes me, but his true love is another creature from long ago, designation "Natasha".

"Oh."
<Marius repeated, sincerely saddened at the thought Mambi was separated from his love. He decided not to pry, at least, not from Aurora.>

You also appear to hold physical and mental abilities as a high factor for compatibility and desire metrics, and I do not understand why. Is it not the core of a person's being that truely determines who they are rather than their abilities? In that regard, you are superior to most organics encountered in honour, humour, compassion, empathy, and general caring...as well as an excess of humility it would seem.

<Marius blushed a new shade of red.>
"Aw. I try."

<After a moment of thinking about it, he looked serious again.>


"Well, I guess, in my species, as with a lot of Avians', it's customary for the ladies to select their relationship partners. They may choose based on priority traits like plumage which is often a sign of good health and access to good food. They may prefer talents like singing or dancing. Others focus on skills like house construction. So while I agree with you, more often than not, just being good guy isn't always enough. I mean, I know I would like you just as much when you're avatar is a duck or cat or rabbit, or whatever you liked it to be."

So given all these factors, there is nothing to "get in the way" of between me and Mambi, and of course we can be elevated-priority friends, I see nothing that would interfere with this, and I desire it as well!!! Does this new clarification reassure you any, or is further explanation required? <she looks at you warmly as her glow shines in the night sky on the balcony>

"It's very reassuring!"
<Marius looked Aurora in the eyes and smiled. He sat up straight and tall.>
"Elevated-priority friends." <He repeated the words slowly as if to test them out.> "I like the sound of that. I think that calls for a celebration!"
 

NightmareEyes

Well-Known Member
Good, we're protected now from any dangers. <turns to the cat and gives him a side-eye as he lowers his head bashfully> Arizona, please rejoin us and let's see that shard. You should be able to open the box without any effects on us or you now from it so don't be afraid. Can you tell me any more about that earth it came from? Was it generally an evil place? If you were helped, obviously good existed there so that would help to determine the "passing through dark-matter theory or not. "
Arizona sneezes, rubbing her head as she makes her way over to the cat and unicorn, staggering slightly as she rubs her head.

"A li'l light-headed indeed." she mutters to herself, sitting back down on the floor as she pulls the box from her bag, opening it and laying it down on the floor in front of her.

"Ummm...ah might not be th' best person t' ask Ma'am." the hybrid says, blushing slightly. "Well...I guess I am, but...what I mean is that I-uhhh...I grew up on th' streets, and ummm...well, that typically means I tend t' see th' worst side of people." Gahhhhhhhh....why was she so flustered!? Well, she knew why. It was because of the beautiful, alluring, ravishing Unicorn standing in all her regal glory not ten paces away. But...well, she was already spoken for, taken by the other creature she'd been crushing over. But...well, she was thirsting over the Unicorn...Natasha...more so than she was used to. It was so bad she couldn't even look at Natasha without picturing that perfect frame pressed up against hers...running her fingers through soft, silky fur...

SHE WAS DOING IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!

Vainly, Arizona shook her head in an attempt to clear it, closing her eyes and muttering something to herself. Taking a deep breath, she dug into her bag and took hold of a small, cool orb, stilling her mind like a pool of water, but still the intrusive thoughts about the Unicorn kept rippling the surface. Gritting her fangs, she squeezed the orb harder, forcing those ripples down until the surface was completely smooth.

Whew. Why was that so hard? It must've been some type of magic or something. Yeah. Magic.

Abruptly, Arizona suddenly realized the other two creatures in the room were waiting for her to continue.

"Sorry, Miss." she muttered, keeping a tight grip on the orb as she continued.

"I uh...do remember that creatures seemed t' be a lot greedier, especially when compared to other universes an' dimensions. An'...there was that whole issue with my parents..."

The still waters of her mind trembled, but 'Zona kept a tight hold on the orb and waited for the spell to pass.

"...ummm...basically hybrids an' interspecies relationships were frowned upon, basically. But...it wasn't all bad. I met this one kid...the kid of th' richest people in town, apparently, who noticed I was lonely an'...gave me his stuffed dragon t'...t' help keep me company. Though...that one might be a fluke, I suppose. Th' kid's nice in every universe he's in. Ah...ah could give ya th' dragon t' examine, if that would help." Her tone of voice indicates she is quite reluctant about the idea.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
<After a moment of thinking about it, he looked serious again.>

"Well, I guess, in my species, as with a lot of Avians', it's customary for the ladies to select their relationship partners. They may choose based on priority traits like plumage which is often a sign of good health and access to good food. They may prefer talents like singing or dancing. Others focus on skills like house construction. So while I agree with you, more often than not, just being good guy isn't always enough. I mean, I know I would like you just as much when you're avatar is a duck or cat or rabbit, or whatever you liked it to be."

<she nods> I can see why this would normally be the case for you. However since I do not require you to construct a home for me or to provide food, I do not factor that at all, and therefore being a good guy really is enough for me, however I am glad that you show signs of good health regardless.

As for my avatar form, you forget it is a convenience.
<the holoduck grins slightly and with a shimmer suddenly transforms into an exact duplicate of yourself for a moment except all blue and glowing. She stands and turns to face you bill-to-bill, with her original robotic feminine voice still being spoken>

I can appear in any form I choose without effort, and can be customized to your personal preferences at any time, however if you wish I shall resume my internal visualization template as it represents "me". <she shimmers and re-appears as her original curvy bunny form, then sits beside you again>

"It's very reassuring!"
<Marius looked Aurora in the eyes and smiled. He sat up straight and tall.>
"Elevated-priority friends." <He repeated the words slowly as if to test them out.> "I like the sound of that. I think that calls for a celebration!"

<she tilts her head confused and looks into a window in the building, currently showing lights twirling and several dancers> While I agree with the sentiment completely, you are currently attending a party inhabited by 146 individuals in various states of celebratory behaviors. I believe a celebration is already in progress, unless I misunderstood your colloquialism?
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
"Sorry, Miss." she muttered, keeping a tight grip on the orb as she continued.

"I uh...do remember that creatures seemed t' be a lot greedier, especially when compared to other universes an' dimensions. An'...there was that whole issue with my parents..."

The still waters of her mind trembled, but 'Zona kept a tight hold on the orb and waited for the spell to pass.

"...ummm...basically hybrids an' interspecies relationships were frowned upon, basically. But...it wasn't all bad. I met this one kid...the kid of th' richest people in town, apparently, who noticed I was lonely an'...gave me his stuffed dragon t'...t' help keep me company. Though...that one might be a fluke, I suppose. Th' kid's nice in every universe he's in. Ah...ah could give ya th' dragon t' examine, if that would help." Her tone of voice indicates she is quite reluctant about the idea.

<the unicorn merely smiles and waves her golden hoof dismissively> Oh no, that won't be necessary thank you, you may keep your dragon friend for now. I believe you have given me the true clue I required. You say that greed and intolerance was rampant, and those tend to be magnets for a special kind of evil. I believe I understand what is happening now, but to confirm my theory, let's me test something if I may.

<as her horn glows, you see the shard lift out of the box and float between us. You take a moment to savour that that for the first time in a long while, there are no feelings from it's opening, no urges, no troubles...it's just...a rock now, floating pretty but nothing is happening to you or anyone! As the rock spins in place, you see her wave her hoof in a circle, and a series of glowing shapes encircle it, odd symbols made of fire and light. After a moment more, she stops and the shard settles back into the box>

Yes...that explains it, I see the corruption nature now, and one final test to confirm. Arizona, can you hold this please? Place it around your neck gently.

<she reaches down and hands you a long necklace of seemingly vines with a sweet pink and blue flower glowing throughout it. As you put it over your head, you feel a warmth flowing through your body, and with your next few breaths, you see a sickly-green haze emerge from your mouth, tasteless and odorless but definitely there! With a knowing nod, she reaches over and gently lifts the necklace off of you and sets is back down as the haze disappears instantly. She then turns and settles to explain>

All right, as you know the shard is normally a positive influence and comes from the birth of a universe, inherently a positive action. It desires to give desires and is driven by desires for purely altruistic purposes. A healthy "wishing star" and its magic will normally be expending it's energy to give the wish, and then recharge it's energy through the energy from the joy that granting the wish provides, acting as a symbiosis if you will. That's why it bonds on a pure spiritual level with the holder, to provide a conduit for this energy exchange.

Now, it would seem that your stone has come from a world where instead of feeding off the positive emotions, it feeds on the negative ones, and thus it ensures it's wishes provide an abundance of those emotions to feed on. Judging by what I've seen, it crossed over from a dimensional plane where it was created by the death of a universe, and the raw turbulence of that universe's death probably bridged the gap long enough for it to cross over intact.

<she looks over at you and sighs> My dear, due to this, your spirit is being corrupted by this bond, as the stone wants you to experience misery, turmoil, anguish, loss, sadness...to feed itself of course, and thus everyone you encounter will be affected by this "bad luck" aura, to grossly simplify the process for you. That way even when the stone is not directly causing problems, it ensures that enough problems are being created by you so it never goes hungry. It's constantly snacking on the misfortunes of you and everyone around you. That is the nature of your problem at the moment.

<she places her hoof on your shoulder sympathetically as the cat merely listens amazed> "'Tasha, you're amazing!"

<she smiles modestly> Thank you Mambikins! <turns back to you> Don't worry Arizona, luckily we can deal with this now that we understand it, and ironically your dragon may be the key after all! <she laughs slightly as you and the cat look at her confused> As an anchor, may I ask you to tell me about your most joyful, reassuring memory with your dragon friend? You'll see why momentarily...<she starts mixing different powders into a bowl while her glowing horn floats other items near her.>
 
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<she nods> I can see why this would normally be the case for you. However since I do not require you to construct a home for me or to provide food, I do not factor that at all, and therefore being a good guy really is enough for me, however I am glad that you show signs of good health regardless.

<Marius nodded in understanding but doubt still tugged at the back of his mind. Anyone could just be nice, even if not everyone was. Maybe he was a boy scout but he certainly was no saint. He wondered what else he could do when, other than some minor maintenance, he didn't have the technical capacity to provide things that she might need or want. He decided he would have to reflect more on that later.>

As for my avatar form, you forget it is a convenience. <the holoduck grins slightly and with a shimmer suddenly transforms into an exact duplicate of yourself for a moment except all blue and glowing. She stands and turns to face you bill-to-bill, with her original robotic feminine voice still being spoken>

<Marius's surprise turned into delight as she reminded him of his dream from earlier in which his holographic form could dance and "physically" interact with her.>

I can appear in any form I choose without effort, and can be customized to your personal preferences at any time, however if you wish I shall resume my internal visualization template as it represents "me". <she shimmers and re-appears as her original curvy bunny form, then sits beside you again>

<she tilts her head confused and looks into a window in the building, currently showing lights twirling and several dancers
> While I agree with the sentiment completely, you are currently attending a party inhabited by 146 individuals in various states of celebratory behaviors. I believe a celebration is already in progress, unless I misunderstood your colloquialism?

"Well, that's convenient."
<Marius stood up and bowed to Aurora before extending his hand to her as she had done to him in his dream.>
"Care to dance?"

<Aurora took his hand and stood.>
Not dancing in the dance hall would seem unconventional, but I accept your offer. Which dance shall we perform?

"We could try a waltz?"

<Aurora nodded and they took their positions and started to dance. She carefully tracked his body to maintain a simulated physical contact as he moved.>

"You know, I was curious about how you decided on the design of your avatars. They're all very..um...attractive."
<Marius blushed and hoped his awkward flirting didn't sound awkward...or like flirting.>
 
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