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Snippet #10868

located in Reality, a part of Almost an Allegory, one of the many universes on RPG.

Reality

St. Glears, a town of the post-modern era, dilapidated by time, is barely large enough to justify its hospital, university, and skyscraper.

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David felt kind of fake. His features could have been chiseled from some beige marble and his eyes glimmering emeralds, but he was fairly sure they were not. He touched his face. A few stimuli raced to his brain in response. Reassured that he was, in fact, human, despite his very alien surroundings, David took a step out from the alleyway. Corrugated steel spires bruised the sullen sky, vanishing into black hazes where the sun's life-giving rays were completely staunched. He looked down to his feet. He was barefoot (of course), and upon closer inspection realized that was in fact totally nude. Besides this and his neatly trimmed hair (in various places), David found that he had miraculously aged a good nine or ten years. He felt as though he should have been in his late teens or early twenties, and the substantial growth of his body seemed to further reinforce his suspicion. Around him, various crowds were beginning to gather, observing him as though he were some escaped zoo animal. They stood on panels that looked reminiscent of octagonal mirrors. The inside was marked by dozens of similar, smaller replicas arranged in patterns. They seemed to move of their own accord, ferrying their occupants to and fro the magnificent metropolis. Above them, tube systems seemed to carry other people (most clothed) to even farther distances beyond the immediate locale. David suddenly felt very bashful. Oh, the woes of pubescence! He attempted to jump onto another panel, only to have it seem to collapse beneath the sudden shift in weight. However, instead of dropping him hundreds of feet into the inky black abyss that lurked beneath them, it plummeted down like an elevator. Some peculiar technology kept him rooted in place, as though the gravity field surrounding him had suddenly been magnified ten or fifteen fold and his feet almost sunk into the material that the panels were made of.

However, as he looked down (he did not feel comfortable looking up), he saw that his feet actually were sinking into them. How curious this new place was. One moment, he had been tucked away on his couch along with that Sable fellow, and the next he had been spirited away to this futuristic city where technology was so advanced as to be called "magic". Now that he had a few seconds to reflect on his surroundings, David couldn't help but notice that he had been hearing an incessant 'oopa, oopa' sound since he stepped from that alleyway. Suspicious, he glanced over his shoulder, and immediately noticed that there happened to be a ball of what appeared to be bellybutton lint trailing him. It had large, innocuous eyes, and then cream-colored bat ears and a porcine snout. A small tail trailed out from its bottom, taking the base shape of a slinky of some sort. Against all odds, it appeared to have a method of communicating beyond its annoying grunts. Telepathy! Now that David was paying attention, he found that 'oopa' was translated in his head into a variety of odd phrases, among them: 'It's about time you noticed me, you naked oaf!', 'What are you, from the Wild?' and a variety of expletives and slurs that David did not really wish to think about more than he had to. David decided on a whim to call the creature 'Oopa'.

It seemed calmer. 'Well, now that I've got your attention... What are you doing here?' It had an inexplicably deep voice, much like that of Samuel Jackson, for such a cute creature. David wondered why it had not said 'ENGLISH, MOTHERFUCKER. DO YOU SPEAK IT?' He had seen a black man (possibly Samuel Jackson) say that on television once when his mother had been preoccupied.

"I am not sure. My name is David!" said David.

'You must be from the outside... I've already checked and double checked a handful of databases, but they show no residents who match your appearance. It would explain your... bareness, too,' replied Oopa. He seemed confused.

"I do like to go outside sometimes. What is a database?"

'What? You mean you don't know what a database is? Jeez, even the barbarians know that. After books became obsolete--'

"What?! You mean you don't have any books?! But I love to read!"

'Bah! They're just compendiums of words. Useless written words. A variety of other methods of communication have long rendered such a primitive system out of date! Somatic command phrases trigger certain reactions in our technology, whereas gesticulations can also provoke certain changes. Oh, and don't get me started on telepathy! It is so convenient. Besides that, information from our computers are automatically downloaded from the machines into our minds, and vice versa for uploading.' In David's opinion, much of what Oopa said was really just cleverly disguised gibberish, so he didn't pay much attention. Instead, he busied himself by looking around at the vast and startlingly massive buildings all around them. They appeared to be approaching the underlevels; it was basic human instinct that told David that the darkness equaled badness, and up above it had been fairly dark. But down here... the only light was cast by the occasional streetlight or a handful of fireflies. David wondered why there were not more robots. He had heard of robots through science fiction and through some movies, and he had always equated a future society with electronic devices like them, but he saw none. He articulated this thought and this worry to Oopa. The response was a hiss, 'Oh, they're everywhere... but they blend in. They look like you. Hell, speaking of which, you could be one. They call 'em androids, you know. No emotion. They identify them 'cause of their lack of empathy.' It reminded David of that one film -- what was it called? -- where the bounty hunter had always said he 'retired' androids.

The panel suddenly came to a halt. It had stopped right in front of a building; it looked inexplicably derelict in comparison to the glorious metallurgy that had gone into the upper half of the city's architecture. He took a step off and without warning the panel rocketed off the ground and back up into the lighter area. Whereas the world above had been a place of perpetual dusk because the skyscrapers blotted out the sun, this land was one of infinite night. David wondered if perhaps he would see a scattering of stars when true night fell. Oopa hovered noiselessly by his shoulder, occasionally bobbing up and down and blinking erratically. He looked distraught. David took a step forward and noticed the flashing neon sign fitted onto the building's face. In blinking pink, yellow and orange colors, it said: THINKHOUSE. Little did David know that in this land of monotony and routine, this was the equivalent of an illegal whorehouse or brothel... except it offered a different kind of pleasure. One of the mental variety, to be precise. He knocked on the door and smiled dumbly as a woman (pretty, he decided, in a somewhat intellectual sort of way) popped her head out. She closed one eye and scrutinized him for a moment, then ushered him inside. "Come on in, 'en. Come in." Maybe she was British. David didn't ask, because suddenly his jaw came unhinged and his mouth fell agape. He was standing in the middle of a contemporary living room, with polished wood floors and strange design. This, the lobby, was somewhat plain, but that was only because they didn't want to give any clients an undeserved taste of what they were in store for.

The woman from the door suddenly popped up from behind a desk. "Hi!" she said in an entirely different voice. "I'm Lily Languages. What can I do for you?"

"What is this place?" David asked, still somewhat dumbfounded. The whole place was suspended in this kind of unmistakable uniqueness. David was sure that if he was a permanent resident of the world above, it would have been even more daunting to arrive in such a place. He took a step forward.

"This is the Thinkhouse, silly. We offer you some nice mental stimulation in exchange for a few units of whatever currency you prefer. We deal in dollars, terabytes, dances, and even funny jokes! All we ask is that you pay up front."

"I think I know some funny jokes," David said. He was under the impression that if Oopa had had eyelids, he would be rolling them.

"Let's hear it!" Lily said, warm smile exuding nothing but happiness.

"Knock knock," David began. His face suddenly took on a very serious expression, as though he were to begin a very grave undertaking indeed.

"Who's there?" Lily asked.

"The Gestapo," David said. He smiled his dumb, juvenile smile. Clearly he didn't know the history behind that word.

Speaking of history, Lily's response was as such: "I'm sorry, I don't understand. I'm not Hadia History, after all. But... you're a cutie, so I'll let you on in." She gave David a wink and handed him a ticket stub. "You have an hour, so get moving!" Oopa oopa'd appreciatively. He had never been to a Thinkhouse, he confided in David.

David took a step through the threshold and into the room labeled 'Visual'. Around him were various masterpieces of art. He noticed in particular a few of the surreal paintings he had seen from Dalí, la Mona Lisa, the Scream, and a handful of others. In the center of the room stood a cute girl, somewhat plump, but not too much. She had black hair kept in pigtails and wore a blouse. Her name tag read "Allie A. Art". David approached her cautiously and asked, "What does your middle initial stand for?"

"Abstract!" Allie Abstract Art replied instantly. David merely marveled at her for a moment or perhaps two. "Would you like to know about the history of the surrealist movement? Do you know about 'La Société Anonyme'? What about La Louvre? Oh, I could tell you so many things..." David shook his head vehemently and scurried into the next room. This was history. Hadia, the girl that Lily had mentioned at the front desk, told him some things about Roman culture and the influence of Greek theater on 'modern' comedy. After a lengthy lecture on some insignificant things that David didn't really care about, she gestured towards the next room. He hadn't really paid that much attention to her, either, but Oopa seemed attentive enough. David had been more concerned with the contours of her body and had been estimating the size of her breasts. They looked fairly large, in his humble and inexpert opinion. The next room was Leslie Literature, where David was taught about things like Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and Asimov's Foundation series and a few other things that he couldn't quite remember. She wore glasses and had freckles and David didn't particularly think she was as pretty as Hadia and Allie and Lily. He moved into the next and last room, where he was greeted by the insufferably adorable Chelsea Chess-Champion. She was smaller than David by a longshot, and she had long, red hair tied into braids that hung down to her... well, to her breasts. Which were also small, actually. David didn't stare at them very much, but he was spellbound by her wit. He had played some chess back on Earth-place and had been considered the best in his year, and he felt as though his tactics had evolved in the time elapsed between his last memory of Earth and the present. Despite his best efforts, however, Chelsea thwarted him at every turn. Unfortunately, a bell rang when David's hour was up, and he had to leave. He felt sadness touch his heart.

"I'll come and visit you," he promised her. He meant it, too.

"Okay!" Chelsea replied. She smiled, showing teeth. She had braces. David thought that perhaps he was infatuated.

As he walked out the door with Oopa in tow, Lily Languages called after him, "Hej då! Goodbye! Ciao! Hasta el proximo! Sayonara! Au revoir!" Oh, she was a polyglot. He supposed that made sense. As David sauntered languidly out the door and into the darkness that awaited him, he suddenly felt very lonely, even with Oopa here beside him. However, he tripped on one of the concrete steps mid-thought and started to fall. He flailed wildly for a moment and then stuck his arms out in front of him to prevent what could have become a fairly serious injury, but realized he might very well scrape his hands that way. Instead, he decided to take it like a man and stop himself with his face. It was a good plan, he decided. As Oopa oopa'd in surprise, David suddenly had a world-shattering epiphany, and all thoughts of the approaching cement were erased from his mind as he realized: it was Blade Runner!

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