6/11 Issue: Whack-A-Dupe

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Slarti
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6/11 Issue: Whack-A-Dupe

Post by Slarti » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:18 am

Timelined after It's a Girl!.

Jamie: Jamie flailed his arms as his inner ear tried to compensate for yet another teleportation. That had always been his answer as a kid when asked what power he wished he had because he wouldn't have to waste time traveling. Not anymore! Nope, nope, nope. Not a want or a wish. Over it. He took a deep breath and took in his surroundings. ...Carnival games? What the fuck.

Arcade: On his raised platform - strategically out of reach - Arcade straightened his bowtie and cleared his throat, addressing the imaginary crowds. "Step right up, ladies and - well, I suppose we just have gentlemen. Lots and lots of gentlemen." He looked down at his victim with a grin.

Jamie: Jamie whirled around at the voice and snarled at him. If he were just a teeeeeeny bit lower, he could wrap his hands around that puppet's throat. "You think you're so big and tough? Let's see what happens if we go mano e mano."

Arcade: "And he's excited to be here!" He raised his hands to showcase the world of games around them. "Shall we see if player one is ready?"

Jamie: "That depends. Are you player two?" This guy was so full of himself and Jamie couldn't wait to give him a what-for.

Arcade: "Uhoh, I don't think he quite gets it, folks." Arcade stage laughed, doubling over to hold his white-clad belly. When he straightened up, he beamed, wiped a tear, and smoothed back his slick red hair. "You, my boy, are players one, two, three, four, and so on!"

Jamie: Fucking hell. Another one who wanted to play with his dupes to no end. At least, if he was here with Jamie, that meant Jean was safe. Relatively speaking. "Fine. What the fuck am I playing?"

Arcade: "Look around! Do you see a theme?" He gestured again. "We have all the classics!"

Jamie: Jamie was a little hesitant to take his eyes from the psycho, but eventually did look around, turning in a circle and spotting games from his childhood. But twisted. "These aren't what I would call classics..."

Arcade: "Awww, what a shame. He doesn't share our unique Murderworld vision! Of course, we're still perfecting our craft. That's where you come in!" Arcade pretended to think. "Don't worry - I'll choose for you!"

Arcade: "Oh! But first!" He snapped his fingers and another redhead appeared beside him. This one was nearly hysterical, and very loud.

Jean: "What the fuck?!" Jean had woken up completely alone in that white room. Her head was pounding, her broken nose throbbing in time with her heart, and enough time had passed that both of her eyes were dark with purple bruising. She flailed and landed hard on her knees.

Jamie: Murderworld? Great. That sounded just like the place he wanted to spend his summer... "What is this? A new Saw movie?” Jean! "Jean!" Shit, fuck, damn it all to hell! "Don't you touch her, you psychotic asshole!"

Arcade: "I'll have you know, those masterpieces of cinema were a great source of inspiration to this humble artist." Hmm, the redhead was not as pretty as he recalled. Oh, right!

Jean: "Jamie?!" Jean righted herself enough to look down at him and then jumped and screamed at the voice next to her.

Arcade: "My my, such language! So, I shouldn't do this?" Arcade hauled Jean to her feet by an arm and waited for her to focus those shiners at him. "Well, hello."

Jamie: "Jean! It's okay, babe! I'm here!" Not that 'here' really helped much since he couldn't reach her. FUCK. He frantically looked around for anything he could use to get up to where they were, but there was nothing. Psycho ventriloquist was smart. "If you hurt her, I promise you, I will be the last face you see."

Jean: Jean was recovered enough to try to take a swing at the psycho, but found she couldn't raise her arm. She squeaked, struggling to move. Nope! Nononono.

Arcade: "Nobody wants to look at that all day!" He snapped his fingers and her nose and eyes returned to their proper proportions and color.

Jean: "Ow! Motherfucker!" She wanted to grab her face now, but couldn't as her tears ran down her hot cheeks. Either way, her head still pounded and she was dizzy as she fought not to pass out.

Jamie: Whoa! What the hell?! "Jean? Are you okay? What'd he do?" Jamie was well-versed in Jean's different squeaks and he knew he didn't like the one he'd just heard. "Listen here, puppet! I will not go quietly or willingly into any of your games until she is safe!"

Jean: She could hear Jamie's voice but had to fight to make out the words. Oooow. Her heeaad.

Arcade: "Puppet?! Are you referring to me? When I so generously took care of your lady friend's unfortunate disfigurement?" He tsked and snapped his fingers again, two chairs appearing on the podium behind him.

Jamie: "You were the cause of the 'disfigurement!'" Why wasn't Jean answering him? What the hell had he done to her? "Jean? Jeannie? Can you hear me?"

Jean: Jean managed a whimper as the creeper steered her to the ornate chair. "J-Jaaaaaamie," she whined.

Arcade: "I was not. That was you. Or, well, another you." He babbled as he sat his guest down and gave her a bright grin. "Have you been told before that you're terribly confusing?" Pleased with her placement, restraints emerged from the armrests and base to slither around Jean's wrists and ankles.

Arcade: Arcade spun in place and stepped away so Jamie could see Jean. "Confusing, but oh so fun! So many possibilities!"

Jamie: "It wouldn't have happened if not for you, asswipe!" Shit. Why was she restrained?! What was he going to do to her? His mind raced with options and possibilities of things he could do to get her free, but there was nothing. "I'm here, babe. I'm right here. It's gonna be alright."

Jean: Jean tested her restraints, her hair falling into her face. Trying to shake it out of her eyes hurt, but she did it anyway to see Jamie down below, surrounded by carnival games. WTF. "I know," she managed. "I love you."

Arcade: Rolling his eyes, he struck a stance again. "Time to play!" The room began to shift and grow. A hole opened beneath Jamie to swallow him up.

Jamie: Jamie had just opened his mouth to tell her he loved her too when he fell into the ground. "Aaaaahhh!" He landed shortly thereafter with a thud and took a slow, deep breath, thankful it hadn't been worse. It was dark, but there was enough light to see coming from the opening he'd fallen through, so he looked around, but froze when his eyes landed on his dupe right next to him. Powers?

Jamie: Think fast, Madrox. How best to use the powers while they're on to get them all out? Human pyramid up to the top? Maybe, but could be useless depending on the dupes who popped out. Fuck.

Arcade: He giggled at the high-pitched scream next to him and kept reforming the room around them. That goes there, and this would work better over here. Perfect!

Arcade: The room dinged its own pleased response and a piston beneath the floor launched his subject - ooh there were already two of them! - up into the air.

Jamie: Jamie and the dupe screamed in tandem as they flew upwards. What was that?! Jamie reached out to quickly reabsorb the dupe, just in case. He got a glimpse of Jean and he tried to project his thoughts to her, but her powers were off. He couldn't feel her in his head.

Jamie: And then there was a giant hammer swinging towards him! What the hell?! His arms flew over his head to try and protect himself as the hammer came down, but it was too late. Weirdly, it didn't hurt as much as he thought, but it didn't feel great by any means. And now there was another dupe! The dupe fell back down out of range before Jamie could reach out and reabsorb him. Not good.

Jean: "What the fuck?!" Jean screamed along with the Jamies and tried to reach for her own powers on instinct. Nada. Fucker!

Arcade: "Now now, none of that!" He opened another hole beneath the dupe and sent another hammer down on the one that seemed to be in charge. Such fun powers!

Jamie: "Nnarg!" Jamie did not like this giant hammer business! He fell back down the hole as another dupe bounced out of him. Landing produced another dupe and then Jamie was launched back up and away. They were bouncing away from each other and to different openings above them now. Whack-a-dupe?! This guy was insane!

Arcade: He saw his toys multiplying and clapped in glee. It was working just as he'd hoped! What if he did this! A dupe popped out of a hole directly into a pinball flapper.

Jamie: The dupe screeched and was flung across the room, his dupe flying right behind him. "Whaaaaaaat iiiiiis haaaaappeniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing...?!"

Jamie: Jamie Prime saw that Arcade was a little busy, so he scrambled to grab onto the edge of his hole when he popped back up. Maybe he could hoist himself up and out if he could just hold his ground through the bonking.

Arcade: "That's wonderful! The copies copy! It's the gift that keeps on giving!" He turned to Jean, who was still struggling. "Did you know about this?"

Jean: "Fuck you!" Jean wasn't getting far in her struggles, and her vision was going black around the edges and she wasn't sure if it was from her hair in her face or her concussion.

Arcade: "Well, that's just rude... but maybe later." He turned his attention back to the show.

Jamie: The hammer slammed into him and he slipped, shifting from arms on the ledge to just his hands. Jamie's heart was racing as he tried to reabsorb the newest dupe as it fell, but with his foot. That was a new trick he never thought he would need. ...aaaand it was because it didn't work. Shit! He felt the dupes' terror and tried to calm them all down. They weren't going to die today. He refused.

Jamie: Meanwhile, the other two dupes were bouncing around like balls in a brand new machine, each new dupe duplicating with the first hit. "HALP," the first one bellowed before being knocked in the gut by another dupe being thrown into him.

Arcade: "Let's keep things interesting, yes?" He sent three giant silver pinballs careening into the space, bouncing off pillars and skipping over holes as they closed in on the dupes.

Jamie: Giant metal balls?! What?! Jamie yelped and had to let go of his hold on the edge of the hole, falling back just before the hammer hit him again. Thank goodness. "This isn't humane!"

Jamie: The dupes in the machine tried to flail to find hiding places, but before they could all hide, the balls slammed into a couple of them, flattening them together like a dupe sandwich. The squelching noise echoed all the way to Prime and he couldn't breathe, the scream stuck in his throat as the pain of their deaths hit him, nearly knocking him unconscious.

Jean: Jean screamed for him, her throat raw as she fought to get free. "You motherfucking monster! I'm going to kill you! What the fuck did we ever do to you?!" She couldn't feel him and she couldn't see him, although she was pretty sure those were dupes who'd just ... oh God... the balls were still going and left red trails. She gagged.

Arcade: "None of that now!" He reached over and braved a bite, covering her mouth with his hand. When he pulled it away, her mouth was gone. Arcade smoothed her hair back and tucked it behind both ears. "Much better!"

Jamie: Jean. He heard her and he struggled to stay conscious so he could listen to her. If she was angry screaming, she was safe. His dupes weren't, though, but he couldn't do anything to calm them down now.

Jamie: The screaming coming from the giant pinball machine was so loud that none of the dupes were able to focus enough to get in a better position before the blood and gore balls slammed into another one. Jamie Prime reeled again and this time, dry heaved from the pain.

Arcade: This was marvelous! Unfortunately, he was running out of subjects now, so he launched Jamie Prime and readied the hammer.

Jean: Jean was lucky she could breathe through her nose now, but she was still hyperventilating, unable to do anything now but cry and squirm.

Jamie: Jamie's eyes bugged as he was flung back up just as he was finally able to breathe again. "Son of a bitch," he yelled, hoping Arcade heard him. "You're an a-" the hammer slammed down on his face, cutting off his scream with a painful-sounding crack of his nose. The dupe tried to scramble back to Prime, not wanting to venture out on his own, but he fell down a hole before he could get to him.

Arcade: He heard, and he cackled with glee when the insult was cut off. There was more flailing in his peripheral vision, but he ignored her for now. "Oh, dear..." That copy picked the wrong hole, since the bottom was spiced with barbed pikes. "That's got to sting."

Jamie: Two mirroring screams happened as Prime felt his body get speared and ripped through. His hands flew to his torso, feeling for blood, but it wasn't him. Shit. His head was pounding and he felt like he was slowly slipping into unconsciousness. No. Jean was still here. Stay awake. AWAKE. Jamie coughed and cleared his throat, then took a deep breath before yelling again. "YOU. CAN'T. BREAK. ME." Please let Jean understand that... He wasn't dead.

Arcade: "Why would I want to break you?" He looked over at Jean and fixed her hair for her again. This time, he twirled a lock of her long red hair between his fingertips. "Either of you?" He tsked. "How short sighted." She was much less pretty without her mouth. He'd need to put that back. Later.

Jean: Jean was shaking, the tears leaking down her face. She knew Jamie Prime was alive, but for how much longer? Her vision was filled with this goofy looking asshole and she tried to decide how she'd kill him when she got the chance.

Jamie: Jamie was launched back up through the hole and he scrambled to try and make it fully out before the hammer came down again. "My dupes are not expendable!" He saw Arcade touching Jean's hair and he roared wordlessly. He was no longer the weakling captured by Rott and he would prove it.

Jamie: The hammer came down on his leg when he was almost out of the hole and he clenched his jaw to keep the pain from exploding out of his mouth again. The dupe was less quiet, though, screaming in terror the second he was out of Jamie's head.

Jean: Arcade moved out of her line of sight, interested in the carnage, and Jean saw Jamie Prime, finally. His face was bloody and she didn't need their link to feel his rage. Please, please don't die. She heard a pop and only figured it out a moment later. Oh God...

Jean: Jean gagged again, not that it did her any good. This time, though, he didn't fall back into the hole. Neither did his dupe, since he was was busy screaming and having a panic attack.

Arcade: He gave her hair a tug. "Well, well, well... he has some fight in him, doesn't he?"

Jamie: Jamie swallowed his nausea down and kept his eyes on Jean, reaching back to absorb the overly loud dupe. "Shut. Up." Slowly, Jamie forced himself to stand, pain from his leg whiting out his vision for a few seconds, but then he was moving. Step, by tortuously painful step.

Jamie: "You want to play with me? I prefer to play co-op games." He punched his fist into his hand three times and then there were four Jamies. Angry and heading slowly towards Arcade and Jean.

Jean: Jean made eye contact with Prime and held it, ignoring Arcade's goading. He had plenty of fight, but he was hurt and this guy could, like, do whatever the fuck he wanted. Don't. Die.

Arcade: "Oh, I'm sure," he laughed, but let the little army limp closer.

Jamie: Jamie saw the plea in her eyes and gave a sharp, but short nod. This dummy would not be the end of him. He gave her a wink, then turned back to Arcade. "How's about we play a little three-dupe monty. If you can pick out which one is me, Jamie Prime, I'll let you live. If you can't, you heal us and send us home. All of us.”

Jamie: His eyes slid back to Jeannie, begging her to trust him. And then he saw she had no mouth. "You are a sick fuck! You'll also give her back her mouth!"

Jean: Jean swallowed. She hated this. She couldn't get more damsel in distress than right now, and if this fucker killed Jamie right the fuck in front of her she'd fucking take Arcade to fucking hell with her.

Arcade: He watched the two of them with a big smile and laughed. "What makes you think I have any interest in your little barter? I have exactly what I want."

Arcade: His expression slid into a sly smirk and he let go of her hair to put his arm around her shoulders. "You might prefer her like this, too. Less noise."

Jamie: "I like the way she sounds, thanks all the same." He glowered at Arcade as the group limped closer. "My barter is the only thing that will save your life. I would think you would want to take that deal."

Arcade: "I don't think you've taken a really objective look at your situation here." He jerked back when Jean tried to headbutt him.

Jamie: Ha! Atta girl, Jeannie! "I don't think you've taken a really objective look at who the fuck you're dealing with and what I've survived before this."

Arcade: "Hmm..." He didn't take offense at the headbutt, but he did keep out of her range when he pointedly set his hand on her thigh and met the eyes of the other man. "Is that so?" He drew a little circle there, then danced his fingers higher.

Jean: Jean struggled, but the restraints holding her in place just spiraled higher up her calves and forearms. Another snaked from the back of the chair to encircle her neck and yanked her head back with a thunk.

Jamie: All four Jamies froze. Arcade was doing it on purpose to make him stop, he knew it, but there was no way he could risk her being harmed just because he was seeing red. Jamie Prime met her eyes, "I love you, too, Jeannie." At least he was able to finish that from earlier. Now to figure out how to take out this douche nozzle before he violated Jean any further.

Jamie: The dupes formed a horizontal line with him, like men on the front in a war. "Why are you hiding behind a girl? Come and face me like a man."

Arcade: He looked between the two of them and made a sympathetic noise. "Aren't you two just adorable?" His hand crept higher. "My, your uniform is made of some outstanding materials. Do you mind if I take a look? No? I didn't think you would." While he spoke, the restraints around her lower legs spread further apart.

Jean: Jean's squirming became more frantic as she tensed her leg muscles to fight the restraints, tried to tip the chair away from him, reach her powers – anything.

Jamie: Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. By now, the remaining living dupes had straggled up to meet them since Arcade had been busy playing with Jean. So at least he had that going for him. And they didn't have broken legs! Bonus!

Jamie: "What do you want that would make you stop touching her?" Jamie was ready to give him everything short of his life. But only because if he were dead, he couldn't protect her.

Arcade: "Well! You need only ask!" He lifted his hand with a flourish and her knees snapped closed. "I see you've gathered your little boy band for a reunion tour. I appreciate that."

Arcade: There was a long pause, and then several things happened at once. Holes opened in the floor, hammers swung, and a flaming spiked ball made a cameo appearance, because everyone loves a good cameo.

Jamie: Nonononono. Jamie Prime jumped out of the way of the flamey ball only to be knocked aside by a hammer. He hit a dupe and knocked him into one of the holes, causing both of them to scream after about a second and a half. Spikes jutted through the dupe and Jamie writhed in pain.

Jamie: The other dupes were trying their best to dodge, but their best wasn't good enough. Hammers were crushing them, one was now impaled and swinging on the lamp as he burned, and several others fell victim to the holes just like the first one. Prime was in absolute agony, but he was thankful that it made the monster stop touching Jean.

Jean: No! Fucking hell not the fire again! She kept her eyes on Prime, but his dupes... No! Not again! Jean fought, feeling the restraints digging in as she tried to knock her chair over into Arcade - anything to distract this asshole before he killed Jamie Prime.

Arcade: Arcade couldn't be more pleased at the chaos he'd caused. He hoped Miss Locke and Mister Chambers were getting all of this. He turned to gloat at Jean just as her chair tipped over onto him.

Jamie: Prime heard the thud and shout of surprise from the tiny man, but nothing really registered anymore. Everything hurt. So many dying all at one time and in so many different ways... He tried to stay awake, but couldn't.

Jamie: The last thing he felt was a familiar warm presence in his mind, the last thing he saw was a bright and familiar light coming from the platform where Jean was tied down, and the last thing he heard was Arcade's scream of terror before Jamie succumbed to the pain, eyes rolling back in his head as his body went limp.

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