C2E89 – So Many Levels – C2 Episode 89 – Training Day (Podcast)

The Pocket Protectors enjoy an eventful train ride.

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W100M – The Beach Girls and Streets of Blood (Podcast)

Christiana and Mike crossover with Shameless Cashgrab to discuss a real couple of stinkers.

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So Many Levels – Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel 16 – Confrontation (Podcast)

The Order of the Golden Prawn hunts down their nighttime assailant.

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C2E88 – So Many Levels C2 – Episode 88 – Moving On (Podcast)

The Pocket Protectors begin their journey to the Feywild, by way of Pashan and Emerit Arboris.

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RC15 – So Many Levels – Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel – Session 15 – A Rival Appears (Podcast)

The Order of the Golden Prawn are up for some downtime.

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C2E87 – So Many Levels – C2 Episode 87 “Physical Challenge” (Podcast)

There’s a beach festival trophy on the line.

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Watching 100 Movies – Night of the Hunter and Jeanne Dielman 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Video)

Christiana and Mike discuss a pair of films from the Sight & Sound Top 100 List

W100M – Night of the Hunter and Jeanne Dielman 23 Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (Podcast)

Christiana and Mike discuss a pair of films from the Sight & Sound Top 100 List

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Random Exercises: 2 + Torture = 5

11Jan2023

Category: Plot

Prompt: 2 + Torture = 5

***

The whine of the machine was loud enough that it almost, but not quite, drowned out the man in the chair’s screams.

When the whine diminished, so did the pain, and the man in the interrotorture chair sagged, though the straps kept him upright.

“Had enough?” snarled the man in the uniform. “You can end this suffering, you know.” He gestured to the bare red lightbulb hanging over their heads. “All you need to do is tell me that this light is green.”

“Fine,” gasped the man in the chair. “It’s green.”

The man in the uniform frowned. “Wait, I don’t think you’re getting this.”

The man in the chair shook his head to try and clear his vision. He wanted to wipe his eyes but his hands were bound. “What do you mean? You just said to tell you it was green, so I am.”

“No,” insisted the man in uniform, annoyed now. “You can clearly see that the light is red, yes? Well, by torturing you, I’ll force you to say it’s green.”

After a pause, the man in the chair nodded. “Okay.”

“So what color is the light?” smirked the man in uniform.

“Green.”

The man in uniform pressed the button again, and the machine flooded the man in the chair with pain.

When the whine stopped, the man in uniform asked again. “You’re not getting this! What color is the light?”

“I’m getting some real mixed signals here,” shouted the man in the chair.

“It’s very simple,” said the man in uniform. “You and I can both see that the light is red, correct?”

“This seems like a trick question.”

“It’s not,” insisted the man in uniform. “Look, the light is red.”

“Um, you told me to say it was green.”

“Yes, but okay… Forget that for a second. Pretend I didn’t say anything about the light yet. What color would you have said the light was?”

“Green?”

“No, no, no!” screamed the man in uniform. “It’s red. It’s obviously red. Why in the world would we put a green light in the interrotorture room? Red is scary, it’s agitating, it’s intimidating. Green lights are soothing, calming. By forcing you to say that the red light is green is supposed to represent breaking your spirit and making you believe an obvious falsehood, and then there’s the symbolic representation of you stating that the red, which is associated with our brutal authoritarian tactics, is actually green, which would be good and peaceful! Get it?”

“Look, just tell me what color you want me to say the light is.”

“Green, of course!”

“Okay, so it’s green.”

The man in uniform pressed the button again.

When he could speak, the man in the chair said: “But I did what you said!”

“No, you see I want to make you do what I say.”

“I’m trying to do what you say!”

“I don’t want you to be trying to do it. I want you to be trying to resist but be forced to do it anyway!”

“Okay, then I’m resisting!”

“Good!” smirked the man in uniform. Then he pressed the button again. He held it down a long time.

When the man in the chair regained consciousness, the man in uniform glared down at him. “Now… What color is the light?”

“Is this a bad time to tell you that I’m colorblind?”

Random Exercises – Xanatos Speed Chess

Tuesday 10Jan2023

Category: Plot

Prompt: Xanatos Speed Chess https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/XanatosSpeedChess

***

Everything was going great until the grappling hook hit a guard in the face.

Calahan had surveiled the building on four separate 24-hour periods and there had never been a guard that even set foot on that balcony between 10PM and 2AM. Deirdre had hacked into the time-clock logs and determined that at this hour, the on-duty guards always did the first-floor route, and then the East Wing before even climbing to the second floor, much less the fourth.

And yet, when Tabitha fired her grappling hook, it did not clink-clank-clink into a secure hold on the wrought-iron railing. Instead, it hit some wild-card rent-a-cop in his stupid face.

That it hadn’t killed the man was apparent by his screams of pain. She couldn’t even retract the hook now because after rebounding from the surprise sentry, it then chose to neatly wrap around the railing, as though that would somehow make it all better.

“What’s happening?” whispered Calahan from her earpiece. “Who’s screaming?”

“Abort!” crackled Deirdre through the same speaker. “We’re blown!”

“It’s tonight or not at all.” Tabitha’s harsh whisper cut them both off. “We knew that, so watch me for the changes and just try to keep up, okay?”

The guard on the fourth-floor balcony was still screaming for help, but he wasn’t providing any useful intel. The other guards would have to get to him before they would know what was happening, and by that time, they wouldn’t be where they would have been before.

There was no point in climbing up to the balcony now, but she pulled herself ten feet or so up the rope and then began to walk herself side to side along the steep masonry wall, building up momentum like a kid pumping her legs on the swing set.

Tabitha the human pendulum soon found that, at the height of her arc, she could see over the compound wall. On her next pass, she let go of the rope and went up and over.

Between heavy breaths, she whispered into her headset. “Deirdre… Call the police!”

There was a polite pause.

“I beg your pardon.”

“Be a witness that saw someone try to climb the wall with a grappling hook, and then run away down 8th Street. Say you think you heard gunfire. Say that someone’s hurt and needs an ambulance.”

“Response time’s under a minute here,” muttered Calahan. “Place will have flashing lights all around it in no time.”

“They’ll come to this side of the compound and to the front gate. Half the guards will be coming to Mister-Nice-Night-For-A-Walk’s aid and the other half will be dealing with the cops.”

“You sure about that?” asked Deirdre.

“Call first, then sarcasm,” muttered Tabitha. She had dropped down into the courtyard and was currently skulking through the shadows toward the East Wing. The glass doors that looked out from the gallery were locked. “Calahan! Diversion 2 on three… two… one…”

As a half-dozen car alarms began to sound from the street outside, Tabitha attempted to smash through a pane of the glass door with her elbow. It didn’t break and now her elbow hurt.

“Um, I think I’m going to need Diversion 4 on three…”

“Diversion 4 was last resort!” cried Calahan.

Two! One!” she hissed into her microphone.

In the meantime, she had hefted a decorative garden stone the size of a bowling ball, which bore a plaque stating: “In Memoriam: Hazel Dunwoody, who always found peace in this place.”

As Tabitha hurled Mrs. Dunwoody through the glass window, one of the alarming cars exploded.

Slipping inside the darkened gallery, Tabitha whispered again. “Hopefully that will hold their attention long enough to—”

She stopped speaking because she had just come face-to-face with a young-looking guard who had just emerged from the Men’s room.

As they stood there for a moment, the silence was broken by the coming whine of police sirens in the night air.

Tabitha mustered the will to speak first and shouted at him: “Why aren’t you at your post?!”

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