Old Habits

[The end of the Great Intermission!]

It was a quiet Sunday morning on Albia, several months after the escape from the Trial. Chip had gradually made his way back to the place where his Norn family was being raised. The whole ordeal had made Modo and Hope decide to recede their “marriage” as they raised their children, and so a lot of thing were new around the home. Suddenly, the alarm that Chip had installed on arrival began to blare.

“Hey, look, it’s that time again,” sighed Hope, taking the elevator to the ground floor. A terribly large and imposing Grenorn (the descendants of Quasimodo, who had survived for quite a long time) was rowing to shore. “What is it this time?”

The grenorn lurched out of the boat and began his usual routine.

“Gimme honey. Gimme yer ‘puter. Gimme everything ya got,” he commanded, not realizing Hope was bored of this already. This had been going on for days. “Ah, come on! Help a guy out, wouldja!? I need it for my wife! I need all this stuff for trading to please my shopaholic hag of a significant other!”

And so on, and so on. The pleading was halted by the sight of a tremendous airship hovering above them, descending to land on the sandy beaches. A crowd formed, and a familiar shape stepped out, accompanied by fog and smoke…

“Did you really think I was gone forever?” Chip smirked, as he was instantly embraced by his family. Chip had vanished for months at a time, and had that twinkle in his eyes that sometimes flashed up. He’d been to the opposite island many times… And when he returned, he never spoke about what happened there.

That night, that would change. Hope, Modo, and two of their children (Alyssa and Bates, respectively) planned in secret to follow him in the submarine. So, that night, they did, and they decided to split up to cover more ground. It was Modo who found Chip at last, working on some strange new device and with a couple of twisted, malnourished and deformed creatures locked away. One resembled a mass of eyes and mouths, with eighteen heads. Modo silently praised every god he knew the existence of that it couldn’t move. The other creature was a chattering mess of mangled body parts, crudely stitched together, with approximately nineteen visible faces. They shrieked, screamed, babbled and begged as the crazed scientist paid it no heed, transfixed by his work.

Hope witnessed something less objectively horrifying; in the entrance to the island, in a room not far from their infiltration point, was a statue. Its eyes shone a deep purple, enticing her closer, when they immediately turned red. The more Hope stared at it, the more she began to hear a noise. It sounded like a thousand voices, each one whispering some indecipherable command, and they only got louder…

The twins had found a strange journal, chronicling a week on the island, but then finding other pages had been torn out, scribbled over, or just plain burned. The phrase “FOR SCIENCE!” tended to occur frequently.

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