Welcome boils and ghouls to this, your McEdifice Returns Halloween Special. I am your host Tyranny The Torturing Cat-O-Nine-Tails and this is my hideous assistance Straw ‘Wicker man’ Puppy.
We submit for your consideration the strange case of one Chiseled McEdifice. A lowly photocopy repairman or so he says. But what is this? His attempts to prevent paper supplies going missing has brought him to the SPOOKIEST part of any office building!
And there, amid the dust, and the spiders, and the rat-droppings and the incessant drip-drip-drip of leaking pipes, he discovered that all along, the paper was being stolen by…
A HUMANOID ALIEN INFLUENCED PHOTOCOPY MACHINE MAN TRYING TO COPY HIS OWN BUTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hmmm, you think that’s NOT scary? Well how about this:
HE ALSO JUST FOUND OUT THE PLANET HE IS ON HAS BEEN INVADED AND THE INVADERS ARE SEARCHING EVERY BUILDING ON THE PLANET!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, still not frightened? Still acting like you’ve seen and heard everything before? Well I guess we forgot to mention that:
THE INVADERS ARE SPACE VAMPIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, still not scared? The eldritch violation of geometric forms created by the self-referential madness of a photocopier’s own bum copies not sufficiently madness inducing for you? The approaching footfall of alien forces heading towards the dark basement where are heroes are trapped not sufficiently adrenaline inducing for you? The utter horror of the very existence of SPACE VAMPIRES is not sufficiently nightmarish for you, the cynical see-it-all post-modern hoity-toity consumer of modern media? Well let me also tell you one more thing:
THERE IS A SQUIRREL JUST OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW AND IT IS STARING AT YOU WITH ITS SQUIRRELLY EYES WAITING WAITING WAITING FOR YOU TO LET YOUR GUARD DOWN AND THEN IT WILL STRIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[Sound of running feat, crashing and banging noises and several doors being closed]
[Um, Hi, everybody. Camestros here. Sorry. Brief technical interlude. Timothy seems to have frightened himself with his own narration and is now hiding in his panic room with a flame thrower. I’ll continue with his notes. I’ll try to be spooky.]
Hi, I’m Camestros ‘Something Halloween Themed’ Felapton and this would be my assistant Straw Puppy but he seems to have snuck off to make squirrel noises outside Tim’s panic room. Look, stop that SP! He’s scared enough as it is! No, stop, BAD PUPPY, BAD. Damn it, he’s got a stash of acorns and is throwing them at the door. BAD PUPPY. BAD.
Hold on. [Sounds of a small dog being sent outside.]
For an imaginary friend, that puppy sure knows how to grip the carpet with his paws.
Ahem. Where was I? OK, so. McEdifice, Qzrrzxxzq and ScanScan the photocopier man are trapped in the basement of the offices of Spindle, Spindle and Gatefold, while around them the planet of Campus is being invaded by Space Vampires.
“Miss feed detected in paper tray 6!” says ScanScan. Luckily McEdifice is fluent in photocopier and explains that ScanScan is suggesting they hide on a different floor. Confusingly though, as far as McEdifice knows there isn’t a floor 6.
“Of course! The hidden floor 6! It’s the perfect hiding place! I’ll explain on the way!” says Qzrrzxxzq as she leads them to an air-conditioning shaft.
The office building was built by off-worlders, explains Qzrrzxxzq. The economy of Campus is purely either basic training for the army or office work. Light industry and construction has to be sourced from other planets. The contract for this building shifted part way through from Planet Archion Z the brick and mortar planet of the Scaffoldus System to the Generation Ship Civilisation of Brutalon Box the brutalist concrete box people. As everybody knows the Brutalon’s have a morbid fear of the number 6 as they deem hexagons as a pornographic way of tessellating a plane. Consequently, when they finished the building they ignored the existing FIFTH floor (due to a confusion on the right system for labeling floors – they regarded the ground floor as floor 1). The floor that should have been labelled “6” in the plans was renumbered as 7. The stairs and lifts simply skipped over the missing floor, meaning there was no access except via the air-shaft within which our heroes were climbing and info-dumping.
“I’m impressed that you can explain the back story of the missing floor so cogently and climb vertically through this air shaft” says McEdifice.
“It was part of my special forces training,” explained Qzrrzxxzq, reverting to direct speech after a whole paragraph of indirect speech, “We trained to give extensive briefings during sections of our mission when we had to move from one plot location to another.”
“A handy skill,” agreed McEdifice, “That way the action continues AND we all get important back story on the way.”
“Follow the guide on the screen to clear the jam in the receiving area!”
“Don’t worry ScanScan, we won’t get stuck!” says McEdifice reassuringly.
Anyway, they all make it into secret floor 6. I mean it is really floor 5 because the floor at street level is GROUND and then next floor is ONE but the second set of builders did the thing where the ground floor is one. Personally I think having that first floor as ground makes more sense because it is like floor zero but that’s just me. Just because it is the FIRST floor doesn’t mean it has to be floor 1. ‘First’ is an ordinal number and 1 is a cardinal number so…OUCH!! Susan? Did you just hit me on the back of a head with a newspaper? What do you mean ‘It’s not scary’ – frankly the persistent confusion in popular understanding between ordinal and cardinal numbers is something I find quite alarming. Somebody said to me yesterday that it was their 30th birthday which clearly means that they are 29 because on their first birthday they would have been zero year old having just been born and OUCH! You did it again! OK, if you are SOOOO spooky YOU tell the story.
[Noises of heavy footfalls.]
Greetings and welcome to our SPOOKTACULAR tale of horror! I am your second reserve host Susan Yes-Actually-I-Am-A-Giant-Reptile-Monster Triceratops and the mammal sulking into his giant beer mug of Pumpkin-Spice Latvian Porter is Camestros ‘Doesn’t Get the Horror Genre’ Felapton. The spooky sounds of scratching at the door are from our sound effect expert Straw ‘Inconsistent Backstory’ Puppy and the moans of terror from behind a locked door are from our director of spooky ambience Timothy ‘Scared of his Own Shadow’ Cat.
Secret Floor 6! Abandoned out of a deep seated fear by its builders! ‘Superstition!’ said the directors and yet none of the board dared set foot on the hidden floor. Oh the rational mind might scoff and scorn at the traditions of the ancient people of Brutalon but to stand on this forbidden floor and to see the hexagonal tiles marching across a flat surface was enough for any sentient creature to feel the warning tingle at the base of their vestigial feathers (or whatever it is that mammals have – skin bumps? Seriously? Your clammy skin goes all bumpy? Ewww – you guys all get that mammals are disgusting right? NO – do NOT explain to me again where milk comes from. Why can’t you just vomit up predigested food to your young like any decent type of animal?)
Anyway, whatever kind of glands or secretions the humans might have that respond to fear they did whatever they do IF they went to hidden floor 6 (oh shut up and drink your beer – we KNOW already that it was actually floor 5).
“I don’t understand what is going on.” said McEdifice whose overheated mammal brain was struggling with events.
“This machine will help,” said Qzrrzxxzq pointing to a ansible-projector that had been left behind the first set of builders and which, strictly speaking, was out of keeping with the tech level of this planet but which was OK because the builders were from off the planet and they could use whatever tech they like to build the building just so long as the final building was consistent with the tech level of the planet. I assume there was some sort of law about that or something.
“An ansible-projector!” said McEdifice, “That is inconsistent with the tech level of this planet but I guess it is OK because the builders were from off the planet and they could use whatever…” OK I’ll skip that bit because it is just the same stuff from the last paragraph. Seriously, those two worry more about filling their plot holes with infodumps than they do about actually making sense.
Qzrrzxxzq used her frankly superior non-mammal brain to show McEdifice what was happening. When projected in regular three-dimensions the planets the Space Vampires had gained in the peace treaty showed no tactical advantage. However, when re-projected through a tesseract transformation of covalent hyperspace the pattern became clear. The Space Vampires had transdimensionally surrounded the Tau-Bootes system and had gained control over all hyperspace routes to Planet Campus.
“Oh,” said McEdifice, “Glad we had your non-mammal brain to explain all that Qzrrzxxzq. My body was to busy leaking water from holes in my skin to have made sense of all that and also growing hair. Also I have nipples.”
Hey, why has it gone dark in here?
[Noise of everything being dark.]
[Noise of confusion]
Hi, Camestros “Not Sure What is Truly Scary but Global Warming is High on the List” Felapton here. We seem to have lost power. Susan has gone to check on Timothy and I’m going to check on the fuses. We’ll be back in a moment.
[More sounds of confusion]
[Sound of lights going back on]
[A computer generated voice speaks] GREETINGS ladles and germophobes, it is I, Straw The Impaler Puppy. I know that I have never communicated to you directly, at best rendered the odd bark or canine-whine but thanks to this dog-to-speech app on my new Nokia 8×10^7 flip phone, I can talk to you unencumbered by the normal barriers of inter-species communication. And what better time than HALLOWEEN for you to venture into the darkness that is the mind of STRAW PUPPY!
The frankly inadequate Qzrrzxxzq stared out of the window of the SIXTH floor (as anybody with any kind of common sense would call it).
“Oh no,” she said in a weak and pathetic voice, “It is getting all dark and because I’m not smart and clever and SUPER BRAVE like, for example, dogs are, I’m now all scared.”
“Never fear,” said manly McEdifice exuding his machismo and male charisma like pheromones made out of pure testosterone fueled manhood, “That’s a Space Vampire standard trick. They use inter-orbital sunlight cullenders to reduce sunlight levels to a point where the can move about safely but without disrupting the whole planetary ecosystem.”
“I’m scared!” said Qzrrzxxzq because obviously space vampires are scary. I’ve explained this already and if you don’t think space vampires are scary that’s because you are just stupid. Now if we had a dog in this scenario they would be scared BUT also brave and they would bark and bark and bark because that is the brave thing to do when something is different and you don’t know why. Bark, bark, bark, bark.
[Sounds of scuffle.]
[Dinosaur voice] AND STAY OUT! Damn dog urinated on the fuse box and snuck back in when Camestros went outside.
Ahem, Susan here again. With me is Timothy “Calmed Down Now After Alarming Themselves With Thoughts of Squirrels” The Cat. Timothy will be taking over from here as frankly I need a drink. Over to you Timothy.
[Cat voice] Here we go! Spooky ending coming up!
So McEdifice, Qzrrzxxzq and ScanScan the Dancing Photocopier Man, look out of the windows on the fifth and/or sixth floor of Spindle, Spindle and Gatefold. In the street below they could see the forces of the Space Vampires surrounding the building.
“Come out McEdifice. We know you are in there!” shouts a Space Vampire through a megaphone. When McEdifice looks down to see who is speaking he realises it is ONE OF THE TREERAT GANG! Those no good traitors had left the army and joined the Space Vampires. Oh MINDBLOWN TWIST! You didn’t see THAT coming did you!
“GRRRR” said McEdifice, “Lousy traitors.”
“If you don’t come out McEdifice,” shouts the Treerat Gang Member, “We’ll just blast the whole planet from space!”
McEdifice bows his head and then looks up at Qzrrzxxzq and ScanScan the Dancing Photocopier Man and says (this bit is really moving):
“Qzrrzxxzq, ScanScan the Dancing Photocopier Man, there have been too many sacrifices, too many good men, good bicycles, and good ponies have died in my quest for revenge. I have no choice to give myself up to the Space Vampires in the hope that you two might survive. It is a far, far better thing I do now than I have ever done except for that time I saved the cosmos from the sentient amoeba-nebula that would have consumed us all with its pseudopodia. ”
And before they could stop him, McEdifice jumped through the sixth floor window and then landed on the street below in the superhero pose where they are sort of kneeling and punching the ground at the same time.
“Let the ritual begin.” shouted the Space Vampires in triumph.
They tied McEdifice to a stake and then in a wild ritual of spooky chanting and images to disturbing to share with you all they began the SUMMONING.
Storm clouds gathered over head. Spooky lightning crackled between the buildings. Then as if approaching at first from a great distance A GIANT VAMPIRE HEAD APPEARED.
“Excess toner cartridge unit full! Please replace immediately!” cried ScanScan, watching from above on the sixth or fifth floor.
“He’ll find a way out somehow!” said Qzrrzxxzq, “This is McEdifice we are talking about!”
The giant vampire head opened its giant vampire mouth and then with one mighty intake of vampire breath, McEdifice was sucked into the gaping vampire maw! The vampire head closed its mighty vampire jaws and then with a thunderous clap, vanished!
“NOOOOO!!!!!!!” said ScanScan.
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” said Qzrrzxxzq.
But it was too late, McEdifce was GONE!
And so ends our spooky tale of horror, vampires and naughty dog antics! I’ve been your host Timothy Cannibal Rampage The Cat. Good night and sweet nightmares!