The Disorienting Express

Chatterbox: Pudding's Place

The Disorienting Express

The Disorienting Express – The Return of RMS Tiny

You drink the last dregs of your tea, and then hand the teacup back to the fortuneteller. Her head bobs, and her frizzy red hair shakes as she examines the tea leaves. Suddenly, she gasps, and the cup drops from her fingers and SMASH!, breaks against the floor. "My best antique teacup! No! This is a calamity!"

You look at her, confused. "What did you see in my future that was so shocking?"

Her lips shook. "An invitation. An exclusive invitation, to any Cber who happens to recieve it, from The Ominous, that strange, hoodied captain of the RMS Tiny and the RMS Humbug, whose past adventures with CBers were chronicled here: "

"What's so shocking about that?"

"Well, I've heard of the RMS Tiny, and the story I heard had THE END at the end of it, so I thought that was the end of it all. Not to mention that sequels are often never as good as the original, and the story ended with The Ominous trying to dig the RMS Tiny out of the middle of a desert! Now that's what I call writing yourself into a corner!"

"Hmm. Perhaps they had a sledgehammer on them, and they escaped through the fourth wall."

The fortuneteller frowns for a moment, and then nods. "I suppose that's possible. Do you want to hear what the invitation will be?"

"Yes please."

"The adventure of a lifetime! Boundless fun! An express ride to anti-polar regions, aboard a ship aboard a train, surrounded by the most colourful of characters! You are hereby invited to the first railway passage from the Sahara to a handy mountain range (the location of which we cannot divulge at this time), and you'll have lots of fun!"

*  *  *

You leave the fortuneteller's tent, and go home. On your doorstep is a large package, wrapped in brown paper and tied with red and white striped string with purple fuzzy bits. You rip open the paper, and a puff of dark brown powder explodes in your face, permeating the air with a chocolatey flavour. Your eyes sting with the bitterness of the pure cocoa.

We would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors, the makers of pure, high-octane cocoa, made from fresh nyad springs on the plains of Latteland. Their only purpose in life is to make your day better – wait, nevermind, sorry, actually their only purpose in life is to make some money. And find enlightenment.

By your feet there is now a pile of cocoa powder, and in the middle of it lies a letter. You pick up, open it, and read the letter:

Dear CBer, the ticket enclosed in this letter will grant you passage aboard the last 13 coaches of the Disorienting Express, the train that will carry my dear ship, the RMS Tiny, on my journey to repair her. It is my wish that you would come along with me, as I believe CBers like adventures, and adventure seems to follow me everywhere. I give you my word, as a slightly shady individual who likes to lurk in alleyways waiting for my morning coffee to be delivered by vampire bat, that I will not let any of you murder each other, and the most dubious and sinister people of my acquaintance are not invited. Should they arrive, I'm sure your abilities of deducton will be able to be well used in apprehending them, as doubtless they will leave clues to their actions. Of course, if you accuse someone who is innocent, the actual murderer will likely choose you as their next target.

Anyways, here's some more words to convince you to come, thanks to my advertising agents, the Fortunetellers of Aura Alley: The adventure of a lifetime! Boundless fun! An express ride to anti-polar regions, aboard a ship aboard a train, surrounded by the most colourful of characters! You are hereby invited to the first railway passage from the Sahara to a handy mountain range (the location of which we cannot divulge at this time), and you'll have lots of fun!

- The Ominous

A NOTE: This is a murder mystery inspired by T.O.N's Ski Lodge and its various spin-offs, and it's sort of a continuation of the story of The Ominous and RMS Tiny detailed in the link above. However, for this we've changed some things about how it works so it's a bit more game-like, inspired (of course) by Clue.

A roll of the Die of Doom will determine how many people are killed each day, and their names will be drawn from Pandora's Fedora. The first death will occur on the third day.

All of you are innocent (at least as innocent as you can be, being yourselves), and you need to work together to discover which of the non-CBer characters aboard the Disorienting Express is the murderer.

Starting on the third day, there will be a few codes (think morse, first-letter codes, Sebald code, number codes) hidden (or not-so-hidden) in each day. The first person to find and decode each code will be granted, according to the Die of Doom, either immunity from death the next day or a clue in the form of a story snippet. Obviously, clues are given to everyone, while immunity is person-specific.

If you think you know who the murderer is, post your guess and tell us that it's an in-story accusation (we really want your input/interaction, so don't worry about us mistaking suspicious musings for in-story accusations, we'll double-check with you before making story-you accuse anyone). In the next day, the results of your confronting and accusing your suspect will occur. A Warning: Accusations of innocents will make the murder worry about your suspicions, and you will likely die (immunity will not necessarily help you here). However, accussations of innocents are still helpful because you now know the one you accused is innocent. Also, ghosts can totally help the other CBers guess and point out clues or codes they spot – and if they get immunity by spotting things, they can give it to someone who's alive.

The Disorienting Express starts its journey on January 20th. Sign up with a quote that you could be heard saying, and your packing list if you so wish. Any latecomers will be forced to walk.

Any complaints should be directed to The Ominous's editor and secretary, who will direct the complaints to John F.Q. and Pied Piper, along with all the other rubbish they send them.

*  *  *

You sneeze cocoa powder from your nose, and wonder if it's wise to trust this Ominous person. Will you accept the invitation? And if you do, how will you find this train? You wonder, and then a question mark falls on your head.

Then a comma hits the sidewalk, and you look up at the sudden rain of punctuation. A bracket and a quotation mark land in the cocoa powder, sending up a huge cloud of powder that seems tinted green in the sudden strange light. And then the King and Queen of punctuation, the interrobang & the ampersand arrive‽

Resplendent in their inky black armour and spiky crowns of accent marks, their presence announced by exclamation marks blaring trumpets, they walk towards you. The King waves, his infinity-sign moustache looking glorious. The Queen holds up her sceptre, mounted with a shining asterisk. They stop before you, and the King clears his throat.

A moment of silence.

The King coughs again, pointedly, and then two small tuxedo-wearing, upwards-pointing arrows run forward. The Shift keys. They carry a large suitcase that is a beautiful shining black - but not a boring black, this is the kind of black that galaxies are born in, the colour of a raven's feather, or of letterpress ink, holding all the possibilities of every written word. The King and Queen lift it from the hands of the Shift keys, which cling to it for a moment before dropping to the ground with small squeaks of dismay.

"Without hesitation, deprivation, aggravation, or mortification, we present you with this gift. Use it well." They pass the suitcase to you, and you stare at it for a moment. A hush falls over – or rather, into – the crowd (Aaaaah! THUMP! "sorry, sorry, shhh.")

With trembling hands, you lift the lid, and inside lies . . . your favourite pair of socks, folded perfectly. Beneath it a bunch of your other clothes are packed, and all sorts of travelling supplies.

"Oh yes – and I made you a nice warm drink." The King passes you a large thermos, and then blows his nose into his handkerchief. "We'll miss you, dear!"

The Queen pats your shoulder. "You're ready now, off you go. Goodbye, good luck, and have fun!"

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, stranded in the desert
(January 6, 2018 - 6:28 pm)

I'm definitely doing this!

"I don't say I'm no better than anybody else... but I'll be danged if I ain't just as good!" - Oklahoma

Can I bring my CAPTCHA, Mudge? Since he's like a fluffy pet, he wouldn't be his own person, just with me all the time.  

submitted by SopranoTwo
(January 8, 2018 - 8:33 pm)

Ah! This will motivate me to stay on here for a while to follow this :0 The RMS Tiny is legendary, dangit! 

Quote: "Ah, heck, this is not optimal in the least, my guy." 

I am bringing: The nice bracelets I got at my recent trip to Meteor Crater, a sketchbook, a ridiculously-sized store of mechanical pencils, my good black pens, a quill and a bottle of ink (I will invariably get the ink all over my hands when I try to write with them), my phone (with Google Keep), a jacket, an aersol bottle of Class-A amnestics, some censor bleeps for anything questionable I may say, and a fortune cookie or ten. 

submitted by Somebody, age Who Cares, Abandoned Secret HQ
(January 8, 2018 - 9:38 pm)

@ Brookeira and Danie:

Welcome back! It'll be good to be able
to murder you all again – wait, did I say that out loud? *clears
throat* I mean, it's good to have you! Hey Squeak, sounds like you've
got genie syndrome – don't worry, it's curable if you stay out of
your cupboard for long enough. And Crypto, that'd be fine except for
the fact that there's already a bit of a line for that . . . AND
you're a bit late, since time has already ended (twice) and I happen
to be on good terms with the demons from the void beyond the stars.
However, since you asked so politely, I'll bump you up in line and
you can have a go if time ends again and the demons come round for
tea. (But mind they don't eat all the crumpets like last time...)

P.S. Is the Masked Piester dead and
gone? Or merely sleeping, like Squeak was? I'd hate to be surprised
by any pumpkin pies in the face.

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, trapped in the desert
(January 9, 2018 - 12:18 pm)

Can I join? If so, I am packing roller skates and ear plugs. 

Hmm, something I can be found saying..

"If it doesn't have sugar in it, I won't eat it".  

submitted by xp
(January 9, 2018 - 4:23 pm)

I'll come! I'm not very good with quotes, but here's something I say often, usually with a dead-pan expression: "Welcome to the club. It's called life, and all the cool people are joining nowadays."

I will bring: clothes, knitting tote bag, high-powered flashlight, notebook and purple pen, portable radio, thermos of hot chocolate, fluffy blanket, and my fingerprint detection kit. Oh, and my CAPTCHA, Agatha, who's a tortiose shell cat, if that is alright. Like with SopranoTwo's CAPTCHA, she would never leave my side.

submitted by Vyolette(Vee-o-LET)
(January 9, 2018 - 4:52 pm)

Staring into the dark abyss that is my late-afternoon coffee, I let out a prolonged sigh.

"What has become of this city that we must leave it to find happiness?"

Suddenly, the caffine takes affect. Now I'm dancing on the walls, the ceiling; not one object is safe from my caffine-disco. My mind racing with a thousand thoughts, I call my secretary on the intercom.

"Valerie, pack my bags with 40,000 pounds of coffee! I'm going on an adventure!!"

I hear her exasperated sigh from the other room, admist my majestic tango.

"Aren't you, y'know, a little too...." Her voice falters "I mean, you practically live on coffee, hiss at sunlight, and can't hold an actual conversation, and yet you're going on a train with other people iN THE MIDDLE OF A DESERT!!"

I roll my eyes. "Oh Val. What are you talking about? I have the heating turned up WAY past a desert temperature, balance my diet with cupcakes instead of coffee (sometimes), and I talk with you all the time!"

Valerie sighs. "I'm a figment of your imagination, remember?"

She vanishes into thin air, leaving me salsa-ing on my packed suitcase.

"Well, no time better than the present to have an adventure!"

I open my suitcase to reveal my 40,000 pounds of coffee, and of course, a light reading of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Taking a huge slurp of my coffee, I gaze wistfully into the sunset as I wait to board the train. 


(sorry that was really long... Whoopsie. btw a catchphrase I say a bit at home is: "Say no to drugs" but I can also be heard slurping on coffee because coffee is love, coffee is life. Can't wait for the adventure!)

submitted by HipsterUnicornCat, age 117, Fluffy Fluffy RainbowCity
(January 9, 2018 - 9:24 pm)

@xp, I have something to tell you. Literally everything has natural sugars in it. That apple there? Probably full of healthy calories and geuss what LOAAAAAAAAAAAAAADS of sugar. Take a bite, my man. No, not the red side haven't you ever read Snow White? EAT IT MY DEAR.... YESSSSSSS...... Yisssss....... In fact, even other humans have sugar in them! Yes, yet another good reason for cannibalism! Isn't life wonderful? Hey, Pepper, stop nibbling on my finger! 

@HipsterUnicornCat Yes! You might be slightly surprised to find that Hot Chocolate has several of the  de-abilitating affects-I mean, uh, amazingly, erm, helpful affects of coffee! Wait, do you drink decaf-no that was a dum question. Of course you do! Only decafe coffee could create those amazing tango effects! So glad you've gotten onto this insane train wreck-uh, ride! WHOOOOO COFFEE INSANE THINGS COOKIES

I think you've had enough of those. *Swipes cookies out of Chinchilla's grasp and wrestles her onto the table* I'm sorry Chinchilla, but I have to do this. ACTIVATE BORING VOICE! *Puts on boring voice* The history of human civilisation is bloody and brutal, full of really stupid people, really really stupid people, and, strange fact, usually sycopaths get into positions of power. Those who can truly bear the weight of power usually don't because they're smart and don't want it. Those who DO want power are often not fit to bear it. Tis a sad life being a historian. *Chinchilla is asleep* Good. *Takes off droning voice* Phew.


Don't worry. This doesn't often happen in Chatterbox. The affects of decafe and cookies together are strangely powerful. As I always say, LIFE IS WEIRD 

submitted by Chinchilla
(January 10, 2018 - 2:27 pm)

Hmm, I'll have to give cannibalism some serious consideration.

submitted by Xp
(January 10, 2018 - 7:44 pm)

Looking awesome! I'll join!

submitted by Shoshannah
(January 10, 2018 - 5:03 pm)

Packing list:

I am bringing my dark red sweatshirt, my iPod, several assorted notebooks, my grey mechanical pencil, a self-refilling travel bottle of hot chocolate, a portable speaker, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, (one) anti-sea-ship-train-sickness medicine, my French homework, (IT NEVER ENDS) and Jarnen's watermelon gun. (I stole it.)

I apologize in advance, Somebody, if at times I just randomly grab your censor bleeps. I have no idea what's in store for me on this trip. (Ohhhhh dear.) 

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(January 10, 2018 - 5:21 pm)

Ah, no worries! I'll gladly share :D

submitted by Somebody, age Who cares, Slightly less dusty HQ
(January 10, 2018 - 9:44 pm)

Is there still room for me to join? (Also, suspicious... I'm drinking hot cocoa at the moment...)

Um... quote... "I want some FOOD. I'm starving, here!" (Or something along those lines. Usually before lunch.)

submitted by Evergreen, Noctem in Terra
(January 10, 2018 - 5:29 pm)

"What just happened?"

And that, dear friends, is my quote. XD 

submitted by elementgirl18917
(January 11, 2018 - 6:29 am)

My packing list! 

An IPhone, a laptop,  sketchbook, lama red pajamas, a stack of Poirot tv show series, a leather coat, and a blaster. 

And a quote? Hmm how about “You’ve lost it, I’ve lost it, but he hasn’t lost it... yet.”  

submitted by Tuxedo Kitten
(January 11, 2018 - 11:13 am)

Yes! At least HE hasn't lost it. Whatever he is. Whatever IT is. 


submitted by Chinchilla
(January 12, 2018 - 1:35 pm)