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)

Hehe, that sounds so much like me. XD Keep up the great work!! 

submitted by Vyolette
(April 25, 2018 - 7:36 pm)

So so far the obvious (and me grasping at straws) references I've found are:

- The Princess Bride (Inconcievable!)

- HHGTTG (Slartibartfast)

- LotR (what's this in my pocketses)

- Lemony Snicket (the authorities always do arrest the wrong people and ask all the wrong questions, the secretary thing that's already been pointed out)

The part about venemous plants was giving me an overwhelming sense of deja vu, though I can't figure out why.

Nice work as always! Glad to see a new part.

submitted by St.Owl, age Recarnated, Everywhere
(April 26, 2018 - 4:07 pm)

Oh I know, right? You saying it made me realize it is very odd and slightly reminiscent of something I feel like I've read or watched before....sometime in the....past.....*falters*

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(April 27, 2018 - 12:30 pm)

*Shows up*




*Shrieks in jubilation and makes an odd imitation of a victory dance crossed with a waltz and gymnastics floor routine*

*Realizes the situation (or: the fact that she's supposed to be mysteriously hovering around and shadowing the story) and hurriedly dives into the shadows*  

*Pops head out and quietly hisses "YESSSS!"*

*Retreates to print out day 2 and Ommy's remarks on Brooklyn and Leafpool's sleuthing; and to sharpen her pencils* 


submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(April 24, 2018 - 9:50 am)

*Pop head out of book* *Pumps armup* YES! I second that movement! *Pops back behind book*

submitted by Chinchilla
(April 24, 2018 - 5:15 pm)

Absolutely AMAZING! Ominous, wow. You are such a talented writer!

submitted by Tuxedo Kitten
(April 24, 2018 - 6:14 pm)

AHA! I've figured out who Remi Spices is; and yet I still can't unscramble Duney Mops/Sigus Ide/Nate G., although I'm pretty sure Nate G. could only be get an or ganet, but that should have two n's, so I'm stumped. And I can't for the life of me tell who Gester M. Norn is, although part of his name spells gemstone. (But then there are two r's and an n, so that doesn't fit.)  

(I'll wait and see if someone else wants to try descrambling it all before I say who Remi Spices' alias is) 

*Fades back into nonexistence* 

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(April 25, 2018 - 3:47 pm)

This is so great! Miss Pierce reminds me of Jacquelyn,  the secretary from series of unfortunate events, though it's mainly because of the unexplained sabbaticals comment.

submitted by Danie
(April 26, 2018 - 11:49 am)

Thanks for all your comments! To Brooklyn Newsie: The short answer is yes! The long answer is partly yes, and partly no - it's a reference to the VFD, but also a reference to them in that it's an in-story reference to an organization with strong VFD-esque undertones, and a hint of cranberry. There have been a few hints to it (and its members) so far, but more are on the way (possibly including in the installment below). To St. Owl: Such dedication! You caught most of them there, but if you want to search for more, in that installment there were also two separate Monty Python references, and an extremely subtle (as in nearly undetectable, so if you find it we will applaud you greatly, and possibly award a prize) one to Narnia. And you're right, the venomous/poisonous thing we didn't directly reference anything, but it does seem very familiar... Perhaps Lemony Snickett once expounded upon the difference between the two? To Leafpool: Woohoo! Keep up the good work! Don't worry about Gester M. Norn, his reveal is going to be a slow one, so the few hints you have to his identity right now are rather obscure. All will be revealed in due time, although you are welcome to continue to speculate. To Danie: Our thoughts exactly! There is an uncanny resemblance...

Day 2 Part 2 - The Subtle Letterknife

Mr. Gold finished his slice of pie, and opened his newspaper again. But before he could continue reading, Host Larry (of the dark blue tie and eyes) jumped up and grabbed it from his hands. “I'll be! The Daily Punctuation has published another article by this 'unreliable reporter' person!”

Field Reporter Larry's eyebrows rose. Host Larry continued, “He's beat us to the news again! Listen to this: 'Train Departs From Station, Ominous Swarmed By Would-Be Passengers!' There are details about all of us, boarding the Disorienting Express yesterday! How could this be? That station was deserted!”

All the Larrys frowned, and then Field Reporter Larry jumped up and said quickly, “It must have been that old man! I knew his beard looked suspiciously bushy!” As he said this, a multitude of postcards fell from his pockets.

Evergreen noticed this first. “Hey, you dropped stuff! Do you want help with that?”

Field Reporter Larry looked down, and his face blanched for a moment. “No no no, I've got it!” He swooped down and began stuffing them back into his pockets.

Leeli, Shoshannah, and Quill dropped to their knees and helped collect the rest of the postcards, handing them to Larry, who grinned and snatched them from the CBers' hands.

Host Larry bent down and picked up the last postcard left, and read the colourful writing on the front: “'Come visit the luminescent lights of Hypnosville! Leading hypnosis since 1984! You'll have no choice but to obey!' Why, that sounds like a wonderful vacation spot! I've always wanted to have a deep, hypnotic voice – perhaps it might bring back those devoted listeners of ours that have begun to get their news from this newspaper...” He glared accusingly at the Daily Punctilio, and then stood up and handed the postcard to Field Reporter Larry. “We must go start our daily broadcast immediately! Can't let the competition get ahead of us!”

Field Reporter Larry grabbed his letterknife from the table, stuffed the Hypnosville postcard back into his pocket, and nodded. “Right, yes, yes! To the broadcasting studio we go!”

With that, The Larrys dashed back through the door the CBers had entered by not so long ago.

The CBers looked at each other for a moment.

Chinchilla looked after the Larrys. “That was a bit strange. I think something suspicious is afoot!”

Notes frowned. “I've been observing my feet this whole time and they haven't done anything the least bit suspicious! Although, one of them did move, just now. I shall make a note of that.”

Tux shrugged. “Well, stranger things have happened at sea, I suppose.”

“Yes, like people being murdered on a cruise that ended up nowhere near the sea...” Brookeira looked pointedly at The Ominous.

The Ominous pulled out a large book and pretended to be very interested in it. “They didn't actually die, you know. It was all very important to the plot!” He muttered.

“The plot. Sure...” Danie whispered to Squeak, eyebrow raised.

There was a moment of awkward silence.

“Well, I'm no longer hungry. What should we do now?” orangelemon asked.

“We should explore! Didn't the Ominous say there were 13 carriages? I think we've only seen 5 so far...” said Rose bud.

Brooklyn Newsie jumped up. “Hey wait! Has anyone seen their Captcha today? I haven't seen Tina since yesterday!”

SopranoTwo gasped. “Oh no, you're right! How could I have not noticed that Mudge wasn't there to wake me up! This is awful! This is horrible! This is inconceivable!” She paused for a breath, and Leafpool took the opportunity that had been handed to her:

“Y'know, I don't think that word means what you think it means.”

SopranoTwo frowned. “It means exactly what I think it means! What if they've been kidnapped and fed to the shrieking eels?”

Brooklyn Newsie's face dropped. “Or what if they've been captured by a sinister villain with many disguises and fed to the leeches?”

“Or they've been devoured by man-eating cabbages?” Leeli looked pointedly at Devin.

Chinchilla gulped nervously, “Or kittens...”

St. Owl added, “Oh no - what if they've been trapped in a small rural community and are being used as dwarf-replacements to test the effects of a curse on the town line?”

Everyone stopped and stared at St. Owl, who said, “What? It's a perfectly reasonable fear! The dwarfs are probably now free to lead angry mobs, with your poor Captchas doing their dirty work!”

Vyolette frowned. “That's ridiculous. I'm sure Agatha and Frederick and Tina and Mudge and Nugget are still on board. We should be able to find them with a little detective work.”

Danie perked up, and pulled out a deerstalker. “Aha!”

Vyolette glared at her. “That's unprofessional.” Danie glared back. Before the rival detectives could do anything drastic, however, Crypto jumped up.

“Let's start our search in the Ballroom! That's where Weather Larry said the Broadcasting Studio was, and while you're all searching, I can finalize my plans to destroy and obliterate The Ominous and force the Larrys to broadcast my terrifying and drastic plan for world domination to the masses! This is perfect!” Crypto waltzed down the accordion hallway to the Conservatory. “They'll have probably already surrendered by the time I get there!” He flicked on a pair of shades.

The rest of the CBers ran after him, ready to solve The Mystery of the Missing Captchas!

* * *

Crypto threw open the beautiful French doors to the Ballroom, glass panels inlaid in a swirling pattern that resembled the letters C.C. on one door, and C.C.C. on the other. The ceiling was vaulted with green wood that looked slightly charred, at the far end there was a huge stage hung with deep purple curtains, although it looked like a puppet theatre at that distance, it was so far away. A chandelier hung high above the middle of the room, glinting menacingly. The floor was polished black and white tiles, just like the Dining carriage, and on the sides of the carriage, between tall, purple-curtained windows, sat fluffy upholstered chairs. In the middle of the huge, open floor, sat a large suitcase. The Larrys were nowhere to be seen. Brooklyn Newsie was the only one not surprised when the suitcase flew open and one of the Larrys emerged, holding several wriggling Captchas in his arms. He noticed the CBers and set down the Captchas. “Are these your fantastical beasts?”

Quill jumped up and down in excitement. “We were all wondering where to find them! Thank you Mr. Yearly!”

Mudge ran to SopranoTwo, Agatha waltzed to Vyolette, purring, Nugget hopped to Leeli, Frederick capered towards Chinchilla, and Tina flew up from the suitcase, swooped around the room, and landed on Brooklyn Newsie's shoulder with a small thunderclap.

“It's Smith, actually.”

Crypto grinned. “Stand aside, Yearly Smith whoever you are! It's time for my world domination speech to be broadcast to the innocent ears that unknowingly await my genius!”

“Well, if you insist.” Larry Smith stood aside and let Crypto slide down the ladder, into the suitcase studio.

Notes extended a finger in the air. “I too would like to pontificate on the merits of world domination.” She grappled down the ladder after Crypto.

Larry looked around at the rest of the CBers. “The rest of you can come down too, if you like! The other Larrys were hoping to interview some of you, actually. Seeing as how you're all such individual individuals.”

So the CBers all crowded into the studio inside the suitcase. Once they had clambered down the ladder, they were in a small room with walls of the same material as the suitcase. A bare lightbulb illuminated a round table with a microphone, soundboard, and assorted other radio broadcasting equipment, including a large glowing object that appeared to have no function other than to glow in an indeterminable colour, pulsing slightly. Around the table were 3 chairs, and the only other objects of interest were a latched door in one wall, and a multitude of photos and newspaper clippings pinned to the wall.

The Weather and Host Larrys sat at the chairs, and as Larry Smith descended the ladder, Field Reporter Larry came in through the door, holding some freshly-made photographic negatives. “Still can't get the man's face...” He muttered.

“It's bigger on the inside!” said Somebody, grinning.

“Weren't a lot of the carriages also bigger on the inside?” asked Kid.

“Yes, but this is a different experience. The carriages probably just had enlargement tech, but this, this is a complete suitcase universe!” Somebody replied, looking back up at the small opening they had entered through.

“If you like this, you'll love my suitcase!” Brooklyn Newsie said, “Mine's quite a bit bigger on the inside, this one's actually rather cramped.”

Weather Reporter Larry shrugged. “Sorry about that, tight budget y'know.” He tapped on the mic to test it, and the sound of a bell gonging came out of the small radio. He turned to Host Larry, “Oh bother, it's malfunctioned again. Try plugging the orange cable into the biscuits – no wait, I forgot that those mysteriously disappeared last night – try the pocket lint that was left in their place, or the purple box marked 'cat', would you?”

“Hey, look at this!” said xp, pointing at a newspaper clipping, with a headline reading “Decade-Old Case Reopened, Master Criminal Morgenstern Thought Responsible!”

T.S. frowned, and read what was left of the article, “Article by J[unreadable] Pie[blurred]. Police originally arrested the wrong person for a crime involving a wall-ornament, and now suspect one S. Morgenstern, even though there is absolutely no evidence to either prove or disprove this, as the criminal could have been any one of the numerous wait staff. Chief Inspector Scotty describes the case as being akin to 'trying to find a box of spices in a dark circus, while dreamers in red scarves wander the black-and-white striped tents, searching for the relative of a notorious criminal'.”

“Boring!” yelled Host Larry, who leaned back in his seat, feet propped up on the table. “You can't trust long-winded articles like that! Radio, however, is a whole different matter! We talk so fast that we can't edit ourselves – a fact which may have contributed to that one, no two, or was it four, times when I spent time in a small concrete cell for speaking out against evil regimes. Anyways, back to the matter at hand!” He switched on the broadcasting equipment. “Broadcasting Live in 5-42-3.14-2-1-”

“Hello, and welcome to Larry Incorporated Radio Broadcasting! Here we are, on the Disoooooorienting Express, and this is our first broadcast! Weather Larry and the Chatterboxers narrowly avoid being killed by acid rain – or possibly venom – in the Conservatory Carriage, everyone aboard finds that the carriages change order in the night, and The Ominous is as ominous as ever! We'll start at the beginning: The morning sun poured across the great expanse of sand, glinting off the long railroad tracks stretching from the horizon. The sky was a blinding blue, cheerful as a robin's egg but nine times as dangerous...”


submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, avoiding eye contact
(April 28, 2018 - 8:41 pm)

I'm just going to keep up this list of references, feel free to add on if any of you notice anything I missed!

- His Dark Materials (the subtle butterknife)

- A Series of Unfortunate Events (The Daily Punctuation, then confirmed when it becomes the Daily Punctilio; Or what if they've been captured by a sinister villain with many disguises and fed to the leeches)

- The Princess Bride ("This is inconcievable!" "Y'know, I don't think that word means what you think it means"; What if they've been kidnapped and fed to the shrieking eels)

- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (the magical suitcase)

- Doctor Who (It's bigger on the inside!)


submitted by St.Owl, age Recarnated, Everywhere
(April 29, 2018 - 10:16 am)

Master Criminal S. Morgenstern is a reference to The Princess Bride, as the original book by William Goldman was said to be abridged from the original version by a man named S. Morgenstern.

Field Reporter Larry not able to get the man's face in the photo negatives is another Lemony Snicket reference. In all the photos Lemony Snicket appears in, you can't see his face.

When one of the Larrys brings back the CAPTCHAS, he asks, "Are these your fantastic beasts?" This, of course, is an obvious Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them reference.

This is random but the chandelier glinting menacingly - could that be a Phantom of the Opera reference?

I think that 'dwarf replacements on a town line' is indeed a Once Upon a Time reference as in the second season of OUaT, the seven dwarves draw straws to see who will test what happens when someone crosses the town line of Storybrook. Sneezy draws the short straw and loses his memory when he goes across.

Danie pulling out a deerstalker hat is a Sherlock Holmes reference. Holmes was famous for wearing a deerstalker hat. 

'Leading hypnosis since 1984' is a reference to 1984 by George Orwell.


That's it for now! 

submitted by Brooklyn Newsie
(May 2, 2018 - 9:16 am)

Annnd it circles. It's like a love triangle, almost. Lemony Snicket-->George Orwell-->The Ominous-->Lemony Snicket. And I haven't even read ASoUE. Or 1984.

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(May 2, 2018 - 11:00 am)

This is great! Okay, don't judge me but I only read two Sisters Grimm books before abandoning the series for other things, but would the “Oh no - what if they've been trapped in a small rural community and are being used as dwarf-replacements to test the effects of a curse on the town line?” be a reference to the Sisters Grimm? 

And...ah...oh. Is by any chance the part in Day 2 pt 1 where Weather Larry shows up with his umbrella the Narnia reference? It makes me think of Mr. Tumnus. (Come to think of it, I could just take every single scene in the day and ask you if they were Narnia references. But I'll refrain from that.) 

I can't find any Monty Python references. But that could be accounted to the fact that the Ominous is pretty good at subtle references, and also I've only watched the Holy Grail once. But I bet I could watch it four times in a row and maybe not catch the references. Who knows.





Remi Spices is Miss Pierce; that makes it all the more interesting and explains her unexplained sabbaticals. Sort of.

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, Catching references
(April 30, 2018 - 11:56 am)

Perfect as usual! Can't wait for more.

submitted by Danie
(May 2, 2018 - 11:49 am)

darn! Can’t believe I missed signing up! Oh well:(

submitted by Poison , age 13
(May 2, 2018 - 2:23 pm)