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)


submitted by Top, age Top, Top
(May 7, 2018 - 5:32 am)

Has anyone realized that someone's going to die soon? Day 2 ended and according to Ommy, "the first death will occur on the third day" ominous. *Backs up against wall and clutches Jarnen's (now rusty) watermelon gun for dear life* I'll blast Moana music at anyone who comes near me! I swear it! 

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(May 8, 2018 - 10:29 am)

This is amazing! I have a bad feeling about Mr. Gold, though...

submitted by Quill
(May 13, 2018 - 12:42 pm)


submitted by Top, age Top, Top
(May 18, 2018 - 4:27 pm)
submitted by Leaf...TOP!, age TIPTOP, The...TOP! of the forest
(May 23, 2018 - 9:43 am)

To St. Owl: Nice work! And, erm, it seems I may have made a Freudian slip there with the newspaper. That, or a wormhole opened up and replaced the Daily Punctuation with the Daily Punctilio. Completely not a ripoff of Lemony Snickett at all! Heh.

To Brooklyn Newsie: You're right on both the Phantom of the Opera and OuaT! And one half of us has just had her mind blown on account of this Georgina Orwell stuff...

To Leafpool: The Ominous is . . . uncertain how to feel about this love triangle. A grand total of one half of us has read one half of 1984, so don't worry, you're not really missing anything. I stopped reading Sisters Grimm after the first few books as well, so I won't judge if you won't. The Narnia reference was said by Vyolette, and the only clue is in how she says it. Although you're right, the Weather Larry's appearance is probably about on par in subtleness, even though it wasn't intentional. As for Monty Python, one was said by you and is a reference to one of their many skits, while the other was at the very end of day 2 part 1. Good job on the anagram-deciphering! Hopefully the murderer didn't overhear you and decide to find some way of becoming waterproof...

To Vyolette, Tuxedo Kitten, Chinchilla, and Danie: Thank you so much!

To Poison: Sorry it's too late (and our hands are already full with so many people), but you are welcome to read along, and help out with deciphering if you want! Perhaps you can make a cameo as a murder weapon... Just beware, one does not simply speed-read the Disorienting Express...

To Quill: You probably have good reason. Anyone who will hire secret police to tie a man to the tracks just to stop a train probably isn't the sort to have tea and crumpets with unicorns.

And now, without further ado (well, maybe a bit of ado), a minisode which we here at RMS Co. have compiled from a few things we apprehended (with quite some difficulty, especially given the fact that the orders were given, not from the Chairman, but from one Storm N. Green, so it had to be done in more secret than usual) from an acclaimed postman and astrozoologist, who was about to deliver several letters to the Disorienting Express:

Minisode 2 - The Ominous' Mail

Hallo Ommy,

So sorry to hear about your bosses turning out to be evil. I’d love to help, but it looks like I already have. Or perhaps I will have in the past in the future. At any rate, there’s a large tangle in the fabric of time and space that isn’t letting me get anywhere near your train in your time. Anyways, I have a man’s head to steal, a lonely fish to talk to, and a Time Agent to rescue – I could tell you more, but y’know, spoilers!

Got to go!


Mr. Ominous:

Having receieved your letter requesting help, I attempted to detain the Watch, but I’m afraid they are extremely busy. I shan’t detain you any longer, for I know that digging oneself out of a desert must be nearly as difficult as running a city full of people intent on digging each other’s graves.

Good day.

The Patrician


My dear dear dear Ominous,

Your situation does sound rather bittersweet, but I am afraid that I am unable to help you. Although I would love to, nothing changes the fact that the Oompa-Loompas are on strike. The new management is a strange man named Charlie Bucket, and being the ridiculous person that he is, he's removed all of my machines that are fun – although I suppose his exact words were “dangerous” and “it's killed at least 3 people and 25 Oompa-Loompas! You're a monster!”, which I thought was a bit harsh... MWAHAHAHA – excuse me. Anyways, I'm surprised he hasn't kicked the bucket yet, but you know, it helps to have someone you don't like running your entire business for you. It gives me time to concoct more world-domination plans involving fondue – oh wait, did I write that? Don't look at me, I'm just a slightly cuckoo chocolate-maker! It seems I am becoming as transparent as my glass elevator. Don't get me wrong, Ommy, I'd love to help you, but I'm currently stuck between a sticky place and a piece of hard candy that's been sitting in my pocket gathering lint for a month or two.

Yours sincerely,

“The Insanity” a.k.a. “Good Ol'


My Dear Ominous,

I find that a teaspoon of sugar helps everything go down. However, I’m very busy taking care of two children who will hopefully grow up to change the world for the better – it’s a very demanding job, as there is evil lurking around every corner.

Good luck,

“The Governess”


Hello O.

I'm afraid I cannot be entirely sure if you are O or O, but nevertheless, I would help if I could. Unfortunately, I cannot. A number of events have recently conspired – a word which here means that many individuals you thought were friends are actually enemies, and they have made plans together – such that I am unable to provide any volunteers. I think you ought to know, however, that I have received correspondence from M, which seems as wrong as a reptile room without the reptiles, and so I am suspicious. There may be another M that I have not heard of, perhaps a member of your own local secret organization? My M, I know, would not ask me to attend a restaurant staffed by waiters who Caper and Cavort like inCautious Coded Crocodiles.

Yours sincerely,


(Storm N. Green seemed adamant on destroying this last letter, out of all of them, but not everyone in RMS Co. condones burning books...)


* * *

NOTE: The 3rd day is nearly ready for posting! Thanks so much for your patience, everyone!

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, aboard the express
(May 27, 2018 - 3:18 pm)

Oooh! The first letter is from Willy Wonka (apparently evil now, liked the OUaT's-Peter-Pan-ish spin you put on him), the second is from Mary Poppins, and the third, of course, is from Lemony Snicket. Great job on writing in the voices of these characters! It's really spectacular.

submitted by Brooklyn Newsie
(May 28, 2018 - 10:57 am)

Just now catching up on this. Brilliant as usual. I love how basically every other sentence is a reference to something :P I'm sure Cecil is very happy that Desert Bluffs is deserted. 

You know I faithfully followed the adventures of the RMS Humbug and RMS Tiny, so I'm happy to be on the train. Even if saying this may get me murdered, who knows. I also loved the Orient Express. Although how someone can laugh over Dickens I will never understand. I sobbed over Tale of Two Cities. Sydney Carton is now the most iconic and popular person in the majority of my highschool classes (never mind that he doesn't exist, did absolutely nothing but slack off all novel, and was kiled), and pretty much all the girls in my Lit class make heart signs and giggle whenever he is brought up. Me being me, I dedicated a poem to him. Ahh, we readeres are a crazy breed. 

Okay, I did not mean to go off on that rabbit trail. Keep up the good work! Can't wait for the next part!  

submitted by Rose bud, age 15
(May 28, 2018 - 8:06 pm)

Also, (forgive me if this is already figured out, or if I wasn't supposed to blurt out my findings). But isn't Gester M. Norn an anagram for S. Morgenstern? The fictional "writer" of The Princess Bride and (apparent) master criminal? 

submitted by Rose bud, age 15, Tara
(May 28, 2018 - 8:33 pm)

1) This is the best thing every, Ommy, I love it.

2) ROSE BUD! OMIGOSH! YES YES YES IT IS! Well, it's an anagram for Morgenstern...Gester M. Norn only has one S. YOU'VE GOT IT! OMIGOSH IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR're a genius! When I came on I was going to point out that Storm N. Green is also an anagram for Gester M. Norn, but you beat a lot. *Jumps up and waves hand generally to gather attention* Hey Ominous, Rose bud figured it out! 

*Much frantic applause* Okay, now is the murderer going to murder you/us? Not that we have the murderer now, probably, but you did figure out who Gester M. Norn is. Gosh, I need to read TPB. 

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(May 29, 2018 - 2:15 pm)

OH NO! *grabs sword* *stands back to back with Leaf* 


*drops sword* 


submitted by Rose bud, age 15, Tara
(May 29, 2018 - 4:09 pm)

*Runs around hysterically in circles, notices Rose bud and her sword, and dashes over, pulling out a sword of her own* YEAH! GET THE MURDERER! *Tries a fancy flourish with her sword, also drops it* Whoops.

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(May 30, 2018 - 9:00 am)

Also, I was so happy I figured it out, but I thought, surely someone else has figured it out by now??? Honestly, I wouldn't have gotten it without all this talk about The Princess Bride. I'm...kind of a little teensy bit of a  fan. I own a hardcover special edition copy of the book with watercolor illustrations that I've read four times. 

submitted by Rose bud
(May 29, 2018 - 7:33 pm)


I hope I deleted the comment you meant. It's better if you tell me exactly what words the comment begins with.


submitted by Chinchilla
(May 29, 2018 - 7:03 pm)

Thank you! Sorry for the caps, I was super worried. I forgot to add to delete that but it really doesn't matter at this point.

submitted by Chinchilla
(June 3, 2018 - 3:06 pm)