StrangeTown Specter Yard Conspiracy (STSYC) #6: The Second Battle

0600h, Curious Observatory

The following dawn, Vidcund and Lazlo Curious reported for telescope duty at the highest decks of their Curious Observatory.

They reviewed the “security footage” for the night, captured by their self-configured telescope-video camera hybrids, and concluded that the coast was clear for the entire night. Besides, they had set an alarm to trigger in their bedrooms if the cameras detected any signs of significant movement from either Specter Yard or Beaker Castle. The alarm had been silent all night.

Now, the brothers peered through the telescopes in person, and concluded that the coast is clear now. So Vidcund sent a signal to the Smith residence.

Within three minutes, Vidcund and Lazlo saw four brightly-clad figures emerge from Jenny Smith’s house. Their brother Pascal Curious, Johnny Smith, Lola and Chloe Curious-Smith were dispatched for the mission to save Nervous Subject.

“What a uniform!”(*) remarked Lazlo. “Team Curious for the win!”

“Heh heh. PT loved it, because it goes well with the green skintone,” Vidcund mused. “At first, I thought loud colors would be bad for a stealth mission. But if the zombies show up again, it’ll be easier for us to identify each other.”

Vidcund & Lazlo Curious on the roof of their Observatory


Pollination Technician #9 Smith rallies Team Curious for their mission

0605-0610h, Charge of Team Curious

“Don’t be afraid to bust the Beakers’ heads if you must! Can’t expect the zombies to do all the hard work!”

That was PT9’s rallying call before Team Curious left the house. Those words bothered Johnny immensely, as they made their way up Beaker Hill. He finally could contain it no longer.

“Guys, do you find it strange that Dad would encourage us to hurt the Beakers? Dad is normally not so enthusiastic about others getting hurt”. The rest nodded.

RM Roberts observes the charge of Team Curious, as Johnny Smith voices his suspicions to Pascal Curious, Lola & Chloe Curious-Smith

Pascal put his arm on Johnny’s shoulder. “We should focus on the task. Get Nervous, and get out. Try not to die.” More nods followed.


Ripp Grunt is late for breakfast with his family

0615h, Grunt Boot Camp

Ripp Grunt was still yawning as he walked downstairs for breakfast. How he managed not to sleep through his ridiculously-early alarm, he would never know.

As usual, General Buzz Grunt and Tank were up before him, already dressed, and seated for the morning meal. Lyla entered the dining room, and took her seat at the table too. But the table had been set for only one more person. Ripp shot a quizzical look at his parents.

“Dad, Mom, where is Buck?”

“Buck left five minutes ago,” said Lyla. “He’s going to a summer camp in Desiderata Valley. Jenny Smith is driving him there, with her daughter Jill.”

Buck Grunt waves goodbye to Mom Lyla Grunt, before getting into the car with Jenny and Jill Smith

“Your mother didn’t want her youngest child involved in this ‘civil war’,” interjected the General. “I wasn’t fond of the idea of Buck travelling with that alien’s wife, but we are shorthanded here, so we don’t have much of a choice.”

General Buzz Grunt explains Buck's absence to Ripp, while Lyla and Tank listen

Ripp frowned. He was particularly peeved at not being included in this summer camp arrangement. Surely they could send him to one for teens? Besides, Buck would surely miss him. How could they send him away without even saying goodbye?

These troubling thoughts were written so prominently on Ripp’s face, that Tank could no longer keep his mouth shut.

Ripp Grunt's annoyance provokes Tank Grunt to mock him

“What’s wrong, Ripp? So grumpy? Don’t wanna fight? Stop acting like a little girl, and behave like a man! Stop thinking like a woman, you weakling!”

Lyla narrowed her eyes. “Tank Grunt, have you forgotten that your mother will fight alongside you in this battle? So will Kristen Loste. You better not let her hear such comments about women being weaklings, young man!”

“Kristen is a respectable lieutenant and competent soldier. You should see her in combat,” added the General. “So don’t generalize all women as weak.”

Lyla and General Buzz Grunt lecture Tank against misogyny

Tank cowered under his parents’ glares. Ripp tried hard to suppress a smirk. Tank being lectured for misogyny? Perhaps this was going to be a good day for Ripp after all.

Tank Grunt cowers, while Ripp Grunt tries not to look overly happy

“Now, soldiers, finish up this nutritious meal, because we are on standby. Especially you, Ripp. Finish up quickly and get dressed immediately.”

The doorbell rang. Kristen Loste and Ajay Loner had arrived.

Kristen Loste & Ajay Loner report for duty under General Buzz Grunt

“Sir, the zombies have been spotted near Beaker Castle,” reported Kristen. “We should get moving now.”

Ajay put on his best poker face. Nobody in Team Grunt must ever see the last text message he sent. It was to his girlfriend, Erin Beaker, in Beaker Castle:

“Get out now. They’re coming.”

Ajay Loner on the phone outside his house

He had also seen her immediate reply: “Beware electric fence around Nervous’ pit. Gen Grunt is a son of a boolprop, but please be safe, I love you.”


Team Curious invades Beaker Castle

0625h, Beaker Castle

Lola stationed herself at the front arches. Chloe snuck around to the back door. Pascal and Johnny crept their way into the castle, and made a beeline for the basement chamber.

But they were forced to stop. “Oh Watcher,” groaned Pascal, “that son of a boolprop Loki installed an electric fence. Johnny, keep watch, while I try to disable it.”

Pascal Curious & Johnny Smith try to disable Beaker's latest booby trap


0630h

Though Johnny tried his best to keep a lookout, he did not notice a blonde woman creeping out of the shadows.

How can Johnny Smith NOT notice Erin Beaker approaching Pascal Curious like THAT?

Armed with a heavy metal poker, Erin Beaker struck Pascal on the back of his head. Pascal collapsed into a heap, but mercifully, without touching the fence.

Erin turned and glared at Johnny. “Take him, and get out now, before Loki and Circe see you.”

Erin Beaker gives Johnny Smith a chance to escape with unconscious Pascal Curious

Moments later, the zombies burst through the front arches.

Beaker Castle Zombie Attack: Danielle Greaves, Hugh Thanasia, Bella Goth, Tim Lee DeMise

They were followed by another group of sims… in similar uniforms as Johnny’s, but in brown instead.

“For Strangetown!” came the familiar roar of Tank Grunt.

Johnny banged his head.

Johnny Smith bangs his head at Tank Grunt's battle cry


0635h

“Uncle Pascal is heavy,” thought Johnny, as he dragged Pascal across the castle floor, careful not to inflict any further injuries on Pascal. It also proved difficult to try to shield himself and his uncle from the raging zombies.

Finally, Johnny reached the back door, where Chloe was chatting…

… with Ripp Grunt, the last person Johnny expected to see at a battle scene.

“Ripp? What are you doing here?” Johnny stared agape.

“I don’t know,” groaned Ripp. “I can’t believe I ever marched into battle in uniform, on my father’s orders.”

Ripp Grunt can't believe his father successfully forced him to fight in the Battle of Strangetown

“Dude, at least they gave you guard duty, instead of the more dangerous work.”

“Yeah, I guess. Wait, Johnny, what happened to your uncle?”

“Yeah, what happened to Pascal? Do you need me to go in instead?” Chloe looked concerned.

Pascal Curious is unconscious in Beaker Castle

“Chloe, neither of us have the know-how to do this.”

As Johnny related Pascal’s mishap, none of them noticed that Tank Grunt was glowering at them from the back door.

“So, Greenie Smith,” Tank roared, “you come here to mess up a Grunt mission, and distract my loser of a brother from his guard duty.”

“Who are you calling Greenie?” snapped Chloe. “We also have our own mission here!”

Tank Grunt insults aliens, to the indignation of Chloe Curious-Smith

“Stay out of this, lady.” Tank let his fists do the talking, as he got into a full-on brawl with Johnny.

Johnny Smith fights with Tank Grunt - who will win this time?

“Stop!” yelled Ripp. “Tank, aren’t you supposed to fight the zombies instead? You’re wasting your energy!”

Tank Grunt vs Johnny Smith fight

Tank thumped Johnny to the ground. The latter yelped in pain, clutching his leg. Tank marched up to Ripp.

Tank Grunt starts a fight with Ripp Grunt

“I have plenty of energy to fight zombies,” Tank muttered, “after I teach you a lesson to stop being such a loser.”

“Stop!” was Chloe’s furtive cry, as the Grunt boys turned on each other.


Lyla Grunt disturbs Kristen Loste's fight against zombie Bella Goth

0640h

“Lyla? Aren’t you supposed to be guarding the front arches?” growled Kristen, as she punched zombie Bella Goth in the solar plexus.

Nearby, Ajay was punishing zombie Hugh Thanasia.

Ajay Loner vs Hugh Thanasia fight

“Kristen, I need you and Ajay to follow me upstairs. I know where the master control is.”

“What master control?” Kristen pushed zombie Bella down. Ajay kicked zombie Hugh away.

“The Beakers’ master control for the zombies. You two just follow me. My gut feeling is usually correct,” Lyla insisted.

Lyla Grunt leads Ajay Loner & Kristen Loste upstairs

“But what about what’s down there?” Ajay pointed towards Nervous’ basement chamber.

“Doesn’t matter, probably not important,” Lyla grumbled. “Follow me upstairs now!”

Kristen and Ajay followed Lyla upstairs.

“Now what? The furniture looks more normal up here.” Kristen looked askance at Lyla.

“Smash everything! The master control could be anywhere!” Lyla commanded.

“But you said you knew exactly where it is,” said Ajay, in a small voice.

Ajay Loner & Kristen Loste are skeptical about Lyla Grunt's battle plan

“Just do it! Beware of zombies!” Lyla yelled, as she took the initiative to smash the nearest objects around her. Ajay and Kristen followed suit.

As Ajay was smashing a vanity table, wondering how Circe Beaker would react to this, zombie Benjamin Cho charged towards him.

A zombie interrupts Ajay Loner as he destroys a vanity table

Luckily, Ajay had not destroyed the mirror yet, so he broke it over the zombie’s head. Ajay sighed in relief as another pile of zombie dust formed at his feet.

Meanwhile, Kristen lifted a large vase, hurling it at zombie Brenda Zaidi.

Kristen Loste throws an urn at a zombie, exposing Circe Beaker's hiding place

Soon a pile of porcelain shards were mixed with zombie dust.

Unfortunately, the removal of the large vase also exposed Circe Beaker‘s hiding place. Circe pounced on Kristen, and tried to strangle the military woman.

Circe Beaker attacks Kristen Loste

Fortunately, Lyla Grunt saw that, and rushed promptly to Kristen’s aid. Lyla kicked Circe off Kristen, sending Circe rolling into the sharp porcelain remains of the large vase.

Circe howled in pain. Despite her multiple cuts, she managed to stand up, and promptly shoved Lyla in the direction of another fragile heirloom.

Circe Beaker attacks Lyla Grunt

As Lyla crashed, Circe was too busy gloating to notice that Kristen had recovered, and was stealthily approaching her from behind, iron poker in hand.

Circe Beaker gloating, moments before being hit by Kristen Loste

The big stick found its target on Circe’s head, knocking the red-headed woman out cold.

Kristen bent down to examine Lyla’s wounds. “Yikes, she’s one of them,” she gulped.

Kristen Loste discovers Lyla Grunt's secret

“Kristen, is Lyla OK?” Ajay panted as he emerged from the other room.

“Oh my Watcher!” he gasped, as he noticed that Lyla’s blood was green, instead of red.

Ajay Loner's 'Oh My Watcher!' moment

“She’s still alive. Ajay, get some cloth. We need to stop the flow of blood, or whatever it is she’s bleeding,” Kristen made a valiant attempt to remain calm.

Ajay returned with some ripped curtains, and assisted Kristen in bandaging Lyla’s wounds.

“Ajay, we mustn’t tell any of the Grunts, especially the General, about the green blood, at least until after all the battles are over. Even if she’s a zombie, we’re shorthanded, so we need her,” instructed Kristen.

“Yeah. Maybe the zombies won’t be so hard on us, if she’s one of them. But I wonder why she diverted us up here.”

Kristen Loste & Ajay Loner agree to keep Lyla Grunt's secret. Circe Beaker cannot hear anything.

Kristen shrugged. “I don’t know. I think it’s because we’re not her family members, so we’re less likely to sense anything wrong with her. Ajay, aren’t you glad that you’re not the only non-Grunt in this team?”

“Yes. I’m glad I’m working with you, Kristen.” Ajay recalled how Kristen stood up for him during the first Team Grunt meeting. The last thing he needed was any trouble from the General, so with Kristen around, things would certainly be easier for him.


General Buzz Grunt vs Loki Beaker - who would Bella Goth bet on?

0650h

Downstairs in the kitchen, General Grunt found himself in direct combat with Loki Beaker himself. Grunt was caught unaware by Loki, as the latter had been crouching in wait in a dark corner. Loki proved to have a home ground advantage, as he smashed Grunt against the dishwasher. The General roared in pain, and was unable to rise.

General Buzz Grunt gets wounded in combat in Beaker Castle

“Gotcha now! The mighty General has fallen!” roared Loki with glee. “Now his head shall roast in my oven!”

Loki Beaker in extra evil mode

Grunt groaned from the sharp pain in his arm. He might have broken a bone or two in there. His gaze shifted to Loki, who was turning the knobs to preheat the oven. Just as Loki was about to open the oven door…

Loki Beaker goes overboard with his revenge on General Buzz Grunt

Grunt summoned all his remaining strength, and sprang to his feet. With his good arm, he slammed Loki onto the refrigerator instead.

General Buzz Grunt defends himself against Loki Beaker

Alarmingly, the fridge toppled over, crushing Loki’s lower body under it.

Loki Beaker's comeuppance: trapped under the fridge

“Owww!! Not fair!” wailed Loki, as Grunt proceeded to turn off the oven.

General Buzz Grunt has the last laugh

“Beaker, you may be an enemy in battle, but I’m not evil like you,” Grunt snapped, as he walked off, pretending that both his arms were intact.


Retreat of Team Curious: Pascal with Lola & Chloe Curious-Smith, while Johnny Smith hobbles

0700h

By now, Team Curious was already retreating down Beaker Hill. The girls dragged Pascal behind them, while Johnny hobbled on his good leg.

They saw no point in staying on, if none of them could disable the electric fence. Instead, they should try to get the injured treated as soon as possible.

Retreat of Team Grunt: Lyla with Kristen Loste & Ajay Loner, Ripp Grunt complains to General Buzz Grunt, & Tank Grunt has the nerve to smile

General Grunt had also given his orders for Team Grunt to retreat. As they left the battle scene, Lyla was dragged behind Kristen and Ajay. The General scowled as Ripp complained about his arm injury. Tank pretended nothing was amiss.

However, Ripp openly blamed a zombie instead for these wounds. Despite what he thought of his trigger-happy brother, Ripp thought that if the General knew the truth, the military patriarch may impulsively beat Tank up so badly, that Ripp’s chances of being exempted from the next mission would be close to zero. Worse still, Ripp may even be forced to take over Tank’s role in close combat.

Tank could not believe his luck, but wondered why Ripp would bother covering up for him.


Ophelia Nigmos reacts to the bad news via text message

Ophelia Nigmos grimaced upon hearing the news of the injuries of both Johnny and Ripp. Aunt Olive’s zombies had gone too far.

Ophelia was torn between her fear of offending her aunt, and her conscience that told her she could not just sit back and do nothing. Being from neither Team Curious nor Team Grunt, and with privileged insight into the true nature of the zombies, Ophelia realized that she was in a unique position.

A wild idea came to her head. She could not afford to tell anyone, not even Johnny and Ripp, and certainly not Aunt Olive. If zombie Hugh Thanasia was to be believed, then Aunt Olive had kept murderous secrets from Ophelia all these years, so she did not deserve to know Ophelia’s new plan.

Ophelia’s idea was extreme, and may even kill her. But this zombie boolprop had to stop, so she would have to try.

Ophelia Nigmos stares at the decimated Specter graveyard, as RM Roberts walks by

TEAM INJURED DEAD
Curious – Pascal (head)
– Johnny (leg)
none
Grunt – Ripp (arm)
– Lyla (body)
– General (arm)
none
Beaker – Circe (head)
– Loki (legs)
none
Specter nothing major – Brenda Zaidi
– Benjamin Cho

(*) Football/Soccer Outfits are used as battle uniforms because these are the only CONSISTENT clothing available throughout most age groups and genders… and as a visual reminder of the PVCS vs STM Football Matches.

Team Curious’ green-yellow is an echo of Team STM’s outfield outfit, while Team Grunt’s brown-white is Team STM’s goalkeeper uniform. In the PVCS Football series, most of the Curiouses/Smiths are outfield players, and most Grunts are goalkeepers.

The Beaker family’s ninja suits are what they were notorious for wearing in StrangeTown Monty Season 1.


For the POLL on Nervous Subject, vote according to what happened in your game, or what you like to happen in your own story.

How would the teams modify their strategies?
Would the injuries cause significant handicap for any team?
What is Ophelia’s plan?
Find out in the [next chapter]


STSYC Chapters:

1. The Pleas
2. Pizza and Family Gatherings
3. One In, One Out?
4. The First Battle
5. Two More Teams Join the Fray
6. The Second Battle
7. Liaisons
8. The Third Battle
9. Ultimatums
10A. New Challenges
10B. New Beginnings

Extras:
STSYC Quiz
STSYC Bloopers
StrangeTown Families Timelines / Lola & Chloe’s Age Discrepancy


Olive Specter’s Timeline (STSYC Prequel)

1. Early Years: Danielle Greaves, Earl E. DeMise

2. DJ Spectra: Rigger Mortis, Hugh Thanasia

3. Midnight Hollow: Thanatos Grimm, Nervous Subject, Doe Family, Ichabod Specter

4. Elder Guardian: Ophelia Nigmos, Lyla Grunt, Strangetown Bella Goth / Jane Doe

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6 Replies to “StrangeTown Specter Yard Conspiracy (STSYC) #6: The Second Battle”

  1. The sending away of Jill and Buck alongside a list of injured and dead implies that things are going to escalate further. Ophelia seems like a good way to unite Team Grunt and Team Curious but Olive Specter and the zombies seems like a formidable obstacle. Seems like I was right about there being spies within the teams and I’m predicting at least one of them to be responsible for the demise of another. I think that Ajay and Kirsten will likely regret keeping that secret, if the fight ever reaches the Specter mansion.

    1. Thank you for these predictions, as I enjoy thoughtful insights 🙂 Things are indeed going to escalate, since only the defending team (Beaker) had come close to achieving their goal.

      Team Curious and Team Grunt would definitely benefit from an attempted union, especially due to the number of injuries. Team Specter’s zombies are certainly formidable, but there is something else deeply ironic about the injuries…

      The type AND number of secrets in Team Grunt are indeed disturbing, since *everyone else* is hiding something from the General 😮

  2. So confusing, all those different people beating each other up 😮 Also, I like the PVCS nod with the uniforms 😉

    1. To simplify things, some people stayed on task, while others got diverted or distracted 😛 Among the latter two, for some, it’s not their fault, while others were totally shirking their duties xD It’s refreshing to see the PVCS, I mean, STM football jerseys in this new context. Team Grunt’s brown uniform camouflages better in Beaker Castle 😉

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