Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Out of the Frying Pan...

As things get out of hand and the crowd on the dance-floor start to riot, you realise you need to get out of there before you get killed. To your right, Hammerstein and Nikolai Dante swing their hammer and sword at Zenith, who dodges both attacks impressively before taking to the air and flying up to the ceiling. "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!" the cocky pop-star mocks, punching a hole in the roof and vanishing through it. Stunned the smarmy git has abandoned you after you stood by him, you turn and vault over the barrier onto the dance-floor, as a ball of green flame shoots past, singeing the hair on the back of your head before slamming into Hammerstein and knocking him away. On your hands and knees you crawl through the legs of the brawling crowd and manage to reach the door, where you hop to your feet and dart into the hall. Leaving the chaos of the bar fight behind, you are confronted with another horrifying vision, that of the one-man army himself, Judge Dredd, who is thundering down the corridor towards you. Your heart jumps into your throat as you fall away from the door and into the wall opposite, watching Dredd close the distance between him and you. Inexplicably, although he sports his usual helmet and badge, he is dressed like a waiter, carrying a bottle of wine on a tray in one hand and his day-stick in the other.

"What's going on?" he barks, and it's all you can do to hold it together, lifting one arm to point into the bar. "B-b-bar fight," you stammer. "They're out of control, you have to do something!" "I'll do something!" Dredd snarls, brushing past you and charging into the bar to shout for order. Not wishing to be around when he realises you might have been part of this, you run down the corridor, passing the junction you originally came from and continuing on until you reach another room, which is host to an altogether more placid scene. Entering the jazz bar, you find a lot of guests sitting quietly at their tables, sipping drinks and listening to the Justice Department Jazz Band, which is in full swing up on stage, Cassandra Anderson singing her heart out and making full use of her lungs.

As you seek out a free table, your mind returns to thoughts of the Zrag intruder, and where he might be lurking...and as it does, you spot one of the Jazz playing Judges slip quietly off the stage to sneak around back in a suspicious manner while his colleagues play on. Curious, you skirt the lounge and spot the backstage door swinging shut. This might be it, you think, making your way to the door, one eye on Anderson and the other Judges making sure they don't notice you. Arriving unseen, you push the door open and step into a small, dark hallway. Ahead of you is an open door from which light is streaming and a rustling sound can be heard. Tip-toeing up to it, you press yourself back against the wall and crane your neck to peer inside, finding a Christmas-themed dressing room...and a near-naked red-haired female bound and gagged in a chair before a dressing table!

In the mirror, you see her eyes flick towards you, rolling as if trying to tell you something. "Hey, what's going on?" you ask, stepping into the room, only to stop in your tracks as your eyes go to a Christmas tree you couldn't see before. The Judge you followed is standing before it, holding a gift-wrapped parcel in one hand and his trombone in the other. His helmet is off and resting on a nearby table, and as he turns around to face you, you realise he isn't a Judge at all, but a robotic imposter!

"Stay back!" the 'Judge' snaps, holding up his parcel, a parcel you can tell - by the large chunk of C4 and timer attached to it - does not contain chocolate or lingerie. "Don't move! This party is officially over...and I'm about to wrap it up!"

Do you...

Run back out to the bar to call Judge Anderson, or...

Do as you're told and stay put?