Tess tries to save her friend Kim from a dangerous location.
Tess wiped her face clear of the steam projected by the pipes that lined the walls of the small room. Right now, she had bigger things on her mind than why this room was so steamy.
"Kim?" she said, projecting her voice so that the ferret at the far end of the room could hear her. "Kim? Hello?"
"Oh, uh, hi, Tess," said Kim, not looking up from her handheld gaming device. "What's up?"
"What're you doing down here, Kim?" said Tess, moving closer so that it would be easier for Kim to hear her. "I thought you'd be hanging out with Kara."
"Nah, she's busy," said Kim, then muttered under her breath, "Gotta find the Wisp…gotta find the Wisp…"
"Kim, are you busy playing Wisp Trainer?" said Tess, looking over Kim's shoulder. "Yes, you are playing Wisp Trainer. Don't you know that that app sends you to all sorts of unreliable places?"
"But it's a Gray Wisp," protested Kim. "They're super rare. Getting one will let me scale walls and generate shockwaves!"
"That's nice, Kim," said Tess, "but we have to get out of here. Wandering into the Rotary Depths is always a bad idea, even if you have a super rare—"
"What was that?" said Tess.
"This game has really cool sound effects," said Kim.
"No, it's coming from behind us," said Tess. "Do you think it's—"
"Found it," said Kim.
"Kim, stop focusing on your game and focus on the real world!" said Tess, panic evident in her voice. "This is serious! I think we've stumbled into some sort of a—"
"FAILSAFE ACTIVATING," announced a female, monotonous robotic voice. "DESTROYING OCCUPANTS OF FAILED TESTING CHAMBER."
"Kim, this is not good!" said Tess, now really panicking. She shook Kim's arm. "Snap out of it! Use your gaming geekiness to figure out a way to stop this—"
A wall with sharp, spinning blades approached the two.
"DEATHWALL!" screamed Tess.
"Relax, the game just has really good ambient—"
"THIS IS REAL LIFE, KIM!" yelled Tess. "We're about to—"
You don't know a thing about these situations, kid. Let me take over.
Tess sighed. She still wasn't used to having other voices in her head.
Fine, Quinn. Take over. Just give me a second.
Tess turned to Kim. "Kim, I am about to morph into another being who knows what she's doing. Are you ready?"
"Gotta catch 'em all…" mumbled Kim.
Well, this was the best I could do… thought Tess. I'm ready, Quinn.
Tess's body started shifting. Her red-and-black coloration changed to blue, her bat ears shrank, and…she couldn't feel anything any more.
Quinn, now I'm just one of your minds. Tell me what's going on, OK?
On it. The wall is continuing to approach, slowly just like before…
I can see that.
My transformation is almost complete…
And that idiot nerd girl Kim is still convinced that this is all a game.
I should have guessed…
Tess, if you're not going to make anything useful out of what I say, why am I narrating to you?
It's because…I need you. I'm helpless, stuck in your body. I need you to be with me and help with what's happening.
But you also need me to be in the moment, stopping the death wall, so kindly shut the light up and let me think.
Tess complied and continued looking through Quinn's eyes, one of the only things that she could do as one of Quinn's minds. She saw Quinn look at the approaching wall, fixate on it, raise her staff, and then…
A stream of water shot out of the staff, hitting the wall and causing the saws to stop spinning.
"POWER SHORT-CIRCUITED," noted the robotic voice. "SAWS NULLIFIED UNTIL FUTURE REPAIRS."
Tess would have sighed with relief if she were the one in control of the body. Quinn, you're a genius!
Just smarter than you. Let's get out of here.
Tess could see that Quinn had turned around and was trying to leave.
No, Quinn. You have to give me my body back. This is my friend, my prerogative.
Sure thing, boss. Lunastre, why am I taking orders from a kid in my mind? I think I'm officially insane.
I'll go officially insane if you keep swearing by two gods in turns.
Don't start on me again…!
Fine. Just…oh look, I got my body back. Thanks, Quinn!
Tess, now in control of her body, stopped, turned back, and tapped Kim on the shoulder.
"Hey, Kim?" she said. "The deathwall's gone, but we should still get out of here."
"Got the Wisp," said Kim. Then, still looking like she was in a daze, Kim looked up and said, "Oh, huh, what? Getting out of here? Yeah, great, let's do that. Maybe we'll find Kara…"
Kim started leaving the room. Tess was about to follow her, when Tess looked to the side and saw a familiar silhouette peeking around the corner.
Was Kara involved in all this? She couldn't have been responsible for the trap…could she?
Just get out of here already.
Tess, feeling somewhat unnerved, exited the room behind Kim.
- This story conveniently allowed me to fix plot holes in Tess, Returning that I had been unable to fix without this story existing.
- This story was heavily inspired by Sonic 4 ep. I's Mad Gear Zone Act 3, otherwise known as Impending Doom. The inspiration is not coincidental, as I happened to have just been playing that level when I conceived of this story.