This is an attempt to instill a little life and fun here. A pointless story that will be updated quickly, with no update ever exceeding 1000 words. This first post will be up for at least 6 hours before I continue. Subsequent updates will come when either there's enough votes or the time limit is reached. Write in votes are welcome when appropriate and not utterly pointless and destructive.
- “On with it, come on.”
The blonde woman urges you on with a wave of her fan. The three... gaps behind you shimmer with a phantasmagoria of color. She grins, her mouth soon covered by the open fan. You stare at her, not quite able to come to grips with all that's happened in the last hour or so. This definitely is the last time you'll ever help a lost stranger to her destination. Before you knew it you were falling and then you were here.
You're in some sort of dark place, the only light coming from invisible sources. The woman seems to be in control of this place, standing a few paces away with one of gloved hands casually holding an ornate parasol. She closes the fan with the other hand. Her explanation was brief and left more questions than gave answers.
“I really don't want anything to do with you, so just take me home already.” “You're no fun.” She acts as if hurt by your words, the arm with the fan goes to her hip. “Here I am doing you a favor and all I get is ingratitude.” “Look, I don't know if you're just a pervert or what but can I at least have my clothes back?” They disappeared sometime in between falling and landing. You've been in the buff, completely exposed to this woman. Not that she seems to care much, only occasionally looking somewhere she shouldn't be. “What a bore. But I suppose I can do at least that much.” A simple dark grey cloak, and unisex shirt and pants falls from above to your feet. A pair of sandals follow. Not your clothes, but she already knew that. “Now go through one of those lovely gaps.” “Why should I?”
You begin to get dressed, welcoming the return of your modesty.
“I am giving you a chance to make the most of yourself. Any option is guaranteed to be better than what you had.” “How arrogant. And what's beyond these gaps?” “The leftmost one leads to someplace dark but surprisingly warm.” She smiles, not caring to go into more details, “The center will take you someplace full of greenery. And the rightmost one will take you someplace best experienced, not described. They all sound great, don't they?”
You sigh, realizing that there's no way you're going home anymore.
“I'll be keeping watch on you from time to time. If you see me again I'll make sure to give you something extra special.”
The gaps appear right in front of you, if you reached out your fingers would touch the rifts leading... elsewhere.
“Why are you doing this?” “Because it looked like it would be good for you. And it's fun for me.”
The woman reappears next to you, her top half sticking out another gap. She grabs your chin with one of her silken gloved fingers and turns your chin towards her. Not losing the element of surprise, she leans forward and plants a bold kiss on your lips.
“For luck.” Her voice echos. She disappeared in an instant.
You're left in this strange place in front of the gaps. There really is no other way out of here except through one of them. You take a deep breath, feeling the woman's lingering scent and choose.
 The leftmost gap  The central gap  The rightmost gap
It takes just a moment to step through the gap, but it feels like years passed by.
As the woman promised you're somewhere dark. And warm. You can't really see very well but feel as if you're wrapped in a blanket. Groping around, you find that you're inside a pile of clothes. You clamber out of it quickly.
There's some light in the chamber you're in. It comes from beyond the door. It looks like you're in some sort of cloak room or laundry room, a machine that could be a washing machine humming away against the wall. The sound of more machinery clanking away serves as a constant background noise.
Without any other option, you go towards the light.
There's a long corridor connecting the chamber you're in and several other chambers. On the far end a single incandescent bulb is the source of light. You check around and see that all the chambers seem to be storage closets or don't have any obvious purpose. The door at the end of the hall is the only way out of the area. As soon as you open it the background noise of grinding machinery becomes almost intolerably loud. A wall of hot air rushes past and the smell of lubricants and industry assaults you.
You're taken aback by what you see. As huge wall of pistons, gears, and oil stretches from the chamber's floor all the way to its high ceiling, it encompasses the better part of the walls too. There are a few other doors but they're far away. The whole place is lit up by an efficient placement of overhead work lights.
There's some sign of life in this industrial place. Someone with a massive toolbox and grease-stained work clothes squats by a part of the huge machine that's not working. It's hard to discern any features of the person within the bulky clothes.
You see something else recognizable in the chamber. Painted green symbols on the floor showing the quickest way to the exit. They're not quite the same as you've seen marking the evacuation routes at home, with the painted person having some sort of disc on their back, but the arrows look the same. The lead to the right, and away from the machine.
You walk over to the person, admiring how the large complex machine operates. Its purpose isn't easily discernible and it seems to be divided into subsections that work semi-autonomously. Thick piping connects each subsection to the other, going through a maze of gears and mechanisms. Steam occasionally hisses from the far end of the machine, ejected or possibly leaked.
The person working on the machine has their head in the middle of the apparatus. Stopped pistons and conveyor chains abound.
“Uh, hello there.” You try to get the person's attention but the roar of industrial processes make it hard to make yourself heard. You raise your voice, but find that even then it's almost pointless. So you tap the person on a clean spot on their clothes.
Muscles tense up and the person hits their head against a thick metal divider. It's not enough to put them out of commission and the person recovers and springs to their feet. You see that there's a hard hat on the head and a simple breathing mask on the face. The eyes look at you quickly, as if confused. It's something that lasts only a few instants.
The person darts away from you, moving quickly. In only a few seconds the distance between you is at least a whole subsection of machinery. You think that the person is going to run away and leave you alone and confused. But, as if remembering something, the person stops running and turns again towards you. Both of you are perfectly still for about a minute.
You see a signal from come from the person. A quick and reluctant hand gesture. Telling you to come along. Having no other real choice, you start walking in that direction.
The person walks as well, keeping a bit of distance between you. You're led out of the machine vault and into a brightly-lit corridor. The light comes from underneath the floor and the ceiling is roughly cut rock. It's a tunnel. You follow the tunnel and take a few turns at intersections. There are people walking in the distance, some of them wearing the same bulky clothes as your guide, but none of them come close to you.
You're shepherded into a (compared to the vault at least) small room with a large conference table and chairs. There's a blackboard with notes from a meeting scribbled on it. Work flow and efficiency was apparently the topic. It's quiet here. The person speaks, voice muffled, and tells you to close the door behind you.
Then another question comes.
“What are you doing here?” “I don't know.” “Huh?” The masked person's eyes wander over you again, looking confused. “You a spy?” There's some hostility in the voice now. “A saboteur perhaps?” “I'm not. I don't even know what this place is.” “Don't know what this place is? Just who are you?”
“I'm jack.” You say. “Jack? That's a very odd name.”
The person takes off the face mask and hard hat. It's a girl with hair matching the color of her eyes. Twin ornaments, red beads of sorts, create short twintails. She looks at you strangely, as if trying to decide whether you're a friend of foe.
“This is a dangerous place to be.” She states, taking off her thick and manly work gloves; Her feminine hands and girlish face offer a striking contrast to her attire. “I don't know how you found your way in here, but you need to leave. This place isn't open for the general public.” “I just found myself here, I didn't come here by choice.” Well, technically you did choose the first gap, but you didn't quite know where it would lead. “So you said.” The girl frowns. It's clear that she doesn't know how to deal with you. You realize that she's making a big effort just to speak with you. If her earlier reaction is any indication, she would rather flee than stay.
A static cackle interrupts.
Chief Kawashiro... this is group seven. We've finished maintenance and are heading out for lunch.
“Roger.” The girl picks up a hand held communication radio, “I'm taking a break now, please note that subsection 42 is still not functional. Have someone go over and perform repairs.”
Affirmative. Will send Tamaki to do it. Out.
The girl sighs and puts the device inside one of her big pockets.
“Where were we?” She looks at you again. “I'm not sure. You were going to ask me something. Probably why I'm here.” “Hm. Maybe.” She scratches her chin. “There's something else then?” “Yeah.” She comes up closer, trying to study your face. “What's with your name? It's so strange. Especially for a girl.” “Ah.”
You realize that the reason she's been staring is that you have your cloak's cowl raised. She can't see your face. And she might not hear your voice clearly either.
You pull back your cloak.
 “As you can see I'm not a girl.”  “What can I say? My parents had a strange sense of humor.”
“What can I say? My parents had a strange sense of humor.” You shrug, revealing your face. It's true too. Mom and Dad were anything but normal. But it's not the proper time to get caught up remembering all the bizarre things they did. “Ah. You look like someone I know. Like a sister or maybe cousin.” The girl looks at your uncovered face, smiling.
You shrug, her words not meaning anything to you.
“Anyway, I'm Nitori. So you really don't know how you got here?” “That's right. What is this place?” “It's a place you're not supposed to be.” Nitori says secretively. “No one except us kappa and a few advisers.” “Kappa?” You look the girl up and down. “You're a kappa? That doesn't seem likely.” “That's something rude to say to someone you just met.”
That's true. And the strange girl does look a bit hurt with your comment.
“I just... never met a kappa before.” “You're way out here, but you haven't a kappa before?” “I don't know where 'here' is.” “Ah right.” The girl looks at you dubiously, as if your story couldn't possibly check out.
She begins to say something but a shrill ringing drowns out her words. And your thoughts. It rings for a few seconds, omnipresent and loud.
“What was that?” You can hear the bell ringing in your ears even after it stopped. “Shift change. It looks like I'm off.”
Nitori opens up a pouch on her clothes and takes out a cucumber. She begins to munch on it casually. “Come on, let's get you out of here.”
She leads you out of the room, through the corridors, and finally to a great vaulted chamber. The walls of the chamber are hewn from solid rock. The floor has a large ornamental pattern that glows with yellow light. Besides the way you came in, there is another door on the opposite end of the chamber and a staircase that hugs the periphery of the chamber.
Nitori leads you up the steps. It's a long way up and the exit is a modest door that leads to a checkpoint. A squat-looking man with some sort of shell on his back reads a newspaper. He barely looks up at the two of you, and as soon as he sees Nitori his gaze is back on the article. Passing through a gate, Nitori then opens a door.
“Here we are.” Natural light streams in from outside, brighter than your eyes can handle. “I really have no clue as to how you got in here, but you don't seem like a spy. So it's best if you go back home. If you follow the path down you'll get to the village eventually. It shouldn't be a problem to go alone since it's still light out.” “And that's it? Just leave?” You're aware that you're somewhere you're not supposed to be, but you don't have the faintest clue about the surrounding area either. “Well, I'm on my lunch break now, but I have to finish doing some work later. You look like you can handle yourself.”
Didn't want to reply any more after a lot of things came up, but I hate leaving loose ends. No more updates. The goal of livening the place up seems to be accomplished, even without me continuing this story. So I'm satisfied with that.
Besides, it's not like there's a lot of attachment to something as decidedly silly and directionless as I intended this to be. You'll be fine anon.