THE GANG SPEAKS
Previously: Simply the Best
Themesong: Barbie Girl by Aqua
There wasn’t a machine in the bay when we stepped through… it was strange. All there was was a note saying “Get the Gang together and find your way. Let’s Play.” It looked like one of those movie ransom notes where all the letters are cut out of a magazine. This was weird. We searched the entire warehouse… no luck. We searched the docking bay… ditto.
We slept on it. Gang… Gang… What Gang? Bloodhound Gang? The Warriors? The Sharks? The Jets? No… no… this was a mystery… there was only one Gang. I got up and padded into the living room. “Vivian?”
“Have we managed to pick up any copies of Scooby-Doo from any of the Earths? Like Buffyverse, maybe?”
“Yes. From several.”
“Good…” I considered. This was a clue… leading to Scooby-Doo. “Is one of the episodes called “A Scooby-Doo Clue” or “A Clue for Scooby-Doo?”
“Yes. Second episode from the first series.”
“Play it please.”
The episode began with the gang… on a beach… how appropriate. The baddy was a glowing sea ghost. The baddy’s lair was a secret undersea grotto… accessible by sitting on a rock to trigger a switch. We had exactly three rocks in the warehouse that were big enough to sit on… all in the small zen garden. I called Zane, the closest we have to Shaggy, and had him sit on them in turn. The bigger ones didn’t work… but the smallest did. It sank a foot into the sand, then there was a rumbling sound and the back wall of the Vending Machine Alcove opened up and there was a small midway behind it.
All the games were unmanned, looking rundown and abandoned. There was the Skee-Ball of Perks, the Whack-a-Mole of Drawbacks, the Balloon Pop of Continuity, the Dunk-Tank of Origins, and the Ring-Toss of Gear. A banner said “Condemned.”
Zane chuckled. “I guess you were too much a supervillain last time. Now we have to solve mysteries.” I sighed “Ten years of this? I hope none of these things make us as stupid and gullible and incapable of learning as Shaggy… I mean seriously… it was practically never a Ghost and he always got scared… This is what too many Scooby Snacks do to your brain.” Zane… who you must remember, started life as a canine pokemon, drooled a little. I hit him with a Whack-a-Mole Paddle. “But seriously? All of the gang were pretty stupid at times. Velma dropped her glasses and crawled away from them to find them. Fred… the leader… often split the group or allowed himself to be locked in a room… morons.” Zane nodded.
Continuity first. Wow… there were a lot more Scooby-Doo series than I knew. I popped a balloon at random and got… “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” which I’m pretty sure was the original, with the original theme song. That meant it wouldn’t actually be ghosts and stuff. Well, that’s good, right? I honestly didn’t know.
I looked over the Origins as I held the ring… Mmmm… They were all free. No to Man in a Mask… I was too highbrow a Supervillain to be caught dead in one of those. I could go with Mastermind… but I already was one. I considered Talking Dog… noooo way. Chef it was. I like food. I ringed one of the Chef Bottles, which pegged me as 21 years old.
First thing’s first, I went searching for Companions. Had to be here, this kind of Jump begged for it. And the Chain delivered. “More Meddling Kids”  (600/1000) It was the most generous import I’d seen, but pricy. There wasn’t a limit on numbers. It said All. Whoa. Very nice. Each one came with a tracking device on a signature item of clothing in the event of kidnapping and gained “Run For Your Life” (When frightened or surprised, you are able to run at a significantly increased speed. Even in normal circumstances you’re still a little faster than you used to be.) plus any one 200CP or less ability. I’d let the others pick their ability, I didn’t really have a plan for this world besides party, food, and mysteries.
Being a Chef snagged me “Enormous Appetite” for free… Yay! Lina Inverse I am! “You may eat as much food as you want without ever growing uncomfortably full. Overeating will not negatively impact your weight or body fat in any way.” Best perk ever. Didn’t particularly want the Chef Capstone Live Bait, but over in the Gear Game I found “Shaggy Super Sandwich Supplies” for  (400/1000)… an unlimited reserve of a massive variety of high-quality sandwich ingredients, condiments, and breads. Pretty much anything a person would want on a sandwich.
I scooped up “Talking Animals”  (200/1000) so I could talk in Animal or Animalistic forms (just in case I ever become a werewolf), but also so I could talk to animals. I could already talk to Ziggy, thanks to the PMD jump… though mostly he just asked for treats, snuggles, or treats… but it might be useful. Also snagged “Divide and Conquer”  (0/1000), the subliminal ability to convince a group to break into separate, smaller groups when they’re trying to accomplish a task… all without having to actually say anything. I can see the utility now… sneak into the enemy command tent, prompt them to divide their forces. Not sure I’ll ever use it… but nice to have.
That spent me out… but I had to have Scooby Snacks… for Zane and Ziggy of course… and quite frankly, this Jump would be way too easy without drawbacks.  (-100/1000) netted me a “Lifetime supply of these ‘Delicious’ dog treats. You’ll never want for food again (if you’re a dog).They taste somewhat like butterscotch morsels and are every effective bribery tools for dogs, but may prove effective on other people.” Wonder if Ryoga would like some.
I look over the drawbacks… then laugh… “Zaaane. You get to be in charge this trip.”
He looked at me, head cocked “Why?”
“Because I’m taking Scatterbrained.”
“Because I am a world class detective. This would be way too easy for me. I’d glance at things and get the whole story almost instantly. Plus… I kinda like the idea of taking an intellectual vacation. Anyway… how dangerous can this place be… this is based on the original series… Shaggy took a headdive into solid metal and dented it.”
“Dunno bout this, boss lady.”
“Eh. It’ll be fine. Everyone of us can take care of ourselves.”
I snag Scatterbrained [+200], which tanked my intelligence, making me prone to forgetting important clues or other details… or even reveal all gathered intel to primary suspects. I snatched up Danger Prone [+100], which made me the easy target / quick victim to frighten others. It would also make me the prime candidate for kidnapping and powerful hypnotic tricks…. And just to complete the insanity, I snagged “I can’t see without my Glasses” for another [+200]. This was way more points than I needed and I really had no need for anything.
I could snag a robotic battle suit… or a dogbot… or… nothing jumped out at me. I shrugged. Nothing said I had to spend all the points, right?
I checked with the others. AJ, Ryoga, and Kendra all took “Clue” (a keen sixth sense for discovering evidence of a crime. This ability will lead you right to nearby hints that can provide a good idea to a solution for a mystery, but only if you interpret the information correctly)… but for different reasons. For AJ it was about reading people, for Ryoga it was about self improvement, and for Kendra it was about being a better hunter.
Dyna took “Divide & Conquer”, a born warrior tactic.
Petra & Joy both took “Ventriloquism” (Excellent vocal control, including the ability to throw your voice and mimic others with ease. But no improvement to singing skill.). Joy because it would be useful… Petra because she thought it sounded fun.
Francine, Yoiko, Uriel, and Zane all snagged “Acting!” (You are excellent at concealing your feelings and motivations, and will never accidentally reveal your goals to others.). I’m not sure Francine or Yoiko read it, since they both seem to think it’ll make them good actresses, but maybe it will. Who can say?
Ziggy and RayRay both scooped up “Prehensile Tail” (you can use your tail easily to hold and manipulate objects. This ability works with any form you have that possess a tail.). I say Ziggy did, but really, I selected it for him cause he seemed happiest with that when I offered him options. I’d considered taking it too. My Infernape’s tail was prehensile already… but my “Dr. Snowjaeger” form’s tail wasn’t. But not really worth it.
Bao and Ahab both took “Talking Animals”, Bao because he felt it might be “enlightening” and Ahab because “clues are clues”. Ahab took it a step further by deciding he’d enter the jump as a German Shepherd, as that was clearly an option.
Toph took Enormous Appetite… pretty much for the same reason I did. We high fived.
Does the term “The Load” mean anything to you? If not… that’s what I was for the entire jump. I was ditzy. I was constantly losing my glasses. I got kidnapped three times in one day once. I kept forgetting my powers… and when I didn’t… I often over-used them, demolishing buildings or using an HF sword to open pickle jars. I honestly don’t know if Soul of Ice was strengthened by picklejuice or mustard.
Since I was, in fact, almost completely useless… I thought I’d allow each of the others to tell you one of our mysteries in their own words.
Petra’s Tale: I liked this world. Resuming my original form and using it to terrify clueless mortals. Most enjoyable. Strangely, every time I was captured by the members of Mystery Inc., they were able to force me to transform back simply by pulling a mask I’m certain I wasn’t wearing off my head. Very confusing. More confusing, the Mystery Inc. people never seemed to hold my repeated attempts to frighten them against me. They’d just go “Ooooh, Petra!” and laugh.
Dyna’s Tale: There were not enough battles. Very few Random Encounters. Too many sandwiches.
AJ’s Tale: I like this place. Monsters try and scare us. I hit them in the face… their faces fall off, reveal people underneath. I hit them a couple more times and they beg for me to stop hitting them. Most satisfactory. I also enjoy fighting Mother’s battles for her again. I am her sword. It is my purpose. Hitting those who try and take her away fills me with happiness.
Francine’s Tale: I do not think this is a world for telepaths. Everyone is clearly mentally impaired. Perhaps there is something in the atmosphere that makes people who’ve debunked hundreds of fake monsters and ghosts continue to think the most obvious explanation is ghosts.
RayRay’s Tale: … Humans are stupid.
Ziggy’s Tale: Ziggy good boy. Ziggy crawl in place. Find chewy fake-face. Claw man with chewy fake-face. Get treats. Ziggy good boy!
Zane’s Tale: This was almost exactly like the Power Rangers Jump and the Great Detective Jump had a love child. Giant Robots, people in silly masks, insane plots, lots of mysteries… very few murders. Coming up with plans that almost never worked was frustrating at first, but you get used to it after a while… especially because things always seemed to work out anyway.
Kendra’s Tale: I suppose I should not criticize SJ. She did save my life, and the world… and then a few more worlds after that. But she is most infuriating. A mixture of deadly serious and infantile at the best of times, on this jump she played the clown. Zane says that she is doing this to allow us to carry the spotlight more… but it seems to me that SJ is simply abdicating her responsibilities as our leader. But then again, this world is just as infantile… though it does have its amusements. I now understand why Buffy and her friends called themselves the Scoobies. They were very silly (if strangely effective) as well.
Toph’s Tale: We were in a city with streets of water… there was a turtle. We caught a criminal pretending to be a ghost.
Victoria’s Tale: There was no internet. All the humans were illogical. More than once, I was the culprit just to screw with the humans. It was most enjoyable.
Atura’s Tale: I enjoyed the sandwiches. There were many sandwiches. Many different meats. But I remain confused. Why are the humans of this world so disturbed at the thought of spirits walking amongst them that they use such guises to commit acts of aggression and fraud against each other? It baffles me.
Joy’s Tale: So, this is what the seventies were like. I think it is lucky I died in the sixties.
Ahab’s Tale: I liked the case where we went to Russia. There were dancing cossack ghosts. It was all a plot to steal… not secret documents or nukes or bioweapons… but gems from the Hermitage Museum. It was… fun. I am often being told that I need to relax more… to understand that the fate of civilization isn’t always in our hands. The geopolitics of this world seem… strangely relaxed.
Bao’s Tale: So much like home, only more people pretending to be monsters and less insane martial artists. Still, the ratio of men in masks to insane martial artists seems about even… one every two weeks or so. Huh. Still, I enjoyed returning to China, especially the tomb of Emperor Qin. The Ghost Monkey that turned out to be an antiquities smuggler was actually a fairly decent fighter. SJ gave me a kiss on the cheek when I rescued her. It was quite nice. Uriel sulked for a week.
Uriel’s Tale: My benefactress having taken leave of her senses for this jump, it falls to me to record my thoughts upon this most… incomprehensible of jumps. The laws of nature and logic as I’ve come to know them seemed most… topsy turvy in this land. Money, which seemed the primary motivator of almost all the perpetrators we… apprehended, seemed to exist only in the conceptual. That is, we never seemed to be lacking in the wherewithal to travel, even as such a large group, and renting boats, eating at restaurants, and generally hoboing around as, if not wealthy, then well off young men and women… and Ziggy… who spent the entire time as a leopard.
Another thing that baffles me is how such primitive cultures, without aid of magic or the advanced technology of, say, Starfleet… how they can make sound guided robotic subs or giant robotic dinosaurs, or rubber masks so believable. Astounding. Then again, the durability of practically everyone here is most amazing. Yoiko insists it is something called “Rule of Funny.” Yet I see little funny in terrorizing the helpless… or the hapless. Still, the hijinks were, at times, distracting… although as a vacation spot… this world was amusing. Thankfully, approximately none of these “So called Monsters, Ghosts, and Fiends” are even vaguely dangerous.
Wasn’t that fun!? I have the best friends! Also Velma has big boobs under her sweater. Good thing we get to keep her.
Oh god, my head. All those terrible memories of acting like an idiot. I’ll be editing these memories for months. Dear lord… I was a twit. I also have over 18,000 new sandwich recipes…. Before combinatorics. Apparently I was a globetrotting Sandwich Savant… with a crowd of followers, handlers, and assorted lunatics. I was Shaggy’s big sister… so it was my sandwich fortune which allowed Mystery Inc. the capital to take endless vacations, ship the Mystery Machine to foreign locales, and smoke waaaay too much refer.
Which I was doing too. A lot. Way too much. As in “Smoke Two Joints before I Smoke Two Joints… and then I smoked two more” too much. I wasn’t scatterbrained… I was fucking stoned off my ass. And I had the munchies for a decade. Insanity… This is twice I’ve spent an entire jump wasted.
Still, as I said, we’ve added Velma Dinkley to our number, which brings me to 16 companions… officially twice the normal import limit. Zane told her the score, she seemed down for the adventure… and… more… if you know what I mean. Kids show or no… there was a lot of… non-mystery related hijinks. It was the 70’s.
Still, I hope the next world provides more challenge… or at least coherent plot. Some fun is fun… but really… I could do without monster of the week for a while.
Next: Something Simpler