sPerth: Of Gamers and Gods

Log

sPerth: Get going

A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the Twenty Second of August, is the day the world will end. What is this young man's name?

You would enter something offensive but this is a written story and there is no way for you to do that. You proceed meekly to the next paragraph.

***

==> WM Be introduced

Your name is William Moore and you are Twenty Two years old. Around your room is a variety of your interests. Your walls display an obvious affinity for what can only be described as 'nerdy' paraphernalia. There are several comic books on your shelves as well as every science fiction book you can lay your hands on. You have many games, all of which you are terrible at. You also have a fondness for anime and ancient religions. You fancy yourself something of a storyteller.

The first thing you do is immediately pat yourself down in search of your arms.

Not to worry they were right there the whole time. Silly thing to do really. Perhaps you were looking for the matches you never really carry.

You look at your desk and see a Zippo lighter and, figuring it will do in a pinch, you captchalogue it to your Jacket Sylladex. Now, why in the hell you were looking for matches in the first place? While you are at it you captchalogue your smartphone and a comedic plastic eye just in case. It is a bit hot for you to use your trench coat type Jacket Sylladex, but you don't care. You reach over and crank up the air conditioning. It is all very well to be cool in your trench coat, but there is no sense in sweating over it.

An alarm sounds on your smartphone and you remember that today is a very important day. Today is the day sPerth comes out. Your best friend has repeatedly assured you that you are very excited about this. You didn't really look up anything about the game before hand so you're not really sure why you are excited, but doubtless there are some very good reasons. You can be kind of a trusting fool that way. You turn on your computer to see whether your best friend has pestered you, again, about it. You are not sure why she keeps going on at you about it. You can't really get around the 08:22 unlock time on the beta.

Your best friend is mysteriously silent on the matter, offline for the first time in weeks. You would consider this strange but you aren't aware that you are a character in a story and thus aren't keeping an eye out for the unusual. Still it is just under half an hour till the game unlocks so no doubt she will be on soon. You lean back for a quick bout of tumblr as you wait.

----------

SB: Be Introduced

Your name is Samantha Bullock. You are also twenty two years old as are all the friends you have roped into this game. Even the ones that aren't. Especially them.

You are currently too occupied with being asleep to talk to your friends. Your bed and room are small but you are too cool to care about such things. That, and lately you sleep too heavily to notice discomfort. Your walls are plastered with posters about the popular webcomic Gunnerkrig Court. It is crazy how much of a fan you are of... Gunnerkrig Court. You have gotten all your friends to read it. Merchandise from Gunnerkrig Court and Pokemon adorn your shelves. Various music books and instruments indicate your superior musical skills. You hass the rhythm.

You don't wake up, no matter how narratively convenient it would be. You are kind of a jerk like that. You suggest, with your quiet sleeping demeanor, that we look somewhere else for story and let you rest.

----------

WM: Be surprised by the sudden thing

You nearly fall off your chair with horror when your three screens go dark. All of them. Worse still, your air conditioner putters to an exhausted halt. The situation is now officially dire. You would take your jacket off, but no dammit! You have worked too damn hard all summer to pretend it was not, in fact, summer. You will not give in now. Plus it is a pain collecting all your things again when removing your jacket forcibly ejects your sylladex.

Twenty Two minutes left till the game starts and now you have no power; Samantha will not be pleased. No one else is home so you decide to go investigate the power box yourself. As you go down stairs you grab your travel mug and fill it with coffee. You do this every single time you pass your forever full coffee machine. Or when bored. Or when you run out of coffee. Or when you have enough coffee but you realise that you can never have enough coffee. Your coffee machine has a lot of trouble staying forever full.

You pass through your house without incident. Not having a present guardian will do that to you. Your brother disappeared a few days ago without note. You would be concerned about this but he does this quite often. You suspect he was struck with inspiration and ended up walking to Mandurah thinking about it. Again. You learn to expect this sort of thing; artists are eccentric life forms. You suppose it is better than the alternative. There are only so many sudden bouts of warhammer a young man can endure.

You open your front door and walk out onto your veranda. The streets are empty and hot air wafts lazily through the trees gently wilting them. The desolate scene reminds you of the empty sensation you have lived with all your life. Something is going on in the background of your life but you can never quite catch it. You stare up into the cloudless sky a notice a cluster of eight starts shining even on a sunny day like today. You don't think they were there yesterday.

You are rudely awakened from your revery by the sight of your switch box. Specifically by the sparking fire that was once your switch box. Reacting with the finely honed instincts of a white middle class man panic and throw your hat at it. The fire eats it. Good job. Your one try having failed you opt with the oldest trick known to those of English descent. You go back inside and try to pretend your house isn't on fire. It calms your right down. You are sure that your innate fortune as a middle class white kid will sort out the problem.

----------

??: Save the stupid white kid

You are completely shrouded in darkness because you are a secret character.

Secret Character. Secret.

You reach down to your companion and look into her beautiful eyes. They almost make you forget your super important secret purpose. Perfect kitty eyes. Who's a good kitty. You are. You aren't very good at this whole secret sinister stranger thing. You tell the cat what needs to be done and, in a flash, the creature is gone.

Good Cat. Best Friend.

----------

WM: Is that...rain?

You reopen the door and the fire is completely gone. Replacing it appears to be rather a lot of water. Your only clue to this new mystery is the faintest flicker of green at the edge of your vision. Probably nothing. Doubtless this was a perfectly explainable phenomenon of randomly appearing water that shows up when there is a life threatening fire. There was probably something said about it in Science. You wouldn't know, you were too busy battling your best friend 2 Death.

Sadly the magically appearing water has not saved your power box. There is literally no way you could ever get power out of this box. I mean it was on fire. Now it is wet. Why are you even looking in it?

The urgency of your power situation is getting rather dire. There's no telling what Samantha will do if you aren't at your computer and ready to go as soon as the game unlocks. She was pretty definite about that actually. You are pretty sure she was threatening you with death. Or telling you you would die. Which is ridiculous, you are completely safe here, as the extinguished house fire blatantly proves.

Nevertheless you should probably get some power to your computer. In fact, you might have just thing. You make a face that is as mysterious and dramatic as it is doofy.

----------

SB: Wake Up

You don't.

Jerk.

----------

DF: You guess it's about time for you to show up

Your name is Daniel. You are an elite programmer who has no time for people who spells it l337. You also like to game. A lot. Your myriad of interests are represented in the varied paraphernalia about your room. You are particularly obsessed with Zelda. You also love cute animals, specifically penguins. A large Penguin plush sits in the middle of your bed. You also have a guitar. You are cool like that.

Right now you are sitting at your computer wondering why Samantha has not logged on. You suppose you could go into the next room and ask her in person but you think you would rather just play some more minecraft. Honestly you are as terrible at being in a narrative the rest of your friends are. Except of course...But no. We won't talk about her yet.

Thankfully a cat arrives to break the tedium of your gaming by sitting on your keyboard. Your character immediately runs into a lava pit with all of the lovely diamond you had just spent an hour acquiring. Your scream of rage could wake the dead. The cat smiles; secure in the knowledge that one more victory can be chalked up to the ongoing cat-human wars. Driven from your game by sadness you leave to make yourself a healing brew of tea.

----------

SB: Be awakened as if you were dead

Your good friend's angry scream is enough to wake the dead and apparently you as well. You blink sleepily in the sunlight streaming in from your window. What kind of time do you call this? You would consult your adorable alarm-dog but secretly you already know what the time is. You have seen it. William is late. As you predicted. That kid couldn't be on time if he could control time's flow. Which he can't. That would be ridiculous.

You open up Pesterchum and see WM's inactive status. Yes. Typical. You despair at the world for a while till Dan brings you a cup of tea because he's just that awesome. You have made sure he will be ready when the time comes. It is the least you can do for tea.

Sadly none of your other friends are online, so you have to sit and brood over your brew, waiting for the correct time.

----------

WM: Strike a daring pose

You pose dramatically on your balcony. The wind sort of jostles your hair slightly. Your coat billows. This is about 80% of why you wear the coat. You have wrapped about five extension cords around your shoulder like a makeshift mayoral sash. You are quite sure you look dashing. You are also totally positive the kids in the next yard aren't laughing at you.

You begin to execute your masterly plan by clambering up onto your roof stopping briefly to admire the magnificent view this affords of the city. The bright stars you noticed earlier weren't that bright before, were they? It's probably some kind of interesting astrological phenomenon. Perhaps orbital wobble. What are the odds of it affecting you. I mean really?

From your perch on the roof you make a daring one foot leap to your neighbours shed. Pity there isn't a plug in the shed or your mission would be a good deal less dangerous. You drop down into your neighbour's yard and, as you feared, are immediately confronted with the most dangerous opponent you have ever encountered. A creature feared to gamers everywhere. THE CHICKEN. You respond with the instincts of a hardened gamer and tip your entire cup of coffee on the beast. It caws, startled, and you take your chance to flee. The sodden chicken goes back to pecking the ground.

Using your cunning ruse you have made it to your neighbour's house. You find an appropriate plug and stick one end of your extended extension cable into the socket. A dramatic watch check informs you that you only have three minutes to get back to your house. You sprint the three feet back to the shed and scamper up at the wall. You are so fast the chicken does not even notice you. Or doesn't care. You aren't sure. You do an acrobatic fucking pirouette onto your roof and drop down into your room. With only a minute left you plug in your computer and boot it up.

----------

WM: Boot it up

Your screens flicker to life once again. Sweet sweet glowing pixels. Before you even have time to open up Steam, Samantha is online and pestering you. You load up the chatlog and see what she wants.

  • SB: Play the game.
  • WM: What? C'mon I just got my computer back on, you wouldn't believe the trou-
  • SB: Just do it.
  • WM: How did you interrupt a chat-
  • SB: Nevermind, play the damn game.
  • WM: Fine. Jeez.
  • SB: Add me as your Server player when you do.
  • WM: The what? What even is this game?
  • SB: ...
  • SB: I figured you would've at least googled it.
  • SB: Do you seriously know nothing about it at all?
  • WM: No, not really. The store page says it is a game of adventure and danger. Which is basically no help.
  • SB: ... Just play it. You'll find out soon enough.

You press start and the screen goes white. A green logo fades into existence on the screen before transforming into a rotating spirograph. The mesmerising patterns distract you from the fast scrolling text below. The rising beats in the loading music lend the scene a dramatic air.

Reorganising Keys...Managing Elbows...Officiating Discs...Approving Barriers...Inventing Rubber Hoists...Performing Wrenches...Ctrl+V Reality...Transcribing Domicile...Establishing Relevant Item...Overshooting Spark Breakers...Establishing User Interface...Establishing Randomising Agent: Pumpkin...Interweaving Patch Unions....Enforcing Physics Inhibitors... Establishing Narrative Flow...Shaping Pockets...Systemising Divets...Establishing Session Construct...Indentifying Sillcocks...Launching Manifestation Systems...

  • WM: You seeing this Samus?
  • SB: Yeah. What the hell is a Sillcock?
  • WM: No idea... What pumpkins are they talking about?

The bar glides along to 100% and your screen goes dark showing only a white line of text saying "Load Client Player".

  • WM: Whoa, what happened?
  • SB: What?
  • WM: Did it not work or something?
  • SB: What do you mean? It's working fine on my end.
  • WM: It just says 'Load Client Player'
  • WM: What the hell does that mean?
  • SB: You'll probably find out later. Meanwhile it's all working on my end. Here, watch.

You watch as a pillow slowly rises from your bead and drops onto your head.

  • WM: Jerk. How the hell did you do that?
  • SB: That's what this game does. Or part of it. I'm not certain of all the details yet.
  • WM: This seems extremely ridiculous. Also unfair.
  • SB: Quit your whining you'll get to do it later on.
  • WM:...fine. But I better!
Video belongs to Andrew Hussie

----------

SB: Mess with your friend because you have got nothing better to do

You are sure you have a lot of better things to do. But for now you will entertain yourself by using the cursor to throw stuff at your best friend. He seems to be getting quite irritated. Waving his hands in the air in front of him like that. You suppose you should stop soon. After you put his inbox on his head of course.

  • WM: Stop it! What the hell!
  • SB: Sorry, I was compelled.
  • WM: Weren't you all kinds of urgent before. Hurrying me to get this set up and getting angry when I couldn't do it before the official date?
  • SB: Oh. Yeah. There was probably a reason for that.
  • WM: Probably?
  • SB: I don't know, I just knew you had to get that shit going ASAP.
  • WM: Right...shouldn't we...I don't know, progress the story of the game or something. Or is throwing things at me literally all there is to this?
  • SB: No, no. There's probably something else here. I don't know. Looks like I can see all your house and interact with it.
  • WM: Awesome. Please don't break my stuff.
  • SB: Don't worry. I've got this.

You hope William doesn't notice the couch you just put on his lawn.

----------

WM: Try and ignore the couch on your lawn

You roll your eyes. Typical shenanigans. This should be your job. You are far more whacky than Samantha. Ask anyone. You watch as another meddlesome pillow rises into the air. As it hurls itself faceward you spring into action, equipping a powerful weapon, Slightly Deflated Basketball, from your ballkind specibus. You deflect the pillow with a well thrown ball and glower upwards in the direction you assume Samantha to be looking from.

  • SB: Fine, fine. I'll stop.
  • WM: Good. I didn't even think I had that many pillows. Where did you get them all from.
  • SB: Stole them from your family's beds.
  • WM: Hmm, the pillow fort possibilities in this room are increasing.
  • WM: Want to move all the couch cushions up here too?
  • SB: Nah we should probably do something important.
  • WM: Oh now you want to do something relevant. What does this game even do?
  • SB: I don't know, but there's a bunch of fancy looking machines. I guess I could deploy them?
  • WM: Cool Chuck 'em in the lounge.

You wince at the loud crunching sound from downstairs.

  • WM: Fuck it I'm moving to my phone so I can see the damage.
  • SB: No wait, I can fix this.

The crashing sounds move outside. You hurry downstairs to see a sparse lounge.

  • WM: You just put it on the lawn didn't you?
  • WM: Yeap.
  • WM: Destroyed the Music system.
  • WM: That was a good music system you know.
  • WM: Expensive.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: Holy crap that's a big machine.

You watch as a vast machine crashes to the floor in the middle of your lounge. It is a large square of grey metal supporting a rounded chamber with a tall chimney extending above it. Four blank displays adorn the sides and a valve juts out of the chimney. It is quite ugly and clearly unnecessarily large.

  • WM: The hell is that?
  • SB: Don't know. Says here it's a cruxtruder.
  • WM: A what?
  • SB: Beats me. Try turning the valve.

----------

WM: Solve Valve Puzzle

It is one valve, not really much of a puzzle.

You turn the wheel. It doesn't work. You turn harder. The lid on top of the chimney wobbles a bit but doesn't come off. Angry, you turn it as hard as you can. You hurt your hands.

  • WM: Saaamantha. It won't open.
  • SB: Whatever, ignore it. We'll install something else.
  • SB: This is called a Totem Lathe I guess.

A veritable wall of gadgetry lands unceremoniously on the broken remains of one of your many bookshelves. It looks like a sewing machine crossed with a wall.

  • WM: Well that looks fun. What else have you got?
  • SB: An Alchemiter apparently. And a 'prepunched card'. I'll just move the couch first though. Its kind of big.
  • WM: Fine just don't break any-oh come on!

You watch as your couch rises high and promptly falls on the cruxtruder, busting open the lid. A flickering orange ball emerges from the devices' chimney. It hovers for a moment and then zooms across the room to you, stopping nearby and bobbing in place. This game is pretty obscure.

  • SB: I meant to do that.
  • WM: What, you meant to break my couch?
  • SB: Oh yeah...Uhm...I'll just put these outside.
  • WM: You're good at this. At least there's nothing else left in the room to break.
  • SB: I wonder what that timer is for?
  • WM: Timer? What timer?
  • SB: The one on the Cruxtruder. With the big red letters counting down?
  • WM: Oh right. That timer. Hm, that's...That's not a very big number.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • WM: Should we maybe hurry?
  • SB: What do you think will happen?
  • WM: Given the actions of the game so far I'm not sure I want to find out.
  • WM: Better just hurry up with the next gizmo.

----------

SB: Deploy Alchemiter

Your face sets as you battle with the awkward controls of sPerth. You will not mess this one up. You will manage to place at least one machine without breaking things. You select the vast bulk of the Alchemiter and try to place it in the room. Cleverly you change the viewing angle to make sure the device isn't too tall for the lounge. Which naturally goes horribly wrong. The screen zooms out to the roof and in your surprise you drop the alchemiter.

  • SB: Jegus!
  • SB: William? You okay?
  • WM: ...
  • WM: ...
  • WM: You dropped. A Machine. Through my house.
  • WM: What the hell, Samus?
  • SB: Yeah...sorry.
  • SB: At least the device has room to move that arm thingy.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: ...
  • WM: Holy crap.
  • WM: Can you look up from where you are?

----------

WM: Panic

  • SB: No.
  • SB: ...
  • SB: William's what's up?
  • SB: What are you staring at?
  • SB: What's up there? William there's only 2 minutes left on the clock.
  • SB: ...
  • SB: ...
  • SB: I...guess I'll just deploy this card.
  • SB: Also I just checked a walkthrough and apparently we need to put something in the flashing ball thing.
  • SB: William?
  • SB: You've only got one and a half minutes left!
  • SB: WILLIAM!
  • SB: Dammit this is a chatlog why can't I shout.
  • SB: Wait...I know!

A plush toy of a Hippopotamus soars wildly across the room colliding with your face. You awaken from your frightened revery and spring into action.

----------

WM: Extrude Cruxite from Cruxtruder

You spin the valve of the cruxtruder and blue cylinders launch themselves skyward from the machine.

  • WM: That walkthrough? Mention anything about imminent fiery death?
  • SB: No...but they do get pretty alarmed and confusing towards the end. They panic a lot about the timer so I'm guessing something bad happens.
  • WM: Yeah, probably has something to do with the meteor about to land on my house.
  • SB: Ah...yeah.
  • WM: I think I hate this game.
  • WM: I'm going to use this card and blue thing on the machine over there.
  • SB: Cruxite. Totem Lathe. How did you know?
  • WM: Yep. Those. Just seemed like the only thing I could do.

You pick up the card Samantha had deployed on the floor and input it and the blue cylinder into the demented sewing machine. A mechanical arm descends and a laser lances across the surface of the cruxite dowel. You remove what now looks like an elegantly crafted pedestal and captchalogue it to your jacket.

  • WM: Quick, what now?
  • SB: I think you put it on the platform thing.
  • WM: Oh...
  • WM: Yeah that was kind of obvious.
  • WM: I think I was expecting some kind of elaborate puzzle.
  • SB: Dude...Asteroid.

Reawakened to the fiery ball of death, you quickly place the pedestal on the...pedestal and watch as the long arm of the Alchemiter descends and scans it. An orange Coffee Cup appears in the centre of the platform.

You know what you have to do. In one smooth motion you raise the cup to your lips. Above you the meteor looms vast in the sky.

You take a sip.

----------

EW: Wake up

You are already awake. You are in fact in a pool. Going for a nice refreshing morning swim and admiring the unusual stars in the sky. It is not odd to find you swimming as you have an unusually high fitness quotient. Alone among your friends you enjoy outdoors activities which is unfortunate because none of them will join you when you frolic in the waves and bask in the sunshine.

You also really like Doctor Who. Doctor Who and Feminine Elves are two of your absolute favorite things. When not obsessing over pretty elves and pretty doctors you like to read and swim. Occasionally at the same time.

----------

EW: Do something adorable

You run around the garden playing chasey with a remote control Dalek and your budgerigar. It is just about the most adorable thing you could do. A positive montage of adorableness follows. The Dalek drops her ice cream. The budgie bites the Dalek's eyestalk. Everyone pokes Ellie in the sides. It certainly is a good distraction from the imminent fiery death of your boyfriend.

----------

EW: Wait, what was that last part?

You suppose you should try and find out why your boyfriend WM hasn't replied to your messages in ages. That and it has been awhile since you have checked tumblr. You pull your shitty macintosh from your sylladex to see what new manner of madness has taken hold of the internet today. As the computer wakes up you are greeted with the message:

  • SB: Don't worry about William.
  • SB: He'll be fine.
  • SB: Probably.
  • SB: Just download this game:
  • SB: www.mspaintadventures.com
  • **SB has ceased pestering EW**

You try calling William but he doesn't answer. Samantha's message has naturally served only to alarm you. In this time of great panic you know there is only one person you can turn to. An expert if you will. An expert in panic.

----------

EW: Seek out expert

Fortunately he is online.

  • EW: Hey, hey you.

It is some time before your friend answers. He can be slow to respond like that.

  • DF: Yo?
  • EW: What the hell is Samantha doing with Will?
  • DF: I don't know. Samantha's next door.
  • DF: I just brought her tea.
  • DF: Is something wrong?
  • DF: Was it the tea?
  • EW: ...
  • EW: ...
  • EW: No. It was not the tea.
  • EW: She didn't say anything about Will?
  • DF: No, she just keeps telling me to play this game.
  • EW: sPerth?
  • DF: Yeah. How did you know?
  • EW: She told me too play it too. What's it like?
  • DF: I don't know, she told me I couldn't play it till she was done doing something with Will.
  • DF: Wait...
  • DF: Crap.
  • DF: I guess she did say something about Will.
  • EW: ...
  • DF: Hang on she's pestering me. I'll get back to you in a moment.

You relax and start browsing tumblr. William did not sound like he was in any immediate danger. I mean what could possibly put him at risk of losing his life in Perth.

----------

EW: Enjoy peaceful ignorance while it lasts

Your tumblr bounty is most excellent today. Lots of great pictures of cats falling off things, the usual apocalypse in Australia jokes, and a new meme seemed to have cropped up, meteors. Meteor jokes all over the place. You swear these meme's are getting more and more obscure. It is pretty hard to see what is funny at times, but no doubt there is some reason. Why else would they keep talking about meteors?

You see the flash first. Lighting your walls a brilliant white. The noise comes next. Blasting through the house and shaking your windows. You pause to let the alarm build but the shockwave has another idea and shatters your windows, startling you from alarm an flinging you head first into panic.

For some reason this means you go hide in the pool.

----------

DF: Justifiably Panic

You had just opened the chatlog with Samantha when the shockwave struck your house.

  • SB: Don't worry
  • DF: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?
  • SB: It's all under control
  • DF: A FUCKING BOMB JUST WENT OFF
  • SB: Not exactly
  • DF: THEN WHAT?
  • SB: Pretty sure a meteor just wiped out Claremont.
  • DF: WHAT?
  • DF: WHAT THE HELL?
  • DF: WHAT ABOUT WILL?
  • SB: I-I'm pretty sure he's okay.
  • DF: PRETTY SURE?
  • DF: HOW COULD HE BE OKAY?'
  • DF: WAS HE OUT?
  • SB: No
  • DF: NO?
  • SB: No.
  • SB: He was definitely at home.
  • DF: I...But...What?
  • SB: I'll go make tea.
  • SB: Hold your penguin.
  • SB: We have work to do.

You turn away from your computer to hug your penguin. Its vast softness calms your tightly wound nerves. You try and ignore the flashing notifications from your friends. You are not sure you can deal with more people telling you Claremont is missing.

----------

SB: Greet other members of house

You wander into the kitchen in pursuit of tea. Dan would need a strong cup in order to calm his nerves. You were sure this next bit would be difficult. She did warn you quite explicitly that it would. In your kitchen are two young women drinking tea. There is nothing particularly odd about this, except for the fact that they are drinking it from their saucers.

  • SB: ...
  • BW: Earthquake?
  • SB: Meteor.
  • LC: Ah.
  • SB: Any damage?
  • BW: Spilt tea
  • LC: Hence the saucers
  • SB: ok
  • BW: We weren't lapping it or anything
  • BW: It wasn't adorable
  • LC: It was a little adorable
  • BW: Nooooo

This could go on for some time, best to leave them at it. You leave your housemates bickering and focus on the all important tea. Things are crazy enough without worrying about adorable quotients.

----------

DF: Imbibe tea

You leap upon the steaming cup of tea Samantha placed before you with greedy abandon. The boiling liquid infuses your body and brings quiet to your mind.

  • SB: Better?
  • DF: Is Claremont still missing?
  • SB: Yes.
  • DF: Then not so much. How would tea make me feel better about that?
  • SB: It stopped you yelling.
  • DF: Claremont is actually missing?
  • SB: Yes but I think it's okay.
  • SB: William is slow about a lot of things but you can rely on him to drink coffee.
  • DF: What the does that even mean?
  • SB: Long story. Point is we've got to get ready with sPerth.
  • DF: You want me to focus on a video game?
  • DF: In all of this insanity?
  • DF: With meteors apparently destroy suburbs?
  • SB: Yes.
  • DF: ...
  • DF: Okay.
  • SB: Good.
  • DF: What now?
  • SB: I think we have to wake Jamie.

You trust in your friend's calmness. Even she would show it if things were as bad as they seemed.

----------

JB: You're not even a little asleep are you?

Not even a little. You are sitting comfortably at your computer playing an emulated version of an old video game.

Your name is Jamie.

You are a man of many abilities. As a result of this you have tried just about everything that catches your fancy, at least for a while. Your room is filled with the evidence of your various hobbies. Video Games and Coding books line your shelves. Your martial arts gear is strewn across the floor. Your fire twirling equipments lies besides it. Your keyboard rests at the end of your bed.

All of these things are important interests to you that you have spent a lot of time on. But nothing can compare to your passion for Final Fantasy and Power Rangers. Evidence of these passions covers your room and several inches of your body. Years of your time have been put into these things that are clearly and indisputably awesome.

What do you do?

----------

JB: Fetch Arms from floor

You equip your trusty bow staff from the pile of martial arts gear at your feet. This will surely be useful around the house for doing menial tasks like battling ninjas and poking things that are far away. But really it is not so useful for what you are currently doing. You re-equip the staff to the floor. No this doesn't mean you just drop it again after picking it up. Don't be ridiculous.

----------

JB: Keep playing emulated game

Okay even you have to admit that this Power Rangers game: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega CD Game) is pretty terrible. It is basically a poorly edited abridged rehash of the original, and incredible, Green with Evil storyline with occasional random button presses to justify the title of 'game'. Love is pain and a love like yours for Power Rangers must generate pains like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega CD video game). Such is the way of the world.

----------

Hippo: Descend

You are positively the softest most adorable hippo plush that ever lived. In your short life you have been a constant companion to your master. You think, as you sail through the air at his head, that it is fitting your last act should be to save his life.

You collided with his head and he springs into action. You watch him go with pride as you bounce away. He will go far you are sure.

You, on the other hand, are destined for the light. The great, orange flashing light. The orb. It beckons.

----------

EW: Watch the sky

The water laps around your sides as you float in the comforting embrace of the pool. You figured if debris or waves of fire and death were going to follow the earlier shockwave, the pool would be the safest place. You let the water cover your ears and the bubble of quiet helps to calm you down. It's no tea but it will do. You stare at the sky and eye the ever brighter clump of stars. A vast column of smoke rises from the south; your mind is filled with thoughts of Mordor. Watching the descent of the meteors you fear that one of them is headed for you.

You wonder how far you would have to go to get away from a meteor that size. You wonder if William managed to. The soothing waves of the pool start to feel icy. There is work to be done.

----------

EW: Contact loved ones

You hurry into your room to check your computer. The best way to get in touch with people is always through the internet. Always. Fortunately William is clearly online. Everything will be fine.

  • EW: Hey Will, did you see that meteor?
  • EW: Looked like it landed down your way.
  • EW: Is everyone alright?
  • EW: Did it miss you?
  • EW: William?
  • EW: Hello?
  • EW: William?
  • EW: WILLIAM?
  • EW: Fuck.

Fuck.

----------

WM: Fuck

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. Fuckity FUCK.

That's a pretty huge Hippo...thing...

You don't know what it wants, but you know enough about Hippopotamuses to know that they are deadly at speed and this thing is fast heading towards you at maximum gambol. You run as fast as you can but you can't seem to shake this bright orange Hippo. You also can't seem to shake the feeling that it is somehow familiar. You almost feel comforted in spite of its vast size and huge teeth.

This is getting ridiculous. You need to assess your situation. What even happened with the whole meteor thing? You were sipping some weird orange coffee and then Bam! Hippo!

Your consideration of interesting relevant details distracts you from the flight and you run into a door. The hippo catches up and together you run through the door.

----------

WM: Recognise old friend

That soft round face. Those big button eyes. Now that you see her up close there is no mistaking it. You are face to face with your beloved Hippo plush, blown up massively into a full bodied bright orange hippo. You should probably find out at some point how the hell that happened. You reach out a tentative hand to pat the massive hippos head. Seemingly satisfied it gambols away and breaks your couch.

You should probably investigate why you aren't dead. Or why the climate and light is different. Or whether that orange coffee was poisonous. Or you could lie in the wreckage of the door and check your phone. Sure, that'll be a literary epic right there.

----------

WM: Answer Phone

You pull your phone out of your jacket modus and inspect it for updates. Strangely the bar representing your signal strength just shows a spirograph. You still seem to have enough connection to be receiving pesterchum notifications though.

  • EW: Fuck
  • WM: Whoa.. Hey.
  • EW: WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?
  • WM: I'm... not honestly sure. I seem to be alive though so that's a plus.
  • EW: WHY HAVEN'T YOU BEEN ANSWERING YOUR PHONE?
  • WM: I was being chased by my teddy hippo.
  • EW: WHE-What?
  • WM: Oh cool you calmed down
  • EW: I can uncalm fast.
  • WM: Eep.
  • WM: I don't know where it came from
  • WM: But my Hippo plush is now a giant orange hippo.
  • WM: It is sleeping on my couch.
  • WM: I'm telling you...This game is messed up.
  • EW: sPerth?
  • WM: Oh hey, you've heard.
  • EW: Samantha was telling me to play it.
  • WM: It's...worrying. I've lost about half the furniture in the house to it so far.
  • WM: Also I think it tried to kill me with a meteor.
  • WM: But then also...saved me from the meteor? So I guess we're cool.
  • WM: I should probably find out some more about my surroundings though.
  • EW: Jeez.
  • EW: Just what the hell have you been up to with Samantha?
  • EW: Do you know that Claremont is gone?
  • WM: Whoa what?
  • WM: Was anyone hurt?
  • EW: ...
  • EW: ...
  • EW: A meteor fell on Claremont. Yes. Yes they were hurt.
  • WM: Shit! Anyone we know?
  • EW: I don't think so. I think Tamara is the closest and I haven't heard anything about her being injured.
  • WM: Man...
  • WM: I don't really know what's going on but I think you should start playing that game.
  • EW: Is that really the focus here? Gaming?
  • WM: I don't know. But I'm pretty sure I'm alive because of it and there were quite a few rapidly increasing dots in the sky when last I looked.
  • WM: Just...Just check with Samantha. I'm going to explore.
  • WM: I love you.
  • EW: I know.
  • EW: Don't...get attacked by more Hippos or anything.
  • WM: Sure.

----------

WM: Check on Samantha

  • WM: Yo, Samantha
  • WM: SAMANTHA
  • WM: SAMAAAAAAAANTHA
  • WM: Whatever.
  • WM: Do you know what's going on?
  • WM: I don't seem to have been crushed and I think that coffee had something to do with it.
  • WM: Also I have a Hippo now.
  • WM: Is this all part of this crazy game?
  • WM: Dammit, where are you?
  • WM: Some server player, wandering off just when I need you.

You pick yourself up out of the ruins of the door. The world wavers around you. You are definitely not supposed to be pushed through solid objects by African animals. You will need some serious tea to get over this pain.

Your friend the hippopotamus gets up and follows you as you walk past it, heading towards your former sun-room. Heavy clouds loom in the formerly clear sky. There is no sign of the meteor, just clouds and the occasional flash of lightning. Through the glass wall of windows that make up this side of your house you can see that your garden has disappeared, replaced instead by a short stretch of cement and the low balustrade a of tower roof.

----------

WM: Peer over the wall

You-GAH!

A hard black face looms into your field of vision as you try peer over the edge of the building. You fall back as the creature pulls itself fully onto the ledge. It strikes a dramatic pose against the sky, lightning reflects off its dark carapace. Below the cruel torso is a somewhat less dramatic overweight hippopotamus body.

As you look at its small torso and vast lower half you have to wonder how it managed to climb the skyscraper your house now seems to be resting on. The creature too seems to be wondering this. You didn't think an expressionless carapace could look so exhausted.

The part of your brain that is not pondering stupid things throws your basketball at the imp.

It immediately overbalances and tumbles over the edge.

You feel yourself rejuvenate slightly as the thud of impact echoes faintly up from below. You have soared up your echeladder; gliding past Infrequent Journalist (2) to the vaunted title of Political Blogger (3). Your injuries heal somewhat and you earn some boonbucks, whatever they are.

----------

WM: View surroundings

You get up and once again peer over the balustrade.

Your house is perched precariously at the top of a towering skyscraper. A vast cityscape spreads away on all sides towards the horizons. Wind and rain lashes the rooftops around you. Monstrous creatures stride through the streets below, ranging from small imps like the one you just faced to towering ogres. The hippopotamus theme seems to afflict the majority of them. You presume this has something to do with your recently come to life plush, but you aren't really sure how.

Even as you gaze around your surroundings, you notice more and more of the black imps have begun to ascend your tower. Looks like you may have to put your ball skills to the test if more of them make it all the way up.

You turn back to your house feeling the thrill of adventure. The world you have been transported to seems so exciting. You can't wait to see what wonders it holds. Still, you remember that cluster of bright stars. The brightest had turned out to be a meteor that destroyed your suburb. The others are sure to be similarly destructive. Your friends are in danger and will need your help to get through. You must get hold of Samantha and see what you can do.

----------

AH: It's about time we had a fresh face

Your name is Ashby.

You are a young man standing in your room admiring your fine collection of books. On display around you are your many varied loves, most fantastical in nature. In spite of a strong interest in magical worlds with freely morphing dogs and, of course, ponies, your most important love is physics. Gosh don't you love physics though. Physics and ponies and adventurous times. You feel this is just about all that is needed for a well rounded human being.

You tend to spend a lot of time in contemplation or rest. You have gained many insights from these activities that your friends do not often understand. They would be surprised to know you are waiting a little impatiently for them to get in touch with you about a very important game.

Perhaps they would be even more surprised to see you have moved all your fragile things to your bed. You feel this action will be vindicated soon enough.

----------

AH: Chat with friend

You have been trying to get hold of your friend for a couple of days now. He is probably fine, but his absence is a bit disturbing. You feel like something happened in your dreams, but you can never quite remember your dreams clearly. You think it was something important. You try messaging him again anyway, he may have just been offline for a while.

  • AH: sup man.
  • AH: What's been up?
  • AH: I haven't seen you in a while.
  • AH: You around?
  • AH: Should I start worrying?
  • AH: It's probably nothing...
  • AH: Let me know man.

You sigh and look around to see who else is online. It's been all quiet on the social front lately. You guess you've been sleeping a lot. Missing things. You should probably catch up with your friends, make the first move, but you can't shake the feeling that this is not the right thing to do.

Sometimes you wish you didn't have to think so much.

----------

AH: Go to sleep

Well, it doesn't really look like your friends are going to be showing up anytime soon. You may as well get some rest, you have some busy times ahead of you. You carefully move your fragile things under your bed and lie down to sleep. You feel so tired despite having woken up only recently. You are always so sleepy these days. Warm darkness envelops you as you close your eyes and fall asleep.

A young boy in a purple room opens his eyes and gets up.

----------

JB: Discover old friend

Bored of your terrible video game you have begun rooting among your many exciting possessions. You stop occasionally to re-live great memories. The time you received your Red Power Ranger Mask, the thousands of hours you spent playing Final Fantasy VIII. Your life size replica of a keybla-no...It can't be. You look past your fantastic keyblade and see it. Your long lost treasure. The prize of your collection. You leap to reclaim it from on top of your cupboard. In your haste you dislodge the keyblade.

The blade falls and the wooden shaft thumps you in the head dazing you. The hilt dislodges an avalanche of old dusty boxes. The pile pushes you to the ground. You are up to your goddamn neck in fucking fandom junk. Above you, you can still see your treasure teetering on the edge of your cupboard. The bulk of the Dragonzord falls and lands on your exposed head rendering you unconscious. Hoisted on your own dragon mech. How ironic.

----------

DF: Wake Jamie

You exert all your will and power to this task. You will wake Jamie...because...he's sleeping or something you guess. You aren't really sure what Samantha means. But she seemed keen to get hold of Jamie so you guess that's what's happening. So far none of your attempts, ie thinking about contacting Jamie, have worked, so you think it is time for your final gambit. You message Jamie.

  • DF: Jamie.
  • DF: Samantha reckons we need to get hold of you to save Perth or something?
  • DF: It's pretty dramatic.
  • DF: There may or may not have been casualties.
  • DF: She is being very Samantha about it all.
  • DF: YO!
  • DF: You there?

No luck. You briefly contemplate calling him but quickly put such a crazy notion from your mind. Who uses phones for calling people? That would be a world gone topsy turvy. You decide instead to tell Samantha the bad news.

  • DF: Yo Samantha.
  • DF: I can't get hold of Jamie.
  • DF: I tried shouting in text and everything.
  • SB: Whatever.
  • SB: We can use Ellie.
  • SB: She won't stop bugging me about Will so we can be pretty sure she's online.
  • DF: What, but you said we needed Jamie!
  • SB: I did, didn't I.
  • SB: So yeah. You should probably message her. And install the game.
  • SB: We should probably hurry.
  • SB: I doubt we have all that much time.
  • DF: Wait what?

----------

DF: Install sPerth Server

You boot up the server.exe and watch the pretty Spirograph spiral across the screen. The window opens to an isometric view of Samantha's room. You immediately do the most logical thing possible and drop a plush dog on her head.

  • SB: Oi!

Pleased with this development you move the window around and take a look at yourself, sitting comfortably in your bedroom looking at the screen of yourself looking at the screen of yourself looking at the...You begin to feel dizzy.

  • SB: Cool isn't it. Like Sims but you can mess with your friends.
  • DF: Very cool.
  • DF: So do I just build randomly?
  • DF: What's my mission here?
  • SB: Ultimately...I'm not sure.
  • SB: But for now you should probably build a big open platform on our roof and deploy some of those big mechanical items.
  • DF: Can't I just put them in the lounge?
  • SB: No...Trust me on this one. We don't want those in the house. I like our loungeroom.
  • DF: Nah it's fine, I'm pretty sure I can just move the piano ele-
  • SB: Don't you dare.
  • SB: Just...just put a platform on the roof. And put stairs to it or some crap. Leave my Piano alone.

You still think you could pull it off, but, reluctantly, you set about building a large flat platform on the roof of your house.

----------

SB: Assess situation

You feel the house shudder as the extra load is added to the roof. You decide, since you couldn't possibly have anything important to do at your computer, to go check it out. You head outside and see Dan has built a handy stairway up the side of the house. As you ascend you look to the sky and see the bright meteors. Two are shining especially bright. You wonder how long it will be till yours lands.

You look at Dan's handiwork. A large flat platform rests on your ceiling and, to one side, you can see duplicates of the three machines that you deployed in William's house. Dan has also built a small hand railing around the sides. You admire the craftsmanship. Truly this was done by a veteran Minecrafter.

  • SB: Looks good.
  • DF: Thanks.
  • SB: Hey can you dump something heavy on top of the cruxtruder?
  • DF: Uhm...sure. Why?
  • SB: I think it's the only way to open it.

You watch your Piano soar above the device.

  • SB: NOT MY PIANO
  • SB: PUT MY PIANO BACK ON THE GROUND
  • SB: PUT.
  • SB: MY PIANO.
  • SB: BACK ON THE GROUND.
  • DF: Fine jeez.

The piano is lowered gently to the roof. Surprisingly nothing is horribly broken. There is a pause then an armchair bearing a surprised tea-wielding Leah is instead raised and dropped on the cruxtruder. The armchair is broken but the tea is saved. Leah's heroic act causes her to soar to the epic rank Earl of Grey. A tea drinker of this vaunted level never spills a drop of tea, only blood.

The lid is bounced off the device and a new colourful ball of epilepsy reveals itself, yellow this time. You ignore it and look at the timer. 2:22. Two hours. Looks like you have a bit of time to spare before getting crushed by a meteor.

  • SB: Jeez why do you pick such ridiculous things to use.
  • SB: Why not an unoccupied chair, or something heavy from the shed?
  • DF: I swear it seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • SB: Whatever.
  • SB: You should get hold of Ellie and get her to start doing the same. I think we have 2 hours before we go the way of Claremont.
  • DF: Do you really have to keep reminding me of that.
  • DF: And are you sure Will is fine?
  • SB: Oh yeah I should probably reply to his messages.
  • DF: ...Yes. Yes you should.

----------

SB: Enter

You don't really understand what you should enter so instead you just get Dan to give you the pre-punched card.

  • DF: Whoa this thing is tiny.
  • DF: Don't let the wind carry it away or anything.
  • SB: Just put it right in front of me.
  • SB: Then go talk to Ellie about her installing the game and getting you connected.

The card flops into existence on your head. You roll your eyes and captchalogue it to your Pokeball Sylladex. Heading towards the cruxtruder you try to ignore the bright flashing ball as it bounces along excitedly beside you. You wonder what the purpose of it is. Maybe Will knows by now. You seem to remember his Hippo toy fell into the ball just before all the flashing lights happened and you were called away. You should probably check on William and figure out exactly what happened with all that.

Or you could create the item on your pre-punched card. You're pretty sure that it is necessary to escape the countdown timer. This is very definitely your reason, not being too lazy to go back down the stairs right now. You spin the valve on the cruxtruder and a blue column of cruxite flies out. You quickly captchalogue it into another pokeball. You think this is the best sylladex system in the world, even though you can only hold 6 things at a time.

Remembering William's actions you stroll over to the Totem Lathe and get your dowel carved. You watch in a daze as the mesmerising laser strips away the layers of blue. You snap up the newly shaped pillar and head over to the Alchemiter. This process sure is easy when you already know what needs to be done. You apply one to the other and in a flash of yellow light you receive a... what the?

Twenty minutes pass and you are still sitting on the edge of the alchemiter staring at the object you just created. It is an unusually small VCR cartridge. Some hazy memory from the nineties indicates that it might be what is called a 'beta' tape.

You are completely screwed. Who owns VCRs anymore? Who owns BETA VCRs? You are so going to die.

----------

SB: Play a haunting refrain

You obviously still have nothing better to do so you captchalogue the beta tape and head over to your piano. In spite of your worries about something happening to your Piano you've got to admit that this location is perfect for music. The wind has been picking up and it whips around you as you settle down to play.

Two of the meteors brighten in the sky. Their light obscures the meteors around them. A car pulls out from the drive and speeds away, purpose unknown.

The clock ticks down to two hours.

Music is written, played, and recorded by Samantha Bullock.

----------

WM: Get hold of Samantha

  • WM: Saaaaaaaam
  • WM: SAAAAAAAAAAAAAM
  • SB: What?
  • WM: Really?.
  • WM: REALLY?
  • WM: 'What' is all you have to say?
  • WM: No questions about the giant meteor?
  • WM: How I'm alive?
  • WM: Where I am?
  • SB: Are you in your room?
  • SB: Messaging me from your computer?
  • WM: ...Yes.
  • WM: But my house isn't!
  • SB: Yeah, you're on like a building or something. What happened with that?
  • WM: No idea.
  • WM: Drank the coffee.
  • WM: Everything went orange for a minute
  • WM: Bam, I'm on a skyscraper on a new world or something.
  • WM: A world that apparently has a lot of frogs. And ...uh... Hippo based centaur monsters.
  • SB: What?
  • WM: Yeah...
  • WM: I don't know.
  • WM: I assume it is related to the fact that my Hippo toy is now big and orange and... goring imps.
  • WM: I help out occasionally but it seems pretty content smashing all the ones that make it up here.
  • WM: It tried to speak to me but I don't really understand hippo.
  • WM: Or plush for that matter.
  • WM: So yeah, it's been pretty wild here, how are things with you?
  • SB: Oh man, don't even get me started.

----------

SB: Get started

A brief check in shows that will seems fine despite a house increasingly infested with lumbering imps. You should probably find out more about those. They don't look particularly friendly despite the Hippopotamus lower half.

  • WM: Ooh, dish.
  • SB: Fine.
  • SB: I set up the game to escape the meteor that is obviously coming for me and all I got was a freaking beta tape.
  • WM: You what?
  • SB: Beta. Tape.
  • WM: Wow that's unhelpful. What are you going to do?
  • SB: No idea. Do you have a VCR that plays Beta?
  • WM: Hah, no.
  • WM: Who did you connect to?
  • SB: Dan.
  • SB: He's going to connect with Ellie. Probably doing it now in fact.
  • SB: Then I guess she connects with Jamie.
  • WM: That seems like a good plan.
  • WM: There were quite a few meteors. We should probably get as many in as possible.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • SB: Do you think it's odd that you were the first one to play and yours was also the first one to strike?
  • WM: At this stage I'm not second guessing anything about this game.
  • WM: It's definitely connected to the meteors. I would guess that it summoned them, except they were already there before I started playing.
  • SB: Yeah...
  • WM: So you're setting up a sort of Daisy chain with all our friends?
  • SB: Yeah.
  • WM: Cool. So what do I do? Should I be connecting up with someone?
  • SB: I dunno, probably.
  • WM: We can probably get more people in faster that way, and then join up the circle at the end.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • SB: Try and get hold of someone.
  • SB: and I will try and work out what the hell to do with this beta tape.
  • SB: And make sure Dan's getting Ellie working.
  • WM: Good luck.
  • WM: I think I see someone online I'll go pester them.

You wander out of your room and check on Dan. It looks like he's talking to Ellie so you go back outside to watch their progress. Upstairs you see your house-mates Becbec and Leah have brought out up a pot of tea and blanket and are sitting enjoying the goings on. You decide to join them for a cup of tea, because really what else could you possibly be doing with your time.

----------

SB: Interact with irritating ball

The tea helps you bring your already absurd calm to whole new levels. Only one thing still remains to bother you. This blasted yellow ball. You sure wish it would stop bobbing along everywhere you go.

  • LC: So...what's with the ball thing?
  • BW: And the new roof?
  • LC: And the fancy machines?
  • BW: And the big bright lights in the sky?
  • LC: Oh, well spotted, I hadn't even noticed those.
  • BW: Why thank you.
  • SB: Don't know, strange game, more strange game, apocalypse.
  • SB: Or...localized destruction anyway
  • LC: Apocalapino.
  • SB: Is that a real thing?
  • BW: Definitely.
  • SB: Okay...
  • SB: Well that's happening. It'll probably blow up the house.
  • SB: But we're trying to find a way to escape.
  • SB: You might want to get away from here.
  • SB: Though I guess if those other dots are also meteors it may be safer if you stick with us.
  • LC: I will never abandon the tea.
  • LC: It needs us.
  • BW: That's adorable.
  • LC: No.
  • SB: So yeah. That's going on.
  • BW: What about the ball thing?
  • SB: No idea.
  • SB: William's turned into a hippo though.
  • SB: Possibly because a toy of a hippo fell-
  • SB: I have an idea.

You message Dan and tell him to pass something up to you. While waiting for a response you watch a second cruxtruder soar through the air and be deployed elegantly through the roof and into the lounge. Looks like Ellie has joined the game and brought about the same level of finesse to it as you did.

Dan doesn't delay and promptly places the head and torso of your prized possession. You received it several years ago from William. It is a hand made cookie jar made in the shape of your favorite Pokemon, CLAYDOL. It is definitely one of your most treasured items.

  • LC: What're you going to do with that?
  • BW: Are we going to get Cookies?
  • SB: Watch.
Claydoll Sprite

You pick up the two parts, with their delicious cargo, and hurl them into the dancing yellow ball. One flash of blinding light later and you are confronted with a bright yellow Claydol, hovering in the air before you. It gives you all cookies. This is completely awesome.

----------

SB: Completely fail to stand in the way of a terrible idea

  • LC: Ohmygod it changes!
  • BW: Does it change into anything you put in there?
  • LC: Man this is so cool
  • SB: I have a claydol! This is awesome!
  • LC: Oh whoa I have an idea.
  • LC: This will be amazing!
  • BW: Will it be adorable?
  • LC: No!

You wonder what she has in mind. You look at the Claydol and feel a nudge in your mind. You think it is trying to communicate telepathically but you don't understand it. The joy and wonder of seeing your favorite Pokemon hovering in front of you totally overwrites the memory that the monsters William was facing took on aspects of the Hippopotamus. You can't think of any way this Claydolsprite could ever be a bad thing. Not ever. Leah returns with something in her hand.

  • LC: What happens if I do this!?!

She throws the object into the floating Claydol. For the second time you are all blinded by a bright flash.

SauronDollSprite
  • SB: Oh. What. No!
  • BW: Yes.
  • SB: No no no.
  • LC: Yes!
  • SB: You ruined something beautiful today, I hope you know that.
  • LC: No this is awesome.
  • LC: Now he's all spiky and covered in fire.
  • BW: And so evil.
  • SB: Oh man I can just feel how hard this is going to backfire.
  • SB: Why would you think mixing in Sauron was a good idea?
  • LC: No, it's perfect.
  • BW: I wonder what else can be put in there.
  • SB: Nothing! At all.
  • SB: what's with everyone trying to ruin my thi-

You are interrupted by a loud musical crunching. The alchemiter has just fallen through your piano and the floor beneath it, blocking the front door. You mourn your lost piano as a fallen comrade.

----------

DF: Chastise Ellie

You finally got Ellie to install sPerth, and you are seriously regretting it. Your room lies in ruins from her early attempts at moving objects around. The lounge is a wreck and so, it sounds now, is the rest of your house. From your vantage point of your own PC connected to Samantha you watch the haphazard attempts at successful placement with increasing frustration.

  • EW: Oops.
  • EW: Damn.
  • EW: Tell Samantha sorry.
  • EW: I am really bad at video games.
  • DF: How is this hard?
  • DF: You've played Portal haven't you?
  • DF: That required more precision than this.
  • EW: Well I had a mouse then.
  • EW: And a computer that isn't terrible.
  • DF: Ah.
  • DF: Yeah that would do it. Just please try not to break anything else.
  • EW: I think I'm getting the hang of this :)

The loud crunch from the Kitchen indicates that this may not be entirely the case.

  • DF: Did you drop the object in order to type the smiley?
  • EW: Maybe
  • EW: You probably didn't really need that fridge anyway
  • EW: I think I've installed everything.
  • DF: What about the card thing?
  • EW: In the toaster.
  • DF: ...
  • DF: Why?
  • EW: It...it seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • DF: Did anything end up on my carefully built roof platform?
  • EW: ...Rubble?
  • EW: Yeah...
  • EW: This game is hard.

You sigh and go look for the card.

----------

SB: Contact William

  • SB: Hey William
  • WM: Yo.
  • SB: Any luck getting hold of anyone?
  • WM: Not yet.
  • WM: Tried to get hold of Tamara but she didn't answer.
  • SB: She's probably asleep.
  • WM: Yeah...
  • WM: She does that a lot.
  • SB: So anyway.
  • SB: You know the flashing ball thing?
  • WM: That turned into my Hippo?
  • WM: Yeah, what about it?
  • SB: Mine turned into a Claydol.
  • WM: Oh man.
  • WM: That sounds awesome.
  • WM: Tell me that's as awesome as it sounds
  • SB: It was.
  • SB: Till Leah ruined it
  • WM: :?
  • SB: She threw her Sauron figurine into it.
  • SB: Now my precious Claydolsprite is all glowing red eyes and spikes.
  • SB: Totally ruined.
  • WM: Are you kidding?
  • WM: That sounds incredibly awesome.
  • WM: In every possible way.
  • WM: Why would that ever be a bad thing?
  • SB: Well...
  • SB: Your monsters all took on aspects of the Hippo...
  • WM: Hmm...
  • WM: That is a good and worrying point.
  • WM: Your monsters are going to mess you up!
  • WM: At least your weapon is better than a deflated basketball.
  • SB: Yeah. Much better.
  • SB: Why the hell did you set it as that anyway?
  • WM: Used to play. Seemed like a good idea but then I stopped playing and now it's just a useless piece of crap.
  • WM: I should find out if this game has a way of leveling up weapons.
  • WM: At least I seem to be getting stronger.
  • SB: Ah cool. XPs.
  • WM: Yeah.
  • SB: So...
  • SB: I'm thinking we should see what happens if we add something else into your Hippo.
  • SB: Mine changed when we added a second thing.
  • SB: We should probably add something crap to sabotage the monsters.
  • WM: No.
  • WM: No I've got a better idea.
  • WM: Oh man I have the best idea.
  • WM Hold on let me try this.
  • SB: You're not going to sabotage them at all are you?
  • WM: Nope.

You sigh and watch William scamper around his room looking for something. He finds it and heads downstairs to his Hipposprite who is happily lying on several imps that climbed up the building.

He readies himself to throw the item and you secretly pray it won't ruin everything even more.

----------

WM: Throw

One more blinding flash of Orange and...

ShankHippoSprite
  • WM: ...
  • WM: It is so beautiful
  • WM: Oh man, are you seeing this?
  • SHS: Why yes. Yes I am.
  • WM: Oh my god you speak.
  • SHS: Of course I do!
  • SHS: Say...
  • SHS: Do you know where I can lay my hands on some Rum?
  • WM: ohmygod

Artwork by number11train

----------

WM: Fanout

The sight before you is too awesome. Too incomprehensibly incredible. Your favorite animal and your favorite big brother mentor character in one floating orange figure of awesome. It is too much for your poor fan mind to comprehend.

You faint. Shanks laughs and wanders off to ransack your shelves for alcohol, stopping occasionally to slice a hippopotamus shaped imp in half.

In another universe Samantha applies palm to face and sighs.

----------

EW: Lose old friend

You are distracted from your game with Dan by a high pitched whining. You can't identify the sound but it is highly unsettling.

You have never spent this long gaming before. You must say you are starting to see the appeal. The wanton destruction did feel vaguely cathartic. That will teach Samantha to be cagey about what happened to William. Though of course it was all accidental. Of course. You should probably message William soon-hey is that whine getting louder?

You look at your laptop and the screen goes black. Black smoke rises from the white apple keyboard. You leap off the bed as the laptop coughs and dies. Your bed sheets catch fire.

There is a blinding flash of green and your bed sheets aren't on fire anymore. You guess that's one less thing to worry about.

The machine was on it's last legs, you guess the strain of gaming finally broke the old thing. You shed a tear for your fallen comrade. Never again will you secretly write fanfic, that no one was ever meant to know about, together. Gone are the days of staying up far too late looking at tumblr.

How are you going to get hold of Jamie now?

You get out your phone to ask him.

----------

??: Why are you such a secret?

The dim lighting of the room barely illuminates the back of a swivel chair. There is a flash of green behind it and the chair begins to turn. You feel excitement. You have no idea who this mysterious stranger could be. There is literally no way you could ever know who they are.

The chair completes the half turn and you see a young woman stroking her white cat mysteriously. Or...not. Her hand is indeed resting upon the white cat but it is not moving. You listen to the soft breathing. The mysterious young woman is asleep. She has slept through her big reveal. Par for the course really.

----------

This is completely silly

The white cat opens its eyes. You see the understanding in them. This is a wise cat. There is a flicker of green and the cat settles back in place, just in time for the water balloon to land on the mysterious young woman's face. She wakes with a start but is careful not to disturb the noble cat in her lap. She has the look of a woman who is entirely used to being awoken in this manner. She looks around to see if there is anything she needs to pay attention to.

----------

TS: Be Introduced

Your name is Tamara.

You are sitting on a swivel chair in your room. You placed it there because you wanted to look spooky and mysterious. Also because you think chairs are kind of neat.

On your walls, bed and desk are a variety of your interests. These mostly involve cats. You just love cats so much. Their soft fur and noble eyes and silly mannerisms. Your best friend Alaska is sitting on your lap right now. A beautiful white ragdoll; a soft fluffy cloud. You try to pretend sometimes that you aren't completely obsessed with him and cats generally. Your friends know otherwise. You aren't fooling anyone.

You also like Anime. Evidence of this like is crammed in the few spaces between cat related interests.

You are not very interested in games, especially ones that don't let you make pigeons kiss and get married, but you think today might be a good day for games. You are sure of this despite having already slept through most of it. Because of that really.

----------

TS: Shouldn't you be doing something

Oh yes. You have so much to do.

You were going to play this game with your friends. You've got to get hold of everyone and find out what they're doing. You have been planning this for so long and you're already late to the party. You wonder if anyone else has started playing. Maybe you should check your phone for any messages.

You try to get your phone from your desk, but you don't want to disturb poor sweet Alaska. You look into those lovely big eyes. Feel the warm body holding you in place. You're just so...sleepy.

A young woman wakes up in a bright yellow room.

----------

EW: Set the Fire and Let It...Burnnnnn

You have laid your grand old laptop out on on a tray and surrounded it with kindling. It deserves this. You push it out to into the waters of the pool and throw a lighter. The fire springs to life.

You watch it's funeral pyre grow, Dalek and Budgie at your side. Faintly you hear a voice, crackling as if through tiny speakers but definitely there; "Thank you for taking good care of me until now...I was...Really happy."

You shed some more tears at the loss of your friend. May it forever torrent in the halls of its fathers.

You decide to go upstairs and use the mac up there to try and get hold of Jamie. You kind of wonder what effect a burning laptop will have on a pool. You're sure it will be fine. Probably.

----------

DF: Use Pre-Punched Card on Punch Designix

You do this but of course it does nothing. You have no Cruxite to carve. You feel a right fool for even attempting this course of action. Why you are so ashamed you could just...carry on with the game. Who has time for self-depreciation when you can see two huge meteors in the sky heading for you.

  • DF: Any ideas with the tape?
  • SB: Nah.
  • SB: What could I even do? I could find one online but there 2 hour shipping isn't a thing. We have got barely any time left.
  • SB: How are you going?
  • DF: Fine I guess. Ellie pretty much destroyed everything.
  • SB: I saw.
  • DF: But I've got everything I need to make my item.
  • DF: So that's good.
  • SB: You should use your computer to fix the roof and move everything up here.
  • DF: ...
  • DF: That is genius.
  • DF: I'm going to go do that.

You go do that.

----------

DF: Admire Handiwork

  • DF: See.
  • DF: That's how it's done.
  • SB: Thanks for not breaking more of our house.
  • DF: I don't understand how she messed this up so bad
  • SB: Yes well...
  • SB: The controls were awkward.
  • DF: Did you mess up Will's place?
  • SB: ...Shouldn't you be making your item?
  • DF: Oh...
  • DF: Right. Yeah. Gotta open the Cruxtruder hey.
  • SB: It's not easy.
  • DF: Yeah. I have a plan.

You hurry downstairs to your room. You have got just the item ready.

You grab your trust Crowbar off your shelf. You've never actually used it as a crowbar, it purely exists in your room as a reference to one of your favorite games. Still it is real and heavy enough. You allocate it to your Strife Specibus just in case this gives you some kind of awesome bonus when using it. It's a pretty good weapon anyway.

You captchalogue your plush Penguin as well. You figure you may as well put it in the flashing ball. You can't think of any possible way penguins could be dangerous. You grab your hedgehog plush too because man is it ever adorable. You only have room for one more usable item in your C-Queue. You will never regret getting this Zelda Captchalogue Kit. Even if you can only use three items at a time. That just makes it more awesome. You are sure of it. You fill up the last slot in your queue with your phone. You can never ever ever be without your phone. You wish you had thought of making it into your strife specibus. That would have been awesome.

----------

DF: Pry Hard

You get the trusty crowbar in position and pry like you have never pried before.

After a while Samantha comes over and together you manage to force the lid off. Once again everyone is blinded, this time by purple.

  • SB: Ow.
  • LC: Ooh, shiny
  • BW: Soo pretty...
  • DF: Ow.

You admire the flashing ball of epilepsy. You have the greatest plan. You've been planning it ever since you saw Samantha combine her ball with the Claydol. You are going to make an adorable Penguin Friend. It is going to be the greatest thing ever.

Taking aim at the ball you call out the C button you are pretty sure you assigned to the Penguin. A fluffy hedgehog clutching a strawberry flies its way into the ball and in another flash you see the hedgehog before you, twitching its nose just because it can. You instantly forget all regrets at getting the wrong button and not sending the penguin. This is clearly superior.

HedgeSprite

Behind you Leah faints at how adorable it is. She does so adorably.

----------

SB: You really should have worked this out already

Dan Extrudes the Cruxite from the Cruxtruder. You pause in your fanning of Leah's face (you've seen it done in the movies though you aren't really sure why it is necessary) to admire how stupid the sentence you just thought was. Altogether too much silliness in this game and it's barely even started.

You watch him wander over to the Totem Lathe and get the cruxite carved. There has got to be an easier way to do all this ridiculous stuff. Some way to consolidate the machines. You feed the gamboling hedgehog a cookie from your claydol. The cookies involve a lot more dark chocolate, chilli and other rich sinful things now that the claydol is mixed with Sauron. You really do hope prototyping the Lord of the rings doesn't come back to bite you. Maybe you should read the books to get an idea...

Dan is finally ready to make his special item. You really hope it is something more useful then a beta tape. You don't want to get crushed by a meteor before you've had a chance to really explore this games potential. You feel like it has a lot of potential.

  • SB: Hurry up already, we've only got like twenty minutes
  • DF: I'm doing it!
  • DF: See, look how I do it.

He puts the carved totem on the platform. With a poof of light there lies the answer to Samantha's riddle. A small old Cathode Ray Television with a built in Tape player.

  • SB: That better be beta

----------

SB: Play tape

  • SB: I really should have guessed that.
  • DF: Yeah...
  • SB: So...I guess we were meant to enter together?
  • DF: Seems like.
  • SB: Would you like to do the honours or should-
  • LC: Guys. 10 minutes. Cutting it a bit fine?
  • DF: Oh, you woke up. Awesome.
  • SB: She's right, we should probably hurry.

Dan turns on the TV and you push the tape into a slot, a motion that brings a tear of nostalgia to your eye. Immediately the grinning face of Goku appears on the screen. You exchange looks with Dan.

  • "Hi kids! Today we're going to teach you how to do a very powerful technique!"
  • "Here to assist me is my good friend Piccolo! Say 'Hi' to the kids Piccolo"
  • "Hi Kids! Today we are learning the move was used to great effect in our battle against Super Buu"
  • "That's right kids! Today we are learning the..."
  • "Fusion Ha!"
  • For reference
  • "First you do this, watch the arm and the angle!"
  • "Fu"
  • "With your arms away from each other you get closer. Take about 3 steps like this."
  • "Sion"
  • "And whip your arms around like this! Be careful with your leg angles"
  • "Finally point your fingers parallel, like this!"
  • "Ha!"
  • "And that's how you do it! Play the tape again to try it along with us!"

You and Dan stare at the screen with open mouths.

Becbec helpfully rewinds the tape.

----------

SB & DF: Dance

  • SB: You don't think-
  • DF: It can't mean-
  • BW: It totally does.
  • LC: Absolutely.
  • BW: This is going to be so adorable.
  • LC: I can't wait.
  • SB: This is so ridiculous.
  • SB: William just had to drink some coffee!
  • DF: Do we really have to?
  • SB: Probably.
  • DF: Damn.
  • DF: We should hurry then.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • LC: <Have you got the camera ready Becbec?>
  • BW: <Of course>
  • DF: What?
  • LC: Nothing.
  • BW: Nothing.

Blushing furiously in spite of the imminent rocks of death, you start the tape playing again. Together you extend your arms in time with Goku and Piccolo. Together you form the fruity dance poses and yell the requisite phrase. Together you touch fingertips to the backdrop of two meteors filling the sky.

Samantha and Dan: Enter

Everything goes Yellow. Then Purple. Then back. Flickering between the two in a blinding transition away, you hope, from danger. When the technicolour display fades and you regain your sight you will have new challenges to face.

----------

On a Purple Moon

  • Sitting on a purple throne
  • In a purple room
  • Within a purple palace
  • On a purple Moon
  • A dark figure changes
  • New powers, gained
  • A plan, formed
  • The Archagent, instructed
  • Minions, sent forth
  • The War, began.

----------

SB: Be dazzled

Your vision finally clears and you open your eyes to see a world filled with light. Your house now rests on a sloping hill of white grass surrounded by great circles like mirrors filled with light. Beams of light bounce from circle to circle on and on until the whole world is lit and glowing. Everything seems to be made of light. The place feels radiant to you. You have hardly seen a place more beautiful.

  • BW: Wow
  • DF: Wow
  • LC: Gosh

You simply stare and drink it in. You spot a discord, several imps creeping through the grass towards your house, ugly black specs disturbing the radiance of your world. You will have to deal with them.

----------

WM: Wake Up

You open your eyes to a room of bright gold. Soft light filters in from a window in the corner. The room is safe and warm and somehow familiar. You get up and find that you are wearing clothes you do not recognise. Bright yellow pyjamas bearing a picture of a crescent moon. Not something you would have picked for yourself and yet somehow it feels like the right thing to wear.

On further inspection you see the room is a close replica of your own back home, albeit with a colourful new theme. You try to remember what was happening before you woke up but it somehow doesn't seem very pressing right now. You glide over to the window and look outside.

Spread out before you is a vast city of bright yellow gothic architecture. You can't help laughing at the strange combination. When you look up you can see a vast blue sphere in the otherwise empty black sky. Below your tower is small moon attached to a large planet seemingly made of more yellow buildings. The moon gently orbits the planet, heading now towards the blue sphere. A short distance away you can see a small bulb like room resting atop a tower, it looks identical to your own tower room. You feel like Rapunzel looking down from her tower.

You climb through the window and fly towards the identical window in the other building. It is only when you are halfway there that it really dawns on you that you are flying but by then it is too late, you are already lost in the joy of it.

----------

WM: Investigate other tower

You glide effortlessly through the window and land in what you immediately recognise as Samantha's room. On inspection you see that Samantha is asleep right now in her bed. She looks really tuckered out. Something about her presence here bothers you. Your memory feels hazy but you are sure she was doing something important. Feeling uneasy you decide not to disturb her and instead fly over to one of the other similar towers you spied on your way to this one.

The pleasure of flight smothers the worrisome memories that have been trying gain a foothold in your hazy mind. Once again fly through the window of the tower to see who lies inside. This time however you fly face first into one of your good friends.

  • TS: Whoa what?
  • WM: Whoa, hey.
  • TS: Owwwww
  • WM: Sorry about that.
  • WM: I kind of thought everyone was sleeping.
  • TS: Bluhhh don't be silly.
  • TS: Why would everyone be sleeping.
  • WM: Well...Samantha was.
  • TS: I know Samantha is a trendy mctrendstarter but you surely didn't expect all of us to be sleep.
  • WM: I don't know...
  • WM: I'm not really thinking very clearly here. Wherever here is.
  • TS: Yeah. It all kind of fades up here.
  • WM: Where are we?
  • TS: On Prospit. Duh.
  • WM: What's Prospit?
  • TS: Didn't you talk to your sprite yet? You have entered right.
  • WM: I...uhm, I think so. It's so hard to remember.
  • WM: I think there was something really awesome. Then I woke up here.
  • TS: Mannnn. Talk about behind the times.
  • TS: You see the flashy towers down there on the planet of Prospit?
  • WM: Yeah...
  • WM: Only a couple are flashing though.
  • TS: Yeah they're for everyone that's entered.
  • WM: So...two people have entered?
  • TS: At least two yes.
  • TS: There's another planet way out there in the dark.
  • WM: Another?
  • TS: Yeah. It belongs to the rival kingdom.
  • TS: It's called Derse.
  • WM: This is all in the game world then?
  • TS: Yep!
  • WM: Ohkay cool.
  • TS: Mannn, you should probably wake up soon. Your Sprite will know way more than I do.
  • WM: How do you know so much?
  • TS: Oh I've been waking up here for years. Samantha too though she's asleep now.
  • WM: Whoa. You haven't even played the game yet.
  • TS: Yeah but the game world has always existed. Playing the game was really just a formality.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: This is all too hard to think about now.
  • TS: Hehe.
  • TS: Why don't we see if anyone else has woken up?
  • TS: Come with me

----------

JB: Wake Up

You open your eyes to room of bright gold. Soft light filters in from a window in the corner. The room is safe and warm and somehow familiar. You get up and find you are wearing clothes you do not recognise. Bright yellow pyjamas bearing a picture of a crescent moon. Not something you would have picked for yourself and yet somehow are the right thing to wear.

You...get a sense of narrative deja vu. Weren't you lying on the floor under a pile of toys? Where did all this yellow come from? You should probably explored you surroundings in great detail or-

  • WM: Hey.
  • TS: Hey!
  • JB: Whoa, hey guys. What are you doing in my room?
  • WM: We picked a tower at random?
  • JB: Tower?
  • TS: You're on Prospit!
  • JB: I'm so confused.
  • WM: Welcome to the club.
  • WM: It's all to do with this game. Apparently it was way more involved then we realised.
  • TS: I realised!
  • WM: Yeah. Thanks for the heads up on that.
  • TS: XB
  • WM: What have you been doing all day?
  • JB: I think I got knocked out.
  • WM: Jeez, you should probably get going on sPerth.
  • TS: Yeah! And get in touch with Ashby!
  • TS: Lots to do to get us all in the game.
  • JB: In the game?
  • JB: What exactly is going on with all this?
  • WM: Basically we all have meteors heading towards us.
  • WM: Which will kill us if we don't manage to play the game in time.
  • JB: Are you serious.
  • WM: Pretty serious.
  • WM: My memories were hazy but they're starting to come back.
  • WM: We need to get as many people to play as possible.
  • TS: Well...There is a limited number.
  • TS: Six here on Prospit. Probably some on Derse.
  • JB: I have no idea what you guys are talking about.
  • WM: It's fine Dude. I have basically no idea what's happening. I'm pretty sure we both need to wake up soon though.
  • WM: You've got a date with a Meteor and I should probably try and help someone else enter the game on my end.
  • TS: I don't think that's right...
  • TS: But maybe it is.
  • TS: It'll be a shame if you leave early though.
  • TS: You'll miss the eclipse.
  • JB: Eclipse?
  • TS: The moon brushes the clouds of Skaia.
  • TS: You can see the future.
  • WM: I have no idea if you are kidding or not.
  • JB: I don't want to throw a spanner in these plans and all, but how do we wake up?
  • WM: Huh...
  • WM: What do you do Tamara?
  • TS: I don't knowwwww
  • TS: I just wake up.
  • WM: Wow so helpful.
  • TS: Jeeeez Soooorry.
  • WM: Jeeeeez
  • TS: Jeeeeeeeeeeeez
  • JB: Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez
  • WM: This is ridiculous.

----------

TS: Always helping white kids out of jams

The three of you are sitting comfortably in a triangle on Jamie's bed. The warm sheets, soft light and pyjamas are making you pretty drowsy.

  • TS: I could probably wake you up Jamie
  • TS: When I wake up
  • WM: What about me?
  • TS: You've already entered
  • TS: You'd be out of my reach
  • JB: How am I in your reach
  • TS: Shenanigans!
  • WM: *rolls eyes*
  • JB: Did you just say 'rolls eyes'?
  • WM: Yes. Don't question it man.
  • TS: But I don't wanna wake up :(
  • TS: I finally got to hang out with people other than Samantha while here.
  • WM: We'll probably get to soon though. You're always falling asleep and once you guys enter we'll probably have plenty of time to stuff around.
  • TS: Aww, you're all grouchy now that you've remembered the imminent danger we are all in.
  • WM: Yeah...well meteors are a pretty good wake up call.
  • TS: And yet we are still asleep.
  • WM: True...True. Damn
  • TS: It's okay though.
  • TS: I'm pretty sure it all works out.
  • JB: Well now that's reassuring.
  • WM: While we aren't awake, I should probably let you guys know something.
  • WM: It's pretty important.
  • WM: When you start playing and you get the flashy ball thing.
  • WM: I'm pretty sure if you don't want to fight really powerful monsters you have to-

You fall asleep. By which of course I mean you wake up, missing William's final words. You give your dear sweet Alaska the message and send him on his way. He will make sure Jamie wakes up. You are saving all the lives today. All of them. You hope William is going to be fine on the moon, but you've got more important things to worry about now. You've been asleep for too long.

----------

WM: That's quite enough socialising

You kind of disagree. You wish you could talk to your friends more. But Tamara fell asleep and Jamie did the same moments later. You guess Tamara managed to wake him up somehow. She's been mysterious as long as you've known her, but you never really considered the possibility she might actually be mysterious for a reason. You figured she was just a cool lady with crazy stories. You decide to carry her sleeping body back to her tower. It seemed odd just to leave her in Jamie's room.

Good friend deposited, you fly around the remaining two towers to check out your friends. You are delighted to find Ellie there but decide against being a creepy vampire and watching her sleep. Dan isn't among the sleepers. You guess he's on the other planet. No one else is awake now and, despite being quite lonely, you don't think you should disturb them. They have a busy day ahead of them.

You toy with the idea of flying down from the towers and mingling among the friendly looking people wandering all over the surface of the moon and the planet below. They look so funny with their shiny white carapaces and yellow finery. Like living chess pieces. Looking closer you can see they have started to don outfits that reflected your hippo and Sam's Claydol and even what appears to be a hedgehog. A flaming red eye here, a couple of quills there, even a thoroughly adorable pair of hippo ears. No red hair or pirate swords though, so you guess it doesn't count what you do after you enter.

Your wandering takes you back to your own tower and you take up position on the roof, spacing out and looking up at Skaia as it looms ever closer. You stare at the clouds that flow across the surface of Skaia and they seem to twist into shapes and scenes. You see yourself sleeping with Shankipposprite fighting away imps. You see Samantha and Dan walking out together into a land of light. You watch as a dark figure approaches two girls enjoying a marathon. Before your eyes close you see an underground carpark with lava flowing between the pillars, an inexorable rising tide of fire. Dark figures are silhouetted against it but you can't make out what they are doing.

You wake up.

----------

JB: Wake up

Water splashes into your face and you open your eyes to a flash of bright green and the majestic face of the dragonzord. This makes you more happy than is really decent. You get up and captchalogue all your cool toys to your Inventory Sylladex. This is a hopelessly practical sylladex with near to no limitations on space or accessibility. Your friends are all very jealous of its simplicity, but you secretly envy the shenanigans they go through with theirs.

While you are at it you decide to allocate your Keyblade to your Keykind Strife Specibus. Your many years training in whatever took your fancy at the time has left you with a lot of different Strife Specibi in your Strife Portfolio. In addition to keykind you have Staffkind, Fistkind and of course Jugglekind. You never really thought these would have any practical real world uses, but judging by the dream you just had you have to be ready for a fight. You wish you could have heard the rest of William's warning.

You should probably make sure to install your copy of the game. At Samantha's urging you bought a copy of the game while it was still in beta but you hadn't bothered to install it yet. You had really only done it to make her happy. It seems she had good reasons to be insistent.

When you get to your computer you notice your friends have been trying to get hold of you while you were unconscious. You answer the most recent attempt.

  • EW: Hey.
  • EW: Heyyyyyyyyy
  • EW: Dammit where the hell are you.
  • EW: Things are getting pretty serious here
  • JB: Yeah, I heard.
  • EW: Oh NOW you're here. Where have you been?
  • JB: Unconscious.
  • EW: ...
  • EW: Any other day I would assume you were joking.
  • EW: What happened?
  • JB: I knocked a shelf full of toys onto my head.
  • EW: Scratch that I would totally believe that if you told me on a normal day.
  • EW: It is very you.
  • EW: Hoisted on your own pile of toys.
  • JB: Hehe.
  • EW: Anyways. You have to install this game.
  • EW: sPerth.
  • EW: Lives depend on it it seems.
  • EW: Mine specifically.
  • JB: Yeah I'm doing it.
  • JB: Will told me about it.
  • EW: Wait how did you talk to William when you were unconscious?
  • JB: I don't really know.
  • JB: We were on some kind of yellow moon thing. Tamara was there as well.
  • EW: Aw man, that sounds cool.
  • JB: It was pretty awesome. You can fly there!
  • EW: !!!
  • JB: Yeah!
  • JB: Anyway, we should probably set up this game, hey?
  • EW: Yeah. Lets do this. I hope you are better at it than me.

----------

JB: Uneventfully install machines for Ellie

You place all the machines down in Ellie's lounge with no incidents. An experienced gamer like you would have no trou-

  • EW: MY TV!

Only minor trou-

  • EW: MY COUCH!

Few issues in the grand scheme of things. When you look at the big picture. And ignore all the things you broke.

  • EW: I guess I did deserve that.
  • JB: Sorry
  • EW: It's okay. The meteor would have destroyed them and more anyway.
  • JB: Yeah.
  • JB: These controls are so awkward
  • EW: Oh good it's not just me.
  • EW: Dan seems to have no troubles I thought it was just because I'm bad at games.
  • JB: So I've put all these big metal things in your lounge. What happens now?
  • EW: Dan busted open the Cruxy thingy with a crowbar and Samantha's help.
  • EW: Guess I open that? Then we put stuff in the ball that comes out?
  • EW: That seems to be the go. Can you bust it open?
  • JB: Alright, sweet. I will do that then.

You raise an armchair high into the air and drop it on the Cruxtruder. Busting the lid like it was a rhyme that had it coming.

----------

Dusky: accept oblivion

You fail to accept oblivion because you are a bird. A cute little budgie in fact who just finished playing with her lively Dalek friend. You, as a budgie, are absolutely sure that you are very good friends despite not having the concept of friendship or Daleks in your fluffy bird mind. You mostly like the fact that the Dalek is Shiny. You put a lot of store in things that are shiny.

Right now you are very sad. You were looking at the lovely shiny reflection of yourself in this sudden hard wall thing when the light went all dark and the shiny stopped shining. You cannot fathom how such a terrible thing could happen. You certainly can't imagine a large couch being carelessly dropped on the hard wall, nor the idea of where it would inevitably fall.

You stop being Dusky because Dusky has gone on to shinier things.

You are now Ellie and you are very sad.

----------

EW: T_T

  • JB: Oh god.
  • JB: Oh god I'm so sorry.
  • JB: I didn't see it there.
  • JB: Are you okay?
  • EW: O_O
  • EW: Budgie?
  • EW: :(

You have lost one too many dear comrades today. You will not lose another. Remembering how the floating ball of light gave life to the inanimate toys of your friends you take the logical next step. Crying, you lift dear sweet Dusky into the flashing ball that emerged from the cruxtruder. The green ball welcomes it and transforms into a green version of your budgie. You smile and scritch its head. It chirrups adorably. You thank the creator for allowing your pet to come back.

BudgieSprite
  • JB: Can you do that?
  • JB: That seems kind of huge.
  • JB: What does the flashing ball do?

Artwork by number11train

----------

EW: Explain

  • EW: We're not even really sure.
  • EW: When you put something in them it transforms into that.
  • EW: Or an approximation of that anyway.
  • EW: I don't really know what their function is.
  • EW: According to Samantha, Will's turned into a Hippo and then a pirate which acted to defend him once he entered the world.
  • EW: Samantha's looks like a mix of that Pokemon she's obsessed with and Sauron.
  • EW: Dan has a hedgehog.
  • JB: That sounds amazing
  • EW: It's pretty adorable.
  • EW: The monsters they are fighting seem to have taken on some of those aspects.
  • EW: So I guess it affects monsters too?
  • JB: Oh man.
  • JB: I just had the greatest idea ever.
  • EW: Is it going to be incredibly dorky?
  • JB: I...
  • JB: Yeah..
  • EW: Thought so.
  • EW: Anyway yeah. That's what these do. Possibly they have more functions we haven't discovered yet.
  • EW: It looks like Samantha's is talking to her so maybe you can communicate with them.
  • JB: How many times can you mix it with something?
  • EW: Two I guess. We've only done it twice.
  • JB: We should try doing it a couple more times.
  • EW: For Science?
  • JB: For Science!

----------

JB: Prototype

  • EW: So what should we combine it with?
  • BS: Chirp Chirp
  • EW: Nawwww
  • JB: Ooh!
  • JB:I have an idea.

You select the remote control dalek and throw it towards the hovering Birdsprite. You can't think of any good reason this would be a terrible idea.

BirDalekSprite
  • EW: Oh my god.
  • JB: So awesome.
  • EW: Did I not just say that what we do affects the enemies we fight?
  • JB: Oh...right.
  • JB: Oops.
  • EW: Oh well. This can't be worse than Samantha letting Sauron happen.
  • EW: And I am kind of squeeing a lot under all this tension
  • EW: Hee look at it waggle it's plunger.
  • EW: Poor thing has never had to deal with arms before
  • BDS: EXCHIRPINATE
  • JB: Ohmygod
  • EW: DAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
  • EW: I take it back this is wonderfully adorable.
  • JB: This is so good.
  • JB: I can't wait to put things in mine!
  • EW: Let me find a cracker for it.
  • EW: Do you want a cracker Dusky?
  • EW: Yes you do.
  • JB: We should see if we can change it with a third. What else do you have that is amazingly adorable?
  • JB: We should probably hurry as well, that timer is ticking
  • EW: Yeah...true. Then we can start playing and I can see William.
Artwork by number11train

----------

JB: Prototype again

Searching the room you settle on a figurine of Legolas. Surely this would make an even more hilarious and adorable prototyping. You hurl him towards Birdaleksprite but he slides neatly out of the way. You try again and this time Birdaleksprite blasts the tiny elf neatly out of the air. You repeat the process with various items from around Ellie's house but have no success.

  • EW: Yeah you should probably stop trying
  • EW: I think it reached capacity.
  • JB: But wait let me just
  • EW: Hey! Stop destroying my things!
  • JB: Sorry.
  • JB: Guess two is the max.
  • EW: Like I said. If it makes you feel any better I will ask my lovely sprite when it gains the ability to speak.
  • BDS: Excrackernate <3!
  • JB: What makes you think it'll learn how to speak?
  • EW: Samantha was talking to hers.
  • EW: I figure it probably happens when we enter the game world properly.
  • JB: That makes sense yeah.
  • JB: They probably act as a sort of guide.
  • EW: So long as it doesn't yell Hey! all the time.
  • JB: That probably won't happen.
  • JB: This isn't the friendliest game though...
  • EW: Yeah.
  • EW: Speaking of...
  • JB: Right!
  • JB: Let's get you playing.
  • JB: The prepunched card is on your table.

You watch as Ellie scurries around carving totems and ponder the purpose of this game. There seems to be an awful lot of intricacy if its whole purpose is to help a handful of people escape the apocalypse. What of these worlds being created. And the Moon you saw with William and Tamara.

On the screen in front of you you watch as Ellie Creates a large green phone-booth. She knows immediately what she must do. She pulls open the door and steps inside. The house is washed with green as Ellie is transported to safety.

----------

EW: Step through Door

You open the door of your green phone-booth and step through, still glowing with delight at finding a TARDIS in this game. Maybe it will not be so bad after all. When you are through the door you find yourself once again in your lounge, but the light has changed. The neighbourhood, usually visible beyond your windows, has disappeared.

You walk through your front doors and step foot on the soft spongy grass of The Land of Stipple and Verdure. A soft breeze rustles the light canopy of leaves that turns your whole world into a spreading cave of green. Pools of water are gathered here and there in small ponds that each catching the light and turn the clearing around them into a disco of light fit for a party of Elven proportions.

Glory Be to God - Gerard Manley Hopkins

----------

AH: Wake Up

You were already awake in your purple room when we last saw you. Hardly need to wake up twice. You've been waking up in this purple room for years, though you are the only one on this moon who has done so yet. You like to spend your time here sneaking about among the locals, though you always try to avoid the higher ups. They are less adoring and more stabby.

You are lying on your bed and thinking about the game you are about to play when a dark figure appears at your window. It's one of the agents. You remember seeing him about with the others, though thankfully it is the short one who never seemed too dangerous. Courtyard Droll you think? He doesn't look particularly friendly today though.

He is holding a bomb in one hand and a small box in the other. Something about the box suggests you should be more worried about it than the bomb. He looks startled to find you awake. It has begun. You were afraid that the agents would move against you and the other Derse dreamers as soon as the game began. William must have started playing. You wonder who else has entered.

You don't know what their plan is but you really don't want to get blown up. You leap at the Droll as they tries to scurry through the window and kick them through it. The small carapcian is hurled away, dropping the bomb. It does what all good bombs do when dropped from a tower. The wave of heat washes over you. Guess that blows any chance of a secret escape.

From your tower window you can see the rooms of the other sleepers. Dark figures are visible clambering up some of the towers. They really are moving against you now. Are they just planning to kill you all and get it over with? What even happens when your dream self dies?

You hurry to the nearest tower to yours. Dan was still sleeping soundly the last time you checked. You should be able to grab him and get away. There is nothing you can do right now for the others. You glide into his room and shake him. He seems to stir a little in his sleep. Encouraged you give him a thorough drubbing. You can see him starting to wake up. You can't see the figure looming behind you.

----------

DF: Wake Up

You are stepping out into the bright world with Samantha when everything starts to go dark and...purple? You try to shake it off, to focus on the monsters coming towards you but the urge is too powerful. You fall asleep. Samantha rolls her eyes.

You wake up hazily. It was too early to wake properly. You make out a purple figure kneeling above you. Is that...is that Ashby? You smile and reach out to him. The young man coughs and grins weakly.

  • AH: Sorry man.
  • AH: I wasn't fast enough.

Your vision clears and you can see your friend clearly. He is crouching over you in purple pyjamas adorned with a moon. Through the centre of the moon, in a growing patch of red, is the dark blade of a large knife. Standing above him and grinning is a tall black carapacian. You scramble away as he pulls the blade out of your friend and nudges the body aside. The machete is swapped for a butterfly knife and the figure moves closer.

There is no escape. The blade flashes out. The boy collapses.

----------

Jack Noir: Admire Handiwork

You wipe the blood from your blade. You weren't really supposed to kill the kids. Not yet. She was very particular about that. Still. What were you supposed to do. They were awake and meddling. This sort of thing generates too much paperwork. You feel like a stab first, stab later policy is the best way to deal with the situation.

Radio comes in from your agents. The others were taken without a hitch. Courtyard Droll is still missing but you don't really care. Victory is total.

----------

WM: Wake up

You open your eyes and join the swelling ranks of people who have just woken up. You are back in your room and a tall man with a scarred face and a hippo hat is bending over you, shaking your shoulder. He grins when he sees you are awake and hands you a cup. You swig the powerful rum and try and figure out where the heck it came from.

  • WM: Shanks?
  • SHS: Shankhipposprite.
  • WM: Shankhipposprite, what are you?
  • SHS: I am your guide on this grand adventure. Your mentor as you step forth on your journey to claim the ultimate prize.
  • WM: Man.
  • WM: I am getting deja vu of the most awesome kind.

The pirate simply grins and swigs the rum. You get up and head out to the balcony of your room.

  • WM: What is this place?
  • SHS: Welcome to the Land of Frogs and Asphalt.
  • WM: Asphalt I get, but why frogs?
  • SHS: There aren't so many up this high. Trusts me though, this place is nasty with frogs.
  • WM: That is the weirdest thing. But kind of cool I guess. Frogs are pretty cool.
  • SHS: It's all part of the adventure.
  • WM: That's kind of what I mean.
  • WM: So you're like my guide thing?
  • SHS: Aye!
  • WM: And protector?
  • SHS: I only fought for you while you were unable to defend yourself.
  • SHS: You must learn to fight your own battles William.
  • SHS: If you want to surpass me.
  • WM: Yeah, I kind of figured it would be something like that.
  • WM: So I need to go help all my friends start playing.
  • WM: What happens after I've done that?
  • SHS: You've got to explore!
  • SHS: Uncover your world's secrets and realise your true potential as the Page of Space.
  • WM: What the hell is that.
  • SHS: You will find out.

With that the pirate winked and jumped off the balcony. You grin back. You can't stay mad at Shanks-Oops. Shankhipposprite. You wonder where he is going now. Probably off to do some kind of awesome pirate thing. That's what pirates do. Still, you've delayed enough. It is time to start helping people enter the game. You head back to your computer.

----------

WM: Log in

You plop down at your computer and wake it up. Seems odd with so much adventure in the air for you to be back at your desk, but you guess you shouldn't be surprised. It is rather your MO. The computer wakes up easily and you go to select the sPerth icon.

Before you even have a chance to double click the screens go black and text appears.

  • Ha.
  • hA.
  • HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
  • hAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhA
  • ThE HEIR iS iN cHaRgE nOw!
  • i HOPE YoU hAvE a NiCe DaY!
  • HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
  • hAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhA
  • hA.
  • Ha.
Derse Lockout

The text fades to be replaced a Purples sign. Nothing you do with your mouse or keyboard seems to help. You restart the computer but the message comes up the same. With a minor addendum.

  • ***Do NoT dO tHaT. wE hAsSs ThE sIgNaL***

Perplexed you message Samantha from your phone.

  • WM: Yo! Are you seeing this?
  • SB: What?
  • WM: My computer.
  • WM: Something has locked me out of it!
  • WM: Says it belongs to Derse now
  • SB: Huh...so they've made their move.
  • WM: Wait I remember.
  • WM: Tamara mentioned them when I was asleep.
  • WM: That's the enemy right?
  • SB: I think it's more complicated than that but basically.
  • SB: So you've woken up?
  • WM: Yeah. I hear you've been waking up for years.
  • WM: Why didn't you tell me?
  • SB: You didn't ask.
  • WM: How would I even begin to know to ask that?
  • SB: ...
  • WM: Jeez.
  • WM: Anyway is this happening with your computers?
  • SB: Don't know. I'm nowhere near my computer at the moment.
  • SB: And I can't check because Dan is having some freak out.
  • SB: I should probably actually check on him.
  • SB: If you can't access your PC maybe you should start exploring. Find out if those machines I deployed do anything else. I've been wondering.
  • WM: Kay. I'll message around and check what's happening with others then do that.

Well that was no damn help. You see if you can find someone more helpful than Samantha. Tamara's on, perfect, she's almost never cryptic. Except all the time of course.

  • WM: Hey Tamara long time no see.
  • TS: Hehe.
  • WM: Woke up alright I take it.
  • TS: Yep! Woke Jamie up too.
  • WM: How did you manage that by the way?
  • TS: Alaska did it!
  • WM: ...
  • WM: I knew this would happen.
  • TS: :?
  • WM: Don't worry. Is your computer doing something weird?
  • TS: Yes! It says it belongs to Derse now.
  • TS: And this text is not being very friendly about it.
  • WM: Huh, damn. That's at least two of us.
  • TS: That's not all that's weird!
  • WM: What?
  • TS: Someone's deploying these huge machines in my yard!
  • WM: Huh...
  • WM: You connected to your server?
  • TS: Nope.
  • TS: They just started appearing. I haven't been able to get at my computer so I haven't been able to connect myself.
  • WM: Weird.
  • WM: I mean, that's good I guess. We need to get you and everyone else we can entered.
  • WM: But who the hell is controlling all this?
  • WM: If Derse is against us, surely they don't want us to enter?
  • TS: I dunno :P
  • TS: I think they're done so I guess I'll start opening all the devices.
  • WM: Yeah, do that. I'll see what other people are doing.
  • TS: Bye!

Curiouser and Curiouser.

  • WM: Hey Jamie!
  • JB: Yo.
  • JB: Long time no see.
  • WM: hehe.
  • JB: What's up man?
  • WM: Anything odd going on with your computer?
  • JB: Yeah!
  • JB: And my house is full of machines!
  • WM: Ah, so it is happening with everyone.
  • JB: What, really?
  • WM: Well it's happening to you me and Tamara so I'm just going to assume as such.
  • WM: Though of course my machines were already deployed.
  • WM: I think someone is trying to get us all to enter in a hurry
  • WM: Which we were going to do anyway.
  • WM: So kind of a stupid set up.
  • JB: Yeah.
  • JB: I've heard of better master plans
  • JB: So who's connecting with me?
  • WM: No idea. Tamara's computer maybe? Or someone else.
  • WM: The biggest problem is now we have no control over who is playing and what they prototype and all that.
  • WM: Have you guys at least been sticking to prototyping undangerous things like I tried to warn you?
  • JB: ...
  • JB: ...
  • WM: What happened?
  • JB: We prototyped Ellie's Dalek.
  • WM: Jesus that is just about the worst possible thing you could do.
  • JB: ...
  • WM: Oh god what next?
  • JB: Well...I've already opened my machine. I mean, why wait.
  • WM: And?
  • JB: And well I didn't hear your warning because I woke up.
  • WM: What did you do?
  • JB: I prototyped the Dragonzord.
  • WM: ...
  • JB: In my defense it is incredibly awesome.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: ...
  • WM: ...
  • JB: Say something!
  • WM: Well...
  • WM: I guess no one told us the apocalypse would be easy.
  • WM: I suppose it's inevitable that we would ruin our shit this bad.
  • JB: Sorry man. But it was there.
  • WM: That's okay. I understand.
  • WM: Do Dragonzords have any particularly weaknesses I should know about?
  • WM: Since I'm probably going to be fighting one soon.
  • JB: Ummm...Giant monsters occasionally work.
  • WM: Awesome.
  • WM: I'll just make myself giant then.
  • WM: I am so screwed.
  • WM: Did you know my Strife Specibus is a Ballkind?
  • JB: Oh man.
  • JB: I'm sure we'll manage though.
  • WM: Yeah.
  • WM: I better start level grinding before you enter.
  • WM: And I guess learn how to dodge death beams.
  • WM: Freaking Daleks.

----------

SB: What's that crazy kid up to now?

You watch as your friend freaks out. You're not really sure what to make of it. A few minutes ago he collapsed and then woke up yelling and clutching his throat. He sure picked a poor time for it. You only barely overcame the three monsters that attacked while he was collapsed. Mutant blends of hovering clay hedgehogs with fiery eyes and hippo jaws are surprisingly hard to kill. Fortunately you wield an Edge Trimmer as your weapon of choice. The rotating blades seem to be pretty effective, even against clay. The blades are starting to get blunt though. You hope there is a way to get upgrades or you might be in real trouble.

Dan doesn't look like he'll stop anytime soon; so you think its time to take matters into your own hands. By which you of course mean slap him sensible. You pull his hand away, slap him, then shake him until his eyes refocus on yours.

  • DF: What just happened?
  • SB: You tell me.
  • SB: You were the one who freaked out on me and had a fit.
  • DF: Sorry.
  • DF: Someone slit my throat.
  • SB: ...
  • DF: Well...I guess not this throat.
  • DF: But I was somewhere else. Ashby was there!
  • DF: And...
  • DF: OH GOD ASHBY

You slap him again just in case.

  • DF: Sorry.
  • SB: What happened to Ashby?
  • DF: He was stabbed through the chest.
  • DF: By some black shelled guy.
  • DF: Then the guy cut my throat with a Butterfly Knife.
  • SB: Hang on.
  • SB: All these blades.
  • SB: Was the area you were in all purple and stuff?
  • DF: Yeah!
  • DF: How did you know?
  • SB: You just woke up on Derse.
  • SB: And...I guess your dream self died.
  • SB: Sounds like he was killed by the Archagent himself.
  • SB: Sorry.
  • SB: I wasn't sure if that could happen.
  • DF: My dream self?
  • SB: All of us players have a dream body which, if we have woken up there, will wake up when we go to sleep.
  • DF: That made no sense.
  • SB: Basically you would have woken up on that moon every time you fell asleep from now on, if your dream self hadn't just been killed.
  • SB: Now...I'm not sure.
  • DF: Have you been there? To the..uhm, moon?
  • SB: Yes, kind of.
  • SB: I've been waking up for years on a different moon.
  • SB: Prospit.
  • SB: It's lovely.
  • DF: Whoa! Years?
  • DF: Why'd you never tell me?
  • SB: Would you believe me?
  • DF: No. Guess not.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • DF: I would struggle to believe you even now, but this game has a way of challenging what you think is possible.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • SB: Speaking of, we should get going.
  • SB: If Derse is killing it's sleepers, and apparently taking over our computers according to William, I think we should get back and check on Leah and Becbec.
  • SB: I'm worried they'll be attacked.
  • DF: Oh no! They'll be defenseless!
  • SB: Yeah. They never notice anything when they are watching a marathon.
  • DF: Why would they even continue a marathon when all this amazing stuff is happening around us?
  • SB: Dedication I guess.
  • SB: They're crazy people as well you know.
  • DF: Hehe. Yeah.

----------

DF: What's that sound?

You are just starting to recover from the shock of being stabbed to death when you hear a scream in the distance. This does nothing for your nerves.

  • SB: You heard that?
  • DF: Yep.
  • SB: Dammit.
  • SB: Let's get home fast.

You try and control your panic. You're pretty sure you recognised the voice that screamed, but you really hope you are wrong. A few low level imps with only minor mutations try to stand in your way but the two of you make short work of them. You've got no time for their nonsense now. Your friends are in danger.

You round a hill and your home comes into view. Beloved Twyford Place. It looks just like it did when you left it, with a ridiculous crown of machines. On a further hill you can see Saroundolsprite and Hedgesprite also hurrying home. You had sent them out scouting when you left. They must have heard the scream and hurried back to help.

The only external sign of a disturbance in the house is the agape front door. Samantha beats you to the entrance and stops so fast you canon into her. The two of you untangle and stare agape at the carnage in the TV Room.

----------

SB: Sleuth

You turn your well trained eye on the scene. You have become an expert at finding even the smallest and most elusive clue. Many praise your great skill on the internet.

Ah who are you kidding you're no sleuth. You haven't even watched any of the sleuthing shows that your house-mates are obsessed with. You just look at the scene like a normal person.

Your TVs are trashed. As well as most of your consoles. Man. Someone really did a number on your room. It would make you cry but you have already cried all the tears you have for your dear sweet Piano. All of them. You walk into the room to get a better look.

Someone has been decorating. Their chosen colour was red and the source of their ink is painfully apparent. Leah is sprawled in the corner chair, ink flowing freely from her neck. Blood. Blood is what you mean. You stare, you can't help it. Only an hour ago she was happily being extremely adorable. Now...

  • DF: Jesus.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • DF: You weren't kidding about the danger.
  • SB: I wish I was.
  • SB: Fuck. It doesn't even look like she had a chance to defend herself.
  • SB: I didn't actually think they wouldn't notice their attacker at all. How did they get hit so fast?
  • DF: Oh man
  • DF: Oh man oh man
  • SB: What?
  • DF: Where's becbec?
  • SB: Oh Shit.
  • SB: I have no idea.
  • SB: But we have to see if we can help Leah
  • DF: Samantha.
  • DF: She's dead.
  • DF: I don't think there's anything else we can do.
  • SB: Christ.

The Sprites arrive and hang their heads at the destruction. Hedgesprite snuffles over to Leah's body. There is nothing sadder than a crying hedgehog. Saurondolsprite fixes you with a red eye.

  • SDS: I'm sorry
  • SDS: She was my creator
  • SDS: And the owner of part of me for a very long time
  • SDS: She was precious to us

You nod. She was precious to all of us. You eye the writing on the wall with rising fury.

  • The Bard is ours.
  • Don't lose Heart :o)

----------

SB: Ragemourn

You seethe with sadness and sag with rage at the horrible scene in your lounge room. How could such an impossibly huge void have opened up in your life. How did you not see this coming. The clouds told you nothing. They had been so reliable all your life, through good and bad.

  • DF: Hedgesprite. No.
  • SB: What?
  • DF: It probably shouldn't be disturbing her should it?
  • SB: Yeah.
  • SB: I don't know.
  • SB: I've had minimal interaction with dead people.
  • DF: Me either :(

Hedgesprite has snuffled its way over to Leah and is now precariously balanced, trying to lick her face. You probably should stop it but it looks so sad you're not sure you have the heart. Heart. What the hell do those bloody words mean. You can't shake the horrible feeling that it's some kind of pun. On top of everything that really just seems like too great an insult. You punch the absurd grinning red face and the wall cracks around your fist. Tremor's shake the room.

  • DF: Whoa. Dude.
  • SB: Whoa.
  • SB: I knew I leveled out there but damn.

Purple light floods the room. You spin to face the corner.

  • DF: WHOA.
  • SB: HOLY.
LeahSprite
  • LCS: I...
  • LCS: I...
  • LCS: ... am Adorabl...
  • SB: Adorable?
  • LCS: Adorabloodthirsty!
  • LCS: Who the hell killed me?
  • LCS: I'm going to kick their ass for interrupting Shirtless Spike Time!!!

----------

SB: Warn friends

  • WM: Yo Samantha, any word.
  • SB: Derse has moved against us in a big way.
  • SB: They killed Leah and took Becbec who knows where.
  • WM: Jesus! They killed Leah?
  • WM: Oh god.
  • SB: It's okay she became one with the hedgehog and is fine now.
  • WM: I...what?
  • SB: Don't worry. She's a Sprite now.
  • SB: Like your pirate.
  • SB: But part Hedgehog.
  • WM: Whoa, those can bring back the dead?
  • SB: I guess so.
  • SB: She's seem herself.
  • SB: She's currently yelling revenge at the sky because someone broke the TVs and now she can't watch shirtless Spike.
  • SB: Also because they took her marathon buddy away.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: Our friends are weird.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • WM: So what happens now.
  • SB: Well, all computers that I would use to help people enter seem to have been taken over by Derse so...Go adventure, level up, and get ready to take the fight to them.
  • SB: I'm not fond of people killing my friends.
  • WM: Agreed.
  • WM: Hopefully there's a way for me to get to your planet so we can gather for a proper attack.
  • SB: Yeah.
  • SB: I'll warn everyone else.

One down.

  • SB: Hey. Tamara.
  • TS: What?
  • SB: Be careful. Derse is trying to kill everyone.
  • TS: What's new?
  • TS: That's like their MO.
  • SB: Yeah I guess
  • SB: But they're physically attacking and killing people now.
  • SB: Dream selves too.
  • SB: I have reason to believe they've taken out all the sleepers on Derse.
  • SB: They're probably going to come for us soon too.
  • TS: Dream selves can die?
  • SB: Yeah.
  • SB: I think once we enter you should try and go to sleep. We'll need someone on guard.
  • SB: Alaska can protect you while you sleep yeah?
  • TS: Yup <3
  • TS: Good kitty
  • SB: Awesome.
  • SB: Good luck.
  • SB Logged out
  • TS: Wait!
  • TS: What am I supposed to do with all these machines?

Two down.

  • SB: Hey man.
  • SB: You're not a Prospit sleeper right?
  • SB: You're from Derse?
  • AH: I had no idea anyone else knew about that!
  • SB: Yeah. Been waking up there for years.
  • AH: Shit.
  • AH: Did they attack you guys too?
  • SB: Not yet, but I'm sure they will. Prospit is a bit out of their jurisdiction.
  • AH: Yeah.
  • AH: Oh shit.
  • AH: Is Dan okay?
  • AH: I was trying to help him escape.
  • SB: He's alright, a bit freaked.
  • AH: Figures.
  • AH: I don't know what I'm going to do.
  • AH: What happens when I go to sleep now?
  • SB: I don't know.
  • SB: But we've got to be careful.
  • SB: Have your computers been taken over?
  • AH: Yup.
  • SB: Damn.
  • AH: They're deploying machines though.
  • SB: Ah. Good. Use them and I'll see you on the other side.

You message everyone else you can think of but only get Jamie and Ellie. They share their sympathies and delight for Leahsprite, but don't really add anything. You figure it would be a bit wasteful to go over their conversations too.

----------

WM: Explore

Figuring that there's no point sitting around when there's adventuring to do, you head downstairs. You're about to head out the front door to see if there are stairs down the skyscraper when Shankhipposprite stops you.

  • SHS: William!
  • SHS: Are you truly ready to venture forth?
  • WM: Hey man.
  • WM: I guess. I'm not going to get stronger sitting around here and I believe I'm meant to start adventuring.
  • SHS: Yes. It is essential that you go and fulfill your destiny. Find Space on the Page of history.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: Yeah...That.
  • WM: So why are you stopping me?
  • WM: Not that I don't enjoy chatting.
  • SHS: I only wondered if perhaps you were a little under equipped?
  • WM: I guess. But I only have one basketball and it's my only weapon type.
  • WM: Aside from some pretty low level Fistkind I guess.
  • SHS: Ah, but have you considered upgrading your tools?
  • WM: I can upgrade them?
  • WM: Cause that would be seriously handy.
  • WM: Basketball's are pretty useless in the scheme of things.
  • SHS: Absolutely!
  • SHS: What did you think all these machines were for?
  • SHS: And your server has kindly deployed some more so we can really get you kitted out!
  • WM: They have more than one purpose?
  • WM: Okay that was probably obvious, but I didn't even think.
  • WM: Well yeah! What do I do to upgrade my weapons?
  • SHS: I can only show you the tools. You will have to think up the method.
  • WM: ...This cryptic thing. It's going to be pretty constant yeah?
  • SHS: Would you expect anything less from a mentor pirate hippo?
  • WM: Well when you put it like that...

----------

WM: Alchemize

You approach the machines in your lounge and look at Shankhipposprite nonplussed.

  • WM: What do I actually do with these?
  • WM: I have zero idea what their function is.
  • SHS: Well I'm only a pirate guide, but didn't you use all these machines earlier?
  • WM: Ohkay, true. But I had a card to get going with.
  • SHS: Don't you think it's likely they still follow the same principal?

You listen as Shankhipposprite explains the situation to you. The machines Samantha deployed utilize a form of science (you are positively assured that it is most definitely science) to create items from nothing. It is designed to utilize the cards that make up your sylladex, in your case your Jacket sylladex. Every time you store an item on a card it generates a small code on the back. Until now you had completely ignored this feature, it being useful in literally no situations. You guess the game designers decided to exploit the feature? It can't possibly be the other way round because that would require some kind of horribly circuitous origin story for the cards which is of course ridiculous and impossible.

Shankhipposprite informs you that you can create any item by punching a card with the code of that item. Using the Punch Designex that Samantha deployed and a code for something 'really great' that Shankhipposprite gave you, you punch one of the spare cards you had lying around. You then follow the process that got you into this whole mess to begin with. You use the card to have a Cruxite Totem Carved and then get the Alchemiter to scan it.

*Poof*

With a poof of light a bottle of the finest Rum is produced. You can tell it is the finest because it comes in a ceramic jar with three big X's on it. Sure sign of quality. Shankhipposprite swoops in and grabs the jar as 'payment'.

  • WM: I had wondered where you got Rum.
  • WM: How come you have the code?
  • SHS: Remembered it.
  • SHS: Infinitely useful code that one.
  • WM: For Pirates.
  • WM: I don't even like Rum that much
  • SHS: You take that back!
  • WM: Okay you're right sorry.
  • WM: This is actually pretty good.
  • WM: Much better than the swill most people I know drink.
  • SHS: The finest. It comes from my hometown you know.
  • WM: So it's that Rum. Damn. I'm honoured.
  • SHS: Keep the flow coming and you will have earned it.
  • WM: It's a deal Shanks.
  • WM: So...
  • WM: I get how this can be used to make items.
  • WM: But how exactly do I use this to create better weapons?
  • SHS: Combine the codes!
  • WM: What?
  • WM: How?
  • SB: Overlay the cards moron
  • WM: Whoa!
  • WM: Samus! You were listening?
  • SB: We decided to investigate our machines before heading out too.
  • SB: And by 'decided' I of course mean Leah kept prodding us with spikes to make us do it and Saurondol kept whispering in my mind all creepy like.
  • SB: God he is creepy.
  • WM: Well that's what you get for prototyping fucking Sauron.
  • WM: Not to mention combining it with a psychic Pokemon.
  • SB: Sh.
  • SB: Anyway yeah.
  • SB: Dan worked it out with his computer science mad skills.
  • SB: You overlay two punched cards to combine items.
  • SB: Or Double punch them for a different result.
  • SB: It's pretty obvious.
  • SB: Even a goofy kid with dumb glasses could work it out.
  • WM: Hey!
  • SB: :B
  • WM: Okay that's just a weird face coming from you.
  • SB: Yeah...
  • SB: You should mess around and get combining.
  • SB: Oh! And using them costs Grist.
  • WM: Grist?
  • SB: Get with the program Will. The crap you get from killing monsters.
  • WM: Oh right.
  • SB: Yeah it's pretty limiting at this stage but it'll probably get more plentiful the more we kill.
  • WM: Sweet.
  • SB: Oh, and Leah says we're meant to climb up?
  • WM: Up? But I'm on top of a tower already!
  • SB: Yeah I know.
  • SB: Did you notice the weird rings above your house?
  • WM: Oh. Huh, had not noticed those.
  • WM: What about them?
  • SB: Apparently we're meant to go through them in sequence or something to complete our quests.
  • SB: She speaks in riddles now that she's a sprite.
  • SB: It's pretty annoying.
  • WM: Cool. So what, gain the ability to fly or something?
  • SB: Nah.
  • SB: Build our houses up.
  • SB: Can't do anything on it now though cause of Derse taking over the PCs.
  • SB: So I guess...just kill monsters for now?
  • WM: And Combine crap.
  • SB: Alchemize.
  • SB: Try to get the hang of the terminology.
  • WM: :B

----------

WM: Alchemize Harder

You step forward and get going. Bringing your stunning imagination to bear you immediately create a huge stack of Blank Cards. Yes. Most exciting start.

  • SB: Boooring.
  • WM: Shut up.
  • WM: I'm just warming up.
  • SB: Pfft.

You hate to admit it but the golden gal is right. You've got to step up your game!

You decide to try some simple combinations to get going. You combine your Smartphone with Your Solar Powered Watch. You get....

A solar powered phone.

Useful, but not really that helpful in the scheme of things..

You try double punching the cards this time and create a Watch Phone. Perfect portable communications. It's like the 90s exploded all over your wrist.

On a roll now you decide that it's about damn time you got something you could use as a weapon. In flash of inspiration you combine your Basketball and the bottle of Rum. You get...

A round ceramic bottle of Rum. Conveniently it is round enough to qualify for your Ballkind specibus. You guess this could be kind of painful if you smashed it on people. Not very elegant as a weapon though...

You decided to alchemize a bunch anyway. While you're at it you alchemize a bunch of rags.

  • SB: Did you just make Molotov Basketballs?
  • WM: Yep.
  • SB: Jesus.
  • SB: I hope your skyscraper isn't flammable.
  • WM: Huh...good point that.
  • SB: What next?

----------

WM: Alchemize Hardest

You are definitely getting the hang of this, but you're going to need something better than just throwing balls of flaming death around. Your aim was never very good to begin with and you're pretty sure you'd just end up catching yourself in an inferno. Casting around for things that could make a ball deadly you hurry upstairs. Of course! The most dangerous weapon in the universe. It was obvious.

You bring your prize back downstairs and try to create it.

Alas, no dice. While the combination of Final Fantasy X and a Ball does create the most powerful weapon known to man, the Blitzball, sadly you have nowhere near enough Grist for that.

Setting your sights a bit lower you combine your copy of Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace wit your ball.

*Poof*

You create a...Booma!

You guess this will be vaguely handy if you ever fight a Robot. But what are the odds of that, I mean really.

  • WM: dang, this is hard.
  • SB: Your own damn fault for picking ballkind of all things.
  • WM: Like I ever thought it would be relevant
  • WM: What do you have?
  • SB: Edgetrimmerkind
  • WM: Oh come one.
  • WM: That's just rude.
  • WM: Fuck it I'm just gonna make a spikey metal ball.

You combine some nails with a dumbbell and then combine the combination with a ball.

Perfect.

You can barely lift it, but perfect.

  • SB: That is such a dumb weapon.
  • WM: Shh.
  • WM: What would you do?
  • SB: I don't know.
  • SB: Don't you have anything that does real damage?
  • SB: Like an explosive?
  • WM: Holy crap yeah I do!
  • WM: I still have a tonne of sparklers
  • SB: What?

You carefully shave all your sparklers into a tennis ball and then add a string. This is going to go well. While you are at it you alchemize the makeshift bomb with several marbles to get a cluster of cherry bombs. You try one out.

  • SB: Whoa.
  • WM: Yes.
  • WM: These I can work with.
  • SB: No kidding.
  • SB: All done using up your grist?
  • WM: Hold on. I want to upgrade my jacket.
  • SB: To what?
  • WM: We'll see.

----------

WM: Fashion Show

You combine your thick warm leather jacket with your trench coat. You create an stunning leather trench coat with extra pocket space to boot! Definitely going well here. Feeling adventurous you combine the new jacket with your Tattoo You Rolling Stones shirt. Your Jacket now has a funky Black and White pattern. Awesome.

No adventure would be complete without a good soundtrack so you alchemize your ipod with your speakers. You create a boom box with a built in ipod interface.

  • SB: Isn't that a bit unwieldy?
  • WM: Yeah.
  • WM: I can do better though.

You combine the boom box with your belt. You have created the Speaker Belt!

  • WM: Oh hell yeah.
  • WM: Even you have to admit this is awesome
  • SB: I guess

While you're at it you try combining it with a basketball and create a Slam Ball. Curious, you dribble it a bit and it immediately starts playing Slam Jam. You look desperately for a way to change the song but there is none. You are Slam jam stuck.

  • SB: Hahaha.
  • WM: Goddamn.
  • WM: Belt is still good though.
  • WM: What else can I do?
  • SB: You have like 1 grist left. Go kill things.
  • WM: Fiiine.
  • WM: I can always come back to make more crap later I guess.
  • SB: Which is obviously the most exciting thing you could do on this brand new world.
  • WM: Obviously.

Before you leave you set your Speaker Belt to Pirate and sing drinking songs with Shanks. You probably should lay off the rum but how often do you get a chance to sing and drink raucously with a pirate?

----------

WM: Adventure Time

But you do not have any friends nearby to grab :( You head to the front door anyway; it's about time someone got this game rolling. A short walk from your door is another door, opening onto the stairs down. The entrance to your very own Dungeon Crawl. You've always wanted to do one in real life, video games and D&D just never quite cut it. You hope it is arranged like a dungeon with the toughest monsters at the bottom and not like a tower assault with the toughest at the top. Granted it is actually a tower, but the game wouldn't put you right at the end of a crawl would it? That would be completely ridiculous.

You descend the stairs and emerge in a large cavernous room. The room looks to be about the size of the building and at least two floors deep. Huge pillars around the hall compensate for the lack of walls holding your house up. Lurking among the pillars are several towering ogres and in the far corner, facing the entrance to the floor below, is what you are quite certain is a dragon. Every single monster looks above your level. Oh well, go hard or go home. You hurl a molotov basketball at the nearest ogre and fortunately it goes down. You charge.

Your elation at taking out your first opponent fades immediately as a tentacle from the next yanks you up off your feet and playfully tosses you to another Ogre. You try to ready a weapon but all that comes out is the damn slam jam ball. The useless beats don't prevent the ogre spiking you through the wall.

Fortunately the blow had the momentum to carry you across the street and painfully onto a balcony of building opposite. You have descended several floors. What great progress you are making. As you lie against the wall staring up at your house you are distracted by a glint of light. Plummeting towards you is a glass bottle. You barely catch it. Following the path back you catch sight of Shankhipposprite who waves. It looks like more Rum, but blue and slightly glowing. You wonder what they mixed to make it. Taking a swig you feel slightly rejuvenated. Health Potions. Excellent. Minor dizzying effects but that's what you get for receiving help from a pirate.

Partially revived from your trip through a wall, you clamber up and enter the room on this floor. Yet more ogres but no dragons or tentacle things. Deciding that descending via punches between the buildings is stupid, so you just sprint past all the monsters and head through to the stairs. None of the monsters seemed to expect you to enter via the balcony, so they don't react fast enough to stop you from sprinting past.

You make it to the ground floor with only a few tricky encounters. Stealth was always your best skill when gaming. Not going to be so easy if you want to go back upstairs to your house, but at least you will be starting at the right level.

----------

WM: Look Around You

You emerge from the building onto a barren and cracked street. You can hardly imagine a more stereotypical post apocalyptic city. Small orange trees and pumpkin creepers have pushed through the cracked asphalt. The requisite lonely plastic bag blows sadly down the street. The whole place would seem very desolate and empty if it weren't for the deafening cacophony of frogs.

Frogs of all shapes and sizes hop from basement windows out into the street. Peering inside the nearest one you can see a dank pool of water, the perfect breeding ground for slimy hopping creatures. Strangely the pools seem intentional as all the gutters and drains direct the rainwater directly into the basements. You're reasonably sure that kind of thing can lead to water damage, but you're sure there is some kind of good reason to have a frog breeding ground.

A rhythmic drumming interrupts the frog song. As the sound grew louder the frogs clear the streets and return to their comfortable lairs. The ground begins to shake in sympathy with the Rumble and round the corner a convoy storms. Huge armoured balls rolling at frightening speed plow past you up the street. A few blocks up they hit a corner, stop suddenly and then spin on the axis, and then tumble off down another road to who knows where. You stare after them nonplussed. Frogs begin to hop out around your feet again. You captchalogue one because why wouldn't you want a frog in your pocket.

You decide you are altogether too aimless standing around on the street here and decide you may as well fight your way back up the tower to your home. You can only kick your heels with frogs for so long. Hopefully when you get there you can ask Shankhipposprite what the heck is going on in this place.

----------

WM: Ascend

You enter the grandiose entrance hall to your own personal skyscraper. It even says Tower of the Page in fancy lettering above the door with a cool spiral pattern behind it. You assume that means you. You wander in and dispose of the local imps. Imps on this level appear barely aware enough to dodge, let alone fight back. Instead they just patrol in tight squares and only act when you get close; a simple battle for a long range basketball throw.

You enter the first doorway from the entrance hall and find a chest. You get some sweet loot (a ball of string and a copy of Pet Pals Vol. 4 for some reason). You repeat the procedure in all rooms till the chests are cleared. With loot this ridiculous you may have to rethink your typical gaming strategy of going everywhere and checking every corner. You get the impression it will take a while to canvas a whole world like that.

You enter the final room and notice an unlit torch next to a blocked door. Nearby is a large boulder and a slightly depressed square of floor. You put your head in your hands. Is this really the level of the puzzles here? This is going to be a breeze.

Muscles bulge, the boulder slides neatly into place, a torch flares, and we leave you to your wandering. We understand that you must go for we know that you must...wander

----------

SB & DF: Show off your sweet loot

You can't show off your sweet loot because you are too busy fighting with monsters. You were ambushed while investigating one of the huge round mirrors that litter your world, bouncing beams of light around and illuminating everything. You tried to see if they could be moved at all but when you got to the base a patrol squad of ogres and imps jumped you. We will try and work out from here what you have made with your alchemy.

Samantha appears to have changed her outfit from nondescript jeans and a blue hoodie to a lovely long blue dress that looks like a combination of the soft blue hoodie and evening gown. It doesn't look especially practical for fighting, but that isn't stopping Samantha from laying waste with the wildly swinging edge-trimmer; plus you have to admit she pulls it off well. You also cannot deny how soft and comfortable it looks. She has complemented this with a bandolier of pokeballs which you are sure breaks some kind of fundamental Pokemon rule. Her current edge-trimmer is a combined with an old toaster, to make it shockingly electric, at least that's what you infer from some of her victims.

On the other side of the scrum, Dan is putting his new enhancements to good use in the fray. He is now dual wielding a pair of crowbars. One looks like it has been combined with a pile of broken glass, adding severe lacerations to the already deadly metal club. The other is decorated with wires and pulsing screens, a combination of crowbar and computer. Little social media notifications flow along its surface. You're not really sure how this helps in combat but it sure does look cool. Dan also seems to have donned his clubbing outfit and given it a few more, rather realistic, spikes. On his wrist is a spike bracelet combined with a phone. He also appears to be wearing spiked goggles, also combined with a phone. This is most definitely a man who knows the importance of having more than one computer on him at all times. It is also a man who has perhaps overestimated the importance of spikes. He has a small satchel on his belt which you don't doubt is brimming with new and inventive ways to combine things with computers.

You think we will leave these two to their fight. You wonder what their Hedgehog friend is up to.

----------

LHS: Pass the time

Despite your strong desire to go out and seek bloody revenge on the person who interrupted Shirtless Spike Time, your newfound Sprite Instincts are telling you that you have to remain in the house. Stupid sprite rules. You are sure you could be useful out there stabbing things with your spines instead of in hear. Knitting. With your spines.

You have decided that Spines are just about the most useful things in the world. You have used them for so many things so far and they just keep growing back. Your life has definitely been improved by becoming a hedgehog. The enormous eternal strawberry you gained as part of your transformation is pretty handy too. Delicious strawberry goodness.

Apart from knitting with your spines you have been experimenting with your sprite powers by sniping imps as they approach the house. You find this a very good way to pass the time.

----------

JB: Have you entered yet?

You would, but you have been patiently waiting to be allowed to enter for several hours now, watching the clock tick down on your alchemiter. Whatever entity is controlling your computers it has its own plan for when you can start the game. It just dropped all the machines, minus the pre-punched card, and stopped.

As the clock winds down to five minutes a card drops out of the air and lands in your lap. You lock eyes with the hulking figure of Dragonzorsprite. It's go time.

With the quick, practiced motions of a man who has already seen it done, you carve your totem and create your item. A morpher materialises on the platform. Instinct takes over.

Posing like a big damn hero on the platform you equip the morpher and say those magic words...

"It's Morphin' Time!"

The Music starts.

The world flashes blue.

Jamie enters the game.

----------

JB: Squint

The insubstantial blue armour of your transformation sequence fades and you try to step down off the alchemiter. Instead you glide forward and stumble awkwardly when you land. You feel almost completely weightless and the floor beneath you sways slightly. Alarmed you hurry down stairs, without touching them, and skid awkwardly into the wall at the bottom. You recover and rush outside.

You slide out the door and barely manage to avoid falling over the sheer drop where your garden used to be. Far below you you can just make out your world. The ground seems strange and hard to look at. Over bright like a world made of mirrors or steel. The only colours that decorate the landscape are neon blues and purples in ordered patterns and, far away on the edge of the horizon, a shaded patch of natural blue and green.

A short, jumpable distance from your doorway you see a small floating platform like a shard of quicksilver. A long chain anchors the platform to the world below. Your eyes follow a breadcrumb trail of similar platforms creating a death defying walkway towards a bright and cold castle in the sky. The Sheer surfaces and metallic gleam completely fail to give it a Disney charm. The wind whips at you and you find yourself blown gently towards the edge of your own platform. You weigh so little here it's no wonder you were gliding all over the place.

You hurry back inside to try and assess the situation. Maybe Dragonzorsprite has some information for you.

----------

JB: Consult the Dragon

You jump up the stairs, loving the weightlessness, and call up to Dragonzorsprite. You probably should have asked them to stand outside before you entered. Giant Dragon Mechs were never really meant to transform into their full size while indoors. It's not healthy for the structural integrity of the building. You should probably see if there is a way to repair that gap.

  • JB: Hey!
  • JB: Can you talk now?
  • DZS: YES.
  • JB: Awesome.
  • JB: So I guess I should prototype you again...
  • DZS: IF YOU WILL IT.
  • JB: Hmm... I know!

You hurry into your room and grab your keyblade. You hurry back and hurl the weapon at the Dragonzord, completely failing to miss its enormous hide. The Mech flashes and rematerialises: a giant robot dragon holding a vast keyblade. Awesome.

  • DZS: INTERESTING SELECTION
  • DZS: WOULDN'T THIS HAVE BEEN MORE USEFUL TO YOU IN OPENING DOORS AND SUCH?
  • JB: ...
  • JB: Damn.
  • JB: I should probably check with you about these things first right?
  • DZS: I AM YOUR SPRITE. YOUR GAME GUIDE.
  • DZS: I AM HERE TO ASSIST YOU.
  • JB: Good Point. I will try to remember to check first about things.
  • JB: On that note, where am I?
  • DZS: YOU ARE IN THE LAND OF LOFT AND SPITE.
  • JB: That doesn't sound very friendly at all.
  • DZS: IT IS NOT.
  • DZS: THE WORLD IS OVERRUN BY COLD MACHINERY.
  • DZS: IT IS YOUR TASK TO REJUVENATE THE WORLD.
  • DZS: FREE THE NATURAL WORLD FROM THE SPREADING TIDE OF METAL.
  • JB: Wow...
  • JB: How do I do that?
  • DZS: YOU WILL FIND OUT IN TIME.
  • DZS: FOR NOW, YOU MUST BEGIN YOUR QUEST.
  • JB: You mean walk out along those floating rocks?
  • DZS: YES.
  • JB: Damn I just knew that was going to happen.
  • DZS: YES IT WAS SOMEWHAT INEVITABLE. I WILL STAY HERE AND SEE IF I CAN CATCH SOME BIRDS.
  • JB: ...
  • JB: Cool.
  • JB: Before I do though.
  • JB: I want to check something.
  • JB: Don't move.

You scale the vast bulk of your sprite in a few high leaps and peer in the cockpit. It is empty.

  • JB: Can...Can I ride in you?
  • DZS: YES. BUT I CANNOT LEAVE THIS HOUSE AT THIS POINT. I AM STUCK HERE. IN THIS HOUSE.
  • JB: Awww. Housestuck.

----------

Dragonzorsprite: Just Be

DragonZorSprite

----------

AH: Get this ball rolling

You would get this ball rolling but you are too busy panicking! The maniac in charge of getting you ready to enter the game has gone and prototyped the worst possible thing! Against all logic and decency they have picked up your brand new special edition model of Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, and dropped it straight in to the your Kernelsprite.

KerriganSprite

You can already feel the terrible psychic powers of the alien matriarch pressing against your mind as she awakens. Something has to be done to combat this devastating power. Some goodness must be combined with the creature to avoid destruction for all! Something that represents everything good and happy with the world. The essence of hope and above all friendship. You scrabble at your shelf till you find it and then hurl the tiny pony at the spreading mass of the queen.

  • AH: Friendship!
  • AH: Is MAGIC!
  • AH:
  • AH:
  • AH:
  • AH: OH FUCK!

----------

AH: What did you DO?

You realise your terrible mistake as a new wave of transformation ripples through the beast. More legs sprout. The frightening eyes widen. A horn erupts from the alien brow. A flowing tail of midnight, and as a final touch a second pair of dark wings sprout from the creature's back. You can only gape in horror. In your haste you have made everything so much worse.

KerrigalunaSprite

A major villain from Starcraft and a villain from My Little Pony. This is not a good combination. Why oh why couldn't you have picked up the Derpy Hooves figurine. It was right there next to Luna! No hope to fix things now. At least you can be sure that none of the rest of your friends are stupid enough to prototype arch-villains as their game guides. You are sure they all have much more sensible prototypings that may alleviate the damage you have done.

----------

AH: Enter

Nothing to be done now but begin the game. Kerigalunasprite seems to have trotted off somewhere to try and reconcile her two very strange personalities. You really don't think letting an extremely powerful psychic alien have access to magic was a good idea, but at least both halves of the sprite have good in them, however deeply buried. Maybe that will prove useful.

You try to put it out of your mind and concentrate on the task at hand. You worked out the steps needed to create your item without any great difficulty. You activate the alchemiter and In the centre of the platform appears a Zerg Drone. It promptly entombs itself in a pulsing cocoon, as they are wont to do. Usually this means it is transforming into a building. You look to the sky and pray it doesn't take long. That is not a friendly looking meteor.

...

The meteor looms but, seconds before disaster, the Zerg completes its transformation and bursts. Light explodes forth from the cocoon engulfing your house and transporting you away from the flaming ball of rock that just engulfed your suburb.

Your eyes clear of light and you look at yourself. You look shocked and nervous. You don't think seeing yourself in front of you is doing anything for your nerves. You look around and see that your house is almost entirely surrounded by mirrors, forming a large refracting headache. Above your house the chaos of reflections is broken by a distant speck of light. At least you think it is distant. Perspectives are hard when everything is mirrors.

----------

AH: Be TS

We leave Ashby in his nightmare of mirrors and decide to be the cat lover Tamara instead. What is this crazy girl up to now?

Tamara appears to be busy frolicking with dear sweet Alaska.

By frolicking we of course mean sleeping. Which is basically the same thing when it comes to Tamara. Alaska is, naturally, sleeping on top of her, while around them hulking machines quietly countdown to destruction. It looks as though Tamara at least got some work done before falling asleep for what is it, the fifth time today? She managed to prototype something, judging by the frolicking Pikachu running energetically around the couch. Good to know that the monsters in this game will be able to strike at players with the holy fury of Thor. Sure it's horribly dangerous for everyone, but at least it should be cool.

The energetic little mouse gets bored and, in an act that brings a nostalgic tear to the eyes of any young readers, violently electrocutes its master. Alaska responds swiftly and aggressively by teleporting the mouse into the pond. Tamara wakes up and sets about her business in a remarkably unfazed way. Electric charges are no big deal.

----------

TS: Obey the Glow Cloud

Your visions of the future, coming as always from the bright clouds that surround Skaia, provide guidance on how to activate the huge machines in your house. You hadn't got very far before, but then you got tired while thinking about it. Alaska sitting on you and purring while you were trying to think really didn't help matters.

Before you get to work you fetch the disgruntled Pikachu out of the pond. It starts to affectionately electrocute you, but then catches Alaska's eye and reconsiders. You pat it and give it a hamburger that looks and tastes exactly like a rice cake.

You create your Special Item using your Pre-Punched Card. A glowing pink Kyuubi sits on the platform licking its paw. You would be more surprised if you hadn't already known it would appear. You look it in the eye and it nods. You say the magic words.

  • TS: I Wish!

The world begins to glow as flashing pink clothes appear around your body. Your current outfit transforms in suitably dramatic and flashy style into a poufy pink dress. You are delighted and only mildly alarmed by the transformation. The transformative pinkness fades from your house and you can finally make out your strange new neighbourhood. The dress does not fade. Kind of a shame, you liked the old outfit, but you guess it is a fair trade.

You wander out into your back yard to get a look at your strange new world. Chaotically splayed across a dark red field of dust are circus tents. The tents vary greatly in size, some towering above you and your house, others reaching only as high as your waist. Red storm clouds move intensely above the strange landscape and away to the distance you can see rain but it seems...unnatural. Cobwebbing the plains before you are thin ceramic gutters. Red liquid flows between them, running from the tents to tall carved stones. Great black wings disturb the air above you. Pikasprite shivers uncertainly at your side.

----------

TS: Oh no a shadow

In your wonder and excitement facing a brand new world you completely fail to notice the dark figure emerging from one of the tents. A tall creature with a diamond tipped spear glares at you and takes aim. You weren't expected so soon, but he figures he may as well improvise. Interruptions are too much bother.

The spear is thrown but never reaches its target. Alaska leaps into action before anything can happen to her master. In his usual flash of green the cat appears between you and the spear. It passes easily through him to the vast green beyond. You're not really sure where things go when you throw them through him. You've experimented with pencils and pieces of paper over the years, but nothing ever came back. The flash causes you to finally realise you are engaged in combat. With the practiced speed of someone who has never engaged in combat you equip your deadly weapon. A plush toy of a parrot. So deadly.

Your opponent, whose only identifying feature is a red brooch in the shape of a diamond, equips a tommy gun. You concede that it may be a more effective weapon. He opens fire. You wave your plush ineffectually in front of you but fortunately Alaska steps in and redirects the bullets harmlessly into the Creature's back. He looks really angry now. You have messed up his dignified suit.

Alaska, taking advantage of the general chaos, pounces on Pikasprite. Cat and mouse meet and merge. Strikes of green and yellow slash out from the mutating ball of energy that surrounds the two creatures. Your hair stands on end. Even your opponent looks alarmed, staring in shock at the expanding ball of explosive prototyping power. A wave of force knocks you both back and there, flickering slightly, is Alaschusprite. It licks it's paw and stares intently at your aggressor.

Your opponent throws a platform on the ground and steps on it. He disappears in a flash, absconding neatly just before a stab of green lightning from Alaska destroys the platform and melts the ground.

Good catmouse. Best Friend.

----------

Alaschusprite. Hell Yeah

AlasChuSprite
  • ACS: First Guardian Speech Pattern

----------

TS: Explore

You would explore but you are far too busy squeeing over Alaschusprite. You rub his precious tummy and are only mildly electrocuted which you count as a plus. You should probably invest in some rubber gloves though. You remember seeing yourself wearing them in visions of the future, but they looked much fancier than the rubber gloves you have in the laundry. Maybe the game has some way to upgrade items? You should probably ask your friends.

Alaschusprite gets up and flounces indoors. You watch admiringly, he has such a luxurious coat. He is probably going off to sleep. You wish you could join him, but you should probably check out your surroundings a bit before succumbing.

You wander over to a nearby big top and peer through the tent flap. A small group of Imps are pinning a bat against an ancient stone while another imp holds a cruel dagger above its head. Plush toy in hand you leap into fray. The low level imps are no match for your wild illogical flailing and decide to vacate the premises rather than risk the embarrassment of being killed by a teddy.

The bat struggles to its feet and looks at you with wide eyes. You scritch its head. It's the sort of thing you do.

  • Bat: Thank you for saving me!
  • Bat: I thought I would be sacrificed for sure!
  • TS: Oh good you speak people.
  • TS: Boy that would've been difficult.
  • Bat: Oh good you speak Bat!
  • Bat: Boy that would have been awkward!
  • TS: Why were you being sacrificed?
  • Bat: *Shrug*
  • Bat: Do you even need a reason to sacrifice?
  • Bat: It's like a way of life. It's a Imp sacrifices Bat, Bat sacrifices Imp world.
  • TS: That's ridiculous, and hard to say.
  • TS: What utter nonsense.
  • TS: Someone should put a stop to this!
  • Bat: Are you worried the imps will steal all your sacrifices?
  • TS: No!
  • TS: No one will be sacrificed!
  • Bat: Wow you are weird.
  • Bat: I'm not really meant to talk to strangers though.
  • Bat: Especially weird ones with crazy ideas.
  • Bat: So I'm going to fly away now.

You watch the bat go sadly. You didn't even get a chance to give them an adorable name. Ah well. You are lucky all those monsters were so pathetic. You doubt you can chase away all your enemies by flailing wildly. You should probably find a way to upgrade your weapons before going into combat again. Maybe Alaschusprite knows something. Though you really don't want to wake him up.

----------

TS: Hey! Listen!

Your phone buzzes. You guess you are somehow getting reception. Weird.

  • WM: Yo
  • TS: hey willyum
  • WM: Hey. You entered your world yet?
  • TS: ayup!
  • WM: So I have you to blame for all the imps being electric all of the sudden?
  • TS: =(
  • TS: yes.
  • TS: but Pikachu is really cute so...
  • WM: Electricity hurts you know.
  • WM: But I get your point.
  • WM: It's not as though you're the only one prototyping for reasons like 'it's awesome' and 'it's cute'.
  • TS: =?
  • WM: Haven't run into one of the Dragonzord imps yet? Prototyping giant dragon robots. Best plan ever.
  • WM: You would not believe the trouble I've had to go through to kill half this stuff.
  • WM: Trying to take down a giant robot dragon with hedgehog spikes, telekinetic powers, wings, and a death beam is, while admittedly epic, a huge pain in the ass.
  • WM: Especially when in the middle of the fight it gains the ability to electrocute you.
  • TS: =(
  • TS: That sounds way too hard for me to fight.
  • WM: You'll get there. You shouldn't have to fight enemies of that level yet.
  • WM: Besides, I'm fighting with a basketball and I'm still alive.
  • WM: I'm sure you have something much more logical as a weapon.
  • TS: ...
  • TS: .........
  • TS: ...............
  • WM: Ah.
  • WM: What is it?
  • TS: Plush toys.
  • WM: ...
  • WM: Yeah that's pretty much useless.
  • TS: =(
  • WM: Well. You'll probably be okay.
  • WM: You just need to alchemize them into something actually useful.
  • TS: Alchemize?
  • WM: Oh right you just entered.
  • WM: You know all those huge crazy machines you have now?
  • TS: Yeah?
  • WM: You can use them to make new weapons and such by combining items.
  • WM: You've got to use the keyboard looking one to punch a captchalogue card full of holes. You type out the ridiculous code they have in the back and the machine stamps the card with them.
  • WM: Then you can use that to make items using the other machines, the same way you did when you entered.
  • TS: Ooh!
  • TS: So I could make thousands of copies of things in my house?
  • TS: Even food?
  • WM: Probably.
  • TS: And delicious drinks?
  • WM: I'd say so.
  • TS: And pillows?
  • WM: Definitely.
  • TS: Awesome!
  • WM: Yep.
  • WM: You can also double punch or scan two cards at once to combine items.
  • WM: I guess try and work out what you can combine plush toys with to make them deadly?
  • TS: How would I do that?
  • WM: I don't know. It's your crazy strife allocation.
  • WM: Maybe turn them into bombs or something?
  • TS: Ooh! What about Puppets!
  • WM: This is going to be terrifying isn't it?
  • TS: =3
  • WM: Oh good.
  • WM: I'll leave you to it. I am nearly home now. Just got a few more ridiculously hard floors to fight through.
  • TS: =?
  • WM: Climbing a tower to get back home. Lots and lots of things to fight.
  • WM: It'd get tedious if it wasn't so life threatening.
  • TS: =(
  • WM: I'll be okay. But I'm running out of bombs so I have to bludgeon them all. It's a pain.
  • WM: Anyway, got to go. Good luck!
  • TS: Bye.

You eye your collection of soft toys thoughtfully.

----------

TS: Alchemize

You put your thoughtful staring aside for later and get stuck in. You try combining your phone and your plush parrot. This seems like a perfectly logical decision. You create...The iParrot. The latest in portable, and noisy, telecommunications. It flies around and then settles on your shoulder to announce, in a suitably loud caw, that you have several notifications. You ignore it and try combining your phone and the plush toy again, but double punching instead of overlapping the cards. You create...a plush phone. Surprisingly it works as a touchscreen phone, though far more cuddly. You are delighted.

You go a bit wild with that train of thought. A flurry of wasteful alchemizing results in: a plush knife, a plush capsicum (edible but strange), 'Plush at Arms' a novel by Terry Pratchett, numerous plush anime figurines, 10 plush tea bags, and a plush toaster. Your are pleased with these developments.

Thinking you might need to start developing something actually useful you combine one of your Dad's suits and a plush teddy bear creating a Giant Plush Teddy that you can climb inside and control. You...you guess that's useful.

You combine it with some pots and pans which adds some armour plating. Now you're getting somewhere. For good measure you fill a bag full of creatively nasty 'Surprise plushes' And then climb inside the suit. Weapons and armour. Perfect use of your specibus. To think they told you Plushkind would be useless.

Alaschusprite falls over laughing. You would pout but he can't see you inside your protective teddy bear suit. No one can. They won't suspect a thing!

----------

WM: Oh hey a Dragon

You kick open the door the final level of your tower.

  • WM: OH YEAH!
  • WM: ...
  • WM: Oh no!

A dragon stares at you placidly with its lazy golden eye. It seems to have eaten the other monsters on the floor out of boredom. You...you guess that is a good thing.

"Hey! Listen!"

  • WM: Sorry Dragon. I should probably get that.

You get out your phone and the Dragon watches you in hungry confusion.

  • EW: Hey honey!
  • WM: Hey!
  • WM: Sorry I probably can't talk for long.
  • WM: Big fucking dragons don't really wait.
  • EW: Whoa what? A dragon?
  • WM: Yep.
  • EW: Listen. Whatever you do, don't steal its cup. They hate that.
  • WM: I don't think it has one but noted.
  • WM: I think it's starting to growl.
  • EW: Uh Oh.
  • EW: Man your world sounds exciting. I wonder if I'll get to see it.
  • WM: It's pretty cool. Towers and stuff with monsters in them. It's going to be tiresome fighting my way through all of these though. I hope there is some variation.
  • WM: What about you? What have you got?
  • EW: Oh man! It is so pretty here!
  • EW: It's all dappled shade and verdant forests and babbling brooks.
  • EW: I found a tribe of sentient mice.
  • EW: They've been feeding me this incredible honey poured over hunks of freshly baked bread.
  • EW: And mead brewed from the same honey. It is beyond divine.
  • WM: Wow. I am seriously jealous.
  • EW: Pretty sure it is all vegetarian.
  • WM: Well...slightly less jealous. But that still sounds more friendly then this barren place. All I have to eat are oranges, pumpkins and frogs.
  • EW: Gross. But yeah, it's pretty great here.
  • EW: It sounds like the mice are being threatened by monsters though so I'm guessing I'll have to fight them.
  • WM: Yeah I think that's the go.
  • WM: From what I've heard from the others we've all got to fight a bunch of imp things that resemble the things we prototype.
  • EW: Is that why I saw a giant robot dragon wondering around in the distance?
  • WM: Yup!
  • EW: Goddamnit Jamie.
  • EW: Speaking of Dragons, should you probably get back to yours?
  • EW: Not that I want to stop talking or anything.
  • WM: Huh?
  • WM: Oh right. Nah, I've already killed it.
  • EW: What?
  • WM: Yeah you respond to texts kind of slowly so I fought it while waiting.
  • WM: It looked stronger than it was. Or I'm stronger than I was.
  • WM: Turns out fighting your way up a tower all day and killing tonnes of increasingly high level monsters helps you fight dragons.
  • EW: Wow...You're probably way ahead of us all at this stage.
  • WM: Well I've been here the longest. Don't know what Dan and Samantha have been doing though, so maybe they've caught up? They were probably pretty high level to begin with.
  • EW: We get levels?
  • WM: Yup :)
  • WM: Just leveled up now in fact.
  • EW: Cool! What level are you now?
  • WM: Unemployed Novelist!
  • EW: ...
  • EW: ...what?
  • WM: Yeah. The naming thing is weird. But trust me Unemployed Novelist is way above Political Blogger. Not really sure how much but I'm pretty sure I leveled several times today.
  • EW: Political Blogger is a level?
  • WM: First one was just Blogger so...yeah. Weird system.
  • WM: I'm guessing they're personalised so you'll probably get something strange too.
  • EW: Exciting.
  • EW: I should probably do a mission for one of these mice or something hey?
  • WM: Yup. You're lucky. I haven't found any quest givers. I'm about to go ask Shankhipposprite if he knows anything though.
  • EW: Awesome. Guess we should...go...do thing then.
  • EW: See you later sweetie. Don't get eaten by a dragon.
  • WM: Same goes for you beautiful.
  • WM: Hopefully I will see you soon.

You climb back upstairs and set tired eyes on your home. Man you really need a rest. You wonder what your favorite Pirate friend is up to.

----------

LCS: Get Bored

You have been wandering around stabbing the few imps that approach the house for hours now. You've already knitted a beanie but it got stuck in your quills when you tried to put it on. You're starting to get real tired being stuck in your home. You would accuse it of being 'home stuck, more like homo suck', but that would be really lame so you won't.

You wonder what Dan is up to. Ever since becoming his sprite you have been abnormally concerned with how well he is progressing in the game. You guess you should provide guidance or something. It is your function after all.

  • LCS: Hey Daaaan.
  • DF: Yo.
  • DF: Hold on.
  • DF: Just got to do thing.
  • LCS: Stop doing thing and pay attention.
  • LCS: I've got to get my guide on.
  • DF: Okay.
  • DF: I killed the guys.
  • DF: And managed to move the mirror.
  • DF: So we should have a bit before Samantha tells me what to do next.
  • SB: Actually you should do something now.
  • DF: Aw, what?
  • SB: You see that other mirror.
  • DF: Are you kidding me?
  • SB: No.
  • SB: You've got to move that one too in order to weaken this guy.
  • SB: Cause he's kind of kicking my ass right now.
  • DF: You're still fighting that guy?
  • DF: Jeez hurry up.
  • SB: ...
  • SB: I am trying. Move the damn mirror.
  • LCS: :?
  • LCS: That sounds fun.
  • LCS: How do you know what to do?
  • SB: Mostly we've been interrogating the villagers.
  • LCS: Are those the adorable little dogs I've seen running around.
  • SB: Yeah. Aren't they great.
  • SB: They're pretty helpful if you're friendly. And Saurondolsprite has been scanning their minds for lies and extra information.
  • LCS: Is THAT what he's been doing?
  • LCS: I was wondering. He was just sitting up on the roof humming and hissing.
  • LCS: It is kind of freaky.
  • SB: Yeah he's been helpful.
  • SB: Not that the villagers know much anyway.
  • DF: Yo. Mirror in place!
  • DF: Sorry about the delay. More guards.
  • SB: Cool. Give me a moment.
  • LCS: Bye
  • LCS: Who are you fighting?
  • DF: Monster guy.
  • DF: In this temple thing.
  • LCS: A bad guy?
  • DF: I guess. He attacked us and was guarding a treasure.
  • LCS: Cool!
  • LCS: You guys should come back soon. You've got so much grist you can upgrade your weapons and start building your house.
  • DF: But the computers are still locked aren't they?
  • LCS:Oh yeah...Well maybe they won't be.
  • DF: Actually we were planning to head home pretty soon.
  • DF: It's getting closer to 'night'
  • LCS: Yes. You should definitely get inside before Night.
  • DF: Oh man even you are warning us about Night?
  • DF: No one has given us a clear picture, but we get the impression something weird happens at night.
  • DF: Do you know anything about it?
  • LCS: Yes.
  • DF: Will you tell me?
  • LCS: I don't think I'm allowed. But it will change everything and get seriously dangerous out there.
  • LCS: You'll definitely need to upgrade before that happens.
  • DF: Damn. I'm pretty nervous but Samantha reckons we've got time to make it back.
  • SB: It's cool. We're through.
  • DF: You've got the prize?
  • SB: Yep.
  • DF: ...
  • LCS: ...
  • DF: What is it?
  • SB: It looks like half that mural we saw on the temple entrance.
  • SB: You know, the one with the very obvious slots for two puzzle pieces.
  • DF: So we went through all that?
  • SB: For half a puzzle yeah.
  • SB: I don't know where the other one is but we should get home first.
  • DF: Alright.
  • LCS: Yay!
  • LCS: Finally people, that aren't weird hissing demon Pokemon, to talk to!
  • SDS: At least I'm helping
  • LCS: Hey not all of us are psychic you jerk!

----------

DF: Gape

You hurry back home with Samantha. On the rooftop patio you can see the hovering Leahsprite and Saurondolsprite waiting for you. You dash up to join them for a better view of your surroundings; you've been wondering what Night will do to this beautiful land. The fact that people keep pronouncing the capital is not very comforting to you.

  • LCS: Hey guys!
  • LCS: Welcome Home
  • SDS: Welcome back Sssamantha.
  • SB: Hey.
  • SB: So can you tell us anything about Night yet?
  • LCS: Just watch.
  • LCS: It's much cooler if you see it yourself.
  • SDS: Sssoon.
  • DF: Computers are still taken over.
  • SB: Yeah we should find out how they're doing that.
  • SB: Stop them somehow.
  • DF: Mess with Derse?
  • DF: I don't even want to think about that place.
  • SB: It's okay, you probably won't die again.
  • SB: I mean, what are the odds.
  • DF: Um.
  • SB: Besides you've leveled a fair bit since then.
  • DF: I remember the guy who killed me though...
  • DF: He was strong.
  • SB: Yeah. Agents. They'll pretty much mess us up.
  • SB: Well, hopefully they aren't the ones controlling this.
  • SB: From what was said about them on Prospit I didn't get the impression they were particularly tech savvy.
  • DF: Who else would it be?
  • SB: No idea. I should sleep sometime soon and see if I can find out anything.
  • DF: Brr, I don't think I want to sleep ever again.
  • LCS: You should!
  • LCS: It's not healthy to never sleep.
  • DF: But I died.
  • LCS: Do it.
  • DF: What will even happen to me when I go to sleep?
  • LCS: It won't be so bad as you think it will.
  • DF: ...
  • DF: You are not comforting.
  • SDS: Shhhh. Night is falling.

You turn to look out over the bright lit world. Saurondol of course does not turn for he is all seeing. The bright beams of light that criss crossed the world, mirror to mirror, remain as bright as ever. Nearby a village of friendly dog people is a hive of activity. The whole village seems to be bustling in the town square.

The beams began to dim. Whatever undiscovered source of light they reflect is gradually extinguished. It takes a few moments for the last of the beam's light to fade and darkness to fall completely. When all is black, a hair raising howls erupts from the nearby village. Something horrifying is taking place in the dark. One by one the small red flowers that cover the hills begin to glow ember red. For a brief time they provide the only light in the land; an never ending sea of red stars. Then a new light appears in the mirrors, a dull flickering red light. In the dim light a huge staring face can be made out, glaring out from each great mirror.. At the village a tongue of flame licks up towards the sky; a great bonfire in the town centre. Against it's light tall lupine figures can be seen dancing around the flames.

  • LCS: Welcome to the land of Ash and Judgement

----------

DF: Freak out

  • DF: What
  • DF: What the hell is this?
  • LCS: It's your world.
  • DF: Whaat
  • DF: What were we just in then?
  • SB: My world.
  • LCS: Exactly.
  • DF: How come Samantha gets all sunshine and bright flowers and happy puppies
  • DF: And I get hell?
  • LCS: The worlds are designed to challenge you. To help you grow.
  • DF: Challenging is right.
  • DF: Are those werewolves?
  • LCS: Yep!
  • SB: Ash seems a bit off.
  • SB: It's not very ashy.
  • LCS: We're not near a volcano at the moment.
  • DF: VOLCANOS!
  • DF: This is so unfair.
  • SB: Yeah pretty much.
  • DF: What's that freaky face.
  • LCS: Can't say.
  • SDS: I wouldn't worry about it
  • DF: That's a big ask.
  • SB: Chill man, how much harder can it be then what we just fought?
  • LCS: A lot.
  • SDS: Yess, definitely.
  • SB: Oh.
  • SB: Well that sucks.
  • DF: *gibbers*
  • LCS: Don't worry Dan. You are stronger than you realise.
  • DF: I'm doomed.
  • LCS: Funny you should say that.
  • DF: What?
  • LCS: Just that you will learn to use this Doom, and other Dooms to benefit you. To protect your friends and crush their enemies.
  • DF: I...what?
  • LCS: Trust me. Go about the quests of your world and you will begin to see what I mean.
  • DF: My quests? All the quest givers are werewolves, I don't think I can ask them anything.
  • LCS: You must heal your land. Fix what's hurting. If lycanthropy is the plague, perhaps you should look for a cure.
  • SB: Aw. But werewolves are cool.
  • SDS: You also have your mission Samantha.
  • SDS: The minions of the Denizen are blocking the mirrors in the Land of Circles and Radiance with void.
  • SDS: You must clear them and bring the light to all your world.
  • SDS: You must see what is missing to lead your friends true.
  • SB: Cool.
  • LCS: Your reactions are so underwhelming. That sounds cool!
  • DF: Sounds better than mine.
  • LCS: Oh shush you'll be fine.
  • LCS: Go make some cool new toys. You'll need them to fight tonight.

----------

WM: What the Shanks?

You enter your home for the first time in what seems like an age. Shankhipposprite notices you immediately and hovers woozily over. You can smell the rum on his breath.

  • WM: You've been drinking!
  • SHS: Yesh.
  • WM: While I've been fighting?
  • SHS: Yesh.
  • SHS: I fought too though!
  • WM: Who?
  • SHS: The devils of drink!
  • WM: ...
  • SHS: Also the imps that made it up the sides of the towers.
  • WM: Oh right those guys.
  • SHS: Yesh.
  • WM: Man. I wish I'd had some booze while fighting.
  • SHS: You left in such a hurry, didn't have time to make you some.
  • WM: You TOLD me to go!
  • SHS: Oh right.
  • SHS: Well...I made some more.
  • WM: I can see that. Did you leave me ANY grist? Or did you use it all for Booze.
  • SHS: Hey this is very useful Booze.
  • WM: ...
  • SHS: Healing properties and the like.
  • WM: I've been taught not to try fix my problems with booze.
  • SHS: Really?
  • WM: ...well they tried to teach me that. It never stuck.
  • SHS: Good.
  • WM: Fine, I'll let you off this time.
  • WM: But only because you're awesome.
  • SHS: :D

You grab a drink from the tower of booze your sprite has made. You guess he must have been pretty bored up here.

  • WM: Why didn't you come down and join the fight?
  • WM: Would've been more fun than sitting here drinking all day.
  • SHS: S'true. But I can't yet.
  • WM: Yet?
  • SHS: You're not ready for me to accompany you.
  • WM: Level bonus thing? Awesome.
  • SHS: S'right!
  • WM: So what happens from here Shanks?
  • SHS: D'you mean?
  • WM: Well I've conquered this tower. Which was pretty much just a way to get access to my house again. Don't know if it does anything else...Nothing obvious anyway.
  • WM: What am I doing here? Is there any point in scaling all these skyscrapers beyond the mild fun of fighting?
  • SHS: Yesh!
  • WM: Man you are an adorable drunk.
  • WM: So what is the point?
  • SHS: You've got breeding to do!
  • WM: ...
  • WM: ...
  • WM: I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the direction this is going.
  • SHS: Breeding Frogs!
  • WM: Okay that's a little better.
  • WM: To what end?
  • SHS: You'll find out.
  • SHS: You also have to find and light the forge.
  • WM: What?
  • WM: Where's that?
  • SHS: ;)
  • SHS: Yo ho ho ho.
  • WM: Kay. That's the limits of what you can say for now.
  • WM: Do you know where I should start looking?
  • SHS: Maybe you should ask some of the friendly locals?
  • WM: What friendly locals?
  • WM: The only life I've found here is frogs and monsters. Monsters who are not all that friendly and frogs who are not all that sentient
  • SHS: You'll see. They're rolling around somewhere.
  • WM: Oh those guys! I thought they were enemies. Guess I'll go walk these lonely streets then.
  • SHS: You'll find them young page.
  • WM: You've called me that before. And I've seen it round the place. What does it mean?
  • SHS: It is part of who you are.
  • SHS: You are the Page.
  • WM: What does that mean?
  • SHS: You have the potential to find out. You just need to get into the right Space to understand your role.
  • WM: You said something about that before too.
  • SHS: Yo ho ho.
  • WM: Oh shush.
  • WM: I should go check out what other people are doing.
  • SHS: You should drink!
  • WM: Yesh.

----------

Pumpkin: Tumble

Following the strange ways of orange gourds a pumpkin tumbles onto the head of a sleeping woman, startling her into consciousness. Her confusion only escalates when she looks around her closed and locked car for the source of the noggin knocking and sees nothing. Funny. She could have sworn she felt a pumpkin. But what pumpkin could there be?

Putting the erratic ways of the gourd out of her mind the young woman clambers out of her car and looks around. The area looks pretty much exactly the same as it has for the past week. She admired the beauty of the outback for a while, but after so many days of the same scenery she's been getting sick of it. She's really looking forward to getting home to Perth and finally getting internet and phone reception again. Why oh why did she decide to drive home. She hasn't even had enough reception to let her friends know she was coming back soon. Hopefully they will be available to hang out.

The young woman's name is Jessie and she has no idea what is waiting for her.

----------

JZ: Drive

You are back in the car now. Driving and listening to your favorite OVAs. Former favorites anyway. Driving across Australia with only a small selection of music was not your greatest decision. Humming idly along with the tunes you pray for a new song to come up that you somehow missed in the other thousand play-throughs. For a brief while you tried the radio but the inane prattle of radio hosts ground against the nerve even more than repeated good songs ever could. Besides, you haven't had reception for days.

You fix your eyes on the silhouetted hills before you. They circle the city like a protective wall, standing fast against a titan of fire. Sunset already? You should probably eat some lunch. Pulling over you grab a snack and eye the sun, high in the sky above you. You get back in the car and accelerate.

Perth is Burning

----------

JZ: Arrive

The needle soars further around the meter than it ever has as you race into town. The long empty streets free your car up to speed and your mind up to worry. You press the pedal harder still and race over the hills into Perth.

You don't slow again till you crest the final hill and begin your descent. The path here winds erratically down the hill before finally taking you into Perth, but you can already see what is waiting for you. Total devastation spreads from you to the sea. Much of the city is still ablaze and what isn't is cratered beyond recognition. Whole suburbs have been completely erased, replaced only by vast holes in the landscape, some flooded with water from the ocean and river. You drive carefully but your hands are shaking so much you are amazed you make it down in one piece. What has become of your home. What nightmare has rained down upon it.

You are lucky to find the streets to your house mostly intact, free from the worst of the destruction. The total lack of people about makes the journey quick, but eerie. You see immediately that no one remains in your home. The place is cold and silent. Muttering a quick prayer that they got out okay you hurry inside. The house has been ransacked, but you find your room relatively untouched, the computer humming and awake. You stare at it and the flashing purple image displayed on it.

A crash from downstairs shakes the house.

----------

JZ: Wake up

Your eyes flicker open as something prods you hard in the ankle. Narrowing your eyes against the bright sunshine you look down and make out a short turtle leaning heavily a staff. You can't help but admire its lovely saffron robe. It quite distracts you from the fact that the turtle is standing on its hind legs and squinting at you through spectacles. You pick yourself up and find yourself in the middle of a broad field of tall grass, though the area around you is bent and crushed as if something had fallen heavily on it.

The turtle prods your ankle again and shakes his staff at you. You stare at him and it, through a series of very intricate gestures, berates you for crushing his field.

  • JZ: I...I'm sorry.
  • JZ: I don't think I did?
  • JZ: I only just woke up here, I don't remember...

You strain your mind back trying to remember how you ended up in a field. You had been walking down the stairs and then...in your living room there had been two vast doors, well beyond the dimensions of your room. Stretching somehow beyond them you could make out the shape of an enormous Arabic temple. It put you in mind of adventure and dungeons, of magi and kings. On impulse you headed straight for the doors, swung them open, and then...

Then it had all gone dark.

A throb from the back of your head presents itself for consideration as a cause. Knocked out? By who or what? How had the temple appeared in your living room? Had you really just walked into it without thinking?

You look down at the turtle who was plodding off towards the edge of the field. He had made it as far as the ring of damaged grass that you guess you created. You guess he was headed home.

Home?

Where was your house???

You look around wildly before making it out on hill a short distance away. Something indistinct and red is moving around the base. It strikes you as somewhat odd that your house is in the middle of this beautiful rolling landscape, but hey, at least it wasn't destroyed by having an enormous Arabic temple exist within it. Thankfully your car seems to have come along for the ride!

Pausing before you head home you stare around at your surroundings. A light breeze plays through the long grasses that stretch across gentle slopes as far as you can see. The many varied colours of grass turns the world into a shifting rainbow of light beneath the bright sky.

You feel a buzzing in your pocket and check your phone.

----------

JZ: Answer Phone

  • WM: Yooo!
  • JZ: Whoa what? Hello
  • WM: Are you behind giving them Riza?
  • JZ: What?
  • WM: Riza Hawkeye. Did you prototype her?
  • JZ: Prototype? What's going on here?
  • WM: Wait. I was sure it was you. Have you entered the game? I know you're one of us, I saw you on Prospit. And who else would prototype an FMA character, Tamara is already in.
  • JZ: What is going onnnn? I just walked through some giant doorway to a temple from Magi or something and then woke up in a field. What is happening here?
  • WM: Huh. I figured whoever helped you enter was probably behind that. Which...come to think of it, that was probably supposed to be me, I was the first to enter and I guess you are the last? I have zero idea what is going on on Derse though.
  • JZ: Uhm. What?
  • WM: Okay sorry sorry. Things have been pretty mad here. You should have a guide somewhere who tells you most of this stuff. Given you just went through some gates and found yourself in a field I think you are in the game.
  • JZ: The game?
  • WM: Oh jeez, didn't you install it?
  • JZ: I just got home and perth was basically in rubble, why would I install a game?
  • WM: Good point that.
  • WM: Well basically the game was how you get out of all that. Guess someone installed for you? I don't know, all of this is pretty weird.
  • WM: Basically the game, through means I do not know, allows your server to control your world and deploy items around your house. Then they use these to create the means of entering where you are now. I guess what they created for you was a Magi temple.
  • WM: I guess whoever your server was did all that for you. I'm a little concerned because the way it has been working you should have been someone elses server, but everyone I've been able to get in touch with has had a server already.
  • JZ: Okay I think I understand even if this makes no sense.
  • WM: You'll get used to that. You're currently on a planet made just for you. You've got quests and everything. Also lots and lots of enemies. They change based on what we prototype so you better assign your strife-specibus soon if you haven't already.
  • JZ: Prototype?
  • WM: Oh right. Uh, when all your items were deployed there would've been a red ball which you can put inanimate objects into, and it takes their shape. Which is why I can now drink with Shanks.
  • JZ: OHMYGOD
  • WM: Yeah! And apparently you can hang out with Riza Hawkeye. She should be around your house I guess.
  • JZ: Oh man that sounds awesome.
  • WM: Should be. Um. I think I will have to message you back in a mo'. I don't think I hid very well when making this call. I can hear the gunfire already.
  • JZ: What?
  • JZ: Hello?
  • JZ: What the hell is going on?

----------

JZ: Approach Red figure

You stare at your phone and wish you still had a flip phone so you could slam it shut in frustration. You settle for angrily pushing button on the screen. It's not the same. A gunshot splits the air at the same time as something splits a rock by your feet. You watch several dark figures approach from a nearby hilltop before sprinting back towards your house. As you draw near a dark orange angel hurries forward and opens fire. You duck quickly before realising you are not its target. Cries behind you indicate she has found her mark.

More bullets scar your house as you skid inside. You stop in your tracks, gaping at the carnage of your living room. Several hulking devices seem to have been placed around the room in the most destructive manner possible. The door clicks behind you and you look into the eyes of Riza Hawkeye.

  • RSS: I took care of the trouble outside, but more will come.
  • JZ: Why do you have wings?
  • RSS: Whoever made me decided I should also be combined with a swan.
  • JZ: Of course. Uhm.
  • RSS: You are confused. This is understandable.
  • RSS: Usually you would be responsible for my creation, but it seems as though that is not the case today.
  • JZ: I guess yeah. I probably wouldn't have picked a swan.
  • RSS: No.
  • JZ: What is going on here?
  • RSS: I am your guide through this game. I will help you set you on the path you need to succeed.
  • JZ: What is this game? What are we doing?
  • RSS: You have come to a universe currently hosting a battle between black and white.
  • RSS: A battle that the white must lose.
  • RSS: A battle that you and your friends must intervene in to ensure that Black does not have the ultimate triumph. You must stop them from destroying your world.
  • JZ: We're saving earth?
  • RSS: Not exactly.
  • JZ: What then?
  • RSS: I'm afraid I have to be coy and mysterious at this point.
  • JZ: That doesn't really sound like you.
  • RSS: Nevertheless.
  • JZ: Damn. I still only barely understand what is going on.
  • RSS: Well. If it would help relieve your worry some we are about to get attacked and I could use the support.
  • JZ: Oh.
  • JZ: Yeah I'll get my Umbrella.

----------

JZ: It's a bloodbath

Jessie and RisaSwaneyeSprite go to war
  • JZ: Well that was...frenetic.
  • RSS: I'm impressed, you fought well.
  • JZ: They always underestimate the Umbrella.
  • RSS: Well the few that got away won't make that mistake again in a hurry.
  • JZ: Heh. That was actually kind of fun. Usually the violence I inflict is just through my writing.
  • RSS: Yes. You are very mean to your characters.
  • JZ: Huh? How do you know?
  • RSS: The swan sees all. It's weird like that.
  • JZ: Ah. Yeah. So I guess you're both Riza and a Swan huh.
  • RSS: Correct.
  • JZ: That's got to be pretty weird.
  • RSS: It is...unique.
  • RSS: But I believe we should get down to business.
  • JZ: To defeat. The huns?
  • RSS: No.
  • JZ: Aww.
  • RSS: You will have plenty of villains to defeat, many times more powerful as what we just faced.
  • RSS: Estimable as your Umbrella is, I would recommend upgrading it somewhat.
  • JZ: Upgrading? This doesn't look like the kind of place you can find a weaponised umbrella store.
  • RSS: You won't need one. You've got all the tools to upgrade your umbrella right here.
  • JZ: :?
  • RSS: You were meant to learn about this when you enter but thanks to someone's interfering I guess I am going to have to step in.
  • JZ: I am glad I have you then :D
  • RSS: I am glad to be here too Jessie. I even think I could get used to wings.
  • JZ: Pretty handy for sniping I imagine.
  • RSS: That too.
  • RSS: Well lets get going.

Artwork by number11train

----------

WM: Approach computer

Slightly drunk you wobble up to your room and, old habits refusing to die, you sit down to your hacked computer. You immediately notice the message has changed.

Derse warning sticker

You press tab and the messages disappear replaced by the sPerth logo which slowly fades to reveal the game window and a view of a stranger's bedroom. A grey panther sits on the bed cleaning itself but no one else is visible.

You have no idea what's going on but you are relieved to have your computer back.

It's time to start figuring this all out.

----------

WM: Activate Chatroom

  • WM: DAN!
  • WM Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!
  • DF: Hey.
  • WM: What're you doing?
  • DF: I just combined my computer some sunglasses and a pair of gloves
  • DF: This is so much better than google glasses
  • WM: Oh damn that is a good idea.
  • WM: Anyway, I've been thinking. We should try and talk to everyone who is playing
  • WM: Now that we can access our computers all of a sudden for no apparent reason
  • DF: Yeah I was wondering about that.
  • DF: Kind of awkwardly polite apology note don't you think
  • WM: Yeah. Stilted. But I have like zero idea what's going on.
  • WM: Hence why I thought we should try and all talk together
  • WM: So can you like set up a forum thingy and I'll tell everyone to log on.
  • DF: bluuuuuuuuugh
  • DF: Okay
  • DF: I'll set it up...
  • DF: Pschooo
  • DF: Okay done.
  • DF: Links on facebook
  • WM: Sweet
  • WM: Veggie Hullabaloo Jerk Facility?
  • WM: What the hell does that mean
  • DF: Samantha suggested it.
  • WM: Oh that explains it.

----------

Everybody: Veggie Hullabaloo Jerk Facility

Header for Veggie Hullabaloo Jerk Facility
  • WM: HALLOOOOO!
  • SB: Hi.
  • DF: Yo.
  • EW: Hey Will!
  • JB: Hey man.
  • AH: Hi guys.
  • TS: Heyyyyyyyy
  • JZ: Whoa, lots of people doing this!
  • WM: Well I think that's everyone.
  • LCS: Oi!
  • WM: Sorry leah-hedge.
  • TS: Leah-hedge?
  • LCS: Hey Tamaraaaa
  • LCS: I'm part hedgehog now.
  • TS: Whoa that that sounds completely awesome.
  • LCS: It completely is. Apart from the dying part. That kind of sucked.
  • JZ: You died???
  • LCS: Pretty much. Not sure who killed me though, but whoever it was took Becbec with them.
  • AH: There's been deaths all round basically.
  • TS: Yeah, this is not a happy place.
  • EW: Wait who died? I mean, apart from Leah.
  • AH: Me.
  • DF: Also me.
  • EW: ...
  • EW: Okaaaay.
  • EW: Care to share how that works.
  • AH: Basically our Dream Selves on Derse were killed while we were awake there.
  • EW: Dream Selves...
  • TS: Yeah! We all have Dream Selves on one of the two planets.
  • LCS: Except me.
  • TS: Oh right, yeah. Leah doesn't cause she isn't a player.
  • EW: Planets?
  • TS: Basically there is Prospit and Derse. Prospit are the good guys and Derse are the bad guys and we have to stop them blowing up Skaia.
  • EW: Skaia?
  • TS: The big blue thing in the sky.
  • EW: Ah. I was wondering about that.
  • WM: I knew this forum was a good idea.
  • EW: Yeah, pretty much have no idea what's going on. It's just been no stop fighting and eating bread with honey since I arrived.
  • TS: :?
  • WM: She arrived on a planet similar to Redwall.
  • TS: Oh man that's cool!
  • JZ: That sounds so pretty!
  • EW: Better than William's world that's for sure.
  • WM: Hey mine isn't so bad.
  • EW: You said it was mostly asphalt and crumbling cities.
  • WM: Yeah well, I like that kind of thing.
  • EW: Weirdo.
  • EW: Anyway, so how come I haven't seen these Dream Selves before and how come you guys died.
  • AH: You just haven't woken up yet.
  • AH: As to why we died, Derse, the bad purple planet where I've been waking up for years, has apparently started moving very quickly against the players.
  • LCS: Around the same time as me and Becbec were attacked.
  • AH: Yeah. I was killed trying to wake up Dan so we could escape.
  • DF: I was killed seconds after when I actually did wake up.
  • AH: And we have no idea what happened to the other sleepers, I guess they were probably killed as well.
  • EW: Shit.
  • JB: Seconded.
  • EW: Oh and my bird died. Since we're listing deaths.
  • JB: I am so so sorry about that.
  • WM: Oh no!
  • TS: :(
  • EW: She came back though so I guess it worked out.
  • WM: Just like my hippo!
  • SB: ...
  • SB: I still think you are weirdly excited about that.
  • JZ: You said you were awake on Derse, who are the other sleepers?
  • AH: Oh right. BecBbec is one, Brendan as well, He's been awake there before. We used to hang out...
  • AH: Then Para and some guy I don't think I've met. Looked around our age though.
  • WM: Huh. Someone we don't know?
  • AH: Well probably at least one of us does. I assume they are linked to two of us via the server-client connection.
  • WM: Hmn, Well my computer is showing a room I don't recognise...so I'm guessing I'm their server.
  • JZ: Server? Client? I'm still majorly in the dark on all this.
  • WM: Oh right. Yeah, well I'm guessing your computer is connected up to two other people, your client and your server. Which...well you were meant to be doing that so I don't know how that happened.
  • SB: Obviously the hackers have been completing the server client chain.
  • JZ: Hackers?
  • SB: Not sure who or how but someone infiltrated all our computers pretty much simultaneously and locked us out. We only just regained control.
  • JZ: Oh, that's what that purple sign was. I figured it had something to do with us for some reason still having wifi even though I'm in a field somewhere and we're all apparently on different planets.
  • DF: ...
  • DF: How did I not think of that!
  • WM: You didn't notice that?
  • WM: I just assumed it was part of the magic of the place.
  • SB: Magic isn't real.
  • WM: Dude there is a fucking dragon downstairs.
  • WM: And I just got served drinks by a fucking pirate from a manga.
  • SHS: Hi guys! Rums Up!
  • SHS: 5h4N1<5!
  • JZ: What?
  • SHS: That's the code! Let's drink together as before we set sail!
  • WM: Plug that into your alchemiter. Which I guess you may or may not have. Riza should be able to tell you.
  • WM: It's seriously good rum.
  • TS: OMG Riza?!? So that was youuuuu.
  • JZ: YES!
  • JZ: She is awesome.
  • TS: Of course.
  • RSS: Of course.
  • TS: =D
  • WM: Anyways, since Shanks brought up sailing, what actually is our goal here?
  • SB: What do you mean?
  • WM: Like. What happens now?
  • WM: As I understand it Perth, or possibly Earth, has been destroyed by meteors,
  • WM: We're in some crazy magical world, or worlds, and I guess we're fighting for one planet of chess people against a different planet of chess people, but what's ultimate point of it all?
  • SB: I guess stopping them winning?
  • WM: And then?
  • SB: No idea.
  • LCS: It's THE GREAT RIDDLE
  • DF: Oh come on! More riddles!
  • KLS: Lots more riddles.
  • RSS: You have to figure it out yourselves. Travel your planets.
  • BDS: EXTERMINATE! CREATE! ELEVATE!
  • SDS: Climb to the highest gate.
  • DZS: STOP THE WAR! EARN YOUR PRIZE!
  • ACS: Flashing Guardian Speak
  • SHS: It's an adventure! So drink up me mateys and set sail!

----------

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This story is based primarily on the concepts of Andrew Hussie's webcomic Homestuck
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