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It is bright.

Way too bright.

Again.

If this game doesn’t stop using bright lights to indicate big events you’re going to kill something and you’re only half joking about that.

While your eyes are still of the opinion that trying to open them is stupid, you start to wonder. Did the meteor hit you? Are you dead? If that is the case then whoever did design the afterlife could have done a way better job.

Finally the light dims, even though it is still nowhere near as dark as it should be at nine in the evening. You slowly open your eyes and find yourself in your backyard, still standing next to the alchemiter. Your three chickens are kind of freaking out and damn it’s cold.

This is about the point where you notice that your glasses have gone dark and it is, in fact, insanely bright outside. Almost north-pole bright, even. You soon find this to be a rather apt comparison as your entire house is surrounded by an endless field of ice.

What the hell is going on here?

Oh, hey, look, your floating dead bird head is still here, although it looks like something is happening to it.

It is splitting up. One part glowing white and the other glowing black, if that is something that actually means anything. The white bird head floats upwards, creating orange spirographs as it does so and the black one floats away as well, disappearing from your sight.

Unfortunately for you, they’ve left something behind. Now it looks like you have a ghost bird in front of you, only it’s about your size. It says hi by starting to make its bird noises at you.

It doesn’t really register. Your mind has been thoroughly blown.

You make your way back to your house, not noticing anything on your way there, searching for something to hold on to, something familiar. There’s nothing. Your house looks eerily empty, since there is no sign of Lesley anywhere. There is no sign of anything anywhere. Your entire neighbourhood has been replaced by ice and through your confusion you manage to come to the realisation that this isn’t earth.

It’s not.

You’re gone, or, more accurately, everyone else is gone.

You’re alone. Everyone else is still there.

And there are still meteors coming.

You reach into your Pockets modus and after a few unsuccessful tries you manage to grab your phone and dial a number. You don’t even wait for the first tone.
“Mom? Mom? Pick up mom. Please. Please pick up. Please!”
“This is the voice-mail of-“
“No no no no no no no!”You quickly dial another number. “Dad? Are you there, dad? Please?” There is no response from him either and you dial a third number.

“Peter?” You hear your brother’s voice and you’ve never felt so relieved hearing it.
“Ton? Is that you? Are you there?”
“What’s going on?” There’s something really weird about his voice, but you have no idea what it is.
“I-I don’t know. Where are you? Are you okay?” There is a lot of background noise but you can’t make out what that is either.
“Th-there’s meteors everywhere! Where are you? What’s going on!”
“I don’t know. Where I am. What-“ Your voice falters.
“I think, I think there’s another- no! I love you!” And then there’s only static and you can’t say anything anymore and you collapse into a chair and only barely feel tears rolling down your cheeks.

After your tears dry up you sit still for what feels like an eternity, staring at absolutely nothing in particular. When your eyes finally start actually seeing things again, they notice a piece of paper on the table.

“Hey,

I’m really sorry, but I have to go. The game has things in store for me.

Don’t worry about me, I’ll handle myself and you will see me again. For now, though, you’ve got yourself to worry about.

This is hard, I know, but you have things to do and I’m pretty sure one of them includes saving them.

You’re not the only one left. You still have friends to help you.

We’re here if you need us.

Good luck,
Lesley”

Okay.

That helped.

A bit.

You should talk to someone. You walk to your computer and open up the first log you see.

UC: Oh God Peter I’m so sorry.
UC: Are you okay?
UC: The meteor hit and everyone’s really worried about you.
UC: And by everyone I mean AD because I haven’t really talked to anyone else yet.
UC: Peter?
UC: Are you okay?

ES: Hey.
UC: Peter!
UC: are you alright?

ES: No.
ES: I’m not.

UC: :(
UC: what happened

ES: My brother is dead.
ES: They’re all dead.

UC: oh my god
UC: Im so sorry.

ES: It’s okay.
ES: It’s not your fault.

UC: where are you?
UC: What happened to you?

ES: Nowhere.
ES: I’m dead.

UC: what?
UC: no youre not!!

ES: Might as well be.
UC: Dont say that!
UC: were still talking see
UC: youre still alive
UC: im going to help you through this
UC: were going to help you through this

ES: Can you kill my bird again?
ES: It’s getting annoying.

UC: no
ES: Okay.
UC: please try to snap out of it
UC: we need you

ES: No, you don’t.
ES: I can’t help you.
ES: The meteors are going to get you, too.

UC: they wont
UC: they didnt get you either

ES: It’s cold here, Ky.
ES: Really cold.

UC: i know it is.
UC: but it’ll get better, i promise.

ES: No.
ES: I mean, I’m surrounded by ice.

UC: Is that where you are?
ES: Yes.
ES: I’m not on earth anymore.

UC: did the game transport you somewhere?
ES: I don’t want to play anymore.
ES: I quit.
ES: Goodbye.

UC: wait!

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at ??:?? --

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:58 --

AD: Peter!
AD: your meteor’s about to hit!
AD: what are you doing
AD: oh shit
AD: shitshit shit
AD: okay Ky tells me your house is fine
AD: and were playing now
AD: please say something
AD: or talk to her
AD: thats cool too

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at ??:?? --

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at ??:?? --

AD: what the hell?
ES: Leave me alone.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] has blocked annoyingDutchie [AD] --

You’re not going to deal with anything right now. You’re not going to deal with anything ever. You’re just going to be sitting here doing absolutely nothing forever and not think about anything important and instead just play some stupid games or write something or whatever.

Oh, it’s you. Great

You blink. You’re fairly certain that was not one of your thoughts, because you’re currently having very few. Which kind of begs the question of what it actually was.

Get up.

You’re halfway up already before you remember you weren’t going to do that.
“No.”

You have work to do.

That doesn’t even make sense, which really doesn’t help in determining whether this voice is internal or external.

And then you hear something breaking inside your house that’s supposed to be deserted and you forget about all of that. Instead of being afraid you get really angry for some reason. You know what broke. You have no idea how, but you know. It’s one of the elves. One of mom’s elves and nobody touches those except for your mom. So nobody touches those things.

You grab your battle staff and make your way into the kitchen, in which you find several small semi-transparent white creatures who appear to have beaks and wings and only upon seeing that do you finally actually notice the ghost bird floating next to you. It looks like it’s trying to explain things, but there is a rather significant language barrier separating you.

The small birds with legs have apparently had enough of this rather suitable short pause and decide you’re something they want going. This gives you some common ground, because you really want them gone, too.

The first one doesn’t even get close to you before an upwards swing catches it under the chin and sends it crashing into the table. This depletes its health vial (apparently these things have health vials, what do you know?) and causing it to explode into a bunch of stuff, some of it blue, some of it semi-transparent white.

While you’re wondering just what the hell this all means, a second creature catches you unaware. Or tries to do so, at any rate, as your ghost bird flies into the other bird and pins it to a wall. The orange bird continues to drain the white’s health vial by constantly pecking at the little creature, leaving two.

You charge at the bird-like creatures, which instantly proves to be a mistake, as you miss the first one completely. The second one, naturally, uses this opportunity to scratch your side with one of its claws. You can feel your own health vial depleting and while you pause at the realisation that you seem to have one, the two little creatures slam into your back.

Once you turn around you realise they are laughing in whatever weird way they laugh in and that is altogether quite enough of that bullshit. You search for your mp-3 player and manage to find it in record time. You turn up the volume and get some real battle music pumping through your ears.

You get back up with a slightly morbid grin on your face and, credit where it’s due, the creatures do seem to know what this means, if the fearful looks on their faces are any indication. You twirl your staff around and smash it into the head of one of the creatures. Before it hits the ground it is caught by the other end of the staff going upwards and it, too, explodes.

Of course, the final one decides to be sane and get out of there, but the only direction it can run to is further into the house. Not that it actually gets very far before being struck in the back. It makes an attempt to turn to look at you, no doubt pleadingly, but you really don’t feel like considering these things as actually living beings yet, so you hit it again, causing it to explode into stuff again.

It is at this point that you feel something strange happen. By which you mean something even stranger than you’ve had to endure the last hour or so.

You level up.

You climb your echeladder to the not-very esteemed rung of Stick Dude, which could somehow both refer to your posture and your choice of a weapon. Clever.

Your Gel Viscosity and Grist Cache increase, and you earn some Boondollars and whatever. None of that actually means anything.

It’s time to take a look at the stuff the Glass Imps dropped, which is apparently the name of the creatures you just fought which you know because whatever. You are not getting into the game’s subtle mind control.

The blue cubes fill your health vial back up and will therefore be seen as good things.

There are also two kind of hexagonal prisms and you are happy you paid some attention in maths so you can actually properly classify these things. What high school doesn’t turn out to be for. One of them is the same white as the Glass Imps and you’re going to assume it’s meant to be glass and the other is blue. Build Grist, probably.

Your orange ghost bird begins pecking at your shoulder again and you remember you can prototype it a second time.

“Well, if you’re going to be helping me, I might as well give you something to help me with,” you mutter. “But first.”

-- eccentricStyle [ES] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at ??:?? --

ES: I’m back.
UC: PETER!!
UC: Oh my GOD I am so glad you’re here right now!
UC: are you okay?

ES: No.
UC: :(
ES: But I think I will be.
ES: I just killed a couple of things.

UC: what
ES: There’s monsters here.
ES: They drop stuff when you kill them.
ES: You can probably use that to build things.

UC: Oh, yes, right
UC: I’m really sorry, but Thijs is ruining my house

ES: You’re already playing?
UC: yes!
ES: Shit.
ES: Okay, don’t throw anything in that pulsating orb yet.
ES: There’s something I have to do.
ES: I’ll get back to you.

UC: wait!
UC: what about the meteor!

ES: Have you opened the cruxtruder yet?
ES: That thing next to me is the cruxtruder, right?

UC: yes it is and no i havent
UC: as i said thijs is being a bit of a dumbass.
UC: just like you were.
UC: only now he’s playing server and it kind of sucks.
UC: for me, anyway.

ES: Well, then tell him to stop messing around and don’t do anything for a while.
ES: I’m going to get myself a game guide and get you folks updated afterwards.

UC: okay?
UC: hurry up okay?

ES: Yes I will.
ES: Also, time does not work here, it seems.

UC: what?
ES: Check the top of this chat.
ES: I’ll be right back.

You make your way upstairs, to your room and squeeze yourself past the alchemiter. There’s your 360 and television on the desk, in front of the window and a cabinet with your books, games, DVDs and various other stuff you have accumulated over the years in it. On the other side is your bed with a word scribbled on the wall and a few sill plates with more books, four judo cups you won, some knight figurines, a pencil sharpener in the shape of a helicopter and the model of a rifle. None of that is actually what you plan to use, however. What you do plan to use is on the windowsill.

You will ignore your awesome letter-opener for the moment and take a look at the choice you have. Either a dragon with an orb of light in front of it or a samurai-warrior figurine holding two blades.

Hold on a second.

There was something written on your wall? When did that happen?

It’s one word. ‘Finally.’

What the hell does that-

Your thoughts are interrupted by another bright flash.