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Homesick

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Your name is Peter Vanderheijden. That is very obviously a Dutch name because you are Dutch. This fact often baffles anyone you meet on-line, since you are pretty good at speaking English. This amuses you.

You have quite a wide variety of interests. The more significant ones among those are: writing, reading, roleplaying, listening to music and dancing.

You take pride in being somewhat weird in a way that others can appreciate and this is why the handle you use with your chat client is eccentricStyle.

You decide that is entirely enough self-referencing nonsense and stop doing so immediately.

Before this rather odd interruption to your already quite peculiar train of thoughts, you were about to install a game. This game had been highly anticipated by a group of your associates, and when you learned the entire point was to play together, you quickly got everyone else in on the action.

Currently, your parents and brother are away for some reason that has completely slipped your mind. That happens sometimes. You never let that bother you, however. You called one of your friends over, since he actually lives nearby, and presume he is currently underway. This is because he told you he was. Those things don’t slip your mind that often.

To get the game started, you are currently talking to another friend, who does not live at all nearby. In fact, there is an entire ocean and a significant landmass separating you. The only reason this is weird is because you are not a big fan of time zones. There is not much you can do about that, though.

Her handle, which is exactly the word you’re going to keep using for that, just FYI, is unorthodoxCreation. You think she’s pretty cool.

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:03 --

UC: hi ES!!
ES: And a good whatever-the-hell-it-is-over-there as well.
UC: That would be afternoon. xD
ES: Right, that. So, what’s up?
ES: The ceiling.

UC: the ceiling
UC: damnit! XD
UC: Anyway, pretty excited about this whole thing.

ES: Same here. I’m waiting for IP to get here so we can get this show on the road.
UC: why?
ES: You should know by now that I don’t do anything without him.
UC: Yeah, I know, but why isn’t he just playing it at his house?
ES: He hasn’t got the game yet, so he’s coming over here to watch.
ES: Also because we damn well feel like it.

UC: One of these days, you’re going to have to come up with an actual reason for something.
ES: Nope.
UC: xD
UC: Just get back to me when you’re ready, okay?
UC: I’m going to deal with my sister
UC: again

ES: Will do.
ES: And good luck, I suppose.

UC: thanks!

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] ceased pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:05 --

While waiting for IP, you get up from your chair behind (or in front of, depending on your view of things) your computer. You are now in your living room because that is where your computer is. It is not in your own room because you could not ignore the nice place that had already been used for a previous computer. This has the unfortunate side-effect of being within the reach of your parents whenever they need something.

But they are not here, meaning you’re in charge. Also, you’re thirsty. You look at the pool table standing in the middle of the room. It has gone unused for quite some time, but you sometimes use the cue to practice your battle-staff skills. You often end up hitting the ceiling while doing so.

You take a bit of a running start so you can slide to the kitchen. It is fun to do and looks pretty cool when viewed from the kitchen, but there is nobody to see you do it except for the fishes in the aquarium and your bird. Your bird’s name is Petey. That was the name of all your previous birds as well. Your family has given up on trying to be creative with names for birds. Other than the aquarium, there is nothing unusual about your kitchen. There is something unusual about your living room, though, and that’s the bed standing there.

That bed is your dad’s. He can’t go upstairs because he’s crippled and your family hasn’t managed to get the contracts straightened out to fix your house so he can go upstairs. It has taken way too long and this is probably where your parents have gone off to this time as well. At 8 pm. This seems a bit unbelievable, but you reason they are getting desperate by now.

You hear the sound of someone messaging you on Pesterchum, your chat client, and wonder briefly who it might be. Then you stop wondering and go find out, because it’s faster that way.

It’s AD, a friend of yours who lives in the same country as you, but still not very close. You have met up once, though. He has his streaks of idiocy and his streaks of genius. You never know which one he’ll have at any particular point in time. It all depends on how much he’s been drinking.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:07 --

AD: hey, ES
AD: important things are happening

ES: Hiya.
ES: And what might that be?

AD: Meteors. Lots of them
ES: Right, have you been drinking again?
AD: no
AD: I mean, yes, but not enough to make that kind of shit up

ES: And why is this important news?
AD: because theyre meteors, of course.
AD: and they’re close to earth, ready for impact

ES: ...
ES: What?

AD: earth’s about to get bombarded.
ES: I got that part, but how in the seven levels of hell did we miss that?
ES: We, as in, the human race.
ES: We have telescopes pointed at every single object in our solar system.
ES: Where did these come from?

AD: no one knows. They just popped up all of a sudden.
ES: Right.
ES: Are you sure you haven’t been drinking too much?

AD: damnit ES, I’m serious here
ES: Then someone at NASA is playing an awful prank.
AD: no, look, she saw it coming. This is real.
ES: She did?
ES: Well, that changes things.

AD: yeah
AD: yeah it does
AD: what’re you doing, anyway?

ES: Waiting for IP to get SBURB installed, so I can play with the rest of you.
AD: oh, yeah, the game. She also said that was important.
AD: I don’t know what that means, though
AD: she was really vague

ES: As usual.
ES: I’ll talk to her, see if I can find out something more.

You are not entirely sure what’s going on, but then, you are entirely sure the conversation about to transpire won’t fix that completely either.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] began pestering drunknIrish [DI] at 20:09 --

DI: Hey.
ES: Waiting for me, I see?
DI: In a way, yeah.
ES: AD was complaining you were being vague again.
ES: I told him to stop, because it wasn’t going to help anyway.

DI: Haha.
DI: Yeah, pretty much.

ES: So what’s the deal?
DI: With the meteors?
ES: I could make a sarcastic comment now, but yes, the meteors.
DI: Thanks.
DI: Yeah, the meteors.
DI: Err, not sure how to explain this to you.
DI: Still, you are going to be the first to notice it, kind of.

ES: Notice what?
DI: Listen, the important part is that you have to get that game started up.
ES: Because this is somehow significant?
DI: Yeah, pretty much.
DI: You’ll find out why eventually.

ES: That is unsurprisingly not very reassuring.
DI: Sorry!
DI: I can’t really tell you much more, yet.

ES: Well, thanks for at least making AD sound less insane.
DI: Now it’s just me, right?
ES: Heh.
ES: That’s nothing new, though.

DI: True enough.
DI: There is one thing I can tell you.
DI: Don’t wait for IP. He’ll be there on time.
DI: And I’m pretty sure he knows that too.

ES: That’s... cryptic.
DI: Yes, yes it is.
ES: But fine, let’s get this show on the road.
DI: You do that.
DI: It’ll be a while until I come into play.

ES: So you’re going to be bugging RV, then?
DI: Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one.
ES: I’m just messing with you, anyway, I have things to do.
ES: Places to be.
ES: People to kill.
ES: Governments to overthrow.
ES: You know, the usual.

DI: See ya.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering drunknIrish [DI] at 20:11 –

ES: You were right.
AD: what?
ES: She was vague.
AD: told you so
AD: anything new?

ES: Yeah, looks like I have to get started early, so no time to talk.
AD: alright, I’m grabbing another beer anyways.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:12 –

That changes things. DI always knew what was going on, somehow. You and AD have tested this quite often, and eventually just stopped bothering with it, since she was right anyway. So if she said you had hurry up, then you had to hurry up. You take the SBURB disc out of the SBURB box and put it in your SBURB disc-drive. Well, no, you don’t have a special disc drive for the game, but it sounded funny in your head.

Petey is making his bird noises. You know he is, because he is always making his bird noises. You can’t hear him though, because you have headphones. Hooray for headphones. They might also be why you can’t hear a certain individual come in and tap you on the shoulder. You rocket into the sky, much to the recent arrival’s amusement.
“Hey Peter.”
“Goddamnit! Would you not do that next time?”
You’re only pretending to be angry, naturally. The guy standing in front of you is Lesley Didden, which is totally a guy’s name. He’s your best friend and has been for quite a while. Everyone knows you would not start anything without at least informing him of it. Your on-line friends know him as indifferentPragmatist.
“Anyway, hi,” you say, now completely cheerful again.
Lesley has not even flinched at your outburst, because he is totally used to it. “You okay?” he asks.
“Partially, we have to play a game and there’s meteors coming.”
“Well, yeah, the last part is pretty obvious.”
“How do mean? I just found out about it a couple of minutes ago.”
“Some of us go outside.”
“What?” You look out of the window, seeing the dark sky full with bright dots and no, they weren’t stars either. These were moving. “Oh, right.” How did you miss that, exactly?

At this point one might wonder why two Dutchies are holding their conversation in English. The answer is obvious: because you damn well feel like it. Also because English is cooler than Dutch, in your not-quite-humble opinion.
“Already started without me?”
Oh right, the Beta’s installed. The screen shows a rather dull message:

SBURB version 0.0.1
© SKAIANET SYSTEMS INCORPORATED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
SBURB client is running.
Waiting for server to establish connection...

“Huh, well, that’s pretty boring for something that’s supposed to save our lives.”
“What gave you that idea?” Lesley asks, of course, unaware of the fact that you are aware of the fact that he’s aware of more fact than he thinks you are aware of.
“There’s meteors coming and this thing is significant, what the hell else is it going to do?”
“You’ve been talking to DI?”
“Yes, and now I have to get back to UC, so we can-“ He interrupts you.
“Get this show on the road, yes.”
You grumble something unintelligible, before opening a chat with UC.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 20:16 --

ES: I got the game installed.
ES: UC?
ES: ...
ES: Well crap.

“Looks like she’s not answering.” You relay the recently obtained information to your companion.
“In for a sparring match while we wait?”
You pause for a second to let that sink in. “You want to fight? Now?”
“Yeah, I think we’re supposed to.”
“I’m starting to think you’re related to DI. And not in a good way.”
“God I hope not. Are you up to it or not?”
How is that even a question? “Of course!”

The two of you go outside, under a sky now lit by far more than just stars. The scenery is far more fitting for an epic duel, although there are more practical reasons. Outside has much more room for your fighting style, which basically amounts to: jump all over the place to make sure you don’t get hit. You take your simple Battle-Staff out of your Strife Specibus which has not been mentioned up to this point but will no doubt be mentioned far more often at later times. Lesley does the same with his Sabre and you prepare for battle.

As said, your battle strategy is relying on your auto-parries and counter-attacks, as your normal attacks kind of suck. As such, you are mostly extremely annoying to anyone who opposes you. Unfortunately for you, Lesley is strong. As in, really strong and, even worse, he’s used to you. This means you have to be clever, confusing. Confusing to him, not to yourself, that would be entirely too weird.

None of this is actually going through your mind at the moment, though. Caught up in the battle, there is very little actually going through your mind. You are acting purely on instincts here, which you would realise to be a pretty bad idea, if not for... well, you know.

Your battle-staff twirls around, attempting a strike every once in a while, but mostly used for defence. Not to block, that would be stupid, against a blade, you might as well dual-wield clubs and cut out the middle-man. Still, this is pretty much just stalling and Lesley decides he has had enough of that bullshit. He lashes out with his sabre in a move that you are easily able to dodge and you make a follow-up strike against his legs. It hits. That is the extent to which it does something though, since Lesley doesn’t even flinch.

He tries to smack you with his fist, but finds that path blocked by the other end of your battle-staff as you take your distance again. It is time for something more interesting. You bend your staff back as far as your strength allows, which is not much, but still. You take an aggressive step forward and then lean back in order for his blade to not cut your throat and let go of the higher end of your staff. It hits him right in the face. Lesley stumbles back a bit before regaining his composure.

Uh-oh.

He does not look pleased. You instantly snap out of ‘battle-mode’ and into ‘get-the-hell-out-of-here-mode’ and run into your backyard. What a beautiful backyard it is all of a sudden, with the three chickens present having your watched your battle entirely with what you assume to have been great interest. Lesley is running after you, his sabre raised.
“Hey!” you yell, in a desperate attempt to have him stop. “Maybe... maybe we should check on UC!”
“Yeah, sure.”
You almost fall over your own feet, due to the sudden mood change, but somehow still make it look like you meant to do that.

Obviously this battle went haywire because you did not have your mp-3 player. Music makes you focus, music makes you bad-ass. Music can make you anything and you have a song for every occasion. Well, almost every occasion. You search through your Sylladex, your inventory management system, which you have put in your trademarked Pocket modus.

Come on, it has to be in there somewhere. Your pencil-sharpener, your eraser, your pen. Hmm, you seem to have misplaced your pencil somewhere. Oh, there it is, your mp-3 player. You will no doubt forget what pocket you put it in, but at least you’re certain you have it. For now. Yes, this was mostly pointless. You go back inside to check up on UC.

Chapter Text

Your name is Kyrianne Stryker. This is not actually your real name, but it would be if you were your mother. Most people pronounce it wrong. Most people also tend not to understand your genius.

Your interests are all over the place, but you’re consistently a creator. Art and writing are your forte, but you have been known to tinker with music, programming, and even during special occasions, baking.

You have a fondness for all things weird, and it’s because of those two colliding traits that your pesterchum handle is unorthodoxCreation.

You also have the tendency to pair any and all same-sex characters with one another and create blatantly obscene art and stories about them. This freaks out most people, but it's one of your favourite hobbies, so they can just go suck a fuck for all you care.

It is late in the morning and you have spend most of said morning talking to people about interesting things. It is a Saturday, so you can get away with that. One of those interesting things that is particularly worthy of note is a game. You have helped to get a group together to play, with people from all over the world. The time zones were a bitch, though.

Your dad is, thankfully, gone, your sister is doing something you don’t particularly care for at the moment, and your mom is baking. You would help her, were it not for the fact that you have far more important business to attend to.

Currently, you are laying the final foundations for the group. You agreed with ES to do half of the work, which, in this case, means talking to one of the girls. She calls herself killerMedic and is a bit silly sometimes. Not at all in a bad way, though.

-- killerMedic [KM] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 11:44 --

KM: UC?
UC: Hi!
UC: what’s up?

KM: i’m kind of confused
UC: why?
KM: sburb
KM: like, what are we supposed to do in it?

UC: Nobody knows!
UC: That’s the exciting part.
UC: I know you need a server player and a client player, though
UC: and you have to play both at some point.

KM: uhm, who will be your server player?
UC: I don’t know yet.
UC: I’ll be ES’s though

KM: and mine?
UC: You have to find someone yourself
UC: But can I tell you a secret?

KM: yes!
KM: tell me!
KM: asdfsadf

UC: try RV and TR
UC: They should still be free for either role.

KM: ok, i will do that
KM: thanks!!!!!!!

UC: that’s way too many exclamation points.
KM: !! :I
UC: XD
UC: Anyway, I have to go set up the game now.

KM: ok
KM: bye

UC: See ya!

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] ceased pestering killerMedic [KM] at 11:47 –

That should get her on the right track for a while. You look around your usual mess of a room. It is a small room, but it’s yours and that’s really all that matters. On your bed, you have a couple of your plushies. They are awesome and anyone that says otherwise is a liar. There are a lot more of them in a corner of your room, but the more coolest ones are on your bed. Amongst these lucky few is Ravioli, a sharpei and your favourite.

Your walls are decorated with all kinds of weird stuff, lots of which you’ve drawn yourself. Against one of the walls stands your book collection. It is not only a book collection, but also a comic and DVD and anything-else-you-feel-like-putting-there collection.

Then there’s your cat. Her name is Grace and she is currently sleeping. Or she’s just ignoring you. It’s hard to tell the difference, sometimes.

Next to your bed is your awesome scythe. It is just a toy, plastic scythe, but a scythe none the less and you can wield it with a skill that has never been seen before. Well, no, you can’t, but that’s okay. Why would you need to do that, anyway?

Oh, hey, someone’s bothering you on your Pesterchum again. You go back to your laptop to see just who this mystery person might be.

Oh, it’s her!

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 11:49 --

DI: Hey UC.
UC: hi!!
DI: You’re all set up?
UC: I totally am
DI: Awesome.
DI: I don’t think we’ll be talking that much when the game starts.
DI: So I figured I’d catch up.
DI: Beforehand.

UC: XD
UC: Aww, why won’t we be talking?

DI: Because everyone else will be talking to me.
DI: Because I need to tell them what to do all the time.

UC: they’re that bad?
DI: Well, not really.
DI: But they’re going to be bugging me a lot.
DI: Because I know everything.

UC: but you don’t.
DI: Not really.
DI: I know just enough to get them through the first stages.

UC: And you don’t have to help me?
DI: You’ll figure most of it out by yourself.
DI: I think you’re going to be really cool with what’s going to happen.

UC: Jeez, DI, you’re making it sound like we’re about to die or something.
DI: Don’t worry about that.
DI: You’re not.

UC: okay
UC: I’m just going to run with that.

DI: Being vague is kind of my thing.
UC: I noticed.
DI: Right, and the two you’re going to be stuck with aren’t going to be cool with it.
DI: At all.

UC: And I have to calm them down?
UC: great

DI: If you want.
DI: You could always let them ramble on.

UC: That would be so funny.
DI: Haha.
DI: Yeah, it would be.

UC: So now it’s time for me to bug ES.
DI: He should be on-line soon.
UC: Alright, see ya!
DI: Have fun!

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 11:56 --

You figure you might as well get the server copy installed so you can connect with him when he gets on. You check your Sylladex, which you have put in Pictionary modus and draw the SBURB beta. It is ridiculously hard to draw the damned thing, what with it being a Spirograph, but you succeed anyway, because you’re awesome like that. Once you’ve finished drawing it, the Beta pops out into your hand. This is not odd in any way whatsoever.

You put the disc into your laptop and wait for it to install. As it happens, it is installed at the exact moment ES comes on-line. What an awful little coincidence. You start bugging him in a conversation you have already had from a different perspective.

It began like this:

UC: hi ES!!
ES: And a good whatever-the-hell-it-is-over-there as well.
UC: That would be afternoon. xD
ES: Right, that. So, what’s up?
ES: The ceiling.

UC: the ceiling
UC: damnit! XD

And it ended like this:

UC: Just get back to me when you’re ready, okay?
UC: I’m going to deal with my sister
UC: again

ES: Will do.
ES: And good luck, I suppose.

UC: thanks!

It ended like that because your sister has indeed rushed into your room, without knocking, of course, because why would a door be closed? She had been talking about something, but you steadily ignored her. It is kind of unfortunate that she hasn’t picked up the hint yet, though, since she’s still making those talking noises.

“Kyri, listen to me when I’m talking to you!”
“I’m typing!” you say, maybe a bit too loud. You can’t really help it though, you can’t concentrate when someone’s talking to you.
“But you’re always doing that!” she complains. “Don’t you think it’s time to socialize for a change?”
You sigh. You’ve had this conversation way too often already. “I am socializing. I’m just not socializing with you. I’d also like to get back to doing that.”
She sits down on your bed, not content with being brushed off like that. “You should talk to your little sister more, or to anyone outside of this room.”
“Or you could work on your timing.”
Now she looks insulted. This has also happened way too often. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
You sigh. “You can’t force me to talk to you, okay?” She pouts. “The least you could do is knock.”
“Fine.” She walks out of your room and closes the door. She then proceeds to knock on it. “See, I’m being nice now.”
“Sorry, but I’m really not in the mood for talking right now.”
You can hear her groan as she walks away and sigh again. It’s not like you don’t like her, she just... She just has really bad timing sometimes.

“Mom! I’m going to visit some friends!”
You are sure she meant for you to hear that. She also meant for you to be bothered by it, but in that aspect, she failed. You check your laptop to find that ES hasn’t responded yet. Well, might as well go see what your mom is up to. Your mom is, as previously mentioned, baking.
“Were you fighting with your sister again?” she asks, having apparently already heard you approach, somehow.
“She really should learn to knock first,” you reply.
“Would that work?” She knows it won’t.
“It would at least make our conversations shorter.”
Your mom sighs. “Could you at least try to be nicer next time?”
“I’m pretty sure I could try,” you reply. “I’m also pretty sure it won’t do anything.”
She looks sad, then, for some reason you don’t quite understand. It only lasts a second or so, before she returns to a more cheerful mood. She notices your worried look but turns the conversation elsewhere.
“What’re your plans for today?”
“Gaming, mostly, but I have a bit of time now, so I think I’ll draw a bit.”
“Okay, have fun,” she says, as you go back to your room. “I love you.”
What is with her today? She’s acting all gloomy, almost like the world’s about to end.

You enter your room again, and find that nobody has been bugging you at all. You jump on the bed and only barely miss Ravioli. Grace looks up at you with a somewhat confused and alarmed expression and her body immediately tenses. She only calms down when you pet her gently. She’s weird like that.

You draw your drawing block on your Sylladex and it appears in your hand. You still find it pretty funny that you have to draw the thing you want to draw on before you can draw on it. Once you start drawing, however, you completely lose track of everything else and it is for that reason that the sound of your pesterchum falls on deaf ears, until you’re finished. What you’ve drawn is awesome, and anyone who disagrees is an idiot. Only then do you finally check your pesterchum.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 12:16 --

ES: I got the game installed.
ES: UC?
ES: ...
ES: Well crap.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] is now an idle chum! –
UC: ES?
UC: hello?
UC: Look what I drew!

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] sent eccentricStyle [ES] the file "AwesomeDoodle34.jpg" –

UC: Okay, I’ll talk to you when you get back.

Well, you might as well connect to him as server player while you wait.

Chapter Text

Before you go back inside you look up at the dark, meteor-lit sky and then quickly try to suppress the sense of dread this gives you. Your twentieth birthday was only five days ago and despite, or maybe because of, the fact that it sounds so much older than ‘nineteen’, it is the first age in a long time you feel that fits you. You’ve got this weird, explainable feeling that your life’s about to change drastically and you’re not entirely sure what to think about it.

On the one hand, you are rather fond of familiarity and your life has been pretty much awesome lately, what with even University presenting you with little to worry about and having no financial problems worth speaking of and having a tight group of friends. On the other hand, you have this nagging feeling that things are going a little too well, a little too easy. Like you’re accidentally cheating the system somehow. You would not mind this that much, if it weren’t for the fact that you’re not aware of it. At least then you could worry about getting caught.

Still, none of that actually matters right now. You’re going to play a game and it’s going to be fun and you’re excited. Of course, the fact that your life is at stake does have something to do with the last part and as soon as that thought crosses your mind you stop staring at the sky.

“Men may move mountains, but ideas move men.” – philosopher George Carlin.

Of course George Carlin said that. Nobody else would ever say such a thing.

As you go inside, one of the first things you see is one of the many faeries your mother has all over the house. They look pretty nice, in your opinion, most of them do, at least. You’re not ashamed to admit that, either.

Petey is making his bird noises again. God that bird is annoying. You snap your finger and he shuts up. You love it when he does that, even though it never lasts long before he starts again.

You’re not entirely sure how, but you can feel Lesley giving you an amused look.
“What?” you ask.
“Nothing,” he replies.
“I always do that.”
“I’m sure you do.”
You can’t help but laugh and Lesley, of course, laughs along. It’s not full blown laughter, because it wasn’t funny enough for that and you’re not mad scientists or evil overlords. Yet, you add, for future reference. Whatever that means.
“Do you want something to drink?” It’s a bit of an odd question, under these circumstances, but it took you and your parents years to make you understand (and then follow) these social norms and you’ll be damned if you stop now.
“I know where to get it, thanks,” he replies.

You leave him behind in the kitchen and see that UC has already gotten back to you.

UC: ES?
UC: hello?
UC: Look what I drew!

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] sent eccentricStyle [ES] the file "AwesomeDoodle34.jpg" –

UC: Okay, I’ll talk to you when you get back.
-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] is now an idle chum! –
ES: Sorry about that, I’m back now.
ES: What is that?

UC: It’s Grif and Simmons!
ES: I’m...
ES: That is amazing.
ES: I am amazed.

UC: :D

It says a lot about either you or her that the image you’re watching right now is not at all surprising to you. Still, Lesley does not feel as comfortable with this as you or UC do, so it’s best not to dwell upon it for too long.

UC: Anyway, I connected to you.
ES: Yeah, I noticed.
UC: Did anything change on your end?
ES: It says to press Enter.
UC: then press enter!
UC: What are you waiting for?

ES: IP
UC: don’t
UC: damnit

ES: You cannot hope to match my typing speed!
UC: That was only two letters.
ES: My point still stands!
UC: :P
ES: Ah, there he is.

You turn your speakers on, so your companion can enjoy whatever music is about to play.
“Alright,” you say, aware that this is going to be a pretty important moment. It wouldn’t do to continue without saying something cool. “Let’s play.” You press Enter.
“Seriously?”

And then it starts.

It is arguably the most hypnotising loading screen you have ever seen, which is saying something as it’s mainly a spirograph changing shape and colour on a simple background of the sky that basically does the same thing. The music is just awesome, too. In fact, that might be the entire reason for it having this effect, really.

There is also a loading bar, with completely ridiculous things for a game, like ‘Achieving Aluminium Trowels’ or ‘Drafting Circuit Hoses’. You have no idea who made this thing, but it’s pretty damn hilarious.
“How long until someone’s figured out all of those sentences?” you ask.
“I give it two days.” Ah, the power of the internet.

The SBURB logo pops up and then... nothing.

Well, this was one hell of an anti-climax.

ES: Nothing happened.
UC: I can see you!
ES: You can what?
UC: And I have options!
UC: let’s see...
UC: select
UC: Sounds boring.
UC: Revise!

ES: Wait.
ES: What are you doing?

UC: Relax, this is just like the Sims.
ES: That makes no sense.

And then there is a distinct feeling of something being missing. Like, only just now.
“Err,” Lesley says. “Peter?”
“I know!” You, cautiously peek to the right and notice that the wall that was there only a minute ago is now several meters away from you.

UC: this is fun!
ES: What did you do!?
UC: I revised your room, apparently.
ES: You can’t do that!
ES: It’s impossible!

UC: I just did.
ES: Fuiahiujflkakldlakf
UC: are you okay?
ES: No!
ES: You just broke physics!
ES: You can’t break physics!
ES: Or everything else!
ES: What about the cables and the heating and everything that runs through that wall!
ES: How do you even control something in my house!?
ES: We’re on different continents!
ES: Where did you even get the material from!?

UC: It cost me four build grist.
ES: What?
ES: What does that even mean?

UC: i don’t know
UC: But we had 20 of it.
UC: There’s sixteen left

ES: AARGH!
UC: Are you done freaking out?
ES: No!
UC: Can I go back to playing?
ES: Cuihakignkalkfkakedfnal
UC: I’ll take that as a yes.

“Peter, are you okay?”
You are slightly shaking and staring at the screen, but otherwise unmoving. Needless to say, this hit hard.
“Peter?”
You still don’t respond, your eyes very deliberately not looking to your right at all.
“If you don’t snap out of it I’m going to punch you.”
“What?” you say, out of self-preservation.
“Snap out of it.”
“Okay.”

You turn to look at him and then both of you say nothing for a few seconds.
“This makes absolutely no goddamn sense!” you yell, eventually, as you get up and start walking through the living room. “What’s going on here?”
“The game is going on,” Lesley says calmly. “Can’t you just run with it? Your life’s at stake.”
“You run with it! I didn’t expect this to alter reality for crying out loud!”
“Technically, everything alters reality in some way.”
You can remember telling him that at some point during a philosophical discussion you had, and if you could only think more clearly you could come up with an actual argument instead of ‘but not like this!’ which is, in fact, not an argument at all.

You were going to play a game and it was going to be fun and you were excited.

And then someone broke the universe.

So much for all that.

These thoughts do help calm you down somewhat. “So, now what?”
“Now you play and make sure UC doesn’t wreck this place even more.”
Well, there goes that nice moment of serenity. You rush back to your computer.

ES: Stop!
UC: with what?
ES: Whatever you’re doing right now.
UC: okay?
ES: Can you tell me your options before you actually start doing anything with it?
UC: Well, there’s Select and Revise.
UC: Deploy
UC: Phernalia Registry

ES: What?
UC: Grist Cache
UC: Explore Atheneum
UC: and Alchemy Excursus.

ES: What?
ES: Okay, do you understand any of that?

UC: I understand Select, Revise and Deploy I guess.
ES: Try Select, then.
ES: That sounds harmless enough.

UC: okay :)

Soon after, you hear something falling and then silence. The kind of silence you have not been able to enjoy in a long while. You know exactly what happened.

UC: oh god oh god oh god
ES: What?
UC: I
UC: I think I killed your bird
UC: I’m so sorry!

ES: Ky, this is by far not the worst thing to happen to me today.
ES: I’ll live.
ES: Besides, that bird was annoying.

UC: No!
UC: Birds are cool!

ES: If you say so.
ES: How did that happen, anyway?

UC: Stupid touch pad!
UC: I picked up the table and then I didn’t put it down carefully and now your bird’s dead.

“Yeah, definitely dead!” Lesley yells from the kitchen. “Sorry about that.”
“Okay, thanks,” you yell back. You’re not entirely sure why you said ‘thanks’ in this particular instance, but your brain has pretty much said ‘screw this’ and has left you to operate on automatic.

ES: Can you get used to it?
UC: I think so
ES: Like, play around a bit until everything’s running smoothly.
ES: In ways that don’t end in somebody or something dying.

UC: I get it, ok?
UC: I’m sorry about your bird.
UC: ;A;

ES: I’m sorry
ES: This is just a bit stressful right now.
ES: I don’t mean to be rude.
ES: It just happens.

UC: okay, I’m going to mess around a bit.
ES: Just don’t rip the toilet out of my bathroom.
ES: I still need that.

UC: Why would I do that?
ES: I don’t know.
ES: You’re you.

UC: Hey!
UC: What do you take me for?

ES: I can’t claim to understand the way you think at any point in time.
ES: So I’m just covering all my bases here.

UC: okay
UC: :)

Chapter Text

Your name is Thijs Bos. It’s pretty weird, or so most people think. These same people also have a lot of difficulty pronouncing it. You do not think it is weird at all, then again, you are Dutch.

When you are not getting drunk in some bar, you are either listening to rock/metal, because everyone knows that really is the only right kind of music, or you are playing video games. Although these could occur while being drunk too. You praise yourself for your guitar skills, which really are not that good.

Being very scientific you are seen as the nerd of the family. You especially do not get along with your sister, who is essentially your opposite. This does not bother you because you know who has the better taste anyway.

You decide this will be a good moment to grab another beer.

Thankfully you have beer in your room, which means you don’t have to go downstairs and deal with the other people living here. Right now the only other one here is your sister, which is bad enough already.

Your room is a bit of a chaos otherwise, but since you’re a student, this is not weird at all. In one corner you have your xbox and tv with a lot of wires connection one to the other and the entire thing to power. Your desk is covered with school books and other crap and there are a shitload of clothes all over the ground.

You’ve also got an electric guitar in your room, a Master Chief toy with your xbox and your BB-gun for your RifleKind Strife Specibus. True, it’s a pretty weak rifle, but it’s all you could legally get your hands on.

After grabbing your beer, you get back to your laptop, currently on your bed. When you get there, you notice something’s different. A new site has popped up: skaianet. Normally, you would simply click it away, but this can’t be a coincidence. It has the SBURB-logo all over the place and shows a map of the world otherwise.

The map is covered with different coloured dots. Various shades of blue, green and yellow, and only one shade of red, namely, well, red. There aren’t many red dots yet, but the ‘Time’ label above what looks like a legend showing the change of colours and the word ‘Impact’ written on the red part give you the feeling that a lot of those dots will turn red eventually. There is also a list of numbers you can scroll through, though you have no idea what those mean.

This is really kind of weird and, oh, she’s bugging you.

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 19:30 --

DI: Hey.
AD: hi
AD: sorry things are really weird right now

DI: I know.
DI: That’s why I’m here.

AD: okay
AD: whats going on

DI: You’re looking at a map of the world, right?
AD: yeah
AD: with dots

DI: Those stand for meteors.
AD: what?
DI: Pretty much.
DI: Please don’t panic.
DI: This is important.

AD: thats a joke, right?
AD: because
AD: thats a shit load of meteors

DI: It’s not a joke.
DI: That would be one of my worst ones ever.
DI: And yeah, yeah it is.
DI: Please just trust me okay?

AD: okay
AD: I trust you

DI: Thanks.
AD: what is going on?
AD: where did these come from?

DI: You know the game?
AD: the one i just lost?
DI: Shut up.
AD: sorry
AD: sburb?

DI: Yeah, that has a lot to do with it.
AD: what?
DI: It’ll make sense eventually.
AD: cant it make sense now?
DI: I don’t have two hours and you wouldn’t believe me anyway.
AD: yeah i would
DI: Haha.
DI: Yeah, you probably would.
DI: But it’d be too late to matter, by then.

AD: that sounds really bad
DI: It doesn’t really matter, though.
DI: Listen.
DI: I’m sure you know nobody else saw this coming.

AD: yeah
AD: someone wouldve said something

DI: Exactly, so the two of us are now the only ones.
DI: You’re going to have to try to be calm when explaining this to people.

AD: what?
AD: I have to tell people?
AD: that were getting meteor rain?
AD: and i have to stay calm!?

DI: Yes.
AD: were about to die!
AD: there are just so many dots!

DI: We are not going to die.
DI: Got it?

AD: this has to be a joke.
AD: please tell me its a joke

DI: It’s not.
DI: I can promise you that.

AD: youre not helping
AD: whats going on?
AD: who do i tell?

DI: A whole lot.
DI: And I don’t have time now to explain any of it.
DI: Just look at the colors of the meteors and that’ll tell you how much time you’ve got left.
DI: I’m really sorry for not being able to tell you anything

AD: Im not getting calm
AD: cant you tell me anything?

DI: We are not going to die.
DI: We are going to survive.
DI: And we have work to do.

AD: you’re still not helping!
DI: Just take a couple of minutes to calm down.
DI: And get ready for the game.
DI: It’s important.

AD: who do i tell?
DI: ES.
DI: To start with.

AD: why him?
AD: why not a scientist
AD: or the goverment

DI: Because they’re not important.
DI: He is.
DI: We all are.

AD: this makes no sense!
DI: Please, Thijs, just do it.
DI: We need you in this.

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 19:46 --

Okay, so you are very much freaking out right now. None of this makes any sense and she won’t even tell you what’s going on! What are you supposed to do now? Everyone’s about to die and she tells you the most important one to inform of it is your friend? Sure he’s your friend and all, but you could save more people by calling up the government or something.

Although, they wouldn’t believe you if they didn’t already know about it, since you’re not respected, or hell, even known. Your friends would believe you, though, especially if you told them she told you. This begs the question of why she doesn’t tell them herself.

Ugh, this is too much to deal with and you haven’t had nearly enough to drink, you gulp down the rest of the beer in one go and then go to grab a new one. Not before you turn on some music, though. You make sure it’s the good stuff, too. That means it’s loud.

Before you can grab a new bottle of beer, you hear a knock on the door. Oh God. Not her. Not now.

(The following conversation is translated to English for convenience.)

“Thijs? I know you’re there,” your sister says. Really, how would she know how that you were in there? It’s not like you could’ve slipped past her and left the music on in the few seconds it took for her to get here. “Can you turn that music down? Like, to the point where it doesn’t hurt my ears enough to have to go to the hospital?”
“You can go downstairs,” you yell back. “I’m pretty sure that’ll save your ears.”
“You have headphones! Learn how to use them!” She has a point, but headphones don’t allow you to move around.
“Fine, I’ll turn it down.”
“Thank you!” she says brightly.

You turn down your awesome music of awesome but she hasn’t left yet.
“What are you going to do tonight?” she asks. “Can I come in? Easier to talk and things.”
“Yeah, sure.”
Your sister enters your room. Some of your ‘friends’ on-line have described her as really good looking and if you find out how they managed to get their hands on a picture of her you are going to do something horrible to someone. The details to that plan can come later.
“Man it’s such a mess in here,” she looks around and after a while decided to sit down on your bed. “You really should clean this place.”
“Meh.” Yes, that pretty much sums up your feelings on having to clean things.
“Anyway, what are your plans?”
“Playing a game and telling people the world’s about to end, apparently.”
She stares at you in disbelief.
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“That’s not funny.”
“I know.”

You sit in quiet for a while. “It’s not a joke, is it?” she asks.
“Nope.”
“Okay,” she says. “Now what?”
“I have no idea.” Neither of you know what to say, until you realise something. “You’re pretty cool with this. Why?”
“I don’t know. I guess I figured your mad science-y ways would end the world some day.”
“My what now? What makes you think I have anything to do with this?”
“You don’t?”
“No!”
“Oh.”
“Why would you think that?”
“You just seem the type for it.”
“Shut up.”

You are definitely not the mad scientist type. You’re the science type. There is a difference. Besides, you’ve already got a friend with mad scientist ambitions and one of those per friend group is quite enough. Not like that friend would ever go through with it. The guy never goes through with anything. Which is probably a good thing for the universe.

“Thijs?” Your sister is standing at the window now. How did she get there without you noticing? Her voice sounds worried, at any rate. “This isn’t good.”
You look past her and see a dark sky. Or at least what used to be one. You don’t even have to guess at what the bright, moving dots are. You gulp down the entire bottle of beer in one go.
“What did she tell you to do?” your sister asks, her voice far more serious than you’ve ever heard her.
“What?”
“What did she tell you?”
“Who are you talking about?”
“You know who I’m talking about,” she says. “I’m not stupid.”
She’s talking about her, then.
“She told me to talk to ES.”
“Then what are you waiting for? I’m going to call mom and dad, let them know what’s happening.”
Before you can say anything to her, she’s already rushed past you downstairs.

Well, time to brace yourself and get this over with. It’s not like you can deny it now.

AD: hey, ES
AD: important things are happening

ES: Hiya.
ES: And what might that be?

AD: Meteors. Lots of them

The conversation continues predictably. Mainly because you’ve already had it.

AD: what’re you doing, anyway?
ES: Waiting for IP to get SBURB installed, so I can play with the rest of you.
AD: oh, yeah, the game. She also said that was important.
AD: I don’t know what that means, though
AD: she was really vague

ES: As usual.
ES: I’ll talk to her, see if I can find out something more.

And then you wait. You hope she tells him the same thing she told you and doesn’t make you look like an idiot. That would totally be something she would do, even though she was completely serious when she talked to you. Somehow you hope that’s true, that you’re simply going crazy, instead of the thing that’s actually happening.

ES: You were right.

Fuck.

AD: what?
ES: She was vague.
AD: told you so
AD: anything new?

ES: Yeah, looks like I have to get started early, so no time to talk.
AD: alright, I’m grabbing another beer anyways.

You do so. Unfortunately, this gives you time to think. You don’t want to think right now. You need to talk to someone. Anyone. Anyone but her.

Well, he’s on-line and he’s in about the same timezone as you are! God do you hate those things.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 20:13 --

AD: hey.
RV: AH!
RV: One person at a time please

AD: who else is talking to you?
RV: Okay nevermind DI says I should talk to you now
RV: What’s up?

AD: what were you talking to her about?
RV: I don’t know
RV: She told me you’d tell me
RV: So yeah

AD: yeah...
AD: i’m not sure how to tell you this...

RV: If this is going to be awkward I’m leaving
AD: what?
RV: Doesn’t matter
RV: Now what’s wrong?

AD: we’re about to get hit by a meteor shower.
RV: That doesn’t sound good
AD: it isn’t!
RV: Okay
RV: You probably wouldn’t be telling me this if there wasn’t anything we can do
RV: So what can we do, exactly?

AD: play the game.
RV: That had better not be a joke
RV: Because I’m going to hunt you down if it is

AD: I’m talking about sburb.
RV: Ah
AD: you still lost it though
RV: Yeah, fuck you too

Chapter Text

You are not feeling very well right now.

You were going to play a game and it was going to be fun and you were excited.

And then you killed someone’s bird.

So much for all that.

You didn’t mean to do it! Birds are the coolest animals ever! And Peter doesn’t even care that the poor thing is dead! If only you could do something to bring it back to life.

Speaking of Peter, you have him right here on your laptop screen, which is really quite weird when you think about it. But he’s already freaking out enough for both of you so you’re simply not going to think about this.

It does look endearing, seeing him all worked up like that with IP trying to calm him down. He’s tall, way too skinny for a healthy person and constantly a bit hunched forward. His is always busy readjusting his glasses or running a hand through his dark blond hair even though it’s already neatly moved to one side and he doesn’t actually change anything. Probably just a nervous habit, then. In general, really, the guy looks like a total geek.

Lesley, on the other hand, looks completely calm. He stands a bit shorter than his friend, but has broader shoulders and in general a bit of a heavier build. Not like you need much to have that. He has black, curly hair and sports a moustache on his stoic face, just like Peter does. Only IP also has a beard.

The two of them almost have a sitcom dynamic going and it’s pretty hilarious even if this program doesn’t let you hear what they’re saying.

Well, time to get back to this game. You click on the most interesting sounding thing, that being ‘Phernalia Registry’. This opens up a sub-menu with a couple of, well, things. There isn’t really another way to describe them. You’ve never seen anything quite like them.

The first is called a Cruxtruder, whatever the hell that means. It has a square platform as a base, with a smaller one on top of that. The top one has a large tube sticking up with a small wheel on the side, while there appear to be small windows on the side of this platform.

The second is a Totem Lathe. Okay, at least that seems to make a bit of sense, although what totems they could be referring to absolutely baffles you. It does look like an overgrown sci-fi version of a lathe, at any rate.

The third and last one you can see at the moment is an Alchemiter. This one also has a square base, but has one large circular platform on top of it, with a really weird shape on it. There is a smaller, but a bit higher, circular platform next to it and an extendable arm with a small device on top of it.

No point in sitting here and trying to figure out what these things do, time to just find out what they do!

You click the Cruxtruder and nothing happens.

Okay, you click Deploy and then click the Cruxtruder and now you’re holding the thing in your hand, or cursor, or whatever. Tedious, but oh well. It turns out this thing fits perfectly in the little space you just made in Peter’s living room. Convenient.

Peter disagrees, though.

ES: What
ES: The fuck
ES: Is that thing?

UC: It’s a Cruxtruder.
ES: Did you put that here?
UC: yeah.
UC: for free!

ES: What?
UC: It didn’t cost us any grist.
ES: Ah.
ES: Ignoring everything else for a second.
ES: What does it do?

UC: I don’t know.
ES: What?
ES: You ruined my reality even more and you don’t even know what for?

UC: Hey, I’m just playing the game.
UC: Why don’t you figure out what it does?
UC: While I go play around some more.

ES: Can I rant for a second before that?
ES: Because I feel like I need it right now.

UC: go right ahead.
ES: So, apparently this game doesn’t only allow you to change my house considerably by using up material you get from somewhere.
ES: It also allows to drop stuff in my house from completely out of nowhere using absolutely no material whatsoever.
ES: There are just so many ways in which this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever!
ES: But fine, I’ll go turn this little wheel and see what happens.

UC: awesome
UC: I’ll go and put the other stuff down.

ES: Whoa wait what?
ES: What other stuff?

UC: Totem Lathe and Alchemiter.
UC: Oh, and we’ve got a Pre-Punched Card now.

ES: This game hates me doesn’t it?
UC: yep
ES: Well, tell it that I hate it too.
UC: I definitely will.
ES: Now where are you going to put that stuff?
UC: Wherever’s room, I guess.
UC: I might have to move some stuff around, though.

ES: How about no?
ES: Put something outside when you don’t have room.
ES: But don’t change anything else.
ES: Please.

UC: okay
UC: If you say so
UC: it’s your place, after all.

ES: I’m not even sure of that anymore.

You hope he’ll get over this soon. This really isn’t like him. Oh well, might as well go find a place to put that Totem Lathe. There isn’t really a place downstairs, but maybe you can find something upstairs.

You see three bedrooms and one bathroom. In only one of the three bedrooms is a single bed, the others all have two-person beds, so you reason this one’s his.

Won’t hurt to check, though.

UC: That single bed is yours, right?
ES: Yes.
UC: your room is clean!
UC: like, insanely clean

ES: Sterile, even?
UC: ...
ES: That’s what IP said once.
ES: You’re lucky I cleaned it yesterday.
ES: Anyway thanks.

UC: I’m going to put the Totem Lathe there.
ES: Okay.

You do so and it happens to fit almost perfectly. Although it might’ve just gotten a lot harder to get in and out of the room. And the bed. Really though, that’s irrelevant.

You’ve still got two things two drop. Or, three. Another thing has just opened up. A ‘Punch Designix’, although it’s all greyed-out at the moment. You need some sort of purple stuff instead of the blue build grist you already have. You wonder just how you’re supposed to get this stuff, but you’re sure you’ll figure that out later.

Time to put the Alchemiter somewhere. Oh, wait, someone’s talking to you again.

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 12:44 --

OL: ky
OL: kyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

UC: I’m here
UC: what’s up?

OL: nothing
OL: because I am boredddddddd
OL: give me something to doooooooooo
OL: what are you doing

UC: playing sburb.
UC: breaking reality.
UC: messing with ES’ head.
UC: The usual.

OL: ahaha
OL: uhh wut

UC: It turns out SBURB can alter reality.
UC: Who’d have guessed?

OL: DI?
UC: Apart from her :P
OL: :P
UC: ES looks adorable freaking out, though.
OL: ooh, caps or it didn’t happen
UC: Shit!
UC: I forgot to screencap it!
UC: damnit!

OL: oh come on
OL: next time you have to remember bb

UC: Considering the way this game’s been going?
UC: You can bet on it.

OL: so you can see him? Bcbw
UC: relax
UC: he hasn’t taken a shower yet.

OL: lol
UC: Anyway, yeah, I can give you a screencap of the interface right now, if you want.
UC: But after that I have to go back to the game.

OL: bahahahaha
OL: and I assume, since you are playing sburb
OL: that you are totally pwning noobs or someshit like that

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] sent obfuscatingLogician [OL] the file "GameInterface.jpg" –

OL: oh sweet
UC: i’m good.
UC: I killed a bird
UC: But other than that I’m good.

OL: bb you’re joking
UC: Seriously!
UC: I killed ES’ bird!
UC: I feel so bad for it.

OL: omg bb :( that poor bird
UC: i know!
UC: It didn’t even bother him!
UC: He was just like
UC: “Sorry, freaking out over reality right now, brb.”

OL: oh hey this is actually like pretty cool looking or something?
OL: idk I’mma see if I can get on the same server as you
OL: just so I can bother you, you know how I roll

UC: Okay, have fun!
OL: you too bb, you too

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 12:46 --

Haha, oh man, this game is going to be so much fun. Seriously.

Anyway, you’ve still got a large thingy to ditch somewhere and you can’t seem to find another place in ES’ house to do so. Well then, might as well drop it off outside.

ES has a pretty nice backyard, all things considered, especially the view, although it’s nothing compared to your mountains. Mountains everywhere, all the time. You carefully put the Alchemiter down outside and then finally ditch the small Pre-Punched Card in the living room and then go check on Peter again.

Okay, what the hell is he doing?

Chapter Text

UC: I’m going to put the Totem Lathe there.
ES: Okay.

You turn away from your computer and finally take a closer look at that large thing Kyrianne just put in your living room. You’ve pretty much exhausted your rage at that particular impossibility. For now.

The large monstrosity has a wheel on it. Might as well try to turn that damn thing and see if something interesting happens. Okay, nothing does happen, because you can’t even turn it. Why in the seven levels of hell is that thing stuck like?

It feels like something is pushing from below it, but even that doesn’t seem to be enough force to push the lid off of the thing. What was it called again? Cruxtruder? Who came up with that? Seriously.

“Hey Lesley, would you care to lend a hand here?” you call out.
“Of course.”
He comes over to the Cruxtruder, takes the wheel and, of course he manages to turn it in one go. There is a bright flash of light and before your eyes can recover from that grievous assault to their delicate health you can hear something heavy hit the ground, which you presume is the lid.

Once you open your eyes again there is something, err, floating in front of you. It’s an orange, pulsating, glowing orb with spyrographs on it. What. The. Hell.

That’s it, physics is officially dead. It will be missed. Time to move on.

Lesley is also staring at it, somewhat confused. This reassures you that you are not simply going crazy and he can actually see the physical impossibility as well. Hooray.

“What is that thing?” you ask him.
He stands in silence for a second before finally saying: “I have no idea.”
Well that’s disappointing.
“Okay. Now what?”
“It looks empty,” he says. “Like something that needs to be fed.” Okay that has to be the most obvious hint in the history of ever.
“So I’m supposed to put something in it?”
“Maybe.”
“That’s as close to a ‘yes’ as I’m going to get, isn’t it?”
“I think so.”
“I’ll take it.”

There is something else that came out of the Cruxtruder. You didn’t notice that at first because you were distracted by the floating orb thing and god damnit that thing needs to stop glowing. The other thing you see is an orange cylinder. You wonder why all of this stuff is orange. Granted, you only do this because it stops you from wondering anything else and you basically don’t care for the answer anyway. Orange is the best colour.

You’re twenty and you still have a favourite colour. This is quite sad.

You pick up the orange cylinder, which doesn’t seem to magnetically push you away like that orb thing does, for some odd reason. You really don’t like that you’re apparently pushing against a force field or something. That should not happen. You are in control damnit! You won’t be stopped by something you can’t see! Okay, calm down now. Insanity is not what you need at the moment.

You captchalogue the orange cylinder thing, which puts it in your Sylladex and you discover that it’s called a Cruxite Dowel .

Once again, what the hell.

Well, at least the game is compatible with your Sylladex system. That’s interesting. Maybe the designers weren’t complete idiots after all.

“Okay, what do we throw in this thing?” you ask, feeling the urge to move on.
“Kernelsprite,” Lesley says.
“What?”
“That’s what it’s called.” He doesn’t look all too comfortable. And if you, of all people, are able to tell, that’s saying something.
“How do you know that?”
“I don’t know.” He’s staring intensely at the kernelsprite and definitely not looking like he’s in a very pleasant mood.
“Dude, I’m the panicky one, okay? You’re supposed to keep me calm.”
“You need to prototype it. At least once, possibly twice. If you don’t it messes the game up.”
“How do you know that?”
Lesley swallows. “It just told me.”
Okay, now this is starting to really freak you out. “What?” you ask, carefully stepping away from both Lesley and the orb of hell with your eyes wide.

“You just have to put something in it and then you’ve completed the first stage of prototyping.” He still hasn’t looked away.
“Lesley.” You try very hard not to sound scared out of your senses right now. You also fail horribly at this. “Please turn away from that thing now.”
“Yeah,” he answers. “I think I’ll do that.”
The orb of hell releases him, you assume, since he shakes his head and takes a very large step back. You already hate this game more than you have ever hated anything else.
“How about we don’t do anything with that thing ever?” Your eyes are still wide and you can’t seem to stop them from staying that way.
“We can’t,” Lesley says, obviously also trying to keep himself calm and succeeding at that much better than you do. “It’ll doom us all.”
Under other circumstances you would’ve said something about how cheesy that sounds, but right now? You totally buy it.

“Okay, so what happens when we do?” you ask cautiously. You’re not looking forward to this thing going on a killing spree with whatever you give it.
“It,” he rubs them temples of his head, “it creates a guide for the game.”
“That’s what it told you?”
He looks at you helplessly. “Yes.”
You take a quick glance at the doom-ball. “Okay, so we’re not buying that, right?”
“I don’t know.”
“Okay, I have an idea. Don’t look into it, I’m going to get something.”

You don’t even know what thought process led you to this idea. It’s entirely possible there wasn’t one. That would make sense. You didn’t really think about anything at all, as you took Petey out of his cage and made your way back to the living room.

You still can’t come close to the kernelsprite. At least, you assume you can’t because you sure as hell aren’t going to try anymore. This leaves you with only one option, namely throwing your bird into it. You decide to do it at least somewhat respectfully and not practice pitching while you’re at it.

As soon as Petey hits the orb of doom there’s a bright flash. Again. What is it with that thing and bright flashes? Once your eyesight has decided it’s safe to come out again, you see that the Kernelsprite now looks a lot like a giant bird’s head.

You can’t even form any thoughts about that because someone’s pestering you again.

UC: what the hell just happened?
ES: Okay, so you saw that?
UC: what did you do to your bird?
UC: why does that thing suddenly look like a bird?
UC: what is that thing?
UC: what’s going on?

ES: Welcome to my world.
UC: that’s not funny!
ES: Short version.
ES: That thing’s a kernelsprite.
ES: It’s spawned from the depths of hell and you do not want to look at it ever.
ES: I just prototyped it.
ES: Which we have to do otherwise we’re doomed.

UC: I don’t think I like this game anymore.
ES: Likewise.
ES: But we have to keep playing.
ES: DI says so.

UC: okay
UC: i’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.

ES: Me neither.
ES: But we don’t really have a choice at this point.
ES: What else did you do?

UC: dropped the Alchemiter outside
UC: dropped the card behind you
UC: Turns out we’ve got a Punch Designix too.
UC: but we don’t have the right stuff for that yet.

ES: Putting that on my list of shit that isn’t important right now.
ES: What am I supposed to do now?

UC: i have no idea.
UC: also, what’s that timer counting down to?

What timer is she talking about?

Oh, hey, look, the small window on the Cruxtruder is apparently counting down to something. It’s at 10:22 now.

What could that be counting down to?

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:50 --

AD: ES?
AD: are you there?
AD: please tell me youre there

ES: I’m here.
AD: awesome
AD: theres a meteor heading straight to your house

ES: Let me guess.
ES: In ten minutes?

AD: ...
AD: how the hell did you know?

ES: Call it a wild guess.
ES: I’ve got to hurry.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 20:50 --

UC: what are you doing?
ES: Timer’s counting down to meteor strike.
UC: oh shit.
ES: GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 20:50 --

TR: ES
ES: WHAT
TR: About this game
TR: Wow, what’s up with you?

ES: I do not have time for this.
TR: Listen, I don’t even know how you convinced me to play this.
TR: But I really don’t think I want to.

ES: Seriously?
ES: You’re bothering me with this NOW?

TR: I just woke up!
ES: Just play the goddamn game.
ES: Talk to someone else if you want to know why.

TR: Fine, jeez.
ES: I’m busy.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering tyrannosaurusRock [TR] at 20:51 --

UC: what’s wrong?
UC: hello?

ES: Why am I this popular all of a sudden?
ES: I wasn’t this popular on my fucking birthday!

UC: ES, calm down.
UC: You have work to do, remember.

ES: Fine.
ES: I’ll go check that Lathe thing.

UC: Don’t forget the card!

You pick up the Pre-punched card, which looks a surprising lot like every other card in your Sylladex, only with holes in it? Whatever.

You run upstairs and see the Totem Lathe in your doorway, pretty much blocking every way inside. Well, no, you’re a skinny guy, you can get in damn near everywhere. Yay for having one of the most messed up metabolisms ever. You start to wriggle your way into your room.
“Peter!” Lesley calls.
You want to turn around and ask ‘what?’, but there’s a giant bird head in front of you. You jump back, or at least as close to that as you can, stuck between your door and the Lathe and fall into your room.
“That thing is following you!”
“Yeah!” you groan. “I noticed.”

The bird’s head looms over you and you quickly crawl back on your feet. It doesn’t look like it’s about to do something but you’re not going to let it out of your sight. Which is rather difficult when you’re also trying to figure out what this Totem Lathe’s supposed to do, so this takes a bit longer than expected.

Okay, there’s a small card slot at the side of the Lathe and the actual Lathe itself. Looking at the items the game has given you so far, the next course of action is rather obvious. You put the Pre-punched Card in the card slot and clam the Cruxite in the Lathe.

Nothing happens, of course, because you forgot to activate it. You push one of the buttons. They don’t seem to be labelled so you guess it doesn’t matter which one you push.

And indeed, your Cruxite gets carved into a nice new shape. It looks like pottery to you, but what do you know?

You take that new item (your Sylladex calls it a Totem, which makes sense you suppose), put it back in your Sylladex and get back downstairs, very much avoiding the Kernelsprite still following you.

You’ll describe your room later.

“How much time left?” you ask, as you arrive downstairs.
“Six minutes, fifteen seconds,” Lesley replies.
“Plenty of time to figure out what this is supposed to do, then.”
You show him the recently obtained totem.
“That’s supposed to do something?”
“I don’t even care anymore. There’s a meteor coming and I’m basically just watching my body move here.”
He chuckles at that, despite everything else going on at the moment, and it slightly lightens the mood for both of you.

ES: Okay, I got a totem.
ES: UC?
ES: Ky? You there?
ES: Great.

“UC’s AFK.”
“Do we still need her at this point?” He doesn’t want to be insensitive, but some things let you get away with that.
“I guess not.”
“What was on that card, by the way?”

Hmm, that’s a pretty good question, why did you not look at that before? You take out the card and look at it.

It shows a crystal ball. An orange crystal ball.

“Okay, that’s weird.”
“What?”
“Why do I recognise this as a crystal ball even though it’s orange. It could be anything. Why does my mind come to the conclusion that this is a crystal ball.”
“Because it is?” Lesley asked, knowing full well where this is going.
“Well, yeah, but how do I know that?”
“The game thinks you’re messing around too much and wants you to get this stage over with?”
“Meaning that it can control my thoughts?”
He looks uncomfortable, for very good reasons. “Yeah.”
“Then why does it even let me have these thoughts? What’s the point? Why not control me all the way?”
“Can you have your existential crisis later, please? I’d rather you didn’t go all nihilist on me right now.”

You start walking outside, but you’re not dropping the subject yet. “I’ve always been nihilist. There is no real point to existence, so we might as well enjoy it.”
“You realise what this means, right?” Lesley asks.
For a second you’re confused, but then realisation hits you. “Huh.” It is pretty funny how your position can turn 180 degrees, simply by listening to yourself talk. It’s unnerving that it happens quite often, though.
“All better?”
“I guess.” You walk on, a smile now on your face and you would laugh if it wasn’t for the fact that this really isn’t the time for that.

You reach the Alchemiter and put the totem on the spot it seems to belong in. Immediately, the device on the end of the arm you mentioned moves in position and run a laser past the totem, presumably to read it. A bookcase appears on the large platform. In orange, of course. There’s nothing from this game so far that hasn’t been orange. An orange crystal ball rolls out of it into your hands and then the bookcase disappears.

Now what? The garden is growing lighter and lighter because of the approaching meteor and you can actually see the rock now. What do you do with this thing? Look into it? There’s nothing to look into! It’s freaking orange! Oh crap oh crap oh crap that thing is way too close and why does this thing not do anything? Out of frustration you throw the crystal ball against the Alchemiter. It breaks and there’s a flash of light.

And then you’re gone.

Chapter Text

You are David Bagshaw, an unemployed… well an unemployed nothing really just unemployed at the moment. Having no job has left a lot of free time on your hands and you have spent that time looking up facts about dinosaurs, robots, what have you and learning some German. Because of the free time, you’ve been a lot more open to joining quests with internet people as it might give you something to do. The internet people seem nice so far. You have recently grown a beard which switches between looking distinguished and hoboesque at intervals of about roughly six days.

For fun you play Frisbee, some just call it “Ultimate” but you find that ridiculous, calling a sport something so final. What if there is an as of yet undiscovered but better version of playing Frisbee? Would “Ultimate” then have to be retroactively changed to “Penultimate Frisbee?” These are the questions that keep you up at night.

You’re a smartish person, at least you think you are. You’d ask more people but that might come across as too forward or worse, boastful. No, it’s best to keep to quiet understatement and hope your intelligence shines through, if it is there. You’re fairly sure it does but not %100 certain about it.

One of the internet people has just told you the world is about to end.

RV: So playing a video game is going to save our lives?
AD: yeah.
AD: at least i think thats what’s happening here

RV: This is a dream come true
RV: Any specifics?

AD: besides meteors?
RV: Yeah
AD: how the fuck should i know
RV: You knew about the meteors and DI told me to talk to you
RV: So I figured you’d be in the know.

AD: im not
AD: im just the doomsday messenger

RV: Right, so who does know?
AD: three fucking guesses.
RV: Right, stupid question
RV: So I’ll guess I’ll have to talk to her again then?

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:15 –

DI: Nope.

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:15 –

AD: i guess
RV: Or maybe not
AD: what?
RV: She just told me not to talk to her
AD: okay
RV: Yeah
RV: Fuck it, is someone already playing?

AD: ES and UC

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:15 –

DI: Don’t talk to them either.
RV: What the fuck DI
DI: ;)

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:16 –

AD: You could talk to them
RV: DI disagrees.
AD: okay
RV: I’m going to guess I’m supposed to talk to you

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:16 –

DI: Good thinking.
DI: :P

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:16 –

RV: Confirmed by the oracle
AD: okay
AD: thats pretty annoying

RV: Yes
RV: Yes it is
RV: What’ve you got for me?

AD: a website that shows where the meteors are going to hit
AD: and about when thats happening.

RV: About
AD: there arent any fucking timers
RV: That would have been too convenient
RV: Okay then
RV: What does it show?

AD: coordinates i guess
AD: listen can we talk about something else?
AD: im kind of freaking out and this isn’t helping.

RV: This is important though
RV: Right?

AD: di tells me that its important
AD: then logs off before i can ask her what the fuck

RV: She does that
RV: Can you send me a link

AD: yeah sure
RV: Awesome
AD: or not
AD: its not a site
AD: no adress to copy

RV: That’s weird
RV: Sounds like something local
RV: Can you send me a screenshot or something?

AD: maybe?
AD: here you go

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] sent robotVagabond [RV] the file "skaianet.jpg" –

RV: Dots are meteors
RV: What do the colours mean?

AD: time for impact
RV: That’s a pretty lousy way of representing how much time we’ve got left
AD: you figured all of that out pretty fast
RV: It wasn’t that hard
RV: You already told me there were meteors

AD: oh and some of them aren’t dots
AD: they’re circles
AD: pretty big circles

RV: Different sizes then
AD: i guess
RV: Can you find a way to show how much time we have left?
AD: I can try.
RV: Awesome
RV: Do you know where the rest of us live?
RV: Coordinates, I mean

AD: won’t be too hard to figure out, I guess.
AD: thanks man

RV: No problem

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:21 --

You’re always glad to help a friend out. Especially in a case like this, since it basically amounts to helping everyone out at the same time.

You take a break from your laptop. Or, well, your sister’s laptop. She is always kind enough to let you borrow it. Your room’s a bit of a mess to anyone that isn’t you. You know where everything is and, honestly, you’re the only one that needs to know, so there is very little point in changing that.

There’s your desk, which is currently full with all sorts of stuff, there’s your tv, with no less than two consoles next to it and your walls are covered in posters of concerts you’ve definitely been to but may or may not have acquired through the usual way.

That’s pretty much it, you believe. Kind of a boring room, actually. Oh well.

And who were you kidding when you said you were going to take a break from your laptop?

-- killerMedic [KM] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 19:24 --

KM: finally!
KM: you’re on-line!

RV: Hey
RV: Yeah, it looks like I am

KM: what’s up?
RV: Talking to AD and making sure we don’t die
KM: O_O
KM: sounds like a busy schedule!

RV: It is a busy schedule
RV: But you’re lucky
RV: I’ve got a bit of time right now

KM: yay!
KM: can i ask you a question?

RV: Apparently
KM: smartass :P
RV: Why, I have no idea what you’re talking about
RV: Ask away

KM: i was wondering if you wanted to play sburb with me?
RV: That’s a very polite way of asking
KM: of course!
KM: im a very polite lady

RV: In that case, how could I possibly say no?
KM: hooray for politeness!
RV: I guess so
RV: Do you want to be my server or my client?
RV: And I only just realised how weird that actually sounds

KM: :I
KM: whats the difference between the two?
KM: i was going to ask uc but i kind of forgot.

RV: You know, I really have no idea
RV: I guess one of them is in control of the other
RV: The server controls the client
RV: Or the server serves the client
RV: Basically I’m just guessing here

KM: i want to be the server, then!
RV: Because?
KM: control!
RV: Okay
RV: That sounds really weird coming from you and more than just a little creepy

KM: :I
RV: What happened to the polite lady?
KM: im being assertive!
KM: i thought id mix things up a little

RV: Fair enough
KM: so do we have a deal?
RV: Yeah, sure
KM: yay!
KM: lets play!

RV: Not yet
KM: what?
KM: why not?

RV: I’m waiting to hear back from ES and UC
RV: They’re already playing and maybe they can tell us what’s going on
RV: Once they have a bit of time

KM: what do you mean whats going on?
KM: what is going on?

RV: Oh man
RV: This is going to be a really fun conversation

KM: please tell me!
KM: youre scaring me

RV: There are meteors coming
RV: And apparently we’ve got the power to stop it
RV: Or something

KM: how?
RV: We get to play a game
RV: It will save our lives

KM: shouldnt we get as many people to play this game?
KM: you know save as many lives as possible?

RV: That’s actually a really good idea
RV: But I think the eight of us should stick together

KM: why?
RV: Call it a hunch
RV: Besides, ES is going to lose it if we start messing up his group

KM: :P
KM: yeah thats true i guess.

RV: So, message as many of your friends as you can and tell them to play this game
RV: I’ll do the same

KM: okay!
KM: time to save the human race!
KM: okay wow that sounds really ridiculous when i say it like that.

RV: Is that a reason not to do it?
KM: nope!
RV: I’ll talk to you later, then
KM: bye!

-- robotVagabond [RV] ceased pestering killerMedic [KM] at 19:33 --

Huh. Why did you not think of that immediately? Oh well. You’ve got an extensive list of friends to message and there is absolutely no way you’re going to do it one by one. You should send a message to everyone at once and then hope they trust you enough to take you seriously.

That might actually be a problem, now that you think about it. Hey, look, a video game is going to save our lives. Who would believe that? You would. You just did believe it. You suppose the meteors help add some credibility to your case.

“David?” That’s the voice of your mum. Only she could manage to make a single word mean “you don’t have to listen to me, but you should be aware of the consequences when you don’t.” Honestly, it’s amazing.
“Yes?” you say, as nonchalant as possible.
“Have you eaten yet?” Really? That’s what she’s asking you about? There are more important things to deal with here.
“Yes I have.” It doesn’t hurt to be polite, though.
“Good. It’s not good to face the apocalypse with an empty stomach.”

You blink. Once, twice. What the hell was that? Her voice sounded way too cheerful for the words it was saying. Something’s going on here. It’s almost like she knows more than you do. Well, no time for that, you’ve got people to save.

Chapter Text

UC: ES, calm down.
UC: You have work to do, remember.

ES: Fine.
ES: I’ll go check that Lathe thing.

UC: Don’t forget the card!

You watch Peter go up and play with the device you put in his room, the floating head of Petey still following him. You’re very much relieved that the little bird’s okay, for whatever the hell passes as okay right now. Peter looks like he’s about to be sick, though.

“Kyrianne, the cookies are finished,” your mom says.
“I’m kind of busy here mom!” you yell back.
“Sure you could spare half a minute for me?”
You sigh, as loud as you possibly can to make sure she hears it, then get up and walk to the kitchen. “Alright mom, I’m he-“
You find yourself rudely interrupted as something round flies right past you and buries itself in the wall behind you. You immediately take cover behind the doorway and notice that the round object still stuck in the wall is, in fact, a cookie.

“What the fuck mom?!”
This is answered by another cookie flying in your general direction.
“Are you insane?!”
“That’s not a nice thing to say to your mother, and no, I’m not.”
“Then what the hell is this?”
“I have to make sure you’re ready.”
“Ready for what!?”
“For the trials of the game.”
“And that involves throwing cookies at me!?”
Apparently, it does, because there are now three stuck in the wall.

Well, that just about does it. You grab your awesomely epic toy scythe and get ready to fight your mother in a duel to the death.

Well, okay, maybe you’re not going that far. You hope she isn’t too serious about this.

And that she’s ready to get her ass handed to her on one of her silver plates.

You sneak up to the corner of the door and try to take a peek.
“I can still hear you,” she says. Well, so much for that plan. Time for a different approach.
“How do you have cookies that stick into walls?”
“Family recipe, dear, I might teach you one day.”
“Can you even eat those?”
Crunch. Great, they’re crunchy cookies, even. You hate those things. “They taste really nice, actually.” She’d say that.

Wait for it. Crunch and you’re around the corner, rushing behind the table before she gets a chance to react.

“That was pretty smart of you,” your mother says and you are half tempted to say ‘thank you’ before you remember that she really is supposed to be your enemy here. Crunch. “Although you’ve kind of trapped yourself behind that table.”
“Yeah, but you can’t get to me, unless you want a scythe in your body.” Okay, that actually sounded pretty bad-ass.
“So we’re locked in an epic stalemate.” Crunch. “Luckily, I’ve got food to keep me alive.” Fuck.
Or, maybe not. “Yeah, and when you run out of food, you run out weapons.” Crunch. “That’s why most people don’t use their weapons as food. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Art of War somewhere.”

It’s quiet, then. For a long time, even, only broken by your mom’s constant crunches.

“Now what?”
That is a very good question, actually. “Uhm? You could give up, I guess?” you suggest.
“While I have you pinned down?”
“Yeah?”
“How are you going to talk me into that?”
“Because I’m your daughter and you should be nice to me?”
Crunch.
“Yeah, I didn’t think that would work.”

“You could give up,” your mother says.
“Would you let me?”
“That’s a good point.” Crunch. “How many cookies do I have left, Kyrianne?”
“How should I know?”
“Wait, you weren’t paying attention?”
“I was kind of busy dodging them, actually.” Okay, three in the wall. At least nine crunches, which probably means she has eaten four and a half, or something. That’s eight gone. “How many did you make?”
“I could say eight.” Crunch. “But then you’d know I’m lying.”
Well, that’s just great. She could be lying, anyway.
“Ten.” More like twelve, then.

Huh, knowing you can’t trust someone is actually kind of refreshing. Let’s see where you can go with this. Sneak closer? That sure as hell didn’t work last time. Charge out there like an idiot? Actually that might not really be a bad idea.

After all, your mom would never see it coming.

The first cookie misses you completely and by the time she can grab the second one your scythe has connected with her plate and sent all remaining ones flying. There were, in fact, three left. You stand in triumph before the plate itself connects with your face and you fall to the ground.

“That fucking hurt, mom!” you say, rubbing your cheek.
“You haven’t won until you’ve won, Kyrianne,” your mom replies in what is probably the most cryptic bullshit you have ever heard and you’ve been talking to DI and yeah maybe she’s right. “Now let’s get you something to cool that.”

A little while later, you’re sitting at the table with a bag of ice against your cheek. It has stopped hurting, at least.
“That didn’t go half bad, did it?” your mom says.
“Easy for you to say,” you shoot back. “You’re not hurt.”
“Well, you ruined a couple of really good cookies.”
Crunch. Okay, so with milk they might even be good cookies.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, mom.”
“Then I’m wrong in thinking you’ve got a friend that’s-“ You don’t even hear the rest of it.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 12:59 --

AD: UC?
AD: Ky?
AD: are you there?
AD: come on!
AD: Peters meteor just hit and hes not answering
AD: that sounds really stupid
AD: please tell me youre still here?

UC: Oh God I’m so sorry.
AD: is he okay?
AD: please tell me he’s okay.

UC: Hold on let me check.

You switch to your SBURB window and see Peter’s house, perfectly fine.

UC: Are you sure the meteor hit?
AD: yeah im sure the dot went red
AD: im not stupid

UC: Im just saying his house is a-ok
AD: ok
AD: how do you know that

UC: Because I can see it.
AD: you can see his house?
UC: That’s what I just said, yeah.
AD: how?
UC: Ugh listen explaining this to you right now is going to take way too long
AD: Why does everyone keep telling me that?
UC: Can you just connect to me as a server player while I check up on him?
UC: It’ll be a lot easier that way.

AD: finally!
AD: you got it.

ES: Okay, I got a totem.
ES: UC?
ES: Ky? You there?
ES: Great.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] is now an idle chum! –
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?

He probably isn’t, then. Damnit.

Well, you might as well get connected to Thijs, since he sounds like he hasn’t had the best day either.

UC: i can’t talk to him either.
AD: shit
AD: i connected to you
AD: now what?

UC: Hold on I have to press enter.

After you do so, you notice that absolutely nothing changes on your end, but you’re sure things have changed on his.

AD: what is this
AD: is that you?

You turn around and wave at the empty sky, but you know he can see it, at least.

AD: what
AD: the fuck

UC: Welcome to SBURB
AD: how
UC: get used to it, it’s going to get a lot worse from here on out
AD: no, seriously, how can I see you?
AD: what the hell is this?

UC: oh man
UC: Do you want the short or the long version?

AD: i want the make this make sense version
UC: I’m afraid that one hasn’t been written yet.
UC: But I’ll try.

AD: is there a camera there or something?
UC: nope.
AD: then what?
UC: It’s the game, obviously
UC: You are officially playing now.
UC: And that means you can change stuff in my house.

AD: i can what
UC: But don’t do that yet, seriously.
UC: There are a couple of important things you need to drop in my house.

AD: what
AD: slow down

UC: not happening.
UC: I don’t know how it works, I just know that it works and that it’s important.
UC: So you’re going to do what I tell you because I have experience.

AD: but what youre asking me to do is impossible
UC: Is there a Dutch gene that makes this so hard for you to wrap your head around or is it just the two of you?
AD: whats wrong with you?
AD: calm down

UC: Sorry, okay?
UC: It’s just that Peter is in trouble and you’re bitching about reality again
UC: can you please just do what I told you and drop those things in my house?
UC: I really don’t feel like listening to a this is impossible! rant again, okay?

AD: ok
AD: peter did that too?

UC: You have no idea.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Right.

You can do this.

Everything is absolutely fine. Peter’s alive, but currently not talking to you, but you can deal with that. That’s okay.

Kyrianne is doing absolutely fine as you can clearly see and oh god why can you see her? What is wrong with reality? Are you dreaming? You have to be dreaming because this isn’t happening.

The universe doesn’t just stop working because you decide to play a game. Or at least it sure as hell shouldn’t have.

You have already managed to enlarge Kyrianne’s room to three times its original size, disappeared the kitchen table into wherever the hell things go when you put them in the Phernalia Registry and there are now at least two walls where previously there were none.

You have yet to deploy anything you really need to deploy, much to the annoyance of your client player.

UC: Thijs what are you doing?
AD: im trying really hard to get rid of this wall
AD: but i just keep putting other walls around it

UC: well stop it!
UC: youre using all our grist

AD: weve got like 30 left
AD: well be fine

UC: Thats bullshit
UC: Peter had only twenty

AD: well i started with fifty
AD: i guess we get more with every new player or something?
AD: that makes sense right

UC: yes it does
AD: great
UC: now get to deploying my stuff will you?
AD: sure thing

You put down the Cruxtruder in the now enlarged room, although Ky’s bed slightly disagrees, ditch the Alchemiter where the kitchen table used to be and then put the Totem Lathe in the hallway because why the hell not? Well, that was pretty damn easy.

Oh, hey, look, someone else is bothering you again.

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 21:13 --

TR: Hey AD
AD: hey
TR: Dude, do you think you can help me out?
AD: sure
AD: whats up?

TR: This game is up
AD: oh right
AD: do you have a server and client player yet

TR: Hell no
TR: Hell no and I’m not going to
TR: Why does everyone keep assuming I’m actually playing?
TR: First ES blows me off and then KM keeps bugging me
TR: I try to politely tell her to piss off but she’s not really good at taking hints

AD: what are you even talking about
AD: have you looked outside yet?

TR: Yeah, there’s fucking meteors coming.
TR: I told her that too.
TR: It’s bullshit that you guys want to play a game during a meteor shower.

AD: dude
AD: talk to DI
AD: im not very good at telling you any of this
AD: and i dont have the time

TR: I am not talking to DI
TR: She’s full of shit and she doesn’t like me.
TR: So no.
TR: And what are you so busy with?

AD: im saving UCs life
TR: Youre what?
AD: saving her life
AD: im also systematically destroying reality
AD: so im really busy

TR: Okay
TR: I get it now
TR: You’re just playing a prank on me
TR: This is intercontinental mess-with-TR-day

AD: im not kidding
TR: You guys are playing a game during a meteor shower and youre acting like its the most important thing ever
TR: Someone would think you have higher priorities!

AD: yeah thats great
AD: listen i really dont have time for this right now
AD: talk to someone else about how you can save the human race

TR: What.
TR: The fuck.
TR: Are you going on about?
TR: Have all of you guys fucking lost it?
TR: We’re about to die here!

AD: so play the godamn game already!
TR: Yeah, fuck that.
TR: I’m going to talk to RV.

AD: whatever

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 21:16 --

David is way better at handling this than you are anyway, so whatever, that’ll work out just fine. You’ve got way bigger things to deal with anyway. Like saving your own skin.

AD: done
AD: hello?

UC: Peter was talking to me
UC: he isn’t doing very well.

AD: tell him to unblock me
UC: He blocked you?
AD: yeah
AD: whats going on with him

UC: Well his family died and he’s broken up about it
AD: oh
AD: I feel kind of like a dick now.

UC: I know.
UC: It’s okay though, I’ll tell him to unblock you when he gets back
UC: also he told me to tell you to stop doing anything for a while

AD: gets back from what?
AD: what’s he doing?

UC: Helping us, I guess.
UC: But he said he’d be back soon and then I saw him running upstairs.
UC: Then there was another flash of light so I guess something important happened.

AD: cool
AD: so what do i do now?

UC: we wait.
UC: Maybe you can find yourself a server already.

AD: yeah maybe
AD: i think ill go talk to my sister first though
AD: see whats going on with her

UC: watch out so she doesn’t attack you.
AD: what?
UC: My mom attacked me with cookies.
UC: That’s not hyperbole for anything.

AD: what does math have to do with cookies?
UC: I meant figure of speech.
AD: oh, right.
AD: why would she attack me

UC: To test you.
AD: yeah, that doesn’t sound creepy at all
AD: but fine, ill go check.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 21:20 --

You are not entirely sure what she’s going on about, but you’re not taking any chances at the moment and, as such, grab your bb gun and leave your room.

Your house is earily quiet right now, but it usually is when only your sister is around. She likes her silence, you guess. It’s pretty unnerving that she tends to make absolutely no noise whatsoever. The lights are all out, too. Lovely. Luckily you know your way around the place pretty well and you don’t trip over anything.

“Sis?” you call, once you get downstairs. “What are you doing?” You are, of course, not afraid in the least.
“Do you know what’s going to happen soon?” You hear her voice from, well, somewhere. You never did figure out how the hell she did that.
“When the meteor hits?”
“Yes.”
“People are going to die, I guess?” That does not sound at all good when you say it like that.
“True, but who will die?” she asks. “That’s important.”
You stand in silence, realisation slowly dawning on you.
“Let me put it this way,” she continues. “When the meteor gets here, what happens to us?”
“We go away? Peter survived somehow, right?”
“He did, but who didn’t?”

Okay. Your parents are going to die. Your friends are going to die and everyone else you know is going to die. Fuck.
“Is there a way to save them?”
“Maybe. I don’t know the game that well. “
“How do you know the game at all?”
“I’m here to help.”
“That’s great. You’re sounding like DI right now.”
“It’s my job.”
“What else is in your job description?” you ask, getting ever so slightly annoyed at her.
“Listen, you’re going to have to get used to having a lot of different sources telling you a lot of vague things. I can’t tell you everything that you’re going to go through, because you’re the one that has to go through it.”

That makes sense. Or, at least, it sounds like it makes sense.
“This game is all about personal challenges and figuring things out on your own. I’m just here to help you along a little.”
“How long’ve you know this?”
“For about as long as I could remember.”
“What?”
“You’ll find out. We have more important things to take care of first.”
“Like?”

She doesn’t tell you. She attacks you instead. Your sister wields a katana, as she always does, but she doesn’t hit you with that. Instead she just hits your shoulder, before disappearing again, letting you know what’s going on. How thoughtful of her.

You draw your BB gun and look around, your eyes having gotten used to the darkness a bit by now.
“So you’re going to try and kill me now?”
“If you suck so bad I might have to,” she says, and you’re pretty sure you know where it’s coming from.
“Thanks for the confidence in my abilities.”
“I’m not expecting to have-”
There! You fire at her and she stops talking.

For a bit. “That wasn’t even close.” She was somewhere different now.
“Is that how you’re going to fight me?”
“You sound surprised.”
“Do I?”
She jumps out from behind the table you were aiming at. You assume it’s her, anyway, it’s not like you can hear her do anything. You raise your rifle and fire and then she’s gone. You’re pretty sure you hit her. Well, you’re pretty sure the shot would’ve hit her if it wasn’t actually aimed at her.

“Did you ever think we’re taking this sibling rivalry a bit too far?” she asks and you can’t help but laugh.
“Maybe. It’s not like there’s anything expensive left for us to destroy.”
“I don’t think there’s anything cheap left, either.” She sounds cheerful and, more importantly, close.
She shows herself, almost looking as if she appeared out of thin air right next to you, swinging her blade, but, instead of hitting your throat, you manage to make it hit your rifle. The impact makes you drop it to the ground and a well-placed shove sends you joining it.

She walks over, ready to swing her katana at you again, but you kick at her legs and her momentum carries her forward, the tip of the blade sticking in the floorboards next to your head as she tries to prevent herself from falling on top of you.

You roll away and get up, looking for your rifle and finding it to be missing from the living room floor.
“Looking for this?” your sister asks, katana in one hand, rifle in the other, both pointed at you.
You raise your arms in surrender. “Did I suck bad enough?”
“Almost.” She smiles and throws you your weapon. “Now go enjoy your life while it lasts.”
“You’re being very cheerful today.”
“I’m just our little ray of sunshine, aren’t I?”

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 21:27 --

AD: so my sister attacked me
UC: I told you so.
AD: I kicked her ass
AD: it was awesome.
AD: any news on your end?

UC: Peter is talking to his dead bird.
AD: hes doing what now?
UC: Talking
UC: to his dead bird.

AD: okay.
AD: is that the bird you killed?

UC: Yes, Thijs, it is the bird I killed.
AD: doesnt that sound weird to you?
UC: Nope.
UC: Should it?

AD: whats gotten into you?
UC: why don’t you take a look for yourself?
AD: what?
UC: My plushies.
UC: You ripped off Ravioli’s paw.

AD: I had to move something to make room
AD: also how did you not see that before?

UC: maybe that was because I was a bit busy with other things.
UC: Like fixing an emotional crisis.

AD: are you mad at me?
UC: I thought that was pretty much clear by now.
AD: im sorry Ky
AD: ill buy you a new one

UC: That’s not exactly what I was expecting as an apology, but fine.
AD: im going to find a way to make this up to you
AD: until then
AD: what are we doing?

UC: We’re not doing anything at the moment.
UC: You might want to look into connecting to your server, however.

AD: Oh, right.
AD: about that
AD: TR doesn’t want to play

UC: Why not?
AD: we’re playing a game while the world is ending and he thinks we should deal with more important things first
UC: Really?
AD: hold on, I still have the logs
AD: TR: You guys are playing a game during a meteor shower and youre acting like its the most important thing ever
AD: TR: Someone would think you have higher priorities!
AD: hes talking to RV right now

UC: That should work out just fine then.
UC: Anyway, good luck.

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 21:34 --

Well, more waiting.

You wonder who you could still ask to be your server...

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 21:34 --

DI: Hi there.

Chapter Text

Your name is Willow Wolf. An odd name, but you wear it with pride. People tend to like your outgoing nature, your sense of humour and your laid back attitude. Some are just drawn to you because of your large chest. You call them your best friends. The people, not your chest.

You have a natural talent when it comes to singing, and a passion for writing. You are a Chef in the making, and you specialize in baking. You're a pescatarian, and Pagan. People don't always see it by the way you act, but you're a very intelligent person. You enjoy people watching, and reading all about psychology.

You are between jobs right now, but that gives you lots of time to destroy any chance at a romantic life by delving deeply into video games. Namely World of Warcraft where you are currently a level 68 Night Elf Druid. You love horror movies, the more gore the better, and you are a die-hard zombie fanatic. You've had a zombie survival plan since your freshman year of High School.

You have a high tolerance for alcohol and you love a good brawl. This comes from the Scottish and Irish parts of your bloodline. Something you take great pride in. Your chat client handle is DrunknIrish for a reason. You want people to know two important things about you right away, and besides, LdyGudHead was already taken.

Today’s a special day. You’ve been dreaming about this day for a long, long time. Your dreams are not entirely the normal sort. They take place on a golden planet and everything they show you happens at some point. As such, you knew about this game and the people playing it for a very long time.

You have your own role to play, of course. You’re special in this regard as well. You do not get something everyone else does, but you get your visions in return. Man, out of all the doomsday scenarios, this is the one that’s true. You’d say you would never have guessed it, if you hadn’t already known it was true a long, long time ago.

You have your own place in this mess. It’s place number four, if numbers count.

AD: hey DI
AD: i was just about to ask you something

DI: Isn’t that convenient?
DI: Go ahead and ask.
DI: The answer’s yes, by the way.

AD: do you want to be my server?
AD: Oh, right.
AD: i should’ve asked something completely different just to mess with your future seeing powers

DI: But then I would’ve known you did that and I would have said something different.
DI: You cannot change the future, Thijs.

AD: yeah yeah
AD: so connect to me already
AD: i’m bored waiting for UC to finishing waiting for ES

DI: You’re not going to get in before she does, you know.
AD: i know but come on!
AD: give me something to do!

DI: Oh keep your pants on.
DI: I’ll connect to you already.
DI: So yes, please do keep your pants on.
DI: There are things I really don’t need to see.

AD: see, I was going to say something like
AD: who do you think i am?
AD: and then give you the name of one of our friends
AD: but i dont think any of them would do that
AD: so that joke didn’t really work.

DI: UC might.
DI: OL is more probable, though.

AD: goddamnit DI I did not need to think about that
AD: at all
AD: also why are you so jokey all of a sudden?
AD: you werent before

DI: Are you having a crisis that you don’t know how to solve?
AD: well, no
DI: So I can be as jokey as I want without being insensitive.
DI: Comedy is timing, Thijs.
DI: You’ll learn.

AD: hey, how long does it take for a fortune teller to press a button?
DI: I don’t know, how long?
AD: Five minutes, apparently, because you still havent connected to me
DI: That was a good one.
DI: Let me get right on that.

You press a button and connect to your Dutch client player. Keeping sleeping synchronised is going to be a bitch, you realise. Damn timezones. Well, it looks like someone else demands your attention. How unexpected.

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] began pestering drunknIrish [DI] at 15:42 –

OL: willow
OL: you know about the game
OL: like what we’re supposed to do and stuff
OL: that’s a statement not a question

DI: So the question I’m waiting for is still coming, then?
OL: yeeeeeeeah
OL: what are we supposed to do and stuff

DI: We are going to destroy our planet, escape to an alternate dimension and become better versions of ourselves by finishing personalised quests.
OL: that’s great and all but that doesn’t really tell me anything
OL: I need more intel
OL: about the mechanics
OL: and how to play

DI: Nobody told you?
OL: lol no
OL: ES asked me to play and I was all like lol sure and he said k cool and that was it

DI: Talk about brilliant communication skills.
OL: haha I know
OL: and ky’s busy messing with his mind like a boss right now so I wasn’t going to ask him
OL: so now I’m asking you

DI: Well then, I might as well explain this to you.
DI: The eight of us play in one session, and we all connect to each other in a chain, everyone takes the role of server and client.
DI: So Kyrianne connected to Peter and became his server, while he became her client.

OL: uh huh
DI: The server can change things in the clients house and drop a couple of things you need to actually get into the game.
OL: so when you connect you’re pretty much just playing the tutorial?
DI: Yes.
OL: cool
DI: And when you’re in your quest starts, but I’m not spoiling anything for you.
OL: screw spoilers
OL: I want to know

DI: Sorry, I can’t tell you anything.
OL: awwwwwwww
OL: please?
OL: :(

DI: Nope.
OL: well I tried
OL: I guess that means I’m off to find a server and a client

DI: Good luck!
OL: end of the world here I come!

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] ceased pestering drunknIrish [DI] at 15:45 –

Talking to OL can be a bit exhausting sometimes. She’s rather full of energy and getting a word in edgewise is difficult at the best of times. How she manages that in text is completely beyond you, but you’ll just chalk it up to her personal skill set.

Your room’s a bit strange, since it has been decorated for the purpose of playing the game itself and for entertaining you while you were waiting for it to start. It hasn’t been a bad wait, what with the generally large amount of horror movies and video games stocked on the shelves. You also have your wands. They don’t do anything yet, mind you, but you know what to do to make them have just that little spark.

As previously mentioned in a conversation with Kyrianne, you do not know everything. In fact, there are way too many things you don’t know yet. The clouds saw fit to inform you of the first day in an almost ridiculous detail, but let almost everything else remain a mystery. One of those unknowns has also been talking to you for quite a while. He’s generally not very nice company.

-- unbelievableGenius [UG] began pestering drunknIrish [DI] at 15:48 –

UG: HEllO WilLOw
DI: Oh hey.
DI: Look who decided to talk to me again.

UG: rEAllY TheRE’s nO ReaSOn tO Be hOStiLE
UG: yoU KnoW I’m nOT thE Bad Guy iN ThiS SceNAriO

DI: Oh please, I know what you’re going to be doing.
DI: You’re as much of a bad guy as the actual bad guys.

UG: You ARe gIVinG Me eNTirELy tOO muCH crEDit
UG: YOu aLReaDY knOW whO’S goINg tO CauSE moST of YOur PRobLEms
UG: ANd iT Isn’T Me
UG: i HAveN’T evEN taLKed TO hiM Yet

DI: Really?
DI: You could’ve fooled me, with how much you already know.
DI: And you could at least try to stop him.

UG: SO coULd yOU
DI: He wouldn’t listen to me.
UG: oh YEs aND he WOulD LisTEn tO Me
UG: mY HanDS arE JusT As tIEd
UG: pREdeSTinATioN SucKS doESn’t IT

DI: At least I already know you’re going to fail.
DI: Annoying as you might be.

UG: haHA no YOu dON’t
UG: yOU dON’t eVEn kNOw mY GoaLS
UG: thIS isN’T a sIMplE GamE Of wINniNG or LOsiNG
UG: noT WhiLE i’m ARouND

DI: That leaves me with another question.
DI: I don’t really expect an answer, since you’re very fond of not giving any.
DI: But why?

UG: yoU’Ll gET onE ThiS TimE BecAUse I’M feELinG GenERouS
DI: Oh joy.
UG: You WOulD LosE If i DIdn’T
DI: Really?
UG: Yes
DI: That’s complete bullshit and you know it.
DI: You’re not doing this for us.

UG: INdeED i’m NOt
DI: So what do you get out of this ridiculous complication of yours?
UG: i’M Not TEllINg yOU
UG: yoU AskED foR An aNSweR And I GavE You ONe

DI: Do you want to know what I think?
UG: nOT paRTicULarLY buT You’RE goINg tO TelL Me aNYwaY
DI: I think you’re just being mysterious for the sake of being mysterious.
DI: You don’t even have a plan, do you?
DI: Because that would be rather characteristic of you.

UG: OkaY
UG: You CAn gO On tHInkINg tHAt

DI: What, that’s it?
DI: No selfish boasting about how I know nothing?

UG: tHAt wOUld BE a wASte OF tiME
UG: anD I woULd bE TelLIng YOu mORe tHAn i WAnt TO teLL yoU

DI: I really thought that would’ve worked, mind you.
DI: That was quite clever.

UG: HahA
UG: FlaTTerINg mE Won’T WorK EitHEr bUT thANks ANywAY

DI: You are most welcome.
DI: But I’m sure you are busy with whatever you’re doing, so I’ll leave you to it.

UG: yoUR coNCerN For MY buSIneSS is NOteD And APprECiaTEd
UG: gOOdbYE wiLLow

-- unbelievableGenius [UG] ceased pestering drunknIrish [DI] at 15:57 –

He is, in fact, terrible company. You think you know who he is, finally, but you’re not entirely sure yet and you’re not going to waste any time on speculations.

Instead, you endeavour to get set up properly for this game. You’ve connected to Thijs already, which means you simply need a server player.

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 16:00 –

DI: Hey David.
RV: I was wondering what was taking you so long
DI: Man, I hope you weren’t bored without me.
RV: Nah, I had great company
RV: TR’s been keeping me busy

DI: Oh, yes, great company, right there.
RV: Totally
DI: I want to ask you something.
RV: That doesn’t surprise me
RV: You also know the answer already, I’m guessing?

DI: Yes.
DI: I’m going to screw with causality for a bit and tell you your answer first.

RV: Hey, it’s not like I’m going to be stopping you
DI: The answer is ‘yes’.
RV: Well, now you definitely have me interested
RV: What’s the question?

DI: Will you be my server player?
RV: Wow
RV: That almost sounds like a marriage proposal

DI: It does, doesn’t it?
RV: But yeah, I’ll be your server player
RV: What do I need to do?

DI: Connect to me.
DI: I’ll guide you through the process from there.

RV: Convenient
RV: At least one of us knows what she’s doing

DI: I am totally in the loop on what I should be doing.
DI: Somehow I can’t quite manage to get others inside before they have to go through everything, though.

RV: I take it that’s part of the fun?
DI: Oh, yes.
RV: Connecting

Chapter Text

That seriously needs to stop happening.

Your eyes are hurting like you wouldn’t believe and it would really be nice if this game would at least warn you before casting ‘Flare’ like some idiot who just discovered he can do magic.

I hate this game.

Well, that was nice to know, really. It wasn’t as if that was new information to you in any way whatsoever.

You are somewhat curious as to what the hell caused that flash this time, but then there’s the writing on your wall and-

Go downstairs.

Okay, that settles that. The very helpful voice in your head is now apparently making your decisions for you. Excellent.

Wait, no it isn’t. You stop halfway down the stairs and ask the voice in your head just who the hell it thinks it is. You don’t get an answer for a while, until-

Go downstairs.

You’ve taken three steps already before you stop. “Who are you?”

Go downstairs.

“No.”

Why are you so difficult?

“Who are you?”

I can’t read lips and this thing doesn’t have any sound. Talk to your dead bird first and then find another way to talk to me.

Well, that was surprisingly helpful. You can at least reason that it’s not a voice in your head if it can’t hear you. That still doesn’t mean you know what it is, though, which is annoying. If it has the ability to make you make decisions and do other things you should at least know just what it is. Preferably so you can find a way to stop it, of course, but let’s not get ahead of yourself.

By the time you get downstairs, a trip that has now proven completely pointless (although you took the dragon with you anyway, just in case), you find that some more Glass Imps (which you know because you already ran into them and most certainly not because the game is telling you their names) have entered your living room.

“Mental note,” you say. Out loud, because why the hell not? “Keep the door closed. Actually, keep it locked at all times.” These creatures might just be crafty. In which case... “Also find an alarm system so you know when these things get in.”

This is about all the monologuing the Imps allow you before attacking and you hastily get your staff out of your Strife Specibus. The bird-like imps attack with their talons and seem to hold conventions of battle in a very low regard. That is, they don’t attack one by one, but instead attack three at a time.

Granted, they’re small, don’t have any weapons and you’ve got what amounts to a big stick and you’re able to take two of them down with one swipe, causing one of them to explode in a bunch of grist and the other to be badly wounded. You dodge the third and, before it can turn around, you smash its head against the wall.

Right, now where was the last on-OH GOD DAMNIT THAT HURT!

You can now say with absolute certainty that you know exactly what a talon scratching your back feels like. You keep that in mind as a silver lining as you turn around with your eyes practically burning to smash this final pest to join its brethren in whatever afterlife these horribly mutated game structures get.

After that little psychotic episode, but before you can collect all your well-earned grist, you hear the sound of someone singing. This curious phenomenon demands investigation. After you have, in fact, gotten your grist.

Once you enter your kitchen again, you find that the source of the singing is your bird. Except it isn’t. It’s still a bird, obviously, but at the same time it’s also, well, not.

It still has a beak, but there’s a mostly human face hiding behind it. It still had talons and wings, but most of the body was human. Actually, calling it ‘it’, was rather unfair. The harpy was clearly female. You also recognised the song as being ‘This is Halloween’, because this really was not creepy enough yet.

“-the who when they call who’s there,” she said.
“Uhm.” Yes, well, there wasn’t any way your brain was going to produce a conversational gem in this state.
“Finally,” she says, looking surprisingly happy. For a bird-woman. “I was wondering what was taking you so long.”
“Three minutes is long?”
“You counted?” She looks amused by this, if slightly confused.
“You didn’t?”
“Chirp.”

You’re fairly certain she actually just said that. It wasn’t a chirping noise, it was actually the word ‘chirp’. What.
“What the hell is going on?”
“I’m part elf, part bird now. It really feels rather strange.”
“Okay.” What the hell else are you supposed to say to that?
“Being able to speak with you is nice, though.” She looks at you with a smile you might consider slightly condescending if you could read faces better. Bird-woman faces are way out of your league.
“I’m going to guess the larger brain capacity is, too,” you say, instead.
“I could do without.”
“Really?”
“Yes. The game told me everything I need to tell you, but with my new found intelligence I already know you aren’t going to take a word of it seriously.”

You have the vague idea that you should be offended by this, but instead you just think this game sucks at persuading people if it can’t make whatever’s going on sound plausible.
“But you’re my game guide, right?”
“I’m a source of information. You have a few of them.”
That sounds familiar. “Like the voice in my head?”
“Yes, like that one. However you shouldn’t take everything you hear seriously. Not everyone knows everything they think they know.”
“So they might be lying to me and they might be misinformed themselves?”
Peteysprite nods. Come to think of it, you might have to consider calling her something different, because Peteysprite is a really-
“Chirp.” Well, that quite effectively derailed that train of thought. It’s currently crashing through your mind and it leaves another tangent in its wake.

“Okay, what makes you different?”
“Well, I’m going to tell you up front that I am not allowed by the game to tell you everything until it thinks you’re ready to hear it.”
“Thanks for being honest, I guess.” It’s not like you expected anything less out of a mysterious game guide. “So what can you tell me?”
“I am going to be the one to guide you in your travels through The Medium.” You can practically hear the capitals.
“What’s the Medium?” And you instantly feel stupid for asking such a pedestrian question. Asking questions often makes you feel dumb and incompetent, even though it really shouldn’t and not asking those questions would actually leave you incompetent due to your ignorance.

Peteysprite doesn’t notice your struggle with this simple question, or pretends she doesn’t, and answers. “The Medium is where you currently are. The Medium is part of The Incipisphere and I can only tell you about one other part until you-” She seems to falter and then looks rather confused for a moment. “Until you’ve... accomplished more.” She says eventually, looking vaguely uncomfortable with herself.
“What is the one you can tell me about, then?”
“What?”
“You said there was one thing in The Incipisphere - I can’t believe I pronounced that right on my first try - you could tell me about?”
“Oh, yes, Skaia.” She speaks the word with awe.

“It lies above The Medium, beyond The Seven Gates. Legend has it that it holds unlimited creative potential.” And she’s lost in her own world again.
“And, of course, you can’t tell me what that means,” you say.
“Chirp.” Okay, that is seriously getting on your nerves.
“Tell me, how long does something have to exist for it to become legend?”
“I have no idea, but I don’t think that’s the question you want to ask,” she says, sounding a lot smarter than you gave her credit for.
“How long has this place existed? Did it start existing when I got here or was it always prepared for my arrival?”
“That’s a really good question.” She smiles. And then she keeps on smiling while not actually answering your question.

“Let me guess, you can’t tell me?”
“That is correct!” she chirps happily.
“Okay, fine.” You can tell this is going to be a really tedious conversation. What a shocker. “Also ‘unlimited creative potential’?”
“I can’t tell you-”
“Yes, I know you can’t tell me what it means,” you interrupt her, quite annoyed, “but ‘unlimited’? Really? That’s a pretty high bar it sets for itself, isn’t it? I mean, you’re not going to get any more ambitious than ‘unlimited’.” You are vaguely aware you are getting somewhat irate. “How do you even know it’s unlimited? Just because you haven’t found its limit doesn’t mean it’s unlimited! It just means you haven’t reached its limit yet! How do you quantify ‘creative potential’, anyway? That’s not even a-”
“Chirp.” And that’s the end of that particular rant. You focus on her, instead.
“Also, please stop doing that.”
“I’m a bird, what do you want from me?” She does have a point.

“Anyway, since this is such an important entity, forces of darkness will, naturally, want to destroy it, while forces of light will want to protect it.”
“And dark is evil. What a shocker.” You’re so glad you found a use for that phrase.
“They have been fighting in and over Skaia for a very long time, locked in an everlasting stalemate. Everlasting insofar as it would’ve lasted forever if you hadn’t shown up.” Somehow that does not sound in any way angry, even though it really should have, considering what she actually said.
“What did I do wrong this time?” That, at least, confuses her, although you quickly resolve never to do that on purpose again, because she actually looks really hurt.

She shakes her head and goes back to her standard expression of vague amusement. “When you got here, you saw the kernelsprite splitting, one piece floating up and one floating down. That meant that the Kernel hatched, which happens automatically on your arrival. One floated down to the dark kingdom and one floated up to the light one. They settled in an orb on top of one of the Eight Spires. Once that happens, the war really begins. Light versus Dark, good versus evil. Light will lose this war.”
“And I couldn’t have not done that? Such as by not throwing you into the kernelsprite to begin with?”
“That would have been much more terrible than this.”
“So the game is blaming me for saving my life? Good to know we’re on the same page here.”

She dutifully ignores your cynical comment and continues expositing. “Since you prototyped with your bird- that is, me- every underling you will be fighting will have those properties.”
“I turned all of my enemies in to birds?” That’s actually pretty funny.
“Chirp.”
“So what am I supposed to do here? If the bad guys are going to win, what’s the point?”
“I didn’t say Dark would win. I just said Light would lose.”
You give her a blank stare and she continues.
“You have to discover your purpose for yourself by undertaking the journey that will start by going through the First Gate, which is currently right above your house.”
“And I have to fly up there?”
“No, you build!”

You take a while to collect your thoughts. It is a long while. You are going to have to build with materials that you get from killing enemies. These materials are then somehow stored somewhere and Kyrianne has access to them and will allow you to build your house from her computer on another planet. Right. Makes perfect sense.

“Was that all?”
“You have a long way ahead of you, Peter. Some of it, you will enjoy, other parts, not so much.”
“I sincerely doubt that,” you say, in a tone of voice that suggests you’re actually starting to go a bit insane in a giddy way. You begin walking back to your computer before remembering something. “Hey, what do I call you now? I’ve been calling you Peteysprite in my head but that doesn’t really seem appropriate right now.”
“Peteysprite’ll do, don’t worry.”
“Thank you. I’m going to talk to a voice in my head.”
“Have fun.”

You sit down at your computer and ignore the blinking pesterchum bar for now, as difficult as it is, and open a word file instead. You begin to type.

Can you see this?
Yes I can.
Awesome. Hello.
Hello.
What did you want to tell me?
What to do.
Why?
I am supposed to, but you are not listening to me.
Of course not. I only listen to voices in my head when I’m the one voicing them.
This was a really bad idea.
Wait! Don’t go yet!
What do you want?
Peteysprite said you could help me.
I can. I am supposed to tell you what to do, when the time to do so is right. You are not supposed to be able to resist.
Well, no offence, but that sounds like mind control and I’ve kind of had it with mind control.
I had gathered that. So, instead I am left giving suggestions like a helpless advisor.
Suggestions would be a lot better than what you’ve been doing so far. Maybe you should try it.
I do not think so.

You groan in frustration. This source of information is not doing anything at all for you.

If you’re here to help me, at least try. I’m too smart or stubborn to be mind controlled. So be nice. How does a voice in my head have mind control anyway? Shouldn’t I be able to do it?
No. I am not a voice in your head.
Then what, pray tell, are you?
I am from the future.

I think I’m done talking to you, goodbye.

You switch over to the pesterchum window, where you discover that Kyrianne has been pestering you for a while now.

UC: there’s nothing wrong with the time at the top of this chat
UC: Pick the dragon!
UC: no, seriously
UC: dragons are cool
UC: okay never mind you have a harpy now.
UC: Also, I just realised I’m rambling to you even though you won’t get this until you’re back.
UC: Thijs is getting annoyed though.
UC: You should unblock him
UC: what are you even doing?

ES: Hey.
UC: hello
UC: was your new harpy of any help?

ES: Yes, actually.
ES: As helpful as I expected her to be, anyway.
ES: It turns out that whatever you throw into your kernelsprite affects your enemies.
ES: So make sure to be careful with what you throw in there.
ES: Everything else was just backstory that isn’t important in saving your life.
ES: Also, I’ll unblock Thijs now.

UC: alright that sounds like a good idea.
UC: Who were you talking to just now?

ES: A voice in my head.
ES: Wow, that sounds completely crazy.
ES: Never mind.

UC: no, go on.
UC: I want to know what’s going on

ES: Well, Peteysprite said that it was supposed to help me.
UC: Peteysprite
ES: That’s her name, just roll with it.
ES: But that voice hasn’t really been helpful to me.
ES: It’s been rather bitchy, actually, and it told me it was from the future.
ES: So I just gave up.

UC: Well, if it’s supposed to help you, you should let it, right?
UC: I mean, you might need it, at some point.

ES: It has to want to help me, first.
ES: I don’t think it does.

UC: oh
UC: that’s kinda sad.

ES: Yeah.
UC: also, you look bad ass swinging your staff around
UC: just saying

ES: Really?
ES: Those spins are pretty much just there to look impressive, rather than for any combat efficiency.

UC: well, that’s working, at least.
ES: Thanks.
ES: I’m going to let you play the game and save your life now.

UC: awesome
UC: ill talk to you once im in, okay?

ES: Okay.
ES: Bye.

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

Chapter Text

Alright then, it’s time to play this game. First you have to open the Cruxtruder to get your cruxite dowel and kernelsprite. There is a convenient little wheel on the side, of course, but turning it doesn’t seem to do anything. Or, rather, it feels like the wheel is jammed. Peter didn’t seem to have much of a problem with it, so maybe Thijs somehow broke it? You doubt that’s what happened, though. He stayed as far away as possible from any of the things he dropped in your house after he did it. Well, time to ask him for help, anyway.

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 12:59 --

UC: Thijs I need your help.
AD: that’s what I’m your server for, right
AD: What do you need?

UC: awesome.
UC: I can’t open my Cruxtruder.
UC: something is stuck.

AD: and now you need me to unstuck it with my reality bending powers?
UC: Pretty much.
AD: well, i’m going to drop your bed on it.
AD: See if that works

UC: stay away from my bed!
UC: You already brutally murdered one of my plushies today!
UC: I will not let you touch another!

AD: see thats a nice idea
AD: but you cant really stop me
AD: MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA

UC: haha
UC: but seriously don’t touch my bed.

AD: alright fine
AD: looks like I need to try something else.
AD: I have an idea!

UC: congratulations!
UC: what is it?

AD: wait and see

Your kitchen table appears above the Cruxtruder and is then let go by the invisible force holding it. You can see the lid move and then there’s a really bright flash, but you wisely averted your eyes already.

AD: looks like it worked
AD: although we lost you kitchen table
AD: sorry about that

And there it is.

The green, pulsating, glowing orb that is your kernelsprite. It looks pretty harmless.

UC: Oh, yeah, by the way, what we prototype it with before we enter the game also decides our enemies.
UC: so choose wisely i guess

AD: is it okay if i prototype with raviolo?
UC: Ravioli.
AD: yes him.
UC: yeah
UC: that’s actually a really good idea!
UC: thanks thijs.

AD: no problem
AD: bright flash incoming

Flash.

AD: Bam, you now have a dog-ghost thing.
UC: Sprite.
AD: Dog-ghost sprite thing
UC: XD
UC: Ravioli-sprite will be the best sprite ever.
UC: The best!
UC: There’s just no contest.

AD: I dont even know what i’m going to throw in it yet
AD: But i’ll find something better than raviolisprite
AD: that sounds like Italian food, anyway.
AD: and italian food sucks.

UC: Oh shut up.
UC: Also, Italian food is awesome.

AD: Well, then your taste also sucks
AD: so there.

UC: Damn.
UC: Looks like you’ve got me

AD: Damn right.
AD: hey what does your timer say

You take a look at your Cruxtruder and see the display tick down to 5:11.

Well, fuck.

UC: I have five minutes to save my life.
AD: isnt that a song
UC: That’s four minutes.
AD: you can wait
UC: :P
UC: Where did you put my stuff?

AD: lathe in the hallway
AD: miter in the kitchen

UC: And the card?
AD: what card
UC: Pre-punched card?
UC: The thing I really need?

AD: let me check
AD: oh
AD: right
AD: oops

UC: Oops what?
UC: Thijs, what did you do?

AD: i think its on your roof
AD: sorry

You’re already gone.

It’s almost impossible to get to your roof, the only option being your clothing line and even that’s a very complicated task.

You run past your mother, who is baking again, and yell “Hi mom. Bye mom,” before realising she’s actually baking. You’d think she’d prioritise.

Then you realise that really isn’t your priority either and by that time, you’re already outside. Suddenly, the inspiration to make a really meaningful quote strikes you.

“Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” - Mahatma Ghandi.

You are certain he said that.

Again, prioritise, damnit.

You take your scythe out of your strife deck, use it to swing on the clothing line and end up on your roof for the first time since, well, forever. The first thing you spot is, indeed, the Pre-punched Card. It looks like a green rose, which you’re sure is meant to signify something but, as you notice when you look up, there’s a meteor coming awfully close.

No time to contemplate anything, then.

You captchalogue and jump down from your roof, miraculously not breaking anything. Once you head back inside, you realise that your mom is missing, but that is not very important right now. She can thank you for saving her life later.

You reach your Totem Lathe and then find that you have to draw the Pre-punched Card on your Pictionary Modus before it pops back in your hand again and you can stick in the Lathe.

Next, you rush over to the Alchemiter, where your Cruxite Dowel is still waiting for you. You would remark on the appropriateness of the term ‘dowel’ in this case, but you notice the timer is down to two and a half minutes and you really don’t have time for this bullshit.

You clam the Dowel in the Lathe, press a button (it turns out it really doesn’t matter which button you press, they all do the same thing) and watch your Totem get carved very quickly.

You then run to the kitchen with the Totem, being very careful not to Captchalogue the damn thing, since you really don’t want to have to draw that exact shape. You place the Totem on the Alchemiter, the laser reads it and a green pot appears on the large circle of the Alchemiter. Out of this pot grows a beautiful green rose.

You snap the rose and the pot disappears, but the rose doesn’t, and neither does anything else.

Damnit, what are you supposed to do?

You do the only thing anyone ever does with flowers and begin peeling off the petals one by one. One by one, but still really damn fast, because you can’t help but notice that meteor is coming awfully close.

You’re also fairly convinced roses aren’t supposed to have this many petals and it’s almost as if they keep growing back. Well, that’s just about enough of that. You put your hand at the stem right below the hip of the rose and take the entire flower off in one go.

There is a flash.

And then you’re gone.

Chapter Text

Upon trying to save the human race, you were faced with a lot of unbelievers and a lot of people who did not even reply. You are currently trying very hard not to think about any of that and instead focus on the positives. There were some people you managed to convince playing SBURB was the right thing to do and you hope they can figure this mess of a game out on their own. Nonetheless, you did your duty and you probably saved at least a few people.

Suddenly you realise this is all starting to sound extremely religious. You’re sure there’s something to be said about the implications of this, but, frankly, you don’t really care. There are other things you need to attend to, like getting your game on.

-- killerMedic [KM] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 20:13 --

KM: hi David!
KM: i think we have a problem.
KM: and it’s a pretty big one!

RV: And what’s that?
KM: TR doesn’t want to play.
KM: he keeps going on about ‘priorities’ and ‘goddamn idiots’ and ‘bomb shelters’ and i don’t think he understands that meteors are going to kill him anyway even if he’s way down underground.

RV: And of course you pointed this out as politely as possible
KM: well, not really.
KM: i thought that simply telling him would be enough and that the whole saving your life thing would be enough of an argument.

RV: Huh
KM: what?
RV: I was just thinking of how this whole thing sounds like a religion
RV: Kind of surreal, isn’t it?

KM: of course it’s surreal, silly.
KM: everything that’s been happening the last couple of hours has been surreal!

RV: That is a very good point
RV: And I take it you picked him to be your server

KM: well everyone else was already busy.
KM: and OL kind of scares me sometimes.
KM: but then he started being really loud and obnoxious and i just kind of gave up.
KM: do you think you could talk to him for me?
KM: you get along, right?

RV: My lady, I get along with everyone
RV: I have, as they say, charisma
RV: It comes with being British

KM: :I
KM: was that a yes?

RV: To which question?
KM: both.
RV: Then, yes
RV: I get along with him and I’ll talk to him for you

KM: thank you David!
RV: No problem
RV: After all, we would not wish our friend to meet his untimely demise at the hands of a hunk of spacerock

KM: that would be absolutely terrible.
KM: certainly if the issue can be entirely avoided.

RV: Indubitably, my dear KM
RV: Indubitably

KM: :p
RV: It looks like he got the same idea
RV: He’s pestering me already

KM: okay, good luck!
KM: and have fun!

-- killerMedic [KM] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 20:16 --

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 20:16 --

TR: David
TR: Please tell me you’re there
TR: And not doing whatever
TR: I desperately need someone sane to talk to

RV: I’m pretty sure I can oblige
TR: Thank God
RV: Was everyone else unavailable?
TR: Apparently they’re completely out of their minds
TR: At least AD is
TR: ES just sounded like he was PMSing or something
TR: He went all caps on me for crying out loud

RV: Oh shit
TR: I know
RV: It’s nice to know you consider me the third sanest member of our group
RV: Out of seven that’s not too bad
RV: Although I am somewhat worried about the fact that your top three sanest people are all guys

TR: Dude, have you seen the girls we hang around with?
TR: No offence to any of them, but they’re not exactly the kind of people I would expect to see on campus

RV: But DI doesn’t even reach your top three?
TR: Fuck
TR: DI
TR: She’s batshit insane and her calm conviction that she isn’t pisses me the fuck off

RV: It can be so difficult to tell sane people apart from insane ones, right?
TR: I know
TR: Okay, so maybe I should’ve talked to you before I talked to AD

RV: Looks like I’ve been promoted to number 2 already
TR: Everyone knows you’re the sane one
TR: Stop fishing for compliments already

RV: Alright
RV: What’s got you going?

TR: You’ve heard about the game, right?
TR: The one ES is playing?

RV: No, frankly, I’ve been left out of the loop completely
RV: What about it?

TR: Have you looked outside recently?
RV: I haven’t, but I know what’s going on
RV: Meteors and all that

TR: Right, do you see how these two things don’t match up?
RV: Explain it to me
TR: ES is playing a game
TR: And there are meteors coming

RV: An interesting way to spend the last moments of his life, then?
TR: No!
TR: Goddamnit, David
TR: He should be trying to save himself or something
TR: Everyone should be
TR: What are you doing?

RV: Looking at my computer screen
RV: Talking to you
RV: Regular stuff

TR: What?
TR: Why aren’t you going to a bomb shelter? Or a bunker? Or whatever?
TR: In fact, why am I still wasting my time trying to save you guys?

RV: Calm down
TR: No!
TR: You guys are killing yourselves and you won’t even listen to me when I tell you this!
TR: What is WRONG with you?

RV: Okay, first
RV: Have you seen some of these meteors?
RV: Do you really think a bomb shelter is going to save you from them?

TR: Yes
TR: That’s what they’re for

RV: Secondly, ES already got hit by one
TR: WHAT!
TR: PETER’S GONE AND NOBODY TOLD ME!!
TR: WHATS GOING ON!?

RV: Look at your contact list
TR: NO!
TR: FUCK YOU!
TR: EXPLAIN THIS TO ME FIRST!

RV: Look at your bloody contact list
TR: WHAT?
TR: Hes still showing as online
TR: What?
TR: Whats going on, David?
TR: Im confused

RV: Look, the game is going on
RV: Please don’t talk to him yet, I’m sure he’s going through his own mental breakdown right now
RV: You have to believe me, okay?
RV: This game will save our lives, but you have to let it
RV: You have to play

TR: But how?
TR: This is impossible

RV: So’s thousands of meteors appearing out of nowhere and I do not see you disbelieving that
TR: That’s a logical fallacy somehow
TR: Just because one thing happened that we thought was impossible doesn’t mean we should start believing in everything else seemingly impossible

RV: Very good
RV: Did that help you calm down?

TR: Sort of
TR: Damn, I wish I had an alternate hypothesis
TR: Are you sure he’s alive?

RV: Yes, I’m sure
RV: Look, I’m not sure what this is doing to the laws of physics and everything
RV: But now is not the time to find out, okay?
RV: Now is the time to save your life
RV: Now go apologise to KM

TR: Okay
TR: Please tell me you have good news to go with that

RV: You’re not dead yet
TR: That’s supposed to be good news?
RV: It’s a lot better than the alternative
TR: Yeah
TR: I guess it is
TR: I’ll talk to you later

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] at 20:31 --

That actually went rather well, all things considered. He’ll play. You think so, anyway.

You sigh and lean back in your chair. This is going to be such a mess, you can already tell. From the way things are going it looks like everyone is going to call on you for help at some point. Great. It’s better than doing nothing, you suppose.

“David?” There’s your mum’s voice again.
You start to feel slightly annoyed, before telling that feeling to shut up. You could use the distraction. “Yes mum?”
“Can you come downstairs for a minute? There’s something I need you to do.”
Oh this is going to be absolutely lovely. “Coming, mum.”

You leave your room and go to see your mum, dodging two of your cats on the way downstairs. You have three in total, and three dogs to go with them and let’s not even get you started on your brother’s ferrets.
“What is it, mum?” you ask, as you meet up with her.
“Come with me,” she says, opening the door. She’s bringing the dogs along, as well, you notice. Your brother always does that.

Will have always done that.

“We need to talk about some things.”
“This isn’t about my new responsibilities in the impending apocalypse, is it?”
She doesn’t laugh. You didn’t really expect her to. “Serious faces, David, this is important.”
You close the door behind you and follow her to the playing fields nearby.
“You know what’s coming?” she asks.
“Yes, I think I do.” You really do. That’s the weird part. You’re actually very much okay with this. As if you always knew it was coming.
“Do you think you can handle it?”
“I’ve been doing pretty well so far.” You sigh. “But talking to people won’t be enough, will it?”
She shakes her head. “Look at the sky.” You can see the meteors descending, heading to various parts of England. “Does that look like something that can be solved by talking?” Her voice is soft, soothing.
It helps.

“Will anyone else make it?” you ask. “Besides the eight of us and whoever we bring along?”
“I honestly don’t know, David. I really hope so,” she replies. “But if not, I think humanity will have a great legacy.”
“Thanks, mum.”
“How about we go see if you’re ready for it?”
“Mum, you’d better realise that being tired won’t help me prepare.” You smirk. “Besides, I don’t want to hurt you.”
She does laugh, then. “Oh, you think you’ll hurt your mum, do you?” She then points her finger at you and yells: “Attack!”
You have just enough time to say “Oh damn,” before the dogs come chasing after you.

You have a slightly unusual Strife Specibus, namely Frisbeekind. It’s slightly unwieldy simply because of the fact that it’s really difficult to get your frisbee back after you’ve thrown it. Nevertheless, your frisbee is a very loyal companion and always finds its way back to you.

You are going to feel a bit sorry for throwing your frisbee at the dogs, though. Somehow, that seems really mean. Then again, you don’t really have to. After all, dogs like going after things and it’s not like they’re the only target you have here. You draw your frisbee, jump forward so you can turn around and throw it and then stumble as you hit the ground again. Fortunately, your frisbee is headed in the right direction: your mum.

The dogs noticed this as well and, whether they want to protect their master or because they’re just interested in the flying thing that just soared over their heads, they turn and run after it.

Of course, dogs are quick. But are they quick enough?

It turns out that they’re not entirely quick enough. They do manage to grab the frisbee, but their momentum ensures that they crash into your mum anyway. All in all, a victory for you.

Except that you’re out of weapons, now. You really should do something about that.

“Well done, David,” your mum says. “You are now readily equipped to take out one enemy.” Despite the sarcasm, she does sound a little proud.
“Four, actually,” you say, gesturing to the dogs, who are now their happy selves again.
“Fair enough, but you won’t always be in that situation.”
“And most of the time, I’ll get my frisbee back, but you’re right,” you admit. “I’ll get some extras.”
“Good.” She nods, and throws you the frisbee. “Let’s go back home, you have work to do.”

Wow, she actually managed to make saving your life sound like a chore.

Chapter Text

Okay, so those bright flashes are really annoying, who would’ve guessed?

When the light clears, you can see Kyrianne again, standing in the kitchen with the remains of the rose.

Only then do you sigh and lean back in your chair. She made it. Thank all kinds of things, she made it.

Okay, you can breathe now. It’s cool to breathe now.

“YES!” That was not quite as cool, especially not with the whole punching the air thing, but fuck it, you’ve earned it.

Now you can breathe again.

AD: Ky!
AD: that was awesome!

UC: Yeah
UC: Just don’t ever do that again

AD: sorry
UC: its okay

None of you know what to type for a while after that. It’s really kind of difficult to comprehend what you just did.

Seriously. You just saved a girl on another continent from a meteor.

And it feels awesome.

UC: We really did that, didn’t we?
AD: Hell yeah
UC: Haha
UC: Thanks for saving my life

AD: youre welcome!
AD: Just
AD: wow

UC: tell me about it.
UC: Hey, do you think you could see if my mom’s still around?

AD: sure?
AD: why?

UC: I didn’t see her on the way in and this way is easier
AD: lazy
UC: Me?
UC: never.

AD: doesn’t look like she’s anywhere around
UC: weird
UC: IP also disappeared when Peter entered

AD: That is weird.
AD: i’m sure she’s fine.

UC: me too
UC: I don’t really know why, but I think she is.

AD: well, maybe we shouldn’t try to explain everything that’s happening right now
UC: Isn’t that what I should be saying?
AD: Maybe
AD: but I just feel so awesome right now
AD: like nothing can go wrong
AD: and thinking too much about what I did will make that cool feeling go away and I really don’t want it to
AD: wow ill shut up now

UC: Dude, you have no idea how much adrenaline is going through me right now
UC: I don’t think the human body was ever designed to hold this much adrenaline, but it’s going to be damned if it’s not trying.
UC: That sentence made no sense whatsoever and I don’t care.
UC: I’m going to go outside to see where I am
UC: Maybe I can see Peter’s house from here.

AD: that would be so cool
AD: ill tell him to watch out for you
AD: he unblocked me so I can finally yell at him for blocking me in the first place.

UC: That’s kind of a dick move.
AD: yeah well, maybe
AD: anyway
AD: good luck!

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at 22:15 --

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] at 22:15 --

AD: Peter!
AD: don’t ever block me again!

ES: Sorry.
AD: it’s cool.
ES: Did she make it?
AD: of course she made it!
AD: I was guiding her all the way through!

ES: Damn, that’s quite an accomplishment.
ES: On her part, that is.

AD: yeah, up yours too
AD: shes gone out to look for you by the way
AD: thought you might want to know

ES: Really?
ES: That would be awesome.
ES: What did she end up prototyping with?

AD: her plushie dog thing.
ES: Ha!
ES: Okay, that should not have any drawbacks, as far as I can see.

AD: so
AD: how’re you doing?

ES: Better than before.
ES: I’m still not feeling at my best here, but I think I’ll manage.
ES: Killing glass imps is a pretty good stress relief.
ES: The next couple of days aren’t going to be easy for me, though.
ES: I don’t even know how long this is going to take.

AD: you know i’ll be here for you to talk to, right?
AD: just don’t block me again.

ES: Yeah, I know.
ES: Thanks.
ES: How long do you still have until your server gets you in?
ES: Who is your server, anyway?

AD: Willow.
ES: Of course.
AD: and i have enough time so i can talk to you a bit first.
AD: and what the hell is that supposed to mean?

ES: Absolutely nothing whatsoever.
ES: Do carry on.

AD: im keeping my eye on you
ES: Why don’t you leave that to Kyrianne?
AD: you’d like that, wouldn’t you?
ES: Dude, what the fuck are you even talking about?
AD: I have no idea.
AD: slip of the finger.

ES: That’s a lot of very coincidental finger slips, I can’t help but notice.
AD: oh, you know, monkeys on typewriters will eventually type shakespeare and that stuff
ES: See, I could deconstruct that completely based on the fact that monkeys wouldn’t be completely random in typing, but I’ll let it slide for now, because I don’t feel like being a smartass.
AD: you just did it anyway.
ES: Hmm?
ES: Go figure.
ES: How’s everyone else?
ES: I’ve been out of the loop for like, wow.
ES: An hour?
ES: Really?

AD: DI connected to me
AD: i guess she’s talking to RV now too
AD: don’t know shit about KM or OL.
AD: and TR was bitching about not wanting to play.

ES: Yeah, I remember that.
AD: David talked to him.
ES: Awesome.
ES: Oh, shit, I have to go.

AD: what’s up?
ES: I’m going to dance.
AD: what?

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 22:21 --

AD: goddamnit Peter

Okay.

Peter’s weird. No news there.

So, now what?

You would talk to Willow about getting yourself in the game, after all, you’re connected already, but you think you already know what she’s going to say. You have to make sure Kyrianne’s alright and settled first.

And honestly, you’re okay with that.

You could do with a little less excitement right now and you know you’ve still got a while until your meteor arrives and if it was important for some other reason she’d tell you to hurry up.

“Hey sis!” you yell. “I just saved a girl’s life!”
“Is that why you sounded like such a tool just now?”
“Can’t a guy be proud of himself?”
“Sure, but I don’t really need to hear about it, right?” she says. “How long do we have?”
“Long enough. I’ll let you know when you need to get worried,” you tell her.
“Way to be non-specific!” she yells back.
“What, you’d like me to tell you the exact time we have until we’re about to die? Because I can do that. I can make you count down every second. Just say the word!”
“I’m good, thanks.”
“Thought so.”

You grab yourself another beer. You figure you’ve earned it. Not like you need to earn a beer to drink it, but for now it’s a pretty convenient excuse.

Maybe there’s someone else you can talk to. You’re in a very talkative mood right now, so you might as well see. Peter and Kyrianne are busy, you’re going to leave Willow alone for a bit.

Ah, you haven’t talked to her in a while.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] began pestering killerMedic [KM] at 22:24 --

AD: Hello.
KM: hi thijs!
KM: how are you doing?

AD: I am doing absolutely awesome in every way ever
KM: :o!
KM: explain!

AD: UC just entered the game.
AD: with a little help from me.

KM: that is so cool!
KM: so you basically saved her life?

AD: Totally.
AD: i’m her knight in shining armor and all that
AD: saving all the ladies in distress.
AD: and looking absolutely cool doing so.

KM: well, i’m sorry.
KM: but you can’t be my knight in shining armor.
KM: i have another one!

AD: oh shit, really?
AD: whos that?

KM: guess!
AD: yeah, I just know it’s going to be David or something.
AD: if there’s any one of us that could be a knight in shining armor its him

KM: nope!
KM: actually, i’m david’s knight in shining armor.
KM: only a girl.
KM: what’s the female version of a knight?

AD: I think that’s still a knight.
KM: oh.
AD: only with boobs.
KM: :p
AD: so who is it?
KM: TR!
AD: what, really?
AD: So David talked him around?

KM: yup!
KM: he’s still all sorts of grumpy and complaining about everything, though.
KM: but at least he’s playing!
KM: that’s another life saved!

AD: Well, not yet.
KM: okay, fine.
KM: it’s another life willing to be saved!
KM: and he’s going to be saving mine!

AD: fuck yeah.
AD: all of us saving each others lives.
AD: feels pretty good.

KM: i know!
KM: i’m so excited to finally play!
KM: this is going to be all sorts of fun!

AD: I don’t want to ruin the mood, though.
AD: But everyone we know is going to die on the way there

KM: i know.
KM: but they’re probably going to die whether we play the game or not.
KM: so playing or not playing really won’t change that.
KM: and if we’re going to play a game, we might as well have some fun with it!
KM: after all, that’s what games are for!
KM: and i’m sure we’ll find a way to help.

AD: Okay.
AD: I think it’s kind of weird to use that kind of analysis in this situation.
AD: but whatever
AD: ill take it
AD: i’m in the mood to be in a good mood anyway.

KM: great!
KM: people should always be in a good mood!
KM: a good mood is the best mood to be in!

AD: lol
AD: totally.

KM: what are y’all up to?
AD: I’m enjoying being a hero
AD: Kyrianne is trying to find Peter
AD: and Peter is going to dance.

KM: lolwut?
AD: pretty much.
AD: how about you?

KM: oh man, i’m just sitting here.
KM: doing nothing.
KM: and it’s awesome.

AD: Sounds great.
KM: hell yeah it is.
KM: although i think i’m going to do something now.

AD: Like what?
KM: dance.

-- killerMedic [KM] ceased pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] at 22:31 --

You have the weirdest friends.

Chapter Text

Your name is Myriam Feygin, although most of your friends call you Myra. You are a Jewish Canadian Texan, something that seems to confuse those you come across. You find it simple: you were born Jewish in Canada and lived in Texas since you were two. You use y'all but NO YOU DO NOT HAVE A TEXAN ACCENT STOP ASKING.

You have a habit of lining up random information in your head to create the oddest of assumptions, but in general you refer to that as being silly. Sometimes those assumptions actually happen, and you look smart, but you know that no matter how intelligent you look on occasion you have no real common sense when it comes to some things.

These things include baking, although you try anyways.

Your interests include certain types of Biology (botany and genetics), art, video games, reading and in general being a silly fangirl. After all, those are what you do best, and its good to be interested in what you're good at.

You happen to admire a certain Doctor (he’s a medic, not a doctor!) and an insane raging psychopathic “ghost”, and think they are the best things since sliced bread, and that anyone who disagrees is a fool who should taste oblivion. Um, that is, if they wish to. You're not too insistent on that part. Passive-aggressiveness is a rather unfortunate trait of yours after all.

Your chumhandle reflects your main fandom, as well as your interests: killerMedic.

At the moment, you are dancing. This is because you told your friend you would be dancing and also because of a conversation you had a while ago.

It went like this:

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] began pestering killerMedic [KM] at 14:38 --

TR: Before you interrupt me, let me just say that everything that is currently going on is mind-numbingly stupid as fuck
TR: Having said that, I’m sorry for treating you like a dick
TR: Now that we have this apology out of the way, it seems that you rely on me to save your life
TR: Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not going to waste any amount of time trying to get you into the game, so PLEASE at least be co-operative while I try and save you
TR: Are we clear?

KM apology accepted.
KM: but i think we should wait for a while.

TR: For crying out loud
TR: Why?

KM: do you know what you’re getting into?
KM: because i think we should wait for someone to tell us what we’re supposed to do.

TR: Look, Peter and Kyrianne figured it out somehow, right?
TR: And if they can do it, we can damn well do it, too

KM: maybe they just got lucky?
KM: besides they can tell us things so why should we not use their information?

TR: Because your goddamn life in on the line
TR: What the hell do you even think we’re doing here?

KM: you’re being a dick again.
KM: stop it.

TR: I’m just trying to get something done here
TR: Instead of waiting for someone else to spoon-feed me all the things we have to do
TR: You know, like a normal person

KM: are you sure?
KM: because it sounds like you’re being a dick.

TR: Okay, fine
TR: Isn’t part of the fun of playing a game to find things out on your own?
TR: I just sounded like a complete moron, but there you go

KM: usually, yes.
KM: but the stakes are a bit higher here and i don’t want to make a mistake.

TR: ARGH!
TR: Fucking hell you guys are frustrating
TR: Why are you stopping me from helping you?

KM: because it’s dangerous and i don’t want to mess anything up if it can be helped.
KM: obviously.

TR: What am I even supposed to do right now?
TR: I mean god damnit!

KM: you can ask OL to be your server player?
TR: Oh, yeah
TR: That’s going to be a fucking thrilling conversation

KM: i’m sure you’ll do fine!
KM: after all, i’m counting on you to save my life and that’s a pretty big responsibility.

TR: Don’t patronise me
KM: i’m just trying to cheer you up.
KM: someone has to.

TR: Whatever, this is stupid

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] ceased pestering killerMedic [KM] at 14:42 --

It went well, you think, especially compared to the conversation before that which wasn’t any fun at all.

But he agreed to save your life and that’s really all you need.

And that’s why you’re dancing. You’re not very good at dancing, but that doesn’t matter because it’s fun and nobody is watching anyway.

You are, at the moment, at home with your older brother and little sister. They’ve both had their birthdays recently, just like a friend of yours and it’s basically been a week full of partying. As such, the house is a bit of a mess.

You’re just kidding, it’s always a bit of a mess.

Other than that, today is not going to be very exciting until David contacts you again to be his server player, because you’re sure nothing at all is going to get in the way of playing this game. You’re sure that you have plenty enough time otherwise someone would’ve told you. Seriously, there’s always one of your friends who knows what’s going on.

You have the greatest friends and nobody can successfully argue with that.

At the moment you are, of course, in your room, which is, as it is with almost everyone else, kind of a mess. ‘Kind of a mess’ means a bigger mess than ‘a bit of a mess’, by the way. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Your room is multiple messes.

You have several of your art projects sprawled across the floor, since you’re always working on something and those somethings don’t always have to be the same something, but, while that is a mess in and of itself, it’s a mess carefully separated from every other mess.

Another one of the messes is the bookshelf, where you store your books in no particular order whatsoever, which is nice, because when you’re looking for a book you run into all kinds of awesome other books you almost forgot about.

Your large, dark brown desk holds Omega Supreme. Omega Supreme is your computer and it has the best name out of everything ever.

Various posters and finished drawings colour your wall, alongside the framed picture you drew when you were little and your bed is covered with three plushies from the same period in your life.

Basically, your room is a lot of fun.

“Myra!” your brother calls and you immediately stop dancing because you really don’t want him to see you. “I really shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you have to do the laundry!”
“I’m coming!” And then you immediately go downstairs to do the laundry, because if the alternative is letting him do it, it is not going to end well.

And sure, the world might be ending, but if you’re going to survive, you’re going to need clean clothes and you might as well get them clean while you still have power and stuff, right? Suddenly, there’s a weight on your back and a cheerful voice saying: “Hi sis!”

Your sister is twelve years old, although sometimes you really wouldn’t be able to tell.
“What’s up?” she asks.
“You are!” At which point, you throw her off of you and she somehow manages to end up on her feet anyway.
“What were you doing for like, three hours or something?”
You are so not telling her about your epic dance session. “I was talking to my friends.”
“For three hours?” she exclaims.
“There were a lot of friends.”
“What did you talk about? Did you talk about boys?” She could have gotten an award for the way she stretched out the word ‘boys’.
“Shush you. I told you that’s not all girls talk about.”
“Yeah, right. So what did you talk about?”
“The end of the world.”
“Boring!”

“And we’re going to save people.”
That, at least, gets her attention. “Really? So do I get to be saved, too?”
“If you stick around here, yes.”
“Do I get to save other people?”
“Well, have your friends heard about this new game yet?”
“I think some of them were talking about it. Sburb or something, right?”
“Right.”
“Yeah.”
“Then I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine.”
“Wait, a game’s going to save the world?”
“I think so.”
“That sounds so stupid,” she says. “But okay.”

She then reaches another question. “Do I get to play?”
“You get to play with me and help me out a lot, it’ll be great!”
“Help? I’m going to be saving your sorry ass all the time! Just you watch!” Then she rushes off somewhere, excited with the prospect of saving your sorry ass.

Your brother walks into the room, your sister having rushed past him. “What’d you tell her this time?” He leans against the doorway. The perfect image of nonchalance.
“Oh, I told her she was going to be saving me in the game I’m going to play.”
“Yeah, that sounds about right,” he smirks.
“Come on, I can take care of myself.”
“Doesn’t hurt to have extra eyes on the lookout for you, even if they belong to a hyperactive twelve year-old.”
In reply, you stick your tongue out at him to show that you’re way more mature than he is.
“Just promise you’ll be careful out there, okay?”
He’s actually serious, you notice, so you decide not to mess with him. This time. “Yeah, I’ll be careful.”
“Awesome.” He comes loose from the wall and walks away again, having spent his brotherly love for the day. “Have fun, Myra.”

Chapter Text

There are more imps coming in, you hear, and you once again remind yourself to do something about the door. You’ve been doing that for the past half hour already. Nevertheless, you’re ready for them this time, because this time, you have music.

Sweet, sweet music.

You turn up the volume of your speakers, put on ‘Without A Fight’, grab your staff and get ready.

There is one positive thing to be said about what Kyrianne did to the living room; it gave you a dance floor.

“Hello boys,” you greet the imps as they come around the corner just as the music starts. You smile. “Let’s dance.”

To their credit, they know exactly when the situation is not in their hands, and they look absolutely terrified. Okay, wow, you’re actually scary to these things. That’s actually somewhat unnerving.

You hesitate, and that gives them enough time to run away, only to be caught by Peteysprite instead, who rips through several of them with her talons and with no apparent effort at all. It occurs to you right then that she might actually be really dangerous.

Naturally, at this point, the remaining imps find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place and turn a bit feral, instead.

Well, that’s the end of your moral objections to this conflict. Awesome.

The smile returns to your face as your staff swirls around, your feet stepping to the beat as your body twists and turns its way around your enemies. Because that’s what they are. Entities hell bent on hurting, if not killing you and you’re not going to let that happen. You’re not going down without a fight.

At the explosive start of the second refrain you kick one of the imps in the beak and during the bridge you bring your staff down hard on the last remaining imp, put your staff back in your Strife Specibus and keep going until the song ends, not a scratch on you.

And that’s how that is done. You climb another rung on your Echeladder as a reward. You are now the fabled Dance-A-Ma-Jig. Yeah, this leveling system sucks.

Peteysprite is outright applauding at you, although you can’t tell if the smile on her face is genuine or not. You bow anyway.

“You know,” you say, “you’re really powerful.”
You know, that looked absolutely ridiculous.
“Shut up.”
“What?” Peteysprite asks in reply to that rather schizophrenic statement.
“Talking to the voice in my head.”
“You mean your Exile?”
“If that’s what they’re called, then yes.”
“She can’t actually hear you, you know?”
“I know, but it makes me feel better. Also, she?”
“Yes.” She gives you her slightly amused smile again, indicating that you’re not going to get more of an explanation. This relationship is going to be frustrating.

And you just used the word ‘relationship’ in that context. It’s best you quit while you’re ahead, you think.

Oh, right, Kyrianne entered. Time to see how she’s doing.

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

ES: Hey Ky.
ES: Since you’re not standing on my doorstep yet, I take it that you’re having some trouble finding me.
ES: I wish I could give you directions.
ES: Or even a landmark.
ES: But the only landmark nearby is my house.
ES: Everything else is just ice.
ES: Ice everywhere.

UC: Really?
UC: all I can see are mountains.
UC: Also, hey.
UC: i’m alive and all that.

ES: I hadn’t noticed.
ES: Glad to have you with us in the world of senselessness.
ES: And my spellcheck told me that is actually the correct spelling.
ES: How nice.

UC: You have a spellcheck?
ES: Only for emergencies.
ES: Hold on, I’m going to see if I can see any mountains.

UC: alright, i’ll put the new thing you unlocked by being badass.
ES: Awesome.
ES: I’ll be right back.

You run upstairs to look out of the windows, but you can’t seem to spot any mountains anywhere nearby. Just more ice and a couple of things shining in the distance. Damn this place is dull.
“What are you doing?” Peteysprite asks, although you didn’t exactly realise she followed you. She seems genuinely curious and slightly confused.
“I’m looking for the mountains Ky was talking about.”
She tilts her head to the side. “Why?”
“So I can meet up with her, obviously.”
Somehow that doesn’t satisfy her. “She isn’t here, Peter. She is not on this planet.”
“What?” You have been saying that way too often lately. “What do you mean?”
“I may not have been really clear before, but each player gets their own planet.”
Your eyes widen in shock.

Really? On top of everything else, this has to happen too?
“She is in the same session, however, if that helps.”
“Then what planet is she on? For that matter, what planet am I on?”
“You are in the Land of Ice and Mirrors, Peter.”
You give her a blank stare.
“Is something wrong?”
“The Land of Ice and Mirrors?” The capitals are, once again, obvious.
“Chirp?”
“Really? The Land of Ice and bloody Mirrors? That’s the best they could come up with? I mean, duh, I can see this place is full of ice and I’m sure I would’ve found the mirrors in a minute. What creative genius made this game, anyway? Couldn’t they do any better than this? It’s certainly descriptive, I can give it that.”
“Chirp.”

“Fuck!” you exclaim, and it’s loud enough that you are kind of shocked at it. “Now I get to go tell Ky that we can’t meet each other and that was literally the one thing I was still looking forward to.”
“You’ll meet her eventually.”
That brightens you up, a bit. ‘Eventually’ is definitely one of the vaguest terms that can be used here, but it’s something, at least.

ES: Bad news.
UC: and good news too?
ES: Maybe on your end, but all I’ve got is bad news.
UC: well damn.
ES: Yeah.
ES: So, it turns out we aren’t going to meet.

UC: That is bad news
ES: We aren’t even on the same damned planet.
UC: Okay.
UC: Bad news though it is, that sounds kind of awesome, actually
UC: Two planets.
UC: I’m guessing that makes eight by the time everyone makes it

ES: Eight habitable planets.
ES: If you can call mine ‘habitable’.

UC: Exactly!
ES: That is kind of awesome.
ES: Although I’m really not looking forward to having to invent space travel before we can go anywhere.
ES: I don’t suppose there’s anything you can do on your end?

UC: i don’t think so, but maybe?
UC: I still don’t understand this interface very well

ES: So what did you drop in my house?
UC: Its called the Punch Designix.
UC: it looks kind of like keyboard, except not.
UC: it does have a keyboard, though
UC: I have no idea what it does.

ES: I believe I have started noticing a pattern in these things.
ES: We have no idea what they do.
ES: Honestly, this game seems to be relying way too much on trail-and-error gameplay.
ES: Except when you make an error, a meteor kills you.
ES: What do you think happens when we mess this up?

UC: It explodes?
ES: Oh, that’s a good one.
ES: Luckily I have a large stick to press buttons from a distance with.

UC: That’s going to take a lot of precision.
ES: Meh, I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
UC: Trial-and-error?
ES: Damn right.
UC: Can I make a suggestion for what you should look for?
ES: I’ll certainly see if I can consider it.
UC: :p
UC: Check the cards in your sylladex.
UC: I think they might be able to do something.

ES: Pre-punched Card and Punch Designix, of course!
ES: So differently punched cards make different objects.

UC: And when you check the back of the cards in your sylladex,
UC: like I did,
UC: you’ll see all kinds of codes on it.
ES: Did your sprite tell you that?
UC: What?
UC: No, he’s still just a plush dog.
UC: I have to see what I’m going to prototype him with.

ES: Ah, okay.
ES: So you’re just that smart, then?

UC: totally :P
ES: Alright, I’ll go try that.
ES: Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.
ES: My planet’s name is the Land of Ice and Mirrors.

UC: lame.
ES: I know, right?
UC: The Land of Mountains and Flannel is way cooler.
ES: Come on!
ES: That is so not true!

UC: yes it is.
UC: also, you have something else to do.
UC: So do that.

ES: Alright.

You turn your attention to the device recently deployed in your living room. It looks a bit like a desk, as well as a keyboard. That is to say, the musical instrument, although it does possess the other kind. It also features a blinking red light, a card slot and a diagram showing you what Kyrianne already told you.

The back of all of the cards in your sylladex feature codes, possibly representing the items in them. You take the first card out of your Pocket Modus, making sure not to unlock the item in it and find that you have taken your pen. The back of the card reads ‘PIiJO23J’, which you guess might reference something, but whatever.

You type the code on the keyboard attached to the Punch Designix and the red light switches to a green one. You insert the card and it gets punched. You take the card out and now there are a bunch of holes in it. No surprises there, you suppose.

You turn the wheel on the Cruxtruder to get another Cruxite Dowel, hurry upstairs to the Totem Lathe to carve a totem and then run back outside to create the item with your Alchemiter, dutifully slapping some of the imps that try to bother you. You sure are feeling productive all of a sudden.

Indeed, you have now made another Pen. It has cost you one unit of build grist and one unit of glass, too. Or, rather, you duplicated the one you already have, although that one has now been made inaccessible due to the holes punched into the card. Which means the only thing this is at all useful for is cloning items you already have.

That is, if you’re only using codes you already have, which would be pointless, because you already have those items. It would be useful to send items to another player, though. You simply send them the code of an item they might need, they punch it on a card and make it themselves.

Although, do you need to have the item in the card itself to be able to punch the code on it? That seems entirely stupid, but it is an experiment you need to do. First things first would be to get a lot of empty cards to make sure you don’t run out of room in your Sylladex.

You captchalogue an empty captchalogue card (something you learned you could do on an uneventful afternoon a long time ago) and read the code.

‘11111111’.

That makes a surprising amount of sense, actually.

You barely spare the imps a glance as you continue with your experiment. This is important and interesting. You have something to discover and it is going to help you make sense of things. You think so, anyway.

Everyone out of the goddamn way! You’re doing science!

It turns out, after you’ve run up and down your stairs again, that captchalogue cards can cost one unit of whatever the hell you feel like using. You’ve got more Build Grist at the moment, so you figure you might as well use that.

You make a bunch of the things, leaving you with a lot of empty space in your Sylladex. You’re surprised it can even hold this much empty cards. Apparently your Pockets are without any depth limitation whatsoever. Now you can finally get down to the real business.

As you stand in front of the Punch Designix, you ponder what would be the wisest course of action. Sure, you could just mash buttons and see what happens, which is a tempting prospect, but it’s hardly the scientific thing to do. If you’re going to discover any sort of pattern, you need to be systematical and thorough.

On the other hand, it is scientifically reasonable to want to see what happens when you just press some random buttons.

Your mind made up, you simply mash buttons until the red light stops blinking and the green one starts. You insert an empty card and hear the satisfying sound of it being punched.

It occurs to you that, maybe, you can combine cards. Wouldn’t that be absolutely awesome? You break your head over how to go about doing that for a moment before realising that you have a machine in front of you that can do that exact thing.

You type in the code for your pen and punch another empty card. You then enter the code on the back of your MP3-player card (‘b000000m’, hilarious) and punch the same empty card a second time, resulting in a card with a lot of holes in it. Sure, a pen and an mp3-player doesn’t seem like a very useful combination, but if this works you can go find ones that are.

You could do more experiments, but they’re all dependant on these two and, as the Methods of Rationality taught you, it’s best to check the results of the simple tests before moving on to the complex ones.

You craft the totems and then go back to the Alchemiter to make them. You’re honestly looking forward to the results of your scientific endeavors.

First, the pen and mp3-player combination. The Alchemiter reads the totem and you make the voice-recording MP3-pen!

Apparently the voice-recording properties are a bonus. It cost you five Build Grist and ten Glass, which is way too much for such a stupid pen.

Time for the random code. The Alchemiter reads it and you make...

You make...

What the hell is that?

It looks kind of like a guitar, only with wooden strings and a skateboard sticking out of the centre. Somehow, though, this thing costs less than your pen. four Build Grist and eight Glass.

Another backbreaking victory for science, you suppose. You sure as hell aren’t trying that again.

That is kind of a bummer, but, costliness aside, combining things looks like a rather viable way to do things. Time to report your progress to who you’ve just now dubbed as your research assistant.

Chapter Text

UC: Thijs, Peter is doing something cool right now and I want in.
AD: what can i do for you?
UC: There’s this thing called a punch designix.
UC: can you deploy it please?

AD: sure
AD: no, wait, you dont have the glass for it.

UC: What?
UC: oh man, you mean i have to kill monsters with this weak ass toy scythe?

AD: sure looks like it.
AD: let me know when you get it, okay?
AD: I’m going to tell Willow what to do.

UC: Do you have to?
AD: Nope, she pretty much already knows.
AD: But that just means she’s really cooperative

UC: You are such a lucky client player.
AD: i know right
AD: anyway ill talk to you later.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] at ??:?? --

You might as well get rid of the time function on this thing if it’s only going to be annoying.

Now you have to think of ways to kill imps with just your toy scythe. That’s going to be a very productive endeavor, you’re sure.

Your eyes fall on your hatched Raviolisprite. Maybe you don’t have to do this all alone after all.

You still have to give it something to make it talk, though and you are so definitely going to feed it a book. There’s just no way that isn’t what you’re going to do.

But which one? You just have so many, many choices. Are you going to choose Good Omens and create a demon or the Antichrist or whatever? Or one of the Wild Magic books and give your plushie magic? Or Dragonsbane and do exactly what Peter neglected to do? Or maybe...

Oh yes.

This is totally going to happen.

You throw in the assorted works of Shakespeare.

After a bright flash that seems to be the go-to special effect of this game, you find yourself facing floating ghost-Ravioli again. It doesn’t look like much has changed.
“Can you talk now, Ravioli?”
“My speech’s, indeed, come t’me, m’lady Kyri,” he replies.
“Wow,” you say. “That’s actually really cool.”
“Amaz’d, I see, by my ability?”
“Yes, I am.”

He opens his mouth to speak again, but you beat him to it. “Listen, I’m sure you’d like to give me all kinds of riddles already, but I’m doing science and I need your help to kill some monsters, okay?”
“The slaying of monsters is not my forte, I’d say.
Nevertheless, I shall do my best anyway.”
“Thank you.”

You hear something break in one of the nearby rooms and you immediately equip your scythe and beckon Raviolisprite to follow you. You edge closer to the door, very conscious of every step you take, which would usually only cause you to make more noise, but apparently the universe is willing to let you catch a break. Yet you still find the effort wasted as several imps run out on their own accord, catching you by surprise just as much as they surprise themselves by seeing you.

They’re not like the bird-imps you saw at Peter’s place, though, which you suppose makes sense. These bear a striking resemblance to the plush dog now floating behind you, aside from the fact that they look like they’re made of cloth.

The game helpfully informs you that these are Cloth Imps.

After recovering from your surprise you hit the nearest imp over the head with your scythe. The scythe leaves a small dent in the clothes, but otherwise the imp remains thoroughly unimpressed. Its health bar seems to agree, since you barely left a mark on it.

It grins and swipes back at you, but finds its claws blocked by Raviolisprite.
“My strength does not lie in the supernatural,
But pure dedication is th’power for all.”
A dagger appears in his hand and he stabs the imp once, killing it instantly.

A smile forms on your face. You just can’t help it. With that kind of badass next to you, you feel nigh invincible. You flip your scythe around and whack the second imp upside the head as hard as you possibly can with what is essentially just a stick now. It isn’t exactly the most impressive of actions, but you manage to deal more damage and you daze the imp.

By the time it comes back to its senses, you’ve already given it another blow and suddenly there’s a large chunk of its health bar missing. As expected, it’s none too pleased with this development and it jumps at you.

You try to get out of the way, but you aren’t fast enough and its claws scratch your arm. Wow, that hurts a lot... less than you expected it to, really. Apparently being made out of cloth doesn’t only make them damage-resistant, but also less effective in dealing out damage themselves. Hooray!

Now that you no longer have to worry about getting significantly injured yourself, you might as well just keep wailing on it until it collapses into a bunch of grist. It doesn’t look very happy with the fact that you’ve realised this, right up to the point where you knock off the last part of its health bar.

Build Grist and Cloth. You wonder what the second one is used for?

Before you can worry about that, though, you level up! You have climbed your Echeladder to the esteemed rung of Ferny Falooting, with all the benefits this implies.

You collect all your hard-earned Grist and discover that you’re still severely lacking in the ‘Glass’ department.

Fortunately, a short expedition provides you with a solution to this problem. There’s a Glass Imp in your house, too. This one is unlike the ones you’ve seen anywhere, so far, although that isn’t saying much, since your experience with imps was nonexistent until a little while ago. It has Petey’s wings, but Ravioli’s head, and it looks a lot cooler than the two you just fought. It also looks a lot more vicious.

You’re going to have to kill it regardless of its looks, though. You really need that grist. You have science to do, damnit!

You want to just rush in and hit it, but the battle you had with your mom a little while ago (although it feels like ages) reminds you that that isn’t a good idea at all.

Your opponent disagrees with you, though, charges at you and manages to run straight into your scythe.
“These things aren’t all too bright, are they?” you ask.
“They pose a greater threat in swarms, it’s true,” Raviolisprite answers.

The imp bares its teeth and growls at you, which you can’t help but think is actually kind of adorable.
“Have at, thee!” Yeah, you’re not really taking this seriously, but, whatever, this is a game and games are supposed to be fun, so you’ll take any enjoyment you can get out of it.

This one isn’t nearly as much of a pushover as the other were though, despite your hit doing actual damage, and when it scratches you, it really does hurt. It hurts quite a lot, actually.
“Can I get a little help?” you ask.
“Some trials need t’be faced alone, although,” Raviolisprite once again steps in and kills the imp in one go. “‘Tis not a true requirement for all.”
“Ravioli, you’re the best!”
He bows, his face still entirely serious. You know it’s easy to get bows wrong and make them look ridiculous, but he nailed it. You bow back, looking entirely less impressive than he did, and go collect your grist. There’s enough glass in there this time.

-- unorthodoxCreation [UC] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] --

UC: Thijs, I got the glass
AD: cool
AD: device is somewhere

UC: Where?
AD: somewhere
AD: no time

UC: What are you doing?
AD: trying not to die
UC: Okay, good luck
AD: thank you

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] --

Well, that was entirely not all too helpful. Fortunately, your house isn’t all that big, so you’re pretty sure you can find it fast enough. You’ll check up on Peter first.

It looks like he’s made himself a lot of empty sylladex cards, which seems weird, but you guess he knows what he’s doing?

Their purpose soon becomes clear, as he uses them to apparently create new items. Well, time to create a few of them yourself.

It turns out Thijs put the Punch Designix in the middle of your sister’s room. There are less inconvenient places it could’ve gone, you guess. Like the roof.

It hits you that you probably won’t ever see her again. That’s... really depressing. You won’t see any of your family ever again. Just, wow. That’s really not something you’re going to want to think about a lot.

You create the cards in silence. Not a single imp bothers you and not even Raviolisprite enters as a few tears roll down your cheeks.

You leave the room with a sigh, and return to your computer, still quiet. Peter has been messaging you. Well, no need to bother him with this, he’s not having a good day either.

ES: So here’s the short version of what I discovered.
ES: Basically, punching a card lets you copy the item whose code you punched the card with.
ES: This alone is only useful to exchange interesting items we’ve found the code of, or to make more of something we desperately need.
ES: Like food, I guess.
ES: Do we even have to eat?
ES: I’m not feeling very hungry.

UC: You haven’t been there for very long.
UC: and you’ve been running on adrenaline most of the time.
UC: so I guess my answer is, maybe?

ES: Yeah, you’re probably right.
UC: But you also made something else entirely
UC: What was that?

ES: Well, that retarded guitar thing I made by punching in a random code.
ES: So don’t do that.
ES: It doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
ES: The other I got with the brilliant idea of punching a card twice, with different codes.
ES: You apparently create a combination of the two items.
ES: Granted, what I chose to use turned out to be pretty much useless, but if you find the right items, you can create all kinds of things.

UC: That sounds pretty cool.
UC: Although that gives me another idea.

ES: What idea?
UC: i’m not telling you
UC: i’ll discover it myself.
UC: Don’t think you get to hog all the glory here

ES: Alright, fine.
ES: Just remember to cite me in your research paper, will you?
ES: As a serious scientist I demand some credit in these major breakthroughs.

UC: Why don’t you start working on a first draft as a reference guide for our friends?
UC: and then i can add to it!

ES: That sounds like a good idea.
ES: Make sure you make some empty captchalogue cards, though.
ES: Those things come in really handy.

UC: Actually, I already did.
ES: Foresight.
ES: I like it.

UC: Also, you’ll never guess what I prototyped Raviolisprite with.
ES: Well, then, I probably won’t, will I?
UC: I won’t tell you if you don’t guess
ES: Damnit.
ES: The Eiffel Tower.

UC: What?
UC: That’s not a real guess!

ES: The guess is absolutely legitimate in every way and you will now tell me what it actually was, as per our agreement.
UC: alright, fine.
UC: You’re such a spoilsport.

ES: I cannot argue with that without delaying your telling.
UC: I prototyped with the assorted works of Shakespeare.
ES: …
ES: Wow.
ES: You’re right, I wouldn’t’ve guessed that.

UC: what do you think?
ES: Well, that’s going to be either really annoying or really awesome.
ES: Possibly both, although I wouldn’t be sure how that works.

UC: Raviolisprite is the best sprite.
UC: There’s just no contest.

ES: Fuck you I have a harpy.
ES: And we don’t even know what the rest of them are going to make.
ES: What would Thijs prototype with?

UC: Why do you want to know?
ES: Well, he’s next.
UC: It’ll probably be something dumb.
ES: And he can be surprisingly stupid.
ES: Shit, what if he does something really stupid?
ES: Like prototype with a black hole or something?
ES: That would mess up the entire game.

UC: how would that even work?
ES: He’d find a way!
ES: I have to stop him.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering unorthodoxCreation [UC] --

You suppose you had better leave him to it, then. He’ll tell you just how stupid that thought was after he talks to Thijs.

In the meantime, you’ll start working on your idea. If you can punch a card twice, then maybe you can also overlap two punched cards and create a different totem altogether. You’re going to try that with your weapon first, because you really need something that’s actually worth a damn.

But you need something sharp to combine your scythe with. A kitchen knife is the obvious choice, but your mom managed to bake cookies that got stuck in the wall. They should be pretty sharp, if that’s the case. Maybe you’ll try and see which one you like best?

Of course, you’ll double-punch both of those combinations too, just to be sure.

You spend a lot of time running around to get everything in order. So much time, in fact, that there isn’t enough time to describe all of it.

You have placed the knife/scythe double-punched totem on the Alchemiter and are ready to press the button, with the appropriate slow-motion effects and dramatic music in the background.

You create a plastic toy knife.

SCIENCE!

The double-punched cookie combination fares little better, as you make a plastic cookie that, nevertheless, tastes really good.

Next is the knife/scythe overlapped totem, which you are really looking forward to. It costs you a bit of Glass next to the usual Build Grist, but you’re willing to spend it on this.

You make the Lethal Chef, an actual sharp scythe.

This is more like it.

Last, but hopefully not least, although for it to be worse than the first two would be quite amazing, the cookie/scythe overlapped totem.

You make...

You make....

The Cookie Cutter of Death!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

Chapter Text

As soon as you return from the battle with your mum, you notice that Willow has left you a message.

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

DI: David.
DI: I need you to deploy the four free items.
DI: Preferably in a way that’s convenient for both of us.

RV: Which would be what, exactly?
RV: I mean, it’s not like we’re going to run out of room any time soon
RV: Your house is ridiculously empty
RV: It’s kind of creepy, to be honest

DI: I know.
DI: I didn’t buy anything I wouldn’t need today.
DI: And after today I can pretty much make whatever I do need.
DI: And all of that, just to make it easier for you.

RV: How awfully considerate of you
RV: Of course, I fully accept this courtesy
RV: And shall make optimal use of the resources given to me

DI: You’re not going to place them as far apart as possible.
RV: I’m not?
DI: Nope.
RV: Damn
RV: I was really looking forward to watching you run around
RV: You look like you could use the exercise

DI: David, don’t you know it’s impolite to comment on a lady’s weight?
RV: I do apologise, miss Willow.
DI: Apology accepted.
RV: I can’t help but notice that I have 200 grist to spend here
RV: Is that a lot?
RV: And don’t get clever with me
RV: I know 200 can generally be seen as a lot
RV: But I need to know the exchange rate here
RV: If I need 10 grist to add one small square to your home, this is practically nothing

DI: You know me far too well.
DI: 200 is quite a bit.
DI: Peter and Kyrianne started with only 20.

RV: Okay
RV: Then what do we need ten times as much for?

DI: Oh, later players get additional advantages.
DI: Those other devices, for example.
DI: But we’re not going to bother with those yet.
DI: Just put the Alchemiter, Totem Lathe, Cruxtruder and Pre-Punched Card close together.
DI: I need to get back to not having Thijs kill himself.

RV: That sounds like it needs your full attention
RV: Good luck
RV: I’m going to see how everyone else is doing
RV: Call it covering for you, if you will

DI: You are such a gentleman.
RV: Thank you
RV: If I weren’t sitting down I would’ve bowed
RV: Bye

-- robotVagabond [RV] ceased pestering drunknIrish [DI] --

Let’s see, who haven’t you heard from in a while? It’s been a while since you talked to Peter and Kyrianne, but they’re probably busy having all kinds of exciting adventures, wherever they are now. The only other person you haven’t talked to today is, well.

OL.

Oh this is going to be fun.

A girl like that deserves your A game, anyway.

-- robotVagabond [RV] began pestering obfuscatingLogician [OL] --

RV: Hello
RV: I hate to intrude upon your no doubt valuable time

OL: oh man
OL: look at all these golden pieces of time being all intruded upon
OL: i’m losing track of all these clocks
OL: what is up sir?
OL: insert ceiling joke here

RV: Oh, general doomsday apocalypse business, really
RV: Nothing to worry about
RV: How about you?

OL: i’m getting all bunkered up and shit sir
OL: preparing myself for the end and what comes after
OL: doooooooooooom!
OL: got the doors baricaded and everything
OL: like a boss
OL: bring on the zombies!

RV: I’m fairly certain this game lacks undead
RV: Although you never know

OL: whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat
OL: you mean to tell me i did all this preparing business for nothing?
OL: be prepared my ass
OL: i’m gonna quit right here and now

RV: So, do you have a server and client player yet?
OL: nope
RV: …
RV: Do you have a server or client player yet?

OL: yup!
RV: Which poor soul did you manage to get your hands on?
OL: oh man, you don’t even know
OL: my hands all up and violated TR
OL: it was suuuuuuch an awesome convo
OL: it’s saved on the hardest of hard drives
OL: and wooow i didn’t even think about that one
OL: hahahahaha

RV: I’m sure he’s in full agreement with that assessment?
OL: nah, not really
OL: it was kinda awkward tbh
OL: it’s like noone knows how to talk properly and shit
OL: they can’t even deal with the levels of awesome i dish out on a sentency basis

RV: How sad, that they should miss out on all these fun conversations
RV: Do you have anyone in mind as a server player?

OL: i’m just going to pretend it isn’t totally weird that you guessed he wasn’t
OL: because i was totally gonna mess w/ you about that

RV: Certainly, I have abilities far beyond those of a normal human being
RV: Namely, communication skills

OL: you know it
OL: anyway
OL: i don’t think i have a choice, right?
OL: only guy left’s ES
OL: this is not a complaint, only an observation

RV: Noted
OL: but man
OL: the grapevine’s been telling me he’s going through several mental breakdowns
OL: consecutive ones even
OL: like, i didn’t even know that was fucking possible

RV: It appears there’s a part of the grapevine I’m left out of
OL: you poor baby!
OL: but yeeeeah
OL: i’ve kinda got my own sources
OL: mysterious ones that i can’t even really talk about
OL: all kinds of movie shit and shit

RV: Shit and shit?
OL: hell yeah!
OL: that’s just how much shit it is

RV: You continue to enlighten me
RV: Is there anything about your sources you feel you can share with the class?
RV: I am simply dying with curiosity over here

OL: weeeeeeeeeell
OL: you did ask
OL: soooooooooo
OL: i guess i can tell you that my source is a girl?

RV: You’ll have to forgive me for this assumption, but when I see the words ‘source’ and ‘girl’ in one sentence, there is really only one conclusion I can jump to
OL: lolwut?
OL: oh!
OL: no i’m not talking bout DI
OL: wow yeah
OL: talk about misleading information
OL: sorry

RV: Just checking
RV: That’s all you’re willing to tell me?

OL: yup
OL: youre not getting any more intel out of this bitch
OL: im locked up tighter than TRs ass

RV: That’s not very nice
OL: sorry
OL: yeah that was supposed to be a joke
OL: but i guess it went a bit too far without going waaaay too far
OL: cause aint nobody that doesnt know that way too far is way too funny

RV: And we have a triple negative!
RV: Honestly, we are breaking new grounds here

OL: i could go quad on your ass
OL: ill fucking do it too
OL: you mark my words

RV: Those are harsh words, my lady
RV: Everyone knows the quadruple negative is the bringer of the apocalypse

OL: daaaaaaaamn
OL: someone beat me to it!
OL: you’d better have some names RV
OL: imma stab some suckers
OL: fuck yeh aliteration

RV: For the sake of the human race, soon to be extinguished, I shall not
OL: one of these days david
OL: one of these days ill find something to make you speechless
OL: srsly

RV: A rather ambitious challenge you’ve set up for yourself
RV: I wish you luck

OL: sure you do
OL: n e way im getting out of here
OL: things to do
OL: you know how it is

RV: Do not let me keep you

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

Okay, that certainly made you feel good, as fun conversations are wont to do.

Maybe now is a good time to check on Peter and Kyrianne.

-- robotVagabond [RV] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] --

RV: Hey, Peter
ES: Oh dear God I do not have time for this.
ES: Sorry, David.
ES: Duty’s calling.
ES: By which I mean Thijs is being an idiot.

RV: Carry on, then

-- robotVagabond [RV] ceased pestering eccentricStyle [ES] --

That certainly wasn’t very helpful. He did sound like he could use your help, though.

-- robotVagabond [RV] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] --

RV: Thijs?
RV: I heard you were being your characteristic self again

AD: hsuejkvnbajen
RV: Okay?
AD: hfuanfkarkiahkr

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

Evidently this is going wrong on a lot of levels. Perhaps talking to Willow...

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

DI: No.
DI: He’ll be alright.

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

That was decidedly not surprising, although you’re starting to think she can read minds as well as the future.

Now that would be weird.

Well then, now that you’re at it anyway, you might as well check up on TR, too. Being surrounded by two lovely, if slightly odd ladies is not good for that man’s mental health.

-- robotVagabond [RV] began pestering tyrannosaurusRock [TR] --

RV: Hey there
RV: I’m just checking to see if you’re okay
RV: Since nobody else seems to be

TR: AAAAAAAARRGHHRGF!!!
RV: I’m going to take that as a no
TR: NO SHIT SHERLOCK
TR: GOD FUCKING DAMNIT
TR: THIS WHOLE THING IS SUCH RETARDED BULLSHIT!
TR: I FUCKING QUIT!

RV: What is it this time?

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

Yeah, you’ve just now decided this business isn’t worth the effort. You’re going to play a video game until Willow or Myra talk to you again.

Chapter Text

This is not going anywhere near as smoothly as you wanted it to go.

Hell, it’s not even going anywhere near as smoothly as you expected it to go.

You’re fairly convinced he’ll make it, really, since you did put everything in a nice order initially. At least, you think you did.

Thijs’ sister looked a lot less than pleased when you dropped the Cruxtruder in her room, instead of his, but moving it costs 100 grist and that’s exactly as much as you have and you have no intentions of wasting it yet.

They’ve been fighting over that since then. She even went so far as to take the Pre-Punched Card until Thijs would find a way to get rid of the Cruxtruder. He hasn’t gotten it back yet.

You were considering, for a moment, to pick her up and drop her on the Cruxtruder to open it, but a few things stopped you.

One, she probably wouldn’t be heavy enough to open it.
Two, that would be kind of a bitch move.
Three, you discovered you couldn’t actually pick up players or their guardians.

Instead, you took her closet and dropped that to open the Cruxtruder instead. Predictably, this only served to piss her off more, rather than make her see her struggles were futile.

In all fairness, this is a lot more trouble than you were expecting. You’d have thought Thijs’ entry would’ve been one of the easy ones, considering the fact that you are managing it. Okay, wow, that sounded really arrogant, come to think of it. You were, of course, referring to your future-seeing abilities, which aren’t even true future-seeing abilities, but whatever.

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering annoyingDutchie [AD] --

DI: Thijs.
DI: Even if it’s absolutely adorable to watch you run around like this.
DI: I really need you to focus right now.
DI: This is kind of important.

AD: yeah, wow
AD: no shit willow.
AD: i can see now that im being the complete idiot here
AD: you know
AD: instead of my sister.
AD: it’d be nice if you did something about that, by the way.

DI: I can’t.
DI: I can’t even touch her and I don’t want to kill her.

AD: dont you know what i have to do?
AD: isn’t that kind of your thing?
AD: cause that’d be really useful right now.

DI: As I’ve told you before, I don’t know everything.
DI: I’ve only seen a couple of things.
DI: And this isn’t one of them.
DI: I really wish it was different.

AD: you wish it was different?
AD: try me
AD: my sister is going to kill me!
AD: do something!
AD: hfuiaweheuiahf

DI: Like what?
DI: What do you want me to do?
DI: Go ahead and tell me and I’ll get right on it.
DI: Seriously, my finger’s on the trigger here.
DI: I know as much about this as you do!

He isn’t responding to you, but he is typing, you wonder what’s going on? A question you really aren’t used to asking yourself.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] began pestering drunknIrish [DI] --

ES: Willow.
ES: While it’s not that I don’t appreciate what you’re trying to do.
ES: I would appreciate it even more if you stopped doing it.

DI: Do you think you can handle it?
DI: You can’t even see what’s going on.
DI: But sure, if you think you’re better at this than I am, go right ahead.
DI: I’ll gladly hand the controls over to you.
DI: Let me just mail my computer right to you.

ES: I think I can handle it better than you can at the moment.
ES: You’re panicking even more than he is.

DI: I am not panicking.
ES: Who are you trying to kid here?
ES: You are freaking the hell out.
ES: You’re just pretty good at hiding it.

DI: Shut up.
DI: Don’t even pretend you aren’t freaking out either.

ES: See, I can’t deny that.
ES: Because I’m trying to be sane.
ES: But I’m only really pissed off.
ES: Whereas you are both pissed off and panicking.
ES: Which is a lot more dangerous.

DI: You know what?
DI: You can have him.
DI: Have fun with your crazy Dutch clusterfuck.

ES: Okay, I am not trying to get on your nerves.
ES: But you’ve done all you can right now, and dealing with one idiot is enough for anyone.
ES: So please leave Thijs alone so I can try to talk some sense into him.

DI: You’re not helping your case by calling me an idiot, let me tell you.
ES: Read that sentence again.
ES: When you’ve figured out what I meant, you’re back to sane land.
ES: Until then you can keep fuming at me.
ES: Just don’t talk to him, he’s got enough to deal with.
ES: Oh, and keep David out of this too.
ES: Too many cooks do spoil the soup, after all.

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering drunknIrish [DI] --

What the hell just happened? Did Peter seriously just tell you off? That’s definitely somewhat unusual.

What the hell did he even mean?

Why the hell don’t you know what’s going on? You’re supposed to know what’s going on!

You were going to play this game and it was going to be fun and really important, but you’ve kind of lost control.

And the game hasn’t even really started yet!

What was that about David again? Oh, right.

-- drunknIrish [DI] began pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

DI: No.
DI: He’ll be alright.

-- drunknIrish [DI] ceased pestering robotVagabond [RV] --

You’re still sure he will be. It’s just that you suddenly have no idea how he’s going to get there.

Yeah, that’s it, isn’t it?

You sigh, calming down slightly. You’re supposed to be the calm one. Or one of the calm ones, anyway. Or maybe you’re just supposed to be good at working under pressure. Well, that turned out to be one hell of a joke. What is Peter even doing? What did he- oh goddamnit not now.

-- unbelievableGenius [UG] began pestering drunknIrish [DI] --

UG: HEllO WilLOw
DI: This might shock you, but I really don’t have time for you right now.
UG: tHAt iSN’t tRUe
UG: iN FacT, I thINk yOU reALly NEed TO taLK to ME

DI: And why, pray tell, would that be?
DI: What exactly do you have to tell me right now?

UG: yoU’Ve rEAchED a bLInd SPot
UG: A PoiNT in YOur TImeLIne THat NOboDY caN See
UG: INclUDinG You
UG: BEfoRE yoU Ask
UG: I Did NOt dO It
UG: aND i dONt kNOw wHAt dID caUSe iT
UG: Not YEt, aNYwaY

DI: And you’re telling me this, why?
DI: I mean, this seems like the kind of thing you’d be happy to bask in for all eternity while letting us struggle with it.

UG: You MEan LEttINg yOU stRUggLE wiTH it
DI: Did you have a point?
UG: AS i pOIntED ouT
UG: RepEAteDLy i MIghT Add
UG: I Am nOT yoUR enEMy hERe
UG: aND i cAN’t hAVe yOU loSIng IT evERy tIMe oNE of THesE OccURs
UG: sO I deCIdeD To sHAre THis INfoRMatIOn wITh yOU

DI: And you expect me to believe you suddenly turned charitable?
DI: I mean, really?

UG: if YOu iNSisT On bEIng CYniCAl yOU coULd sAY thIS gaME is NO fuN To pLAy wIThoUT a wORthY OppONenT
UG: ThiS Is aBSolUTe bULlsHIt bUT miGHt aLIgn MOre WIth YOur MEntAL imAGe oF Me

DI: A mental image you yourself helped cultivate.
DI: Let’s not pretend I’m not thinking of you exactly what you want me to.

UG: i WIll ADmiT My oRIgiNAl cORreSPonDEncES weRE soMEwhAT miSLeaDIng
DI: That’s all you’re willing to admit, is it?
DI: Somehow I think every word you say is misleading me on purpose.

UG: THerE Is mORe tO It tHAn tHAt
DI: Enlighten me.
UG: wE Are IN a bLInd SPot
DI: Well played.
UG: IT is ONe oF The FEw iNStaNCes NO enTIty CAn hAVe kNOwlEDge OF unTIl iT Has PAssED
UG: anD EveN TheN ThaT KnoWLedGE wiLL onLY be LImiTEd
UG: dO You SEe wHAt i AM trYIng TO teLL yoU HerE?
UG: BecAUse IF noT I maY HavE To fINd sOMeoNE elSE

DI: Someone else for what?
DI: Never mind, that’s asking for too many details on your plans again, isn’t it?
DI: Forget I said anything.

UG: do YOu hAVe aN AnsWEr fOR me?
DI: Blind spots are the only time you can make your move without anyone watching you.
UG: EXacTLy
UG: i CAn dO ThiNGs nOW
UG: i cAN chANge THinGS noW

DI: You can’t change the future.
DI: Everything I’ve seen will happen.
DI: You will lose.

UG: You KNow WHat WIll HAppEN
UG: buT Do yOU knOW whY?
UG: EveNTs cAN meAN enTIreLY diFFerENt tHIngS DepENdiNG on ONe’s PErsPEctIVe

DI: Well, I wonder how you’ll manage to spin this particular event to your advantage.
DI: Really, I’ll be looking forward to it.
DI: Since you will be dying and all that.

UG: rIGht
UG: I ThoUGht THat MIghT HavE BeeN WhaT You WEre TAlkINg aBOut
UG: THat’S DisAPpoINtiNG
UG: to THinK I doN’T geT To eNJoy THe sPOilS Of mY HarD WorK
UG: You HAd bETteR AppREciATe iT

DI: You’ll be relieved to hear that you’ve managed to confuse me.
DI: Congratulations.

UG: I woULdn’T WorRY
UG: it WOn’t BE thE LasT TimE
UG: GooDBye WIllOW

-- unbelievableGenius [UG] ceased pestering drunknIrish [DI] --

And you suddenly don’t understand anything anymore. You always figured there would be more going on than you knew about and that there were things you didn’t know about at all, but you didn’t expect to be confronted with it so soon.

These ‘blind spots’ sound rather worrying to you. It’s been forever since the last time you didn’t know what was going on and you’re not looking forward to being kept in the dark on anything.

Although UG was right about one thing, losing it every time you run into one of those things is not going to be of any help to anyone. It would also be pretty pathetic, really. You need to suck it up and get through this.

The future’s still more clear to you than it is to anyone else. That is still an advantage you have and they desperately need.

And maybe it’s possible that you are wrong about some things.

Wouldn’t that be a relief?

Your thoughts are interrupted by a bright flash.

Chapter Text

Oh wow. You are having a really bad day.

Such a bad day, in fact, that you are starting to think it might be the worst day in your life. This is including all your future days because even Willow seems to have lost track of how bad of a day this is.

Your sister is going to kill both of you over some stupid argument about something you couldn’t even help and if this is another one of her tests you’re going to...

You’re going to...

Be really mad at her after you’re no longer about to die, that’s what you’ll do.

In the meantime, you were bothered by three of your friends, at least two of whom were kind of angry at you for things you either couldn’t help or didn’t even think about yet.

Fortunately, only one of them is left.

Unfortunately, it’s one of the angry ones.

ES: Has your mind finally regained enough composure to form coherent sentences again or do I have to wait another minute?
AD: im cool
AD: i’m so totally cool right now you wouldn’t even believe me if i told you.
AD: below zero and shit.

ES: Well, that doesn’t inspire much confidence.
ES: It’s better than random letters, though.

AD: help?
ES: Now that, I can do.
ES: I told Willow to leave you alone for a bit so she can get her own issues straightened out.
ES: She’s done everything she has to do anyway, so I can help you through the rest.
ES: So say hello to your new not-quite-server-player!

AD: not helping.
ES: Right.
ES: What’s going on?

AD: my sis has the card and she wont give it back until i get rid of the cruxtruder which i can’t and this is so fucking stupid.
ES: Apologise to her.
AD: what?
AD: this isn’t even my fault!

ES: So what?
ES: You’re going to die if you don’t and pride is a thing far too stupid to get killed over.
ES: Besides, you can get to gloat over being the bigger man later on.
ES: Trust me, it’s totally worth it.

AD: okay
ES: What, really?
ES: You mean that worked?

AD: im a really selfish person
AD: and i don’t have a real choice besides dying and that’s not a choice
AD: also, fuck you.

ES: Why?
AD: Because i needed to say that to someone and you’re the only one I’m talking to right now.
ES: Nice.
ES: Do me a favour, don’t look at the timer and just get the card and the cruxite and get out.
ES: You don’t need that thing for a while after anyway.

AD: got it.

You decide to listen to your friend’s advice, because it does make a certain amount of sense. You go to her room and knock on her door.
“Did you find a way to get rid of that thing?” she asks.
“No.”
“Then fuck off.” Well, this is going great, so far.
“I’m sorry, alright? I don’t know what’s going on either, and I don’t think there even is a way to get rid of the Cruxtruder.” You sigh, thereby showing just how sorry you are. “But I really need that card and the cruxite right now, okay?”

It’s quiet for a little while, and then the door opens a little bit and both the card and the cruxite land outside of it. “Make sure that doesn’t happen again, please? Thank you.” The door slams shut.
“Yeah, yeah, sure.”
“I don’t know why I bother, really, you do this kind of stuff all the time.”
You grab both and notice that the kernelsprite has joined you by floating through the closed door. Whatever.

AD: Got it.
ES: You said that already.
AD: no, I mean, I got the stuff.
ES: Awesome, how’d it go?
AD: definately better than expected.
AD: What´s next?

ES: You need to decide what to prototype with.
ES: That’s actually the main reason I’m here.
ES: To make sure we don’t fuck ourselves over too bad.

AD: dont even worry about that.
AD: I have the perfect idea

ES: This is going to be awful, isn’t it?
ES: Please tell me it isn’t something completely ridiculous.

AD: blow-up doll
AD: i have one around here somewhere.

ES: No.
ES: Just, no.
ES: Hell no.
ES: Do I need to be more clear here?
ES: You are NOT prototyping with a fucking blow-up doll.

AD: why not?
AD: it would make all of our enemies really weak, probably.
AD: plus it’d be fucking hilarious.
AD: come on man, this isn’t the time to be a killjoy

ES: Fuck no.
ES: I am NOT fighting blow-up dolls!
ES: I don’t particularly give a shit how you can justify it, but I need to draw the damn line somewhere.
ES: And guess what, blow-up dolls are on the other side.
ES: Why the fuck do you even have one of those?

AD: Come on, really?
AD: this isnt about what i do or don’t have
AD: this is about how you’re suddenly being an asshole.

ES: Excuse me for having some sort of decency!
ES: Just, ugh.
ES: I’ve seen these guys, you have not.
ES: And I very much despise my imagination right now.

AD: youre imagining your enemies as blow up dolls, aren’t you?
ES: Shut.
ES: The fuck.
ES: Up.
ES: I am so not having this conversation with you.

AD: tell me about the blow up dolls, peter.
ES: You know what?
ES: Fuck it.
ES: Fuck you, and fuck this whole business.
ES: Do whatever the fuck you want.
ES: But if I find out you prototyped with a blow-up doll, I will kill you.
ES: As soon as I’ve discovered interstellar travel.
ES: And dear God will I be motivated to do so.

AD: alright.
AD: i’ll come up with something better

ES: That is so not a reassuring statement.

-- annoyingDutchie [AD] ceased pestering eccentricStyle [ES] --

Okay, so, no blow-up doll. Damn. You were really looking forward to that.

What else do you have?

Your eyes are immediately drawn to your video game collection. There are some real gems in there, but you think it’s kind of difficult to predict what prototyping those will do.

And Peter would get really fucking mad, you guess, but he can kind of go suck it. He shot down one of your brilliant ideas, he doesn’t get a say in this one. You’re pretty sure that’s how veto works.

There’s one blatant copyright violation that’s just begging for your attention. And also happens to be very simple. Your Master Chief statuette.

Oh yes. This is an awesome idea. You’ll have the Chief by your side. There’s no way this can go wrong.

Well, yes there is, obviously, but there wouldn’t be a point if things couldn’t go wrong.

You take the Master Chief statuette and throw it at the Kernelsprite and are then blinded by a bright flash of light.

Right, you forgot that’s how this game tells you important stuff is happening. That’s kind of dumb. Both the fact that it does that and the fact that you forgot.

Nevertheless, there’s a familiar helmet floating in front of you, even if it’s more blue than you’re used to. You grin at it. It doesn’t do anything.

Time to get down to the real business. Take card, punch totem, yadayadayada.

Your Alchemiter creates a table with a small glass on it, which is then filled with a liquid from a bottle that promptly disappears again. You’ve really no idea what that stuff is, right now, and drinking clear blue substances has never really been your thing.

This isn’t exactly the time to complain, though. Bottom’s up!

There’s a bright flash and you disappear.

Your sister releases her breath in a sigh. You have no idea how close you were.

Chapter Text

Your name is Calvin Walker. When not spending your time researching things for your papers at University, you often spend most of your time fantasising about playing video games back at home. You also like playing guitar, practicing karate, and going on the internet to read web-comics.

You take pride in your Dutch ancestry, though you don’t always act all Dutch. You went to Amsterdam once, so you argue that’s when you really became interested in your Dutch heritage. You are also a Canadian, but unlike other Canadians, you’re not all that interested in any sports, including Lacrosse and Hockey. You still love to eat poutine, though. God, that shit is delicious.

As mentioned before, you go to University, specifically to study for Political Science. You find politics a fascinating thing to study, if complex and somewhat difficult to fully comprehend compared to your other, more political-minded friends. As a result of your studies so far, you are strongly opposed to anyone proclaiming any solid ‘truth’ about anything, since it is not an easy thing to understand the world with absolute certainty. This has more often than not contributed to your difficulty to get along well with others.

This might also have played a part in how your day has taken a turn for the worse ever since you opened your eyes. You’ve been fighting your way through annoyance after annoyance for the last couple of hours, mostly concerned with people trying to convince you to play this bullshit game while the word is burning to the ground.

You downloaded the damn thing last night in a drunken stupor and the image on your screen right now isn’t really helping your mood.

TR: GOD FUCKING DAMNIT
KM: what’s wrong this time?
TR: I CANNOT FUCKING BELIEVE THIS
KM: you’re being a dick again.
KM: turn off caps lock for a minute and tell me what’s going on.

TR: Will you STOP patronising me?
TR: I’m not entirely sure if you’re aware of this, but I’m NOT taking this nearly as well as all of you
TR: A LITTLE BIT of concern for me would be really nice

KM: alright fine.
KM: what’s going on?

TR: The game is going on
TR: Well, actually, no
TR: The game is NOT going on

KM: man, an hour ago you would’ve been so happy with that.
KM: what changed?

TR: Thank you SO MUCH for pointing that out to me
TR: I REALLY appreciate it
TR: Point being, it isn’t working
TR: Whatever fucking file I downloaded is corrupted and isn’t going to work

KM: oh crap.
KM: can you get another one?

TR: I can TRY to download it again
TR: But I don’t think it’ll do me any good

KM: is there a game store nearby or something?
TR: That’s open during a METEOR SHOWER?
TR: That would be a really DEDICATED BUSINESSMAN

KM: stop doing that!
KM: you need to get a copy of the game as soon as possible!
KM: steal it if you have to!
KM: you’re supposed to save my life here!

TR: Let me get RIGHT ON that
TR: It’s nice to see how your morals hold up under duress

KM: calvin shut the hell up.
KM: i don’t even.
KM: why are you doing this to me?
KM: just a minute ago you were bitching about efficient time management or something stupid and now you’re doing this?
KM: i can’t even deal with this right now.

TR: I’m just saying we could’ve found out about this A LOT EARLIER if you’d let me play as soon as I was ready
KM: don’t you even dare blame this on me calvin.
KM: i’m going to ask ol to be my server and you can go do your own thing.
KM: maybe ask es to be your server and you can play hero for ol if she wants you.

TR: I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START FIXING THIS!
TR: WHAT CAN I EVEN DO HERE?
TR: I’M ON CAMPUS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD
TR: I just
TR: Fine
TR: Good luck with OL, I guess

KM: calvin, i’m sorry.
KM: can you ask someone to help you?

TR: I don’t know
TR: My roommate left a little while ago saying something about taking care of some shit
TR: I don’t even know what that guy is doing
TR: Probably found some shelter like a sane person

KM: can you go find him, at least?
TR: Yeah
TR: I guess I’ll have to go outside anyway
TR: This is such a stupid as fuck idea I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore
TR: And yeah I guess I was being mean, so sorry about that

KM: your apology has been noted and is being reviewed for acceptance.
KM: getting your ass in gear will look really good on your resume.

TR: I get it, alright?
TR: I’m going

KM: good luck.

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] ceased pestering killerMedic [KM] --

Maybe your roommate even thought ahead and already went to find you a copy of the game. You know, to make things easier. You seriously doubt this is the case, however.

Because the universe despises you, and won't let you do anything sensible anyway.

Before you go out and find him, though, you’re going to bring the guy who started this whole mess up to speed.

-- tyrannosaurusRock [TR] began pestering eccentricStyle [ES] --

TR: Peter, I would like to thank you
TR: For being such a great friend and sending me this copy of the game that will allow me to apparently save my life
TR: No matter how little sense that makes in any context whatsoever
TR: There is just one little thing I’d like to complain about
TR: It’s not much really, but I thought you should know this
TR: THE GODDAMN THING DOESN’T WORK!
TR: Now not only did I let myself get convinced not to SAVE MY LIFE in any sane fashion
TR: I’m also apparently doomed to die because the guy who GOT ME INTO THIS in the first place send me A BROKEN FUCKING COPY
TR: THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH

ES: It’s nice to hear from you again, too, Calvin.
ES: Yes, I am fine.
ES: Yes, I survived certain doom because Kyrianne and I are badass.
ES: Thank you very much for your concern for my well being.

TR: THIS IS NOT FUNNY
TR: I AM ABOUT TO DIE HERE

ES: Oh dear.
ES: Let me drop everything and pop right back into our original dimension without any obvious means to do so to help you out.
ES: Because that’s apparently exactly how cool you think I am.
ES: I am flattered, really.

TR: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT?
ES: Dear God it’s really annoying how out of the loop you are.
ES: I know, you can’t help it, and I’m sorry.
ES: But I’m pretty sure I don’t understand half of what’s going on right now.
ES: It’s frustrating as all hell and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end soon.

TR: This is hell, isn’t it?
ES: If it is, I want my money back.
ES: I was told it’d be entirely different.
ES: Warmer, for one.
ES: And less infected with annoying little things that try to kill you.
ES: Okay, that part might’ve been somewhat accurate.

TR: None of that made ANY damn sense
TR: I hope you’re aware of that
TR: Actually I think you’ve lost your mind

ES: Absolutely.
ES: Welcome to crazy town.
ES: Population: six and counting!
ES: Now, you get to finding a good version of the game.
ES: I have to try out this new stick.
ES: You will not believe how much glass this thing cost to make.

TR: Haha
TR: That’s the laugh of WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?

ES: Noted.
ES: Good luck, Calvin.
ES: You will need it!

-- eccentricStyle [ES] ceased pestering tyrannosaurusRock [TR] --

Did... did he just piss you off? You think he pissed you off, but you really have no idea what the hell just happened. You’re just confused and you’re pretty sure he’s actually completely crazy.

Or maybe you are and this is just some crazy illusion, or something. Maybe you haven’t even waken up yet? Haha, that would be funny.

Yeah, fuck that noise, you’re not about to turn into a solipsist right now. You’re just going to find your roommate and sort this shit out, because you desperately need someone real and at least slightly sane to talk to.

Speaking of the exact opposite...

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] began pestering tyrannosaurusRock [TR] --

OL: hey TR
OL: caaaaaalvin
OL: so i heard youre in some really deep shit
OL: like mariana trench levels of deep shit

TR: What
TR: There’s not even a question mark there
TR: Just
TR: What

OL: dude calm your tits
OL: im here to offer you reassurances
OL: like all this its going to be alright sappy kind of bullshit
OL: got word of your little fucked up game problem
OL: wont even tell you who told me because fuck that
OL: seriously though its totally going to be cool
OL: lets face it all of us are way too badass to be thwarted at stage fucking 1
OL: i scoff at the thought
OL: britishly scoff so you know im being really goddamn serious

TR: I
TR: appreciate the thought?
TR: I guess?

OL: awesome
OL: looks like youve got shit to do n shit
OL: ttyl

-- obfuscatingLogician [OL] ceased pestering tyrannosaurusRock [TR] --

You’re just...

You’re just going to go find your roommate now and nothing is going to interrupt you anymore and it’ll be all cool and chill and he’ll help you out of this somehow.

The door falls shut behind you and the hallway’s actually empty. There’s not a soul to be seen or heard, which is kind of unnerving.

Hold on a sec, did you bring your keys? You did bring your keys, right?

OH COME ON!