Arc I - Intrusus
This RP will be written in paragraph-novel format with each post either consisting of at least one paragraph or enough information to contribute to the story. The turn order is first come, first serve, meaning that the order of the first turn will set the order for the rest of the round. However, if you do not post in 3 days, your turn may be skipped.
Scene 1: Signal City Competition Lounge
It's difficult to discern the digital night and digital day in Signal City, as artificial lights flood from vehicles, street lights, and other simulated phenomena. The tallest building in Signal, however, bore a giant, LED clock on it's Northern face that stated that the time was 21:00, or 9 PM. The first room of this skyscraper was even brighter though, as the lounge was a beacon of florescent lighting. Even the furniture was bright white as well, making it like a postmodern purgatory. Even the furniture and front desk was bright white as well, as one does not need to worry about dirtying upholstery in virtual reality.
An orange moth occupied this room, lying on one of the couches and staring at an aquarium. The gurgling of the glass tank and the slow maneuver of the fish was almost hypnotic. The moth, Rok as he liked to be called, had just completed a competition atop the architecture of Signal City, and his avatar was notably wiped. While DW10 was a digital world, the citizens operated like computer programs, meaning that if they are overloaded with activity (fatigue), they will become sluggish and hardly responsive until they are recovered.
The rabbit-woman at the counter, filing her nails and watching viral videos on her computer, finally spoke up. "Hey kid, are you gonna sign up for another match? This ain't a bed and breakfast!"
Rok'shoza sighed, "Hey, I just got out of one, gimme a break, okay? I'd like to see you spring up and run out of here after you've gotten out of a knock-down-drag-out like that."
Rok turned back to face the tank, intermittently looking down at a mobile device. He was reading the official DW10 forum, checking to see if any participants or strategists have come up with a new strategy for the city fights. There wasn't much to offer though.
While Rok'Shoza seemed exhausted, the newcomer who burst in right when the moth started reading was the exact opposite. Donning a zipped-up orange jacket and yellow shorts, Mack Anticerdes had just finished a match and was giddy about winning it. Though he wasn't loud, you could read his expression that said he wasn't exactly quiet, either. Mack didn't worry about any of these things, though - he just wanted some excitement to keep up the rush!
Going to the counter and the rabbit female, after winking at her, Mack gave her a great joyous smile. "Hello, ma'am. My name is Mack Anticerdes, and I'd like to sign up for another match, please!" Any onlookers might've wondered if it was the most safe - Mack's avatar was sightly glitching.
The rabbit at the counter looked up at the most recent intruder to ruin her solitude, noticing that this tiger-boy was suffering from major data corruption. There was a long pause and awkward silence made worse by the incognizant bubbling of the aquarium's filter. The look on the woman's face was that of pure bewilderment, complete with a perplexed scowl and a mouth slightly agape.
There was a sarcastic bite to her inflection, as if this kid was actually stupid enough to get his avatar deleted. Rok looked up at the concurrent qualm, also noticing that the tiger was in no shape to compete or fight. He didn't really seem like the type to listen to half-assed suggestions, so he adjusted his tone respectively.
"Hey kid, you're gonna get yourself killed if you barge onto the arena like that. You don't wanna rebuild your brand and start from scratch, do ya?"
Mack blew a light raspberry and waved the duo off. "It's no prob, just a few battle scars. I'll be able to fix myself up in no time." He then scratched his chin. "Now that I think about it, though, I should take another break. Maybe charge myself up for preparation." Liking this idea more than the previous one, Mack got on a sofa and started reading some magazines.
Reens noticed the tiger-boy, and she also noticed his corrupted data. However, she was feeling a bit too shy to say much, and merely continued with the task she was working on. She was currently fixing a small monitor and replacing corrupted data files, loading the new ones up from her USB drive. Poor guy, she said to herself. If he's not careful...
Reens's thoughts were interrupted by Kimara—a ferret in a teal armored bodysuit and helmet—skating into the room and screeching to a halt to avoid banging into the desk. Scooting back to get to a more respectful distance from the receptionist, Kimara said, "Hi, receptionist lady! Sorry for getting in your face. Can I sign up for another match?"
Before the receptionist could respond, Kimara had noticed Reens fixing the computer, and promptly skated over to her. "Oh hi, hedgehog mechanic lady fixing person whatever-you-want-to-call-yourself! I just noticed you fixing the computer, and hang on waaaait I was talking to the receptionist, wasn't I? Excuse me a minute."
Kimara skated back over to the receptionist. "Sorry for cutting you off. Can I sign up for another match?" Kimara was clearly trying very hard to keep herself in place, drumming her fingers on her leg, staring at the ceiling, and jiggling up and down to avoid accidentally interrupting the receptionist again. As if this weren't obvious enough, Kimara could be heard saying under her breath "...stay still stay still stay still stay still stay still stay still..."
The rabbit at the reception counter looked up at the turquoise-armor clad girl, taking note of her spastic fidgeting and overall hyperactive demeanor.
"Alright Sweetie, only if you promise not to explode on me." The woman at the counter pulled out a black cylinder with a large, bulbous lens sticking out of the top. With the press of a button, the peripheral projected a 3d holograph of a chart with various different matches, participants, and signup times on the screen. Unfortunately, the ones who had entered the competition were scheduled 1-3 hours away from the current time, and it would be a crapshoot whether or not another competitor would accept her challenge or not.
"Okay, Kimara." she pronounced incorrectly, "You can either accept someone else's challenge and wait until the match time, or you can place your own offer to be accepted. If that time passes without someone else taking your challenge though, it'll be nixed. Got that?"
Rok finally looked up at all of the commotion and took note of the nerd-girl and the torpedo on wheels that had walked and crashed into the building respectively. He adjusted his stance on the couch as if to make more room if other people wanted to sit and rest. The moth looked at his tablet again. The healing process was about 90 percent complete, so maybe he could sign up in the next few minutes.
He closed his eyes and sighed deeply, leaning his head back as to relax and enter a meditative state. Just like real computers, the fewer processes that ran in his head, the more smoothly he could operate.
After a few seconds though, he noticed that something wasn't right. He willed himself to raise his hand an yawn, but for some reason, there was an afterimage trail to his appendage. It was as if he was an old, unresponsive computer program being dragged across the screen. He felt fine though, and there didn't seem to be a glitch present.
Confused he looked around the room, hoping to see if anyone else was suffering the same issue.
Mack hadn't noticed the issue, but he saw Rok looking around, and when the moth looked at him, all he did was shrug. "You look a bit bothered. What's wro-wro-wro-wro-wro-wro-" Mac immediately gasped and covered his mouth. He had hoped that this would never happened, but now, he supposed he was just being hopeful.
Oh no, he thought, wanting to bite his nails. It looks like we've got a bad case of lag over here. I hope they fix it - soon, I might not be able to think properly! Literally!
"Oh, dear," Reens said to the receptionist. "Looks like their avatars are glitching out." She unplugged her USB drive and went over to Mack, as if to examine him. "Looks like a little glitch in programming," she observed. "Uh, sorry if this feels wrong, but I'll need to do something to your code to fix you up again. Is that alright?" She took out a mini-computer that was connected to her USB drive. "Don't worry, your avatar will be fixed in no time."
Mac gave Reens a smile and a thumbs-up. Mechanics were probably some of the most useful people here, in his opinion. If someone starts freezing during a battle? Mechanic to the rescue! Even if Mack hadn't been fighting for his aunt's show's popularity, he probably would've joined as a mechanic. "Th-Thanks a bi-bi-bill-billion!"
Kimara, who had ceased fidgeting and was now absently staring into space, had completely failed to respond to the receptionist and was only snapped out of her trance-like state by Mac's repeating of his monosyllable. "Hey, that's not part of the song!" she said. Kimara normally spoke so quickly that the lag didn't seem to affect her. "Something very weird here was making a syllable repeat during my song! It was like 'what's wro-wro-wro-wro' and then it was like 'bi-bi-bi' I think you get it. Anyway, you said I could have a match? Super! I'll fight whoeverrrrrrrrrr—" Kimara stopped, as she herself had started lagging due to the fact that she had momentarily slowed down her speech. "Hey! People! My song is going all weird and doing monosyllables again! Listen!" Kimara grabbed her helmet as if to pull it off, but the lag affecting the room caused her to lose control, nearly flinging the helmet across the room before she grabbed it and shoved it back on. Kimara glared at the light fixture that she'd nearly thrown her helmet into, then said, "This is the stupidest room I've ever been in. I'm out of here." Kimara skated out of the room. Moments later, a screeching sound could be heard, then Kimara skated back into the room, saying, "Oh right, I'm supposed to sign up for a match here! Sure, whatever, I'll fight anyone. Can I go now?"
The moth blinked and his eyes widened as he saw the ferret's helmet launch across the room with what appeared to be the force of a jet engine. Luckily, Signal City's underlying code was strong enough to withstand most abuse. As he turned his head, he could feel the after-images from his head returning to his body. He saw that the nerdy hedgehog girl was working on repairs starting with the tiger though, so he remained calm, self-assured that it would all be over soon.
Suddenly, the lights in the lounge begame flickering wildly. Both Rok and the receptionist stared at the oddly spastic electroliers. Suddenly, a seismic tremor blasted the building. Instead of becoming pitch black, the entire room was pitch blue for a few moments, as if there was a stupendous crash in the computer network. The fabric of virtual reality had completely disrupted, and the unfortunate individuals in this room were completely unresponsive for a moment. They could communicate or move, and all they could see is a "blue screen of death".
Several long seconds finally passed, and the area rebooted. The orange moth, a bit scratched and scuffed from being thrown across the room finally sat up, wiping "blood code" (multicolored junk data that appeared when a user suffered a crash or a corrupt process) from his body. He started looking around to make sure everything was okay.
His heart dropped in fear. Everything was not okay. When he looked over to the receptionist's desk, the bitchy rabbit that had previously occupied a seat and worked there was completely absent. A pile of glowing neon junk data remained in her spot. "Oh God," he thought, "Is this where the junk data on me came from? Did this woman just explode?!"
After a moment of observing, It almost looked like the room had shrunk in size as well, being about two-thirds of what it was before the crash. The moth returned to his feet and slowly paced over to the new phenomena. Instead of a programmed and textured wall, there was a black void with an invisible barrier. What made it even more bizarre was that the aquarium had ran into the wall that was previously there. While all of the water and fish stayed in place, there was just a sort of "cut-off" where a section of the aquarium, glass and all just didn't exist.
The look on Mimas Rok'shoza's face was absolutely dumbfounded. He turned back facing the other side of the room. He wasn't lagging anymore, but his adrenaline levels were through the roof.
"Uh, hey. Is everyone alright?" The normal citizen inside of him felt concern for the rest of his peers, and his character-villian, for once, agreed, except with more confusion and anger about the situation at hand.
Shaking, Reens looked up from where she was thrown to. "I-I'm fine," she stammered. "Oh, it's worse than I thought! Much worse! Sure, I'm a bit of a hacker, but something like this..." She wrung her hands together. "Avatars and corrupted code I can fix. Lights and sound I can fix. But this..."
Kimara had made the mistake of trying to move during the "blue screen of death". As a result, when the room rebooted, Kimara found herself about to slam into a light fixture attached to the ceiling. Fortunately for Kimara, she was able to grab onto the light fixture and swing on it, throwing herself across the room, flipping twice and landing on the sofa. Kimara clumsily pulled herself off of the sofa while Reens gave her explanation, then took the opportunity to speak the moment that Reens had finished saying "But this..." Kimara helpfully finished the sentence with, "This is like something right out of a video game! I think I know which video game we're in, too, and I know exactly what we have to do next! All right, listen up, everyone," she said, facing the other members of the room. "There are probably about half a dozen techno-organic alien mutant bug hybrids who feed on junk data (ew, gross) standing outside the door right now, and if we just try to open the door and leave, they'll eat us and we'll have to restart the game. So what we need to do now is to search around for the mark two laser death pistol that's conveniently hidden inside one of the light fixtures in order to defend ourselves and not get eaten. All right, everyone: SEARCH THE LIGHT FIXTURES!" Kimara promptly began poking the various light fixtures in the room to see if they would open and reveal a hidden item.
Mack was very freaked out when the moth suggested that the woman exploded, tempted to silently scream. If there's someone who can do this, I don't feel all that safe anymore... I'd be hopeful to hope that they've been caught by now. Mac growled lightly. I don't want to walk away from this. I'm finding answers. Better check the light fixtures, like that ferret said. Mac too started to check out the light fixtures, but didn't find anything, and because of that was disappointed.
Mac looked to Reens, hoping she had some type of item to fix the receptionist. Judging by her reaction, she didn't. Sighing, he looked to Rok. "Okay, explosions may be a possibility, but there are many different ways to kill an online persona. Someone could've hacked the game to find a way to 'pause' and killed her." Mac scratched his chin. "And seeing how the possible attacker only killed her, they're probably a sicko who wants us all to drive ourselves insane. Let's try to calm ourselves down and pay attention to tiny details." Now that he had an objective, the tiger seemed far more mature.
Just as Rok was about to don his military ruler persona, his train of thought was interrupted by the skating ferret's maundering spiel. The moth looked at her in a befuddled manner, as he began to believe that this girl played too many video games. He had never met somebody this prone to rabbit trails.
"Uh, no. I don't believe that's the case... But regardless, we need to look at the facts and get out of here." He started to head towards the exit point, but standing at the door he pulled out his mobile device once more and started scrambling around. Rok's eyes would occasionally widen as he scrolled through whatever data that was being accessed, it took a minute for him to finally return the tablet to his avatar's memory bank.
"OK, so the good news is that our avatars were backed up before we entered this lounge, or at least mine is, so we just kind of reset with full health. The bad news is that somebody ransacked part of the room itself. Now I'm not tech-savvy enough to run a diagnostic of this area, but from the entry data before and after the crash, this area lost a significant amount of terabytes, so part of this room was just wiped out for good."
With his hands crossed behind his back, Rok walked over to the mark on the chair where the receptionist formerly sat.
"This room lost about half of it's data, but I don't think that all of it came from the lobby itself. Bitchy-receptionist-lady over here was probably just a fake-avatar bot put here by DW10 programmers to save costs." Rok started to develop a theory that the bot learned how to be an asshole through situational learning of rude participants, but that was beside the point.
"So, whoever caused all this just wanted to wipe out the data in the room, not us, I think. It wasn't DW10 either, because they'd give us a warning or teleport us out before they did it." Rok looked at the sliced, physics-defying aquarium. "If it was the admins, I doubt they would do such a crappy job with it too."
"But, yeah, my name is Rok'shoza, but just call me Rok." The orange insect always wished that he wasn't given an ethnic name.
"Enough of all that though. Let's get out of here before the whole place is wiped." As a gentleman should, he opened the door for the rest of the group, but seconds later, four Roomba-like robots rocketed into the room, wheels blazing and siren blaring.
"WARNING, STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN," each of the machines cried. Their robotic voices were painful to the ears, like that of an echoing, poorly mixed microphone connected to a loudspeaker. These things must have suspected the group of four of causing the incident, considering how aggressive they were.
One of the robots' antennae sprung up and a violet aura began emanating from the wire. After a moment of charging, a void-like ball projected towards the blue hedgehog girl. Rok knew that he had to act fast. That beam would have either hurt, disabled, or teleported her away. None of those options were acceptable.
The moth extended his hand, palm open towards Reens and his wings suddenly formed into lights, shaped like a cloud of bright-orange and red moths. They flew towards the girl and circled around once, forming a bulwark-like shield with a cecropia moth emblem in front of her. The blast made the barrier explode back into a flock of insects, but they shortly returned to Rok, who held out his hand. They transformed once again into a moth-patterned cutlass and the wielder assumed a defensive stance.
"STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN!"
These things weren't going to give up.
SECURIBOT A - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
SECURIBOT B - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
SECURIBOT C - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
SECURIBOT D - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
Kimara stopped searching the light fixtures when she saw the robots enter the room. The moment that the robots stopped speaking, Kimara spoke. "Classic!" she said. "They make you think that you'll get one thing, then they throw something else at you. No bug hybrids today? OK then, robots, BE BLASTED INTO TINY BITS! HYAH!" She lunged at one of the robots, delivering a quick succession of punches and kicks to knock out the robot before it could see what hit it.
SECURIBOT A - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT B - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
SECURIBOT C - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
SECURIBOT D - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
Reens blinked, then looked over at Rok. "Thank you," she said kindly, getting up."I think now would be a good time to run?" She ran towards the entrance, but one of the robots stopped her. "Out of the way, please!" she shouted, hitting the robot in its head with her wrench. "Yipes!" She covered her ears, trembling in the exit.
SECURIBOT A - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT B - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT C - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
SECURIBOT D - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
Rok smiled and nodded at Reens as she smacked a robot with her wrench and scurried out the door, but just as the moth acknowledged her thanks, another dark orb fired at him. He held his sword in front of him which promptly morphed back into the aegis, taking the him. While Rok was buffered back a few inches, he remained unharmed. After the attack had faded, he returned to an offensive position and drew back his arm. Rok tossed his shield at the cylindrical robot and the weapon morphed into a swift, swirling figure of moths. Just as the projectile approached one of the bots, it regained form as a sword and stabbed through the robot, causing it to cease function. The moth recalled the weapon, transforming it back into his wings.
SECURIBOT A - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT B - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT C - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT D - HP: 01 (ONE TURN)
Mack decided not to be too flashy and do something that'd take too much time/energy, because his avatar was injured. Running up to the robot, he simply tried to bonk it on the head and kick it into a new portal, which he would reopen later, not really doing much damage but instead sealing it. Mack knew that the next time he opened the portal, he'd have to deal with it, but he'd be more equipped and battle ready by that point, so he didn't mind.
SECURIBOT A - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT B - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT C - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
SECURIBOT D - HP: 00 (DEFEATED)
Scene 2: Signal City Streets
The encounter with the Securibots had finally ended, resulting in a victory for the Mobians. As the orange moth opened the door, a rush of cool, digital air filled the room. It was getting very late, as two hours had passed since their first encounter (23:00). Like always, Signal City was still considerably busy, but there were far fewer people now then there are during the daylight hours. On the top of various skyscrapers, there were figures in red and orange jumpsuits scanning the building with devices and checking for errors, probably due to the breech that the four Mobians had just experienced.
After the other three people had left the room, he turned around to escape the mess that was once a competition lounge, but something caught his eye. The outer casing of one of the dysfunctional robots was cracked open, exposing an odd looking, black circuit-board with an orange "F" painted on the electronics. He took a second to rip the part out of the robot and file it away in his inventory before shutting the door behind him and catching up with the rest.
Rok wasn't sure what the three wanted to do next, but he had a feeling that they may have exposed themselves to future danger or weird events from what happened in that corrupted building. He finally regrouped and slowed his pace.
"Hey. Are you all doing okay?"
The moth looked around. At least they didn't appear harmed. After all of the trouble they had been to, Rok would hate to see the people that he fought with suffer. Even looking past the suspicious chip though, something didn't seem right to him. Those robots were still extremely weak compared to standard DW10 security programs, so why did the server have those pieces of junk in their arsenal to begin with?
The digital moon was just a bright sliver tonight, disguising itself just like the trouble that seemed to be hiding under the surface of Signal City.
Still slightly shaken, Reens breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks to your quick thinking, Rok'shoza," she said, smiling at him. "I can't imagine what would have happened if we had stayed there any longer." She looked at his avatar and shook her head. "Your avatar would have been nothing but pixels, but at least all three of you are alright for now." She then walked over to Mack, touching his avatar gently. "If we're truly safe now I can continue fixing him, and then maybe I can fix the rest of you."
Kimara hadn't been paying much attention to the others. After skating out of the building, she'd waited for about a second for something interesting to happen. When it didn't, she leaned against a building and started listening to music. Reens shaking her head, walking over to Mack, and poking him was the combination of events that snapped Kimara out of her trance. "Here she comes, fixing up the rest of us..." she muttered. Then, returning to her normal voice, she said, "Wait, what's going on? So, we get attacked by robots, leave the building, and nothing happens. Is this going to be like that stupid game where we have to walk 300 meters before we get to anything interesting? If not, we're probably going to either have a crucial conversation right now where we figure out something important, or this is going to be a hub world where everything else is attached, so we have to go explore to figure out where all of the useful stuff is, OR..." Kimara ran out of breath from having spent so long monologuing without stopping to breathe. As a result, she was forced to stop talking in order to recover her air.
Mack sighed before smiling weakly at Reens, unimpressed with himself. A bonk on the head? Really? Are you trying to be lame or what? After slapping himself on the head several times, he finally replied to Reens. "Sure, mechanic - wait, could you please tell me what your name is, if that's okay? I don't feel all too kind calling you 'Mechanic....'" Mac said in an apologetic tone. However, hearing Kimara plastered a smile back onto his face, even making him laugh a little bit. Oh, I like that girl. She seems like a gamer. I should introduce her to Camille sometime! They'd be besties! Mac mentally sighed. That is, assuming I ever get to see my friends from school again... stop thinking, Mack! This isn't your pity party! On the outside, it would've seemed like Mack was rapidly changing his emotions, from happy to sad to disappointed to mad.
"Oh, don't mention it. The last thing any of us would want is to get banned or wiped from the city for being here at the wrong place and the wrong time." He scratched his head as he went through the second statement, still uncertain of why they were actually attacked by bots.
After responding to the blue hedgehog-girl, the moth took in the rest of the conversation and tried to get a feel for what these other people were like. So far, he labelled these guys as the pacifist, the spaz, and the space cadet. It was a bit hard for Rok to get a read on the tiger, but he could look at the kid and tell that his mind was wandering in a few different directions.
"So, I know it's kind of weird to talk about it now, but my name is Rok'shoza. I'm the bad-guy off Blood of Hylaphora." Rok'shoza wasn't sure if they have heard of his show or not. These kids didn't seem like the type to watch medival, political dramas.
He rustled the broken piece of circuitry from his pocket, but still kept it in his hand. He would bring that up a bit later, but first he wanted to know who these people were.
Kimara perked up upon hearing Rok mention his show. "Blood of Hylaphora? You mean that show where it's all like 'blah blah blah, let me wait several seconds before I swing my sword at you'? I watched an episode of that once. It was kind of boring, and that guy with the hair had just so lost it, so I decided to never watch another episode of it again." Kimara suddenly looked embarrassed. "Oh wait. You weren't the guy with the hair, were you?"
"...Yes. Nice to meet you too," said Rok'shoza.
Reens laughed a little bit. "Aw, it's fine. I'm Reens Maricina. I, er, don't really have a show or anything. Usually I just go around the city and help other people with their shows. My grandpa used to have a show here but he pulled it off the air because its viewer count petered out and no one else would watch it," she explained while fixing Mack's code. "And... there we go! You should start feeling better in no time," she said before starting to fix Rok'shoza. "Tell me if anything feels weird, okay?"
The moth stood still as Reens worked her magic, restoring the little bits of corrupted avatar data that manifested from the crash. He noticed that the brown-tiger had trailed off while she was working. It seemed like he was just ready to get out of this mess and go back to competing.
"Nah, nothing seems like it's been acting up, I'm still just confused about what just happened." As Reens continued her diagnostics, Rok reached in his coat pocket and pulled out the odd piece of purple, digital circuitry. After a moment of looking at it again, he still couldn't think of what the "F" symbol could have stood for.
"Something about all of this seems very unofficial. Like, it's something that the server mods would normally never let happen on their watch."
Mack twirled around after Reens fixed him, smiling. "Thanks a lot, Reens! I'm already feeling better!" He then looked at her, with a slight realization - what type of power did she have? Fixing someone's code was like healing, and as far as he knew, she didn't waste any energy. Was she an infinite healer? That could've been very useful. But... she was a mechanic. What other abilities did she have? Could she pause in an online server? That'd also be useful. Could... could she reset everything?
Deciding not to think to hard about it, Mack listened to what Rok had said, nodding his head in agreement. "I can easily agree with that statement, there's no way this type of thing could pass by without the big bosses noticing. Could it be some sort of corruption? Has there been a change in power?" Mack asked, thinking about what questions could lead up to a decent answer.
Kimara, who had been leaning against the wall while the others spoke, briefly sang under her breath something about "unleash the power of" before straightening and turning to face the others. "So, obviously, the bad guys have taken over Channel Mobius, and we will have to contend with the powers that be *cough* the bad guys to get it back, at which point we will be awarded handsomely by being given some tiny little medal that does nothing. I hate that game. Anyway..." Kimara trailed off and went back to leaning against the wall for a moment before jolting upright again. "Oh right! What were we saying? Yeah, so I think we have to go retake the world because the bad guys have taken it. Luckily, we have most of a full dungeon group right here! We just need one other member..." Kimara started pointing at the other group members, apparently making a mental list of them. "Let's see, we have damage, damage, healer, and damage...we need a tank. Can someone here switch to tank spec? Then not having another damage won't be so bad, especially since almost everyone plays a damage around here."
"I'm not an expert on server mods," Reens chimed in, finishing Rok's repairs, "but I would have thought they at least would shut the server down for repairs so that your avatars wouldn't get damaged in the first place." She looked him over again and tweaked a part of his code for his wing armor, strengthening it. "There, you should be good as new now, Rok'shoza!" Smiling, she went over to Kimara and started fixing her code. "Please tell me if something starts feeling weird, okay? I don't want to damage any of your avatars."
”In that case, what do you all think of this?”
The moth finally held out the fragment of hardware for all to see and eventually handed it to Reens, as she was the closest and most knowledgeable person when it comes to tech.
”Forgive me for being out of the loop, but this came from one of those robots we destroyed. It‘s weird though. Why would it have an “F” marking like that?”
Reens looked at the piece, then sniffed it and licked it. "Motor oil... carbon fiber... a bit of copper wiring ... " She tapped her chin and licked it again. "Low levels of gold ... some titanium alloy ... ooh, and mint!" She turned the piece over in her hands. "In my honest opinion, this is only the first model we'd be facing, hence the 'F' imprinted on it. 'F' usually stands for failure, and with the materials used for making this robot, the creators knew it was doomed to fail! Thus, being the first robotic enemy, this means we'll be facing more dangers than this in the future."
"Of course!" Kimara slammed her fist into her palm. "This is just the first wave, the tutorial, where we are destined to win! We might have had our own styles, but that was OK, because there was no way we could lose! Now, though, we are shortly going to find ourselves forced to cope with the game's increasingly strict rules...and then...we'll have to cope with..." Kimara stared at her teammates with an expression of pure horror. "AN ENERGY METER!"
The orange moth brandished a confused look, directing it towards Kimara. He was amazed at how tightly the ferret's life seemed to revolve around video games.
"Seems like a waste if they just threw a couple of robots at us for a suicide mission."
He looked at the broken mechanism once again. Unfortunately, it would be hard to decipher what else those machines were capable of. Whoever designed them had the forethought to wipe out the rest of the source code upon defeat.
"Either way, I think the longer we're logged into the city, the more we're at risk of another attack."
Rok was at an internal crossroad once again. One part of him wanted to just forget this whole scenario ever happened and leave whatever came of it to chance. It probably wasn't his fight in the first place. On the other hand, his pride was at stake. Whoever trapped and targeted him issued a direct challenge, and what kind of man and leader would he be if he ran like a coward. There's obviously something those robots wanted, and if he didn't fight back, there would be a great chance of them taking it away.
"If you guys want to look into it more, meet me at The Recharge (a local burger, fries, and shake joint with a retro theme) tomorrow. I'm heading off to bed in a little bit."
Scene 3: The Recharge
As one draws closer and closer to the anachronistic restaurant, the more the digital bleeps and bloops of the big city faded, replaced by bluesy, nostalgic rock tunes. The joint was decorated with chrome and metal seats and counters, alongside red and white cushions. Many Signal City visitors flocked to the seemingly-infinite hub, and one's eardrums would burst from the raucous chit-chat if not for the auto-mute applied to those outside of a table area.
Were all of the people he had met yesterday going to come back? Maybe they didn't care enough to get involved either. If they didn't, that would be fine, as it would give Rok'shoza a legitimate reason to chicken out. There'd be no way in Hell that he could on something like that alone. The orange moth summoned a holographic screen from his phone. As he walked down a path of tables, he scrolled through a member's list, searching for one of the Mobians he had met previously. The robot-part that he acquired earlier was conspicuously placed in a coat pocket. It was rather uncomfortable and hard to miss, but it was an important clue, thus aesthetics weren't his number one concern.
Before Rok had a chance to find one of the Mobians from the previous day, the doors shot upon and Kimara zipped in, then did a U-turn to go back, close the doors, skate up the doors and across the ceiling before flipping and landing next to Rok, where she screeched to a halt. "Hi!" she said cheerily. "I'm here to do the follow-up quest with you!" Then, somewhat reflectively, "Also to get a milkshake. I like milkshakes."
Mack also walked in the joint, wearing his "Coolsual" outfit and looking pretty normal. Once he saw Kimara and Rok, he knew he was in the right place. "Yo!" he said with a wave. "I'm one of the random strangers you guys met before. You can bet I'm not chickening out," he said confidently.
As he looked and scanned each crowd for familiar faces, an indiscernable, turquoise blur rocketed from the entrance to beside the orange moth in record time. Of course, Channel Mobius contestants are conditioned to avoid Mobian-sized, loud projectiles barreling towards them at a deafening speed. Thus, out of instinct, Rok jumped back and threw his arms in front of him in a sort of hugging motion. His wings morphed into two, bright clouds of moths which combined and reformed into his transmorphic shield. The blur never hit him though, and as he relaxed and his wings returned to form, he immediately took note of two things: Kimara, and hundreds of eyes looking at Rok and her in bewilderment. The tiger from yesterday had chimed in during this awkward silence, not helping the moth's case.
"Uh, hi again, guys."
He wondered if anyone else would come out of the blue and-or scare the crap out of him.
A hedgehog sat at the corner of the bar, drinking something that tasted like alcohol but didn't look remotely like it. He put the drink down and walked over to the awkward happenings in the centre of the room.
"Well, this seems a bit awkward," the hedgehog said. "Why don't you get yourselves a drink?"
Vendeta made sure to glance over his shoulder every once in a while. He really didn't care about these people: he just wanted to promote Guardians and their cause in Channel Mobius.
"Oh, sorry, did I embarrass you?" Mack asked before sighing and scratching the back of my head. "I just picked you out instantly, but sorry if I chose the wrong moment to note that." Welp, not the greatest first impression... I'll need something else to get this guy to think I'm not an idiot.
At hearing Vendeta's statement, Mac smirked and gave him a thumbs-up. "Hey, that's not a bad idea!" he exclaimed with a slight smile. He walked up to whoever was taking their orders and asked, "Do you got any sort of pink lemonade?"
Kimara had very little idea what was going on. She'd thought that she was coming to talk to Rok about what had happened with the robot attack of the previous day, but now she was being told to get a drink instead? Oh well, she thought, strange things happen in video games. Guess this is just another irrelevant side quest on the way to the actual plot stuff! Whee! Speeding over to the person who Mac was talking to, she said, "Can I have a milkshake? I like milkshakes."
Vendeta raises an eyebrow and chuckles at the suggestions of Kimara and Mack.
"I said to get yourselves a drink. You think I'm the damn barman or something? Name's Vendeta, by the way. Vendeta the Hedgehog. You ever heard of the show Guardians?"
Vendeta winks to a girl in the bar who he can see out of the corner of his eye, who blushes in response and looks away.
After Rok had settled down, he turned his attention towards the white hedgehog judging him nearby. He was happy to reunite with Mack and Kimara, but something rubbed the moth the wrong way about this new guy. "Why don't we get something to drink," he thought, "Who the heck does this guy think he is?" The way the hedgehog spoke to the other robot-attack victims and how he flirted with random women in the bar put Rok off as well. He gave a short glance at Mack and Kimara, as if to express a sense of distrust towards the hedgehog.
Rok'shoza thought for a moment, but decided he wasn't that thirsty, or at least not thirsty enough to show some kind of submission. Regardless, it would seem trashy to express how he truly felt about Vendeta, so he put on a false-pleasantry.
"Uh, I think I'm good, I had something to eat before I got here. I don't think I've seen anything called Guardians before. What's it about?"
This was the perfect opportunity for the moth to truly test this new guy's character. Was he as big of an ass as he let on?
"It's a sci fi show," the Hedgehog replied. "It's about this group called the Guardians of the Chronosabre, intergalactic warriors with psychokinesis who protect the universe from it's greatest threats. I'm the deuteragonist, the Guardian of Mobius, here so people can get more invested in the show. I regularly top fan polls, by the way. It's either me or my bro, Glass."
Vendeta said all of this slightly louder than his usual tone, as if trying to promote it to the rest of the room.
Kimara, who had been relaxing against the wall, suddenly jolted upright. "Oops! Sorry," she said. "I was busy soaking up exposition and scanning for quest objectives. Yeah, I watch Guardians some, I think it's kind of weird but there's cool stuff! The visuals are usually great, even if I spend half the time screaming 'DO NOT WANT!' and facepalming." Kimara relaxed against the wall, grinning as she stared off into space dreamily.
Vendeta looked over at Kimara and raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, I wasn't entirely on board with that plot twist either," he said, oddly matter of factly compared to when he was talking to Rok. "The guy who wrote it got fired as well...and that's why we're here!" Vendeta returned to his previous tone.
"Say," he said to Rok, "You haven't seen a guy called Tel-Eth around town, have you?"
The moth thought for a moment. "Tel-Eth" was an odd sounding name, if he had heard it somewhere, he would have probably taken note just due to its uncanniness.
"I don't think I've heard the name, but what's he look-"
Rok was suddenly cut off by a series of tremors that were powerful enough to knock down unattended bar stools. It wasn't a server disruption this time either, as was blacked or destroyed. Most of the terrified patrons either escaped or willingly logged out of this particular server. The moth tried to get up out of his chair, but the seismic force made it terribly difficult to walk, or even crawl. He finally reached the window though, and couldn't believe his eyes.
A giant, 30 foot tall statue of an elephant mobian in traditional robes and seated in a lotus- position was slowly arising from the ground. Its eyes were shooting out digital rockets, attacking part of the gargantuan city. Rok cringed at the sheer absurdity of it all.
"Uh Guys," he yelled over the earthquake, "I think you're gonna want to look at this!"
"Well, that's just crappy," Mack said, taking out his shield out of hammerspace and preparing for a boss battle. "What's our game plan? I can distract him and use myself as bait while you guys strategize, if that's cool! We can't let this thing hurt the city... even if it is digital!"
"We don't need your distraction, Captain 80s," Vendeta said. "My psychokinesis can hold this thing in place for long enough. I'm not one for strategising, but if that's how you guys roll, go ahead."
Vendeta flew straight up towards the statue and used his psychokinesis to hold it still.
Throughout the whole experience, Kimara hadn't moved to help out anyone. The moment that she could move, she had started taking a video of everything that had been going on. "Those are my teammates over there," she remarked into the video for her future video watchers. "They're busy making a plan to take out the weird elephant thing, but I think I'm just going to let them work out something while I wait for more exposition or plot content. I'm probably not going to do anything until a QTE pops up, anyway."
Mac lightly scoffed. "Captain 80s? Nice." Then, he looked to Kimara and Rok. "Well, guys, are we gonna plan something, or should we study it first? It may have a weakness to one of our abilities, annd that would really help in a situation like this."
Vendeta was somewhat successful at stopping the statue at first, but the psychokinetic aura around the statue began to fizzle out. The beast's head slowly and stiffly turned towards the floating hedgehog and opened it's mouth, unleashing a brilliant, powerful pulse of digital energy.
"Alright, so-" Rok was cut off by a shockwave from a nearby rocket strike. He grabbed onto a bar stool to save him from being thrown to the ground.
"So, I don't think we're going to get very far just going up and hitting it, but..."
There was a long pause. Rok knew that he had to take action, that this was his chance to be a leader. No clear solution came to him though. Has all of this time playing a mastermind villain on a show meant nothing?
"But, I'd imagine that that thing isn't acting on its own. There's someone that has to be controlling that thing, and I bet that it's coming from inside the DW10 admin server too, there's no way a mod would let a hacker do this under their watch. So..."
Rok's train of thought stopped there. While his plan was certainly logical, how the hell were they supposed to get into the private admin server? It would take days, even years to normally break through this world's security.
Despite videotaping everything that was going on, Kimara was also listening to Rok. "Oh look, he says the monster's coming from the admin server!" she said, more to the camera than to anyone else. "Internal corruption! I knew it! Classic trope #9473! Woot! 50 points to me! Still, though, I get the impression that I have a 93.7% chance of dying in the following quest. I meant living. I have a 93.7% chance of living in the following quest which means I have a 6.3% chance of dying. Not 93.7%. Anyway, I think the next quest is going to be super dangerous. Of course, I won't know until I receive the quest, now, will I? HEY OTHER PEOPLE!" Kimara yelled. "Hate to break the exposition, but I think you're supposed to give me a quest now, because this mini-movie has been way too long and I'm bored! If you don't, there's probably a bug because CUTSCENES ARE NEVER THIS LONG!"
Reens ran up as Kimara was doing her little... spiel and panted. "Um, sorry I'm late to the party everyone, I was working on somebody's show." She looked over at the beast and yelped. "What is that thing?!" She held up her wrench in one hand and a ball of water in the other. "Is it a virus or something?"