A girl is sitting on her bed staring at her phone. Today is April 13th, 2020, a day of no particular import. However, to her, it is the day that sburb 2.0 comes out. A new and revamped remake to the old buggy mess that came out years ago.
I wonder what her name is?
The girl scowls at you. Why would you do that? Why would you bring that up? Besides, she has already picked a name, ALLISON WYLES. Her username is StarcrossedWanderer.
ALLISON WYLES is 25 years old and is a gorgeous girl who deserves the best. She is eagerly awaiting the delivery of the new game SBURB 2.0 so she can play it with her friends.
Allison Wyles laid staring at her phone, scrolling through reddit at cute pictures of girls selfies. With a sigh she clicked her phone shut and turned her head to the right outside the window.
The mail thing was up.
THE MAIL THING WAS UP.
She dashed down the stairs and ran outside only wearing a sports bra and a short skirt. She stopped in the middle of the yard and ran back inside in embarrassment.
She couldn’t go outside. She had never gone out in girlmode before much less without a shirt She darted back up the stairs and quickly grabbed a top out of the closet and shoved it on. A plain white tee with a 20 sided die and a pink white and blue motif on it. She looked down at it with a smile. It hugged around her chest and gave off the illusion of having boobs. She slid down the bannister of the stairs and ran back outside, almost knocking over several of her pill containers.
Today, April 13th, 2020, was the day that sburb 2.0 was coming out and she couldn’t be more excited. It was supposed to be a sort of immersive sim and all the outlets were talking about it.
Her phone buzzed at her. She pulled it out of her Journal Fetch modus by writing down “ communication device with a sticker of a poorly drawn bee with the caption “its bee time” the Phone popped out of her inventory in front of her and she looked down at a discord message from her friend, RogueAscendant
RA: Hey. Hey babe. Did u get it. Did you get the thing yet?
SW: not yet. I think it’s in the mailbox. I’m about to check it now.
RA: bby. U know u could have just like. grabbed it and sent me the message.
SW: oh. right.
She walked over to the mailbox and opened the plastic flap and put the mail doohickey down. She looked up towards the midday sky. The hot heat of a summer too long beating down against her skin. The streets empty. A mailbox recently emptied by a roommate. A car somewhere that is nowhere to be found. Today is going to be a long day.
She pulled up Discord again.
SW: I think my roommate took it.
RA: aw beans. gurl i could just come over and bring you mine
SW: but then we wouldn’t be able to play with each other. Come on, dtoid gave it a 10/10
RA: u sure.
SW: absolutely. He can’t be gone for long.
She clicked her phone shut and put it back into her Journal Fetch modus. She walked back inside her house, shutting the door behind her.
Her phone starting pinging wildly as new messages came in from her friend, MusicSquid.
With another flourish of pen and journal, a phone popped out. It was a link to another game review for sburb
MS: so look
MS: this means that sburb now has an 82.60 rating on metacritic.
MS: that’s like unheard of for this year dude.
MS: Most games this year have all been shit tier
SW: Yeah! It seems pretty dope.
MS: you get yours yet?
SW: potentially? I think my roommate has it but he’s not home right now.
MS: yeah. Me and EC just got ours today. Just came in the mail. She’s pretty excited.
SW: how is she by the way?
MS: I mean. she still has that disease dude.
Not much you can do with that.
MS: anyways. Let me know when you get it. Let’s connect asap.
SW: of course!
Allison Wyles clicked the phone shut and took a deep breath. She was worried about EC, her health issues had been getting worse and worse throughout the days.
Luckily it was a video game so anybody could play regardless of ability. Allison shot out a text to her roommate asking about the package and put her phone away. She caught her reflection in the mirror and hissed in disgust. Another day, another face she hated. She picked up the prescription bottle for estradiol and placed it back on the table.
A tall man with black hair wearing headphones sits at a desk with an expensive computer and two monitors in front of him. He wears a shirt that just says “NO.” on it. An audio program is open and he appears to be fiddling with it. His username is MusicalSquid I wonder what his name is?
> THROBBING FOREHEAD BULGE
listen, are you going to keep using derogatory names and be a jackass or let me tell this story?
Besides. He’s already been named. What do you think this is? An adventure game? A webcomic where your input matters? Well neither of those are the case here so sit down and shut up.
Xavier Montague stared at the audio file in front of him. Making music was hard and making good music was even harder. Luckily he was good at both. He played a few beats in his head and then smiled as it all fell together.
He rolled his epic gamer chair back and nodded, being proud of his handiwork.
He alt+tabbed to another window and started typing away in his browser window, trying to pull up metacritic. He took a sip of coffee from a black mug that also said “NO.” and set it back down. He nodded and smiled. He grabbed a link and sent it to his friend Allison and had a conversation that we’ve already seen.
He got up out of his chair and walked down the stairs to the first floor of his 2 floor home that he and his wife bought. He snapped his fingers and his Beat modus came up. With a simple funky tune a plastic jar of sea salt chocolate caramels dropped into his hands and he immediately went to town on “those salty boys”. The beat modus was his favorite and all other modus’s were inferior. Except his wife’s Disney Fact Modus. That was good. She didn’t use it much anymore, he wasn’t sure as to why.
The beat modus however involved you setting up a small beat beforehand for each item that you placed in it. It could effectively carry an infinite number of items, However the beats he used would need to get longer and more complex. He usually only kept about 20 items inside it at a given time.
A ping came in from his phone and he constructed a quick sample E A G B
There was no pattern to the beats sometimes but he liked to use the same ones for the same item.
The phone plopped into his hands and he opened discord.
EC: hey babe!
EC: I am on my way home! Did the games come in the mail?
MS: They sure did. I’ve got it installing on both of our computers right now. It’s a big download though.
EC: Yay! So let’s go over connection order again. You will connect to Allison, and then I will connect to you. RA will connect to me. And then Allison will connect to RA.
MS: this kind of seems needlessly complicated. Can anyone make good online multiplayer lobbies anymore?
EC: Not sure. There appears to be a reason for it though. Polygon said something about getting into “the medium” easier or something.
MS: Okay but their review was like unintelligible garbage right? All those statements about God tiers and denizens and consorts?
EC: I don’t know. They all got to God tier though so I imagine we’ll find out what it is soon enough.
MS: true. I know Allison is excited since the McElroy’s are playing.
MS: you know, those podcasters she’s obsessed with?
EC: Oh right! I tend to zone out when she starts talking about podcasts. She just has SO MANY.
MS: There it is. That’s The Ultimate Riddle. How does Allison listen to so many fucking podcasts?
EC: Right!?!? It doesn’t make sense. Like she just eats and breathes podcasts.
MS: anyways, see you soon?
EC: As soon as I get out of this traffic jam. >_< all this construction.
MS: alright! I love you!
Xavier placed the phone back in his inventory and locked it to the same sequence of notes.
Order was necessary for him. Things needed to be consistent in this chaotic world of people who just follow their whims any day.
Sometimes people just shit on their desk and bleat like a goat and it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no reason other than they wanted to.
Why couldn’t there just be some sort of force that made people follow some sort of programming.
Xavier chuckled. What was he thinking. That’s what dictators and fascists think.
He walked back upstairs with a dragon’s hoard of sweets and pulled up discord on his monitor.
He clicked on Allison’s profile.
MS: any luck with your roommate?
SW: yeah it looks like the client side disc was in his room but her has the server side.
So you can connect to me, but I can’t connect to anyone else until he brings back the disc.
MS: it seems like inconvenience is in the air today.
MS: first you and now EC?
SW: What happened to EC?
MS: stuck in traffic. Will probably be late.
SW: I dunno dude. That traffic has been backed up for the past couple hours. A friend of mine has been in there for three hours I think
MS: well let’s get you taken care of then. No use wasting time.
SW: why the rush? We’ve got time. It’s not like it’s a premium right now.
MS: For the sake of full clarity, I’d like to disagree. I’d rather the grand whims of fate not steal any more precious seconds of time. You ready?
SW: yeah. It just finished installing on my dinosaur.
MS: Alright cool, I’m gonna try to connect.
Xavier alt tabbed out of the discord window and pulled up his server side sburb.
It almost immediately connected without him touching it.
Most multiplayer games would need a code of sorts.
Within seconds the window opened and showed and overhead view of Allison’s small but messy room.
MS: hey I can see your room.
MS: isn’t this smaller than your last place?
SW: Yeah. But I like it better. It’s not in the basement and the internet is somewhat better than my last place.
MS: where are you
SW: the kitchen.
With a few clicks in the UI he maneuvered his way to the kitchen. There was his friend. The house was a little messy but it looked nice.
MS: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this place before tbh. How is it treating you?
SW: my roommates constantly spoil me and give me food a lot, so very good.
MS: let me fiddle around with the controls a bit and see what I can do.
There were a few things he could interact with. Some buttons, an “edit tool” and a thing called a phrenalia registry.
He clicked on the registry and a few free items were in there already.
MS: it says I can edit your surroundings. Giving that a shot now.
SW: wait what?
Using the edit tool, Xavier dragged the mouse and a platform came out with it. He released the mouse trigger button and a huge platform stretched outside but it used all their build grist.
SW: dude what the fuck did you just do. What just happened to my house holy shit.
SW: ?????? HMMMM? WHAT DID YOU JUST DO.
MS: I appear to have created a platform by expending a resource called build grist. And judging by your reaction it sounds like it just also changed your house in real life.
SW: YEAH DUDE. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU JUST DID.
MS: holy shit.
MS: I have a few free items I can deploy as well. They are very big.
MS: where do you want them.
SW: how big are they
MS: Now sure. They seem to be small in menu. I’ll pull one out.
Xavier clicked on the item called “cruxtruder” and a massive object the size of two fridges appeared in the room, hovering over his friend.
SW: holy shit.
MS: this appears to be big.
SW: are u sure
SW: man. Fuck. Just like. Uhhhh I’ll move the coffee table downstairs and you can just put it there next to the couches.
The cruxtruder moved on screen as he dragged it but it stopped next to the narrow path down to the sitting area.
MS: we appear to have a problem.
MS: I can’t get it through.
SW: fine uh, just put it in the living room.
He shrugged and placed it down, a large GADUNK sound echoed through the room.
MS: there are three more. The punch card station, a uh, totem lathe? And a thing called an alchemiter? Punch card station looks to be small and the alchemiter appears to be the same size. Totem lathe is also small
SW: Okay. I’ve moved the coffee table. Just come into this room or whatever and place them down here.
The alchemiter and the punch card station came out next. A new item appeared in the phernalia registry.
MS: Allison. We appear to have a new item. It says it’s a “pre punched card”
SW: Punched card? What that do?
MS: not sure, though polygon’s review did mention it needed a cruxite dowel to use it.
SW: you think we get that from the cruxtruder?
he saw Allison on his screen moving up towards the cruxtruder in the main room. It was a strange phallic object with two little wheels near the top. Near the base of it was a spot where a timer could go. Xavier made a mental note to remember the timer.
The cruxtruder wouldn’t budge. The lid on top with a spirograph appeared to be blocked by something.
He pulled up IGN’s review. It appeared to be hastily written, and inevitably gave a bad score.
MS: ign says yes. but you gotta whack it with something heavy.
SW: oooo! I know just the thing.
On the screen Allison ran out of view, a few seconds later and she came back with a bowling ball.
MS: Allison I don’t think that’s a good idea.
MS: Allison stop.
Allison climbed on the cruxtruder and dropped the bowling ball on top.
As if there was a spring underneath the top of the cruxtruder went down and then popped off, beaning Allison in the face with the bowling ball. She toppled off the cruxtruder and fell to the floor. A perfectly generic purple cylinder and a strange blinking purple sphere popped out of the cruxtruder. Xavier grabbed a nearby pillow to break Allison’s fall and make sure no further damage happened to her head.
MS: hey you awake in there.
MS: dude the cruxtruder is counting down.
MS: I think it says there’s an hour left till… something.
MS: I just checked online. It says something about meteors.
MS: I suppose that would explain New York, Texas, west Virginia and uh, Ohio I think.
He fretted about what to do. Each moment of inaction meant seconds ticking away, eating at him and his sense of self.
MS: okay according to this that cylinder is called a cruxite dowel and the flashing seizure orb is called a kernelsprite.
MS: you prototype the kernelsprite with something and that…. Changes the monsters you fight?
He scrolled up to Allison’s room and looked around. The Sprite followed, as if it knew he was there.
There were dungeons and dragons rulebooks scattered everywhere. Volo’s guide to monsters, Curse of Strahd, Players Handbook, monster manual.
Monster manual. He picked up the monster manual with his mouse and dragged it over to the kernelsprite.
The Sprite darted around in the air, dodging his every move.
He cornered it into the closet. It had nowhere to run. He chucked the book at it.
A huge burst of light came from the kernelsprite and a strange shapeshifting orb came out from the dust.
Xavier nodded, it seemed to be shuffling through all the different monsters inside the book, unable to settle on one.
MS: i turned the weird seizure orb into a more complex seizure orb. Also I owe you a new monster manual. Sorry.
The timer seemed to keep ticking down. He wasn’t sure what to do with it. Should he call someone to take care of Allison. His question was almost immediately answered by an incoming message.
With a swipe of keys, the familiar grey-black window of Discord came to life. It was a message from RogueAscendant.
RA: Hey bb, whats crackalackin
RA: got any cool new beats to share?
MS: My beats are unfortunately tamed right now and unable to be shared. There is something that I could use your help with though.
RA: Cool. Cool. I miss those beats dude. But say the word honeybird.
MS: you are aware of the plan with SBURB yes?
RA: Hell yeah dude. Gonna connect with with EC if I recall?
MS: Change of plans, there appears to be a complication. I need you to connect to me.
RA: listen, My vibes were all set on bringing your wife into this showdown but I’m not sure if that’s gonna work. I got bad vibes to slay and friends to cheer.
MS: perfect. Allison got knocked unconscious by a bowling ball.
RA: How did that happen?
MS: she dropped it on a game construct and it bounced off and knocked her unconscious.
MS: listen, You’re closer to her than I am, all her stuff is set up but I don’t know how long she’ll be out for. I’d prefer to get her “Inside the Medium” ASAP. her cruxtruder is open and there’s a prepunched card there. The kernelsprite is already prototyped once and all we need you to do is settle the shit of whatever needs to happen to start your journey.
RA: Dude I have no idea what ur talking about but I am omw.
Xavier rubbed the temples on his head and his forehead bulged slightly. Things were going bad and they hadn’t even started yet. His wife was stuck in traffic, Allison was unconscious and RA was who knows where at the moment. It was time to contact his informant.
Almost immediately upon thinking that a command console window appeared on his computer.
MS: That never actually fails to terrify me. How do you do this?
I have many powers that allow me to see certain things inside your head at any given moment. But that is not why you contacted me. You have a question and the cards have an answer.
The question is already known but fate has the answer. Let’s see what fate has in store for you today.
Your question is about the High Priestess yes?
MS: You don’t actually need to ask that do you?
It allows for a bit more of a narrative ease.
The High Priestess’s card is currently in the state of Death. Keep in mind that death does not mean dying, but moreso a place where a part of one’s self will need to be sacrificed to move forward.
MS: And the Empress?
She is currently in the state of Tower. Great ruin is upon her. She is in great peril though that may not be a bad thing.
MS: Is she in the state of tower because she’s in a traffic jam?
The cards can be interpreted in many ways.
MS: what have I said about being dodgy?
What have I said about asking direct questions?
Tarot cannot give you direct answers to the questions you seek, upon seeing them they must be internalized and questioned to ascertain the meaning within.
MS: You’ve said this multiple times.
You’ve asked direct questions multiple times too. Now onto Strength. Ain’t she a spry one. She is currently in the state of Fool. which does not denote lack of intelligence, but moreso a blank slate whereupon one can work their canvas of life.
MS: I didn’t ask about her.
And yet the cards answered. And as for you, The World. You are still in in the state of Temperance. Taking the middle road within balance. Leaning neither one way or another.
I believe we are done here?
MS: you know best.
But of course.