Saturday, June 1, 2013

Part 12: The Stream


I’m not entirely certain, in retrospect, what any of us expected.

What could we possibly accomplish, here?  We still didn’t know how to hurt her.  We still didn’t know how to reason with her.  An experiment like this, willfully calling The Princess, hadn’t been attempted in years and for good reason.  For all of our shared knowledge and all of Dan’s secret research, we hardly knew any more about The Princess than we did when we started.  So, why did we go along with it?  Why did we all tune in to that stream?

I guess we just wanted evidence.  We knew we were going to watch a man die that night, but if we could just get it recorded on stream, maybe we’d finally have something to show for our years of huddled anxiety.  Maybe, just once, we could finally see how The Princess kills people.  And, if we could see it happen, maybe we could work out some way to truly defend against her.

Dan knew going into this that he was a sacrifice.  I just wonder how many members of the Society also knew.

Of course, the stream’s chat window certainly didn’t help ease anxieties about what was going to happen.  It was an even mix of terrified pleas for Dan not to go through with it and trolling jackasses shouting “YOU GONNA DIE, SON!  XD”  I wanted to smack those jokers, but really, I think that’s just how some people deal with fear and stress.  It’s probably more healthy than just watching in silence, like I did.

Dan, for his part, had made a show of the whole affair.  He had his webcam pointed at a huge television set on the far wall of what I assume was his bedroom.  Below it, that little Gamecube, whirring away.  Dan himself looked about as unkempt as one might expect for a man who had devoted so many years of his life chasing a digital boogeyman .  Every time he’d look at the webcam, the light from his computer monitor would shine off his glasses and cover his face in bloom.  I couldn’t help but think he’d set this up on purpose, thinking it looked cool.  It certainly took the focus off the rest of him, which was welcome.

I’m delaying, of course.  You want to know what happened when he turned on that television.  At least, you think you do.  You’ve been shouting at me to finish this story, convinced the revelation at the end will be something affirmative and grand.  If that’s what you want, I suggest you stop reading now.  Like I said when we began, I’m not here to entertain you.  I’m here to give context to a warning.  What we’d learned up to this point was enough to make a stirring enough anecdote, but what we learned after this stream is what compelled me to tell this story.

Against all protest, Dan turned on the television.  I will explain what we saw as best I can.

It was Ocarina of Time…ostensibly, but warped and glitched beyond all recognition.  The HUD was gone, replaced by some random, shifting textures.  Link himself was twisted, with polygons jutting out of his arms at odd angles.  The environment was highly altered, still recognizable as Hyrule Field but with certain polygons stretched and various objects and models lodged in the ground.  The sky was blood red with a solid white circle of a sun.  And the music…the music was perhaps the most unnerving part, if only for how damn CHEERFUL it was.  It certainly wasn’t a track from the game, and sounded like a collection of instruments playing upbeat, happy note progressions at complete random.

There was also a sign right in front of Link.  Approaching the sign proved difficult, as any movement at all sent the game’s framerate into single digits, causing the happy music to hitch and distort.  With no HUD, it was hard to tell when Link was in place to interact with anything.  Eventually, though, Link was maneuvered into place to read the sign.

“TURN BACK BUDDY!  You shouldn’t be here!  Love and kisses, Daniel!”

I don’t have to tell you the stream chat erupted immediately upon seeing Dan’s name appear in the game.  What was more interesting was Dan’s reaction.  While he’s said very little up to this point, upon reading this text, he immediately began laughing.  It started as a chuckle, but it quickly grew into mocking laughter.  It took us a second to realize who he would be laughing at.

“Are you serious?”  he shouted at the screen, “Wha-…Why this?  Why now?”  There’s still some debate as to what Dan meant by this.  Throughout the whole stream, we got the sense Dan knew something more about the things we were seeing that we did.  He was playing quite far away from his computer monitor, so our shouting at him in the stream chat to explain himself was to no avail.

This failure to communicate would become more of a problem later.

Moving past the sign, Dan delved deeper into this twisted landscape.  It was hard to discern any sort of meaning from what The Princess had done to the place.  Objects and NPCs were all arranged in strange ways.  There were three people standing, arms out and feet together, atop a sideways house embedded halfway into the ground.  There were textureless NPCs standing in a circle around an open treasure chest.  Enemies would spawn out of nowhere, and then disappear just as quickly in the middle of combat.  At the far end of the field, Dan spent several minutes manipulating a series of switches which caused nearby platforms to hover around him in ways we eventually determined to be completely random.

Then we headed to Lake Hylia.

At least, Dan took the exit to Lake Hylia.  He ended up standing in a large cave chamber, staring at a wall.  Turning around, we immediately saw a massive pair of eyes on us.  After the initial shock, we realized that in the center of the room was a…creature of sorts, composed out of many different models from the game jammed together.  I was mostly just a large boulder, and it had arms, legs, and other appendages from various monsters and enemies sticking out of it.  The eyes were from a large head mounted atop the boulder, which was that of the Great Fairy model.

Dan, on sight of this thing, put down his controller.

“Are you kidding me?  Are you fucking kidding me?  This is what you were doing this whole time?”

We impotently shouted at Dan in the chat to explain himself.  He couldn’t see us.

“Is this why you did it?  Is this all you want?  You petty, fucking…Argh!  It’s over!  Don’t you understand?  It’s over!”

A scream erupted from the television speakers.  The textures on the walls of the cave began to flicker and flash.  Dan looked unphased.

“No!  Fuck you!  It’s dead.  You’re dead.  You don’t exist anymore.  You really think this…thing is going to change anything?  The hell even is this?  It’s a joke!  You don’t even remember what it looked like!  You just glued a bunch of arms together!”

Unceremoniously, The Princess appeared in the room in front of Link.  The screams continued.  We were all shouting at Dan to stop.  He wouldn’t.

“You deserve to be forgotten!”

Flickering, and then blackness.  Not just the game, but the stream itself flickered to blackness.  This was it, we thought.  He’d done it.  He’d goaded The Princess into killing him.  He was going to turn up dead, and this stream recording would barely even suffice as proof of what had happened.

But then, to our amazement, the stream came back.  Dan was still playing.  In fact, he didn’t even seem aware that the stream had gone down.  There was one change to the stream window, though.  In the upper left, a small bit of white text in a black box had appeared.

THIS

Dan himself didn’t appear to notice anything had happened, and was now guiding Link through a new area.  It appeared to be a black void with a white floor, stretching infinitely.  It wasn’t featureless, though.  The ground would rise and dip on occasion.  Sometimes Link would pass strange white obelisks.  After a minute of running, he encountered a line of NPCs, all standing arms-out.  At sight of this, a new word of white text appeared below the first one in the stream window.

IS

The NPCs couldn’t speak, and in fact Link ran right through them.  He was now in what appeared to be a rudimentary town.  The white polygons were now arranged in the crude formation of houses.  It was at this point that the droning noise in the background finally registered as being some sort of heavily-distorted music.

WHERE

Dan was weirdly silent through all this.  It’s unclear what The Princess might have said or done to him during the time the stream cut out.  The times he leaned in far enough that we could see his face, he looked rather disgruntled.  Upon seeing the town, he let out an annoyed sigh.  After wandering around for a while he finally spoke up again, saying “What?  What am I supposed to be seeing?”

YOU

Dan moved the camera around to reveal there was now that same row of NPCs standing behind him.  They still couldn’t be interacted with.  Turning around, another group of NPCs was on the other side.  He was surrounded.  We hadn't stopped trying to get his attention and tell him there was a message appearing in the stream.  He hadn't taken his focus off the game.

LEFT

With one final turn, The Princess was standing right next to Link.

ME

Dan, in as enraged a voice as I’ve ever heard, shouted “FUCK YOU!”  At that moment, the stream cut to black.  In its place, the screen was filled with that white text.


LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME

But the stream wasn’t down.  The audio was still running.  We could hear noises coming from Dan’s room.  Crashes, bangs, things falling over…and then finally, screams.  There were sickening sounds of flesh being impacted over and over, and Dan screaming in panic “GET OFF ME!  GET THE FUCK OFF ME!”  Whatever was attacking him, it didn’t make any noise itself.  It did its grim work in silence and, eventually, Dan fell silent as well.

But that wasn’t it.

Immediately, we returned to the Society message board to discuss what had happened…but she was there already.  The banners were glitched and broken.  The forum names were strings of random characters.  The background was a corrupted image, of what, I’m still not certain.

And in every forum, a flood of new topics, angry and rambling…

LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME LEFT ME



ALL LEFT YOU LEFT HE LEFT GONE BROKEN DARK WANTED CAN’T WON’T NEED PLEASE NEED



HURTING HURTING HURTING ALWAYS SAY IT CAN’T STOP ANGER ANGER ANGER



HAD TO WATCH HIM COULDN’T STOP HIM SCREAMED AND REACHED BUT STUCK



WHY JUST WANT TO STOP JUST WANT TO BE AND BE AND NOT GO BACK



YOU ALL WATCHED MY PAIN PLEASE WATCH MY PAIN PLEASE STOP LEAVING



NEVER WANTED TO KILL ANYONE PLEASE



WHAT IS IT WHAT IS IT WHAT IS IT WHAT IS IT WHAT IS IT WHAT AM I

And that brings us to today...

6 comments:

  1. You leave us for a year to give us ANOTHER cliff hanger.

    You're killing me Rocketlex. You're really killing me.

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  2. Wow! I thought you'd abandoned this. It was a great surprise to see it pop up in my feed. Please don't leave us hanging again. *puppy eyes*

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  3. Well this is frustrating but it has taken a turn for the better :D

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  4. Plot hole! in the last post it said electrocuting the console hurts her so techically you know how to "Hurt" her just not kill her.

    ReplyDelete