Joined: Aug 1900
Originally posted on MSPA
SLEEP CYCLE ENGAGED…SLEEP CYCLE ENGAGED…END SLEEP CYCLE. RESUME FUNCTION.
Weaver opened his eyes, surprised at being able to even do that, and looked around. He appeared to be in an infirmary of some sort judging by the beds that lined the walls and the woman pushing a cart loaded with colorful bottles down the aisle. He must have been unconscious for a considerable amount of time for his face to have re-formed to the point that he again had both eyes to look out of, albeit things were a little blurry.
“Oh good, you’re finally awake. You’ve been out a lot longer than our normally customers have.”
Weaver tried to ask, “Customers? Aren’t infirm individuals normally called ‘patients’?” But all that came out was a rush of air and some garbled consonants, so it was clear that his reformation had only been completed on the upper half of his face. Useful for observing where he was, not so helpful when it came to communicating. He instead opened one eye wider than another and hoped that, lacking an eyebrow to raise, she would understand that he didn’t know what she was talking about.
“You’re at The Last Checkpoint, dearie.” Switch the eyes so she knows that you continue to be confused. “Ah, never been here before then? You must be new to being aware that you’re a game. Everyone visits at least once after they’ve learned better, and when we get cases like yours,” at this the nurse gestured to her own face so Weaver knew she was referring to his injuries rather than his being a machine, “we bring them here. It’s much better for their spirits to meet others who know what’s going on rather than having entirely scripted dialog. This room here,” she said gesturing to the other cots, “is for those who know what’s happening but are outside of the Last Checkpoint. The next room there is much smaller, but it’s for people inside that get hurt in fights, which is common but usually between two or four individuals.
But like I was saying, you’ve been out a good time longer than our normal customers, they usually wake up almost right away but you’ve been out for a good hour at least. The staff was actually starting to set up a pool for when you’d wake up, but I guess now that’s water under the bridge. You seem to be healing slower too. Most people just stock up at the cart before they head out, but you look like you might need something to pick you back up. So let’s see… small build so that’s a low health cap, clearly not flesh so that’s bandages out…herbs too…Blue veins, that definitely means magic of some sort… Ah!” She turned back to the cart, rummaged around for a moment and turned around with a thimble glass of red liquid and a jug of roughly a quart of blue syrup. “These’ll fix you right up, dearie.”
As Weaver reached out to take them, she drew them back in. “Ah ah, we’re a business, only the cots are free. So I’m sorry that you’re not all better, but you’ll have to BUY these potions, and they’re two hundred altogether.” Weaver had worried about this when she mentioned “stocking up” from the cart, and recalled the last time someone had wanted money from him. Running through his available currencies and knowing that none would probably be what she wanted from him, he selected one at random, pulling a card from within his arm, nanites pushing it to the surface at his suggestion. He held it out to her and she took it with a look of curiosity. Turning it back and forth, she noticed a black bar on the end and gave a soft “ah.” of understanding, scanning it through what Weaver originally thought was a scale for measuring out medicine but was apparently a register. There was a faint *ding* as the transaction went through (much to Weaver’s surprise) and the card was handed back to him along with the potions.
“Thank you for your purchase! Drink those up, dearie, and you should be right as rain in a moment. Enjoy your stay at the Last Checkpoint!”
Weaver eyed the fluids curiously but decided that, since he had paid for them, he might as well see how well they worked. Figuring to start with the easiest to “drink” and analyze the effects of, he brought the small glass of red liquid up to where his mouth would have been and splashed it on the twisted metal that was the lower half of his face. In moments it had reformed into its original intended shape, so –still lacking an actual mouth- simply poured the remaining jug over his entire body, coating all his limbs and head with the thick blue syrup. It was quickly absorbed into his body and he could feel the nanoites feeding off the energy they found within it, replicating and returning his body to its original size.
The nurse caught these final actions, shaking her head at what she saw. “Imports…”
BEGIN INTERNAL LOG #6362
<div style="margin-left:40px">I have found myself in what I originally thought was a hospital, but what appears to actually be an inn of sorts. Instead of traditional fare, tonics or potions seem to be what is used to heal others, as there is a distinct lack of surgical equipment to be found. These items must be purchased up front rather than paid for after a patient has been healed, which is rather strange, though she said that I have been a somewhat unique case when it comes to recovery. Does the average being here heal that quickly? Future observation required to determine what disadvantage I might be at in terms of survivability.
The provided tonics appear to be very effective at all forms of recovery, as I have now recovered from my injuries as well as regrown my arm after my fight with “Eric.” Except for my inability to carry them while keeping my hands free, I would buy as many as possible. I will have to make do without.
This inn, called the “Last Checkpoint” apparently accepts any currency regardless of origin and is apparently exclusive to beings that are “self-aware.” This calls to question what self-aware means, as all the humans I’ve met have appeared sentient; this is apparently not the case. The nurse mentioned scripted dialog, implying that many other beings are either in some sort of strange time-loop, programmed automatons or the like. Is that possible? That would imply that some of them, over time, gain a sense of self and are able to come to places much like this one. I must learn more.
Current priorities remain unchanged as detailed in INTERNAL LOG #6359
Since the beings of this location are, as stated, self-aware, they will likely be more helpful in providing information about this world, and may be able to assist me in gaining information about the other contestants.</div>
END INTERNAL LOG
Weaver stood up and headed to the door, but what he saw brought a wave of understanding to how he got to the Last Checkpoint. There was a steady stream of individuals heading to the door, all passing by the nurse’s cart to buy potions before heading back out. But what caught his attention was the beds, much like the one he had been in. Several times a minute an individual would materialize in a bed, their injuries would heal in a matter of seconds, they would wake up, get up, and head to the line forming by the door only to have a different individual appear in the same cot and repeat the process. He headed over to the nurse, avoiding the line so he wouldn’t be seen as cutting them off from wherever they were headed.
“What’s happening here? I thought you said that small fights only happened once in a while. This… what does this mean?”
“Oh, it’s you, dearie. Well, from what I’ve gathered there’s an all-out brawl happening about ten rooms away. It started by the entrance and is slowly making its way towards the end. This happens very rarely, usually by some puffed-up adventurer who’s new here and used to a world where everything is trying to kill them. They take one step in, see all these individuals and start a fight. It’s hard for some of the more combat-oriented ones to resist and so they join in, and eventually it works its way to the end where the ward security puts a stop to it.”
She indicated several heavily-armed guards standing weapons-drawn outside the door while continuing to sell her wares to all the individuals heading out the door. Weaver noticed that most were humanoids, but not all. “They’re maximum-stat security. The best anywhere. Anyone who’s hostile is put down when they get too close to the door. Prevents spawn-campers from happening and when a fight gets here, that’s usually when it stops. You’re welcome to go out and join the fight if you want, or if you stay to the edges of the room away from the archways you should be fine. Just avoid getting in a direct path between the fight and here and you should be fine.”
“Thanks for letting me know. I’ll let you go back to work and take a look around. This place must be huge for there to be this many people to be coming in through here at a time.”
“That’s the thing... In a fight like this it’s usually busier. I hope nothings gone wrong.”
Busier? Weaver walked through the door and past the guards, intending to get a good look at the fight while staying out of harm’s way. There was no need for him to get hurt again and end up spending more money if he didn’t have to.
Initially, very few patrons seemed to care about the fight, most remained as they were. But as he got closer more and more of them seemed to be interested in what was happening, some going so far as to draw their weapons and head off to the fight which was, Weaver was surprised to notice, much closer than he had thought. The nurse had told him that he had maybe ten rooms to go through to get to the fight but now it was maybe five away from the ward. Standing to the side of his current room so as to observe without becoming a participant, Weaver waited for the fight to come through his current room rather than risk walking directly into it.
Ten minutes before.
“Dammit! That hurt!” Eris snapped her head back around, swinging a bat she’d gotten from some kid in a red hat into her attacker. “Didn’t your mother ever teach you that you DON’T. HIT. GIRLS.” Accompanying each word with a smack and completely ignoring the irony of her statement as she beat some poor girl down. When she stopped fighting back, Eris moved on, calling over her shoulder “and put some pants on, you look like a whore.” She waded into another brawling group, swinging her bat left and right and laughing like a madwoman.
Vigil wasn’t having quite as much fun as Eris. He couldn’t reach very far so he was stuck blocking anything that came close enough, and was more like a meat shield for Eris’ back than an active participant.
“ERIS!” He called over his shoulder (and hers), trying to get her attention.
“What?” She continued swinging, but Vigil knew she was listening.
“This needs to stop! I can’t really DO anything attached to your back! I can’t reach anything!”
“Can’t you like… I don’t know, shift focus away from us? Make us invisible? That’s what you do right?”
“It’s not that simple, but yes that’s most of what I’ve been doing. There’s just too many of them for me to do it effectively. It’s usually that I help Lynette focus on something rather than turning dozens of minds away from us. We either need to do something so I can help more or the fighting needs to stop!”
“You’re worried about being able to reach things? Why didn’t you say so earlier?”
“I’ve been saying it since you glued me to you! NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!”
“Alright, have it your way!” She broke the bat in half over her knee, the ends of the wooden bat turning into broken glass as they she snapped it, shoving them into the stomachs of the two nearest individuals and twisting them before letting go. “Ready for this?”
“For what? Just do something. ANYTHING!”
“Alright!” She reached over and grabbed Vigil, who clenched his eyes expecting the pain accompanied with ripping hair off, and pushed some chaos into him. Vigil’s four hind legs grew while his front two grew long claws. Both let out a gasp, Eris from effort and Vigil from surprise and a tiny bit of terror.
“What did you do to me? WHAT DID YOU DO!?!”
“Something, isn’t that what you wanted? I got the idea from our princessdoctor. Now you can fight without us being separated. And calm down it isn’t that bad”
“You…I…Do you even know what you did?!”
“Relax it’ll wear off…probably. I can always change you back. Besides, you wanted to be able to stop the fight, well now you can help.”
Vigil grudgingly had to admit, kicking out all his legs into the nearest attacker and watching them go down with an “oof” that Eris did help. He didn’t approve her methods but the results were working, and since she said she could change him back he had no choice but to go along with it. Able to fight back now, Vigil was surprised that his legs remained proportional, rather than turning spindly and fragile, but were as easy to move as they were before. Clearing a space around them with a few well placed kicks, Vigil noticed someone that was blocked by a wall of fighters before.
“I’m kind of *ow!* busy right now!”
“JUST TURN AROUND AND LOOK!”
He’d been spotted, he knew that before Vergil said anything. It was a strange sensation, being able to feel something’s gaze. He also knew that he was recognized by the fact that Vergil was trying to get the Warrior-Queen’s attention. He briefly wondered where Vergil’s companion Lauren was, and how those two had become separated before questioning if he should run. Ah. Too late they were heading over.
“What’s his name again?”
“It’s Weaver 16, and please, please don’t hit him right away, and don’t alienate him. It’d be nice to have someone on our side.”
“What’s with his veins? They’re glowing and…shiny. He’s shiny! I like him.”
“Wha…alright I guess that’s good. Can I talk to him first, before he’s exposed to you?”
“Fat chance of that. I’m the one who’s walking.”
They were making their way to him, and he was thankful for the brief moment of time when a group of fighters tumbled into them, breaking a table and distracting them for a moment. He was better able to assess the threat they posed by observing them in combat, as he had been already, and decided that he was probably the faster runner of any of them, even with Vergil’s newly grown legs so if they were hostile, he could run back to the medical ward to hide while the guards protected him.
“What’s he *ungh* doing?”
“He’s just standing there, watching us.”
“Well good, I don’t want Glowstick to get away. How are you doing?”
“I’m fine,” Vigil said as he drew his claws along the torso of his attacker, a loud screeeech telling of the armor underneath his clothes. “Glowstick?”
“You got a problem?”
“No, no problem.” None that I’ll tell you out loud while I’m glued to your back looking like this. “This guy has armor and he’s inside the reach of my legs, so maybe a small problem.”
“Oh, easy.” Eris grabbed the stone crown floating above her and brought it down onto the attacker’s head again and again until he stopped trying to get back up and lay on the ground, twitching and moaning. She held it over her head again and let go, letting it resume its place. “And that’s the last one. Let’s have a chat.”
“Fine, but I get the first word in.”
“Says me.” And with that Vigil put his longer hind legs on the ground and stood up, walking the remaining feet over to Weaver with a kicking Eris on his back.
“Hello Weaver 16… It is Weaver 16, right? The “Amazing” was a little off on all our names and all that, so let me introduce myself. My name is Vigil, and this,” He tilted his head to indicate the loudly complaining girl on his back, “is Eris.”
“Yes, my name is Weaver 16, but just Weaver is fine. I have several questions though. Where has Lauren gone that you aren’t with her instead of Eris, isn’t it rude to address royalty so casually and carry them so unwillingly, and did you know the fight is still going on behind you? You might want to deal with that first.”
Vigil turned around and swiped at the approaching brawlers, giving them a glare while talking still talking to Weaver. “It’s Lynette, not Lauren, she’s missing and we’re trying to find her. Eris isn’t a queen, she just likes the crown, so I don’t care about her complaining.” Eris had stopped thrashing by now and was just arguing about getting to “look at glowstick.” Whatever that meant. “And this fight was started by her when she threatened to beat everyone up if they knew where Lynette was but didn’t tell us, so this is all her fault. (“I swear on all things unorderly I will shrink your legs back and squish you uncomfortably if you don’t let me see Glowstick.”) And so far it seems like she’s been enjoying herself.”
“So she is a warrior then? Just not a queen?”
“Oh, no, not at all, she just likes chaos. (“I AM chaos bunny-boy. Now LET ME DOWN!”) Will you be good? (“Duh, I want to see him, not take his wallet”) Fine, I’ll hold things off while you talk to him. But BE NICE. He hasn’t done anything wrong to us and I don’t see why he can’t be on our side.”
Eris meant what she said about behaving…mostly. Weaver was a bit on edge learning that she had started – and was enjoying – the fight happening around them, and was worried about her getting to close to him having seen what she did to Vigil He’d started VIDEO LOG #48 the moment he saw them for future review of their fighting and the information they’d told him, further confirming his doubts about the being called “The Amazing”.
The moment Eris’ feet touched the ground, she launched herself at him with a cry of “GLOWSTICK!” thoroughly panicking Weaver, irritating Vigil, and satisfying Eris’ desire to get close to the shiny man. She hugged him around his waist as tightly as she could, while Weaver wondered if this was some sort of assault. Was she trying to subdue him? No, she had let go and was asking about his wiring, why was it blue, did it change colors and could she have some pretty please. She was…affectionate to him apparently. “No, you can’t have any Eris, it’s part of my body. Why do you want it anyway?
“It’s shiny,” Eris said as if that explained everything and to her it did. “Will it keep glowing if its separate from you?”
Sensing that the truth probably wouldn’t be the best answer for his well-being, Weaver wisely went with “No, it won’t.” (“Darn.”)
“So, Glowstick, to make Bunny-boy here happy about his giiirrrlfriiiennd, have you seen Lynette? Kind of purple…ish? Carries a wand?”
“Only when we were all being introduced, I haven’t seen her since. ”
“Sorry Vigil,” Eris said to him, “Glowstick hasn’t seen her.”
“We’ll keep trying. The fight’s moved on though, so we can rest for a bit.”
“Awww… you want some paper so you can write her a love letter for when you see her next? That way you can…wait-what? Moved on? THAT’S MY FIGHT! I STARTED IT AND I’M GOING TO FINISH IT!”
“Eris, wait! Can’t we take a break at least?”
She ran on, ignoring him, Weaver tagging along to continue observing as well as remaining with a pair that was not hostile. Towards me at any rate.
“You’re looking…worse for wear Vigil, and so is she,” Weaver said as he kept up with the running girl, passing through three rooms to catch back up to the fight. “When all this is quieted down, there is a guarded infirmary after the last room that has quite strong healing tonics as well as various medical supplies.”
“That’d be nice, but what’s stopping Eris from just taking the fight right on through there? If you’ve noticed she’s not exactly discouraged even though she’s gotten the brunt of the fight. You think some guards are going to do anything to her?”
“I was told that they’re the best guards available, and that when fights of this size occur,” He indicated the trail behind them, “they are the ones who put an end to it. Apparently all the fighters who are unconscious or killed are moved there, made well, and can rejoin the fight or not as they choose, but no one ever beats the guards so no one wants to fight them.”
“Yes, I’ve seen some people there who were…obviously dead, putting it nicely, that were up and about moments later ready to join the fight again. That’s what the guards to, they kill them, which is apparently very temporary here, and they wake up good as new.”
“ERIS. STOP. The guards in the last room will kill you.”
“I don’t think you understand me, death is impermanent here.”
“Not for us, when we die, and you, that’s it. We’re gone. ERIS!...I don’t think they’ll take kindly to her anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
“Eris…fights differently. When I knock someone out or clawed them, they vanished and probably woke up in that hospital room. When she knocks them out it’s the same but when she kills them…”
“Like the two men with the baseball bat?”
“Yea, they just sort of stay dead. She’s not playing by the rules of where we are.”
“Ah. I see why that’s not a reason for them to like her.”
“ERIS! STOP! RUNNING! You’re going to get us killed!”
“Screw that! He said no one EVER beats them. When I do it, they’ll HAVE to listen to us.”
That’s what Vigil had been afraid of. That she would be listening to his and Weaver’s exchange and decide to take it as a personal challenge. They’d reached the last room, and the fighting was only on the side they were on, there was a clear gap between the fighting and the hospital ward that no one wanted to cross. Occasionally a brawler would be thrown into the gap and a guard would quickly advance and strike them down before they could get up. Behind the door, Vigil could see, was a crowded room full of everyone that had been in the fight, he even recognized some of them.
He had been watching the moment the two of them started the fight, listening in on their conversation with the newcomer and learning what he could. He may not have been in control of who he was, but he was in control of what he could do. He’d been sent to gather information about these strangers, especially the rabbit. It was part of the pair that concerned high command, that they were disruptive and flagged as extremely dangerous. He didn’t know why: the rabbit seemed normal enough, it was the girl that his attention was devoted to. She was the dangerous one in his eyes, everything she killed stayed dead. It wasn’t right. Even he knew now that everyone he’d killed over his career had appeared somewhere else. She was also flagged by high command, but as a minor threat. Something to deal with later. For now it was observe and report, a simple scouting mission.
He decided to radio in a status update, having done so before once they were dedicated to fighting and not noticing where he was. “High Command, the rabbit is still distracted. They seem to think that when they are killed, they will remain dead. I suggest using the security guards located at the Last Checkpoint to take them out and, if what he said is true, ensure an end to the threat. They plan on engaging them anyway, but if you have them all attack it will guarantee it.”
Certainly the sweep was going well, but you can’t remove a threat without understanding it. The established protocol required that any virus (not that there had ever been one before) be quarantined indefinitely. But the Gamexus wanted them GONE. Not put on ice like protocol suggested, but thrown into a furnace. The one that identified itself as Eris was bothersome, but there were enough versions of games and enough generic NPS and modding programs to recreate the characters and stories that had been deleted with little effort. That one would have to leave an overworld and get directly into the programming where every character was stored in order to cause a real problem. The one called Lynette was being handled and its sidekick Vigil was currently occupied in a most time-consuming way while it spent microcycles trying to figure out what method would be best employed.
What’s this? The sweeper seemed to think that the program believes that it has no respawn cycle, and the killing the avatar of the virus would delete the virus itself. Interesting… Unfortunately the sweeper’s suggestion of using the guards would require some time. It would have to rewrite their coding to make them more than stationary units with an area of aggravation to kill any units that were hostile and were trying to enter the infirmary. It was a gift of sorts, take several security guards of different races from several games, set all their stats to 999 and place them in front of the door. For efficiency’s sake they would only move on a five-to-one basis rather than having all guards converging on a single targets. It prevented accidents and secondary groups from attacking. It would be much easier if the Vigil program and Eris avatar just walked into their range like they were planning. The guards were made to kill large groups; one target wouldn’t pose any challenge to even one of them.
Rather than working her way through the fight, Eris managed to push her way around the doorway and skirted the edge of the room. Whenever Vigil tried to stand to lead them away, she would bend over so his legs were instead pointed at the ceiling. It made sense, in a nonsense sort of way, that if she beat the unbeatable Big-Bad then she’d finally get some respect around here, and find out where Lynette was to reunite her little bunny-boy. She had to climb up onto some tables, but she was working her way around to the clearing, a cautious Weaver following at a slower pace to put some distance between himself and her.
“Eris, do you at least have a plan, even if it’ll go horribly wrong the moment you step out there?”
“Of course I do! Walk out there, tell them to submit to my superiority, and when they do I win the fight!”
“And when they don’t and try to kill us?”
“It’ll just be me, because I started the fight and I want to be the one who finishes it. But if they don’t I’ll figure out what to do then.”
That didn’t make Vigil feel any better. Eris was abrasive, and a bit of a wild card, and she had physically altered his body, but that didn’t mean that he wanted her dead. She was even helpful after a fashion, and seemed to mean well, like starting the fight when she was trying to find out where Lynette was or setting the hall on fire to clear the way for them. His other reason for wanting her to stay away from them was that she had apparently forgotten that he was attached to her back when she said that she was going alone.
“There! She’s the one who started all this! It’s her fault, guards stop her!”
Vigil winced at that cry, and even the mass of bodies fighting by the archway spared them a glance before going back to beating one another.
The guards knew now who the primary instigator was, but true to their orders remained by the doorway to the medical ward and would do so until she entered their space.
“Eris, please, don’t do this. You’re going to get yourself killed! At the very least leave me out of it.”
“Everything’s going to be fine, cool your jets.”
“Then…” An idea struck Vigil. “Take me off so I won’t get in your way, that way I can watch you win.”
At that Eris paused. She did like an audience, and it would be easier without a disproportionate bunny on her back. “Alright Vigil.” She pulled him off of her, her ragged shirt tearing at the seams rather than pulling off Vigil’s thick fur. Once he got his feet under him, she grabbed his leg. “I’ll want this back anyway.”
“Want wha-“ But as his legs began to return to regular size he saw that Eris looked the smallest bit better. She flashed him a grin and turned around, returning to her task of jumping tables.
“Does she really plan on fighting those guards? After observing them I’m confident that she won’t stand any chance at all.”
“She seems to think she does, but I’m not about to die for her sake. She’s on her own for this.”
Eris climbed a table on the edge of the fighting, and stood to face the guards, cupping her hands around her mouth to be heard over the commotion behind her. “Hey! I’ll give you guard-guys one chance. Surrender to me or you’ll be sorry!” There was some chuckling among the guards and open laughter from those in the hospital doorway. “Seriously!” There was a moment of silence when the guards realized that she believed she was a threat to them even though she was out of the safe-zone, and as one shook their heads “no”. “Fine, but you’ll be sorry.” With that she jumped off the table and walked into no-man’s-land.
Weaver watched as one guard detached itself from the group and came at Eris at a dead run and turned to Vigil. “Are you sure there’s nothing we can do?”
“I can try to make him focus on something other than her…”
“If it’ll help her then do it.”
Vigil tried to latch onto the guard’s mind, make it notice anything but Eris, but just before he came close, one of the other guards turned in his direction, making it clear that they knew what he was doing and would be stopped, so he did.
A program with a sense of self-preservation, even when it was separated from its main entity was something of a curiosity. The Gamexus knew it couldn’t force the guard to attack the Vigil, so was a little irked when it stopped trying to influence one of the guards. It instead logged that bit of information in its databanks and moved on.
The guard came up in front of Eris, looming several feet over her and brought its mace crashing down. She casually sidestepped and watched the floor crack under the blow.
If the Gamexus had eyes, it would’ve blinked stupidly at what just happened. Running an algorithm, it knew that it was supposed to be impossible for the guards to miss. Apparently 99.9997% wasn’t enough to guarantee a hit. The other guards showed no reaction, watching passively as it swung again…and missed.
“My name’s Eris. Who are you?” She asked, ducking the second swing. “You look like a Steve, or maybe a Carl. Is it George then? Mark? Kentoahl?” She tucked her wings and rolled from a third swing. “Well, whatever your name is, that’s three strikes and you’re out.” She jumped up and grabbed his head, locking eyes through his visor. How did mom and dad do this…
“Whomever you serve, that service now ends.
Instead you now fight for me and my friends.”
And she pushed. Hard. She tried to flood his mind with chaos like she’d seen her parents do time and again. It shouldn’t be this hard though. She wasn’t changing who he was, or his memories, or his nature. She was only trying to change who he wanted to attack, from everyone too close to the door to everyone too close to her, bunny-boy and Glowstick. She’d worry about anyone else later. Right now she wanted to win, and that meant making this person serve her. Pain lanced up her back and down her arms as she pushed, but she couldn’t stop. She was committed and couldn’t stop even if she wanted to. She though guarding the door was just a job, she didn’t understand that guarding that door was the guard’s purpose, his reason for being. His ONLY reason for being.
The Gamexus was dumbfounded. The avatar had changed its function. It wasn’t deleting programs anymore, it was rewriting code. Sloppily, but it was doing it. Where the Gamexus went in a step at a time to achieve the ends it wanted, which took time, the virus was simply tearing everything out and putting what it wanted in. It was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. With a sledgehammer. It would work, but it wouldn’t be pretty. It noticed though, that changing its function was draining the virus of its energy, weakening it while it changed the guard program. Strengthening it too, it noticed. The guard’s stats had been somehow forced higher, able to barely overpower the other guards for a time if they came after them one by one, which they would until there were at least six targets. Was this a hidden function? Is this how the virus created more viruses? No, it saw. Anything the guard killed would respawn. It was merely a protector, not another virus.
Eris had tears streaming down her face, but she couldn’t see anyway. She’d gotten tunnel-vision to the point that the world around her was black. Her body shifted and she gasped in pain until she heard a voice above her, sounding from far away.
“Are you well?”
Her last thought was that she hoped it worked.