By Wilfredo Martinez

With plot help from Kirokokori, Valkyrie Esker, Arac, Natural Born Killer, GG Crono, Dude 789, Mabatsekker, Demon, d Galloway, TrkJac, PC Glenton, Omegaflare X, Heaven’s Soldier, Chocobo Will, Magma, Kairi, Shalcar, Genericangstyposter, Killmore, Sir Percival, Hades Shinigami, Pink Lugia, Yar Kramer, BahamutXero, Weiila and Lex.

This story is dedicated to you all.


The forest road was getting dark. A lonely figure, wearing a long black overcoat and black pants, its hair long and pink, walked along the path unworried, drinking beer from a foaming mug.

Its features were truly androgynous. There was an otherworldly aura about it, and correctly so; for this was the magical being known as “Pink Lugia”, an inhabitant of the realm known as “The Void” who had made Earth its home in recent years.

It finished the last of the beer as it walked. Cheap stuff, compared to other drinks it had had, but it would do for now. It had a pleasant evening today, drinking and having fun in a local bar. Until some punks showed up and started bothering it. They called it names it didn’t understand, but was smart enough to recognize as insults. It paid no attention to them; they were beneath its notice. But they would just not give up (they must’ve been drunk, a problem Lugia never suffered) and started threatening it. Lugia would just have continued ignoring them, but one of them insisted in calling him a female, despite Lugia having politely corrected him. Its insistence that it was genderless only amused them more.

Lugia hoped they weren’t hurt too bad. Sincerely.

Soon Lugia reached its destination: a wood cabin, with all the modern comforts, including plenty of liquor. Just one of many dwellings it had bought on Earth, with the fortune it had amassed as a mercenary thru the years. A cozy place, to be certain. And yet, Lugia did not feel particularly glad to reach it today.

Lugia sighed, and admitted it to itself: it was bored.

It was one of the problems of being immortal: you have all the time in the world, to do anything you want. But over time, everything gets a little too familiar. Recently, Lugia had decided to take a sabbatical from mercenary work, and tried living like a normal human, just for the novelty of it. But it wasn’t long before this, too, lost its appeal. Now its memories went back to the last time it had felt excited: during the adventure it had shared with the Righteous Protectors of Good Causes. Although still an unofficial member of that organization, Lugia had to admit that it enjoyed being with them.

Maybe it’s time I visited them again it thought.

Its mind now resolved, Lugia properly disposed of the beer mug, then stepped outside its home, and through an act of will, opened the fabric of dimensional space, in the form of a luminous portal. Then it casually stepped through it, disappearing as the portal faded.

A few seconds later, a similar portal appeared in a dark parking lot. Lugia stepped through it, and found itself at his intended destination, the castle-like Headquarters of the RPGC. As the portal winked out behind it, Lugia spotted two figures standing outside the entrance. One was a young man with spiky red hair and dark glasses; the other was a teenage girl, wearing jeans and what Earth people called a “hoodie”. It prevented Lugia from recognizing her right away, though he easily recognized the other as d Galloway, Super-Saiyan member of RPGC, always at his watchpost in the entrance.

The two of them noticed the sudden glow, and stared in Lugia’s direction. The girl’s identity became then clear as it shouted, “PIIIIIIINK!!” at the top of her lungs.

Kirokokori, a 13-year-old catgirl and also a member of RPGC.

Lugia smiled as the girl happily bolted toward it. She stopped just before colliding with her friend. She pulled back her hood, revealing wavy brown hair, white cat-like ears, blue-gray eyes, and a cute face with an almost ear-to-ear smile. “You’re here!” she almost shouted, “I was SO hoping you’d be here today!”

-“Hello, Kiro. It is good to see you too” Lugia happily responded. “Have you been practicing those spells I taught you?”
-“Oh, YES!” Kiro said, excited. “I’ve gotten much better at magic, thanks to you!”
-“I’m glad to hear that” Lugia said sincerely. “We can continue training now if you want to.”
-“No!” she snapped. “Wait, I don’t meant no, I mean, yes, I want to continue training, but right now, there’s something else I wanted to tell you about!” She was obviously very excited about something.
-“What is it?” Lugia asked.
-“Remember that online game you wanted to play??”
-“‘The World’? Yes, why?”
-“They got it!! I mean, RPGC got it!! They finally installed a VR Station at the game room, so now we can play it here!!”
-“Really? Nice of them.”
-“What, aren’t you excited, too? You told me you wanted to play it too!”
-“Kiro, remember what happened the last time I tried the game?”
-“Yeah, I know, but, that was an accident, I know you’re still not too familiar with technology, but this computers are MUCH sturdier, I promise, they won’t break so easily, the guys told me so!”
Lugia smiled. It had to admit to itself, that it was intrigued about this ‘virtual reality’ concept. It looked like coming here had been a good idea indeed.
-“Very well, Kiro. Let’s go play the game.”
-“YAY! Let’s go!” she cried out then sprinted back to the building’s entrance. Smiling at her reaction, Lugia walked after her.

Kiro reached it first, and Lugia could see her hurriedly explaining things to Galloway. Without any words, the Saiyan just nodded and let her pass.

Lugia greeted Galloway as it passed by his side, but he did not respond. Was it Lugia’s imagination, or did d look grimmer than usual? His sight seemed lost in the distance, too. The magical entity decided it was not the right moment to ask d if something was wrong. Instead it continued to walk into the building.

On their way to the Game Room, Kiro and Lugia passed thru the Cafeteria. Usually, it was full of people eating and yakking, but tonight it was almost empty, except for a dark haired man resting in a sofa, whom Lugia quickly recognized as Wilfredo Martinez, a fellow interdimensional traveler and member of RPGC. He, too, looked distracted, but quickly spotted the pair as they entered the room.
-“Wil!!! You’re here too!!” the seemingly always excited catgirl cried out.
-“Hi, Kiro. Lugia! Nice to see you” the man said, getting up.
-“Hello, Wil. It’s great to see you too. What’s up?”
-“Ehh, not much. Nothing, in fact. I was bored at home, so I came here to check things out, but almost nobody other than the staff is here.”
-“I understand the feeling, my friend” Lugia nodded.
-“Is Nelimar with you?” Kiro asked, hoping Wil’s young niece would be there.
-“No, sorry, Kiro. She has exams coming up and had to stay home studying.”
-“Aww” she sighed. But then quickly recovered her cheer and asked Wil, “Have you heard?? We got access to ‘The World’ here now!!”
-“The World?” Wil asked. “You mean the online VR game?”
-“YES!!” again Kiro shouted excitedly. “Have you played it yet??”
-“Umm, no. Not yet.”
-“GREAT!!” Kiro shouted, even more excited. “Lets all three of us play together! We’ll make a killer party!!”

  • “Kiro, wait” Wil asked, suddenly turning serious. “Didn’t they say in the news that several players of that game around the world had fallen into comas?”
    -“Umm, well, yeah, but, those were isolated cases, I mean, nothing was proved to connect them to the game itself, I heard that on the news too.”
    -“Hmm…” Wil thought, not realizing he was humming out loud.
    -“Wil? Have you heard something else on the matter?” Lugia asked.
    -“No, not really… I don’t keep up much with internet stuff, you know… but I DO know that The World is the only MMorph- Mrpg- Morgg- MRPP- ONLINE GAME that is still active after the internet crashed back in 2005” Wil spat out.
    -“Oh, yeah, right, I heard about that” Lugia asked. “Did they ever find out who was responsible?”
    -“Don’t know” Wil admitted. “I know the RPGC Leaders looked into the matter, and later announced that things were now OK with The Net… but they never told us what they found out about the virus that caused the crash.”
    Noticing that Kiro was starting to look disappointed, Lugia suddenly said, “Well, my friend. If there IS something dangerous lurking within that game, shouldn’t it be up to heroes like us to investigate it?”
    -“Hmm- I guess you have a point.”
    -“So, we ARE playing together??” Kiro asked.
    -“I guess. Heck, who knows, maybe if we don’t find anything wrong, we might still have a good time” Wil responded.
    -“THAT’S the spirit, my Puerto Rican friend! Life is all about taking risks, and looking for thrills!” Lugia exclaimed, merrily slapping Wil on the back.
    -“Whoof! Watch the back, Pink!” Wil gasped.
    -“Oops, sorry my friend, you know sometimes I forget my own strength.”
    -“enough babbling, let’s GO PLAY!!” Kiro shouted, then bolted towards the Game Room.
    Wil and Lugia exchanged amused smiles, then walked after her.

NEXT: Who waits within The World?

Writer’s note: “The World” is, of course, the fictional MMORPG from the Dot//Hack series.

Off to a good start. I personally wouldn’t begin each dialogue-line with a dash, but, hey, artistic differences.

Val’s sister calls them “morgy-porgies”, as I recall. :smiley:

"but I DO know that The World is the only MMorph- Mrpg- Morgg- MRPP- ONLINE GAME”

Julia and I had the same problems with this,. What’s the point of an abbreviation that doesn;t really make it that easy to say? So we jsut call them Morgy Porgies. because it sounds funny.

Anyway, that was an interesting start, Wil. The great net crash of Aught five, eh?

Its finally here… Wil, you just saved your family.

And, it looks good. Just watch out for A sharps, and you should be fine.

And, keep it up, I look forward to seeing more.

Can’t wait to see the rest of it. A good start as usual Wil =)

Very nice Wil, very nice indeed.

Can’t wait to see how things develop once you three are inside the game. And also to see what happens elsewhere.

That was a very good start to my morning, thanks Wil. :slight_smile:

I can’t wait for the next chapter.

I remember when you did one of the Christmas Sagas and I got a Grunty. Great start and like Kiro, it was a good way to start the morning.

Agreed that this is an excellent way to start the morning. Honored that you have my character starting things out. Also, huzzah, I get to be in Wil’s party.


The ‘day’ was sunny and several people (some real, some AI-controlled NPCs) were ‘walking’ around a plaza with a fountain in it. The architecture had a Renaissance Italy look to it, and so did the costumes ‘worn’ by most of the people.

Most of the people were chatting amicably, mainly about the game itself. On one corner of the plaza, however, a figure stood, quietly observing them all.

It appeared to be a young woman, with blue hair and eyes, and wearing a flowing white dress. However, unlike everyone else ‘around’ her, she was neither human nor a simple computer program.

Its name, as far as it knew, was Project: Codename Killmore, a nanobot-based, formless creature, located in a warehouse somewhere. Despite its artificial nature, it was fully sentient. However, it was ignorant of its own origins- and indeed, of many other things. Under circumstances unknown even to itself, it had become sentient about a year ago; since then, it had explored the limited extenses of the warehouse, but has not found a way out, or even really tried to escape. All it knows comes from its own limited programming, which strangely does not include any mission programming or clue about its origins, plus what it had discovered on its own since waking up. That included a computer; after examinating it, it realized it could link itself to it. The computer, in turn, had Internet access, and its been from it that Killmore has been learning about the world. The computer also had an account on the online game “The World” by someone known only as “Terra.” Curious about it, Killmore downloaded its consciousness into the game, using the Terra Avatar to explore its virtual world.

Killmore found the game fascinating, though it had no idea that it WAS a game. Although it is aware that The World is an electronic simulation, from its point of view it doesn’t make it any less real. Most amazing of all, was the fact that there were ‘others’ in there- humans, though it didn’t know what they were called. It was elated to find out that it wasn’t the only sentient being in the universe; but when it tried to communicate with them, it found it couldn’t- they used a sound-based form of communication that was unknown to it. It had tried since then, to learn as many ‘words’ as it could, but had not made much progress; the fact most of ‘the others’ paid ‘her’ little attention (the other gamers just assumed she was either dumb or shy) did not help things. Still, Killmore continued to hang out in the virtual city often (though it had not yet wandered into the dangerous areas; it doesn’t know it’s supposed to.) Ever since it found the place, it had experienced many new sensations, including joy at not being alone.

Its quiet vigil, however, was suddenly shattered by a shout:
-“You there! Halt!!”
Killmore did not understand the words, but still looked in the direction they came from. It saw a man in blue-colored, full-body armor, carrying a huge spear, approach it.
The man stopped, and seemed to be thinking to himself, but Killmore could feel that he was really doing something on a computer linked to its own. “Aha, as I thought. A Wandering AI” he said.
Without another word, he lifted his spear- and struck Killmore with it!!
-“Shrieeek!!” Killmore screamed, for the first time in its existence. It backed out, pixilated sparks escaping from its avatar’s “body.” It had now discovered another new sensation: pain.
Instinctively, it tried to retreat back to its physical form- only to find that it couldn’t! A new sensation now settled into it: fear. It tried to run away, but the blue knight easily caught up with her, striking her a second time. Again, Killmore screamed in agony.
The scene caused the other people in the plaza to look at them. However, nobody even moved from their spots, except for three people who were hanging together: a dark-haired man, an androgynous, long haired person, and a young, catlike girl.
-“Kiro, is that supposed to be an event for players to intervene with?” the long-haired person asked.
-“I, I don’t know, Pink” Kiro said, nervously.
-“Let’s go find out” the older man said, with a determined look in his face.
-“Wil, wait!” Kiro suddenly said. “That’s a Cobalt Knight. They help enforce the rules of the game. I don’t think we are supposed to-“
-“SHREEE!!” the scream came again.
Seeing the ‘girl’ now kneeling at the Knight’ feet, Wil bolted in her direction, leaving Kiro and Lugia behind.
Lugia shook his head. “Always the hero, even in a game” he said, smiling. “C’mon, Kiro, let’s follow him.”
By now, Killmore’s avatar was flickering in-and-out, but still did not vanish, as the artificial being clung to existence with all its strength. “What, STILL here?” the Knight said, annoyed. “This blow will finish you off!” and he raised his spear for a stronger blow.
It was not the sound of the spear striking down, but rather of a staff hitting the Knight, knocking his aim off. Surprised, the Knight turned around, coming face-to-face with Wil.
-“Stop what you’re doing, NOW!” Wil demanded.
-“What the- who are you?” the Knight spat back.
-“Never mind!” Wil shouted. “Back off, or else!”
The Knight grumbled. “Do you have any idea who I am??”
-“No, and I don’t care” and equally angry Wil responded.
-“I’m one of The World’s administrators! This is official CC corporation business. Now, back off!”
-“I don’t care if you’re Donald Trump’s favorite apprentice. STAY AWAY FROM HER!”
-“You idiot, this is not a real person! It isn’t even a game player; it’s an unlicensed Artificial Intelligence!”
An AI? Wil wondered. He looked at Killmore, who had managed to rematerialize. The look on her eyes was that of pain and fear. Had he been fooled by the realism of the game? And yet- SOMETHING was pulling him toward her, a concern not unlike that which he felt for real people.
-“Somebody has been making these artificial characters without permission and inserting them into the game lately. I’m under strict orders to remove all of them. Now, get out of my face, or I’ll have your player’s account disabled!”
Wil looked at the Knight, then back at Killmore. During his many years of real adventures in the multiverse, he had come across a great many wonders; one of them was the fact that non-human beings could be as much of a “person” as humans are. Many monters, aliens, even robots he had met had shown a capability to think and feel as much as he could. He had no reason to think that this being was truly sentient, but something was telling him she was. He looked again into Killmore’s eyes; silently, they seemed to say, ‘please, help me.’
He made up his mind. “No. You’re not going to hurt her anymore” he stated.
-“Goddamn newbies!” the Knight swore aloud. “Fine. You asked for it!” and prepared to strike Wil down.
Wil was faster, however, and began to cast a spell- and then stopped, realizing that he was NOT really ‘there’- he was still back in the RPGC HQ game room, his body lying on a comfortable chair with a VR helmet on his head. He had no access to his magic here!
WHAM! Wil was hit by the Knight’s spear. The force of the impact threw him back, though fortunately there was no pain. Still, he could see his game character’s Hit Points taking a major hit.
The Knight reared for another strike, when suddenly Kiro, screaming MRROWRR!! At the top of her lungs, jumped into the fray, slashing at the Knight with her character’s talons. However, he seemed to barely be affected at all. Almost casually, he punched her with his other hand, knocking her down and reducing her HP a lot.
-“HROOOARR!!!” A truly fearsome roar was suddenly heard, drawing everyone’s attention to Pink Lugia, who had a truly angry look on his face. “NOBODY hurts my friends!!" it screamed. “I’ll show you what true power is-”
-“Lugia, NO!!” Wil shouted, stopping it in time. “You’re not really here! If you attack him with your natural powers you’ll just wreck the VR machine- again!”
-“Oh, right. Sorry” Lugia said embarrassed.
-“We have to use our in-game powers!” Wil continued, getting up. “Vak Don!” he shouted, as he mentally willed his character to cast one of its fire-based spells.
The ‘spell’ worked, and the blast of fire hit the Knight. But it barely sizzled him.
-“Wil! What happened? You’re one of the mightiest wizards I know!” Lugia said, puzzled.
-“Uhh, we’re all still beginner-level characters, remember?” Kiro interjected. “M-maybe we should just forget this, I mean, this isn’t real after all, and I don’t want to lose my World account-”
-“NO!!” Wil shouted, so loud it even surprised his friends. “That’s not just a game character, believe me! We HAVE to save her!!”
Kiro and Lugia looked at each other, momentarily wondering about it. But then Lugia smiled a wry smile, and said, “If Wil said it, that’s good enough for me” and stepped closer to the Knight.
-“I knew you were all a bunch of noobs! You can kiss your accounts goodbye, losers!” the Knight said, preparing to face the heroes again.
Before Lugia could hit it, the Knight struck again: WHAM! Lugia “felt” the strike, but noted that its HP had not been lowered that much. The Knight noticed it too.
-“What the!? That blow should’ve taken most of your HP away!” he gasped.
-“No such luck, pal” Lugia gloated. “Now let’s see if you can take as well as you give!” With that, Lugia went into a flurry of unarmed blows, striking the Knight several times, and doing a lot of damage to him.
-“WHAT??” he cried out. “How the hell- you’re much lower level than I am, how can you do this??”
-“To be honest, I don’t know either” Lugia said, “But I do know one thing: you’re going DOWN, mister!” and with that struck and even more powerful blow.
-“Damn!” the Knight cursed again. “I’ll get you for th-” he tried to say, but his body fell limply to the floor, then vanished in a cloud of pixels, followed by a short victory fanfare.
-“Hey, nice! Much less gory than real combat, too” Lugia mused aloud.
-“Wow! How did you do that, Pink?” Kiro said, awed.
-“Hmm” Wilfredo said, again not realizing he was humming out loud. “My guess is, Pink’s different nature from ours- he’s a kind pf magical elemental that just happens to have taken physical form, if I’m correct (Lugia nodded) made him interact better with the game than we do. While he could not use his spells or shapeshifting in the game, he was still much stronger than human.”
-“WIL, LOOK!” Kiro suddenly gasped, pointing to Killmore.
“She” had collapsed into the floor, pixilated energy still flowing out of her.
-“NO!!” Wil shouted, immediately kneeling next to her and propping her up on his arms. “Hold on!” He cried out.
-“Wow, Wil, you never miss a chance to catch a beautiful woman, eh?” Lugia joked.
Wil gave it an I’m-serious-now-dammit look, that made Lugia regret his words.
-“What can we do for her?” Kiro asked nervously.
-”I don’t Know” Wil said, but then, quickly added, “Wait. What is this? I feel like…”
The strange energy suddenly enveloped both of them. Lugia and Kiro watched, amazed.
-“W-What?” Wil gasped.
-“Wil!! What is it?” Kiro asked.
-“I, I’m… OK” he responded. “We are, somehow… linked now!”
-“WHAT?” Both Lugia and Kiro said simultaneously. “How is that possible?” Lugia asked.
-“I… I don’t know… my brainwaves… somehow… are in the same frequency… Wait, she’s fading! No, hold on!! Hold on to me, use my life force, if you need to!!”
-“What? No, Wil!!” Kiro said, alarmed.
But Lugia understood. Wil was a hero- he believed in sacrificing himself for others. If saving her required his life, he would give it, Lugia knew.
-“It’s… Ok, Kiro. It’s coming around… just needed an anchor to hold on, reassemble itself…” Indeed, her image was becoming more stable.
-“It?” Kiro asked.
-“It’s not a woman” Wil explained, his eyes closed in concentration. “Or a man. It’s… an android? An artificial lifeform that had uploaded itself into the game.”
-“Wait, so it WAS an AI after all?” Kiro said.
-“No, it’s much more advanced than that. An actual sentient being.”
-“Wait, how do you know that?” Kiro asked, puzzled.
-“Our minds are… linked. I can… see its memories. It doesn’t know who created it, or why, or where its body is. Cannot even talk, not with words. But, it meant no harm- it definitely was not one of the AIs the Knight was looking for. We did the right thing- he was about to destroy a person.”
-“…Wow” was all Kiro could say.
-“Its name is Project: Codename Killmore. Probably developed as a weapon… but somehow lost or abandoned” Wil continued.
Suddenly, Killmore opened its eyes, and looked at its rescuers. It sat up, and Wil let go of it. Then it smiled.
Wil smiled back. “You’re welcome” he said. “Are you sure you’re OK now?”
It nodded.
-“Not to be a party pooper” Kiro said “but we’d better get out of here. That admin must be furious at us, and a squad of Cobalt Knights will probably show up any minute!”
-"Yes… it’s best if we all log off now” Wil agreed.
-“What about Killmore?” Lugia asked.
Wil looked at her. “It says it’ll be OK- it’ll return to its body now” Wil explained. Then he turned back to it. “You don’t have to be alone, Killmore. You can come with us to RPGC Headquarters. There are more understanding people like us there.”
Killmore shook its head. “Ah, I understand, you need time to think about it. It’s OK… I’m mentally sending you an Email address where you can contact us, OK?”
It nodded gratefully.
-“People, let’s go now, please!!” Kiro protested.
-“One moment, Kiro. Killmore, you still have much to learn, we can help you do so. Remember that. Eh, what’s that? We already taught you something? Ah, I see” Wil said, smiling.
Smiling itself, Killmore slowly faded away.
-“What did it say it learned from us, Wil?” Lugia asked.
-“Friendship” Wil said, smiling proudly.
-“Yeah, yeah, all cool and nice, now let’s get back to reality!” Kiro urged.

The three of them then walked back into a spinning portal that served as a Server Gate for the game, and passed through it.

Moments later, back in the RPGC Game Room, Kiro, Lugia and Wil removed their VR helmets and got off their couches.
-“Well, that was unexpected” Kiro said.
-“Indeed, but still, it was a great adventure!” Lugia added.
-“Yes, and we helped someone out, too” Wil said. “However, we didn’t find out anything about The World’s supposed problems. Killmore’s incident was unrelated to it, it knew nothing about any others.”
-“Well, I guess we’ll have to continue playing the game until we find out” Lugia said merrily.
-Eh? What is this? Wil thought silently. I’m already disconnected from the game. So why do I still feel-
-“THERE you are!!” a winged, robed, bespectacled woman shouted, suddenly bursting into the room. “I have been looking all over the place for you people!”
-“What’s up, Weiila?” Lugia asked.
-“Some kind of hideous monster is attacking a village in New York state! You must go help, pronto!!”


Oh noes! Not HORROR! What ever shall we do?! D:

[QUOTE=]I don’t care if you’re Donald Trump’s favorite apprentice[/QUOTE]:stuck_out_tongue:

This is a thrilling story, Wil; I cannot wait to read more.

Hmm … monsters in New York. Looks like the heat’s turning up …

I better not be trying to make a poor impression of Godzilla :).

Great job as expected Will! Take your time and keep it up!

Ooh, can’t wait for the next chapter, great stuff. :smiley:

Whee, I haxxored the system. :stuck_out_tongue: Keep up the good work Wil, nice pace too.

Liking the story, Wil. Since you’re using The World I find I can still remember the music they played in the different regions. It adds a new dimension to it. =)

I really like where this is going. I’m hooked.

Of course, waiting for the next installment is gonna be the hard part . . .