8/4/12. A very interesting day. Except not really.
In fact, as far as you can tell, today's about as ordinary a day you can possibly get. You look outside and it's a bright, beautiful summer day. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the mailbox flappy-arm things are down and indicating that there are no packages to be received. There is, quite literally, nothing to suggest that today is going to be anything other than perfectly and absolutely normal.
Well, I suppose that there is one item of note. Today is the day that ALDERCORP, that one Texas-based megacorporation that seems to have snuck its greedy paws into nearly every field imaginable, rivaled only by BETTY CROCKER in sheer size and expanse, is finally pre-releasing access codes to the ALPHA version of season's hottest new game, SBURB! You know, that one game that no one knows anything about, and yet everyone is inexplicably excited for! Yay mob mentality!
Of course, there are the usual rumors floating around, the same shady stories that always seem to surface whenever ALDERCORP does anything. This time around, it's TIMBLER and TWEETER exploding with gossip about how the giant conglomerate "acquired" a small indie company, some no-name developer called SKAIANET, that was supposedly already developing the ALPHA. Some posters are raving about how such a cutthroat tactic is utterly appalling, while others rant about how such economic happenings are only to be expected in a CAPITALISTISTIC SOCIETY. Yet another camp does nothing but spout nonsense about how ALDERCORP is intentionally bringing about the APOCAPLYPSE, being run by ALIENS, and is all around just a TERRIBLE COMPNAY. But they're probably just fake accounts set up by the CROCKER MARKETING DEPARTMENT, so no one really pays attention to them.
Rumors and hearsay aside, the fact remains that you've been looking forward to today for quite some time. For, as luck would have it, you are either the PRINCE, and eventual heir, of ALDERCORP, or one of his close, personal, INTERNET FRIENDS. This means that you, and seven of your best pals, will receive the first set of ALPHA codes in the world! That's right, you're going to be the first ones to play SBURB! You're positive that this development is nothing but good fortune, and that there's no way this situation could possibly end up turning into some huge disaster.
00:60:00 before ALPHA launch
All across the country, eight Kids slowly awaken to a variety of noises in a variety of homes. Sadly, we don't know anything about these kids! They may or may not already have an HONORARY PLACRONYM, they may or may not have any INTERESTS, we just don't know enough to say!
If someone who knew something about these Kids would be kind enough to introduce and describe them, golly, that sure would be swell!
>Be the prince and eventual heir of ALDERCORP.
A strapping young man, dressed to the nines in a full suit and tie, stands alone in his room. The morning light begins to creep in from the windows, but he had already awoken long before the sunrise. Today was a very important day for this young man. Some would predict it would change his life. They would be, of course, entirely correct. For the young man, however, the day is a culmination of all the hype, all the mysterious goings-on in the ALDERCORP MANSION - things he has - much to his own frustration (and unbeknownst to his beloved INTERNET FRIENDS, who merely think he's being cryptic and withholding about the ALPHA) - very little knowledge of in general.
Before we go on to explore the recesses of the young man's mind, what would his NAME be?
What? No, that's not even funny.
Regardless, it's not like your choice would've mattered. Rather than being some ruffian with an afro and a few paper bags full of happy pills, this businesslike chap keeps the POLISHED PLACRONYM he received at the ripe age of 13 neatly on the wall above his desk.
Yep, that's you. You're the HEIR to an EMPIRE - ALDERCORP, of course - successor to your very mysterious and leaderly GRANDFATHER's CORRUPT, CAPITALIST throne. In recent weeks, your GRANDFATHER has become even more mysterious. Your company's acquisition of some small, "indie" game developer has led to a very muted developmental cycle, and out of nowhere the promise that eight, precisely EIGHT, copies of the ALPHA GAME would be given to your company. Curiously, your GRANDFATHER seems to have insisted that you play the game, instead of someone with actual quality assurance training. Even more curiously, the instructions given to you by your GRANDFATHER stated that in order to fully experience it, the GAME would need to be distributed amongst your closest friends.
This utterly unprofessional display by your GRANDFATHER very much disturbs you, but of course, you have recently come of age - eighteen years of life means you are now a MAN in the echelons of the ALDER family. To do anything but straighten your back and do exactly what is asked of you would be a stain on your reputation and your spotless reputation of BUSINESSLIKE INTEGRITY.
Which is to say, you regularly lie through your teeth to everyone but your GRANDFATHER.
Your most recent series of lies is feigning having the slightest idea of what this GAME is all about. Your friends have been ENDLESSLY FRUSTRATED by your refusal to reveal any details, and you're worried that today your cover story may be blown as the questions begin to pour in.
But enough about your ramblings! You've always felt exposition is the best way to brighten your mood. Gets you feeling nice and BY THE BOOK.
>David: Examine room.
There is not a spot of DUST in your room, as it would be unbecoming of an HEIR, a PRINCE, nay, a BUSINESSMAN, to keep his living quarters anything but spotless. Cleanliness comes before godliness. The walls in your room are DEVOID OF ANY SHADES OF COLOR, as are the curtains, the carpet, the ceiling, the floor, and your bed. This is a motif that continues through the entire mansion. It is a MONOCHROME PALACE. However, like a flag of rebellion and individuality, your bookshelf is adorned with SOCIALIST LITERATURE and your desk has the slightest touches of a bright BLOOD RED - the color, of course, of the long-gone SOVIET UNION. To top it all off, your RED TIE is the only object of any color around the mansion, whenever you do leave your room. Though you speak of it to only the MOST TRUSTED of your compatriots, and would certainly never let your GRANDFATHER know, overexposure to the dog-eat-dog world of CAPITALISM has left you jaded and full of a veiled hatred for this CORRUPT SYSTEM.
You try not to talk about it too much, for fear of the retribution, but your passion has only INTENSIFIED over the past year. You wish to see the world returned to a RED TIDE. You yearn to help the WORKER achieve glorious ORDER AND FREEDOM. A socialist state, a land of equality. A land where the BOURGEOISIE cannot EXPLOIT THEIR CHILDREN TO ENSURE A LOYAL HEIR and the CLASS SYSTEM has been abolished. You would give anything to achieve this greater good. Of course, such a state would need a STRONG LEADER. If anyone can ensure an ORDERLY STATE OF AFFAIRS where every report is in its rightful file, it's you. You've been vetted on this for as long as you can remember, from the most LEADERLY man in existence.
No one can best you in a order-off. You are quite simply the best there is.
Your mind ceases its socialist wandering and your eyes re-focus, gazing at the next OBJECT OF INTEREST. On your desk, next to your treasured copy of Marx's COMMUNIST MANIFESTO lie three fresh cans of AEROSOL ANTI-PERSPERANT, which you often require in order to keep up your stylishness in this sweltering Texas heat. Of course, more than merely a way to keep your shirt from staining, the DEODORANT serves as ammunition for your flamethrowerKind STRIFE SPECIBUS. Ever since nearly meeting your doom during the fabled BURNING OF VERSAILLES (which, unbeknownst to French authorities, was another one of your family's trademark COMPANY ARSON strikes - perhaps the greatest to date), you have always had an interest in FIRE. Its chaotic state is a curious antithesis to your love of ORDER and CONTROL. So you sought to tame the FLAMING BEAST, and harness its power. To turn it into YOUR GREATEST WEAPON.
So far you've managed to spray it wildly at things. It's a start.
>David: Turn around.
You make a 180 DEGREE TURN, to gaze upon your PERSONAL CORNER. It is the half of your room devoted entirely to your COMPUTER SETUP as well as a few touches of your own. The COMPUTER itself is the only one of its kind - the best money can buy. It was COMMISSIONED and DESIGNED by your GRANDFATHER, so the screen is a bit of a LIMITING black and white, and the only CHAT PROGRAM you can use is the SERIOUS BUSINESS client. Still, with a little simple tinkering, you managed to make it compatible with PESTERCHUM, and its three monitors allow you to never take your eye off COMPANY STOCKS.
>David: Examine personal effects.
Though you try to keep your workspace as PERSONAL AS POSSIBLE, you are aware that it is healthy for a businessman to display some kind of FLAIR. It is for this reason that you keep a small HAMMER AND SICKLE PIN, meant for a military officer's lapel, on your desk. On the wall as well are three BLACK AND WHITE posters (of course, they weren't edited to be black and white, they're just that old) of your MUSICAL IDOLS.
Yes, you have a taste for CLASSIC AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC. And why not? It's calm, orderly, harmonic, and peaceful. It is packed with meaningful LYRICISM that takes you back to a simpler, SMALL TOWN AMERICA where you could vote for the SOCIALIST PARTY without being PUBLICLY FLAYED.
You listen to them all exclusively on VINYL RECORDS, payed for by your GRANDFATHER's endless pockets.
You prefer not to mention this fact.
It gets you labeled.
>David: Stop narrating to yourself and do something, already!
Though you do enjoy a bit of healthy self-narration, you suppose it's time to get down to business. You have SEVERAL COPIES OF THE ALPHA GAME to ensure the arrival of, and today you are entirely expected to playtest it! You can't deny that a bit of baseless uneasiness has formed up in your stomach. You certainly don't like not knowing what's going on, and while a simple TEST RUN can't possibly be that hard, there's something...off, about the game. Even putting aside the secretive developmental processes, as of late TWO MYSTERIOUS STRANGERS have spent most of the day in the EXECUTIVE ROOM of the mansion with your GRANDFATHER. You have no idea what goes on behind those locked doors, but it fills you with dread to even consider it. You can't possibly just charge in and demand to know what's going on, though. Can't possibly.
Or, well, you could. The doors could burn down in a jiffy. You just won't. That's absolutely horrid conduct for a BUSINESSMAN such as yourself.
>David: What did I just tell you to stop doing? Check your computer.
You react poorly to your inner voice's harsh tone, and adjust your tie slightly to the left. This is how you have learned to display great displeasure.
That said, it was a pretty solid command. You settle into your EXECUTIVE CHAIR and bring your MONSTROUS COMPUTER to life. You should try and figure out what your friends are all up to, and....and...
You shake your head, returning to your senses. Your eyes were fixated on your palms for a second. Inscribed on each are the REVISED 714 LAWS OF SALESMANSHIP, tattooed on your hand personally by your long lost FATHER upon your birth. Since then you've had them constantly readjusted as the laws changed.
You try not to stare at them for too long. You can swear you start to hear voices.
>David: Alright then, kiddo. Get to PESTERING.
You adjust your TIE back into its default position and prepare yourself for a very busy day.
>Be the girl trapped in a mad otaku's fantasyland
Oh, that's quite simple.
A young woman, freshly dressed and accessorized stands alone in her bedroom. The bright, fresh and damned annoying TEXAN SUN has just come over the horizon, heralding a new day. Today marks a very special day in this girl's life. It is the day when the SBURB ALPHA arrives, and her entire concept of ROLEPLAYING will be tossed out the window. But before we get into any of that, she needs a name. Allow us to take a peek at her ADAMANTIUM PLACRONYM and learn the identity of this mysterious girl.
Oh, uh, wait. Sorry. That appears to be the barbarian she's been playing in her latest PATHFINDER CAMPAIGN. As a tradition, she keeps hand-drawn posters of all her characters adorned on her wall, with a PLACRONYM beneath. She says her real plaque's off in some drawer in her closet, it's not really all that important. Luckily, as I am a host of most limitless vision, I am fully aware of her true name, and will be pleased to share it with you.
By which I mean, YOU, girl, as well.
Your name is DARIA PACE. You are a 17-year old girl living in Fort Worth, Texas. You are a girl of many INTERESTS, particularly located within the FANTASY GENRE. A massive bookshelf takes up an entire wall of your room, filled to the brim with the works of Tolkien, Martin, Pratchett, and other far more obscure novels. Do your friends even know what Midnight at the Well of Souls IS? You don't bother asking. You know they don't. Though, your most blatant hobby is PATHFINDER, a spin-off of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS for those who go above and beyond in their nerdish interests. Really, your entire room is dedicated to it. Posters of your characters adorn the walls, male and female and of every imaginable race and class combination. A rogue here, a cavalier there, a gunslinger by the name of Slim Abel rests directly above your bed; you're quite comforted knowing that a man as gruff on the exterior, yet caring on the inside as him is watching over you.
Not that you can't defend yourself. Your floor and every flat surface, really, is covered in DICE. As one of the few proficient users of the GAMBLEKIND STRIFE SPECIBUS, you can effectively weaponize any of your gaming tools into a deadly armament. You may be the ONLY proficient user, in fact. You've certainly never heard of another human using DICE as a weapon, no-sirree. It feels good to be unique, sometimes. You also have a BLADEKIND card, given to you as a birthday present by your ANIKI, though you don't use it too much; too cliche (though that's probably why he loves it so much).
What's that, she asks? What is an ANIKI? Well, that's something of a long story...
>We have time, Daria.
Allow me to fill you in. This bastion of traditional geekery is limited to the confines of her room. If you were to venture beyond, what you would find is a three-story home dedicated entirely to JAPANESE ANIMATION AND MANGA. Her brother is one of the most prominent VOICE ACTORS in the Western world, and does not leave his work at work. He is not merely a nigh-constant in every anime you may ever find, he is also a DIEHARD FAN of each and every one of them, and tends to collect souvenirs of one sort or another. Over the years, they've gathered up over the house, until it was choked in a veritable mountain of WEEABOO.
>Speaking of which...
You can actually tell your ANIKI, as he insists you call him rather than BROTHER, is home right now. He's still blasting his music down the hall.
Nani ga wow wow wow wow wow
Kono sora ni todoku no darou
Dakedo wow wow wow wow wow
Ashita no yotei mo wakaranai...
As the chorus breaks into full burst, you can quite easily identify Masaaki Endoh's cover of Butterfly. You've heard it at least a thousand times, and that's rounding down from your estimate. It's a pretty catchy song you guess, but when ANIKI plays it every time he's reading a script, it starts to get grating. You've been waiting for the day you were able to finally challenge him in one of his SHITTY CLIMACTIC ANIME DUELS and come out on top; but you think that won't be happening for quite a while. He's just too damned TENACIOUS. You think you're about on par with his speed, but he's just flat-out stronger, and the guy can take a punch like no one's business. You hear that, for fun, he once challenged the entire cast of Fullmetal Alchemist to a foam sword fight at a convention, and won without a single scratch (rumors persist he also broke Todd Haberkorn's pinkie finger in the process).
You decide to avoid meeting ANIKI for the day, hoping he'll head off to work or something. He has a really flexible schedule, so you're never sure if he'll leave on any given day. And if he does, you're not even sure if he's going to work or just running off to fight for JUSTICE or something.
>Daria: Check computer
You walk over to your computer, located on a multi-tiered table capable of holding the monitor, tower, and a mess of RULEBOOKS to help you carry out the occasional INTERNET-BASED CAMPAIGN. You left your PC on overnight, and shake the mouse a bit and bring up your desktop.
So SUAVE! So SMOOTH! So VICIOUS AND BLOODTHIRSTY! You really do love the Midnight Crew, with their unbeatable style. You notice you've left a Word doc up overnight. You quickly close out of the file titled "DDLEMON", in which nothing strange happens whatsoever, and open up PESTERCHUM. Nobody seems to be online right now, but you decide to stick around and wait for somebody to pop in. You need someone to discuss SBURB with.
As it happens, you're suddenly contacted by another "suave" friend of yours.
A young man awakes in his darkened room in his UNCLE'S MANSION outside of HOUSTON overlooking the LAKE, right leg numb and crunched underneath his chest, the other one parallel against the wall, reaching for the nearby lamp, he notices that he can't feel them either, luckily they're activated by a small push-button on the base. The lamp is turned on and the room floods with light as multiple lights are turned on around the room.
"No," You mumble to yourself,"It's too early."
>OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES
Your eyes open of their own accord, despite your mighty PIRATE skills. Along the wall your leg is propped against is a host of MUPPET POSTERS, MOVIES, TV SHOWS, CD COVERS, INDIVIDUALS, and PARODIES. It is completely PLASTERED, not a single drop of paint, or was it wallpaper underneath? You can't remember, it's been so long since you've seen underneath it.
Along the opposing wall is also plastered, but this side with POST-IT NOTES, each of them covered in spider-like writing of jokes you've heard, some of them you've even made up yourself, reminiscent of many DOCTORS, perhaps that should be your career choice? No, you've still got a long way to go before you achieve that level of unreadability. There is an outline of a desk and your computer which you moved to the next wall, next to your ANTIQUE CANNON protruding out of the open WINDOW. Your DESK is also an ANTIQUE, a REAL CAPTAIN'S DESK.
You manage to drag yourself out of bed and promptly fall on the ground as your leg touches the ground, busting your bottom lip and you lay there a few minutes.
>SBURB ALPHA ARRIVES TODAY
You leap to your feet as this thought occurs to you, you're unsure of why it popped into your head at such a strange time, but it's there now. You grab your PIRATE HAT and SUNGLASSES, easily put the GLASSES on, but the HAT takes some rearranging of your HAIR, it always has had a mind of its own, after all. You SYLLADEX your HOUSE MAP, it appears to be worth 800 Boondollars, a reasonable amount considering how detailed it is and what it led to. After checking it again, you are sure that it leads to the BATHROOM.
DO INDESCRI- BUSINESS.
Arriving in the BATHROOM, you are only just finished with your BUSINESS when you hear a strange noise coming from behind the shower curtain. Tentatively you back out of the BATHROOM and are surprised by your UNCLE jumping out from behind the nearby TAPESTRY adorned with a PIRATE BATTLE. A blink and he is gone. He always does that, jumps out of nowhere and then somehow disappears, it's very strange.
Following the map back to your room you angle your cannon so that it points directly across the way at the YACHT CLUB. After you are satisfied with your perfect PIRATE SKILLS, you get on your computer, intent on PESTERING your ONLINE CHUMS. Especially the one with the ALPHA codes to that one game no one knows anything about.
>Be the emissary on an important mission
Most people in there right minds wouldn't take this sort of job; they'd shy away from it, respectfully deny, make false excuses, or, in some extreme cases, run away from it completely. You weren't blessed with the luxury of an option. This mission has been thrust into your capable, albeit, young, hands. Admittedly, it is a chore. Even more so, it is a chore that pains you. It sickens the very core of your being to what you have to do. What's even worse? You have to do it frequently. Or else.
You dump A NEWSPAPER FULL OF BETHE'S SHIT in the garbage can outside, run back into the house and wash your hands thoroughly.
You're not even in your ROOM yet! How can you go through these inane traditions when you're not even in your room! What's next, you don't play the game all together?!
You run up to your room and wait for more commands.
Not only is that a wrong name and reference to a good book, that's not even a command! Seriously, you didn't spend 13 years of your life to be called the wrong name!
There we go. You are Chuck Israel. You are a devout vegetarian and somewhat of a hippie. You respect all walks of life, whether it be MAN, BEAST, or somewhere in between. But, in particular, you absolutely adore RABBITS. You are a huge OTAKU and at times you slip Japanese phrases into your speech just to sauce it up. Lately, you've been dreaming about this weird golden world and you get inklings of your INTERNET FRIENDS doing something with the game you're about to play. You've gotta ask David about it later.
>Chuck: Examine room
You're room is part NERDY PARADISE part RABBIT PLAYGROUND. But, by any means, a complete mess. Your bed is the prominent of the mess. You have STAR MAPS scattered everywhere and most of them CHEWED by a certain lagomorph. You have BETHE'S AREA where he can sleep, run around, and, uh...relieve himself on some newspapers.
>Chuck: Get pestered by a republican
Today is going to be a long ass day. You just know it.
>Get up and start the day fresh
"...No.Go away...Its too early..."
>But if you don't AWAKE,you will be asleep all day and..
"Ya,ya.Wake me when something inter...".zzzzzzzzzzz
You open your eyes and find your FATHER'S KITTY laying on top of you and MEOWING loudly.You grumble to yourself as you sit there contemplating the KITTY'S death like you do every time it wakes you up in the MORNING.Seriously,Velma always wakes you up.Why is that?Who needs an alarm clock when an annoying KITTY will do?
With the last remaining vestiges of sleep out of your eyes you climb out of your BED and head to your CLOSET to change out of your FOX PAJAMAS.Sure,they are comfy as heck to sleep in,but you wouldn't be caught dead wearing them around the house or,heaven forbid,outside.What would the other GIRLS think?
>Get dressed and introduce yourself Ms. Markos
"Ya ya.I'm going,I'm going"
You run your hand through some of the many ARTICLES of CLOTHING your FATHER has bought you over the years and,while you would love to wear your NINJA ROBES,it wouldn't be terribly fashionable to do so.And you would rather not get them dirty so soon.You could always change again later,of which you have no doubt you will do so.You decide on a SIMPLE ROBE and a SIMPLE PAIR of SHOES for now.With that out of the way,only one thing left to do.
Your name is GINA MARKOS,as the stylized PLACRONYM that was made for you on your 13th BIRTHDAY clearly reads,which now finds itself resting on the MONITOR of your COMPUTER.You are a GIRL of few INTERESTS,the biggest one being NINJAS.NINJA WEAPONS,NINJA ARMOR,NINJA FIGHTING STYLES,NINJA EVERYTHING.Who could hate NINJAS?Of course while you LOVE everything NINJA you do have other INTERESTS.After all what boring person only has just one?You also like to COOK in your spare time,not taken up by the STUDYING and NINJAING you do,mostly BREAKFAST items like PANCAKES and such,but you are learning other things,like CANDY CORN.Sure it may never come in handy but who knows?You wouldn't be afraid to admit that you also have quite a hand in SEWING,mostly simple CLOTHING,but your FATHER recently got you a book on CLOTH DOLL making.Its slow going,but a bit of fun.Oh and if any of the other girls you know mentions you have a thing for KNIGHTS they are lying.Don't believe a word those liars say.
Your BEDROOM,which is probably the only ROOM in the HOUSE wall to wall with BOOKS,is where you currently find yourself,to no surprise.Your BED rests against the farthest CORNER of the ROOM,as NINJAS like to be able to keep an eye on all exits and entrances of a ROOM.Your DESK,which your modest COMPUTER rests on as well as various KNITTING NEEDLES and objects you are working on,sits in the center of your ROOM,giving you a good idea where everything is at all times.You never know when someone may attack.The only BOOKSHELF in the ROOM stands next to the DOOR in case you need to block it.On the SHELVES sits your various NINJA affair,not counting your WEAPONS,and various BOOKS on subjects that interest you.Mostly NINJA stuff.
On a wall next to you CLOSET is your WEAPON RACK,adorn with various NINJA TOOLS,..and one KNIGHT SWORD.Lets move on.
>Gina:Turn on Computer
You walk over to your DESK and sit down in the rather COMFY CHAIR that went with the DESK.You find that hard to believe as they aren't made from the same materials,but whatever.
You turn on your computer and pop on SQUIDDLE....You mean PESTERCHUM,and check to see if any of your friends are on.Well,some of them are friends.
And of course the person who contacts you is not someone you would rather talk to.
By the great hidden NINJA do you hate him.He is up to something,you are sure of it.But what could it be?
>Be the GODDAMN BATGIRL.
Well, she's not really the GODDAMN BATGIRL. But she sure wishes she was!
Wow, you didn't try to force some stupid name like "Slarty Bartfast" or "Chuck Israel" on her! She'd be happy to oblige! Her PLACRONYM-engraved name is MYRA SALVADOR.
>MetroidNut: Use remarkable SUBTLETY to STEALTH-EDIT your character's image into this post. TIME
>Myra: Examine room.
You find yourself in a rather plain, white BEDROOM. It contains many things, most notably the BED that defines its purpose. Less notably, there is a DESK with a DESKTOP COMPUTER on top, a COMFY CHAIR and corresponding READING LAMP, a MEDIUM-SIZED TELEVISION with a CUBESTATION 400 game console plugged into it, and a myriad of ASSORTED POSTERS.
Needless to say, you're pretty big on CRIME-FIGHTING VIGILANTES! And GAMES. And MOVIES. And COMICS. And MORE. You consider your BEDROOM a sort of FORTRESS OF ESCAPISM. It would be complete if not for the walls, which are regrettably far from soundproof. The one vanguard of reality that can pierce the otherwise-invincible defenses of your Fortress of Escapism is the sound that perpetually emanates from the PALACE OF FITNESS your UNCLE built right next door to your HOUSE.
>Myra: Make it stop!
What? Oh, sorry, you didn't hear. You broke out your MP3 PLAYER the moment you heard the music kick in. It's a survival instinct you've developed over the past few years.
>Myra: Elaborate on musical taste.
Well, to be honest, you're really into SOUNDTRACKS. Movies and games just have the BEST music, if you ask you! Those sweeping, dramatic overtures can make the most mundane actions feel incredibly dramatic!
>Myra: Check Pesterchum.
>Exit bedroom. Begin uneventful trip to acquire Sburb Alpha.
You begin your JOURNEY.
>Get up and start adventuring!
"Please alarm... five more minutes."
You get up,and put on some pants,while you think on what you are going to do today.You love to explore,and find new places to spend the night in the forest behind your little LOG CABIN.Why do,like to find new places to sleep even though you don't sleep in them?You throw on a nice JACKET,that your GRANDMOTHER bought you last Christmas,because you love to wear,look and feel on JACKETS,like the weirdo you are.You also throw on a pair of nice SWEAT PANTS, that look like JEANS.You don't like JEANS for some odd reason,it couldn't have anything to do with the year your jeans caught on fire,at a Halloween party.You also throw on some beat up WORK BOOTS.
>Introduce your name.
Your name is MARK THORPE.The exploring kid wonder.There is one thing you cant explore yet,it is the only thing you want to explore.The SKY.
>Back to getting ready for the day
After you put on clothes,you go into the KITCHEN to grab a bite to eat,before you do other things.You make sure that your GRANDMOTHER is not around,and warm up your favorite food.Chicken Alfredo.Then you walk back into your tiny ROOM,that is literally connected to the kitchen.The only thing stopping it from being the kitchen is a SLIDING WOOD DOOR.You walk into your room,than has one wall,that has anything you could imagine and explore might have.
GRAPPLE HOOKS,ROPES,WATER BOTTLES(Metal),you name it.You plop down on your small FUTON and turn on your sorta small T.V,and the bust out your LAPTOP.You turn it on with a BEEP and start up PESTERCHUM.
A YOUNG WOMAN stands in her bedroom. And yes, before you even ask, she already has a name. It's not like she's just now turning 13 or some shit like that; this kid's already got her HONORARY PLACRONYM all filled out, thank you very much. Honestly, it's a little rude to presume that you get to dictate this young gal's identity. Who do you think you are, huh?
>Nina: Be the girl.
Your name is NINA GRAHAM, and like most kids your age you have a variety of INTERESTS and HOBBIES to keep you entertained. In an attempt to further establish your identity, your room is decorated in accordance with said OCCUPATIONS; several posters are haphazardly plastered across your wall, various shelves hold some of your most treasured possessions, and your computer/TV corner is stocked only with what you consider to be the apex of electronic entertainment.
Here, let's take a look at a few of your favorites, shall we?
A couple of the posters are dedicated to one of your favorite MUSICAL GROUPS, the Clockwork Quartet (Yes, there are really five members. Shut up, it's still an awesome name). Although their work is still quite limited, the few songs that they have come out with have been nothing short of amazing, and you find yourself constantly hoping that they'll eventually get their act together and crank out some more music. It would kind of be the best thing ever!
The other poster, meanwhile depicts a game that you find yourself eagerly anticipating; you simply cannot wait for its upcoming release, which you are certain will not be disrupted by any delays. At all. Because that would just be a travesty.
Some of your friends have called your customization jobs "interesting," "kind of cool," or "downright obsessive." And to be fair, it is possible that you've taken your admittedly fanatical interest a bit far, but you can't help it! It's just so much fun to mess around with your belongings, and make them look all cool like that! Even if it does take some time and money, it's worth it to get that unbeatable aesthetic!
Now, you would go over to the CLOSET and start showing off some of your COSPLAY GET-UPS, but it seemed that your DESKTOP has started beeping now that you're over here. Oh hey, it's David!
Well now, what have we here? David doesn't normally ask about stuff like this, unless he thinks that people are conspiring against him. Hmm... You think this is probably a good opportunity to mess with him!
Heehee! Knowing David he'll probably assume that you're deliberately avoiding the question (Which you are) and drive himself crazy thinking about the conspiracy you and Gina are cooking up.
Anyway, you should probably clarify that you did not, in fact, hear something falling down the stairs; that was just a clever ruse on your part, to keep David off guard. Besides, even if something did fall down the stairs, odds are you wouldn't hear them. Your DAD has a bad habit of leaving piles of PACKING PEANUTS on the steps; even if you were to do something crazy, like throw a BATHTUB down the stairs, you probably wouldn't hear it!
Well, you should probably go check the MAILBOX for that PACKAGE David was talking about.
00:45:00 until Alpha Launch.
>David: Well, it would seem that you've managed to kill some time by chatting with your various friends and acquaintances. Though some of them proved less than cooperative, you did at least manage to communicate their instructions, so they should at least know what they need to do, right? It isn't like you fed them incorrect information or anything; you know for a fact that everything you said is 100% correct.
Anyway, now that you've sent seven different people out on quests to obtain their copy of the Alpha, you suppose that you should go ahead and collect yours as well. It is time for you to prepare for a quest of serious simplicity: You will leave your room, venture to the MANSION's MAIL COLLECTING AND SORTING ROOM, find your copy of the Alpha, and will then return to your room.
There will be no pesky encounters with combative servants, no surprisingly placed traps or obstacles, and certainly no "training" sessions with your GRANDFATHER. This will be an entirely uneventful task, and you will complete it with the seriousness that it demands.
Or you guess that you could hang around in your room for a little longer. You know, if you wanted to be lazy about it.
>Daria: Man, how about that David? Talk about objective-oriented.
Well, you've been assigned your task. You suppose that it would be a good idea to eventually venture outside your room and into the rest of the bizarrely engineered house. You know, whenever you feel like it.
Then again, you could probably kill a little more time hanging around in here; there's no need to risk an encounter with your ANIKI just yet.
>Thomas: Now that your CANNON is correctly positioned, your UNCLE is off getting up to some kind of sufficiently silly shenanigans, and you've been told what to do by David, you suppose that you've got a few options as to what you do next.
First, you could play the obedient friend, leave the relative safety and comfort of your room, and try and acquire your copy of the Alpha. No doubt this little plan would put you at the mercy of whatever DIABOLICAL SCHEME your UNCLE has cooked up today.
Then again, you could just hang around in here for a while too. That might be fun.
>Chuck: Well, it would seem as though David doesn't want to hear about your dreams. You honestly can't say you're surprised; you were told that very few people would actually lend credence to your occasionally prophetic nocturnal visions. Well, you'll show them. You'll show them all.
But seriously though, you probably should start working on getting that Alpha; David tends to get cranky when people ignore him for too long. Then again, taking a quick look over at Bethe's AREA reveals that the lagomorph's FOOD BOWEL is running a little low, and strange shit always seems to happen whenever Bethe gets hungry. Decisions decisions.
>Gina: Well, you could sit around all day, trying to divine David's schemes and machinations. But, that would be kind of boring, and would probably just result in another shouting match via Pesterchum. It might be slightly more productive to try and actually listen to the guy for once and try to collect your copy of the Alpha.
Eh, you've got some time before he gets really irate. You could just laze about and do some more lazy stuff. That might be fun too.
>Myra: Actually do something. Your uneventful trip takes you just outside your CUBE OF ESCAPISM, and out into the rather plain HALLWAY. Why, with the exception of the SPANDEX PANTSUIT that your UNCLE left hanging over the stair railing, you could almost imagine that it was just an ordinary HALLWAY in an ordinary house.
You know, if it wasn't for the 80's music constantly blasting away from next door.
With your MP3 PLAYER attempting (And failing) to drown out the strains of BEN JOVI and VAN HALEN, you make your way down the stairs, finding yourself in the mercifully unoccupied LIVING ROOM. Now the only question is, where should you check first?
>Mark: Come on kid, you know the drill by now. Do you hang around here and laze about for a bit longer, or do you try and head downstairs to acquire the Alpha?
The choice is yours. Be sure that you make the right one. *Insert devilish laugh here*
>Gina: Yeah, you think you're going to ignore David for a little longer; let's see what some of your other friends are up to!
>David: Begin mastermind machinations.
The pawns have been moved. The game begins.
You rub your hands together slowly, feeling a slight burning sensation as your palms connect. Yes. Everything is going smoothly. Nothing can possibly obstruct the very simple and clear path you have given your new subordinates. This will be an uneventful test run. Nothing more.
With the orders issued, it is time to venture forth and lead by example.
You rise from your chair, adjust your tie, and dust off your coat. Your walk turns into a self-assured stride as you exit your room and enter the palatial hallways of the ALDER MANOR. With each step, the heels of your three thousand dollar shoes make a satisfying, impactful clack. Not as obnoxious as a TAP DANCING SHOE, but a commanding presence. The servantmen part as you pass them in the hall and enter the MANOR's grand main chamber. Yes. You are a man with PLACES TO BE and THINGS TO DO. ALPHAS TO ACQUIRE. Everything is completely under your control.
>David: Have no idea what is going on.
Your self-narration has left you staring blankly at the wall, and the two butlers that you just passed stare at you concernedly. In fact, they did not move aside out of respect, but rather because you were striding out of your room, eyes closed, loudly stomping your feet, and about to run into the pair of them.
You stand in your MANSION's humongous main hall. It's nice and all, but you've been through here a million times. Not much to write home about anymore. After the initial euphoria of finally being in charge of something has worn off, you're left scratching your head (after politely telling the butlers to go about their business, of course).
For the past 15 minutes, you may have convinced yourself through conversations with your teammates that you were aware of what the ALPHA was. You are not. You have no idea where your copy might be, or what in hell the game even is.
>David: Seek alpha in a very serious fashion.
Naturally, so as to ensure that your GRANDFATHER does not overshadow your MANY DEGREES OF INDEPENDENCE or undermine your LEADERSHIP in this project, you should take whatever steps possible to avoid him. Your destination is the MAIL ROOM, but rather than risk walking by the windows of your GRANDFATHER'S OFFICE, you make a calm, collected beeline for the front door. The foolproof plan you just formulated is to sneak around the manor gardens to the BACK ENTRANCE, and from there, subtly seek out the MAIL ROOM.
>David: Execute OPERATION CORPORATE ACQUISITION. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
>Myra: Retrieve Alpha.
All of a sudden your computer beeps.
>Myra: Reply to chum.
>Myra: Socialization achieved. Now retrieve Alpha.
You know to start your MISSION like any good mission - BY THE BOOK. There will be plenty of time to throw the book out the window later; starting with that would be terrible form!
Now, logic dictates the most likely place for something that's been mailed to you is the MAILBOX. It's only natural to start your INVESTIGATION there.
>Myra: Investigate kitchen.
WHICH MEANS THAT THEY WOULD EXPECT YOU TO DO THINGS BY THE BOOK AND START WITH THE MAILBOX!!! Keeping your movements unpredictable and going for the KITCHEN instead will throw them off, confuse them. Their PLAN will be torn asunder; they'll have to start improvising. And once they start improvising, they'll be prone to mistakes.
Which you can work with.
Time to get Alpha.
You look outside,to see if your copy of ALPHA has arrived.Your not sure,because the SNOW is starting to come down harder now.You let out a deep sigh of laziness,and walk downstairs.You lose your footing,and stumble all the way down to the FLOOR.You get up,not caring that your NOSE is slightly bleeding,take your SNOW CAP,from the HAT RACK,and head outside.
Fight your way to the mailbox.
You fight your way to the MAILBOX,like a boxing match.The wind swipes at your face,like an angry ORC,with a AXE.You brave out the wind with a stylish attitude and truge on.You fall a few times,and get a few faces of SNOW.You think about looking back,but you know that you must get your copy of Alpha,download,and beat it.This is your MISSION,and you now know it.This.is.your.DESTINY!!and you must fulfill it!If you don't fulfill it,your probably going to HELL.You think about that,and don't like the sound of burning in place,ruled by a little red man with a pointy TAIL.So you decide,to keep marching on.
>Get off the computer and start heading for the mailbox.
NO. The sloshing outside your door is beginning to worry you. Instead of using the door and looking for the map to the front door, you go to your bed, and on your hands and knees, start rooting around for the ROPE you keep under there. The first thing you encounter is your Kermit Treasure Island DOLL, which you were sure was lost for good three years ago. And here it's been all this time.
>Fondly remember the hours you spent recreating the movie with your dolls.
After a few moments of recollection and nostalgia, you remember why you're rooting around the space under your bed in the first place. However, you do SYLLADEX the DOLL, and it prices itself at 50 Boondollars, a horrible price you believe, even though you'd never even consider selling it, you feel cheated by the MODUS program market. A few more moments of whispered grumbling and your hand encounters countless DUSTBUNNIES and finally feel the rough texture of the ROPE.
>Contact Customer Support and complain about the MODUS market.
No time to do that right now, you have to go on an ADVENTURE on the HIGH SEAS! Well, maybe not the HIGH SEAS, but the fifty feet from your window to the ground, and then going around the GIANT MAP of HEDGES to the MAILBOX, that's close enough. Maybe GARDENER won't tell your UNCLE, or, is he even working today? You can't remember, you've never been that good at remembering WORK SCHEDULES. After SYLLADEXING the rope and then tying one end to the CANNON leaning out your window,with a near perfect knot, of course, you throw the other side out the window. Luckily, you see it hit the grass below and begin your journey down. It is a swift controlled fall, worthy of any TRUE PIRATE, if you do say so yourself.
Hitting the ground, you brush a few stray hairs out of your sunglasses and take a quick look around, seeing no GARDENER, no UNCLE, you make a mad DASH through the HEDGES of MAP. Fortunately you don't run into either of them, and reach the MAILBOX in record time.
>Take a look at the MAIL inside.
>Have a chat with your partner in crime
She isn't really a partner in crime,despite what Alder thinks,but it would be nice to see how she is doing before you leave.
You log off PESTERCHUM and stand up,do a few warm up stretches while you plan your next moves.You need to find out what Alder is up to,if not for yourself but for the whole GROUP.And you need to find out who is making him think you and Nina are against him.Sure your against him,but Nina isn't.Atleast not completely.You will need to speak with Myra about this.She is the best sleuth of problems you know.A PROBLEM SLEUTH if you will.But for now it might be best to get your hands on that ALPHA DISK.
>Leave room and head for the stairs into the living room
You sigh then turn the KNOB on your DOOR and yank it open.A quick peek into the HALLWAY tells you that your FATHER isn't around.He is probably in his STUDY.You tried to look in there during your NINJA TRAINING but your FATHER is crafty and he caught you in no time.He didn't even get mad.He just chuckled and wished you better luck next time.He can be really weird sometimes.
You slowly sneak down the HALLWAY,for no reason then to keep your SKILLS sharp.A true NINJA is always prepared to strike!You reach the STAIRWELL in no time,mostly because its just three DOORS down from your BEDROOM.Only one thing left to do.
>Nina: Be the girl that everyone's talking to.
Instead of going downstairs in a serious manner, without any carefree or zany adventures whatsoever, you decide to ignore David's instructions. You've only just gotten today started; there's no reason to leave your room just yet!
After thinking it over for a while, you come to the realization that, although you know where you should go to retrieve the Alpha, you're still pretty much in the dark as to what the game will entail. Sure, David went on and on about completing one "game cycle," but what does one of those cycles require you to do? Are you going to be solving puzzles? Beating up bad guys? Trying to complete some inane series of tasks to unlock a reward? For all you know, you could be doing all of them!
You need to talk to one of your friends. One who usually has all the answers.
>Talk to the girl who yells a lot.
You do so. You have a nice conversation, but don't really gain any information from it; looks like Myra's in the dark as much as you are. And if even David doesn't know what's going to be happening... That means that you guys get to figure out everything for yourselves! Sure, it might not be the most conventional way to play a game, but you've always found situations like this fun to solve.
Alright, now that that's cleared up, you guess that you should go downstairs and actually-
>Have a chat with your partner? in crime.
You do that as well. Man, it's nice to hear from Gina and you're glad that your list of suspects is starting to narrow, but now you really have to head downstairs and-
Oh, COME ON!
Well that was... interesting? Yeah, let's go with interesting; that's a nice word for it. It's been a long time since you've met somebody new on Pesterchum out of the blue like that, assuming that it's not just one of your friends trying to mess around with you, especially somebody with typing quirks like that. And even ignoring the odd behavior Egerah exhibited, how did he... she... they know about the Sburb Alpha? You were under the impression that David had only alerted your circle of friends about the upcoming playtest, so how could this... person have found out about it?
Eh, you're sure that the answers will become clear in time.
For now, you seriously need to work on actually acquiring that Alpha. Because that's probably somewhat important. You head outside of your room and into the upstairs HALLWAY, ready for zany and carefree adventures!
>Daria: Leave your room. Confront Aniki.
Eh, no thanks. You're fine with leaving the room and all, but you're not too keen on talking with ANIKI until you really need to. You're certain that he'll try and bring you down to the recording studio if he gets the chance. You have to admit, you're pretty impressed that he managed to get Dragonball Kai pushed all the way through the Buu Saga, but you've told him a dozen times you don't want to be Videl. Your enjoyment of anime comes once in a blue moon, and Dragonball's passed around the time everything was aliens.
Still, the ALPHA needs to come into your possession sooner or later. Of course, you're fairly certain that David's been talking out his ass this whole time. Why would an ALPHA come on a DISK? Clearly it'd be a digitally-distributed program, to prevent sharing.
Before you can go down to the mailbox and confirm your suspicions, you get a message. Seems a chum is pestering you.
That was certainly enlightening. By which you mean NOT HELPFUL IN THE SLIGHTEST. You can hear the sounds of JAM Project blaring through the walls, and you realize it's now or never. You agree with the powerful Japanese voices. It is time to "Gongu wa narase".
Gongu wa narase, indeed...
>Daria: Step out into the hallway. Make for the stairs down to the front door. Brace for Aniki-Impact.
00:30:00 until Alpha Launch
>David: Have everything go wrong. Actually, instead of everything getting horribly, horribly out of hand, the first part of your plan seems to go just fine. You manage to exit the MANOR unimpeded and, besides attracting a few odd stares from your GARDENERS and GROUNDSKEEPERS, manage to make your way to the BACK ENTRANCE without attracting undue attention. It is only after you enter your home that things start to get complicated.
Stepping into the REAR FOYER allows you a clear line of sight to the MAIL ROOM, as well as the MYSTERIOUS FIGURE vacating said room, clutching a trio of LARGE BOXES in such a way that his face is almost perfectly obscured. Of course, you don't really need to see his face to realize that this man is your GRANDFATHER, but it makes the situation more tense for anyone who is unable to recognize your Guardian by his silhouette alone.
Although it appears that your GRANDFATHER has not yet noticed you, likely due to the LARGE BOXES obscuring his vision, it does seem that he is slowly making his way to the BACK ENTRANCE, and your current location. You've probably got about five seconds to choose your next course of action.
>Myra: You make your way into the KITCHEN, which, predictably, is still chock full of HALF-FULL GATORADE BOTTLES and WATER BOTTLES, as well as the rest of the usual assortment of COOKERY and FOODSTUFFS. Yeah, you're looking around, and as far as you can tell everything is par for the course. There's no sign of mysterious PACKAGES or spandex-clad Guardians; it's just your typical, run of the mill KITCHEN.
Or maybe that's just what THEY want you think!
A few minutes of examination reveals that it is actually just a run of the mill KITCHEN. Seriously.
>Mark: Lucky you, making it outside without once having to encounter your GRANDMOTHER! Not that you don't like the old lady, it's just that she seems to enjoy delaying your progress with silly and inane shenanigans. Here's hoping your luck remains true, once you head back inside.
But for now, it's time to celebrate your victory! As you trudge towards the MAILBOX, traversing the frozen wasteland that spreads out before you, you can't help but let a small grin slide over your slightly bloodied face. Some feeling, deep down in your gut, assures you that out of all your friends, you're going to be the first one to get the Alpha! No small feat, especially considering some of your pals.
Mitten-clad hands reach out to open up the MAILBOX, and you eagerly peer inside, ready to feast your eyes on the... nothingness that lies within.
The MAILBOX is entirely empty.
Well. This sucks.
>Gina: You begin your descent down the flight of STAIRS, making sure to step carefully lest you somehow fall and hurt yourself. Because that wouldn't be good at all, now would it? Anyway, you do eventually make it downstairs, with no sign whatsoever of your DAD. Looks like your hypothesis was right; he's probably in his STUDY.
Hmm... On the one hand, you could head outside to hunt for the Alpha. Then again, maybe it would be smarter to check the rest of the house first, in case your DAD already brought in the MAIL and put it somewhere.
Or maybe you should go the KITCHEN and give Velma some food to shut her up.
>Thomas: After heroically swinging down from your window to the ground below (By which I mean you managed to bounce off the wall a few times before slipping and falling into a hedge. Seriously, it's a miracle you didn't break any bones or anything!) and navigating your way through the HEDGE MAZE (And losing A LOT of time along the way) you finally arrive at your MANSION's MAILBOX! Success!
Now it's time for you to pry open this tin chest, reach inside, and gather your TREASURE! By which I mean, you reach inside the MAILBOX and find out that there's nothing inside. Seriously, there's nothing in there. At all.
>Daria: Be braced for nothing. Although you're more than prepared to be jumped by your ANIKI, you find yourself making your way downstairs and to the front door without being challenged or ambushed. Though the melodious strains of JAM still pulse throughout your house, there is no sign of your Guardian, nor of any of his traps. Hmm... Maybe he's not actually here today?
Anyway, here you are, by the front door and surrounded by a household of almost entirely imported WEAPONRY and MERCHANDISE. What's the plan buddy?
>David: Execute fallback plan.
No, screaming and lighting the gardens on fire won't help you at all!
>David: Come up with new plan.
If someone of your position were to be completely unprepared for an encounter with the unexpected, you would immediately take every measure to remove them from your company. Pride comes before the fall, unless that pride is completely deserved in every way. This is why you have dedicated some of your precious time to training your BUSINESSLIKE ABILITIES.
In the event that an ALDER must escape his situation, many opportunities present themselves. Most prominent and foolproof, however, would be to activate the tried-and-true specialty you picked up when you were merely a child, and often had to avoid the deathsquads of other, now-defuct megacorporations.
You execute a much-practiced SALESSNEAKDASH and attempt to slide right by your GRANDFATHER, making a large dent in your HEIRPLOYEE METER.
>Chuck: Feed Bethe first
Yeah, that's probably for the best. Addy's stupid little "reports" can wait, feeding your little buddy is more important. You take deploy your KATAMARI MODUS.
HALLOWEEN MASK, HOURAI DOLLS, and a SHITLOAD BOXING GLOVES; but, no RABBIT FEED. You probably left in the GREENHOUSE while tending to your
marijuana INNOCENT NON-NARCOTIC PLANTS. Super. You're going to have to sneak past OLD BEAR'S ART STUDIO, he gets really ornrey when he's drawing. Your rabbit hide might become rabbit stew.
Speaking of rabbits, where the heck is that little bunny anyway? You briefly ponder it, then shrug and chalk it up to his ALMOST EXTRAORDINARY SPEED. He's always disappears you least expect, and reappears the same. He might be a secret agent of some sort, but you doubt it, he doesn't do much.
>Chuck: Leave your room
You roll up your LAPTOP just in case your INTERNET COMPATRIOTS want to pester you and head out of your room.
>Myra: Be reassured by lack of conspiracy.
NOT LIKELY! Of course they would've expected you to go for the KITCHEN first. They know you're RIGHTFULLY PARANOID and have undoubtedly planned around it. You'll keep playing their game...for now.
>Myra: Investigate living room.
The LIVING ROOM is another place you don't expect to find the SBURB ALPHA, which makes it the ideal place to investigate when pretending to try and throw them off out of RANDOM PARANOIA (as opposed to lulling them into a false sense of security in accordance with WELL-PLANNED PARANOIA).
>Myra: Stop these shenanigans, you're just confusing yourself!
NONSENSE! It's actually very likely the SBURB ALPHA is in the LIVING ROOM, as your UNCLE would have left it there if he got the MAIL earlier today! The FALSE MULTI-LAYERED PARANOIA is merely one layer of a GRANDER SCHEME designed to acquire the ALPHA without breaking your appearance of CONSTANT PARANOIA (your usual behavior), thereby not alerting them to your knowledge of their existence and interest in you!
>Myra: YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T MAKE PLANS
Thoughts of suicide.
You fall to your KNEES, as they sink into the freezing SNOW. You think about sheeting a TEAR, but your pride keeps your from doing so. You get up and trudge your way back to your PORCH, where you lay down in shame and humiliation. You role over, on your left side, letting the SNOW bury you. Your pride collapses like HOVER-DAM and you shed a few TEARS. You get up and go inside your house, tracking snow behind you. You don't care about your GRANDMOTHER yelling at you, about the snow, and just walk up the stairs into your BED ROOM, lay down, while throwing your BOOTS towards the wall. You pick up your LAPTOP, turn on PESTERCHUM, click on the T.V and see who's online.
>Feel the shame
You think about, if "David" will be mad at you because you let him down. You think about the shame you have brought to your family, and all of its heirs. You know you might go to hell now that your DESTINY has failed you... and you have failed your destiny.
>Be Completely Devastated that the ALPHA has not come today.
After a few minutes of staring up the sun, you realize that it wouldn't come by mail anymore, it must be online, in your email, or somewhere on that computer of yours.You stand and make a second mad DASH back through the HEDGE MAP. Almost to your ROPE, your UNCLE leans out a nearby WINDOW and begins laughing before disappearing inside and coming back into view with a BUCKET of WATER in one hand, and a GAFFHOOK in the other. The BUCKET slams into you, knocking you off course a bit and into the POLE of the GAFFHOOK, you are knocked down and you see the weapon descending, your UNCLE CACKLING all the while. Rolling out of the way, you lash out with your HAIR, grab the weapon, and yank it out of your RELATIVE's hands, it flips end over end and EMBEDS itself in a BUSH made to resemble a CUTLASS, a WEAPON any PIRATE but you would feel PROUD to OWN.
>Stand around and stare at the BUSHES.
You stand and begin looking at the BEAUTIFULLY SCULPTED BUSHES. Your GARDENER is WONDROUSLY GIFTED, isn't he? Or is it a she? Another thing you can't remember at the moment. A SERIES of TREASURE CHEST BUSHES, one closed, one open, one filled with treasure, stand directly out of your line of sight from your ROOM'S WINDOW. Your MOMENTARY LAPSE in CONCENTRATION has allowed your UNCLE to ABSCOND from the window and you are SURE he is heading for your ROOM, and if you don't move quickly, you may have to TRAVERSE the MAZE OF HORRORS that is your UNCLE'S MANSION.
>Stop being stupid and climb the rope like a TRUE PIRATE would.
This IDEA appeals immensely to you and using your PIRATE skills, you are able to VERTICALLY ASCEND with AMAZING AGILITY. You crest the top and as you pull yourself over, you see your UNCLE SAWING through the ROPE that is your LIFELINE to the HIGH SEAS! You are unable to stop him from cutting it though, and it slides out the WINDOW, and collapses in a PERFECTLY PIRATEY PILE. Don't ask what a PIRATEY PILE looks like, you're either a PIRATE and you KNOW, or your aren't, and you don't.
Your UNCLE begins CACKLING again as he backs out of your ROOM, a SLIVER of ROPE clutched in his gnarled hands. The DOOR seems to shut of it's own accord, which is normal for the house, but still slightly unnerving.
Check Your computer for the ALPHA, it has to be here somewhere.
As you check the computer, you open up Pesterchum and see a few people on, but not Tree-Man as you call him. Instead of waiting for him, you continue to search your computer for the ALPHA. It has to be somewhere on this, right?
>Gina:Plan next move
Why would you need to plan your next move?You know you have to feed the KITTY or she will NEVER leave you alone.Only someone with too much time on there hands would think about that.They probably play SOLITAIRE in there spare time.
You stealth past the LIVING ROOM and into the KITCHEN adjacent.It looks like a normal enough ROOM,what with the lack of BOOKSHELVES making you wonder if you had stepped into another HOUSE entirely.It has what you expect from a KITCHEN such as a SINK,FRIDGE,PANTRY,TABLE,KITTY FEEDING AREA,and such of that nature.
You refill the CAT'S WATER from the SINK and grab a can of CAT FOOD from the PANTRY,which you empty onto a plate and give to her.She is such a spoiled little thing.Now that the KITTY is happy it's time to go for the ALPHA.
You head back through the LIVING ROOM and head for the DOOR.There is a chance your FATHER may have gotten the mail,since he was waiting for a new BOOK of some kind,but you might as well check the MAILBOX before you check with him.You don't feel like doing any studying today.
You silently open the DOOR,tip toe outside then close the DOOR.
The outside of your HOME isn't much to look at,your FATHER not being a MAN of the OUTDOORS,but its not like he lets it go ragged.You spot the MAILBOX along the path your FATHER made to it,the flag having been broken off ages ago so you have no way to know if anything is in there except by looking yourself.Which you will do.
>Gina:Check the mailbox for alpha
00:30:00 until Alpha launch.
>David: Surprisingly, be successful! Yeah, as it turns out your SALESSNEAKDASH is the exact type of technique needed to slip past your GRANDFATHER. Even if your HEIRPLOYEE meter does plummet to a mere 70% full, your attempt to bypass your Guardian unchallenged is a rousing success, and the old man totters out the BACK ENTRANCE without spotting you, carting off his mysterious cargo to who knows where.
But seriously though, why would your GRANDFATHER need three LARGE BOXES of an UNKNOWN ITEM from Brach's? You're fairly certain that he doesn't have that big of a SWEET TOOTH. Actually, you're pretty damn sure that he doesn't have a SWEET TOOTH at all!
Well, that little mystery can wait for later. For now, you've got an Alpha to retrieve.
Boldly, you force your way through the door of the MAIL ROOM, eager to find your prize and establish your dominance as ALPHA-HAVING GUY SUPREME. It is only after taking a moment to stare at the veritable BOX/CRATE MOUNTAIN that fills the MAIL ROOM that you remember how many PACKAGES go through the ALDERCORP MANSION on a daily basis.
...This might take a while.
Chuck: Find some food for Agent B. As you cautiously step out of your room, you make sure to keep an eye open for your GRANDPA, lest he pop out and harass you with some of his notorious shenanigans. You need to get some food for your best buddy Bethe; you don't have time to be distracted by the old guy's artwork or daily training sessions!
Luckily for you, your trek downstairs is an uneventful one, without any signs of interference from either OLD BEAR or Bethe. Lucky you, right?
Anyway, you make it outside and to the GREENHOUSE fairly quickly, and begin to search for any sign of the RABBIT FEED. Hopefully you'll find it soon; Bethe must be getting hungry by now!
>Myra: While you slowly come to terms with the SECRETS and LIES that seem to define your most certainly unstable psyche, you change locales, moving your Alpha-hunt into the LIVING ROOM. Which, besides the TOWERING PILES OF FITNESS MAGAZINES that litter the floor, chairs, and couch, and the PICTURES OF YOUR GRANDDADDY hanging from the walls, is actually pretty clean.
Though you spend a few minutes scanning the room (And trying desperately to avoid OGLING the FITNESS MAGAZINES) it seems that THEY've already considered your PARANOIA FUELED PLAN and have countered it perfectly; the Alpha isn't here either! Whoever THEY are, THEY must certainly know your thought processes well, to mess around with you this much.
Suddenly, you hear the FRONT DOOR get thrown open, and hear the unmistakable sound of somebody POWER-WALKING towards the KITCHEN.
>Mark: You know, it's kind of hard to wallow in your BEDROOM, lost in the depths of despair and depression, if you're unable to make it upstairs to your BEDROOM.
Just after you reenter your HOUSE, your GRANDMOTHER comes tottering out of the KITCHEN, chastising you for, once again, forgetting to wipe the snow from your BOOTS. You recognize the fury in her voice, as well as the untold rage that slowly builds behind her OUTRAGEOUSLY THICK SPECTACLES. It looks like she means to teach you a lesson about cleanliness.
Hmm... Knowing your GRANDMOTHER, attempting a STRIFE could leave you sore for weeks. Then again, attempting a FLIGHT might send her into an unstoppable RAMBLERAGE; it might just be easier to confront her here and now. Man, choices suck, don't they?
>Thomas: You begin to search your COMPUTER for any sign of the Alpha, but a few minutes of ctrl-f-ing and scanning your directories have turned up nada, zilch, nothing! If it really is on here, then the Alpha must be pretty well hidden.
>Suddenly, STRIFE! In any case, your search is quickly interrupted, once again, by your UNCLE bursting through your door, CACKLING like a madman and swinging a RUSTY CUTLASS through the air like there's no tomorrow.
What with your LIFELINE sliced asunder and your UNCLE blocking the doorway, it seems that your avenues of escape have already been cut off. You fear that you have no choice but to engage in that most deadly and energizing of encounters... STRIFE.
>Gina: You got ONE (1) ALPHA COPY!
Oh, wait, sorry, no. That's not an ALPHA COPY, that's just your ordinary MYSTERIOUS PACKAGE, as well as a few ORDINARY ENVELOPES. Doesn't look like the Alpha's in here.
Well. Shoot. That's disappointing.
Nina: As you leave the relative safety of your ROOM, you make sure to pick up your CELL-PHONE and stick in your SYLLADEX; it's always handy for using PESTERCHUM on the go!
Stepping out into the hallway, you head towards the stairwell while keeping an eye on the various rooms and doors you're stepping past: the BATHROOM, STORAGE ROOM, and your DAD's ROOM as well. Though you can't hear anything from any of them, you're still quite on edge; your DAD has a habit of showing up at the most bizarre times and doing the most arbitrary things. And honestly, you just do not have the time to be dealing with his bullshit right now, not while you've got an Alpha to find!
As you slide your way down the PILE OF PACKING PEANUTS that cover the STAIRS, you think about where the Alpha might be located. At this time of day, the mail should have already arrived, but from there all bets are off. Your DAD could have already collected it, or it could still be outside in the MAILBOX...
Man. Choices are hard!
>David: Commandeer the mail room.
You immediately work up your most commanding pose and order the mail workers to leave.
Fuck, why did you do that.
>David: Sort the mail alone.
This is going to take an impossibly long time. There are too many packages here to count, and any number of them could be your precious ALPHA.
After halfheartedly looking through two boxes (which takes you a total of 20 seconds), you are unable to deal with the pointless labor and open the door out of the mail room to attempt to get your staff's attention. Also, their capacity for sorting things.
Where's your staff?
>David: Figure out where the mail room staff went.
You find yourself at a loss for inner monologues. Who could possibly steal your staff away so quickly? Who could be so charming?
>David: Check multiple clocks.
You double-check your phone, the mail room clock, your watch, your pocketwatch, and a nearby sundial. Of course. How could you have forgotten? Amateur mistake. Unbecoming of someone in your position. Downright unbusinesslike.
Today, to celebrate the ALPHA LAUNCH and NEW PROSPERITY, your family's most loyal and trusted servant, MANUEL, was taking a company bus full of your entire MANSION staff on a four-hour drive down to MEXICO. They would visit the fabled PALACIO DE ESTAR EN FORMA, and get in the best shape they've ever been.
Ah, Manuel. You could never stay mad at that gorgeous, solid-chinned heart of gold. He was your family's most loyal servantman. Surely he and the other workers deserve a day off.
>David: Snap out of your daydreaming. Get back to work.
Of course. No time to reminisce about all the good times. There's BUSINESS to be done. You straighten your tie, adjust your suit, and make sure your shoes are shining. It's TIME...
To open boxes.
>David: Prod around the mail room. See what you can find.
>Daria: You're in the clear. Get that mail
All right. You're not really sure why, since you're fairly certain that there will be no Alpha there. But you suppose any time without ANIKI should be used to its fullest extent. With this in mind, you step outside.
It's a typical TEXAN day: HOT AS FUCK, and you're not old enough to grab a beer to ignore the heat yet. You find the entire exterior of this state despicable, preferring the temperate and cool climates you craft within PATHFINDER. You've only played a single desert-based campaign in your life and it was terrible. Never again, you said. Never again.
You approach your mailbox and flip it open. What's that, BOOBY TRAPS? Bah, no way. You may love
D&D PATHFINDER, but you're not stupid. This is real life!
>Daria: Get Alpha
>Myra: Observe your Uncle with suspicion.
He should be in the PALACE OF FITNESS, preparing for the arrival of a large group of very well-paying PATRONS! Why would he be here, in the HOUSE? Your paranoid mind begins working overtime, quickly discerning no less than seven CONSPIRACIES that could have led to this strange behavior!
You finally admit that he's probably just taking a SHORT BREAK from FITNESS.
>Myra: Tail him.
You begin cautiously TAILING your GUARDIAN, making effective use of COVER, YOUTH ROLLS and BAT-SPRINTS to remain unseen! Wait holy fuck you're making a lot of noise. He's probably heard you by now! You chide yourself for making such a ROOKIE MISTAKE, and chalk it up to the fact that you are a ROOKIE.
>Myra: Brace yourself.
It is distinctly possible that STRIFE is imminent! Not wanting to be caught off-guard, you draw your GRAPPLING HOOK PISTOL.
>Myra: Grappling hook pistol?
It's powerful and compact enough to be used as a weapon, on account of it being an ALDERCORP prototype decades ahead of its time. It's nice having CONNECTIONS. And knowing their SECRETS.
Ah, the grandeur of the GREENHOUSE never fails to lift your spirits. Beauteous flora sprouting from every which way, an amalgamation of different aromas that embrace you from the moment you step in; this is all zen to you. But, this is no time to zone out and fall asleep amongst the flowers for the third time this month! You're supposed to search!
>Chuck: Search, yet again
CACTI, SUNFLOWERS, and SEVERAL OTHER FRUITS AND VEGGIES; but, no RABBIT FEED. You ponder where in the world you could've placed it. You mentally retrace your steps. You would enter, sniff the BAEUTEOUS STONK, start watering and fertilizing the plants, then you'd-
Of course! You run over to one of the closets where you store GARDENING TOOLS and right next to the FERTILIZER you see...RABBIT FEED! Finally! You roll up RABBIT FEED along and with a CACTUS, you don't know why, but you might need it.
00:15:00 until... You know the drill.
>David: After spending a few minutes prodding CRATES and BOXES, you realize that merely poking the packages will not help you realize what they actually contain. You decide that it would probably be better to actually open the packages; it may be unseemly for ALDERCORP's eventual heir to open his own mail, but at this point you're kind of out of options. You know, since your entire STAFF is currently on a trip to MEXICO. They're totally not imprisoned in some alternate dimension or anything. Nope, that would just be silly. MEXICO is where they are. Yep.
Anyway, opening packages:
You come across several items of interest in your search, including several PILES OF UNINTERESTING BUSINESS MAPS, an ALDERCORP SHIPPING MANIFEST, and TWELVE (12) LIFETIME SUPPLIES OF CANDY CORN. Sadly, you are unable to find any Alpha copies, no matter how many packages you open. Rats.
Hmm... Maybe you shouldn't have told everyone to look for packages? Because it's beginning to look like the Alpha copies weren't mailed out.
>Daria: As you open the MAILBOX, you neglect to check for BOOBY TRAPS. Considering your ANIKI and his rather interesting attempts to bond with you, probably not the best course of action you could have taken.
>MAILBOX: Turn out to be a GRUE. The MAILBOX finds this simple command to be a bit too challenging, and decides to simply explode. Though your AWESOME SHIRT and SHADES manage to absorb most of the blast, you do find yourself being knocked backwards a few paces by the force of the explosion, and your HEALTH VIAL takes a bit of damage, sinking to a mere 97% full.
You manage to find a few LIGHTLY DAMAGED FMA:B DVDS in the smoking ruins of the MAILBOX, but are unable to see any signs of an Alpha in there.
>Myra: Your UNCLE seems to regard your GRAPPLING HOOK PISTOL with mild confusion. He had merely entered the house hoping to pick up some FITNESS MAGAZINES for a client; he had no intentions of engaging you in a STRIFE. Then again, he never turns down a chance to get in a good WORK-OUT, especially if you're ready to go.
He assumes his customary fighting stance, a pose that serves mostly to accentuate how skintight his SPANDEX SHORT-SHORTS and SLEEVELESS T-SHIRT really are, and awaits your first move.
>Chuck: In 493 pages, that CACTUS will prove to be the only thing keeping you and your allies from utter destruction. That, or it will serve as a tasty refreshment; I'm not really sure which, to be honest.
Anyway, you totally manage to escape the GREENHOUSE's clutches, and make your way back to your house. Only to find that somebody (Probably OLD BEAR) has locked the back door behind you. Curses.
>David: Express frustration.
You quickly redo your tie into a PRATT KNOT.
That will show them.
Clearly, either the package is nonexistent, or missing. You're not usually wrong about things existing.
There is only one thing left to do. Only one lead you could possibly follow. Your GRANDFATHER.
The boxes he left with - perhaps filled with LIQUID TEARS and CONTROLLING HABITS, but just as well they could contain the precious, precious ALPHA copies. If that's true, then you would have to digitize your copy and distribute it among your comrades.
You would...take the wealth from the highest percentage, and equally redistribute it to the people. To your people.
>David: Breathe. Don't get overwhelmed.
You readjust your tie to a FULL WINDSOR, your neutral standard. A man in your position must keep a cool head. You are a rock. You are an island. A rock feels no pain. An island does not cry.
You crack your knuckles. It's time for a little CORPORATE ESPIONAGE.
>David: Track down your grandfather, get your hands on his package.
This was your favorite HOODIE! Well, your favorite since the DIAMONDS DROOOGWEAR suffered an unfortunate demise in an incident involving OHAYOCON, A BATMAN COSPLAYER, AND A DUMMY BOMB ANIKI ACCIDENTALLY REPLACED WITH A REAL ONE.
You pick up the BROTHERHOOD DVDs and dust them off a bit. If you recall correctly, this is the one time your ANIKI turned down a role. Due to mysterious circumstances leaving TRAVIS WILLINGHAM unavailable, he was offered the role of COLONEL ROY MUSTANG. ANIKI, being a fan to the point if being a guilty pleasure--something that was nigh-impossible for him, refused to "usurp the spot that could only belong to the great Willingham" and personally set out to recruit him for the role.
You still don't know why he had to borrow the FAMILY COPY of SPACE JAM, but when things were said and done, MUSTANG was voiced as he should be, and ANIKI ended up writing a FANFICTION about the show or something. You think it involved CHESS and various ELEMENTS. But you might be wrong.
Well, that only confirms your suspicions. There is no ALPHA DISCS. This has been a colossal waste of time. The first thing to do is head inside. The second? Complain to somebody.
>Daria: Contact a chum for pesterment.
>CJ: Be wary of Benndak's knot choice...
You begun running after your objective the only way you know how - by putting one foot ahead of the other in quick succession.
After a couple of steps your phone alerts you to a new pester notification. Who's this asshole?
Before you can react, your phone explodes in your hands.
The explosion wasn't anything major, though now your hands sting a bit. It wasn't your only phone, either. Naturally, someone in your position would have PLENTIFUL COMPUTER DEVICES in order to ensure PROPER TIMEKEEPING.
Time would be a very, very poor thing to lose track of. Time is precious.
This explosion was clearly a symbolic one. You are dealing with a mastermind. Someone so good at playing dumb, it eludes even you. You are dealing with an ENEMY AGENT of unparallelled skill.
You retrieve another PHONE from your COAT POCKET and respond, your blood beginning to...not quite boil, as someone in your position must keep a cool head, but let's say your blood's got a stew going.
This conversation has meant very, very little. There is no such thing as magic or aliens.
You have BUSINESS to take care of.
>David: Continue your search for your grandfather.
Why the heck would you be disappointed?You don't even know what is in the MYSTERIOUS BOX!The ALPHA could be in there for all you know.Or it could be one of your FATHER'S BOOKS.Or another one of those WEIRD DVDs that Daria's BRO-err ANIKI sent before.What the heck was it even for?You may not know much about ANIME or MANGA or even JAPANESE,but that didn't look like normal stuff her ANIKI is into.
Or what about those weird BOOKS your FATHER got for the head of ALDERCORP?You didn't even think they knew each other!
That being said however,only one way to find out what is inside.
>Gina:Open mysterious box