We open on an animation of the ongoing battle between Dave and his bro. Dave attempts to abscond but is unable to do so because Bro is just too fast for him. Dave almost seems to approach the speed of his Bro, but is never fast enough. Eventually Dave gets knocked down a flight of stairs. He was warned about the stairs though, but it keeps happening.
We go back to Rose, who neither knows nor cares about what keeps happening. After looking around, she discovers a huge computer which appears to be monitoring multiple sessions of the game. Each session consists of an IP address and a physical location. There are also colored dots that indicate meteor impact sites. Each session has a meteor but not all impact sites have sessions. The terminal is extremely useful as it can zero in on any session being played in the world. At the same time, the terminal is completely useless, because the only person monitoring the session is one of the potential players.
Rose is next directed to check on John, which she does. John is not anywhere in sight. The last place Rose remembers seeing him is on the roof. The next command is [S] Rose: Ascend. This is an interactive game where you navigate to the roof, where you see John and Nannasprite in a battle with two very large ogres. (Do not worry about navigating correctly, as there are useful guides showing you which arrow to press next.) The monsters are defeated with some assistance from Rose.
The next command is for John to give Nannasprite a high five, which he does. Next, he levels up. He ascends to Boy Skylark, which is quite a feather in his cap. He is next directed to collect phat lewtz. The Lewtz are a whole bunch of boondollars which as yet seem to have not purpose in the game. John is next directed to pick up as much grist as he can hold. There is a great deal of narrative snark concerning the way at this stage of the game, there never seems to be enough grist to do anything interesting. (I have encountered this problem in the games that I play on Facebook.)
Seeing that there is more grist to collect below him, but before he can jump down, Nannasprite turns up with the huge book. She wants him to read the book, which John promises to do. He asks Nannasprite if she could throw him through the first gate. She says that she could, but there is a very important reason why he has to build upward toward the gate. She does not state the reason itself, just that it’s important that he reach the gate by building.
The next scene is elsewhere, in a kingdom entrenched in darkness and purple. We see John’s Dad, who is clobbering minions left and right. He is very, very strong and manages to punch one of the imps through a wall. The scene shifts to a mysterious figure in jester’s motley who is observing both John and his Dad. There is a caption of “You are now…” but this is a slight fake out. Instead of being introduced to the mysterious figure in motley, we are introduced to the lovely Peregrine Mendicant, mail box aficionado and post-apocalyptic survivor.
Since Peregrine Mendicant is currently trapped inside a metal sphere turned into a whirlybird is directed to check the mail. She finds a letter addressed to Dr. David Brinner. (…This is a shout out to David Brin, isn’t it…) She is directed to open the letter. PM is of course horrified at the suggestion, but before she heads off into a tirade she pauses to dig out a postal worker’s cap which she dons. THEN she leaps into a speech.
Peregrine Mendicant is directed to look at the screen and keyboard. She is directed to type “view.” When she does this, we see Jade. The narrative indicates that Jade looks familiar to PM, and PM types a friendly greeting to her. Jade however does not know who is greeting her. The room erupts in a very impressive electrical display that blows a hole into the side of sphere. We next see another countdown device, indicating that there is about an hour left until whatever is about to happen happens.
The next command is for Rose to refuse to acknowledge a tea set. Rose is quite willing to do this. Next to the tea set and little table where is some bedroom furniture of the little girl variety. It is very cute and very pink and the little bed has a bedspread decorated with little paws and hearts. There are also little wizard dolls and little kitty dolls. Rose is next directed wear the scarf, be the Rider. Rose begins to give into the temptation when the teapot’s lid begins to lift. Inside the teapot is a four-eyed kitty!
The next command is for John. He is directed to resist the urge to take the wedged shale. This piece of grist is embedded in a hole that is just above his father’s room. John is extremely reluctant at the thought of entering said room! The narration however seems insistent that John confronts this great mystery. John collects the shale and jumps into the hole where we find….
We’ve gone back to Jade. The first thing we see is a mantelpiece decorated with black candles. On the mantelpiece is a picture of Jade. The mantelpiece itself is divided equally between gold and dark purple. On the wall behind the mantelpiece, there are a number of trophies; most of them seem to be monsters from the game. Jade is directed to scamper with wild abandon into the foyer. Jade does as directed, but runs into one of her grandfather’s many, many globes. She is then directed to arm herself. She does so because she does not want to be yelled at by her grandfather for not being armed. She’s next told to investigate the chaps on the sofa–these “chaps” are a mummy and suits of armor that are wearing costumes. These are the house’s Four Distinguished Houseguests. The narrative indicates that Jade expects the fireplace to flare up and her grandfather’s silhouette to appear.
As predicted, Jade’s grandfather appears!
Jade makes an effort to sneak past her grandfather. Unfortunately, she inexplicably falls asleep.
The next command is an [S] command. We are back to Dave.
The first time I read this, the switches were a lot more confusing. I had a lot of trouble realizing that this storyline is in a braided format, and even the stuff that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the storyline, does. I think part of the problem was the typing quirks, which are often difficult to read. I also had some difficulty with the second person “You” all over the place. So for a while, I was mostly skimming through the pages. (Even if you are tempted to do this, don’t.)