TOM: (shifting uncomfortably) Eww... robo-spit...

* * *

TOM: Out of curiosity, Mike. Is the fic getting to me, or do I really see stars every few minutes?
MIKE: No Servo, they're there.
TOM: Whew... what about the sheep?


TOM: (sultry) Yes, Bob?
BOB: You guys don't miss a punch, do you?
MIKE: I don't think so.
BOB: AND you steal my lines!
MIKE: Actually, I lifted that one from "Home Improvement"



"Child, we must talk."

CROW: "You know how your father and I always told you the stork brought you?..."


TOM: Not often you meet a woman so eloquent, huh Bob?
BOB: Bite me.
CROW: By Jove, I think he's starting to get it!
MIKE: You didn't just say "Bon Jovi", did you? I wasn't paying attention...
CROW: Uh.. No, Mike..

Phong sighed. It had been two seconds since the User had won. Dot had stayed in her room that whole time. "Dot, I must tell you..."

MIKE: [Phong] Enzo and AndrAIa weren't in that game, and Bob's at home. See, this was all a big April Fools joke! Had you going there for a while, didn't we? Wasn't that fun?
BOB: That's not funny, Mike.

"Phong, I know what you're going to say. You're going to say something like. "There's still hope," or "he's a Guardian, I'm sure he thought of something."

CROW: He's also a moron, so forget that.
BOB: Will you guys please stop attacking my friends?
TOM: Oh, lighten up! I thought you were getting the hang of this, but you really haven't learned a thing!

Well he's NULLIFIED Phong. He's DEAD. My l-little brother is-" Dot started to choke on her words.

MIKE: Lucky thing Phong was there to slap her on the back and dislodge them.

"We did not find any nulls."

CROW: "The troops are checking the bottoms of their shoes now, though, so I'm sure they'll turn up."



"The med teams were right there, and saw no nulls when the game cube... left."

TOM: "But they picked up some virtual booze for you to drown your sorrow in."
MIKE: *sigh* Why me?
CROW: Maybe you're being punished for… something. Cheer up though, it's not the end of the world.
MIKE: Oh, shut up.

"N-no could have run off..."

MIKE: Anyone else getting annoyed by Dot's stuttering?

"Mouse is scanning the sector.

MIKE: So far, no sign of ectoplasm.

We managed to download and save some of the game stats for her to look at.

TOM: Can they really do that?
BOB: Nope.
TOM: I figured.

She says that there has been no record of any nullified sprites so far in the data."

MIKE: Here's an idea. Check at the END.

Dot stood up, tired-looking. "So far? Phong, look, I don't need to hear this right now. I don't need any "hope" stories, O.K?

CROW: [Dot] I wanna mope around like a baby!

I have a job to do."

MIKE: [Phong] Uh... yeah, Dot? That's the other thing I wanted to talk about. See this whole thing with you being the commander just isn't working out...

With that, she left. Phong sighed. If only the User knew what sort of chaos he brought into their lives...

CROW: Actually, he does. He's just a real prick. You know how it is.
MIKE: Crow, please.

* * *

TOM: There's those stars again...
MIKE: (grinning) What stars?
TOM: AAAAHHHHHHGG! I'm losing my mind! Let me outta here!!

"Guess what!

MIKE: (cheerfully) No! I don't care!

I won that arena game! And you thought I'd never beat it, Gil."

CROW: [Jake] Considering what a loser I am.

Jill rolled her eyes. Gil (the same way you pronounce fish gill) was Jake's and her friends nickname for her.

TOM: Flattery will get you nowhere!
CROW: Insults, on the other hand will get you into a wheelchair.

"It's about time, Jay." she said, calling him by his nickname.

MIKE: Y'know, I really think all these nicknames would be kinda cute if I actually gave a rat's wazzoo about the characters.

"Anyhoo, ready to play?"

CROW: "No. See, you took so long with that game, I've decided to go out and get a life instead. Bye!"

"Yeah sure. Is your CD popped in?"

"Hmm? Yeah, it's right..." she open up her CD drive. "somewhere..." she finished lamely as she saw the drive was empty. "Uh oh. I lost it."

"Great." Jay replied, rolling his eyes. "Phone me when you find it."

TOM: The senseless banter! Make it stop!! *head spins*

"Don't worry, it won't take that long."

MIKE: Uhh... What was the point of this scene?

"I might as well pass the time sharpening my Quake playing skills, then."

MIKE: Oh, I see. Where could this POSSIBLY be going?

"What, hoping to be good as me someday?"

CROW: [Jake] Hehehehe... shut up, Geek-girl.

"Stop rubbing it in."

BOB: What are you laughing at, Crow?
CROW: Nothing...

"O.K, O.K. But you know, you might start to get good at it if you tried pulling a few all nighter Quake tournaments some time."

MIKE: Or you could actually get some sleep...

"Yeah right! As if my mom would let me!

TOM: Momma's boy...
CROW: Tom, be nice to the little maggot.

And I could never stay up that late and play. You are such a fanatic."

CROW: "And you smell funny."

"Not denying it!" Jill said cheerfully, hanging up.

* * *

MIKE: Tom, it was a joke! Please, calm down!

"Warning. Incoming Game."

CROW: "So bar the windows, and hide the women."


MIKE: Haven't we been through this, already?

"Yes Phong?"

CROW: [Phong] Hold me...
TOM: Oh, good idea Mike, that always works...
MIKE: Crow, I'll make you a bet. If you can keep all your comments G-rated until intermission, you don't have to watch the second half.
CROW: Woohoo! You got yourself a deal!

"You don't have to do this."

"Yes I do."

CROW: Must... resist...

"Warning. Incoming Game."

TOM: Uh... yeah, we heard you the first time.

"Child, if you are only doing this for revenge against the User, then I must advise against it.

CROW: "He'd kick your aaaaaaaaaa(sees Mike)aaaaaaaahh-hahaha great fic so far, huh Servo?"
TOM: I can't feel my legs!
BOB: Umm...

It's impossible. The User doesn't physically exist in our world. The game figure is merely its avatar."

MIKE: Wussy User. Come on in and fight like a geek!

"Tell that to my brother. Oh, sorry, he's a null, he won't understand."

TOM: Oooo, touchy.

"Child, you don't have to go into the game. Mouse has been working on the data."

MIKE: "And you know how reliable she is..."

"Yeah, for a minute."

"And Megabyte has tried to break through twice already. We need you here Dot."

MIKE: [Phong] The "Welcome, Evil Overlord" party wouldn't be the same without you!

"And let a sector of the city be destroyed?

CROW: [Phong] Sure! Why not?

No thanks. Phong, I'm sorry but I've got to go."

"Warning. Incoming Game."

MIKE: Calm, Servo! We're on the home-strech!
BOB: Really?
MIKE: (whispering) No..

"Good luck, child."

CROW: "You're gonna need it".
BOB: Are you always this optimistic?

* * *

(Everyone hears that "Blblblblbl" noise you can make with your lips, if you jiggle them with your finger, turns, and sees it came from Servo)
BOB: How did you DO that?!
MIKE: It's OK Servo, here, let me rock you...

"Herr Doctor?"

"Yes, your worshipfulness?"

CROW: "You're fired".
BOB: I can't believe Crow's doing so well at that bet...

"Are you positive this will work?"

MIKE: "Yes!... I think... Well, probably not."

"Absolutely! It's only a matter of time until a game cube lands on the firewall.

TOM: [Herr Doktor] Until then, we can sit here and twiddle our digits... *turns to Mike* Hey, it's worked for us for the past... (counts how many years he's been on the SOL)... oh God, let me out of here!!
MIKE: Shhh, it's going to be alright, Tom.

And then, with this device..." The one binome in the vid-window gestured to a piece of complicated, advanced looking piece of equipment,

BOB: [Megabyte] What in the net are we going to do with an Atari?
CROW: So there's a piece of equipment AND a piece of complicated?
MIKE: (pause) Oh... hey, good catch there, Crow. I missed that one. See what happens when you keep a clean mind?
CROW: Oh, why don't you just biiiiiiiiiiiiii(catches himself)iyyyy the way, how much longer is this fic? (nervous chuckle)

"we will break through. All we need to do is wait."

CROW: "And I'll need your first born child."

"Very well."

CROW: "Ack! You maniac, I don't want your brat!"

* * *

(Tom quietly sobs in Mike's arms)

"Hey Jay! I found it!"

TOM: "It was in your pants the whole time! I just didn't see it right away!"
CROW: HEY! Aren't you supposed to be feeling sorry for yourself?!
TOM: I've decided to torture YOU for the rest of the fic. Remember the bet? My life has new meaning!
CROW: Hrmph. When I'm taking a nap a few minutes from now, we'll see who's laughing!
TOM: (Cheerful) Come on Crow. Say something violent, or rude, or obscene. You know you want to...
MIKE: Guys! Be good!


"Oh, quiet. You ready?"

MIKE: Sure, just let me get my lucky eggplant.

* * *

TOM: Will someone please stomp on those spiders?

"Warning. Incoming Game."

TOM: "Warning. Repetitive Fic."

The sky flickered purple, and a cube dropped out of the sky.

CROW: Wow. Purple hail. Sounds like a Hendrix song.

A grim looking Dot Matrix zoomed after it, past all the evacuation units.

MIKE: Also known as "outhouses".

Her eyes widened as she looked for where it was heading.

"The Firewall...

ALL: ~/o Fiiiiiiirewaaaaaaaaaaaall! ~/o
BOB: I love that song...
CROW: (grins) I wonder why, hehe
MIKE: Careful, Crow.
CROW: D'oh!

I can't get in!" she breathed.

TOM: A new trick that Frisket had taught her.

"Phong..." she vid-windowed the old sprite.

"Yes, Dot?" he said.

MIKE: [Dot] Who put the bomp in the bomp ba bomp ba bomp?

"Phong, it's landing on the Firewall! It's too late for me to go in. What'll happen to the sector when it leaves?"

TOM: [Phong] It will turn into chicken tandori.
CROW: Mmm, viral goodness. Tastes like chicken.

Phong frowned. "I do not know for sure, but normally it shouldn't cause any trouble..."

TOM: "Warning. Incoming Plot Device."

Suddenly, right underneath the game cube before it landed, a tear exploded.

MIKE: Eww... Megabyte's gotta learn not to squeeze his tears...
CROW: Oh, thanks Mike. We really needed to hear that.

"Wh-what in the Net?" Dot sputtered.

CROW: That's it. We gotta find this chick a speech therapist
TOM: A thera-what?
CROW: Pi- (catches himself) Nice try, Servo.

"Megabyte! He's up to something! Great." she growled. "Just what we need."

MIKE: But I thought... oh yes. Sarcasm. Fun. Hah hah.

Dot glanced to the top of the game, the stared.

TOM: It's all yours, Mike.
MIKE: Coming soon, to a theater near you! Game: The Stared!
TOM: Filmed, as always, in "Typo-vision"!

A thin wire of energy connected a spot on the top of the cube to the sky.

CROW: Connected to the sky. Ohhhh yes. I don't see any problem with that sentence. Nope nope nope.

"Phong, what in the Net is that?"

CROW: Geez, do we have to repeat EVERYTHING for her?

"A multiplayer game..." Phong said, surpassed. They're very rare here, but do exist."

TOM: We don't see them very often because they're tricky to animate, and BSnP wouldn't get it.

"More complications in my life. Wonderful."

MIKE: But I thought... oh yeah. Sarcasm again.

Phong shook his head and sighed. "Dot, please, come back to the Principal Office. We're going to need you here..."

CROW: [Phong] I can't work the oven.

"Right Phong." Dot replied, the energy seeming to drain out of her.

TOM: So she reached back and picked the null off her head.

"I'm sorry, I know I've been a bit... unbearable for a while. It's just that..."

CROW: "Y'know, PMS and all..."
TOM: A-ha!
CROW: Uh... PMS meaning "Pain in My Side", of course.
MIKE: Sure, Crow.
CROW: Whew...

"Dot, there is no reason to apologize for what you have been through."

MIKE: [Phong] We're going to fire you anyway.

"Thank you Phong." She sighed and closed the window.

TOM: [Dot] Now where did I put my zip-board... oh... yes, I'm... standing on it. Right...

* * *

"Damn..." muttered the person at the computer.

MIKE: "I hope it's over soon" muttered the person in the theater.
TOM: "So do I" agreed the 'bots.
CROW: Also in the theater.
BOB: Stop it!
MIKE: Demanded the sprite.
CROW: Who, by an incredible coincidence, was also in the theater.

"Damn!" He pounded at the keyboard angrily as the words, "access denied" flashed across the screen.

TOM: "Moooooooooommm! Windows is flashing me again!"
CROW: *grumble*

Kevin sat back and scowled. Damn company supercomputers. Some of them were so hard to get into if a real security programmer had done a proper job.

MIKE: Luckily for him, most are complete goober-heads.

Most forms of protection were half-hearted attempts at passwords and the like and proved to be a cinch, but not this one. It was the computer for a company that made anti-virus programs.


Kevin had a personal interest in this, since virus programming happened to be one of his favorite pastimes.

CROW: Right up there with... (trails off)
TOM: (helpfully) He said "Lemon fics and pulling wings off flies"
TOM: Oh... was I close?

They had wiped out a few of his pet favorites, which had made him very upset.

BOB: Yeah right. Who keeps viruses as pets?... Oh yeah...

Kevin had black hair, very dark-brown-almost-black-eyes, and a pale complexion.

MIKE: When exactly did we cross the line between fanfiction and the personals?
CROW: Fanfiction?

He made some people uneasy.

TOM: Yeah, being a nasty guy will do that to ya.

You could never tell when he was angry or not. You might piss him off, and the only way you'd find out was when you found a virus on your hardrive.

CROW: Oooo, Mike, call the police. This guy's a regular evil super-villain

He rarely shouted or yelled. When he was mad, he simply went away and planned out the best way to get his revenge on you. Kevin was considered a talented hacker, and was best at viruses.

TOM: WOW! HE'S A L33T AZZ M4D H4X0R!!!1!!!1!!!1 PH34R HIZ SKILZZ!!1!!!!!!!!1!1!!!
TOM: (innocent) Hmm?

The reason he made Gil and Jay nervous was the fact that he tended to obsess on some things. Computers was one of them.

CROW: And the other was... aw geez...
MIKE: Oh, come on. Who in their right mind would ever become obsessed with computers?
TOM: Hmm... computer obsession.
CROW: New "Computer Obsession for men".

Jay and Gil were another.

TOM: Another what?
MIKE: Product?

They knew him, and while they weren't enemies, they weren't friends either. Kevin had decided to try and infect Jay's computer, since he was supposed to have a strong anti-viral program that Kevin had wanted to break through.

MIKE: This is the kinda guy who hears about the Titanic being unsinkable, and thinks "What if I dropped a warhead on it?"
TOM: That's easy. You eliminate if from just about every Oscar category.
CROW: [Jack] I'm flying! I'M FLYING!! I'm the king of th-*BOOM!*

Jay wasn't aware of this, although he suspected something strange going on.

CROW: His first clue was Kevin telling him every day "I'm gonna get you, loser!"

Jake was pretty good when it came to hacking, and was somewhere near Kevin's level when it came to security codes, although Jay never abused them.

CROW: He was too much of a wuss.
BOB: Easy for you to say. You don't LIVE in a computer!

Kevin didn't regard trying to delete his system as illegal or wrong, just as a challenge.

TOM: [Kevin] Hi! Can I infect your hard drive? I wanna see how many times I can format it before you kill me!

He had searched around a bit, and a virus called Kilobyte.

CROW: Uh... right. THAT'S a sentence…
MIKE: [Kevin] Ooo! THIS should bring about the demise of humanity!

It wasn't one of his, but it was pretty impressive nonetheless. It was supposed to split into two different viruses if deleted, luring the User into thinking that the virus was gone at first.

CROW: And then unleashing Windows on an unsuspecting user.

Kevin had been impressed by this feature (he's have to try and track down the programmer and ask him how he did it) and used it.

TOM: [Kevin] Hi! I'm a sadistic nut who's obsessed with people I hate! Can I chat with you?

It had unfortunately been downloaded into Jake's system the same time that half of his harddrive was erased by a fluke power surge.

MIKE: More commonly known as a plot device.

Kevin still didn't know whether it had survived or not.

BOB: So he held a memorial service.

Jay had been really upset over the incident, and might have overlooked the virus while re-compiling his system, Kevin mused. And Gil.

MIKE: "And Gil."? Can we not have ONE proper sentence here?
TOM: This fic has been brought to you by a graduate of the Skuzzy School of Proper Grammar.

Kevin sighed, and leaned back even further in his chair, toying with an eraser.

CROW: [Kevin] Oh, Fish!... I mean... Gil! If only I could possess you as easily as this eraser!
MIKE: Crow! You lose!
CROW: (continuing) If only you turned me on as much as this eraser!
MIKE: Uh oh…
TOM: Withdrawal. Look out guys, he's gonna overdose!
CROW: (continuing) In fact, this eraser is-
BOB: *slaps Crow*
TOM: (impressed) Wow… thanks Bob.
CROW: (punch-drunk) Did I win the bet?

He wasn't one of those people who got crushes,

MIKE: The occasional nosebleed maybe…

but if he was, he would have been totally in love with Gil. As it was, he felt, well, attracted to her.

TOM: So he only stalked her on weekends.

One of the best "gamers" out there, especially at first person shooters like Quake.

CROW: (still delirious) I could take her!

She claimed not to play those anymore, because they weren't a challenge after beating them 12 or 13 times.

MIKE: After that, Shub-Niggurath looks more like moldy Jell-O than hellspawn.

He had tried to get her out on a date a few times, but she politely declined.

TOM: [Gil] When hell freezes over, virus boy.

Pity. He had always thought she was cute. Well, if she kept on saying no...

CROW: (still groggy) Then lock 'n load!

He fingered a disk with a virus on it.

MIKE: [Kevin] I'm sending THIS to OJ…

Don't get mad, get even.

TOM: Then, get donuts.

* * *

"Well well, Jay. So you're being the warrior, huh? I myself prefer the subtle yet powerful attacks of a sorcerer."

TOM: *cough* artsy-fartsy wuss *cough*

Jill paused and shook her head. "God, I can't believe I'm actually talking to myself." she looked at the screen thoughtfully.

BOB: [screen] Me neither.

The game basically went like this-

MIKE: Like what?

wind your way through a treacherous labyrinth filled with monsters to a large central chamber where you and your opponent tried to kill each other.

MIKE: Oh. One of those original game's huh?


ALL: Huh?

(role-playing game)

ALL: Oh...

was more strategy than reflex shooter, which made it more challenging to Jill.

CROW: Who had no reflexes to speak of anyway.

The trick was to find enough power-ups and weapons along the way to make your character stronger, while making sure to beat the time limit for each level. When the limit was reached, a horde of high level monsters was set into circulation in your level. They were nearly impossible to beat, and if you *did* make it, your character was severely drained from the fighting, and easy prey for your opponent. It could get addictive at times.

BOB: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
MIKE: Well said.

Jill piloted her character through the first level, blasting her way through a horde of small, goblin-like creatures.

TOM: Die Spice Girls! Die!

"Let the games begin." she said, grinning,

CROW: [Gil] I'm not a lamer!

thinking of what strategy she would use in the final chamber.

MIKE: Hmm… let's see… kill?

Little did she know that there would be a... surprise... waiting for her there.

BOB: Woohoo! I love it when they leave us hanging!
CROW: Yeah, it means we can leave.

@.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6..

(Mike walks on alone, hands clasped in front of him)

MIKE: (stuffy English accent) And now, for your viewing pleasure, SOL Productions presents:

(Bob and Gypsy enter from either side. Gypsy has a wig on)

MIKE: Profile Of A Dork.

(Mike moves away. Crow approaches Bob, and slams him rather hard in the chest with a pointing stick, causing Bob to "oof" in surprise)

CROW: As you can see, Specimen One here has a dull posture, an always-present blank look on his face, and a really lame haircut.

BOB: Hey!!

CROW: Say something to our viewers, Specimen One

BOB: What? Uh... Well-

CROW: As you can see, only pointless dribble, and dialogue with no tangible direction can escape his lips. Dr. Servo?

(Tom enters from the other side, sliding up next to Gypsy)

TOM: Thank you, Nurse Robot. Specimen Two?


TOM: Do you like Quake?

GYPSY: Absolutely.

TOM: Thank you Specimen Two, that will be all. You can go for a swim now.

MAGIC VOICE: Commercial sign in 5… 4…

MIKE: And not a moment too soon! Join us next week, when we examine what possesses people to create two-dimensional, predictable, uninteresting characters, then try to write a story about them

(Commercial Sign)

6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. @..
Click Here To Enter the Theater...