Single Player Mode

Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse!  Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!


“You’re good.  I can see why they want you.”

Nick’s words still echoed in Crash’s mind, as he stumbled towards Professor Gatling’s berth and the train rumbled on.  Keeping his eyes fixed on the ground, Crash managed to make his way without any unnecessary conversation.  When Professor Gatling was around he didn’t mind talking to other people, but as himself he felt wholly inadequate.  It had always been that way, for as long as he could remember, always feeling slightly off from everyone else.  Other people never seemed to understand him or was it he who couldn’t understand them?  Jokes that he didn’t find funny, conversations that seemed to go on just a little too long, and things he said being taken the completely wrong way.  In the end it was just easier to keep his mouth shut and his head down.

In games it was different.  In games he could be anything, anyone, do all the things he wished he could in real life.  He could be fast, strong, funny, incredibly rich, a dragon, anything!  That was why he had wanted to join up in the first place, why he volunteered to be a meta-pilot.  It was the chance to live in a video game and who wouldn’t jump at a chance like that?  Of course that made him different as well.  Everyone else in the group seemed to have been forced into the project against their will.  None of the others wanted to be there.  Given the choice they probably wouldn’t be meta-pilots and they probably wouldn’t talk to Crash either.  That was OK.  He was used to that, used to people preferring the company of anyone else but him.

Finally reaching his door, Crash opened it and quickly entered the sleeping berth.  Closing the door behind him, he flopped backwards onto the bed almost hitting his head on the wall in the process.  Staring up at the ceiling, he ran back the encounter with Nick in his mind.  Nick had been so calm, so confident, so self assured.  And he had said that Crash was good!  He couldn’t stop the smile that came over his face then.  Nick was amazing, pretty much everything Crash wanted to be in his real life and in his virtual one.  So why was it that Nick didn’t want to be himself?

Crash could understand the appeal of living in a different character.  It was why he mainly stayed on the avatar side when piloting, except in circumstances that reminded him of the games he played.  The others liked to move back and forth, sometimes letting their own personalities come through their avatars, but Crash preferred to stay hidden and let his avatar take the driver’s seat.  He liked the power and confidence of Kid Titan, and the gentlemanly charm of Professor Gatling. He liked to feel those things, to be able to act like they were his own attributes. The avatars gave him a chance to give voice to the feelings and thoughts he carried with him but was too afraid, or too unsure, to give voice to in the real world.

That was why Nick just didn’t make sense.  Nick seemed to be all the things that Crash used his avatars to experience.  Nick had power, confidence, and ability.  So why was he choosing to be dominated by King Teddy?  Why was he allowing himself to be overrun by an avatar that was foolish, bombastic, and impulsive?  Why didn’t he want to be found?  He had told Crash that their conversation in the arena had never happened.  He had gone straight back to full Teddy moments after speaking to him on the train.  Crash tried to think of a reason why, looking back on all the games he had played, all the quests he had completed, all the storylines he had reached the conclusion of.  The center had made it seem like Nick was trapped in his avatar, stuck and unable to break free, but that wasn’t the case.  Nick wasn’t stuck.  Nick was hiding.

Sitting up, Crash looked down at his hands and tried to imagine that he was Nick.  He pretended that Nick was a video game character.  In his mind, Crash devised his stats and abilities, coming to the conclusion that Nick was at least level sixty with a few mods added on.  So, if Nick was the character what would the quest line be?  The people at the center were the quest givers but they were also a part of the mystery.  There was something they weren’t telling them about Nick.  And then what?  Another missing piece?  Nick was hiding from something, from someone.  He remembered Sue mentioning something about a Wanda, could that be it?  Nick was hiding from Wanda?  That might be part of it.  Nick was using King Teddy as a shield, something to protect him from remembering something or thinking about something because honestly, the King didn’t seem to do either of those things very well.

So, what could be done?  How could the quest be resolved?  Crash wasn’t sure.  In his mind he could see two different dialogue trees, branching off into the distance.  The first lead back to the center, to either forcing Nick out of Teddy regardless of the cost to him or the group.  The second lead to the failure of the group and their possible removal from the meta-pilot program.  But wait, what was that?  A subbranch of the quest line, one that could easily be missed by the average player.  Luckily, Crash was a completionist.  This third branch was harder and riskier, but it lead to the group trying to solve the mystery of Wanda and finding out the reason why Nick was hiding in the first place.  It lead to them discovering some truth about the meta-pilot program and the center.  It was dangerous but it would be worth so much XP.

Crash smiled to himself, pleased with his deductions, and switched off the lights before lying back down.  In the morning, when he was more Professor Gatling again, he would try to come up with a plan for leading the rest of the group down the right line of thinking.  But as he drifted off to sleep, Crash was surprised to realize something rather startling.  He felt a bit more lonely than usual and the reason was simple.  He missed Nick.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s