The Winners of RPGC# 18: Adventure Calls
My name is. Or my name isn’t. A jumbled mess of other across a blue and cracked screen, like spider webs. It didn't say much. Just my name. Though it didn’t say that either. I can’t read what it says; I can’t pronounce it either. They didn’t teach me how to read weird symbols and corruption. Corruption. Files and text that can’t be observed, or opened. My name cannot be opened. Do I not have a name? They call me many things. Nothing sounded like a name, as much as I tried to listen to them. What is a name? A symbol, of status, of power, of representation. It is belonging. I don’t belong anywhere.
I try and write, but it is hard. The way the pen moves doesn’t make sense with the letters I need to write. My name I need to write. How can I write my name when the pen doesn’t move? Try and move and try and move. This is a book, a book I found in a house, a house without walls or ceilings, and without chairs or tables or computer screens to display ruined, corrupted corruption or names. The corrupted corruption of corrupted names on corrupted screens corrupting names. The pen moves but when it moves paper corrupts. Ink corrupts. Black and fluid, then dry and corrupt. I corrupt.
My name isn’t something you say. You write it down. It is letters and numbers. One and two and three and five. Four? I saw that symbol in reports, the squigly with the dot. When they ask questions. Can it corrupt devices? Does it react to water? Sound? Lots of reports, about me. My name. I want to find my name. I took the reports. Know the reports. Will help me find my name. I need a name. How do you talk to people without a name? They need your name. Names go first in sentence. Sentences? Go first in sentences.
So I am doing what the reports do. In the book. The book I use. Took. Found. Am. The book I am. Or were. With the pen. Writing the words. Then when I find my name I can put my name on the reports like the reports with my name. Because my name isn’t my name I can’t use my name on the reports for the reports on my name because the name isn’t my name. And I can name it, with my name. I have more books, but the other books have names. And more reports.
The glow went away before. There is a report that says the glow in the blue is called “Sun”. Sun goes when the day goes, so the reports end when Sun goes. This will be the last report of this Sun, then I will start anew next Sun. Cannot see well when Sun is gone. Moon is there but Sun is gone. The glow helps me write the reports about the Sun. So this is report one.
The sun brought the glow back and now I can report again. There is lots to report this Sun. I left the house with no ceilings or walls for the Sun and saw dusty. Like sand. Fine particles. Of stuff. Like dust. The landscape is of dust and sand and fine particle. Sun is very glow and hot, so hard to stand in dust because it is hot also. So I took back to the house, but without the ceiling the Sun got me. I had to keep moving then or the Sun would continue to get me. Like the game of Tag. But I can never get the Sun.
When playing I saw more houses, but they had ceilings and walls and doors. Some had chairs. They let me take inside so the Sun couldn’t get me. Many things were inside, like uncorrupted screens and boxes and chairs. Lots of other houses were there too, so I could take and not get got by the Sun. One of the houses had bones in them, but they looked like the nameless so I left them alone.
Another house had a people inside. The people wasn’t happy. It had a big thing and tried to get me like the Sun so I left them like the bones. I was happy to find a people on my second Sun, but now I am not sure. The Sun seems nice although hot, so why can’t people by like the Sun? I thought the people would be more Sun than Sun. One report said about people contact and warmth. Emotion. Warm but not hot, like the sun but not like the sun because warm. They wanted to play tag I think but you can’t use big things for Tag. Those aren’t the scripts Sun and I use. What are you it said and I said I don’t know I don’t have name. Maybe having a name is very important to people?
There was also a water but Sun was leaving again. Harder to report but the water was nice and water. I can get water. I feel water. Odd things floated in the water, but they must have been being watered so I didn’t ask them why they were floating. The water had a colour too, but not the blue like the Sun’s home. A weird red. Like blood. Like blood. Blood from the animals. Nameless animals that bled and didn’t give me my name.
Of course! I didn’t put down the name! There is a facility to the West. The report told me that Sun goes to sleep in the sky, and that that is West so I follow Sun. I hope it doesn’t mind. I might finally be able to get Sun back and win Tag. But it will be hard, because Sun is very hot. The report says Sun is so hot, nothing could get near it. It explains why they are so good at Tag.
Today I found a trees. But not just one trees, there were many. Since trees are made of wood I could call this a wood of trees. Like a flock of birds. The wood flocking together like a flock of birds flocking together in Sun’s house called sky. Flocking and flocking and flying like a flock. But I thought the trees were meant to have leaves on them, on the long thin parts. There were no leaves. No grass either. Not anywhere. Without the leaves the wood is like a house. The house I found. The house with no ceiling. The animals in the wood call the wood their home. Maybe that is why they are gone. Because they have no ceiling, and Sun beats them at Tag.
The wood also made me think of the bones. But they wood has a name, and the trees have a name. The bones had no name, so I didn’t explore them, but since the wood has a name it could help me find my name. Or I thought so. I spent the entire Sun in the wood but I didn’t know my name. Even the dust bugs didn’t know my name. There were lots of dust bugs in the dusty wood. Woody dust, dusty wood, the wood of dust without leaves. Was the dust leaves? Was the ceiling a floor? Right-side upside down. Spin spin in the dusty wood.
But Sun has gone to sleep, and it is cold now without anyone to play Tag with. So I end my report.
I left the wood before Sun awoke so I could look around more. I found a big place with lots of houses to explore, but there was a big wall around it so I couldn’t get in. I spent so long trying to go around it that when I reached the door Sun had awoken. I tried to knock on the door but someone yelled at me from on top of the wall. What the fuck are you. They said that, but I don’t know what a fuck is. It doesn’t sound like a name, so I must not be a fuck. I wonder if they once knew a fuck and mistook me for them?
The houses were very pretty, though. They didn’t have doors or windows but they had lots of other stuff, like more people and things to eat. Also they had more of those weird things the people from before tried to use on me. I didn’t know what they were, but they seemed scary so I ate them. They didn’t taste good. I don’t think they had names, so it didn’t help me, but I ate them anyway. I ate a lot of them. There were other things that had names, so I ate those. I think if I eat more I might find my name.
So I tried eating one of the reports I had. It was called experiment number zero zero two four one candidate four seven two see explosion test. Even though I ate it I didn’t learn my name. But I looked at it and I know what a explosion is. A? Or an? The reports say both and I don’t know which is right. Maybe both are right. But an explosion is a big thing. Apparently the report was immune to explosions. The report was very lucky, since explosions sound like something really bad. Bad. Not nice. A not nice explosion. I should avoid explosions, they might be mean to me.
Sun was already going down when I left the houses and the wall. The people inside were very kind, but didn’t help me learn my name. I tried very hard but nothing helped, so I left. Sun is getting tired a lot quicker than they used to I think. They go to sleep much sooner than before so I wonder if maybe they are sick. Sick with tired so they get more sick. Maybe I keep Sun up too much and make them do too much during Sun. We should play less Tag. Sun might get more sleep that way.
Today is very dusty. I keep going West where the sun sleeps but there is always more dust, just more dust. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be the case or not. It’s like the dust just keeps on going and never stops, and never will stop, because it can’t; it is just a far reaching expanse of nothing. It might not even have a name. If that is true then we are the same - we don’t belong.
The dust actually makes me feel more at home. I know homes are houses and houses usually have ceilings and walls, unless you are the dusty wood, but still, I feel I share something in common with the dust. There is just nothing. Nothing at all. I learnt today that I don’t need water to keep going. Even though it is very hot and the sun insists of playing Tag all the time, I don’t need to drink to keep going. That means I can keep searching for my name without fear!
That said, I do have to eat. That I am aware of. I haven’t been able to eat much today, though, since there is very little edible in the dust. I am very hungry. Perhaps I should have saved some of the food from before for today, but the small bugs are enough at least for a little while. When I finally get out of the dust I’ll have to find something more substantial to eat. Substantial… substantial like the animals in the cages…
There’s something wrong. I can’t write proerpyl properly. My hadn hand isn’t moving the way it should and I can’t write the words very well. I need please help to find something proper to eat soon, I think… My body is starting to feel slow and heavy and my know isn’t fucntoning functioning. I am making so many mistakes this Sun… What is hapening happening to me?
I didn’t report for a whole Sun! I can’t believe I didn’t do something so important! I think I finally made it out of the dust, but now I don’t know where I am. There are lots of hills, and also lots of houses for me to look at it. Most have ceilings and walls but not all of them do, which is sad, because that means they aren’t houses. Or are they? The dusty wood was a house, and it had no ceiling or walls… maybe you don’t need them to be a house?
But I looked around them anyway! I also found lots of things to eat, lots of animals to eat. I think it’s okay to eat the animals, because that’s what they said. They said it was okay to eat them, and the animals told me to eat them as well so it’s okay. I cleaned everything up too so that the houses didn’t get dirty.
There was a lot of stuff for me to look at here. Lots of chairs and tables and uncorrupted screens. But there was a lot of corrupted stuff too, like corrupted water and corrupted plants and corrupted and nameless bones. Lots of bones. I made it a rule not to play Tag with the bones, but Sun doesn’t listen to that rule. He plays with them anyway, which is rude but they don’t seem to mind so I won’t interrupt.
How far West I am I don’t know, but I think I’m getting close to my name. I get this feeling sometimes when I’m moving that my name is really close, but I just can’t see it. I hope the place the reports talked about is nearby… I’m getting really tired of moving about all over the place. Playing Tag with Sun is getting boring too, but I would never admit that to him. Everything looks the same wherever I go - more dust, more houses, more peoples. But the peoples never talk to me. Do I need to do something for them to like me? Do I need help me please to be more friendly?
You’re not going to believe what I saw today, report! I don’t know what it was but it was so cool! I came over a hill and saw these houses, but when I looked closer all the people that were in the houses were running away. So I thought Why are they running away, and why would they abandon their houses like that. The air felt really strange, all tingly like the lightning they used on me.
I heard someone shout something, too. Silence! They shouted Silence! Maybe it has a name? I wish I could have asked how it got its name, but I never got the chance. While I was watching the houses this really loud boom appeared, and one of the houses just fell down. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing though, because the house fell down, but there was another house in its place when it fell!
But then, when I was about to turn away, there was another boom and that house fell down too! Except it didn’t fall down, it broke. Like, it split open. The air looked like it was tearing, like a piece of cloth, and from within the crack spilled out this huge wave of energy. It was writing and crushing everything it touched, destroying all the houses. Part of me felt a little sad, but another part of me felt like a monster I was really happy because it was so cool.
I don’t know what the Silence is, but I would like to meet it again. By the time the tear had closed all the houses were gone and there was just nothing. Nothing at all. Everything was silent until some people came back. Maybe that’s why it is called that? But I went to talk to the people. They weren’t very helpful, but they gave me some food, which was nice of them.
You killed them.
Something strange is going on. I was reading back through my reports, and there were some strange words in them. I know I didn’t write them. Things like You killed them. I haven’t killed anyone. I don’t understand the word: killed. I think somebody has been writing in my report while I’m asleep, but I can’t tell. I haven’t noticed anyone following me so far…
In other news, I think I’m getting very close. I was making my way along a long, winding, asphalt road, covered in cracks and hot from the sun. The walk was long, but I’m making decent progress, much better than anything of the previous days I have journeyed. I just can’t help but wonder what this facility will look like, or where it will be located. A sign on the road said “Ersatz Labs Newton Facility”.
Ersatz Laboratories. Their name is on my reports. Their name is everywhere, I think. I keep seeing it but I don’t know what it means, not really. They’re some kind of omnipresent organisation. Everywhere I look and turn, their hallmarks are there. Their logos are there. On weapons and food and buildings… it’s strange, but I get the feeling they are watching me, even when I am alone, in the middle of nowhere, or in a dusty wood or a desert.
Somehow they are important. They have done things, and they know who I am. They know my name. So I need to find this facility and make them tell me my name. How? Well, I’ll ask nicely. Like you did with everyone else? Everyone else? Everyone I have met thus far has been very nice. They have given me advice and food, so it is only natural that I should be nice back to them. Bullshit.
This cannot be right… I am here. This is the lab. The facility. This is where my name should be, and yet… Nothing is here? There is nothing. Nothing at all. Everything is… is gone. Only a sign remains. “Ersatz Laboratories”. Impossible. Impossible. There’s no way! Maybe they heard you were coming and made like Silence. Made Like Silence? What does that mean? Erase all traces you were in a place and get the fuck out of dodge. Get out of dodge…
That’s right… what if that thing had come here!? The Silence?! What if it destroyed everything? What if… what if it destroyed my name..? What do I do then? How do I get my name?! What was the point of this journey? Why don’t you just name yourself? What? Name myself? Yeah, just give yourself a name. How about “Cunt”? I think it suits you well, Cunt. That isn’t a nice thing to say… You shouldn’t insult people like that, you know, especially ones who haven’t done anything to you.
Hah, people? Is that what you think you are, a person? Don’t make me laugh! I am a person! I am a real person, who is friends with all the other people! I just… I just don’t know my name. You don’t need a name to be a person. Exactly! So you can’t say I’m not a You’re not a person, you’re a MONSTER! I am not! You killed everyone!
You’re wrong. You’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong! I didn’t kill anyone! Stop saying things like that! I am Nomen and I am a person! Nomem? No...men… Nomen. Is that my name? Nomen… I don’t know… It sounds right, but at the same time wrong. I don’t understand… why isn’t my name here? I was meant to find my name here, so where is it? You found a name here. Nomen, right? Just call yourself that. Nomen… Yes…
I suppose that will do.
And The quest for the Golden Fish
It is said that under the thick ice of the permanently frozen Ice Lake lives a fish the size of a grown man. Its scales are made of gold and its flesh nourishing and sweet.
Five fishermen heard about it and decided to leave their village behind and seek out this fish, for it would bring three desired F’s in their life: Fame, Fortune and Food.
One could argue that Fortune will result in Food, but the fisherman loved to eat fish. They had tasted all the fish known to them, except for the Golden Fish.
So, they packed their bags, kissed their wives and gathered at the northern exit of their village.
Five fishermen walked north.
They walked over an earthen path, cart wheels had left deep furrows in the ground. On their right side were meadows where white and yellow flowers had opened their petals to welcome the rays of the sun. On the left a small stream ran along the path and willow trees bathed their roots in the water. A gentle wind moved the long branches from left to right, some of the longer ones drew lines in the water as they moved in harmony with the others.
One fisherman didn’t look where he was going and sprained his ankle. He told the others to leave him behind, he’d make it back to the village.
Four fishermen walked north.
They walked through a thick forest, the leaves on the branches kept the path hidden from the sun. Only when the wind blew strong enough would the leaves allow small openings through which the rays of the sun found their way down, until the openings closed again. The thick bushes on either side of the trail seemed impenetrable. The forest itself was full of life, insects buzzed, birds twittered and chirped, and a bear roared. One of the fisherman got scared and ran back to the village.
Three fishermen walked north.
They reached a lake, the surface as smooth as an eel’s skin. Dragonflies flew just inches above the surface and mosquitoes happily buzzed above the still water. A fish jumped up, violently disrupting the surface, and devoured one of the dragonflies before it disappeared under the water again. They walked through the tall grass, going around the lake. Mosquito’s saw in them an easy meal and swarmed around them. One fisherman couldn’t take it anymore and fled back to the village.
Two fishermen walked north.
They walked over a vast plain with sturdy grass and patches of moss. Small rocks and giant boulders were scattered across the field as if some bored giant-children had played a game to see who could throw the furthest and who could throw the heaviest rock. A chilly wind blew over the grass, pushing it down as it moved along. The fast-flowing river curled through the land, not caring about anything but its final destination. One fisherman was exhausted and told the other to go forward, he needed a break.
One fisherman walked north.
He followed a path up the mountain, a trail littered with gravel. The higher he went the less vegetation there was. After he left behind the final tree there were only patches of grass, adorned with small flowers, growing between the rocks. Eventually only rocks remained and soon he stepped on the first snow. The higher he went, the thicker the snow became. The trail ended at the edge of a sheet of ice. The Ice Lake, he had found it. Now he could search for the mythical Golden Fish. If only he had brought something to get through the ice...
The fisherman turned around and walked back to the village.