1.04 - Apocolypse Now

1.04 - Apocolypse Now

“Hello everyone, I wish I could be coming to you under different circumstances,” a massive hologram of the game designer speaks over the park where thousands of us are gathered to hear about the upcoming event. None of us know what the creator actually looks like. They always wear a plain black mask and bulky robes. We only know that they play the game alongside us.

“Liberty and Strife has been the pride of my life,” the creator continues. “I’ve worked hard on this game and to see it flourish with all of you, millions, enjoying it warms my heart. I still remember the day the game launched and I nervously awaited the first reviews. I couldn’t stand the wait; I logged in and saw you already forming groups and making new friends. I didn’t have any friends growing up so I wanted a world where anyone could meet people like them and have friends. Liberty and Strife provided that. It is with a heavy heart that I inform you Liberty and Strife will be closing down in six months.  

The creator pauses for a moment. Just enough time for questions and accusations to start running through the crowd. A few crying faces can be seen, others displaying rage. People are reacting in different ways but nobody is happy about the game ending, the closest are those confused. Some people have invested over a decade into the game at this point. Kai, Daamin and I hop from game to game all the time, so it should be no big deal to us, but I think three of us are a little sad. It’s one game that we all love equally. Well, Daamin probably loves it a little more.

“We lack the funding to continue. I’m telling you all this in the name of honesty. I did not wish for this to become a game where you suddenly couldn’t log in one day. Instead, I wanted you to have time left with your gangs, corporations, friends and enemies. I wanted you to finish quests, and collections. The end may be coming; but, do not worry. The friendships and bonds formed will continue on. In the coming months we’ll give more information, and do fun stuff but for now I’d like to give you time to digest what you’ve just heard. This isn’t yet goodbye, but a see you later,” the hologram of the creator bursts into glowing blue sparks and vanishes.

For a while there’s nothing but silence in crowd, noise picks up as a few people chat about what they’re going to do and talk about other games they’ve played or want to play. I’m sure some people are sharing contact information with people they suddenly realize they don’t want to lose touch with.  

A shout comes from somewhere in the crowd, “I can’t log out.” Nobody responds, but the same voice shouts again, “the game is broken.” Red lights fill the plaza as people attempt to log out only to glow red and remain in place.

“Guys, I think the game is broken,” Kai speaks up, glowing red. I attempt to log out but meet the same fate.

“This is it. This is the virtual apocalypse,” Daamin starts speaking as if he was in awe. If his caiman head could smile, I’m sure it would.

“What are you talking about,” I ask.

“Happens all the time, .hack//Sign, Log Horizon, Sword Art Online, Yu-Gi-Oh in that one season,” Daamin starts to calmly explain. “The game gets taken over by a villain, rogue AI or evil corporation and nobody can log out. If we get disconnected in the real world, we’ll die unless it’s one of those things were our consciousness has been transferred to the computer servers. We can’t get out of the game until we beat the dungeon boss or find a relic or something like that. Personally, I’m hoping for evil corporation. It’s a cyberpunk game, it would make sense.”

“Daamin, this is not time for being a nerd. We need to figure out how to get out of here,” Kai tries to sound calm but is on the verge of raising his voice.

“Oh, we can’t get out until the villain shows up and tells us why we’re here,” Daamin pauses, “look up there, I guess we’re going to find out,” Daamin points to where the hologram of the leader had just been; several blue boxes now floated in the air. Each of them blank until words appeared in the first box.


“There is no more logging out, this is your real world now. You played Liberty and Strife for the liberty but now you will know the strife.”


“This game will not end in six months. It will run forever. If the game is stopped, your loved ones will know what true loss feels like.”

“Adjustments have been made to your inventories and stats to rebalance your new lives.”  

“A new event will soon begin to bring excitement to your new life.”

“I’m disappointed, they didn’t put in any effort into this,” Daamin sighs.

“This is all a joke to you,” Kai shoves Daamin but it doesn’t do anything to his massive body.

“I’m just saying, we’re trapped here. We should make the best of it. Fall in love, adopt a daughter that turns out to be an AI. Maybe we go to war against NPCs,” Daamin really does seem to be in heaven here as sporadic shouts of panic fill the air.

Explosions shake the ground and send panic through the crowd and entire city. Lights flicker across buildings. A few more explosions and everything goes dark. I’m reminded of the blackout event a while back. The city’s power grid was taken down after a terrorist group set off an EMP attempting to wipe out all of the corporations in the city. For three days it was martial law and chaos. It doesn’t take long before we hear the first gun shots echo through the plaza. We take off running unsure of where to go. During the blackout we hid in the badlands and that might be the safest choice now.

I attempt to summon a car but the streets are filled with cars being summoned by everyone in the plaza. The ground slips away from me in the same way it does when missing a step and considering your life over with. I open my eyes to Daamin carrying Kai and I each under one of his arms. Maybe I should do some splicing or get a really weird avatar because Daamin is carrying us with no problem, effortlessly running across the rooftops of cars.

“Where are we going,” Kai asks shouting over the chaos.

“First the badlands then wherever the world takes us,” Daamin doesn’t pause.

“We could hide out at my apartment,” I offer.

“Nope, too open. People could snipe us right through the windows.”

“No problem, I don’t have PvP turned on in my place.”

“Nope, new game, new rules. We’re going to the badlands.”

“I hate the badlands. Put us down, we’ll take our chances with the gangs,” I shout.

“Nope,” Kai answers this time. “Usually I would agree with you, but I’m just not feeling myself right now.”

“What is it? The skirt! We can get you pants,” I offer a peace treaty.

“It’s about all of this,” Kai argues.

“Can you guys stop moving so much, it tickles,” Daamin casually asks leaping over a minivan.


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