Squid and Anchovies

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Squid and Anchovies
Date2082-06-30
Location
The Resonance Realms
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven Cricket's Psyche
Cricket Twitch-like Fault Sprites
Casualties and losses
Mothra, the Machine Sprite


Summary

The technomancer Cricket's first journey to the resonance realms, in which she visits a pizza parlor and confronts some of her many insecurities. Along the way she makes unknowing contact with Black Hat, meets a free sprite in the form of a squid, and gets her ass handed to her in laser tag. She's confronted by her self image issues and dysphoria, and finally acknowledges that she needs to accept herself in the meat to get stronger on the matrix. Even if it just feels like she's faking it.


Background

Cricket was hanging out at the Iceberg, enjoying the free pizza delivered as part of a rival Wiz Gang's bizarre infiltration plot, when she received a message containing a file. It was a program, probably not a virus but incomprehensible in what it actually did. The sender was unknown, and even by looking through the source code she couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't fry her brain. But I mean, she wasn't not going to open it, right? She set her Funone on autopilot around the city, and dropped into VR.


The Meet

The program, upon running, transported Cricket's persona to the edge of the resonance realms. As she stood before the incomprehensible mass of code, there was only one thing that could really be done: jump into it. The firewall scoured Cricket's soul for any bugs and flaws (it found a lot), and transported her once more to a greasy pizza parlor. A comically dressed chef greeted her, and asked if she wanted a slice.


The Plan

Hah, no.


The Run

After a conversation with the chef that went nowhere, Cricket set about exploring the rest of the realm. She entered into an arcade, where she was thrust into a deadly game of laser tag with a group of Fault Sprites. They absolutely destroyed her, killing her sprite pet Mothra without taking a single casualty. The fact that they all looked like Gord "Twitch" Rodney only made the defeat sting more. Her pride crushed, she retreated into a vent and continued on her journey.

The next room she entered was a great, empty expanse. In the center sat a chained shade, taking the appearance of a member of the tribe Cricket rejected membership in, The Heavenly Host. Cricket, hurt by the loss of Mothra, blew up at the shade's cryptic remarks before calming down and trying to figure out what was happening. The shade told her that it was a part of another technomancer, one they would rather leave behind than confront. No answers beyond that were forthcoming, and eventually Cricket grew fed up and left.

After leaving the expanse, she met with another shade of the Heavenly Host, this one overlooking a withering fantasy kingdom. Cricket argued with the shade, trying to convince her (and herself) that she was fighting for something more than mindless destruction. She didn't do an especially good job, only tightening the coiled spring of insecurity that had been building since she got here. The next room was an office manned by a Secretary bird, in which Cricket scheduled an appointment with whoever was behind the door. After about 20 minutes of waiting, she was let in.

The meeting room was stark white, surrounded on all sides by glass windows and pitch black water. Almost on instinct she put her feet up on the table, and was told off by a giant squid. The squid introduced itself as one of the forces that brought her here, and explained that she was here to be tested. She realized that she was here to confront something just as the Heavenly Host members did; the shades she saw had decided to cut away that part of themselves rather than face it. Cricket snapped that she couldn't even do that, because if she cut away all the parts of herself that she hated there wouldn't be anything left. The squid told her that she hadn't failed the test yet, and reminded her of a note she had received when she first arrived: "the secret to true pizza is right under your nose". She was transported back to the pizza parlor, and decided to finally do the obvious thing and look down.

A hole in the floor opened, and Cricket was brought to the final chamber of her trial, a house of mirrors. Her persona was replaced with her real body, forcing her to look at every perceived flaw in her appearance. As the self loathing and dysphoria threatened to overwhelm her, she resolved that she wasn't about to let a fraggin' mirror be the thing that took her down. She willed her appearance to change, exchanging her sweat pants and ratty shirt for her Hellraisers attire. She realized that those clothes meant more than just looking cool; they were a symbol that, as awful as meatspace still was, there was somewhere in it that she belonged. Even if she couldn't stop hating herself yet, she could at least look cool doing it.


Aftermath

With her first trial passed, Cricket was brought to the pizza parlor one last time. The chef congratulated her with one more slice for the road, and a symbol of Black Hat to pin on her jacket. She left the resonance realm feeling... well she still felt like shit. But maybe, deep down, she felt just a little more confident than she had been before. Also that pizza was really good

Rewards

7 Karma

Faulty the Fault Sprite at loyalty 3

Discount on Submersion Grade 1

Code of Honor: Thug Life

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Cricket

"The resonance realms suck. I was expecting cool, mind bending magic drek and instead I got a pizza parlor. I mean, there was some magic but still. The other stuff that happened... it's not important. What is important is that I can do skinlink now, and finally got the fraggin' Iceberg's host up and running. Already told Cuda about it, just gonna re-compile Mothra real quick before I show it off."