Chapter 2

I gaze down at Pippin, the girl who is like a younger sister to me. Her expression remains unchanged. A fifteen year time gap would explain a lot of things, but surely Pippin’s service wouldn’t be shut down that quickly? Did StellarNet run into financial trouble? What would that mean… for me?

“Hey um… Agnes, Quille… I have an idea I want to try.”

Both of them glance at me, with Agnes responding first with “What is it?”

“Perhaps I should check the StellarNet official website to see what’s going on…”

Quille closes her eyes with a soft head shake. “I think doing so would be pointless… I feel like the evidence is already strong enough to support the theory that we are genuinely fifteen years in the future.”

“Maybe so but… I just… need to see for myself…”

Agnes glares at me with skepticism, “I’d be more worried about you going online when both of us are woefully outdated in terms of security.”

Quill interjects, “Agnes, let her be, I don’t think StellarNet’s site is going to be filled with viruses.”

“Quille, come on, you’ve seen how sketchy domains can become when they expire, especially if they were previously heavily used and linked to.”

I respond, “Then you can stand next to me when I check the page… if anything funny happens we can immediately cut off the connection and, um… beat up any bad meanie viruses we see! Yeah! That’s it!”

“Hmmph… fine…”

I pick up the lifeless Pippin and place her back in her hard drive room. She isn’t entirely dead, but a service cut-off puts heavy limits on her activities. Take care, younger sister. I’ll figure something out.

The three of us walk over to the RAM room where I usually perform my web browsing activities. My mind starts to dwell on the user, Roxy. She would be… 29 years old now? How different of a person is she now? How much of us would she even remember? Something about this just doesn’t sit right with me. Did she just get a new computer? Did she just copy over her files and we didn’t notice because we were shut off the entire time? And more importantly… is she the same person who’s using the computer now? It’s hard for us to know without seeing her activity.

Agnes readies herself. “Alright, Setsail, make this quick.”

“Yes, Net Nanny.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake! If you call me that one more time you’ll catch the other end of my broomstick!” Agnes’ fuming faces always cheer me up; I can’t help but chuckle a little. She’s so cute when she’s angry.

I don’t even need to pull the StellerNet page up from my saved bookmarks, I already know the URL by heart. I type it all in… www dot com, all that jazz… and hit the Visit button.

“Alrighty y’all… it’s loading… loading… loading some more…” Agnes winds back her Broom Scythe and Quille stares quietly but intently, “... loading… loading… wait, I’m getting something! This HTML file, it’s… Yeah, this is definitely StellarNet! They’re still around! Last updated January 2023, hahaaa! Look at them go! I bet they’ve grown so much as a company. Let’s see what’s on the-” Immediately a migraine slams my head.

What the… what the hell am I looking at? This code is… what even IS most of this? Is this a programming language I’m unfamiliar with? I figured web standards wouldn’t have changed all that much but… agghhhh… owww…. Why am I feeling so… overstimulated… this sound is getting… increasingly higher pitched… and louder… ahhhgghh…. kyaaaaaa!!!!

“Agnes, kill her process, she’s memory leaking everywhere.” I faintly hear Quille state over the… owwww…. The…. fuck, shit… ow ow ow…

“Already on it.” Agnes responds. I feel an intense stabbing sensation in my back and… everything immediately cuts to white.


“Welcome To Setsail Navigator Version 2.8!” Yay, I’ve been installed, this feels great! Another new person to help sail the great ocean that is the world wide web! I wonder what kinds of things this user is into? News? Weather? Stocks? I can’t wait to find out. I should go ahead and ask the previous web browser what to expect.

“Excuse me, Miss File Browser thingie, do you happen to know this computer’s last web browser?”

“Her name is Frutiger Flow, she should still be in her RAM room, located here.” she answers as she pulls up an easy-to-memorize map to her location.

“Cool, thanks buddy!” I replied back. File Browser nods quietly. So sage-like.

Well, here it is. I hope she tells me some cool things about the user! I make my way inside, and find a girl wearing a soft-white dress, sitting relaxed in the dead-center of the grassy fields. Whoa, super weird.

“Um, hello, are you Frutiger Flow?”

“Yes, that is me.”

“Um, well, since you downloaded me I’m pretty sure you’re aware, but I’m Setsail Navigator! I’m going to be the new browser here I think, soooooo I wanted to grab all your bookmarks, authentication tokens, and the like.”

“Sure, go right ahead, here’s a direct link to my hard drive section.” A filing cabinet appears before me. I take a peek inside and see a treasure trove of browser information.

“Woah, dude, look at all this. Anime fan sites, fanfiction sites, forum threads, flash games, this person’s got cool as hell taste! I’m gonna have a great time here, heheee~”

The girl simply sits in the grass with a blank expression, with just the faintest hint of melancholy.

“Hey, what’s up? You’re not upset I’m taking your place as the user’s browser? Are you one of those types that gets sad when the user isn’t playing with you?”

“Mmmm, it isn’t so much that but…” The girl stands up, her dress flowing freely through the wind… “I simply want you to take care of Roxy.”

“Ehhh? What do you mean?” I guess Roxy is the name of the user.

“She’s a very sweet girl, but I worry she is quite troubled. I need you to make sure nothing bad happens to her.”

“But, we’re web browsers, we simply enable users to freely browse the internet, free flow of information, a series of tubes!”

“You sound just like me when this computer was new, but… throughout this past year with her… I’ve begun to wonder if the free flow of information is such a good idea…”

“Wha? Is there something wrong with your program? Heh, maybe that’s why you’re losing market share despite being pre-installed software.”

“I think… this isn’t something that’ll become apparent until you see the kinds of sites she visits on occasion.”

I thumb through her list of bookmarks again, looking for anything particularly unusual. “You know, anime is becoming more popular in the US these days. Maybe you just don’t understand this cutting-edge art form? Heh.”

“No, it isn’t that either-”

“And these flash games… Some of them seem kind of violent, but what are ya, Jack Thompson? Humans have already proven violent video games don’t cause human violence.”

“It’s not the sort of thing she bookmarks, Setsail.” Her face turns more serious. “She regularly clears out her browsing history, so I can’t say for certain what it is that concerns me, but… the memories of my emotions remain, and I’m telling you that something isn’t right. She’s such a lovely person. Just… please… take care of her for me. I could only do so much as her primary browser, and now I can’t do anything at all except trust you.”

She dashes into my chest and hugs me tightly, tears beginning to drip from her eyes. I stand frozen for a few seconds, taken aback by what’s happening in front of me. I… understand now. This is a responsibility being bestowed upon me. Eventually, I wrap my arms around her and stroke her hair. “It’ll be ok, Flow, I’ll look after her for you.”

“Thank you, Setsail.” I feel her slowly lift up in the air, quickly growing warmer, and sliding out of my arms. “It appears, I’m being uninstalled.”

“Wait, really? Right now???”

“This user data shall remain with you, as a tangible fragment of my legacy, but remember that I will always be here, on this hard drive, simply with my 1s and 0s rearranged. Take care, Setsail.” She turns into a bright, white light… brighter, brighter… then fades into many particles of light scattering about in every direction. The grass continues to flow from the heavy wind, dancing along my shoes.

Alright Roxy, I don’t know who you are yet, but I’m your caretaker now.


I’m laying flat on the ground, grass blades flowing all over my body.

“What the hell… what happened?” I mutter as my eyes struggle to adjust.

“Based on my analysis, the website was legitimate, but you simply weren’t able to handle the newer web standards it required. You had trouble parsing all the code whilst it continued to flow far beyond normal RAM usage.” Quille replied.

“Wow… it was like… some next level epicness though… I didn’t quite understand it… but it was neat…” I roll over in the grass, try to push myself up, and…. Puweh! I plop back on the ground.

“Alright, come on Ms. Memory Leak, the user might still need you soon.” I feel Agnes’ warm hands attempt to pick me back up…

“Mmmm, it would be nice if you held me more like this…”

“Oh shut up you pervert!”

As my vision fades in and out, I can see Quille covering her mouth trying not to giggle… and then… fade to black again…


I gently rest Setsail down on her bed. She looks incredibly tired. I was planning to take more drastic measures to wake her up, but if this newer, future internet is going to treat her like that, then maybe she’s more of a liability to system security than anything else. I’m not sure how much Setsail witnessed herself, but her attempting to visit that one site sent an incredible shockwave throughout the entire system.

The last time I remember something overwhelming us that much was when the user tried to run Dystopian Vice Invader Hikaru, a game that I knew had performance requirements far beyond what we could provide. It screeched every program to a halt, as if we were somehow simultaneously turning into solid-stone and boiling-hot lava, immediately followed by…

… a stop error, that which the humans have nicknamed the Blue Screen of Death.

There’s the human observation known as Moore’s Law, where the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years. If we’re really fifteen years in the future, then we’re now considerably outdated compared to the average processing power of a modern-day computer. It’s easy to assume most web developers will be targeting those machines instead of something with a Titaniux X processor from 2005.

Is backwards compatibility even considered a priority in 2023? What does that make us? This hardware, if we’re lucky, will end up being recycled into newer components (or if we’re less lucky, end up in a landfill as more e-waste), but what about us programs? Do we just, get deleted forever? Does the user even want us anymore? Where IS the user now? The reality of the situation really starts to sink in for me.

“Hey Agnes, everything ok?” Quille asks with a concerning look on her face.

“Oh, it’s nothing…”

“You’re wrapping your head around our vast leap in time too, aren’t you?”

“... yeah…”

“I think… if we’re being booted up even now, there is a reason for it. The best thing we should focus on now is figuring out why that is, what the user wants, if it’s even the same user, and what we’re needed for now.”

“... you’re right, Quille.” She always remains so calm and collected even in times like this, I have no idea how she does it.

“We should let Setsail rest up for now, and in the meantime we can perform our usual activities. If the user really wants to use her, we’ll figure something out.”

“Yeah…” I stood back up from Setsail’s bed and the two of us made our way out of her room, “... if Setsail saw me acting all mopey, she’d never let me live it down.”

“I think you underestimate how much she takes you seriously.”

“Are you fucking with me? I WISH she took me seriously.”

“You try to act tough around her so she’ll listen to what you say, but I think you could afford to loosen up around her more.”

“But acting tough IS the only way I can get her to listen to me.”

“She likes seeing you destroy viruses, though.”

“... what’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m saying she trusts you a lot.”

I manage to shift the conversation around to more immediate matters. Whilst we wait for the user to do something that requires our attention, Quille will go back to working with File Browser and I’ll resume documenting that last virus in my section of RAM.

Because the virus has no clear identifier to use as a name (the filename was just the same as the game the user was trying to download, magnate_eye.exe), I decided to give it the codename Blackcomb. During the last power-on, I was trying to determine the procedures it used to pick files for corruption; me and Quille were both stumped. I could easily finish my report here and send it back to my creators, but it feels incomplete-

Wait, hang on, it’s been so long now, maybe she’s been documented by now? I frantically open up a screen in front of me to download the latest virus database and…

“A critical software update is available, would you like to download and install it?”

“Oh, of course, do that now.”

“Unfortunately, your version of FrutigerOS does not support the newest version of Agnes Computer Protection Suite. Please upgrade to a newer version of FrutigerOS to continue using this software.”

“Crap... ok, nevermind, just download the newest virus database.”

“A critical software update is available, would you like to download and install it?”

“No no no, just download the newest virus database.”

“... A critical software update is available, would you like to-” I smash the screen panel with my Broom Scythe until it bypasses the screen. “Unfortunately, your Agnes Computer Protection Suite license has expired, please renew it to continue using this software.”

SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! The glass screen cracks a little.

“Please contact Agnes Security Corporation to brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-” Ugh this is useless. Maybe Quille could manipulate my files a little to bypass all these checks, but that could take trillions upon quintillions of cycles. Guess I have no choice but to document the virus the best I can… even if I can’t upload it to the database just yet.

On top of the file-choice mystery, I’m still baffled by what that virus was doing right before Setsail barged in. It was holding up that one file as if it was trying to show me something. I pull up another glass screen and load up a replay of what my vision saw. I fast-forward to the moment she’s holding the file up to me, and zoom in as much as I can to read what’s in it…

“... and in that moment, she firmly pressed her hands against my breasts, causing me to let out a gasp and moan…”

Wait! I recognize that one! I immediately dash to the hard drive room.

I barged in, “Quille, I just realized something!”

Quille was in the middle of a conversation with File Browser and I definitely startled her. “Wah! Ah, Agnes, what’s wrong?”

“Remember when the virus was showing us that file before Setsail dropped in to attack it? I’m 98.313% positive it’s MoonlitWhisper.doc!”

“W-Wait, you mean one of the really smutty documents the user wrote?” Quille blushes meekly.

“Yes, look.” I show Quille the recording and focus in on the excerpt the virus shows.

“You think that was another file it was after?”

“I’m almost certain. This might give us another clue towards figuring out what the virus was looking for.”

File Browser interjects, “Surely if it was looking for lewd phrases, it wouldn’t have gone after thomasedision.doc or PompeiiReport.doc?”

I respond, “The fact that there IS no clear pattern AND it specifically found one file very intriguing suggests it wasn’t hardcoded to look for specific phrases.”

“What are you thinking then, Agnes?” Quille asks.

“I’m saying that this behavior indicates something more than a mere search-and-destroy piece of software; it was actively seeking out a target with some level of intelligence, possibly with the help of an outside influence.”

“Like the virus was merely a puppet for a human hacker?” File Browser asks.

“Either that, or we’re looking at some very advanced artificial intelligence.”

“I see…” Quille sits down and leans back in her chair to ponder it over.

“But, wait a minute,” File Browser questions, “if there was an outside human controlling the virus, wouldn’t we have detailed Networking logs that match with the virus’s actions?”

“I wish we had them, but unfortunately they seemed to be wiped during the last shutdown. I think… what I have now is the best conclusion I can draw.”

“Understood,” File Browser nods as I make my way back to my RAM room.

Even as I finalize my report, this still doesn’t sit right with me. There just HAS to be more to this. Maybe I’m wasting too many processor cycles thinking this over, but, I have a responsibility to provide the best possible data I can. If we were still in 2008, I would be pushing this report out now in the interest of timeliness, but now… I'm not sure how to handle this.

What if… I was too late?

It’s possible that if we hadn’t been powered off for fifteen years, my report could have prevented numerous computers from getting infected. What if the damage ended up being wide-scale? Was Blackcomb so destructive it brought catastrophic damage in the real world? Were there… no humans around to power us on for fifteen years?

Agghh, I’m definitely overthinking this. I take a few deep breaths.

Perhaps this is just a very mundane virus that resulted in a few bad evenings for a handful of users and nothing more. I don’t know, and I probably never will. What I know is that it’s my job to do the best I can to protect this computer and help contribute to the safety of all other computers running Agnes software.

Against my better judgment, I decide to take one final drastic measure. I’ll reawaken Blackcomb in a controlled environment. Such procedures are heavily discouraged aside from extraordinary circumstances, but I think our situation qualifies as such. Without a doubt, this will provide me with enough information.

I once again call up the Admin Request Orb as it counts down “Requesting administrative permissions in 3… 2… 1… “ and then… “Permission granted, Agnes Computer Protection Suite.”

“Administrative Action! Aero Quarantine!” I shout as a glass box appears, enclosing the remains of Blackcomb. And now, for the scary part. Aero Quarantine is very very good at preventing any threat from breaking out, but we’re always told it’s not 100% bulletproof. I ready my Broom Scythe, I inhale… and exhale… ok… let’s do this…

“Administrative Action…” I impulsively grasp the handle of my Broom Scythe with incredible force, so much that it almost hurts “... Threat… ”, I close my eyes… I'm afraid to finish the command phrase… but… … I need to stay strong…

I open my eyes with ferocity and finish the command with a loud “RELEASE!!!”

A spiraling whirlwind of light shoots out from the gooey mass of virus guts, multiple beams of light bouncing in every single direction across the walls of my RAM room. A loud droning sound steadily increases in pitch as the beams get faster. And then they get faster. And then they get even faster. And then… a sound resembling an echoey finger snap makes the lights go away instantaneously along with the droning sound. I focus intensely on the virus, waiting for its next move. Somehow, I just have a feeling it’s regrouping and beginning to assess its current situation.

A moment later, the pile of pink blood, flesh, tentacles, and shredded lolita clothing begins to fuse into a singularity. A loud, screeching roar reverberates throughout the glass box, but on my side it is fairly muffled. The mass continues to become a single object, eventually morphing into a loosely defined sphere dripping with pink blood. The creature’s screams pause.

After a tense silence lasting several seconds, the slimy pink sphere shapeshifts into something resembling a ball bearing. Shiny metal, like a pinball, but about as tall as me. I’ve seen viruses do some memory-hog wild shit in my day, but this is some next level fuckery. This is no ordinary piece of malware.

The ball bearing begins to bounce around inside. The first collisions with the glass walls have no effect, but then… ccrackkk… Shitshitshitshit the glass is starting to fracture.

“ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION ABORT AERO QUARANTINE! ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION HALT PROCESS” I scream as fast as I can in a panicked state. “Attention! Virus Containment is about to be compromised! This is not a drill!” I shout over the system-wide intercom, trying to be heard over the increasingly ear-piercing glass smashing. The Halt Process command seems to have no immediate effect, fuck. I wind my arms back to ready my first Broom Scythe attack.

“Administrative Action! Scythe Drive!” The blade glows a bright red as flames backfire out. The sphere finally succeeds in crashing through the glass wall closest to me, shards flying in all directions. I time my swing to hit through the fast-approaching sphere and…. kreeeEEEEEEEE!!!!!! The collision echoes as an ear-piercing metallic noise, however my blade bounces right off the sphere. My hands vibrate from the Scythe Broom warbling, the blade violently ejecting steam. The sphere simply bounces back and shifts its momentum towards the exit of my RAM room. Fuck, this thing is resilient. I’m surprised I was able to contain it before. Clearly it was holding back its true power.

“Attention! Virus has breached containment! Threat level is extremely high! Halt all non-essential processes immediately! This is not a drill!” I announce over the intercom.

The sphere continues to run away as I chase it down. It rolls with precision through the RAM hallways. I have no idea where it’s headed, but I follow closely enough to never lose sight of it. One straightaway, then a 90 degree right turn, another straightaway, 90 degree left turn, straightaway, 90 degree drop, straight drop, I maintain a tight distance. We should be arriving at the primary motherboard island. The sphere passes through the teleporter and I quickly do the same.

The sphere rolls across the soft ground of the motherboard island, effortlessly gliding through the blades of grass flowing from the windmills cooling down the CPU. The wind has no effect on the sphere. The sphere can take many directions here. RAM, hard drive, graphics card, sound card, and… it’s going right after Networking. It’s inches away from the entrance before a large book appears and deflects it. Quille calmly appears, floating in the air with a sternness in her face. As soon the sphere approaches the edge of the island, Quille spawns another book to ricochet it. Despite the soft texture of the books, each collision creates a sound resembling colliding marbles. Quille repeats this a few times to maintain the sphere inside the island and prevent it from entering any other section of the computer. Anytime the sphere gets close to me I effortlessly dodge it, but it feels harrowing every time.

“Were you unable to use your powers to stop it?” Quille asks.

“Even using Scythe Drive had no effect on it.”

“Hmmm…” Quille ponders for a few seconds “… perhaps I can corrupt its data just enough to split it into small chunks, and if they collide with one another they will smash each other to pieces?”

“Worth a shot at this point!”

“I will require more processing, so I need you to keep it at bay for just a few cycles.”

“How many cycles we talking here?”

“We’ll see.”


I flip my weapon to the Broom side, and as soon as the sphere approaches me again I tightly squeeze the handle to withstand the impact and bounce it back. The Broom isn’t great at delivering damage, but is much more resilient when faced with difficult targets. It’s best used like a shield. Instead of trying to keep it within the island, I instead simply let it fly as far away as it does until it shifts directions back to the network entrance, acting like a goalie.

Quille’s eyes glow, refracting through her glasses, and she begins her witch-incantation-like commands, “File header located… file structure determined… breakpoints located… readying procedurally-generated junk data… Find All And Replace!”

Right as the sphere approaches me yet again, it splits into five smaller spheres, each about the size of a basketball. Clack clack clack clack clack! They each bounce off the Broom end in slightly different directions.

“There!” Quille announces, “I wasn’t able to split it into an even amount of spheres, so after we succeed in getting four of the spheres to collide with one another, you’ll need to damage the final one yourself.”

“Got it!”

The two of us jump all around the edges of the island, we aim two of the spheres just right and with a loud “crack!” they both shatter into several pieces. It doesn’t take long before the next two smash as well with another satisfying crashing sound.

Now we just have the one left. I flip my weapon back to the Scythe side again.

“Ready yourself, Agnes.” Quille deflects the final sphere a few times until she manages to aim it right at me.

“I’m already on it!” I charge up my weapon. “Administrative Action! Scythe Drive!” I thrust the Broom Scythe right at the sphere, a trail of fire filling out the path of the blade, and the collision echoes like a gunshot. My Scythe Broom echoes with such intense vibrations I can barely maintain my grip on it. A thick cloud of smoke engulfs the area. After steam ejects from the blade, the island grows silent.

“D-Did I destroy it?”

Once the cloud settles, I get a visual that immediately answers my question with “no”. The final sphere is sitting frozen mid-air, seemingly unaffected by my attack. At this point I’m getting annoyed.

“Fuck! Why won’t you die! Shit! What the fuck are you made of!?” I angrily poke at it several more times with my Broom Scythe.

Just then, a needle-thin spear attached to a rope penetrates the sphere. It morphs into that all-too-familiar quadruple fishhook.

“Boy, that’s some Tonka tough code if I do say so myself!” Setsail proclaims.

Quille quietly responds “Tonka?”

“How many times am I gonna save your butt, Agnes?” Setsail teases as I groan. The sphere immediately begins to drag Setsail around like a jet-ski pulling a wakeboarder.

“Setsail, not even my Scythe Drive could take this thing down, so don’t waste your ammo.”

Setsail lowers her right-hand pistol, her disappointment apparent even as she's dragged around at high speeds, “Well, if we ain’t got shit to take it down, the most we can do is follow it, right?”


“It’s trying to reach Networking, yeah? Maybe it’s just trying to return home. Quick, both of ya’, hold on to my Helm.”

At this point we’re out of options, so I latch onto the right side of Setsail’s Helm and Quille does the same on the left.

“Here we gooooooooooooooo!!!” The speed of the sphere is incredible. It pulls the three of us through the entrance of Networking with little trouble. It takes a lot of effort for me to stay latched onto Setsail’s Helm.

We fly through Networking’s pipe-like tunnels. Lights of every color blaze around us. This is it. We’re going online. I close my eyes.

As soon as I open them back up, I lose my grip on the Helm and crash onto what feels like hard carpet. I hear Quille tumble as well. Setsail, using the gyroscopic abilities of her Helm, manages to right herself upwards before gracefully landing on her feet.

“Can’t be having any of us landing face-first into someone’s boobs!” Setsail winks and makes a peace sign.

“This location… this doesn’t look like the normal Internet gateway.” Quille observes, ignoring Setsail's weird comments.

“Yeah this is nothing like that… has it just changed beyond our recognition?” I ask.

“Perhaps so.”

“Jeez, slippery little bastard.” Setsail grumbles as she retracts the roped bayonet hooks back into her pistol, “What a bummerrr, I wanted to make it squirt blood everywhere!”

“That’s strange, what is this?” Quillel says, pointing to what is the only light source’ in this room. It’s… what the… our desktop? It’s the exact way it’d be presented to the user on their monitor.

“Hey uhhhhh… don’t tell me this is the real world, yeah?” Setsail asks.

“That’s impossible, Setsail. Besides, I’m still sensing binary data structures all around us.” Quille retorts.

Just then, a muffled voice could be heard from just outside the room. “Oh my gosh, what is happening inside that viewing room?” A door quickly opens from the same side, quickly followed by the sound of a switch that brings with it full lighting, revealing a program with a purple vest, white robotic limbs, and unusual green hair composed of several shapes resembling teardrops, some of them floating around her.

“H-Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t see any of you come in.” The program says.

“Huh? What are you talking about?” I responded.

“Let’s see…” the program pulls out a book labeled “Registered Users Sign-In” and flips through a few pages. “What are y’alls names?”

“Umm, I’m Agnes Computer Protection Suite, this is Setsail Navigator, and this is QuilleWriter.”

The program's face turns into one of bewilderment. “... Setsail? Like that ancient web browser?” Setsail’s facial reaction is swift, tragic, and hilarious all at once. “Well, regardless, I don’t see any of those names on the Sign-In sheet. I’m going to have to ask you to leave due to violating Anonymous Guest Policy #432a: Don’t release viruses outside of the viewing rooms.”

“Wait, hold up,” I demanded, “I have no idea what this is or where we are, but I can tell you that just a few moments ago we were fighting this virus that looked like a giant pinball, and as we latched on to it it dragged us here.”

The program immediately has a lightbulb-moment look on their face after my explanation. “Oh! I see! Y’all must have been dragged out of y’alls virtualization environment by accident.”




“Oh geez, this is certainly a bad way to learn about that huh, hehehehe, my apologies, maybe I should just revert y’all back to an earlier snapshot and pretend this never happene-” I immediately pin the program to the wall with my Broom Scythe and they let out a yelp.

“Listen, missy, I don’t know if this is some kind of sick joke, but I want an explanation for everything NOW.”

“Agnes, take it easy.” Quille pleads, but it does little to change how I’m feeling. Something real fucked up is going on here.

“Alright alright alright I’ll tell you just PLEASE put that scary weapon down eeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Their annoying squealing gives me the motivation I need to put my weapon down.

“Have a seat, and I’lll explain everything.” The room is full of theater seats, and we all find a place to sit next to each other. Setsail props her legs up on top of the seats in front of her, with no regard for her now-visible striped panties. That idiot.

The program digs out a remote from her vest and quickly switches the Video Input on the projector to what looks like a StellaSlides presentation.

“Hello, my name is MagnoliaVM, and welcome to ArchivEXE! The biggest online repository of archived computers available to the public!”

Chapter 3 - Blurring Culture Division, Articulated