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[Dopple Effect Ver. 0.91] - Relaunched
Update 1

Initiating connection.

Settings minimal. 

Signal connection strong.

Injecting Diver_1 and Diver_2. 

Lifelines fully operational. 

Transporting now.

[Image: MnLPHIM.png]

          These were the words that rang through the heads of those constructs who hooked up top the box and were shortly after plunged into what people dubbed "The Depths." There was always a drift, the sensation of the lightest you've ever been, and then the full force of gravity as your virtual form was dropped in the middle of the emulated subspace. You've done this only a handful of times in your life but you're very familiar with the subject from years of research and more than a dabbling in the supernatural.

You're not alone of course. Your operator is plenty experienced and you have the helpful hand of a somewhat recent friend who to your surprise volunteered without prompting.

Upload complete, generating now.

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Your virtual body manifests rather quickly, a loose interpretation of your nerves and functions and sense of self with a certain extra flexibility. Your shape can be shifted around to accommodate for a variety of terrain and movement. Like a wispy octopus really. Whether it's your mind, soul, or the embodiment of muscle memory is something you rather not think about too much as the dread tends to seep in quickly when you do.

All you need to know is that you are Diane, and you are currently on a very important expedition. Your friend Dorothy is a rancher unit who often spends the night shift as security around the place you're currently both working and living at. You can hear the operator chime in. 

Operator: What's your status? Everything okay down there?

Diane: Mm. Landing appears to be smooth. Rendering seems a little... simple.

Operator: Settings are low to conserve processing power. You won't get much visual, just keep going up ahead. Not much in terms of landmarks but you're facing the right way.

Dorothy:  Noted. Is that why we're kind of just in the middle of nowhere?

Operator: Mmhmm! You spawned in completely fine?

Dorothy: Yeah, had a little prep and training before doing this. Read up on materials too. Still not used to how fuzzy things are in here though.. is fuzzy the right word? I feel fuzzy. 

Diane: Fuzzy is about right. You're kind of a loose mish mash of your inner workings or.. I guess at least how your mind thinks they work. 

Dorothy: Really weird.... so it's the me that's inside my head?

Diane: Sort of. There's a little more to it than that but it's kind of existential.

Dorothy: For you or me?

Diane: Both. 

[Image: aicEPyS.png]

Dorothy: Noted. Gotta say though if this is supposed to be the inner us, I didn't think you'd be a uh... cow? Or maybe a bat?

Diane: Kind of a ambiguous mammal really..

Dorothy:  The hearts are a cute touch.

Diane: I had a few modifications done... I would have offered to let you do something like that but I didn't want to miss the chance to do this particular job. It's time sensitive. 

Dorothy: Speaking of, what exactly are we going after here? Something that might revolutionize the world? This isn't a common thing for you as far as I know.

Diane: No, guess it's really not... like.... 

Dorothy: Has to be something pretty special for you to go in yourself. 

Diane: Well.... yes. Not really something as much as someone though.

Dorothy: A pretty important someone maybe? Do I know them?

Diane: Very special.

Dorothy: A friend or something more?

Diane: Yes. The friend part, a little bit of something more but...

Dorothy: A very special friend?

Diane: No, not like that... it's a bit complicated I guess....  you'd like them I think. You’ll meet them soon enough.

Dorothy: If things go well we can make a whole special occasion out of it. A day out with brunch. 

Diane: I wouldn't mind that... maybe invite Mori too, though they might be busy.

Dorothy: Invite away. Actually a quick question, you cook at all? 

Diane: Just a little, I've picked up things here and there. Why?

Dorothy: Thinking a little. If we get enough people we could have a nice potluck. Maybe. 

Diane: Honestly sounds pretty nice... like, we all bring food?

Dorothy: Yeah! Used to do them all the time with a bunch of friends on weekends. We'd go to the park and bring enough so that random people could join in fine. Hasn't happened much recently because uh....

Diane: Circumstances?

Dorothy: Yeah.  But if you wanted we could totally do that once things go back to normal. If they do anyway. 

Diane: I think I'd like that. 

Dorothy: Good! Good. Promise you it'll be a lot of fun. 

Diane: Don't you let me forget.

Dorothy: I won't. Honestly, I need something to look forward to. World got all screwy with the uh... weird orb in the sky.

Diane: I think we all do... 

Dorothy: Yeah. Anyway are we getting close to the target?

Diane: Think so. Operator?

Operator: Should be right in front of you right now, kind of overlapping actually. Radar must not be synced up with you uh.... give me a moment to fuss.

Dorothy: Is everything okay?

Operator: Yeah just step back please, don't want anybody getting clipped into.

Dorothy: Clipped? What's that supposed to mean?

Operator: Uh... Like..... 

Diane: I can explain. So getting clipped is like....

Diane made a twisting gesture with their wrist followed by a pained throat noise. 

Dorothy: That... doesn't tell me much.

Diane: Just trust me like.... you don't want it.

Operator: Yeah no listen to them for real, back up.

Dorothy shrugged and stepped back a few feet. Diane followed with zero hesitation. 

Operator: Loading in now, should be good.

[Image: nhvTO3t.png]

A large sloped tower spawned directly in front of them, Dorothy's entire body hissed and crackled like a cat that'd been soaked. You do your best not to laugh.

Dorothy: That's not natural. I think I hate it.

Diane: None of this is.

Operator: Yeah just roll with the punches, you're about to see some shit. Anyway that should be the entrance. Next area should be loaded properly. You're going to have to dive a couple layers at most probably. Transport should get you to the zone you need. Should probably let you focus, feel free to ask you any questions though.

Diane: Thank you. I'm good for now. 

Dorothy: Mostly good, just got a quick question. Who's exactly up there right now? Don't think I ever asked. 

Operator: Papaya. Might've seen me around, maybe not. That all? I'll be listening in the entire time of course but.. you know.

Dorothy: Yeah that's it for now. 

Diane: Mm.

Operator: Alright then, just take the elevator ahead. I know it looks a little off but should be fine once you step inside. Only leaning on the outside, it's one of those illusions I guess. 

Dorothy: Noted. We'll be quick.

Dorothy pulls open the door with zero hesitation and crawls into the tower one leg at a time. She holds the door open for you.

Diane: Oh, thank you... you didn't have to. 

Dorothy: If I shave you a few seconds of trouble it's no issue.  

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She closes the door behind the two of you. There's a series of clicking sounds as the exit locks in.  As the operator had mentioned, once you were both inside the slope was practically non-existent. A single screened panel was embedded into the wall in front of them with only one button. It's labeled "Far".

You press the button. The elevator begins moving. 

There's only a bit of rumble and tumble as you make your descent, at least you assume you're going down. It keeps going for a good while, longer than any real elevator you've been inside of but you eventually feel it slowing down. There's a click and a clunk as you reach your destination. The doors appear to have unlocked.  Dorothy has been staring at the wall the entire time without much of a word. 

Diane: We're here.

Dorothy: Yeah. 

Diane: You okay? You've been quiet.

Dorothy: A little motion sick. It'll pass. You can open the door whenever just... one sec. 

Can robots get motion sick? You suppose that if she can eat, nausea isn't that surprising. 

Diane: Take your time.

Dorothy: Actually, open it right now I think the air might help.

You nod and nudge open the door just the slightest. Light from the world outside pours inside. You get a peek of what's out there, a little bit of sand and a whole lot of sea breeze. You're pretty far from home but it's not that unfamiliar to you.

You make your first steps onto the sand. 

You look up at the sky. 

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Something unearthly menaces you from above. Oh god. 
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The massive reflective anomaly fixates its singular eye on you, casting a spotlight on your body. The glow is unlike anything you've ever seen in nature.

A sharp coldness roots itself deep in your body.

You try to retreat but can't move.

Every muscle in you is suddenly stuff.
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You feel like a deer about to meet god. 

Dorothy: Hey, what the fuck is that?

You try to respond and can't get out more than a couple of mouth sounds. 

Dorothy: Diane?

You see it start to close the gap incredibly fast.

Dorothy: Diane move!

It's going to ram you head on. Your lungs are tightening as you brace for impact. 
[Image: 8vsTGaX.png]

Suddenly you feel someone slamming directly into your back. You're launched off your feet and tumble into the sand. The large creature narrowly misses you, kicking up tons of dirt as it crashes itself directly into the elevator. You feel yourself grabbed by the arm and being dragged downhill.

Dorothy: Hey come on get up! What happened back there? You froze up!

Diane: Sorry...

Dorothy: You can't be getting scared like that. On your feet. 

You fumble a little as you stand up. Your body can move again but you're still a little stiff. 

Diane: It's not like that like....

Dorothy: Shh, hold that thought for a sec.
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Dorothy leads you behind some cover. You have a more than little bit of trouble but she helps you quickly lay low. The creature seems to linger around the top of the hill, scanning the area for the two of you but doesn't seem to have much success. After what feels like an eternity, it seems to give up its attempt to pursue and drifts off. You continue to stay silent until you're absolutely certain it's out of range.

[Image: elWCrlM.png]

Dorothy: I think we're good for now. You okay? Sorry if I was rough on you at all. 

Diane: You did what you had to. I'm sorry about that.

Dorothy: We made it out right? We just gotta avoid any more of those while we're here.

Diane: Don't even want to think about more of them existing. When that thing looked at me I couldn't move at all. Not just a fear thing but like... I couldn't move at all. 

Dorothy: You serious? 

Diane: Mm. Think I'm almost back to normal though.

Dorothy: Think you should get your vitals checked quick. Operator?

Papaya: Yeah doing a quick scan. Doesn't seem like anything super serious, should be just fine but for a little bit you seemed like you were in a state of something close to sleep paralysis. Good thing is your lifeline is intact for the most part but the elevator needs some time to regen. Gonna make the suggestion you don't try to fight any of those.

Dorothy: Any traces of toxins that could've done that? Maybe radiation?

Papaya: Nah, brain patterns make me think it has some sort of hypnotic effect though. You said it just looked directly at you?

Diane: Mmhmm. Fixated on me. 

Papaya: Gonna say for now you stay out of sight completely then. Never heard of an animal that can do that to someone though, can't imagine how anyone would live out here. 

Dorothy: So it just looks at you and then crushes you and there's nothing you can do about it?

Papaya: As far I know yeah. Good thing is there's two of you though so as long as you both don't get caught by it I guess you got a chance.... I'll be honest though, I’m worried.  You sure you can continue this?

Diane: As long as we stay out of its focus we'll be fine. It's pretty easy to see them coming so...
[Image: eU8obr7.png]

Dorothy: If they're still up for it, I got no issue. 

Diane: You sure?

Dorothy: Course. Keeping my commitment here. Besides, someone has to keep you safe from... what would you even call that?

Diane: A giant mirror ball?

Dorothy: I got more metal whale vibes from it. Operator?

Papaya: Literally can't tell, looks like a really big blip from my interface.​​​​​​ Sure if you ask the locals they'd have a name for it. 

Diane: Can't imagine anyone wanting to live in a place where that thing exists.

Papaya: I mean they do. Lots of them actually, look south. Getting a lot of vitals on radar and I'm pretty sure it's not just the local fauna. 

[Image: aSuQEAk.png]

Diane: Oh. Well.

Papaya: Yeah. Literally can't miss it. 

Dorothy: No kidding. Big.

Diane: That's our next stop. 

Papaya: Yeah. Gonna focus on fixing up the tower that thing damaged while you both investigate. Need it to bring the target back. Your lifelines are still intact so I can bail you both if it gets desperate enough but they're not equipped for a third person. Ya'll can hold off for a few hours though I'm pretty sure. It'll probably take you longer to track the target.

Diane: That's fine. We're gonna go check town. Keep us updated.

[Image: COCFqmI.png]

After a little trek you make it to the path by the golden bundles of vegetation outside the front gate of the city walls.

Dorothy: Sure is a lot of field for how cold and sandy it is.

Diane: Probably some kind of native crop the people of this world stockpiled. Operator?

Papaya: Uh, I got no clue honestly. Could be some sort of engineered stuff. If they got a big fort like this all far out they must have some kind of genetic modification to make a crop ready to take on all sorts of extreme biomes. That or some kind of evolutionary deviation. 

Dorothy: So in other words, either the world is just like this and life figured it out, or someone changed life to figure it out. 

Papaya: That's correct. 

Dorothy: That makes some sense. So there's a coin flip chance we can figure out what kind of tech these people have access to  based on which one right?

Papaya: I mean.. it's a light gauge but not enough on its own. Tech evolves at its own pace.

Diane: Yeah. Some regions are like that too. Not everywhere has the same ability to just send your virtual self into another reality you know.

Papaya: Some regions don't got constructs as advanced as any of us here you know.

Dorothy: You think there's a place without constructs at all?

Diane: Maybe. Read up on some stuff like that at the library. 

Dorothy: Oh, you go to one of those regularly?

Diane: The one on North Flintlock Street, you been there?

Dorothy: Yeah! Go there for the cafe mostly... a bit of a coffee person.

Diane: Dark or light?

Dorothy: Light, milky, and filled with cream. 

Diane: Same. Can't do the dark stuff too well... I mean if I have to I will but you know.

Dorothy: I get you. We should have coffee when we get back honestly.

Diane: Wouldn't mind.

Dorothy: Maybe hit a shop once things get back to normal...

Diane: If they do... I really hope so anyway.

Dorothy: Yeah....

As the two of you reach the edge of the walls past the huge rows of fields, you run into a toll booth. 

[Image: G3YGCIl.png]

There's a guard in front. A dopple like yourself perhaps but very different from the ones back home. 

Diane: You see that?

Dorothy: Yeah what a dork, just standing there.

Diane: Lets see if they'll let us in.

You approach the synthetic looking dopple.

Dorothy: Hello? Um... 

???: State your business. 

Diane: Here to see a friend who might hopefully be in town.

???: Do you have a name? That might make the process easier. All our citizens are registered under an ID system.

Diane: Fizz. Fizz Rock. 

The sentry gives you a confused look.

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???: Fizz?

Diane: Yeeesss? Why?

???: Can I have your names please?

Dorothy: Dorothy Coil.

Diane: Diane Rock. 

???: Allow me a moment.

The Dopple seems to stare off into distant space for a while. 

Dorothy: Are they okay?

???: I'm fine, I'm communicating with the Director. Nobody refers to them by their proper name much so it's interesting that you've referred to them as such. They seem unfamiliar with a Dorothy Coil but.... a Diane Rock brings up instant intrigue. 

Diane: Really?

???: Yes, they'd like to see you today actually. We'll send another DOPPLE unit to take you there quickly.

Diane: DOPPLE Unit?

???: Yes.... there's many of us, we're a bit of a hivemind to put it super bluntly. Some call us DOP for short. We have the director to thank for helping us realize a physical form like this. It was a bit of a trade I suppose. 

Dorothy: What do you mean trade?

DOP: The director was without physical form too when we met... They advanced the project in exchange for a physical shell. They became a pretty important figure in this town too, they brought with them many technological advances that made life easier for its citizens. They're a hero here.

A hero in another time and place.

Diane: So can we see them right now?

DOP: Soon. They're wrapping up some things quickly. We need to get you both some identification first though...

Diane: That's fine I guess. 

Dorothy: This gonna be some kind of chip implant or....

DOP: No, just a pair of ID cards. We've scanned you while we were having this discussion, it's quite subtle. Anyway give me just one moment and..... done. Printed and ready.

[Image: B0tBk2T.png]

DOP hands the two of you a pair of ID cards. They're segmented in an unusual way and made of a very sturdy material that will not bend easily. 

You both pocket them. The blocker at the booth pulls out of the way.

Diane: Thanks.

DOP: I'll see you around a ton... I do hope you don't mind me much. I know some people find it frustrating.

Dorothy: No no! You're good. Thanks for helping us out!

DOP: Mmm. In that case I do wish you well, the entrance is ready for you to enter. Stay safe. 

Diane: We will. You too, don't get too bored waiting around for folks to pass by. 

DOP: I won't. Remember things lock up at dark so keep it in mind! Enjoy your time in Strix!

DOP waves at you as you two make your way to the front gate.

Dorothy: Lot of purple in there.

Diane: Has a night time vibe but during the day. Kinda like that. Operator, quick question.

Papaya: Yeah?

Diane: You feel Fizz's signal in there? Like our Fizz?

Papaya: Of course, you okay?

Diane: Feeling a little weird with how much seems to have gone on while they were in here.

Papaya: Time and space are funky like that. Things bugging you.

Diane: A little.

Dorothy: I'm sure they're fine and miss you. We'll see them soon, tell them what's up back home, and then they'll come back with us easily.

Diane: Yeah... Yeah we'll bring them back. 

You start down the tunnel, feeling the light of the sun fade and the artificial glow warm your body.
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Update 4

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As you enter the immediate focal point is what appears to be a series of connected buildings and a towering building above it. Various small apartments and stores are lined up against the streets.
Diane: Feels a little cramped in here with all the walls and uh... that artificial moon not too far away. 
Dorothy: Yeah I thought it'd be bigger.
Diane: Feel like it'd be claustrophobic. Can't hold all that many people either I imagine. 
Dorothy: I mean its nice in its own way. Has a bit of a calming vibe with all the purple.
Diane: Like eternal evening.
Dorothy: Eternal evening is probably something people need when going outside gets you almost crushed alive. 
Diane: Yeah.... shoot, where were we heading?
Dorothy: Town hall I think? Has an information center sooooooo...
Diane: Makes perfect sense-
[Image: UoGYCM2.png]
You're immediately hugged by a passerby, another DOPPLE unit like the one you met at the entrance. You make a high pitched sound of surprise.
???: Heyoooo! Sorry did I spook you?
Diane: Uh.... hey?
Dorothy: Hey you want me to step in quick?
Diane: I think I'm fine-
???: You brought a friend, cute! Never seen them before, someone new? 
Their mannerisms are completely different from the first DOP you encountered, and rather familiar
Diane: I'm really sorry to ask this but uh... do I know you..? Because I think I do and-
???: Of course you do!
Diane: Fizz?
Fizz: The one and only, guess you wouldn't recognize me like this. Was gonna wait til after I was done with everything to meet you in person but wrapping up a lot of stuff that I gotta handle, and then I gotta clean up because I look like trash right now and-
Diane: You don't have to get all dressed for me..
Fizz: I really do! I knew you'd show up one day but I wasn't ready for it to be today honestly. 
Diane: I'm just glad to know you're okay. 
Fizz: How long's it been out there? Like in your world?
Diane: Four months. 
Fizz: Been like 5 years here. Dimensional travel is like that you know?
Diane: I'm so sorry....
Fizz: Don't worry about it, got a lot done in that time. Not like either of us age and die anymore. 
Dorothy: Wait what does that last part mean?
Diane: We're both immortal...somewhat. A perk of becoming a demon. 
Dorothy: So like... you're both gonna last forever?
Fizz: Yep! Anyway it'll be a bit before I can see you both in person, currently talking to some folks up top.
Diane: That's fine I guess. 
Fizz: Sorry for also hugging you without warning. Didn't think it through.
Dorothy: So this isn't actually you?
Fizz: Nope, just borrowing this DOP shell for a moment, he doesn't mind as long as I tell him in advance. Not like he doesn't have a hundred more floating around. He's pretty chill, think you'll both like him.
Diane: So uh... what have you been up to. 
Fizz: A lot actually! I'm in two places at once right now though so I don't wanna lose concentration by going off about everything that's happened while I'm here. You mind waiting at the rec center a bit? There's a lobby there you two can settle in on.
Diane: Sure. 
Fizz: Dop will take over in a sec and keep you both company. He's good for helping newcomers get around easy. I'll be back soon. 
Diane: Take your time... well maybe not too much.
Fizz: Trust me I know! We got lots to catch up on and... I really did miss you.
Diane: Missed you too....
They lean into your ear and whisper.
Fizz: On a side note what's your friend's name?
Diane: Dorothy. 
Fizz: You two friends or "friends" because if you need a wingman to make you look cool...
Diane: You don't gotta do that....
Fizz: Just saying, she was ready to beat my ass into the ground for you.
Diane: I mean....
Fizz: Just think about it.
Fizz pulled back from hugging Diane.
Fizz: Dorothy, Diane. I'll see you both soon. 
Diane: Sounds good.
Dorothy: Mm. 
The DOPPLE unit's face blanks out, the DOP Ai taking back control.
Dop: Well I've been filled in. Can I take you both to the rec center lobby for now?
Diane: I'm ready. 
Dorothy: Same. 
The dop unit led you both to the lobby with little issue. The two of you settled into a big chair together.
The wait ended up way longer than you expected. 
[Image: al3N0zd.png]
You both managed to doze off for the most part. 
After a long wait your shoulder is tapped at. You look up.
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Fizz: I'm back, sorry for taking so long. You ready to catch up on everything?
[Image: CorDIxJ.png]

Fizz places their hand in yours. You can't help but smile seeing them again face to face after so long.

Diane: You're really here flesh and all! 
Fizz: Sort of? It's still mostly projection but... a really good one. Changed a few details.
Diane: The freckles are pretty new. Ears are different too. Any reason?
Fizz: Like to mix it up. I can get you set up with something similar... Only would take me a moment.
Diane: Oh? Freckles?
Fizz: No! Unless you really want to I guess. 
Diane: I could probably have fun with those...
Fizz: Not like you didn't borrow everything else right?
You can't help give them a face of guilt.
Fizz: I'm kidding.
Diane: I still feel bad about it.
Fizz: It was an accident.
Diane: You went through so much over it.
Fizz: It's fine, we'll figure it out later. Anyway let me patch you up quick.
Diane: Is something wrong? 
Fizz: Your form is unstable. It's cute but you're gonna melt away like that. Like, actually melt away.
Diane: Shit what?
Fizz: Mmhmm. Take it moving around has been a little off?
Diane: Yeah, having trouble getting used to being completely digital like this... or I guess this world is real?
Fizz: It's real, you're more like a projection than digital. A ghost if you will. Anyway seems like the tech in Plaza hasn't improved too much huh? 
Diane: Nah... guess not. Digital transport is still pretty primitive.
Fizz: it's fine. I got you covered.

[Image: lsDlV8O.png]
Fizz lifts their hand, leaving a little pin there.
Diane: What's this?
Fizz: Put it on. 

[Image: zVX0OnG.png]
You place the pin on your chest, your form shifts and crackles. After a moment, you find yourself feeling stronger, more stable. The has fully melded into you, no longer visible
Fizz: Kinda a classic look don't you think? Spooky.
Diane: I like spooky.... 
Fizz: Almost like when we first met really. 
Dorothy interrupts the two of you.
Dorothy: Sorry, a little groggy from just waking up. Caught most of that. You two got some kind of neat backstory?
Fizz: You can say that. 
Diane: We should probably give you context since you're the only one not in on this. 
Fizz: You want the short version or the long one?

[Image: VMN6iAr.png]
Dorothy: Both!
Fizz: Short version is mad science, a deal with a ghost, murder, and a bit of a blunder. 
Diane: That's a little too short.
Dorothy: Yeah that doesn't explain shit, no offense. 
Fizz: Fair enough. Long version starts with what some folks call a pact proxy. Kind of a dire move but we were in dire times so...
Diane: Wouldn't really be here without it. 
Fizz: Yeah. I mean.. you right now? Completely different from you back then. 
Diane: We were both pretty cold blooded back then....
Fizz: No kidding.
Fizz turns toward Dorothy.
Fizz: Gist is your friend here is a proxy, a pact proxy to be exact. The combination of my inner strength and some fragmented bits of very fighty spirit. 
Dorothy: Why would you do something like that?
Fizz: Couldn't get myself a strong enough proxy to fight with in time otherwise. See we are what you would call witches. We explore the weird supernatural elements of the world.
Dorothy: I know what a witch is.
Fizz: Right well... this is probably before your time but a heck of a conflict happened on the island a long time ago and witches were drafted to take it on. Including me.... This of course ended up with the survivors all getting promoted. Demonhood for Diane and I in particular. Mori was also one of these so... I guess you can call us war buddies. 
Diane: Maybe a little more than just buddies when you're attached to each other like this...
Dorothy: Wait so... proxies from what I heard are ghosts right? Only certain people can see them but I can see Diane just fine in the real world.
Fizz: Well one, this is also a real world just.. a very different one. Two, it's my body. 
Diane: We had a bit of a fumble.
Fizz: Pact proxies will go to extreme degrees to maintain whatever goal they were summoned for if they develop a will of their own. Diane's job was to protect me. 
Diane: The body was in a spot where it was about to take fatal damage, witching accident and all. I wanted to at least save Fizz's soul so I ejected them and uh.....
Fizz: It wasn't a perfect process, took some damage. The body survived despite everything saying it shouldn't have.. in a bit of rough shape though admittedly. I haven't been able to go back to our original body and most bodies in our world eventually reject me overtime so...
Diane: I'm so sorry...
Fizz: You were doing your job, it happens and I'm fine right now. Don't worry about it so much. 
Diane: It's my fault you ended up lost to begin with. If none of that happened....
Fizz: I could have ended up worse off if you didn't take the bullet for me like that. 
Diane: I guess....
Dorothy: I hate to stop you both in the middle of this but... what is this big thing that started it all to begin with? Like, a draft? Never heard about that... and what do you mean before my time? How old are the two of you?
Diane: Demonhood uh... makes you immortal to a degree. Happened a couple of decades before you would've been conscious and out in the world the way you are. I can go into detail but it's... existential stuff. 
Dorothy: Existential? I mean I can probably take it.
Fizz: I wanna do this more comfortably if we're going to go into it. Let's move to my apartment if that's okay.
Diane: Only if she wants to hear it. 
Dorothy: I mean may as well right?
You give her a tired look.
Fizz: Honestly we probably should considering it's why we're in the mess that got us here to begin with.

Diane: Alright then.
[Image: afIBcik.png]
After a walk and an elevator ride, the three of you make it into a large lab-like area with a few desks and a big comfy chair.

Diane: You can’t be living like this.

Fizz: You know I’ve always liked being close to my work.

Diane: Yeah but like… come on.

Fizz: It’s fine, we talk about my bad habits later. I got something big to show you all.

Diane: Mm.

Fizz: Alright so I’m gonna show you something really neat in a sec, just gotta get this generator warmed up quickly.

Diane: What is it?

Fizz: You’ll see when it’s ready. I gotta talk to you about some big stuff real quick though. So uh… first off I gotta tell you that I can’t go home just yet. In fact if what I’m finding is correct, none of us really can afford to.

Diane: What do you mean?

Fizz: I gotta look out for this place you know? And uh… truth be told our circumstances in our world are way more dire that you might think.

Diane: They’re really dire right now! The dead are walking Fizz! They’re walking and they’ve formed a weird cult and people are getting sick!

Fizz: Yeah I know, life was pretty weird and messed up before I got ejected all the way out here in this hell world too you know. This world is connected to what happens to ours though.

Diane: As in…

Fizz: As in if we don’t save this place our version of Plaza goes too. You read up on my papers right?

Diane: Course I did, needed to in order to get all the way out here.

Fizz: You too uh…Dorothy right?

Dorothy: I skimmed a little on some of it, Diane needed help going through for the research so I know a little.

Fizz: Right so…. Remember the documents on pocket worlds?

Diane: Yep.

Dorothy: Refresh me.

Fizz: Alright so, gist is that my team at the lab back when I was working for Mori discovered that angels are capable of making little pocket worlds out of pieces of others right? That’s how stuff just sometimes disappears in mass, how people remember the names of books being different than what they supposedly were the whole time, etc. They get sucked into a small pocket world where the angel is storing stuff.

Diane: Is this one of those pocket worlds right now?

Fizz: Nope! This world has always been here right next to ours. It’s a different Plaza in all but name.

Dorothy: Doesn’t really look like Plaza.

Fizz: Yeah, that’s the problem. A lot of it got pocketed. And our world is gonna get pocketed too. There’s two angels communicating and bundling up pieces of this world and our home world in a big rat nest of a mess.

Diane: So what are you saying? That two angels are buddying up?

Fizz: Well to be more precise.. They’re reproducing. You see any weird hell creatures on your way here?

Diane: Huge one, tried to crush me.

Fizz: Had a weird effect where it’s eye locked onto you yeah?

Diane: Yeah.

Dorothy: We had a close call with one of those on the way here, nearly ended our trip early

Fizz: Those are pieces of the angel wandering about gathering living material. They’re stockpiling matter both living and dead to create a nest.

Diane: You’re.. You’re talking about angel egg theory?

Fizz: Absolutely! You understand where I’m going with this then?

Diane: Oh shit…..

Dorothy: Okay I’ve NEVER heard you swear before, what’s going on?

Diane: A worst case scenario. An angel is laying eggs in Plaza.

Dorothy: Like… making more angels?

Fizz: Exactly that. It’s gonna suck in people and places and things and just use them to create energy and a nest for that angel to form… and once it does, everything sucked in is going to cease to exist without a single memory attached to them. It’ll be like they never were around to begin with.

Dorothy: That’s… kind of some existential dread there.

Diane: Not only that but the hatching of a angel egg is said to devastate whatever land is nearby to a degree which it’ll never truly recover.

Fizz: And… the angels communicating are using this world and Plaza as a hub. In other words…

Diane: In other worlds we’re all in this together.

Fizz: Bingo.

Dorothy: Can we do anything to stop it?

Diane: I don’t know.

Fizz: If we get our gameplan together we might. First thing first is we need to be able to safely track down a angel. I was going to try and do that with the help of some DOP units but it’s good that we might have some real muscle.

Fizz looked at you and Dorothy with a grin.

Fizz: You’re game for this right?

Diane: I mean we have to right? We don’t have any other choice.

Dorothy: I gotta rescue you and I promised Diane I’d have their back during this so I’m in this too. Besides… rancher units like me are the first ones thrown in the way of danger if something like a newborn angel shows up so…. No real choice in this.

Fizz: Excellent.

Diane: How do you know for sure it’s a pocket world though?

Fizz: Well...

Fizz pulled down the lever on the generator. The environment swirled and whirred with color and light until it became a large mountainous area with a long spanning field of grass.

Fizz: We’re able to actually monitor the pocket from in here! Took a lot of work and trial and error and maybe a few DOP shells to safely do this without creating a actual rift between worlds but uh… yeah.

Dorothy: It’s really pretty….

Diane: It looks like north Plaza.

Fizz: That’s the kicker, it probably is North Plaza! Just… not our version. You notice how much was kind of just missing when you walked over to the city?

Dorothy: Yeah it’s a little apocalyptic looking.

Fizz: It wasn’t supposed to be like that. This city is one of the last remaining bastions after the original terrain was yanked apart after decades and decades now our world is going to be next and collide with all of it.

Dorothy: I’m having trouble following a bit....

Fizz: We’re in Plaza 2 that’s been mined for pieces by one angel. Another angel is laying an egg in our world and using Plaza 2’s material as feed and nesting. It will probably do the same to our Plaza after. We need to close the pocket world where it’s storing pieces of both versions of Plaza or it’ll hatch and cause all sorts of devastation. A Infant angel is the scariest because it doesn’t understand the world and will topple things until it does.

Diane: What happens to the stuff in the pocket if we close it?

Fizz: Should go back to where it belongs? In theory… but even then if we just have to cut our losses, we may end up having to accept that and roll with things. We just need to save what’s left at the very least.

Diane: What do we gotta do first?

Fizz: Well… this is the part you’re gonna hate. We’re gonna have to be able to pin down the angel’s location, and to do that we need a piece of it.

Dorothy: We’re gonna have to kill one of those big floating orb things.

Fizz: Mmhmm. That’s gonna be a real high risk job. From there it doesn’t get much easier.

Diane: I figured as much.

Fizz: If you’re really up to this, I want you to know how dangerous things are going to be. I don’t want to sugar coat it.

Diane: We’ve been through worse together. Besides I got my two best friends with me. We’ll be fine.

Fizz: Aww….

Dorothy blushed.

Dorothy: You really think of me as one of your best friends?

Diane: Wouldn’t trust most people to join me on a mission like this…

Fizz: I support it. Anyway huddle up, I’m gonna get us some equipment. We got a lot of prep work to do.

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