Died in a Blogging Accident has lived up to its name and died... in a blogging accident. That is to say it has concluded. You can still re-live the magic by clicking here to start at chapter 1. For genuine criticism of XKCD, please click the top link to the right (XKCD Isn't Funny).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

DiaBA chapter 6 - Secret Worlds

Raven thoughts
Blacken your mind
Till you’re breathing in reverse
—Bright Eyes

The world around Raven and Ann cascaded into an ebony nightscape. Shapes of the tangible world shifted in and out of extra dimensions to reveal a landscape with everything in the same place as before, but looked completely different, and was out of phase with reality.
Everything here was made of shadows.
The ground below their feet was seen as the floor of an endless empty chasm. The houses and buildings were delicately angular mountains of twisted darkness. Trees had been replaced by black dendritic skeletons, with skinny tendrils hanging from their brittle branches. Their heartwoods glowed with a cold red life force. This colour was mirrored by the cold red sun hanging low above their heads. The rest of the sky was a bone-white void, which was slowly crumbling apart. And there was a thin layer of grey ash covering everything around them.
It was neither a fiery Hell, nor a cold world lost to sunlight. Raven and Ann did not feel hot and more than they could feel cold or room temperature, because temperature as a concept did not exist here. It was hard to even remember what heat felt like.
“Welcome to the Nether World.” said Raven. “Try not to get too comfortable here.”
“Wow, this place is...” said Ann, failing to to think of an adjective because the word ‘amazing’ did not exist here. “How did you find out about this?”
“Intense introspection.” said Raven.
“So how do we rescue the others?”
“We climb up to where they’re standing, and pull them into this world.”
“That sounds... whoa, what is that thing?!” Ann pointed at a shadowy black figure walking towards Them. Beneath its hood was a pulsating mass of twisted flesh, tubes, fluids and tendrils. Its life force glowed with the coldest of reds.
“It’s a human.” said Raven.
“What’s that Smoke around it?” asked Ann.
“He’s having a bad day.”
“But why don’t we look like that?”
“We do.”
And then Ann looked at himself. When he saw the raw hideousness of his body, he let out a high-pitched Scream:
It echoed around the nether world for several days, becoming progressively amplified on the fifth day, before fading into shadow like everything else there, but not before several emo kids could jerk off to it.
When they saw the similarly disgusting forms of Rob and Kitten, Raven explained that she could bring them into the Nether World by touching them with the note. But the non-geometric nature of the stairs blocked their way. She would have to fly to reach them.
“I hardly ever use this power.” she explained. “Because every time I fly, a random person around the world gets cancer.”
She hovered behind each of their shoulders, and lightly touched Kitten with the little yellow square, then Rob. Rob lost his footing and Kitten, caught within Rob’s gravity, fell to the ground beside him. 
“Aww, am I dead already?” said Kitten.
“Don’t worry, falling here won’t kill you.” said Raven. “You’re in the Nether World. We had to pull you out of existence to rescue you. That doesn’t mean you’re dead though. Now try not to get too comfortable here.”
“OK” said Rob, who had been here before.
“I didn’t need rescuing. I was three steps ahead of that bitch.”
“She had a gun.” said Rob.
“You forget though, I can dodge bullets faster than lightning with my cat-like reflexes.” boasted Kitten, punching the air for each of those last five syllables.
“OK” said Rob dismissively.
“Wait, this doesn’t look like Neverland.” said Kitten. “Where’s Peter Pan?”
“Dead.” said Ann. “They’re all dead.”
“Aaargh, my childhood!” Kitten cried overdramatically.
“Oh by the way.” said Raven. “Don’t eat any of the food here.”
“Too late!” said Ann, pointing at Rob
Rob had already walked over to the apartment block, and started eating it. It was slightly tougher than his usual meal. His jaw opened into extra dimensions, but got stuck on the edge of the bony sky. Eventually, his teeth crunched down on the shapeless black mass, and he began to digest it, before he had even swallowed it. The shadowy forms seemed to be screaming as they disappeared into the unthinkably dark void of Rob’s throat.
Neither Ann, Kitten nor Raven had seen Rob eating before, and none of them could bear to watch, but since they were two Brits and a Canadian, they were too polite to criticise someone else’s table manners. So they waited until he had finished, and then Raven said:
“So, in order for us to leave the Nether World, I need to tear up the note. Be careful of where you’re standing. You don’t want to end up inside a wall. We need to position ourselves so we reappear inside Randall’s apartment.”
“There’s no need.” said Rob. “I tasted the whole thing. Randall doesn’t live here at all.”
“Are you sure?” said Raven.
Rob nodded solemnly, but they didn’t need to know if Rob was sure. The walls and floors and the apartment block were gone, and they could see now into they could see into the empty space where 101 Rogers Street would exist in the real world. And they knew instinctively with the dull despairing clarity of the Nether World that this was not where Randall lived, because they could see there was actually an old lady called Pat living there, who hadn’t answered the door because she was taking a shit.
“You mean...” said Ann. “We came here for nothing?”
A moment of Silence washed over the group as realised that was indeed the case.
“Fuck you Ann.” said Rob, as if the map directions he had given earlier made him somehow responsible for this whole misadventure.
Raven sighed. As she looked longingly at Ann’s fleshy tubes, she decided that this trip hadn’t been a complete waste of time.
“Dammit, this is going all wrong!” said Kitten. If we don’t stop Randall then Capn would have died for nothing!”
“Not this again.” said Rob.
But Kitten had seen something. For the last few minutes, Ann had been absentmindedly brushing away the top layer of ash from the ground, revealing a dark black pit, where another human form lay hidden.
“Is that... Randall?”
“It’s just a dead person buried in the foundations.” said Raven.
“That must be Randall’s underground base!” said Kitten. “Let’s get him!”
The others could see what Kitten was about to do. Ann tried to hold him back, but Kitten was too strong for him. Rob grabbed him as well, but he was too strong for both of them. They were powerless to stop him if he dived into the ground and never came up again.
Raven, seeing what might happen, made a quick decision and hastily ripped up the post-it note.
All four of them felt an uncomfortable sensation, as everything around them faded to white, then beige, then a dull piss-colored ochre, then back to the real world. Their ears were ringing.
Apart from Raven, none of them had taken the time to position themselves, but luckily they were standing in the alleyway next to the apartment block, which still looked very solid. Raven was standing in a trash can. Rob and Ann stood either side of Kitten, who had come very close to running into the wall of the building.
“Did I... Did I really think Randall was down there?” said Kitten, looking at the concrete ground.
“The Nether World can make you act irrationally.” said Raven. “I told you not to get too comfortable there. I once spent too much time in that world, and briefly thought that Penny Arcade is well written.”
“Well it’s better than Real Life Comics.” said Ann.
“Praise God I haven’t been introduced to that one.” said Rob.
“Imagine CAD, but worse.”
“Nothing could be worse than-” Raven started. “Kitten, your hand!”
“Wha- Oh fuck.” said Kitten, realising that it was embedded in the brick wall of the building.
“Do we cut it off or what?” said Ann.
“I think that might be the only way.” said Raven despairingly.
“No, not Righty!” said Kitten. “We’ve had so many fun times together.”
“Well it’s either cut off your hand or remain stuck there.” said Rob.
“No, isn’t there any other way?” he moaned. “I don’t want to lose my hand.”
“I’m sorry Kitten,” said Rob. “But you kind of did this to yourself.”
“It wouldn’t feel the same wanking off with my left hand.” said Kitten. There were tears in his eyes. “Can’t we just go back into the Nether World and get me out?”
“I’m out of post-its.” Raven sighed.
“Buy some more.”
“And leave you here? Need I remind you that the police are on their way, and you would not last long in an American prison.”
“I can try and eat around your hand.” said Rob.
“Okay.” said Kitten. “Just be careful.”
Rob extended his gaping maw beyond the third dimension, and munched vigorously on the bricks and concrete. The others were somewhat shocked that he could use this power outside of the Nether World, but they still didn’t say anything, because they were British and Canadian. Before long, Rob had taken a large chunk out of the wall.
“Best I could do.” said Rob. Then he opened his mouth again, and spat out Kitten’s blood-stained arm.
“My arm!” shouted Kitten.
“We’ll get you a new one.” said Ann. “First let’s get away from these police cars.”
Then they heard it, faint sirens in the distance, growing steadily louder.

The beady eyed man was been hiding in the basement, waiting for them to leave. When he heard their footsteps, he got in position so he could casually tell the police that the unhinged woman in the attic had raised a false alarm. As he walked round the side of the building, he realised he would also have to distract them from the gaping hole in the wall and the trail of blood leading from it. What he never did realise was how close his family resemblance had come to giving him away to Kitten.
He checked his pocket watch again. Not long now, not long at all. But before that, he would cross paths with the four hate-bloggers. He’d just now wasted a perfectly good opportunity to introduce himself, but the blood and the wound had created an additional complication. He began to wonder if his influences would alter the time stream and create an entirely different future from the one he remembered. He doubted it though. Randall wouldn’t give up that easily.
He would reveal himself some time soon, but now he wasn’t sure how to do it. It could be so awkward. He was worried they wouldn’t like him.
DISCLAIMER: this story and its characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons or cuddlefish living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's note: I have nothing to say.

Monday, August 25, 2014

DiaBA chapter 5 - Increased Risk

“Don't keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door”
—The Beatles

Rob, Raven and Kitten faithfully followed Ann’s directions to the subway station, and onwards to Randall’s house. After boarding the red line, they talked little as the train crossed the river and carried on underground. 
Rob stood and stared at the other passengers, noting their vacant expressions, and unassuming postures, and thought to himself:
Look at these people. Glassy-eyed automatons going about their daily lives, never stopping to look around and think! I’m the only conscious human in a world of sheep.
He was the only one standing up, because none of the seats were big enough for him. After a while Kitten also stood up to look out the back window because he became convinced that “Some creepy guy is following us.”
Still, there was no sight of him as the train carried on through all the downtown stops and back out into the suburbs.
“Not yet.” Ann said at another station, sensing a growing feeling among the others that they had gone the wrong way. Wrong way or not, Rob guessed they were well south of the turnpike by now.
When they finally got off the train, they emerged into a suburb where most of the houses were clad in tacky wooden sliding. And unbeknownst to them, their pursuer slipped back into the shadows.
They could not be far from Randall’s house now. Ann led them down the main road, and before long, they saw a little green sign for Rogers Street. Excitedly they followed it. They were walking down the very street that Randall Munroe lived on, and XKCD fan’s wet dream. They kept going, until they reached a three-storey apartment block at the end of the road.
It was clad in the same wooden sliding as all the other buildings in the area, painted in a murky shade of green, and it looked quite newly built. They soon found the front door. Rob examined the list of doorbells, and saw that 101 was on the middle floor.
Without thinking, he pressed the doorbell with his fat finger.
“Shit, what do we say to him?” said Rob.
“Does it matter?” said Ann.
“We could pose as fans and ask to look around.” Raven suggested.
“He’ll never believe it.” said Rob. “Shiiiit.”
They waited tensely for a few minutes, and no answer came.
“Maybe he’s out.” said Ann.
“In that case I have an idea.” said Kitten. “I got it from an Episode of Sherlock. All we have to do is befriend the guy who lives directly above, then drop right down from the balcony to Randall’s.”
“That sound like a terrible idea.” said Rob “You should totally do it.”
Before the others could stop him, he rang the doorbell of a top-floor apartment directly above Randall’s. An annoyingly shrill female voice answered.
“Who’s this?”
“Hi,” said Kitten in his worst fake American accent. “Me homies an’ I recently acquired the flat downstairs. We wanna come take a look round yur place and intr’duce ah-selves.” 
“Doesn’t Pat live in that apartment?” said the voice.
“No he does-in’t. I just lost mah key so I gots to use yurs.”
“Um, I don’t think so.”
“LEMME THE FUCK IIIN!” shouted Kitten. His accent had gone completely redneck.
“I’m calling the cops.” said the woman.
And her voice cut off.
“Stop it, Kitten.” said Raven.
“Okay, let’s move on to plan B.” said Kitten. “I’m breaking in.” 
Kitten shoved his fist through the glass door, and twisted the handle from the inside. There was blood on his wrist, but he wiped it on Ann’s ironic T-shirt.
“...the fuck?” said Rob.
“Wait, did she say Pat?” said Raven, but Kitten had already ran in.
“His middle name.” said Ann.
“Oh fuck this.” said Rob, and ran in after him.

Kitten rushed upstairs, and knocked on the door of the shrill-voiced woman. She opened the door cautiously.
“Good morning, Ma’am.” said Kitten, trying and failing to sound Canadian. “Ah’m a plainclothes police officer and ah understand there’s bin an intrusion in...”
“Get out!” she screamed.
“Sorry, ah have to inspect yur flat first.”
At this point, Rob caught up with him, and forced the woman out the way, and they rushed into her apartment.
“What now?” said Rob
“Now we go to his balcony.” said Kitten. “And... Shit, there’s no balcony!”
“Don’t move, you assholes!” said the shrill female voice from behind them. She was pointing a gun.

Meanwhile, Raven stood next to Ann at the smashed entrance.
“The police are gonna start arriving any minute.” he said to Raven. “And Rob and Kitten are still in there.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“What are we gonna do?”
“We could make out.” Raven suggested.
“We were probably gonna do that anyway.” said Ann. “I mean how do we rescue them? Going in the front door is too risky.”
“Well...” said Raven. “I could use my emo powers and teleport us into the Nether World, and we could pick up Rob and Kitten from there.”
“Whaaat?! Why didn’t you tell us you had this power?”
“Because every time I use it, a random person on the other side of the world drops dead of a heart attack.”
“Awesome.” said Ann, before adding: “But only if you’re comfortable using it. How exactly does it work?”
“Most emos activate the power by cutting.” Raven explained. “I do it by writing a shitty poem on a post-it note.” She withdrew a little square pad of yellow notes from her coat pocket, took out a ballpoint pen, and slowly wrote:

Wet pines stand watch
over silent streets.

Drowning worms die
beneath worn boots.

“Now, we both need to be touching the note.” said Raven. She held it in her palm and Ann placed a single finger on it. “3... 2... 1...” she said, and then they were both sucked off



DISCLAIMER: this story and its characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons or cuddlefish living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's note: for those are are curious about what route they were taking, I have mappped it here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DiaBA chapter 4 - Clumsy Foreshadowing

“Here we stand
Or here we fall
History won't care at all”

“I thought I might find you here.” said Carl.
“Oh, it’s you.” said Rob, not even turning around.
“Aren’t you glad to see me alive?”
There was a pause. Carl pulled up a chair and sat down on the table opposite Rob.
“Rob, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done, including selling you out to Randall. I never should have done that. I’ve got your back from now on, buddy.”
He was looking deep into Rob’s eyes now.
“OK” said Rob monotonously.
“God gave me a second chance on this earth.” Carl continued. “To help you to complete your good work.”
There was another pause.
“You mean a religious experience is what it took for you to come to your fucking senses?” said Rob. Carl nodded. “Just how exactly do you plan to help me anyway?” 
“I know where Randall keeps his server.”
“OK” said Rob. “Tell me.”
“It’s at the end of the ground floor corridor, and on the left.” Carl said. “Right next to the room where he keeps Megan.”
Rob’s eyes lit up at the mention of Megan.
“What? Which house?”
“I don’t know.” Carl admitted.
“OK” said Rob. “You can go now.”
“Wait!” said Carl. “If there’s anything I can do to help you, you only need to ask. First tell me what’s our plan, and what are we gonna do when we find Randall?”
“Does it matter?”
Carl sighed.
“Look, Rob. I can understand if you’re mad at me. I haven’t done anything to earn back your trust, but if there’s anything I can say...”
“So why did you do it?”
“Do what?” said Carl.
“Kill yourself.”
“Because things are not the same as how they used to be.”
“No they’re not.” said Rob. “If anything XKCD sucks now more than ever.”
Carl gave a deep sigh, and said: “When I first started Xkcdsucks, I was doing it out of a frustration I no longer feel. I felt that I was the only one who knew really how bad it was. Nowadays there are alot of people who openly admit to hating XKCD, and now I don’t have a purpose. So I made the logical decision to end my life with an M9 to the temple, and I don’t regret that decision.”
“You wanted to give up because people are agreeing with you? Are you fucking crazy?” Rob gesticulated.
“Alot of the problems in the new comics are the exact same problems as in old comics, so to criticize them properly would be to merely repeat myself. I don’t want to beat a dead horse. Sometimes I think we criticize it too harshly.”
“I would have believed you.” Rob said coldly. “If it weren’t for that last bit. Now tell me, where is Carl?”
“What do you mean? I’m right...”
Before he could finish his sentence, rob picked up a fork, and stabbed it into Carl’s jugular vein. He didn’t bleed. Carl only stared at Rob through dead eyes. All the emotion had vanished from his lifeless face.
“Just what the fuck have you done with Carl?”
“Carl is in Hell. Care to join him?” Carl’s words came out in a robotic monotone, but the mouth didn’t move.
“Did Randall send you? Tell me where the fuck is Randall!” shouted Rob.
“Sudo tell me where the fuck is Randall!”
“robm is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported. robm@homebox ~$” said the Android Carl.
With a look of death in his eyes, Rob grabbed the robot’s arm, just as it tried to punch him in the gut with that arm. The immense force of the blow was absorbed by Rob’s gut. He placed his other hand on the robot arm, and attempted to break it off. But before he could do so, the machine levered itself off the arm Rob was holding, and kicked him in the face. 
Rob stumbled back into a wall. A table was pushed into the window, breaking it. Rob made no effort to stop himself. The wall buckled under his weight, and then he rocked forwards. Android Carl readied itself into an attacking stance, but then Rob took two paces, and fell on top of the Android, crushing it. There was a dull crunching sound, and the twitching of a robotic limb. Rob pushed himself up, as the Android Carl spoke its last words.
“The process com.xkcd.destroyRobMason has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.”
But Rob didn’t give it time to try again. He force-closed it as quickly and thoroughly as possible by stamping on its neck, several times just to make sure. Finally he picked up the remains of the robot, and ate it.
Rob looked around. People around him were gasping in shock. He’d already caused quite a scene in this cafe, but now he couldn’t see why they were still staring at him. Then he remembered.
His fly was still open and his dick was hanging out. Remorselessly, he zipped himself up and made for the exit. But the people around him continued to stare disapprovingly. So he shuffled back to his table, wiped up the cum with a pair of ten dollar bills, and left them as a tip.

Rob made his way to Inman Square, muttering something about ‘service charge’. He was the first to arrive, and sat on the big semicircular bench, waiting nervously for the others to arrive. For the next half-hour, there was nothing to do but hurl insults at random pedestrians, until eventually a young woman approached him nervously.
“Hello, satanic hell-bird.” he said to her.
“Oh hi Rob.” said Ravenzomg. She sounded Canadian. And from the way her long straight black hair was combed across her face, she appeared to be blind in one eye. “Eh, wait a minute. How did you know it was me?”
Rob Shrugged.
“Have you just been saying that to every female who walks by?”
“Only the gothy ones.”
“So you really are Rob? You’re not not as fat as I expected.” said Raven, eyeing up Rob’s 300-pound physique.
“I’m fatter than I look.” said Rob. “What were you expecting?”
“Well to be honest I was expecting you would look like Randall.”
“Why, because me and Mr Munroe are obviously the same person?” Rob drawled sarcastically.
“So you’re not the same person?” Raven asked.
“Not even his twin brother?”
“Not related in any way?”
“Ah well.” said Raven. “There go most of my slash-fic ideas.”
There was a long uncomfortable silence.
“I’m sorry.” Raven said in her Canadian accent.
Eventually, two men pulled up in a taxi, bantering to each other in English Cockney accents.
“This must be the place. Rob’s gravity is pulling me inwards.”
“Don’t get too close to him, or he’ll...”
“Suck, I know!”
“Arrrgh!” they screamed as they both ran into Rob’s bulging belly and embarrassingly fell over.
“Hey cuddlefish.” said Rob. “What are your names?”
“We’re not cuddlefish. We have Blogger accounts.”
“Like I care.”
“I’m Ann Apolis and he’s Kitten.” said Lord_Kitten.
“Nice try.” said Ann Apolis. “I’m Ann Apolis, and he’s Jon Levi.”
“Do I look like a Jew to you?” said Kitten.
“For all I know, you operate both identities.” said Rob. “So I’m calling you Jon anyway.”
The one who called himself Ann Apolis looked like a lanky blonde English hipster, who used a feminine name online, and sometimes pretended to be a doctor. The one called Lord_Kitten was tall, dark and handsome, if not for the fact that he had the face of a 12-year-old caveman.
“Out of curiosity, what are your real names?” Ravenzomg asked curiously.
“No, don’t tell us.” said Rob. “You left your real names in Cockneyland. From now on, we go by our pseudonyms.”
“But my real name is Raven.” said Ravenzomg.
“Doesn’t matter.” Rob said. “Rob is both my real name and my pseudonym.”
“I thought it was Randall.” said Ann.
“Not this again.” said Rob exasperatedly.
“My real name is ENERGY PANTHER!” said Kitten.
“No” said Rob.
“Is Jon coming?” asked Raven.
“No.” said Ann. “He said he was too busy writing a slash-fic of Kitten and ALT-F.”
“Does he even know what slash is?” said Raven. “It has to be between two males.”
“Does ALT-F even have a gender?” asked Rob. “I always thought of her as more of a thing.”
“I would totally bone ALT-F, regardless of gender, race or species.” said Kitten.

They waited around for a few more minutes, as Rob said he was expecting Capn to arrive, until finally one more person came walking up towards them. He was a swarthy man who looked like he’d recently fallen out a window. This was evident from the way he walked with a slight limp, and the glass shards in his hair.
“Hey guys, Capn here.” he said.
“Hello Capn.” said Rob. “Why didn’t you respond to a single one of my emails?”
“Long story.” said Capn, brushing the glass from his hair. “I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“Alright, so I think this is everyone.” said Raven.
“Wait, who’s that guy?” said Capn, pointing to the stranger behind them, who had a cropped haircut, and a red college hoodie with armpit stains. He had been standing there for a while, but Capn was the first one to notice him.
“Dunno.” said Rob.
“I don’t trust him.” said Kitten. He took a few steps towards the man. “Oi, mate...”
“Chris Houlihan’s room.” said the stranger.
The five of them stared at him.
“Ohhh, it’s this guy.” said Rob.
“Eh, is it a video game reference?” asked Raven.
“Chris Houlihan’s room.”
“STFU already.” shouted Kitten.
“Don’t feed the troll.” Raven cautioned.
“Chris Houlihan’s room.”
“Chris Houlihan’s room.”
“Is that all he says?” Ann asked.
“Chris Houli...”
He never finished the sentence, because Capn had swung himself forwards and punched the troll in the face.
Capn aimed a flying punch at his chin, forcing the man’s jaw closed on his tongue. And still he didn’t fight back. Capn punched him several more times, then kicked him too the floor.”
“Chris Houlihan’s...”
“Shut the fuck up!” bellowed Capn, and he proceeded to stamp on his neck. 
“That’s enough, Capn!” said Raven.
“Shut up the fuck piece of shit die die die!!!”
Capn continued the assault until he broke every rib in the man’s body, and there was red stuff everywhere. The sight of blood seemed to calm him. “Sorry guys.” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “I’ve had a bad day today.”
“Save some of that Anger for later.” said Rob.
They stared at the bleeding man for a little while, until Raven broke the silence.
“So... what do we do first?”
“Find his house.” Rob replied.
“And how do we do that?” she replied.
“Hunt him out by scent?” Ann suggested.
“Already tried that.” said Rob.
“Sorry.” said Raven. “So what now?”
There was an embarrassingly long pause among the group, as if none of them wanted to admit they’d come here for no reason. Eventually, it was Capn who broke the silence.
“I know where Randall lives.” he said through gritted teeth. All eyes turned to Capn, and he continued. “I’ve been round his house before, no big deal, I just... forgot to mention it. He lives at 101 Rogers Stre-”
A bullet ploughed into Capn’s forehead, leaving a bullet-shaped hole, and stopping him from speaking immediately. The back of his head burst open from the exit wound, and he fell down backwards. Capn’s blood splattered on the paving slabs, mixing with the blood of the Chris Houlihan’s Room guy.
“Dammit.” said Kitten. “Now we’ll never know where he-”

A hook-nosed figure squatted on the roof of Inman Square Fire House, his beady eye pressed up to the sights of a sniper rifle. Through his magnified view of the plaza, he watched them scatter and regroup. He took great pleasure in firing the next few shots, though he only intended to scare them. One of them may have ricocheted and hit a pedestrian, but Capn was the only one he’d needed to kill. Then he relaxed the trigger, and checked the time a digital pocket watch. Not a second too late. He folded up the weapon, climbed down the ladder, and persuaded the security guard to look the other way with a sack of money. Then he slinked off into an alleyway.
He took out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket. It depicted a stick figure without a face, lying bloodied on the floor. There was a date and time written below it. He pulled out a lighter, and set fire to one of the corners, watching blithely as it burned away, before dropping it on the ground.
From the same pocket, he took another piece of paper, and unfolded it, more carefully this time. It depicted a man and a woman as stick figures in a bed, having quirky stick-figure sex, with another date and time below them.
He pushed a few buttons on his pocket watch, and the digits changed. Now it displayed 31 hours, 41 minutes, 59 seconds, and counting down.

When she heard the second and third gunshots, Raven yelled “RUN!”
Everyone panicked, running in every direction, until Rob called out.
“Everyone get behind me!” and he ran off before they could get behind him.
They sprinted after Rob until he was out of breath, stopping to stand in a parking lot behind a hospital.
“Randy... must have known... we’d be here.” Rob spoke in between pants. 
“Damn him!” said Kitten
“Shooting people with guns doesn’t seem like his style.” said Raven. “Maybe there are other forces at play here.”
“Does Randall have henchmen?” asked Ann.
“His fanboys... would most likely... do it for free.” panted Rob.
“Yes damn you, Randall!” Kitten screamed at the sky. “DAMMMN YOUUU!”
“Anyway...” said Rob. “We have to get to... 101 Rogers Street.”
“Already found it.” said Ann, looking at his smartphone. “Let’s go everybody.”
Kitten sniffed. “We’d never have known to go there if it wasn’t for Capn.” he spoke sobbingly. “Oh! How could he be cut down in his prime like that?! Capn, you were too good for this sinful earth! My only hope is that you might-”
“Oh shut up.” said Ann. “You barely knew him.”
“And there’s nothing we can do for him now.” said Raven. “We must accept his sacrifice and move on.”
“Capn would have done... the same for us.” said Rob.
“It’s alright. Who is this ‘Capn’ anyways?” said Kitten.
“There never was a Capn.” replied Raven.
“How... ORWELLIAN.” said Ann.

DISCLAIMER: this story and its characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons or cuddlefish living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's note: The following trigger warnings apply to chapter 4: gore, violence, sexual content, and eating disorders. If you are offended by any of these things, then you should not have read this far.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

DiaBA chapter 3 - Heartbleed Explanation

“I think about you, but it's not the same
I won't be satisfied 'til I'm under your skin”
—Maroon 5

Before opening the three locks on the door to his interrogation cell, Randall grabbed his black hat from the drawing room, and proudly put it on his head. He stopped to admire himself in a mirror, and smile slyly. He was going to be such a classhole today, and he may as well look the part. Then one by one, Randall turned the keys, and slowly heaved the heavy door aside.
It was dark inside, save for the dim light of a naked bulb, which swung from the high ceiling. His captive was a large swarthy man, who should have been able to beat Randall into a pulp, were he not tied by his arms and legs to an office chair. 
“Now, let’s try this again.” Randall said menacingly, trying to sound like he was on a cop show.
“Let me go, you asshole.” said the captive.
“Oh, of course I’ll let you go.” chuckled Randall, enjoying the sound of his own voice. “But only when you tell me where your friends are.”
“I’ve already told you. I don’t know.”
“Liar!” roared Randall, echoing off the blank walls.
“How could I know? I haven’t been on the internet in over a week.”
“Not good enough!” Randall screamed, and he pushed his phone’s flashlight against the man’s eyes. “Tell me everything! Now!”
“All I know is that Rob wants to destroy the server or something!”
“And we know about your lactation fetish. That’s all I fucking know!”
Randall took a deep breath, and continued in a calm contemplative voice. “Hmm. If that really is everything, then I suppose I have no further use for you.” And he cocked an imaginary gun.
“You wouldn’t kill me.” spat his captive.
“No, I wouldn’t.” said Randall in the same contemplative tone. “But I might be able to use you for a certain... experiment.”
Randall adjusted his hat, then grabbed the back of his chair, and wheeled him out of the room without another word.
“Where are you going, assfuck?!” the captive yelled indignantly. “Hey shithead, where are you taking me?!”
His questions were implicitly answered when Randall stopped the chair in a room that had a brightly lit server, and windows replaced by computer screens.
Randall dragged another machine out of a dark corner, and plugged it into the server, while his captive continued to throw profanities at him. Unfased, Randall picked up a pair of headphones, and placed them on the captive’s head.
The prisoner was running out of insults, so he reached for his trump card, the one thing that would offend Randall the most.
“You don't even look like Black Hat Guy with that thing on. You just look like a loser wearing a black hat."
“It's called a fedora.” Randall snarled “And it makes me look badASS.”
He walked over and flipped a switch on the machine, and it began to make a whirring sound. Then walked over to his 13-inch Macbook Pro, hovered his finger above the keyboard for a moment, taking one last look at his captive, before slamming down on the enter key. Suddenly the program snapped into action and the machine began to work, executing thousands of lines of code.
“What's it doing?" cried the captive as a strange white noise from the headphones filled his ears.
“It’s filling your head with… romance, sarcasm, math and language.” Randall proclaimed.
“You can't… no, NO! Turn it off! Turn it off!”
Randall tried his best evil laugh. “MWAhahahaHAhaHA!”
“Ahh! Make it stop! RANDALL, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”
Randall took one last chance to gloat at his captive before his mind was wiped. He strutted over to the chair, and took the headphones off for just a second to whisper in his ear: “Who is your god now?”
That was his chance. The captive leaned back as far as the office chair would allow him, and butted his head hard against Randall’s. Randall was thrown backwards by the blow. With the conservation of momentum in full effect, the captive’s chair rolled back with an equal and opposite reaction force, careering over to the other side of the room.
As it hurtled along, one of the wheels locked up, and it tumbled over. The impetus of the fall sent it flying, only to land squarely in the middle of one of the computer screens. The screen shattered like a plate-glass window. Shards of glass fell everywhere. And the captive fell two storeys to the ground below. 
The chair broke his fall, as the impact with the ground smashed it to pieces.
And the man, with his legs no longer tied to the chair, was now able to escape, though they were still tied to each other. He opened his eyes, and saw the sun on the horizon for the first time in two weeks. He looked up and heard Randall’s voice from the broken window.
“Send the Android after him! MwaHAHAha!”
Capn pushed himself to his feet, and bunny-hopped his way to freedom as fast as humanly possible.

Hours later, Rob set his foot down on the hard concrete of a Boston parking lot. He paid the cab driver, and ate the change. Then he ate the cab driver because he probably wouldn’t be missed.
Rob scanned his surroundings. The early morning bird noises filled his ears and and the moist Boston air filled his hairy nostrils. He breathed in heavily through his nose, tying to sniff out Randall’s scent. It didn’t work, because Rob has no super smelling ability, except for the superhuman ability to produce smells, which is something Rob has in abundance.
There were seven more hours to go until the arranged meeting time. To pass the time, Rob sauntered down to yet another coffee shop, and waited outside until it opened. He had been to alot of different coffee shops in his travels, but this one was special to him because it was the place where he first met Megan. He hoped vaguely that he would meet her there again by chance, but he was to be disappointed. Not a single one person that passed through the glass double doors that morning was the one he so desired.
Yet as Rob sipped his coffee and ate the paper cups, he remembered how it felt he laid eyes on her all those years ago...

“Is that an XKCD shirt?” said Megan.
She was dark of hair, and fair of skin, just like the dark-haired stick figure that kept appearing in XKCD, but for the fact that she was clearly not a stick figure.
“I uhh...” Rob stuttered nervously. “No, it’s not.”
“Um, right.” said Megan. “Except it quite clearly says ‘XKCD’ in big white letters. Not that that’s a problem of course.”
“Oh, it’s just that... I’m not a fan of XKCD. My friend just made me wear this because my roommate shrunk all my other clothes.” Rob lied. He didn’t really have a roommate, or a friend. She was now staring incredulously at the shirt, wondering if XKCD even made shirts in that size, and making a mental note to ask her boyfriend when she got home.
“But you have heard of it, right? It’s the best and geekiest comic that there is.” she said with a smile.
Rob grimaced at the insidious ubiquity of most hated webcomic. XKCD was everywhere. Whether from coworkers loudly passing a comic round in a group email, or a tech blog re-posting XKCD comics and explaining the jokes in lieu of actual journalism, or even a TV show making a cringeworthy reference, it was impossible to get away from XKCD.
But for a complete stranger to accost him about it because of the shirt he was wearing? That was nothing short of unfair, even though he’d only put on the shirt in the first place to troll fans.
“Well, it’s just...” Rob began awkwardly, before switching his tone to intense snark. “Literally everything that I have ever written, including the terrible stuff that I don't let anyone see from middle school, is better than the average XKCD.”
“Not a fan, I guess?” Megan said quietly.
“I already said that.” Rob growled exasperatedly. “XKCD sucks so much, I even write a blog to that effect. If you’re sure that XKCD is so fucking great, then how is it that I am able to criticize the living fuck out of every XKCD ever?!”
“Wow, jealous much?” said Megan, no longer holding back. “Aren't you just predisposed to hate every XKCD?”
“No! I hate every XKCD for all the right reasons, like the half-assed artwork.”
“It’s minimalist!”
“And yet he can’t even draw stick figures with necks.”
“Hey, he does that some of the time!”
“Alright, bashing the art is too easy. But everything else is wrong with it, like the post-punchline dialog, and using alt text to explain the joke, and references that no one can understand.”
“What is ‘post-punchline dialog’ anyway? It sounds like a term you made up to sound smart.”
“As opposed to writing comics that express my smugness about science to sound smart?”
“And what’s wrong with intelligent humor?!” screeched Megan, her long hair billowing in the current from the ceiling fan.
“The fact that it’s not funny.”
“Some comics aren’t supposed to be funny. They’re supposed to make you think!”
“No. XKCD is trying to be funny, yet failing. Even when what Randy is trying to say is patently obvious, the joke is so unconvincing that I feel like I must be missing something.”
“Maybe you are, you dumb fuck!” shouted Megan, who despite the current of air from the ceiling fan above, was sweating.
“I never am. I only don’t get it when the humor consists entirely of references to Firefly and other nerdy shows that I don’t watch.”
“Oh, you did NOT just criticize Firefly!” said Megan, pounding her fist down on the table. 
“Indeed I fucking well didn’t!” said Rob, also pounding his fist on the table. “I’m just saying the comic is at its worst when its main purpose it to pander to the fans of a specific show, regardless of that show’s quality.”
Megan took a few deep breaths, before launching into another verbal attack.
“Why should I listen to you?” she said. “You’re predisposed to not like it because all you ever do is hate.”
“And that.” said Rob. “Is what a high school logic class would refer to as ad hominem.”
“What is?” said Megan.
“What you just said. Just because I hate alot of things, doesn’t mean XKCD is somehow immune from criticism.”
“Oh, and what you do is TOTALLY not ad hominem.” Megan sniped sarcastically.
“You’re doing it again.”
“Do you know what else I hate about XKCD?” Rob postulated.
“That you don’t anything better to do with your time?”
“The fact that some people claim it has characters. Black Hat Guy is not a character. He is a series of unrelated incidents linked by an item of clothing. And don’t fucking get me started on Beret Guy, or that godawful Megan ‘character’.”
“I AM that Megan character!”
Rob and Megan glared at each other, with mutual angry tension in their eyes. Silence. The whole room had gone quiet. Suddenly and forcefully, they kissed each other’s brains out in a passionate mutual embrace of rage-filled horny lust. It felt so awfully wrong. He knew she was already dating Randall. She knew he was an enemy of XKCD and everything it stood for. Yet it made their loins burn for each other all the more.
Suddenly an Android phone sounded out. Megan broke from the kiss and pulled it from her pocket. It was a text message, from Randall. It only said one word, and three punctuation symbols.
Milk? :)
Megan explained that she had to run, her boyfriend was hungry, and when he gets hungry he gets angry, and when he gets angry he gets... well, she didn’t want to say what the third word was. Hastily, Megan said goodbye, knowing full well that they knew that they would probably never be able to see each other again. Rob understood, and replied that he would always remember that moment they shared together.
“Whatever happens.” he said “Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead.”
And he meant every word of it. As he watched his precious Megan slide out of the doorway, every fibre of his being yearned so much to be the one suckling on Megan’s succulent buds, that he could think of nothing else.
Rob had cum in his pants. He took off the XKCD shirt, and wiped it up, then ate it.

That was what he remembered as he sat in that same spot, under the same ceiling fan, cherishing the memory of that moment. He didn’t need to work hard to reach orgasm.
Rob was just about to zip himself back up when he heard a familiar voice. 
“I thought I might find you here.”

DISCLAIMER: this story and its characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons or cuddlefish living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's note: this chapter is dedicated to Anon 2:09, who is going through a difficult time right now and needs our support. Please show him this in the comment thread. :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DiaBA chapter 2 - Blown Apart

“Let me go she said, let me go she said 
Let me go and I will want you more”

The room was dark. Its windows had been blacked out and replaced with computer displays. From each display, a trailing HDMI cable that routed back to a blade server in the middle, upon which red and green lights were flashing.
A young man paced diagonally across the tiled floor, treading carefully to avoid the tiles that weren’t directly in line with the black ones. He caressed the server, before sitting down in his computer chair, staring intently at some moving code on one of the screens, until he saw it stop moving.
A chuckle sounded out from of his pasty face.
“Aha!” came his basso voice. “You see that, my dear? My enemy appears to have dropped dead without my intervention.”
A woman spoke from the other room. “Either that or he just disconnected from the internet.”
“Ah... well I did anticipate that would be a possibility. So... I built a miniature spy drone from an Arduino taped to a Raspberry Pi. And I programmed it with Python. It’s loaded it with explosives and it can track him with the GeoIP signal from his cell phone.”
“I see.” Megan replied faintly.
“Is it not a magnificent thing that I, Randall Patrick Munroe, do?”
“Won’t that kill him?”
“Probably...” said Randall. “Anyway, pretty cool for something I made in my free time, right?”
“Don’t kill him.” Megan almost begged.
“Why not?” inquired Randall.
She choked up. Megan knew that if Randall went through with this plan, she would never feel Rob's burning member up against her wet pleasure-garden. But she could never tell him, so she invented a lie.
“Because... you want him to be looking in your eyes when you kill him, knowing that you’ve won.”
“Hmm, a face to face defeat is tempting. Alright then. I shall disable the explosives.” Randall declared.
Megan gave a quiet sigh of relief. That would buy her some time, but for other reasons her time was still running out.
“Now will you please do one more thing for me?”
“What’s that, Megan sweetie?” he said, walking towards the door.
“Will you let me the frak out of this ball pit?!” she screeched, rattling against the heavy chains that bound her arms.
Randall peeked in through the doorway. His ball pit occupied an entire room, the largest room in the house with tunnels and slides everywhere, and in the corner sat Megan, wriggling about within the two-metre radius that the chains allowed her. She looked so beautiful and vulnerable.
“You know I’d never do that, my dearest darling danish.”
Megan sighed with sorrow. Desperately, she reached for her usual sympathy card.
“But cancerrrr!”
“And I vowed to take you in sickness and in health.” said Randall. “Besides, I’m still working on a cure.”
A silent tear began to roll down Megan’s cheek. She had trusted this man, NASA engineer, internet cartoonist, god of the nerds, and now the master of her every whim.
It was a strange relationship that they had. While Randall continued to dominate her in every way, sometimes even threatening to take away internet access, Megan knew that he needed her. Thus he could be treating her like a slave on minute, and a surrogate mother the next.
“Cheer up Megan.” he said. “I want you to be happy for your last few weeks alive... with me.”
As if on cue, a timer buzzed in the ceiling.
“Ooh, milk time!” Randall squealed in excitement. He dived in and waded through the coloured balls to sit on Megan’s lap, and latched on to her.
Megan gently rubbed Randall’s back and ran her fingers through his hair while he suckled, for thirty rapturous minutes. Though she was sure he’d had enough, Randall asked for more, and continued to feed until Megan had no milk left to give him.
Licking his lips afterwards, Randall said to Megan:
“Okay, now it’s time to check on my captive.”
“Here I am.” Megan countered.
“Not you.” barked Randall. “The other captive.”

Rob was heading east. The train stopped at some no-name town in Montana. It would only take him this far. Rob ate at a gas station, then walked until he found the interstate. He found a car, and hitchhiked east until he found a Wi-Fi hotspot. And along the way, he took a shower in a carwash.
He didn’t find an open Wi-fi until Minnesota, sitting outside a busy truck stop as the sun began to set. He took his netbook out of a fat fold, and pointed his web browser at the IRC channel, and began to type.
Rob has joined #xkcd-sucks. said the text on the screen.
“i love you too juicy” said Lord_Kitten.
“i love you more kitty” said @jwc
“did i miss something?” Rob typed nonchalantly.
“only the most touching piece of theatre ever” said Ravenzomg.
“was it touching?” said @jwc.
“i was touching myself” said AnnApolis.
“ok” typed Rob. “anyway i just had a stupid idea”
“was it an idea to lift your giant arse from the chair?” said Lord_Kitten.
“lol” said AnnApolis.
“stfu” typed Rob, mashing the keys with his fat fingers. “im actually going to suggest we start operation raptor”
“whats operation raptor?” asked Ravenzomg.
“we find randalls house and delete xkcd” Rob typed.
“k” said Lord_Kitten.
“bring  lube.” typed Rob absentmindedly. “it will be a long and lonely journey”
“it might be dangeous out there. be carful my darling kitten” said @jwc, blowing a virtual kiss at Lord_Kitten.
“i would cum” said AnnApolis. “but im busy with college next week”
“this is more important” typed Rob.
“yessir” said AnnApolis. “ill go book a flight to america”
“ok” Rob typed. “and spread the word. let it be known that anyone who considers themself an opponent of xkcd should join me on my holy crusade to rid the world of its awfulness”
“yay” said Lord_Kitten
“im sending you the coordinates now” typed Rob. “we will meet there at midday on the 31st”

The sun was now behind the horizon, staining the sky a brilliant red. Rob found a truck driver heading for the east coast, and threatened to eat his family if he did not give Rob a ride. So together they carried on eastward through another five more states, stopping only to refuel in Illinois. Rob also typed up an angst-filled short story about coffee, which he published to his other blog. Every mile of the journey brought him closer to Randall, and closer to Megan.
The truck driver was reluctant to make conversation at first. But eventually Rob broke the silence. Once they started talking, they found they had alot in common. By the time they crossed the border to Ohio, Rob’s initial threats were all but forgotten, and over the next few days they became best friends. When he dropped Rob off in upstate New York, they shared a fond farewell, as he continued south on his route, while Rob would be carrying on eastward. It was then that he realised he hadn’t even exchanged names with this truck driver.

Rob sat down at a bench where pigeons were flocking. They all flew away when they saw him. Rob was feeling quite alone, but he also felt a strong itching sensation above his butt. He reached into his lower fat folds, and retrieved a molested hunk of metal. He didn’t know quite how long that had been there. It was hard to tell what it was, because he had been sitting on it, but it might have once been a model airplane, albeit a poor quality one. It was held together by lots and lots of duct tape, wrapped loosely around two circuit boards, and hastily soldered to something that looked like a battery. At least, Rob thought it was a battery.
He sized up the wreckage in his hands, before deciding to take a bite out of it. It seemed safe, Rob thought as he chewed on the sticky metal, so he swallowed it whole. He didn’t even notice the explosive rounds as they detonated violently against his cavernous insides. All he felt was a slight tummy rumble, followed by a hot, smoky belch.
Rob went to a coffee shop afterwards, where he drank a metric gallon of coffee and took out his netbook. He set it down by the huge pile of paper cups in front of him, and fell asleep with his eyes open. It had never been easier to score a free place to sleep.

DISCLAIMER: this story and its characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons or cuddlefish living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's note: This chapter goes up 11 hours early for the benefit of my readers who got linked here from XKCD Isn't Funny. *Waves*