Colors of Dissonance
Welcome, welcome, audience members, to ‘Colors of Dissonance,’ an interactive story-telling experience brought to you by your favorite master of angst, Reverse! The year is 2070, and our story takes place in a world obsessed with augmented reality. You, the members of the audience, will have the chance to choose your own path within the story, and the outcome, whether good or bad, will depend entirely upon the choices you collectively make. So, choose carefully, and most of all, enjoy!
Mark sprints down the alley with three of them on at his heels, moaning and reaching for him with claw-like fingers. Fear pickling in his chest, Mark curses loudly when realizes that the alley is a dead end. He presses his back to the concrete wall as the zombies lumber closer. He takes a deep breath, squeezes his eyes shut, and prepares himself for…
The words blink in Mark’s mind for a few seconds before he chooses the option to close the game. “Well, that’s all for ‘Zombie Maze,’ guys. I can’t find my way through to the end. I’ve been trying for hours! But if you all want to see more of this game, let me know, but for now, thank you so much for watching. Give me your suggestions in the comments below, and as always, I will see you… in the next video. Buh-bye!”
Mark’s visual display goes dark with a wink of his right eye to cut the feed from his neural cam, and when he opens his eyes again, he peers out at his office through a layer of green gas. The gas drains away slowly from his Tube, the emersion clearing from his mind along with it. Mark removes his wrist and belly sensors, sends the footage off to Kat to be edited, and heads out.
Mark turns his music up a little louder as he boards the hover-train headed home. The train car floods with other people immersed in their holo-screens and ignoring one another. Mark glances up at an advertisement playing over the car’s outdated screens and can’t stop himself from smirking slightly at the advertisement for the newest craze in augmented reality, a YouTube. New experiences, better quality visuals, and now, added sensory details, like the smell of zombies that Mark can’t seem to get out of his nose.
Tubes have become the last word in gaming, boasting the only full-body immersion experience to hit the consumer market and not leave said consumer brain-dead. The only problem is, few people can afford them, and even fewer can afford to use them regularly. Mark, on the other hand, has made a career of it.
When the hover-train reaches his stop, Mark stands, trying to avoid eye-contact with anyone who might recognize him. He doesn’t mind seeing fans in public, but after the day he’s had, he’d rather just get home undisturbed. Neon lights grab at his attention as he shoves his hands deeper into the pockets of his coat and pushes through the crowd headed for the stairs leading down to the road below. When he finally reaches his apartment building, the doorman is whistling as always. “Mr. Fischbach! And how was your day?”
“Crap, Simmons. Absolute crap.” Mark gives the elderly man a smile and a gentle pat on the arm.
“Those headaches again?” Simmons clucks his tongue a few times and shakes his head. “My brother used to have headaches, complained about ‘em every day, and then one day, he just up and died.”
Mark snorts and starts to step inside. “Thanks, Sims. That really makes me feel better.” Mark turns to leave, but the doorman calls after him.
“Oh! There’s a buddy of yours waiting on you in your room! Said he knew you when you were kids?” Simmons shrugs. “I figured you wouldn’t mind if I went ahead and let him go up.” The doorman gives one last smile and goes back to whistling.
Mark furrows his brow. He can’t remember agreeing to have anyone over, especially not someone he knew when he was a kid. Confused and slightly concerned, Mark heads for the elevator and punches the button for the top floor. Not every let’s-player makes the big time, but “Markiplier” is one of the most popular names in the gaming community at present. And the title doesn’t come without it’s perks.
Mark’s large flat is dark and quiet when he enters save for his dog, Chica, who comes running to greet him. “Hey, bub! How’s my girl?” Mark kneels to pet the beautiful golden retriever, but Chica is whining, tail tucked between her legs as she glances nervously behind her. Mark follows the dog’s gaze to find someone standing by the glass wall of the flat overlooking the city below.
“Hello?” Mark stands up, trying to make out the person’s face, but it seems that their back is turned to Mark. “Just who are you?”
The young man standing at the window turns just as the full moon slips out from behind a layer of clouds, illuminating his face. He’s shorter and slight, dressed all in black with a patch over his right eye. A hovercam glows at his shoulder, blinking at Mark like an eyeball. The little green ball hovers nearer, getting right in the other man’s face, and Mark takes a step back as he sees his reflection mirrored in the cam’s black pupil, ringed with electric blue. “Sam?”
Mark glances past the little bot to its owner whose shock of green hair is exposed when he pulls back the hood of his jacket. “Jack?”
The younger man winces at the name, hissing slightly as if it causes him physical pain to hear it. “I don’t go by that name anymore. It’s just Sean, Sean McLoughlin.”
Mark’s jaw drops. He never knew the Irish YouTuber very well, but he’d been another big-name channel. Mark had collaborated with him once, trying out the new ‘group emersion’ along with a few other Tubers, and the two had gotten along pretty well. Well enough even to talk of doing more collabs just between the two of them, but then Mark had gotten the news.
Jacksepticeye was killed in a freak car accident. Only, they’d never found the body.
Now Mark knows why. “You… but… Everyone thinks you’re dead!”
Sean brushes his hair back and sighs. “And I’d like to keep it that way.”
Mark’s mouth drops open, but he’s not sure which of all the thoughts running through his brain is going to fall out first. He finally decides on, “Well then what the crap are you doing here?”
Sean reaches up as Sam, once his channel’s icon, hovers closer. The young Irishman taps his drone carefully so that it’s glow expands to light up more of the room, casting both Mark and Sean in an eerie green light. “I’ve come to warn ya, Mark. Before it’s too late.”
Will Mark… listen to Jack? or call the cops?
(So this one is a bit longer than normal, just to lay the groundwork, but to vote, please send me an ask, anonymous or not, and vote for what path you think the story should take! The new header was made by @all-meh-edits by the way. It’s phenomenal! I hope you enjoy this special event, cutie pies! I know I’m super excited for it!)