Meeting Young Alice

A session with Annabell played on the OOC date of 7th April 2012.

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So…it's fine. To shake off the doldrums of a living sleep and to take charge…but first, there's user agreements to get through. Several pages of scripted legalese appear in floating scrolls…this glasses must be useful.

Annabell began working her way methodically through the pages of dry text, the terminology a little different than the sort that she more normally perused but at least it was more intelligibly than some other doctors hand scribbled patient notes. She had chosen a day off to get this sorted out, to give herself time, so it wasn't as if she had anywhere to be…

Not unless she got paged to go into the hospital to deal with something else.

Dry, so very dry and boring…and only half of it was about the game itself. (Scholarship) Quite a lot of it was more concerned with limiting medical liability caused by immersive injuries…and intellectual property. Somehow, these seem related. Good thing Annabell wasn't a lawyer. Otherwise, it might be something to worry about! On to player registration and character naming…

The sections on injuries received a brief look, but Annabell had once read over all the health warnings which could be associated with your average swivel chair and assumed that this was a similar case of covering against the more outrageous possible compensation claims.

Entering details about herself didn't slow her down, but when she reached the section on her character as opposed to herself she almost stalled.

…these appear to be somewhat concerned with incidental liability, but also with direct physical harm caused by play as well. As if the software's supposed to cause injury. Part of the game agreement is absolving them of any liability if your health isn't up to the game's standards. Rigorous exercise…probably?

Annabell gave a sigh at this, but she had made up her mind even before starting to read. With the numbers of people involved in the game as a whole it couldn't be too bad and, if push came to shove, leaving would always be an option.

As she completes the signature, there's a brief static wash over her field of vision, leaving a few of the letters lingering across her vision. She can't quite put the diffuse letters into a pattern, but can't help but have a feeling there IS one….creepy graphics. Oh, well. The character designer comes up! Just how will she look as Annabell becomes a silhouette?

Mousy brown hair in a simple braid brightened and gained a tinge of red as the image of the 'real' Annabell faded away, lips showing a more vivid crimson, and her eyes darkening to black as her skin paled to near flawless white. The figure taking her place was a little more 'rounded', yet close to her own, but taken as a whole held a feeling of 'other'.

Annabell hesitated, looking at her own dark eyes, and took it in as a whole. It was her, but just different enough that it felt… Steeling herself she finalised the look rather than spend the rest of the day second guessing her options.

After an initial content screen, she's good to go…and after a rather disturbingly bright flash of light, her portable starts sparking and smoking and everything goes dark, as if the lights had been turned out.

Annabell gave a somewhat undignified yelp as the light assaulted her eyes and device sparked, not -quite- throwing it away but at least pulling her hands clear of it with haste, but as her heart stopped racing from the shock she muttered to herself, "Well, that went well…"

A single spotlight turns on a few inches in front of her and a girl appears, dressed very plain and properly…for the early 20th century.


"Good evening…can you help me find something?"

Annabell blinked once to clear the last of the spots form the flash from her eyes then tried to relax as the girl made her request. In her mind it was likely that the 'event' was part of the game and if was so then this might just be part of the game and…

"I don't know." Annabell replied honestly to the girl then added, on the spur of the moment, "There are many something's that many people might want to have."

The girl turns her eyes up to meet Annabell's. "And what kinds of somethings would someone like you help me find?"

With this degree of interaction it was hard for Annabell to think of the figure as anything but another person, but the knowledge in the back of her mind that this was part of the game helped her speak differently than she might to one of her patients or co-workers.

As her dark eyes met the girl's gaze she replied, "I am looking for myself or maybe looking for other people. I think that I lost at least one of those on the way. Neither are things though."

"…aren't they." It somehow didn't feel quite like a question. "I suppose I should ask. Do you know the way you need to talk to get to what you're looking for? There's a number of paths before you…and if you keep your eyes open, you might even see just where you're going." Slowly, very slowly…she smiles.

"No. No I don't." Annabell said as she considered her situation and a small part of her mind wondered about how interactive the game's characters really were. She shook her head a little as she continued, "But whether I know how or not isn't important. If I don't like where I am then I'll have to follow one and see where it goes or just go nowhere at all."

The girl nods. Where DID that teacup she's sipping from come from? "There are a number of paths you can take…study and technology….contract and allegiance…using your own soul as a weapon….or turning your need into sharp claws and teeth, a phantasmagorical bandersnatch!" She giggles at the words. "Or you can try to just be normal. If you're feeling suicidal."

This was not a light choice. With the options before her and her focus primarily on them Annabell was distracted enough by her thoughts that she unthinkingly offered the girl, "If you want one then I have some English biscuits in the kitchen which go nicely with tea."

"I'd hate to grow any bigger…" There's that smile again. It's a hint unnerving. "Tell me…do you want to make friends? If so…I strongly recommend the path of the Devil Summoner. Someone with the ears to hear might find themselves rarely alone."

"If you're recommending it then that's one good thing about it…" Annabell said slowly as she turned the idea over in her mind, "But if that is 'contract and allegiance' then would they really be friends? I have co-workers already and would you feel like being a friend to someone who you were getting bound to follow?"

"All I can say is this…I would never make a contract with anyone who would not die for me. Is this not natural?" Smiiiiiiile.

"Only if you would die for them." Annabell responded, trying to pull together her thoughts on 'friends' and getting the vague feeling that she was taking a test, "It should be an exchange after all and if you think that you're worth more than them… Well, would you really be a friend?"

"…I suppose not." She sets her tea aside. It floats beside her. "I think you'd make a splended Devil Summoner…would you like a gift?"

"But it isn't even Christmas?" Annabella said, but she was smiling a little. This was probably something scripted, something like the 'gifts' in one too many e-mails, but talking to the giver made it more real. "It would be nice, but apart from the biscuits I don't have much to give in return."

There's that smile again. "The best gifts are a reward in themselves." And with that, he holds out a palm. A GOLDEN KEY item appears and goes into Annabell's inventory. "Sadly, you're not quite the right size to use it yet. Have you chosen your path?"

"I think that I'll follow your advice as I doubt that you'd give a gift to someone you'd be leading off a cliff." Annabell told the girl with a smile then, despite not wearing the right skirt for it, took a cue from the other's mannerisms and attempt a curtsey.

"I am Annabell and, if you would be so kind I would like to walk the path of a devil summoner. I appreciate your gift and may I ask who to thank for it?"

She cursteys in response. "Sometimes you have to jump and fall to ever find the ground at all. And you may call me Alice." With that, she shrinks down small enough to walk out under Anabell's door.

"You forgot your tea!" Annabell called to the other, stepping over and reaching to take the cup and saucer from the air with the intention of bringing it after the 'visitor'.

When she looks outside, there's no one in the hall except for a neighbor boy who looks at her like she's crazy and ducks off.

Shaking her head she gave him a look in return then stepped back inside. It was probably the influence of one too many late night shifts as an intern where coffee in the hand was worth less than in the mouth, but unthinkingly Annabell raised the cup up and took a sip as she crossed the apartment towards her kitchen.

….that's odd. Her apartment feels…bigger. That's….oddd.

…since when was her couch two stories tall.

"…'drink me'. Of course." Annabella said as she looked around slowly at what had become of her apartment. Assuming that the system had mapped it or something, she'd vaguely heard something about that, and was just showing her what she 'should' see Annabell was more curious than worried. It didn't hurt that she recalled the comment about the 'gift'.

Taking a moment, she tried to figure out how to access her inventory as she had a cup to put away and a key to retrieve.

Suddenly, a wireframe in the shape of a woman appears in blue light next to her. She speaks in a string of words she doesn't recognize, then sighs. "…Great. A coding error. Have you been hacking our software, Miss?"

"Not as far as I know." Annabella replied, trying not to bristle at the accusation, "Given that when I turned it on my 'portable' almost made me think it had gone puff… It's new so is it under warrantey still?"

"I'm game support, not tech support. Look, do you want me to reset you or not? You're going to cause more trouble!"

"I've no idea what is happening. I was just finishing my account setup." Taking a deep breath and backing down a little, she asked more politely, "Could you tell me what happened, Miss? Because everything looks rather… odd."

Tap-tap-tap. She's sitting…and typing, apparently. "You caused a fault in sysregedit.dll and now you look frozen. I'll need to restart your entire host server, but luckily you're the only user ON it right now. "Where you doing when things got weird?"

"Apparently choosing to be a Devil Summoner. Or, if you mean when I got the burnt smell from my portable, just finalising my in game appearance."

"aaaaallllll right. Your information looks fine, but there's a corrupt file. Some sort of golden key. Should I delete it? It's junk now, but I have to ask."

"Mind if I look at it first?" Annabell asked, "I could do with some luck in my life, but I still don't know how to get at an 'inventory' or anything."

"Well, you can use voice like a weirdo or just up-touch." She makes a gesture like someone pulling open a sack from either side. A wireframe screen appears in front of her wireframe body. "Nooobs…And no, you can't look at it. I only did that once, and I needed the money!"

"Besides, you aren't my type. If I had a type. Do I have a type? Do YOU have a type? You can't even SEE m-…oh, wait. Wrong question. I get what you mean. Yeah, inventory. Like…that….eheehee."

The face of the wireframe flashes red.

"…I think that we can forget the last bit of that conversation?" Annabell offered even as she made the requisite gesture.

Her inventory opens. Apparently the Golden Key takes up on a…well…Key Items slot. It shouldn't bother her for space, ideally?

"Apart from being worth its weight in gold, it looks harmless." Annabell said thoughtfully then glanced at the tech support woman, "If you think that I hacked it in then I'm not going to protest you deleting it, but otherwise I'll probably try to put it on a cord around my neck or something. It's pretty enough?"

"i…uh…suuuuuuure…Welp, restarting now. Have a great day. I'll leave my contact code just in case there's more issues." She receives a friend request from ADMIN_HERSHEYS_XIAO

Annabell fiddled for a moment before figuring out how to accept then, with a faintly ironic grin, said, "Thank you… And you do look cute when you blush like that?"

The wireframe goes completely red before disappearing.

A few moments later she gets a friend request from a character named Kisses.

…Kisses X.O.

"'So Key needs thirty thousand friends….'" Annabell murmured to herself as she, more confidentially now, okayed this request before trying to figure out how to make a note about who that person was.

Aaaand scene~

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Session Notes: Forgot to put this up immediately, but it's here at last…