[Void Galaxia] Chapter 10: Why Did You Play In Hell?

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Surprising even my own subconscious or Other-Scape or whatever the philosophical term was, I woke up at nine the next morning

      dozed a bit

      imagined forest sex with Asami, an army of purple eyeballs watching from the canopy, a spiraling vortex to cartoon Pluto

      then finally rolled off the bed around eleven.

      My head was still fuzzy from getting a patchy amount of sleep, but I remembered very clearly the thing hovering outside the window. And the paralysis that came with it. Hoping it was just a variation on immersion haze, I went online and searched shadow creature with purple eyes that floats outside windows. No results except 18+ fan fiction. Okay, immersion haze then. Good.

      The VR server made a beeping noise, winning my attention.

      Right, time to play that ridiculous-…

      I blinked several times before the message on the screen sank in.

      Installation Failed. Try Again?

      Again?

      And stare out the window for another four hours?

      Kasu…

      I reached over and removed the game.

      What I had to do was go back to Yosh and see if this really was Pluto 2280. My gut said he’d given me a knock-off by mistake, an ambush rip-off from a smaller developer maybe, and if I showed him some of it, his gut would say it too.

      He might even feel guilty about hassling me so hard for the games yesterday.

      As if it was my fault Ryu decided to be so fucking lax all of a sudden…

      I picked up my phone and checked my messages.

      Kuso, still lax.

      Not even a forgiveness emoji.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 9: Days Of Grey, Nights Of Neon

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My dorm VR server was dead.

      Or it may as well have been. Four hours to install a fucking game?

      Was this real?

      Didn’t it know I was already pissed off?

      Muttering, ‘fucking Martokras,’ under my breath, I switched to my game-card version of Moon Factory 7 and patched in. It functioned okay, no frazzled weirdness…until the background scenery starting flashing green and the NPCs walked on air like it was the floor.

      Okay, that definitely needed to be fixed. Another game?

      I scrolled through my cards – Harem Survival 4, Quarter-Life, Pluto 2270 etc. – and struggled to put colour to any of them. Too familiar. Played to death and beyond.

      What else?

      Dorm version of Moon Factory 7? Tomomi or Sachiko would probably be on, I could do some crater watching with them. But the lag would be pretty bad…half-filled in background, NPC buffering freeze…unless I detached the install?

      I checked the timer on Pluto 2280. Three hours and fifty-eight minutes left.

      Fuck. Four hours.

      Everyone knew dorm servers weren’t the fastest, but new games never took that long to install. One hour max.

      Kuso.

      I looked at my phone and saw it was already eleven.

      What was I gonna do for four hours?

      Forums?

      Vlogs?

      Sleep?

      Opening a new tab, I went to 100 More and scrolled down the main page. Apart from a video about what it would feel like to fall into the atmosphere of Jupiter, there was nothing of interest.

      And didn’t wanna look at my phone anyway.

      That’s what addicts did.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 8: Copy Of A Copy Of A Copy Of A

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      ‘Where the hell did all that metal come from?’ I asked, not really caring if anyone else on Tsunashima bridge heard or flinched or flailed.

      The cover came out of my bag again, mock innocent.

      ‘Metal land? Pluto scrap yard?’

      No answer.

      ‘Fucking kasu…’

      We were walking home-wards, myself and that disgrace of a game. The assistant had kicked us out, ignoring my one plea for leniency and then the following seven threats to have him subpoenaed [I meant fired].

      ‘What then? Permanent ban?’

      ‘This is a first offence so, no, not permanent. Just take a rest for a few days then you can come back.’

      ‘A few days? Three? Two?’

      ‘I think a week would be better. And when you do come back, no game, please. And no more aggression. Okay?’

      I’d told him I would come back whenever the will took me, which meant there was no point going back at all. It’s not like there was any work due. Or there probably was, but that was way out of my orbit.

      A couple walked past on the bike lane side, fondling each other and, when they got about ten metres ahead, it finally clicked in my brain that the girl was Tomomi.

      Wah, my Tomomi. The third most chilled-out player on Moon Factory 7. The girl I sometimes hung out with at Clamo Sha Sea Food. Did she know how dumb this new Pluto game was?

      I turned onto another road, walked past the new karaoke building and then Saizeriya. The addict part of me, a smallish part, thought about going inside and patching in, swallowing their dumb 4900 yen deal, but then I remembered the caveat: only games in the Saizeriya catalogue can be used. Okay, then I’d go in and scrawl out some napkin messages, notes for the designers of this game, telling them every single thing that was wrong with the fucking thing. Number one: it lies.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 7: Pluto 2280

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      When I got back to the Computerr Research Lab, my number was up, so I waved the Pluto 2280 game-card – the non-labelled side –  at the admin guy and walked deeper in. Straight away there was a problem: some kid was sitting in front of my screen, playing one of those classic half-bit, non-VR games. I checked the ticket. Yup, it was definitely mine. What the fuck was this little trog doing?

      ‘Hey,’ I barked, waving the ticket above his head.

      No response.

      ‘Time’s up. Finished.’

      Nothing, no head movement, barely even blinked.

      On the screen, there was a beach and a man running up some steps onto a promenade. Behind him, someone yelling, off-screen, then gun-shots. So loud I could hear them through the guy’s headphones. Which I decided to yank off.

      ‘I said, time’s up, kasu. It’s my turn.’

      He looked up, dazed. ‘Five seconds.’

      I spent the five seconds looking at his build. He was sitting down, but I could tell he was small. Arms pretty thin…chest covered in an over-sized Critters 6 t-shirt…probably no work put into it.

      ‘Five seconds gone, kasu. Get off.’

      He shook his head and kept playing.

      It was probably wrong to start a fight in the computerr lab, but he was pushing me, and he was skinny, and it would be over quick.

      ‘You deaf? I just told you to get off .’

      My hand pushed his bony little paw off the keyboard. He tried to slide it back, but I blocked, cuffing him on the temple as an exclamation mark.

      ‘It’s not saved, abuzere.’

      ‘Don’t care. Move.’

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 6: Sounds Like A Death Cult

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The sky was streaked with green slashes [safe pollution, the media called it] as I got back on the train and out of Jiyugaoka.

      Just like before, all the seats were taken by a mix of school kids, mums with prams and geriatrics staring off into space, so I stood by one of the poles in the middle, thinking, semi-scrambling.

      Yosh was right. It had been over three months, almost four. Never usually took this long to send out new games. Even during the bosses’ strike last year. Shit, Ryu, what were you doing over there?

      A baby cried out from one of the prams, getting a quick, ‘there, there,’ from its mum before she looped back to her phone.

      Wah, forget Ryu, what was I doing? I knew Yosh, knew him when I’d started this shit, where he was from, who he was with, the shit he’d probably done in Ikebukuro.

      But, Yosh…he liked me, didn’t he? At least a little, and enough not to…not to what? What would he do exactly?

      The train stopped and more people got on.

      A man in a Silent Crimson 8 vest, carrying a guitar case on his back, moved in front of me and filled up most of my space.

      Fuck, no apologies, no gestures.

      ‘Hey…’ I said, firm but not aggressive.

      He shifted his feet, turning further away. The guitar case pushed against my chest, forcing me back a little. What the-…was he drunk?

      I steadied myself against the bar behind and examined the intruder. Two, three inches shorter, weak shoulders, skinny arms…

      Running off a lunatic hit of adrenaline, I moved forward, pushed the guitar case to the side and off his shoulder. The guy turned, annoyed, his mouth already open to call me something…then closed it fast when he saw how close I was.

      No words back on my side, just a focused glare.

      Tsukubashi’s potentialism.

      Kristeva’s abject.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 5: Dragon Centre

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I stood with one elbow on the counter, next to a completely incongruous rolled-up stack of fiberglass, staring at the game posters on the nearby wall.

      Robot Diablo [Argentinian]

      Le Regle De La Jeu Medieval [French]

      Harem Survival 4 [Iranian-Guangdong collab, ridiculously popular]

      Kokoro no iron [One of ours]

      The last one had the best art, a pretty realistic image of a heart being crushed by a giant metal claw, but the concept…still generic. Young teens, robots suits, battles spilling over into high school girl changing rooms.

      I heard a noise from the door and looked over, but it was something happening in the corridor outside.

      Quick check on the back room doorway.

      No Yosh shape.

      Back to the posters.

      Ah, Harem Survival 4…the one that finally took the subtlety away…played by gamers with absolutely no sense of shame…

      Another noise from the corridor, followed by a rough shout of NOT THAT WAY, YOU SPOON.

      I tried looking out through the window, but there was too much promo stuff blocking the view. Just a head or two bobbing past.

      It was weird, the centre was fairly active, but none of it seemed to be spilling over into Yosh’s place. Like someone had drawn a magic circle in invisible chalk. There were one or two kids slumped on the VR dentist chairs in the corner, but compared to normal, the place was practically derelict.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 4: Hiding Out In Moon Factory 7

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…dimmest court room I’d ever seen, darker than Tento’s Horror Dome, with Yaphet Kotto ordering me to the bench, without my lawyer, and before I knew it I was over there, staring up at him god-size above, blank-eyed, facially retrograde, listening as the alien-hassler recycled for the seventh time that I was guilty, amoral, hangable, and what did I have to say about that?

‘Still not true.’

‘Insufficient.’

‘I didn’t do anything.’

‘Precisely. You failed to help him.’

‘What? The noodles.’

‘Not good enough.’

‘But…’

‘Where’s your conscience, Keni?’

‘Who?’

‘You’re guilty.’

‘No…’

‘You truly are.’

‘I’m not.’

‘Don’t obfuscate.’

‘Ob what?’

Something at the back of the court started emitting beeping noises and my hand moved vaguely towards it.

Another few beeps and it stopped.

Kotto stared at me [and my hand] as if I were a necromancer then asked for an explanation of my actions that night. Stalling for time, I looked at the painting lurking behind, split into three panels, two men eating, something broken up in the middle, and then, accompanied by sudden industrial wires sprouting from the ceiling, the electronic screech from Tetsuo on the court speakers, my mouth opened and a new line crept out. ‘He wasn’t a man. At all.’

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 1: Bacon Face Xopop

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Bullet hole seven inch Mostar wretch in fatigues call

warlord to public face uncle if fond of shoulder issue symptom bigger than other symptom cover up with moon base tech walk in slumped no lean on L’Avenir grin

point to VR stub claim association why zaum so zaum really grammar is syntax or opposite check data base with own eyes no not old form later when needed if loaded Khleb who Russian again in transit don’t you have a cocktail to spike

                                                                                                ya but

         not violent like the plumes yesterdirge what nitrogen

thought it was hydrogen forgot          

                                                                            two-thirds citrine max, scary should’ve worn bigger jacket

                               fuck in Bosnian dark forest that one sorry Bosniak

same tree cleaner sacrifice serious

                                              not now I’m

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Belgrade, Near Future

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‘Killed my family.’

Not strong enough.

‘Murdered them…my whole family.’

Weird. Off-tone at the end.

‘You…murdered…my Bosniak family.’

Slow. Too theatrical. Too family.

‘Murdered all of them. You.’

Better.

Scaling Keith David standard.

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Void Galaxia [Serial]

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Always wanted to write a long-running serial with immersive VR and a chapter called Baudrillardian Group Fun Time and another chapter called Waste Of The Witch and

here it is

brace for hauntological drift

a wisp between sci-fi and experimentalism

scenes that in another universe would’ve been trimmed down

an abandoned alien in a Nick Stahl skin suit

sudden acid zaum

Triton intrigue

science that buckles under a brain swap op

Notes on Anarchism by Jeff Fahey

Japanese MC to Scouse MC to near-future Californian decay

unmade sci-fi films

sex + voyeurs

Dada outreach

remade sci-fi films plus

L’Avenir stuck on a moon base that maybe some of the postmodernists saw coming

maybe not.

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Updates every Saturday and Thursday barring illness or weird mood.

Read Chapter 1: Bacon Face Xopop or go to the Void Galaxia menu page for the full list

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