silberstreif: (Listen to Prowl)
[personal profile] silberstreif
Title: Lord Darth of Darkness
Fandom: G1, pre-war, AU
Genre: Humour, romance, litrpg
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] wicked3659
Warning: none
Note: Written for September Anniversary Challenge at [livejournal.com profile] prowlxjazz

Summary: Everyone uses the online Worlds during recharge, either for learning or entertainment. Prowl has always scoffed at the games, but now his medic made it clear that he needs more fun in life. Determined not to meet anyone he knows, Prowl enters the fantasy World “Black Optics”. It’s the start of a journey that leads to chaos, mayhem and maybe romance. 

Lord Darth of Darkness


ARC 1: The Zombie in the Wood
Chapter One
“You need a hobby.“

Prowl blinked. “Pardon?”

Pharma leant back in his very comfortable looking chair. The medical office surrounding them was that modern edgy style that showed off more wealth than taste. “Do I need to check your audios, too? You need a hobby, you know, something that mechs do to relax.”

Prowl, already cranky because his chair was definitely not comfortable nor made for Praxian doorwings, said, “I came here because of my spontaneous crashes, not to hear that I need to change my lifestyle.”

“Pity then, that this is my professional opinion of how to stop your crashes.” Pharma twirled his stylus. “Prowl, you are an intelligent mech. What you have called crashes are in reality stress induced partial overloads in your CPU. It is a warning signal. Your frame is not getting enough rest, your spark needs more recharge and your CPU needs different stimulus to verify the code lines from your normal work.”

The black and white Praxian was silent for a long moment. “But I am the chief of the Praxian Enforcers. I am needed.”

“Obviously, but you are not an infinite resource,” Pharma smiled. “This is why you should take better care of your recharge habits. With this, half of your problems would be eliminated.”

“Half,” said Prowl drily. “I guess I still need a hobby?”

“Indeed. In your case you should be able to simply choose some kind of Online World during recharge. Teletraan has dozens of interesting Worlds, one should be able to interest you.”

Prowl sighed, so far he had done the last or first reports of the day during recharge and when he hadn’t worked, he had learned about statistics at the University of Iacon. Online courses had more and more become standard and Prowl was very much a fan of them. The Worlds though, well, these were a different matter entirely.

“A World,” he said flatly.

“You’re acting as if I asked you to become an eternal.” Pharma searched only for a moment in his desk, then he placed a small silvery card in front of Prowl with a big grin. On it was a code and a very prominent black optic. “Here! Out of the goodness of my spark, I am using my precious friend invite code of Black Optic on you. It’s even a silver grade one, those are rare.”


Prowl took it in hand. “You want us to play together?”

“Why not? We haven’t since you were a youngling,” Pharma chuckled. “And I get a bonus if you use the code. So what do you say?”

He sighed. As if he had a choice anymore. “Okay.”

~

After a very long work orn he finally reached home. With a warm, heavy critrium energon cube in hand he entered his berth room, anxiously looking forward to his recharge. Logically, he knew that Pharma was right. His workload was something he would never allow any of his Enforcers to have, but he had no one above him and as a result, no one controlled him and said enough. Until his own CPU had taken the emergency brake and forced him into Pharma’s office.

His berth room was small. On one side was a traditional berth with lots of pillows and a very soft grey mesh for recharge and extra creational activities. On the right was a big, red cube, the ARC system. They had become a common commodity a centivorn ago and by now nearly every home had one. ARC was short for Advanced Reality Cube and they were the portals into the virtual reality that had reached a deepness and richness that made the world often a bland experience by comparison. Was it really any wonder that more and more mechs chose to never leave?

He looked at the silver card in his hand thoughtfully. He hadn’t explored the virtual reality much with his ARC. Learning programs, a single dance program, and several language programs had interested him much more than the current hype of a game. When everyone had played Blizzard, he had entered ‘Philo Online’, a debate club.

Now he was here, preparing himself to play ‘Black Optic’ of all things. With a sigh, he put the card into a tiny slit at the side of the ARC.

“Open,” he commanded. With a quiet hiss the red cube slid apart, revealing a white glowy mass. Deactivating his ventilation system, he turned around and then stepped backwards into the mass, which swallowed him.

For a short moment he still saw his berthroom, then his entire perception became black.

[Welcome in your Spatium, User Prowl.]

The darkness became brighter and revealed a small round room with two doors and shelves on every wall. The shelves held datapads, each representing a program or World he had entered previously. There weren’t many. Prowl liked to work on things a long time.

“Hello, Teletraan,” he greeted the AI back. “Any new messages?”

[No, User Prowl. This unit has been updated by your designated workplace that you wish no further work during your recharge time. Please confirm?]

“It’s true. For health reasons, I have to cease that behaviour.”

[A good decision.] The usually bland tone sounded vaguely approving.

Prowl rubbed his chevron in quiet frustration. Was he really bad enough that even a nearly emotionless machine had started to worry?

“You should have received a silver invitation card to the World ‘Black Optic’. Please open the World.”

[Invitation card confirmed. As you wish.]

At Prowl’s right side a glow came from the wall, behind a shelf. Within seconds the shelf disintegrated into nothingness and a new door graced Spatium.

[The World ‘Black Optic’ is ready. We wish you an enjoyable time.]

Prowl doubted that anything in a virtual fantasy world could be enjoyable. Fantasy was per definition illogical and utterly
incomprehensive. They probably even had magic! In short, it was everything he wasn’t. Which was probably why Pharma sent him here.

There was no time like the present. With the pride and self-composure of a mech sentenced to certain death he entered the game.

~

Again, he was floating in familiar darkness.

[Welcome, User Prowl, in ‘Black Optics’. Is this your first visit?]

“Yes.”    

[Do you wish a tutorial?]

Did he? He hated to jump into a situation unprepared, however he saw no reason to waste more time than necessary on this game. He didn’t want to be successful, he just wanted to do his work in reality well.

“No.”

[We proceed directly to the character selection.]

In the darkness appeared images of different races and builds.

[Please choose one. Remember, your face can be freely changed within the limits of the race.]

So he could be entirely unrecognisable? For the first time since leaving Pharma’s office, Prowl felt better. At least none of his colleagues would know about this!

“Which race would change my features the most?”

One of the races lit up and floated towards Prowl.

[Undead servant of darkness. Due to its decaying nature, there is nearly no similarity with the player.]

It was a gruesome image of a mech with spiky armour, rust everywhere and nearly all paint had been scratched off.

“I’ll take it,” he decided hastily. “Please change the face, until it shares nothing with my real one.”

The optics became a dark red, the entire mech turned to the deepest of black and the face itself melted into sharp, unnatural edges. Prowl was happy, now the rust was barely visible anymore and he certainly didn’t look like he wanted to be talked to. “Perfect.”

[The next step is the choice of a profession.]

“I’m fine with any profession. Next step.”

[A profession is an import-]

“I know, but I do not care,” Prowl flicked his doorwings in clear demand of submission. “Just do it.”

[Affirmative. Next step is your in-game name. Please enter it into the window in front of you.]

A blue window appeared, hovering in front of him. His first impulse was to enter ‘Prowl’, but then he thought better of it. He wanted to play in peace and not as the very recognisable Enforcer Chief, so he entered ‘Daran.’

[This name is not available.]

“Ugh.” As if this game would make anything easy. “What about ‘Cutter’?”

[This name is not available.]

“’RedThief?’”

[This name is not available.]

“’BlackThief?’ ‘BlueSun’? ‘Daran1’?”

[These names are not available.]

Prowl wanted to throw something in frustration. “Then what is available? Lord Darth?!”

[Affirmative.]

“…of course.” Prowl felt a headache coming that usually was a prelude to his crashes. Why was he even caring about this? It was just a stupid game in a World that wasn’t real. No reason to care, really. “I’ll take Lord Darth.”

[Are you sure, User Prowl?]

“Yes. With my luck I’ll find an even worse name next. Like Lord Underpants.”

[Player name available.]

Prowl felt his headache increasing. “Just enter Lord Darth.”

Inside the window appeared ‘Lord Darth’.

[Congratulations to your player name. Within the World ‘Black Optic’ you will be called ‘Lord Darth’. Please select now your starting city. There are 47 choices, each one -]

“I don’t care. Give me the city with the least players.”

[As you wish, Lord Darth.]

Prowl twitched. Maybe he should have taken another, less ridiculous name. Before he could contemplate his mistake further, he found himself standing in a small medieval village – surrounded by trash and small, wooden buildings, eyed by dark, shadowy figures as if he was their next dinner, and feeling very cold – which was no surprise considering that the entire sky was covered with dark clouds. The first snowflakes hit his rusty body, damaging it because he had seemingly no armour at all and something that looked like a spiky, four-legged foxhound to his right started growling.

“Wonderful,” said Prowl quietly.

========

Notes: Other TF characters do appear in later chapters. But for story reasons, Prowl needs to wander around alone first. ^^

And it is a Jazz/ Prowl story, written for the September Anniversary of the [livejournal.com profile] prowlxjazz community. I defaulted, because the idea became just too big to write it within the time.

The name of the World Prowl plays in - "Black Optics" - comes from a popular German pen and paper game "Das Schwarze Auge". (The black eye). If there's anyone else who knows the game, they might find later other elements "borrowed" from the game.

Last but not least, this is litrpg. Litrpg is its own genre by now, and encompasses all books written about what a character experiences within an online world. If anyone is interested, my current favourite is "Continue Online" written by frustratedego.

Date: 2015-11-11 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wicked3659.livejournal.com
This is still amazing! I hope you put it on AO3 so I can bookmark it and keep it forever :3

Date: 2015-11-11 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silberstreif.livejournal.com
Thank you for your encouragement! ^^ I'll upload it on AO3 tonight, I just had to catch the train first.

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