The GameCola staff must band together if they want to survive Zero-Two’s most dangerous game.
(Inspired by the hit DS visual novel 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.)
Everyone looked at each other, processing what had just happened. Split up?
“We should probably get moving, guys,” Daniel said abruptly. “This Zero-Two guy’s probably not going to wait forever.”
“I suppose we’ll need leaders,” Matt reminded the group, and everyone stared blankly at each other for another minute or so. Finally, Nathaniel stepped forward, heaving an overly-dramatic sigh.
“All right, all right, I know. I will offer myself as a leader.” The staff just looked at him, no one saying a word until Paul finally spoke up.
“Nathaniel,” he said slowly. “I think that Nikola, Michael, and I should be the leaders.”
“What? Why?” Nathaniel replied, sounding a little hurt.
“Well, we’ve played a game like this before. We kind of know what to do.” Paul tried to keep a tone of superiority out of his voice, but he didn’t succeed. Next to him, Nikola and Michael nodded.
“And there’s the matter of the notes,” Nikola pointed out.
“Oh yeah,” Paul said. He’d completely forgotten about those.
Nathaniel looked like he was going to fight for a moment, but then he sighed and stepped back, still looking a little bitter.
“So, we’ve got leaders. Now how do we decide who goes with who?” Christian asked. Everyone looked puzzled for a second.
“I guess we could always just…pick teams,” Jeff suggested half-heartedly.
As he said this, the iPad in Diana’s hands made the notification noise. She opened it, reading the message on the screen with some confusion. “The chat is now open.” Unlocking the iPad, the screen formed into a larger version of the GameCola Faithful chat. Currently in the chat were rizziman, smallgirl, Joe Reviewer, and Anna, along with a few guests.
“Can you guys hear us?” Diana said uncertainly, noticing that there was no place to type. Messages immediately began flooding in.
Anna: Are you guys livecasting?
smallgirl23: What’s up?
Joe Reviewer: Is everyone there? And is that Diana?
Diana looked up at the staff. “They think we’re livecasting.”
“What? That’s crazy!” Paul said indignantly. “You know I always advertise those really well!”
rizziman: So this isn’t a livecast?
“No, it isn’t,” Diana told the chat, realizing how crazy she must look since the rest of the staff couldn’t see the chatroom. “What happened? How did you guys…is this the chatroom on GameCola?”
smallgirl23: Kind of…
Anna: We all tried to get on GameCola and it just led us here, the website is gone…
“What?!” Diana exclaimed, causing the staff to come and crowd around the device, looking over the chat. Paul turned pale.
“N-no! Not GameCola! They shut down GameCola?!” Everyone looked a little shocked at the outburst as Paul turned back toward them, a look of tortured determination on his face. “We need to do this, guys. We need to play this game. For GameCola.” He put his hand out, clearly intending everyone to do some sort of cheer, but the rest of the staff just looked at him. “Forget it, let’s just figure out teams,” he muttered.
Paul, Nikola, and Michael stepped out to the front and surveyed the group. “So, are we just going to pick?” Nikola asked, still a little unsure of the plan.
“Yeah, like this. I pick Jeddy,” Paul told him. The other two looked indignantly at him.
“Hey! We never decided who was going first!” Michael exclaimed.
“Oh, well, I’m in charge. So I went first,” Paul replied matter-of-factly as Jeddy moved to stand behind him.
“Fine, well, I pick Matt!” Michael said quickly and Nikola glared at him.
“I’ll take Christian,” he muttered.
“Well, you don’t need to sound so excited about it,” Christian told him as he walked over behind Nikola.
“Oh, my turn again?” Paul said in mock surprise. Everyone rolled their eyes as he looked over the remaining staff members. He frowned as he realized something. “Who’s going to have the group of four?”
Neither of the other leaders said anything. “Okay, I guess I will…” Paul said. “Anyway, I guess I pick Jeff.”
“You guess?!” Jeff said resentfully, reluctantly moving behind the Editor-in-Chief.
Michael looked over the three remaining: Nathaniel, Daniel, and Diana. “I’ll take Daniel.”
Nathaniel was fuming. How could he be in the final two? And after he’d so bravely volunteered himself as a leader, too. He was shaken out of his bitter thoughts by Nikola. “Nathaniel, come on.”
“So I’ll take Diana,” Paul said. As Diana moved behind him, still holding the iPad, he nodded. “This is good. I mean, you saved us all last time!”
Diana laughed. “I’m pretty sure this Zero-Two wouldn’t leave us such an open means of escape. Besides, this isn’t my story.”
Joe Reviewer: So we’re in Paul’s group too?
Anna: I still don’t really understand what’s going on…
smallgirl23: I don’t think they do either.
Paul looked over the troops, clumped around their leaders. Nathaniel still looked a little upset, but other than that, everyone looked nervous, wondering what challenges could await behind those numbered doors and when (or if) they were going to see each other again.
“OK, on three,” Paul said as each group gathered around the devices beside the doors: Nikola’s group on the left, Paul’s group in the middle, and Michael’s group on the right.
“One… Two… Three.” As Paul said three, the leaders each put their hand on the device, followed by the rest of their group. Everyone’s bracelets flashed an even brighter blue, blinding those staff members foolish enough to be looking at them. The devices made a little confirmation noise and the doors slowly opened, creaking loudly, the middle door just a beat behind because of the extra person. Everyone looked down into their passageway, which was nothing but inky blackness. After nervous looks at each other, the groups ventured into the void, leaving the leaders looking at each other in the main room.
“Keep everyone safe,” Paul told the other two. “Expect the unexpected. And remember the game.”
“No one is going to actually die…right?” Michael asked a little nervously.
“Not if we’re careful,” Nikola replied.
“Good luck.” Paul moved toward his door. “One way or another, I guess I’ll see you on the other side.”
For more of Diana’s fanfiction, check out her FanFiction.net page here