Klondike and the Battle for MonopolyEdit

"5...4...3...2...1...You have a 30 second grace period.", the voice boomed, seemingly from all around us. Most of the tributes rushed for the center of the ring, where chests containing gear and supplies were piled. A few tributes decided not to risk it, immediately leaving the ring and running for the loot scattered around the map. Within seconds, the center had been raided, and the tributes had fled in all directions to wait out the remainder of the grace period. I had a wooden sword, a compass, and a few pieces of food. I decided my best bet was to hide, and maybe snag some gear while sneaking around the map. Suddenly, a cannon fired and the voice came again. "A tribute has fallen." I was too worried at the time to pay attention to the tribute's name. I often regretted the passing of other tributes, but that was the game. And if I didn't see the names, I could feel less guilt over the game I was playing. I scouted around cautiously, running through the buildings and looking for loot in chests. This was how the game usually started- players ran around collecting as many supplies as they could, and then the skirmishes began. The cannon boomed again, and the voice announced the end of another tribute. I ignored it, and grabbed some leather boots I had found in a chest. Another boom. I left the building. Suddenly, I stumbled into a skirmish. Four tributes- it had probably been six a few seconds before- had swords drawn and were feverishly dueling. Two appeared to be working together, but had little armor between them, while the other two appeared to be going solo, and had much better gear equipped. One of the unarmored pair suddenly went down, a cannon marking his defeat. His partner turned and ran. Towards me. I realized I should probably run as well. Another cannon sounded. It appeared one of the armored tributes had won. I heard muffled footsteps on the carpeted arena ground, and saw the winner of the duel was pursuing the unarmored tribute and I. One more cannon boomed, and the tribute who had run went down to an arrow in the back. I kept sprinting, and an arrow missed my head by several feet. My pursuer was obviously a poor shot, and had hit the other tribute by luck. After running for a few minutes, I turned around, and found I had left my pursuer behind. I quickly ate some food to replenish my strength. Then I checked the logs; only three tributes were left beside myself. I continued my earlier method, and got a better sword, a helmet, and a bow with a few arrows. I soon realized what the arena was: a giant Monopoly board. Suddenly, a cannon. That left only me, my pursuer from earlier, and someone named Klondike. Klondike sent a message through chat:

"I'm really sorry! It's just the game, you know?"

I hoped the defeated tribute was still spectating, and had seen the message. The other surviving tribute swore, something about noobs and wimps. I decided I liked Klondike, at least better than the other tribute, so I typed a joke:

"Klondike, slaying like Cato!"

"Oh no! :P"

Yup. This was one of the reasons I still played these games: because despite all the jerks, once in a while you'd run into someone decent like Klondike. We talked a bit more in chat, joking about various things. I tried not to think about the fact that we might be fighting each other in a few minutes. I decided to head towards center to see if there was any loot left. I was sneaking towards center, when suddenly, I saw Klondike. She appeared to be in her (I assumed it was a her from the skin) inventory, and my pursuer from earlier was attacking her with an iron sword! I quickly ran in, and swung my sword at the tribute, attempting to distract him, for at least long enough to let Klondike recover and help me. I knocked him off balance, but he quickly struck back, and in a few hits, it was over. I respawned as a spectator, following Klondike. In the few seconds it took to respawn, she had typed in chat "Nobody kills my friend!" and drawn a diamond sword. The other tribute had turned and run once he saw her sword, but she quickly caught up and began dueling him. She had the better sword, but he had the better armor, and it looked like it was going to be close. Then her sword hit him once last time, slicing through his armor and defeating him. A cannon boomed.

"Thanks weltinator! Couldn't have done it without you!"

I left, proud of my heroism.

The same tribute I had saved Klondike from killed me in the next game.

LichZ: The InfectionEdit

I joined in a new world. My first few attempts in the simulation had failed, but I was hoping this time would be it, my turn to survive. I suddenly appeared on a grassy shore, and I could see several huge jagged rocks and what looked like a wrecked ship to my right. On my left, I saw several zombies lurching towards me. I heard voices coming from the direction of the wrecked ship. As always, as soon as I had entered the simulation, I forgot it was virtual, and believed it the real Minecraftia. The confusion and nausea caused by the loading of the simulation wore off, and my avatar's pre-programmed instincts kicked in. I knew that zombies couldn't talk, so voices meant other players. The simulation warned me that other players might be hostile, and that I should trust no one, but some partially-suppressed memory told me to be open to allies. I approached them, and hid behind a rock to see what was going on. Suddenly, the radio from my spawn kit buzzed. I had entered the other players' chat range. I picked it up and listened in.

"Guys...I think I'm infected."

"No! Crazy!"

"Sorry guys...I'm going to go now. I don't want to endanger you when I turn..."

"No, dude...we'll stay with you until the end."

"No. I'll only endanger you all. I have to leave. Who knows? Maybe I'll even find a cure."

Nobody said anything. I knew as well as they did that there was no cure. I decided to not focus on the doomed player, and instead on my potential allies. There had been at least three voices, and I could see four players. It seemed that they had been trusting or desperate enough to form a clan, and it appeared that they had begun to genuinely care for each other. I approached the group.

" you mind if I join?" I asked, holding my sword across my chest in a universally recognized peace sign.

"I don't look like a newbie." one of them said, rubbing her eyes. I realized she was attempting to hide the fact that she had been crying. So. A very close-knit group.

"Let him join. You're going to need someone to replace me." another player said grimly. I took a look at their nameplates. They all had strings of numbers at the end, so I decided to abbreviate them. The infected player was named Crazy. The one who had been crying was Wolfy. The others were named Dragone and MincraftGuy. All had a mixture of leather, chain, and iron armor. Two had wooden swords, and two had stone swords.

"All right." said Dragone. "But you'll have to carry your own weight." Suddenly, another player appeared from behind a rock. Another newbie, with shiny leather armor and an unmarked wooden sword. His name was aidencabe. I realized it must be a new spawn round, and several new players would be appearing. Three, aidencabe, myself, and another named Robby, joined the existing group of Wolfy, Dragone, and MincraftGuy. They explained to us that they had already been playing for several days, and had established the shipwreck as their territory. They had kept a perimeter around a safe room at the center of the wreck, fighting off any zombies that came near and trying not to get bitten. They had succeeded...until Crazy had been bitten. They told us that infection took about five minutes to show any effects, and another ten to kill you. They didn't know of any cure for it. So, we went to work trying to survive: keeping a perimeter for zombies, sending a pair of scouts out to look for the randomly generating loot chests, and filling our water bottles from the sea to keep hydrated. But then, disaster struck. We had been fighting off a small wave of zombies, when suddenly, Dragone fell over as a zombie attacked him. He managed to keep it off of himself, and as soon as he had regained control, sliced its head off. But he had cut himself on a rock as he fell, and aidencabe mistook it for a bite mark. He had forgotten that it took the infection fifteen minutes to take over the victim, and had attacked Dragone while he was on the ground. But then, another wave of zombies had appeared, and MincraftGuy had been distracted trying to get aidencabe off of Dragone. The zombies had quickly overwhelmed them, and Dragone was actually bitten this time. But while he was down, he was bitten multiple times, and the infection accelerated. Within seconds, he was a zombie. But when a player becomes a zombie, it keeps the player's gear and weapons, and is much faster than a normal zombie. Robby, Wolfy, and I had rushed over to help, but Robby was quickly dispatched by the zombified Dragone, which held an iron sword and looked nearly identical to the living Dragone. Robby, too, was bitten multiple times, and quickly became a zombie. Wolfy and I managed to subdue all the normal zombies, while MincraftGuy, with a whispered, "I'm sorry." finished Dragone. But the zombified Robby had come up behind MincraftGuy, and swung his sword towards him. I threw myself at him, slicing off the zombie's arm and them swung my sword in the opposite direction, finishing the zombie once and for all. "Dragone, Robby..." I whispered as the shock of what had just happened hit me. I hadn't known them for long, but they had both been good players. Dragone had been a tough and fearless leader, and Robby had been a cheerful and funny scout. And now they were both dead, or so I thought while I was still in the simulation. I swung around and looked desperately for aidencabe. He was hiding behind a pillar of metal from the wrecked ship, and was looked cheerfully at me. "Did you see them?" he asked. "Man! Those guys must have been really weak to get killed by zombies!" Wolfy's sword through him stopped his disrespect to our fallen friends.

We continued sadly on from there, continuing what we had been doing, but the task was more difficult with just the three of us. We allowed two more newbies; TCBudder and flappy; to join us, but we kept a close eye on them. They both seemed to genuinely want to be in a clan, not just for protection, but also because they wanted friends to be able to rely on, and people who would rely on them in turn. But then, disaster struck again. An abnormally large wave of zombies came, and by an unlucky accident, a zombie managed to bite MincraftGuy. He showed us the wound, and said that he would have to go off by himself. I now understood exactly why Wolfy had been crying when Crazy had left to save them from infection. I nodded sadly. Then, an idea struck me. At the time, I had no idea where from. But later, after I left the simulation and my memories returned, I remembered I had learned it in a survival games simulation. I raised three fingers to my lips, then above my head, and whistled softly. "Do-do-do-dooo." Wolfy echoed the gesture, as did TCBudder and flappy. Finally, MincraftGuy repeated the motion, and whistled mournfully. "Do-do-do-dooo." He smiled sadly, turned, and walked away into the wilderness. "And there goes the last member of my original family." Wolfy said, near tears. I said simply, "We were their family too. Even if we never knew them. And we're you're family also." TCBudder and flappy nodded their assent. And we continued on surviving, just as we had each time before. I wished with all my code that no more members fell. But two days later, flappy fell fighting off a fresh wave of zombies. And not long after, TCBudder was infected. "No." I said. "I refuse to lose any more friends." And I thought of everything I could to cure him. But I could think of no logical way to fight off the infection. And then, my worst fears came to pass. Wolfy, too, was infected. Finally, out of desperation, I gave both of them Bandages, and told them to see if they could at least delay the damage from the infection. And, amazingly, it worked. The infection might work its way through all of their code, but it couldn't take them over unless their health was reduced completely to zero. I smiled sadly. It was so simple. I could have easily saved MincraftGuy, and even Crazy, if I had thought of it earlier. We might not be able to cure it completely, but we could do our best to stop it from taking effect. And maybe...if the way to hold it off was so simple, and already discovered, maybe someday, someone would find a way to cure it using the already available items. But before I could tell my friends about this, a sword stabbed straight between my leggings and chestplate. I fell to the ground and saw a newbie, eyes gleaming with his first victory, standing over me. And I faded from the simulation peacefully, clinging to the hope of a cure.