Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
HAMZA'S APARTMENT - CHICAGO
The door was open. Eye of the storm
flashed through Dale's mind. He let himself inside. All was still. He turned a corner and saw somebody laying on the ground. Then he saw blood. It was CandyPop with a hole in the back of her head. Dale looked up. �What has Hamza done?� he asked.
�I didn't do shit,� said Hamza. �Neither did Hamzaberg.�
Hamza shrugged. �I don't know, I just got here.� He knelt down and touched the pool of blood. �My half-naked honey bit the dust.� He stood up. �CandyPop got popped.�
�Hamza,� Dale started.
�Not anymore, man. Hamza's not long for this world. And Dtoid is done.� His eyes flashed with anger. Hamzaberg was once again asserting control over Hamza. �These fucks can't keep killing us like this. We gotta rage on 'em. We gotta hurt 'em. Bad.�
�We must unite,� said Dale. �Master needs us to unite. Come with Dale to HQ.�
�I saw your email just before I got home and � look � I know Niero said to trust Samit, and that's fine. If y'all gotta take that road, it's great, but Hamza's gone and Hamzaberg is about to make people bleed.� He pointed at CandyPop. �Look at this. This can't be a random murder. Nobody stole shit. Candy didn't fight back. No signs of a struggle. Dale, this is a message. I'm even starting to think Andy was a message.�
�What about Master?�
�I don't know what to think about Niero. I guess we gotta take him at his word, though. Either way, Hamzaberg is coming. I gotta let him out. Maybe he'll get some answers. If not, I'll at least hurt some Poly folks along the way.�
�We must unite, Hamza. Master said we...�
�I can't,� Hamza cut him off. �I'm sorry, Dale. You and the Dtoiders have to do this without me. But whatever happens, just pay attention to the news cuz my trail of bodies might lead to the fuckers who started all this.�
Hamza left the apartment. Dale did not protest. He's the CEO, Dale must let him go. The other Dtoiders will have received Dale's email by now and will be heading toward HQ. Dale must make haste... After adding a new level on Tiny Death Star
. Dale took a moment to enjoy the jazzy little remake of the Imperial March before looking one last time upon CandyPop's corpse. May the force be with Hamza
. He left the building and began trotting down the sidewalk unaware of the benevolent lion stalking him.
Narrator X � Lions can not pilot zords. All arguments to the contrary are lies.
JONATHAN HOLMES' �MONSTER HOSPITAL� - CHICAGO
�You miserable shit stick stain!!
� Jonathan Holmes coughed up blood; Zombie Orwell's Orwellian venom was beginning to take effect. The frightened man sitting across from him fumbled for a cloth. When he offered it to his boss, Jonathan slapped his face and hit the button on the intercom.
�Zip, Chispa, get the fuck in here. Now.� Two large men entered the office. �Get Bulinski OUT of here.�
�It's Bleszinski,� said the frightened man.
�I DON'T FUCKING CARE!� He spat up more blood and wiped it away with his sleeve. �You fucked up for the last time, Cletus.�
�SHUT UUUUP! Chispa, mouth.� One of the men unspooled a roll of duct tape while Jonathan smiled. �I love that sound.� Chispa tore off a strip and pressed it on �Cletus Bulinski's� mouth.
�Your actions,� said Jonathan softly, �have allowed the Berlusconi family to move in on my industry.� He grabbed Cletus by his tie. �I don't have time for some shitty mafia war right now. I have Dtoid business to resolve. So here's the deal,� he tightened his grip and pulled the man closer. �You're going to fix the Berlusconi problem. I don't care how you do it, just do it.� He nodded at Zip and Chispa, who escorted Cletus away.
Now back to those polite emails
. He opened his personal email account to add an extra degree of respect to his message.
Dearest Samit, it has come to my attention that you've severed Niero G's head from his body and declared open hostilities against Destructoid. This is unfortunate, as I greatly enjoy your work for Polygonal Gaming, and I wonder why you see war as the only solution to your grievances. Surely two game blog superpowers such as Poly and Dtoid have a responsibility to resolve tensions through dialogue. And through massage. What would the lesser websites think if we entered into open warfare? I see no endgame other than the beginning of World Wide War 1. Think about the precedent this sets: Kotaku against RockPaperShotgun, the Angry Video Game Nerd against Angry Joe, EGM against IGN, and so on. When would it end? When would peace return?
Jonathan finished the email and sent it to Samit. Before sending more messages to John and Bubsy Ricciticcitello, he opened his Dtoid email account. He had to delete several thousand messages asking him to promote a Kickstarter project and several thousand more that had LOL ANUS in the subject line. There was much sighing. Then he saw Dale's latest email, opened it, and started reading Niero's confession.
I don't know if I'll ever send this email, but I need to get this off my chest: I'm dead. Samit has killed me. It was our only option. Poly and DRECK must be stopped. God, this sounds so crazy, but please trust Samit. Meet with him. He's the only who knows the truth and he's the only one who can help save gaming from DRECK. I'm sorry, Dtoid. N. Postscript, cocks.
Narrator X � They never thought to check the date. The poor fools.
Jonathan was incensed, but he knew he had to keep his cool when he got to Dtoid HQ. They couldn't be allowed to know the real Jonathan; they would be so disappointed. Even so, he stormed out of the office, pistol in hand. He was angry, relieved, frustrated, and worried all at once. Confusion and sadness also swirled in his brain. Confusion because none of it made any sense. Sadness because he had lost close friends and because Andy could never again wrap him up in his arms and carry him through the clouds.
DTOID HQ � CHICAGO
Last Scion did not wait outside this time. Dale had requested the presence of all Dtoiders. Niero's confession was quite clear, and Dale was nothing if not obedient to his fallen master. He will expect us to grant Niero his final wish
. The idea of meeting with the man who killed Niero did not sit well with the lion. Still, his place was not to question, but to protect Dale at any cost. He would say his piece, and if he failed to convince them, he would follow Dale to whatever end.
�What will be achieved by meeting with the assassin?� he asked.
�Master said we must meet with Samit,�
�Yes, I saw the email. What will be accomplished?�
�Dale does not know, but Master said...�
�I see only one reason to meet in person,� Elsa interrupted. �We can't communicate by email because electronic messages are so easily intercepted and monitored. Face to face meetings leave no written records. Niero must have been thinking about that when he wrote the confession.�
�But why do we all have to go together?� asked PhilKenSebben.
�That is what gives me pause,� said Last Scion. �It is folly for all remaining Destructoid members to be in one place. Even now we run a grave risk. Surely there are forces that mean us harm.�
�We should only send a few people,� said Caimdark.
�It depends on the location,� said Occam's Electric Toothbrush. �Maybe we should suggest meeting at Poly HQ. There we will be guests. We cannot be attacked while under their roof.�
�This is known,� agreed Last Scion. �Still, we should send few representatives.�
�That is prudent,� said Occam, �but as a show of good faith we must arrive in great numbers. Sending only half our forces could cause offense to the Polygonals.�
�Occam, what the hell?� said Phil. �Since when do you talk like Last Scion?�
�Forgive me Phil. I have been reading several volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire. It is so hot and so cold. As I was saying, causing such offense to Poly would be more dangerous than simply arriving in great numbers as protected guests.�
�We must vote,� said Dale. �Please open the Dtoid app on your phones. Dale has anticipated your concerns. The voting consists of a series of questions that will determine Dtoid's actions. Please tap the Democracytoid button and you will see the poll.�
The app was shockingly pink, but classy. There were two yes/no questions and two multiple choice:
Shall Dtoid meet with Samit?
If you voted Yes to question 1, shall Dtoid send all representatives?
If you voted Yes to question 1, in which location shall Dtoid meet Samit?
That cheap Chinese place by Dale's (Best Option)
If you voted Yes to question 1, when shall Dtoid meet with Samit?
After Dale finishes Guacamelee and VVVVVV (Best Option)
When the results came in, Dale read them aloud. �Shall Dtoid meet with Samit: 93 percent say yes. Forty-nine percent say we shall send all representatives. Um, who voted for Oaxaca?�
Kyousuke Nanbu spoke up. �I've always wanted to see the Church of Santo Domingo. And I thought it would be a nice way for us to reconnect with Zombie Orwell now that he's dead. Plus, I never told him how much I loved him. I always acted like Helga. I treated him like a stupid football head.�
�Your vote doesn't count, Nanbu. You left us. Why are you even here?�
�Fuck you, Strider. I'm goin' home.� She stormed out of the room.
�Okay,� said Dale, �that's over. Back to work. The majority voted for Poly HQ as the meeting place. You all ignored the sage advice offered by the poll. Dale is disappointed. Democracy doesn't work. Anyway, hmm... that's strange. Ninety-nine percent voted for Dtoid to meet Samit in one week. And only .0001 percent repeating voted for the best option.�
�Math works in mysterious ways,� said Occam.
�So does the market,� said Phil.
�God DAMN it, Phil. We're not solving this with the market! That wasn't even an option on the poll.�
�Fuck you and
your Pikachu costume, Strider.�
�You'd have to be a furry."
�Dale is disappointed in these results, but we must meet with Samit regardless, even if we can't have delicious Chinese food catered to the meeting. You are all very short-sighted. So be it. Dale will contact Samit and Dtoid will be protected as guests under Poly's roof. And Dale shall bring his own damned Chinese food.�
LOOK WHO CAME: