Originally, I submitted this short prototype story to Non-Game Game Jam on itch.io a few years back. Heads up, it’s a bit dark (similar to Black Mirror).
I have been thinking for a while about writing a story about DF technology (that’s my take on the idea of a hackable universe).
Constraints: Only 1 location – Tom’s room
Structure: Time skipping, Child’s perspective, Characters are BFU
Timeline: DF is available in stores for everyone (Necofield product)
Excerpt from the article: Revolutionary Way to Protect Your Family
… Nevertheless, your house remains the second most… From nosebleeds to food poisoning… Thanks to its unique… Preventing deadly injuries… Different models with different feature sets and ranges… Will Necofield deliver on its promise? That remains to be seen…
“But muuum, It’s a spaceship!”, screams Tom as loud as he can. But mommy doesn’t care. She takes the knife away. It’s Tom’s favorite toy and now he can’t play!
It’s so elegant. So stylish. The handle is purple and it reflects and shimmers in the light of Tom’s room. Tom has a couple of lights around the room, a lamp on the night table as well as one tall lamp in the corner. They’re stars reflecting light on the surface of the spaceship GarqZ. It’s the biggest vessel ever built by humankind. He’s flying with it through the galaxy, discovering new planets, and fighting aliens. They’re especially abundant near the planet in the shape of a flower pot. Those extraterrestrial plants are hiding an enemy every damn time! Oops. He thought of a bad word “damn”. He knows he shouldn’t. Does thinking it count? Tom doesn’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway. He is angry. Angry at mommy. Damn! Haha. That will teach you, mum! Damn! Damn! He thinks repeatedly…
“He was playing with your knife again”, Tom hears his mum complain from outside his room. His dad’s answer is inaudible.
Tom is grinning from ear to ear. There is something shiny in his hand. Parents went to sleep already. They didn’t see him sneak about. Time for a new adventure! He feels like jumping to FTL right from the middle of his room. Holding GarqZ in his right hand, he begins slowly walking and pointing with the blade toward the bookshelf. Traveling in FTL is so fast but the distance is so great. It takes a while to get to the other side of the universe!
Tom puts GarqZ on his nightstand. One last glance at the shiny object. He turns off the lamp.
His dreams are wild! All those colors and shapes! He dreams about distant worlds made out of colorful lights. They’re raising and falling. Quantum realms are appearing and disappearing out of nowhere.
Morning. GarqZ is gone!
He jumps from the bed and runs to scream angrily at his mum for taking his toy again! He stumbles. A sharp pain shoots from his foot. Blood. Tom realizes what’s happened. Somehow his toy ended up on the ground right in front of his bed. He doesn’t scream or cry. He’s just surprised. Why didn’t he think of that? He must have knocked it down while sleeping. He watches himself bleed for a while. Then he thinks: “Maybe I should do something about it?” Shouting “mum” should do it. He stops himself while opening his mouth. They would take his toy away, he must hide it first!
Tom is in trouble. His parents are angry with him. The secret stash worked. They never found his toy. But boy! They tried everything. Pleading, threatening, arguing, searching his room… Nothing worked. Tom kept silent. Nobody is taking GarqZ away. Nobody!
He hears them arguing and discussing his bloody incident in the next room for a couple of days. Slowly, things return to normal.
Bedtime. Time to play. GarqZ has jumped from an alternate dimension back into this reality. The alternate dimension is his secret stash. The mission out there was a success. GarqZ has acquired advanced FTL capabilities! Now, they can cross the entire universe in a blink of an eye! Tom starts jumping around the room with the knife in his hands. Suddenly, the door swings open. Parents!
Slap! They take his toy. GarqZ is gone. For a few hours… Tom knows all his parent’s hiding places, so it’s only a minor nuisance. Now, GarqZ is back in his room, hidden in an alternate dimension. Just in case.
Bedtime. Tom is finally able to play again!
Something happened during the FTL jump. Tom is lying on the floor. Something is off. Confusion. “What happened…?” It’s a really strange feeling. He must’ve tripped and fallen to the ground. But what’s that odd sensation? And why is he having trouble understanding where is it coming from…? It’s…
He must’ve fainted… It hurts. He is still lying on the floor. And there is this peculiar smell… His t-shirt is soaked. “Blood…?” Tom tries to lift himself up. Sharp pain!
It’s dark. He is lying in his bed. It’s one week after his unfortunate incident. He still feels a bit off. His parents told him how they found him: lying in the puddle of blood, knife deep in his abdomen. They were terrified. Once he got better and it was clear he’s going to survive they started shouting at him and grounding him and all that. There was a lot of arguing too. And swearing. Right now, they are discussing him right behind the door. And there are two words that keeps coming up – neko field. He falls asleep shortly after.
He wakes up and his parents are smiling at him. They tell him how worried they were. They tell him they don’t want him to get hurt again. They ask him whether he still wants to play with the knife.
He says “Yes” of course! Nothing beats GarqZ and its FTL capabilities!
They look at each other and say they know how much he likes to play with the knife. And that it seems it’s impossible to separate them. They tell him they took the knife away, but they are willing to return it under one condition.
His heart is beating. “What condition?” He is unsure what to expect.
“Promise us you will play with that knife only in your room. You will never leave your room with the knife. Your room is the only place for the knife. Never take it to the hallway, kitchen, or any other room in the house. Never leave the house with the knife. Promise us.”
So easy? He thinks. He always plays in his room anyway. And the handle is reflecting distant stars only from lamps in his room. And he only enjoys jumping to FTL in his room, because of the carpet he has. And because of aliens in that flower pot. And his plush toys, the crew of GarqZ.
“Yes, I promise.”
“Full sentence, please.”
“Yes, yes I promise. I will only play with the spaceship GarqZ in my room. And never take it elsewhere. No-other-room-is-permitted. Just-in-my-room. Always-my-room. Only-my-room. Just-here-in-my-room.”
He finishes his sentence just as he’s almost out of breath.
“Ok, honey. We will return… the knife to you in the afternoon once we get back home.”
Happiness. His face is shining. GarqZ is in his hands! It was his father who actually put the knife back in his hand. Right after he installed a mysterious box on the ceiling. “This is Necofield. It will protect you. Go play with your spaceship.” he said.
His parents approve of his dangerous toy. It’s weird. But hey, at least he can play anytime now. His parents are standing at the door. He takes the knife and tries playing, but it’s strange when they are looking…
And they went.
A couple of weeks passed. Spaceship GarqZ is now able to jump in time, warp space-time, destroy black holes and fly through the sun. Captain Tom stands proud in front of his crew congratulating each and every member for their loyal service. His plush animal friends are all very excited to receive such an honor.
A spider on a ceiling doesn’t pay any attention to Tom or his games. Just his web.