Popping the disc in, you press the button that activates the machine, and watch the TV screen play out the familiar sights and sounds of the game you had played so competitively as a child. Whether it was in the arcades in tournaments, or at home dominating friends and family, you had memorized this game to a somewhat scary degree, and it was damn worth it. But after six years, were you still as capable as you once were?
Thinking back to a couple of hours ago, you remember how you got this golden opportunity. It was on your way back from school, when you were coming around the corner of the pawn shop you always visited. Checking with the man who owned the place, he gladly let you see the wares that had come in earlier that day, since the two of you were fairly close friends after so many years of seeing each other. He had brought out some old figures, a couple of half-built models and some old broken electronics. But one thing he brought out was an old Sega Saturn. Asking if it still worked, he said it was supposed to, but for some reason, anytime he tried to turn it on, all he would get was a diagnostic screen. Deciding that you might be able to get it working properly, you bought it for a fairly cheap price, discounted both for its problem and for your regular appearances to the shop.
When you had returned home, you immediately dug into your closet. You had once owned a Saturn, but it was stolen by someone who you once considered a friend. It wasn't your fault you kept kicking his ass, but all that's in the past. Finding the Saturn games in the closet, you pulled out the one you remember most fondly: Virtual-On. Going over to the TV and hooking up the Saturn, you prepared to give it a test run, to see what the problem exactly was. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately instead, it played just fine.
Now, after going through the title screen, you had come up to the Virtuaroid selection screen. Thinking it over quickly, you select the VR that you had played the most, and had mastered the first. Years of experience with this had helped you many times, especially in tournaments. If you were to ever pilot one in real life, this would probably be it.
Not even having to move through the VRs, you press the button to select Temjin. It was a basic machine, well-rounded in all areas, and with the most powerful standard right weapon it was easy to inflict hefty damage to an enemy without them realizing it. Seeing him fly off of the catapult, you prepare to fight the first opponent, another Temjin, when a message pops up instead. Odd, you don't remember something like this. Well, might as well read it anyways.
M.S.B.S. VER. 3.3 STARTING LOADING DATABANKS... ... ... DATA LOADED. IMPROPER CONTROL DEVICE DETECTED. PLEASE INSERT "TWIN STICKS" CONTROL DEVICE. AWAITING INPUT.
Well, you have a twin stick controller buried away somewhere, but you don't remember it being necessary to play the game. Oh well, maybe it's something to do with the console. Going into your closet, you dig a little bit again and then grab the sticks, switching them out for the standard controller. Once you do this, more text appears on the screen.
"TWIN STICKS" DEVICE LOCATED. TESTING INPUT... DEVICE IS WORKING PROPERLY. NO MINDSHIFT HEADSET DETECTED. CONTINUING WITH SIMULATION WITHOUT HEADSET.
With that, the text disappears, and the screen displaying the opponent and stage appears, with Temjin being the VR and Flooded City being the stage.
Once it loads up, you begin to fire upon the enemy. The opponent moves quickly, seeming smarter than you last remember, but whatever. It's just more of a challenge. You begin to dash, moving to intercept him, but your movement is sluggish. Odd, you don't remember this happening as well. The enemy quickly moves towards you to perform a melee attack on you, but you just fire beam shots at him, forcing him down, immediately after which you perform a melee attack on him while he's vulnerable, stabbing through his chest and destroying him. Well, that was faster than expected.
The next stage comes up, against Viper II in the Airport stage. You both stand on separate raised platforms, facing each other, and then the enemy immediately flies up and charges down at you. You jump up, narrowly dodging the attack, and quickly land next to the VR. Slashing at it, the VR is downed, heavily damaged, and then you finish it quickly by performing a jumping slash, going in the air and falling with your beam sword deployed, straight into the enemy.
Third area. Waterfront. Dorkas. Despite such a silly name, he wasn't one to take lightly. Throwing out a bomb to nullify any projectile shots he might make, you fire off two beam shots and dash to the left, already hearing him dashing with the familiar whirring sound to dodge you simple attacks. Whether it was left or right he went, you won't know for a second or two more. Quickly jumping and canceling the jump, you lock onto his position right next to you, on the other side of the building. Quickly dashing right and then dash canceling, you barely dodge his mace that was launched at you. You quickly throw another bomb, hitting him directly, and you walk out next to him, sending out beam shots until you're close enough to melee him, destroying him quickly.
Green Hills, Belgdor. Dashing forward diagnally left, two missiles fly past where you once stood, and you let off a stream of beam shots, hitting Belgdor for about an eighth of its life. It dashes off, and you fire beam shots at him hitting it twice before it dashes again, firing at you with its gun. You fire off a beam cutter and then dashing straight towards the enemy, the cutter destroying the shots and allowing you to get close to perform a melee combo, finishing off the opponent VR.
Final area, Ruins, Bal-Bas-Bow. The enemy VR immediately sends out its arms, both of them firing upon you quickly. You dash out of the way, but a few shots still manage to hit you, and then you fire at the enemy, who jumps up out of the way. You walk towards it where it lands, and even though it regains its arms, you slash at it before it gets a chance to do anything., It gets back up before you can get another hit in, so you dash away and throw a bomb to stop its projectiles it launches, and then you fire beam shots at it, bringing down the rest of its health to nothing. Even with sluggish controls and a somewhat more aggressive AI, you still beat the enemies down without too much difficulty.
The screen displaying how well you did pops up, noting your times on each of the stages. After that, more text appears on the screen.
NOTICE! THIS VERSION IS NOT A SIMULATORY SYSTEM. ALL REGISTERED USER DATA WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPLOYED VIRTUAROID SYSTEM MEMORY BANK.
RANK: SSS VO+ STATUS: UNKNOWN
HEADSET REQUIRED TO CONTINUE. NO HEADSET DETECTED. FABRICATING MINDSHIFT HEADSET...
With that, you hear an odd crackling sound coming from the Saturn. Next to it, you see streams of numbers come out of nowhere. Suddenly, an object forms resembling a VR visor around the number streams. After this, more text appears on the screen telling you to put on the helmet and plug it into the machine.
Well, this is somewhat disturbing. Not only does an accessory that you've never heard of for the game appear out of nowhere, it appears that the game is what's making it appear. Welp, you've seen enough weird crap so far, might as well see how far it'll go. Besides, nothing too bad can happen, right?
You hope you're right.
Grabbing the helmet, putting it on, and them plugging it into the machine's second controller port, you see text scroll across the visor.
Am I a horrible person for letting this just sit with only two updates that haven't even gotten us into Gensokyo? Why, of course!
Selecting Katoki, you remember that this was the name of the man who had designed the VRs in the game. Odd that it was one of the choices, but still. Waiting a bit to see where this will go, you watch various numbers scroll rapidly across the screen. After this, your head starts to feel a bit odd, and then you lose all feeling of your body. Willing yourself to move your arms over the helmet to try to pry it off, you get nothing. Did you get paralyzed? If so, how?
On second thought, putting the helmet on in the first place was a horrible idea. Whatever the hell happened to your common sense? Oh right, videogames. Starting to feel panicked, you see text scroll across where your eyes should be. Well, at least you can see.
V-CRYSTAL LINK ESTABLISHED. MIND HAS BEEN SHIFTED TO V-CRYSTAL FOR USER SAFETY. RAW MATERIALS FOR VIRTUAROID SKELETAL FRAME HAVE BEEN DETECTED. TAKING MATERIALS AND PROCESSING THEM INTO "TEMJIN" FRAME. ... ... ... FRAME CONSTRUCTED. MATERIALIZING ARMOR FOR VIRTUAROID "TEMJIN". ... ... ARMOR COMPLETED. VIRTUAROID COMPLETE. SHIFTING MIND TO VIRTUAROID MEMORY BANKS. ... SHIFT COMPLETE.
Suddenly, your eyesight returns to normal. Before, it was a green tint with text due to the helmet, and now everything's crystal clear. Where did the helmet go? Reaching up to feel it, you notice it's still there. Grabbing the sides and pulling, you instead tilt your head up. Is it embedded on there now? Reaching back for the straps, you instead feel metal similar to the visor's on the back of your head. Feeling the rest of your head, you feel that it's completely covered with the metal, and towards the back there are parts of it sticking outwards. Grasping them, you notice they feel somewhat like antennae. Wondering if anything else had changed, you look down at your body to see what might have changed.
"Well fuck me with a rake."
Discovering that rather than just have your head covered, your entire body was covered. Looking at it, you notice the armor looks almost exactly like that of Temjin's, save for some stylized markings on it along the legs, shoulders, and torso, as well as quiet a fair amount of caution and warning labels as well. You also gained quiet a bit of height, now almost touching the ceiling, so high that you can't even see your TV!
No wait, that TV was kinda high up. No way you'd miss it. Looking down for confirmation, you realize that your TV is indeed gone. As well as the majority of your room's contents.
"W-where the hell's my stuff at?"
"Sorry!" a high-pitched, effeminate voice calls out. "I needed to grab what I could to make you into a VR, so I just ended up borrowing most of the stuff in your room."
"What the hell did you do to me!?"
"I said I turned you into a VR! I have an important mission for you, and though I can't tell you anything at the moment, I'll brief you at a later date! How's that sound?"
Oh fuck this. "No! Turn me back into a normal person!"
"You're too good of pilot to waste, so I'll just send you on the way. Look, you'll be fine! You're a big, armored robot and there's not a lot monsters could do to you, so quit whining. Besides, it's your fault for putting the helmet on, isn't it?"
Oh that little bitch. "Next time I recommend making sure that the person involved has a good idea as to why they're in such a fucked-up position and why it should be worth their time."
"...I'll just send you off so you won't end up breaking something." Like her neck? Yeah, that sounds good. Should be a nice relaxation tool. Suddenly, text appears in your vision again.
REVERSE CONVERSION SYSTEM ACTIVATED. RECEIVING COORDINATES... COORDINATES SET. SHIFTING TO C.I.S...
Suddenly, your vision is all green. Streams of numbers swirl around what little you can see. This keeps up for several minutes until you feel a sudden lurch. Feeling a thunk under your feet, you now take in new surroundings. Or at least, you attempt to, instead you get more text.
REVERSE CONVERSION COMPLETE. NOW AT TARGET AREA.
Well that was obvious enough. Now getting a chance to look at your surroundings, you notice that you're no longer in your barren room. Rather than, it seems that you're in some type of bamboo forest, with the rather thin trees being a prime indicator. The ground is filled with various grasses, obscuring your feet and... a note? Spotting it because of the bright white color, you pick it up. Well, whether or not it was left for you or not is unknown, but you've got it now. What's more important, though, is figuring out what the hell is going on.
[ ] Search the area for some form of civilization. [ ] Read the note. [ ] You're still way too frustrated at what happened, it might be best to cool down first.
As you can tell, our character is a goddamn retard.
Taking a closer look, you realize it’s not a note, but instead an advertisement! Fucking terrible place to advertise, though. Maybe the owner was looking for someone just like you, unfortunate idiots shunted into robot bodies and dropped into forests. Reading the contents, it’s for some kinda Yakitori place. Hmm, Yakitori doesn’t sound too bad, although whether or not you can eat it you’re not sure of. Yeah, you probably can’t eat. Dammit, no more Strawberry Sundaes.
Welp, you aren’t gonna find out shit about anything just standing here, so getting used to your new body seems like th-HOLY SHIT WHAT WAS THAT.
Was that chick on fire?! She was on fucking fire! And being shot at by another chick! And they’re both flying!
You have no idea what the fuck is going on anymore. One moment you’re playing a videogame, the next some squeaky-voiced chick turns you into a videogame character, and then you’re sent off into a forest where chicks that fly and are on fire fight each other. Wait a minute…
They’re slowly headed for you because they’re only paying attention to each other. Fuck, time to get out of here.
No, wait, the flaming one’s been knocked back and is headed for you. Shit. SHIT. Fuck that, time for some evasive maneuvers. You attempt to run out of the way, but rather than sprinting several meters away like you hoped, your new body instead barely manages to dodge the woman on fire, the massive flames surrounding her grazing you as you head off somewhere out of their sight.
UNNATURALLY HIGH TEMPERATURES DETECTED. RECOMMEND FABRICATION OF WEAPONS FOR POTENTIAL THREAT NEUTRALIZATION.
Wait, how the fuck are you supposed to do that? You don’t even know the fucking weapons! No wait, you do, you just don’t know the exact names. Uh, Beam Rifle? Maybe saying that would help or something.
BEAM RIFLE NOT RECOGNIZED; CLOSEST MATCH DETECTED WOULD BE MULTI-PURPOSE BEAM LAUNCHER.
MULTI-PURPOSE BEAM RIFLE SELECTED. TAKING IN NECESSARY MATERIAL FOR FABRICATION… … FABRICATION PROCESS STARTED.
In front of you, more of those data lines you saw earlier pop up and form a circle. It splits along the diameter and forms another, both pushing away to reveal a glowing green crystal. From the center of the crystal another larger circle appears, the other two disappearing, and it repeats the process of the others, only this time forming a long blue and white object. As it takes shape, you recognize it as the beam rifle from the game. Letting it finish forming, you grab it by the handle as it’s in midair and gravity takes control of it, letting you feel its weight as both a rifle and a cutting weapon.
“Hot damn, a weapon!” With this in your hand, you feel as if you’re invincible! Nothing can stop you n-aw fuck they’re at it again. Seems they like to spray little glowing bullets all over the place, if the massive multicolored wave headed towards you was any indication. Shit, how does this weapon work? Alright, you can maybe shoot them down but that probably won’t work on all of them, even if your shots are bigger than them. You don’t really have a bomb, and you’re not sure if that would really work on this. Your only choice might be the blade-wave thing, but even then you need to spam it like crazy to hit all the bullets since there’s so many of the goddamn things. Well, you don’t have many options, so what the fuck.
“Welp, here goes nothing.” Raising up the M.P.B.L. in a manner similar to what Temjin does in game, you hope for the best and envision the attack, swinging your arm and the weapon in a wide arc, pulling the trigger before you do so. What happens is a pleasant surprise, given the shit that’s happened so far. As you imagined and hoped, a blue wave of energy flies from the rifle-blade, cutting through some of the bullets in a straight line, although a fair amount still remain. Thinking quickly you perform the same attack, although this time slicing downward and releasing a vertical wave, cutting through bullets yet again. Repeatedly doing this makes a hole in the pattern big enough for you to fit through, and the remaining projectiles pass by you harmlessly. Looking at the battle nearby, you notice that the one who isn’t on fire, a woman with rather long black hair, slightly torn-up clothes, and a curious expression on her face, has taken notice of you.
“Well,” you start up, “it’s about damn time someone noticed I was here.” In response to this she only smiled in amusement before re-focusing on the flaming woman.
“So it seems we have an unexpected spectator,” she speaks up to her opponent. “Perhaps we should move away so as to not get him caught in the crossfire?” With this, the flaming woman glances back at you briefly, only to resume focusing on the black-haired woman.
“Well, he’s on my side, so that means you’re gonna have to move back!” the fiery woman yells. With this, she begins charging towards the other woman at an incredible speed, slamming into her and sending them both flying back into the forest. Well, fuck. Despite those two being capable of superhuman bullshit, they’re the only people you’ve met here. You need answers, and if you need to stop their fight to get those answers then so be it.
…Although, charging straight into that mess doesn’t seems too appealing either. Without a proper knowledge of your weapons and abilities (or, rather, how to activate them) you’d be kinda fucked going in that battle. Maybe teaming up with one of them would help, not only gaining some of their trust but also possibly reducing the chances of you getting blasted by everything being sent out. That way you’d only need to worry about half of the shit getting thrown around! Of course, you could always hope that some more normal people are out there and less likely to blow you to pieces, so you could just leave and hopefully run into someone like that.
[ ] Welp, might as well team up with black hair, since she was kind enough to notice you and take a hit to keep you safe. Sorta. [ ] Flame chick seems like she could really cover your ass in a serious fight, and she’s most likely to do the heavy fighting. Might as well make it easy. [ ] Fuck this shit, you’re outta here. You’re not hanging around any more crazies if you can help it.