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Died in a Blogging Accident (work in progress)

By: Jon_Levi on Nov 1st, 2012  |  syntax: None  |  size: 53.33 KB  |  hits: 462  |  expires: Never
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  1. CHAPTER 1
  2. ----------------
  3.  
  4. Veritably cuddly.
  5.  
  6. Honestly, and I'm not saying this out of spite or anything, I don't think you're going to manage to convince anyone that xkcd sucks or is overrated through this blag. I also think you're probably analyzing it too much. I couldn't really tell you why the "in popular culture" one was funny, but I laughed at it. It's kind of an absurd notion. Like most humor, when you really analyze it, it fails to stand up.
  7.  
  8. Have you ever read a Wikipedia article on a joke? Any kind of joke, really. I, for one, have never found humor to be more boring than in the context of analysis.
  9.  
  10. And of course, There Are No New Ideas. I am of the opinion that people ought to be slapped every time they criticize something because it's been done before. Originality is for bad thrillers (and they still don't manage).
  11.  
  12. Rob stared at the computer screen, and laughed, and laughed. Quietly at first, growing to a deafening screeching grinding noise that shook the very fabric of reality. For what he saw was exceptionally funny. So very very funny. It was his first ever comment on the xkcdsucks blog.
  13.  
  14. Back then he was so full of hope and optimism. It had only taken him four years to mature into the twisted cynic he was now. Sometimes he still had nightmares of a time when he actually thought XKCD was pretty cool. Was that even the same person?
  15.  
  16. “Fuck it”, Rob said to himself, since no one else was in the cold dusty bedroom, however much he yearned for the company of a woman named Megan. “I’ve been saying for years that XKCD is dumb and should be destroyed. I wonder if I could actually destroy it.” Since that was the deepest thought he’d had in ages, he just had to go tell his friends on the IRC board. Of course, they weren’t really friends. They were more like cretins he’d acquired over the years because they hated similar things, namely a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language.
  17.  
  18. Rob lifted 300 pounds of rancid flesh from his office chair, his own butt, and went across the room to change the battery in his keyboard. When he came back to his computer, he pointed his URL bar at http://mibbit.com/?channel=%23XKCD-sucks&server=irc.foonetic.net and began to type.
  19.  
  20. “even if i got fat” said priority_platypus “and like the best looking kitten ever came in here?”
  21. “no matter what” said @jwc.
  22. “what do you mean, if you GOT fat” quipped AnnApolis.
  23. “shut up AnnApolis” said @jwc.
  24. priority_platypus hugs @jwc.
  25. “i love you juicy” said priority_platypus.
  26. “I love you too platy” said @jwc.
  27. priority_platypus is now known as priority_kitten
  28. “you mean kitty” said priority_kitten.
  29. “did i miss something?” said Rob.
  30. “only the most touching piece of theatre ever” said AnnApolis.
  31. “was it touching?” said @jwc.
  32. “i was touching myself” said AnnApolis.
  33. “nice” said Rob. “anyway i just had a stupid great idea”
  34. “was it a bad idea to lift your giant ass from your chair?” said priority_kitten
  35. “totally thinking that” said AnnApolis
  36. “stfu” said Rob. “no i mean we always talked about how we would destroy the XKCD server every time he posted a bad comic. i say we actually do it”
  37. “k” said priority_kitten
  38. “i dont want to do it” said @jwc
  39. “fine dont go” said priority_kitten
  40. “be careful out there darling kitten” said @jwc
  41. @jwc kisses priority_kitten
  42. “he probably has a backup copy” said AnnApolis. “also how do we get there? doesnt he live in massachusets?”
  43. “yes” said Rob, ignoring the first question. “i can probably find his house real easily”
  44. “who else is coming? just us?” said AnnApolis
  45. “i dunno” said Rob
  46. “riiiiight” said priority_kitten “in that case ill bring along all the anons who commented on your latest review”
  47. “no anonymous” said Rob. “they could be spies for the enemy”
  48. “lol i didnt think XKCD fanboys know we exist” said @jwc
  49. “ann you bring raven and gamer and anyone else i didnt think of” said Rob.
  50. “sure leave me all the work of inviting people” said AnnApolis
  51. “just do a facebook group or something” said Rob
  52. “i dont know any of them in real life” said AnnApolis “we are all mostly anonymous”
  53. “oh yeah forgot about that” said Rob. “im sure youll think of something”
  54. “also i live in britain. so does kitten. we cant get to the usa”
  55. “sure you can” said Rob “any other questions”
  56. “its sep fucking tember. Ive got university starting”
  57. “fuck that. you have more important things in life”
  58. “okay boss” AnnApolis said in hypnotic agreement.
  59. “okay” said Rob. He said that a lot.
  60.  
  61. Rob heaved himself downstairs, and dusted himself off. Bits of stuff fell out from in between the rolls of his fat - lint, dirt, the ashes of a million dead civilizations, many pounds cheeto crumbs. He would have to take a shower before going as well.
  62.  
  63. “Mom,” he called out. I’m leaving town for a while.
  64. “How long will you be out for?” asked his mother from the sitting room.
  65. “A couple months, does it matter?” said the 31-year-old
  66. “Could you change my bedpan first?” the bedridden woman pleaded.
  67. “Hell no... thanks.” he said politely. At least he said thought to include a ‘thanks’ in there.
  68. Rob squeezed his way through the front door of his crumbling suburban abode, leaving no one else in the house.
  69.  
  70. He would have to get from Seattle to Boston in less than a week if he was going to meet them on time. Rob grabbed his bike, and cycled until he got tired. When he reached the end of his cul-de-sac he dismounted the bike, and walked it for a few yards, his brow sweating with the effort. He paused and panted for a moment to check that no one was around, folded up his bike, and ate it. He felt the handlebars on its way down, the grinding of the gears. The twisted metal made love to his insides. And that gave his impossible body more strength. Having absorbed the bike’s strength, he jogged the rest of the distance to the train station.
  71.  
  72. He didn’t know how long he’d had that power. Rob supposed he had had it from birth.  He didn’t discover it until 2009, when he raged at XKCD so hard that he accidentally activated it. When he saw http://XKCD.com/631 his mind dissolved into a fit of rage so powerful, that he ate his keyboard. He didn’t realise he could do it, but as he stuffed the piece of plastic into his gaping jaw, which wasn’t quite big enough to swallow it whole, he began to change. His mouth opened wider than the laws of physics would allow it, began to extend into new dimensions, new planes, revealing a giant deathly all-consuming maw.
  73.  
  74. As his insides began to close on the keyboard, which was still plugged in,the keys just happened to be pressed in the right order, that they produced the most perfectly hatefully written review of XKCD 631. The mouse slipped, and the eldritch text was published on the xkcdsucks blog. And it can still be seen at http://xkcdsucks.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/comic-631-robbed-of-joke.html
  75.  
  76. Rob began to choke, and with the wire still wrapped around his hateful tongue, he had no choice but to retch, his angry stomach rejecting the device. Then he realised the only way to avoid choking to death was to swallow the whole computer, which he did in agonising agony, first consuming the tower, then then the monitor and the mouse, and finally the modem. He has since learned from the experience and bought a wireless keyboard. But he now eats computers like that all the time. Rob Mason had the power to eat anything, and absorb its power.
  77.  
  78. That was how he got so fat. Now it was true that he actually had the appearance of, at most, a moderately obese man. But that was because most of the disgusting structure of his stomach was hidden, folded into other dimensions. the rolls of his fat held portals to alternate realities, fleeting and painful, that existed only to contain his fat.
  79.  
  80. On the other side of the country, Randall Patrick Munroe, the creator of an even bigger monstrosity than Rob, stared at the coloured dots moving on his monitors. The light was dim, because he was trying to create a ‘romantic’ mood. “It’s happening.” whispered the geek overlord. “My hatedom has organized a movement to overthrow me. And I know all this because I wrote an application to track their whereabouts using Python and two Arduino modules.”
  81. “Huh?” Megan had not really been listening. Randall had noticed.
  82. “In my free time.” He added. “That’s pretty cool.”
  83. “Yeah, that’s pretty impressive I suppose. Now will you take some of your free time to fix my cancer?”
  84. “Megan, darling, I don’t need to do that yet. You’ve got weeks left to live.”
  85. “Randall, do I need to draw a frakkin graph of my emotions to tell you that I’m sick and I’m scared?”
  86. “No, it’s alright honey. I know you’re scared.”
  87. “You sure?”
  88. “Yeah. It’s not that I can’t fix your health right now. It’s just that I have other things to do. No, no, I mean it’s not like that. I could probably make you a Android health assistant that cures cancer and malaria with less than an afternoon messing around with Perl. I don’t need to do it now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do it. Also I love you.”
  89. There was a long pause. “I love you too.” Megan said.
  90. Just then, a timer buzzed in the ceiling. “Ooh, milk time!” Randall squealed in excitement.
  91. “Randy, you won’t think any less of me if I have a mastectomy, will you?” Megan questioned.
  92. This time it was Randall who paused. “Of course not.” he eventually answered. “It’s just that... you’d just be losing half of what makes you... you.”
  93. “Okay.” she said “But how do you know the other one won’t produce twice as much milk?”
  94. “That’s an interesting hypothesis.” Randall said. “I must investigate it with the scientific method. To the lab!”
  95.  
  96.  
  97. CHAPTER 2
  98. ----------------
  99. Rob hitchhiked from Seattle to Boston on some of the largest semi trucks he could find. And every mile of the journey brought him closer to his arch enemy, Randall. He chuckled to himself during one sunny eastward journey, at the thought some people had that Randall and Rob are secretly the same person. In fact xkcdsucks blog member Ravenzomg had written an erotic fanfiction about it. As he thought about that, he didn’t look back to see the dark black shadow that was following him down the road, but why would he?
  100.  
  101. While waiting at a truck stop in Minnesota, he removed his netbook from one of his fat folds and began to type an angsty short story. Once finished, he published it on his other blog, http://dreamersoften.blogspot.com.  
  102.  
  103. Meanwhile in Boston, Randall collected scientific data about whether geek girls married to webcomic authors who have had one breast amputated produce more milk from the remaining breast. And published it to his ‘what if’ blog, with graphic drawing details. The post was so badly received, it had to be taken down.
  104.  
  105. Rob’s foot set down on the concrete in a Boston parking lot. He paid the cab driver, and ate the change, then ate the cab driver, because no one cares about cab drivers. As soon as his nose became adjusted to the Boston air, he began to sniff out for Randall’s scent. It didn’t work though, because he doesn’t have any super smelling abilities, except for the ability to produce smells, which he does very well. It was still the crack of dawn. He had to wait another seven hours until the arranged meeting time.
  106.  
  107. To pass the time, Rob sauntered down to his favorite coffee shop, and wrote another angsty story. This one had coffee in it. Most of his stories had coffee. But the reason why this coffee shop was so special to him was because this is where he first met Megan, and he hoped to find her again. He was disappointed this time, as she was no where in sight. But he shouldn’t be surprised. She was now Megan Munroe, and Randall kept her under lock and key. Rob ate the coffee, mug and all, and flashed back to the time they had first met two years ago...
  108.  
  109. “Is that an XKCD shirt?” said Megan, who was dark haired and looked exactly like the dark haired stick figure that appears in XKCD, except for the fact that she is not a stick figure.
  110. “I uhh...” Rob stuttered nervously. “No, it’s not.”
  111. “What are you talking about? It quite clearly says ‘XKCD’ in big white letters. Not that that’s a problem.”
  112. “Oh, I’m not a fan of XKCD. My friend just made me wear this because my roommate shrunk all my other clothes.” He was lying. He didn’t have a roommate. Or a friend. He was wearing the shirt deliberately to get her attention, notwithstanding of the fact that in order to buy it he had to give $20 to his worst enemy.
  113. “But you have heard of it, right? It’s the best and most geekiest webcomic out there.” she said with a smile.
  114.  
  115. It was annoying, he couldn’t get away from XKCD anywhere. Sometimes coworkers would loudly pass it around in a group email. Sometimes a TV show would make a cringing reference to it. Sometimes the tech blog Gizmodo would repost one of the comics with a short piece of text explaining the ‘joke’ in lieu of an article, not that he ever read Gizmodo anyway. But for a complete stranger to approach him about it because of the shirt he was wearing was just unfair, even if he was staying in the author’s hometown for a work trip.
  116.  
  117. “Well, it’s just...” Rob said. “literally everything that I have ever written, including the terrible stuff that I don't let anyone see from middle school, is better than the average XKCD.”
  118. “Not a fan, I guess?” Megan responded awkwardly.
  119. “I already said that.” Rob said exasperatedly. “In fact I am so much the opposite of a fan. I write on a blog whose specific purpose is to criticize the living fuck out of every XKCD that ever gets posted.”
  120. “That’s kinda sad actually.” said Megan, not holding back now. “Aren't you predisposed to hate every XKCD because you write a blog that relies on them sucking?”
  121. “No, I hate every XKCD for valid reasons, like the half-assed artwork.”
  122. “It’s minimalist!”
  123. “That doesn’t explain why he can’t draw stick figures with necks.”
  124. “Hey, he does some of the time.”
  125. “Okay, criticizing the art is too easy, but it’s clear the guy can’t write for shit. Every other comic ends with post-punchline dialog, and using the alt text to explain the joke.”
  126. “What is ‘post-punchline dialog’ anyway? It sounds like a term you made up to sound smart.”
  127. “Well, at least I don’t need to write comics about being smug about science to sound smart.”
  128. “What’s wrong with intelligent humor?”
  129. “Because it’s not even funny.”
  130. “Some comics aren’t supposed to be funny. They’re supposed to make you think.”
  131. “The thing is, XKCD is trying to be funny and failing. What I’m saying is, despite the fact that it is patently obvious what Randy is trying to do, it is so unconvincing as a joke that I must be missing something.”
  132. “Maybe you are, you dumb fuck.”
  133. “I never am. I only don’t get it when the jokes are made entirely out of references to Firefly and other nerdy shows that I don’t watch.”
  134. “Oh, you did NOT just criticize Firefly.”
  135. “Indeed I fucking well didn’t. I’m just saying the comic’s bad when a comic exists just to pander to the people who like it.”
  136. “Well everyone else seems to like it. You’re just predisposed to hate it because that’s all you’re capable of.”
  137. “Look. This is what, when you were taking your high school logic class, you would have called ad hominem.”
  138. “Oh yeah, and what you do is TOTALLY not ad hominem.”
  139. “You know what else I hate about XKCD?
  140. “Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?”
  141. “The Black Hat Guy’s personality is never consistent, and don’t fucking get me started on Beret Guy, or that annoying Megan character.”
  142. “I am that Megan character!”
  143.  
  144. There was a moment’s silence, during which they scowled at each other. Suddenly, Rob and Megan kissed each other’s brains out in a passionate mutual embrace of rage-filled horniness. It felt so wonderfully wrong. Rob knew from the start that she was dating Randall. But to Rob it was just a way to get back at him. Megan knew Rob was an enemy of XKCD and everything it stood for, but that just made her burning loins yearn for him even more. And as they walked away from the experience, they knew that they would never be able to see each other again. But every moment of their absence was worth it, for that passionate fiery embrace they shared in the coffee shop. Rob had cum in his pants. He took off the XKCD shirt, and wiped it up, then ate it.
  145.  
  146. ...Back in the present, Rob sat in the same spot where they had had that epic argument. He tossed himself off in memory of that moment they’d shared.
  147. “I thought I might find you here.”
  148. “Hello, Carl.” Rob said without turning around.
  149. “You’ve got fat, old friend.” Said Carl Wheeler.
  150. “You’re still ugly.” replied Rob. They laughed for a moment, until Carl spoke again.
  151. “Okay, this is the last thing I can do for the old blog. xkcdsucks has been great, but after this I’m retiring.”
  152. “Why?”
  153. “Things are different now.” said Carl
  154. “No they’re not. XKCD sucks now more than ever.”
  155. “I don’t mean about XKCD. I'm not the only one who thinks XKCD sucks. There are you guys, certainly, and I love you all for it. But even elsewhere, it's far more common to hear people say that xkcd is getting a lot worse.”
  156. “You want to give up because people are agreeing with you? Are you fucking crazy?” Rob gesticulated.
  157.  
  158. Carl gave a deep sigh, and said “When I first started, I felt like no one else seemed to realize that xkcd was getting so terrible. I was doing it out of a frustration I no longer feel. I no longer feel like I'm doing anyone a favor by having this blog. A lot of the problems in the new comics are the exact same problems as in old comics, so to criticize them properly would be to merely repeat myself. Heck, I even quite like the occasional XKCD.”
  159. “I would have believed what you said, if it weren’t for that last bit.” Rob said coldly. “Now tell me, where is Carl.”
  160. “What do you mean? I’m right...”
  161. Before he could finish his sentence, rob picked up a fork, and stabbed it into Carl’s jugular vein. He didn’t bleed. Carl just stared at Rob. All the emotion had gone from his face.
  162. “Okay, what have you done with Carl?”
  163. “Carl died a long time ago.”
  164. “Tell me what did you fucking did to him!” shouted Rob
  165. “robm is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported. robm@homebox ~$” said the Android Carl.
  166.  
  167. With a look of death in his eyes, the fat man grabbed the robot’s arm, right before it tried to punch him in the gut with the same arm. The immense force of the blow was absorbed by Rob’s giant gut. Rob placed his other hand on the robot arm, and attempted to break it off. Unfortunately for Rob, the machine levered itself off the arm rob was holding, and kicked Rob in the face.
  168.  
  169. Rob stumbled back into a wall. A table was pushed into the window, breaking it. Rob made no effort to stop himself. The wall buckled under his weight, but did not break. Then he rocked forwards, took two paces, and fell on top of the robot. It was crushed instantly. Rob got up, picked up the remains of the robot, and ate it.
  170.  
  171.  
  172. CHAPTER 3
  173. ----------------
  174. They started to meet up in Inman Square, under the trees, next to that semicircular bench. Rob was the first to arrive. After he had been waiting for ten minutes, which felt like hours, a young woman approached him nervously.
  175. “Hello, satanic hell-bird.”
  176. “Oh, hi Rob.” said Ravenzomg. She sounded Canadian. “Wait, how did you know it was me?”
  177. Rob shrugged.
  178. “Have you just been saying that to every female who walks by?” she asked.
  179. “Only the gothy ones.”
  180. “So you’re really Rob?” She paused for a second. “You’re not as fat as I expected.” she said to the 265 pound man.
  181. “Eh, I left my fat rolls in another dimension, I mean at home. If you saw me normally, I’d be half the size of freaking moon.” Rob said, trying to sound like he was joking. Raven laughed politely.
  182. “So everything the cuddlefish say about you is true?”
  183. “Well, almost everything.”
  184. “Is that right, Robdall?”
  185. Rob knew what she meant. “Don’t even compare me to that man!” Rob shouted, temporarily losing his temper.
  186. “I didn’t mean to imply you and Randall were the same person. I just mean you and Randall would make a great couple if you worked out your differences.”
  187. Rob suppressed the urge to vomit. “You don’t even know me! How can you write a fanfic about me if you don’t fucking know me?”
  188. “I was just joking, like you were.”
  189. “I’m sorry.” Rob said.
  190. “You don’t have to be.”
  191. There was a long awkward silence until the next people arrived.
  192.  
  193. Two men pulled up in a taxi, bantering to each other in English accents.
  194. “This must be the place. Rob’s gravity is pulling me inwards.”
  195. “Don’t get too close to him, or he’ll...”
  196. “Suck, I know!”
  197. “Arrrgh!” they screamed as the both ran into Rob’s belly simultaneously and embarrassingly fell over.
  198. “Hey cuddlefish,” said Rob. “what are your names?”
  199. “We’re not cuddlefish, we have Blogger accounts.”
  200. “Like I care.”
  201. “I’m Ann Apolis and he’s Kitten.” said Priority Kitten.
  202. “Nice try,” said Ann Apolis. “I’m Ann Apolis, and he’s Jon Levi.”
  203. “Do I look like a jew to you?” said Kitten.
  204. “For all I know, you’re both Kitten and Jon Levi,” said Rob. So I’m calling you Jon anyway.
  205. Ann Apolis looked like a lanky blonde English hipster. He used a female pseudonym when online, and sometimes pretended to be a doctor. The xkcdsucks troll who called himself Kitten looked tall, dark and handsome, despite the fact that he had the face of a 12-year-old caveman.
  206. “Out of curiosity, what are your real names?” asked Ravenzomg curiously.
  207. “No, don’t tell us.” said Rob. “You left your real names in the British Isles. From now on, we go by our pseudonyms.”
  208. “But my real name is Raven.” said Ravenzomg.
  209. “Rob is both my real name and my pseudonym.” said Rob.
  210. “I thought it was Randall” said Ann.
  211. “Not this again.” said Rob exasperatedly.
  212. “My real name is ENERGY PANTHER!” said Kitten.
  213. “No.” said Rob.
  214. “Is Jon coming?” asked Raven.
  215. “No,” said Ann. “He said he was busy writing a slash-fic of Kitten and ALT-F.”
  216. “Does he even know what slash is?” said Raven. It has to be between two males.
  217. “Does ALT-F even have a gender?” asked Rob. “I always thought of her as more of a thing.”
  218. “I would totally bone ALT-F, regardless of gender, race or species.” said Kitten.
  219. “Is she coming?” asked Ann.
  220. “Dunno.” said Rob
  221. “So is this everyone?” said Raven.
  222. “Not really. I expected Capn to come.” said Rob.
  223. “Well, there’s four of us.”
  224. “Xkcdsucksters assemble!” shouted Kitten.
  225. “No.” said Rob.
  226. “Ah, there he is.” said Rob, pointing to the short angry guy walking towards them.
  227. “Hey, I’m Capn.” he said.
  228. “Okay.” said Rob.
  229. “And who’s that guy?” said Capn, pointing to the stranger behind them, who had a cropped haircut, and a red college hoodie with armpit stains. He had been standing there the whole time.
  230. “Dunno.” said Rob.
  231. “I don’t trust him.” said Kitten. He took a few steps towards the man. “Excuse me...”
  232. “Chris Houlihan’s room.” said the stranger.
  233. “...”
  234. “Ohhh, it’s this guy.” said Rob.
  235. “Is that a video game reference?” asked Raven.
  236. “Chris Houlihan’s room.”
  237. “STFU already.” shouted Kitten.
  238. “Don’t feed the troll.” Raven cautioned.
  239. “Chris Houlihan’s room.”
  240. “...”
  241. “Chris Houlihan’s room.”
  242. “Is that all he says?” Ann asked.
  243. “Chris Houli...”
  244. He didn’t finish that sentence because Capn swung forwards and punched the troll in the face.
  245. “Chr...”
  246. Capn aimed a flying punch at the man’s chin, forcing his jaw closed on his tongue. And still he didn’t fight back. Capn punched him more times, then kicked him too the floor.”
  247. “Chris Houlihan’s...”
  248. “Shut the fuck up!” bellowed Capn, and he preceded to stamp on the guy’s neck.
  249. “That’s enough, Capn!” said Raven.
  250. “Shut up the fuck piece of shit die die die!!”
  251. Capn continued the assault until he broke every rib in the man’s body, and there was blood everywhere. The sight of blood seemed to calm him. “Sorry guys,” he said. “I have an anger problem.” He shrugged, as if it weren’t a big deal.
  252. “Save some of that Anger for later.” said Rob.
  253. They stared at the unconscious man for a little while, until Ann broke the silence.
  254. “So... what do we do first?”
  255. “Find his house.” Rob replied.
  256. “And how do we do that?”
  257. “...”
  258. “Any ideas?” Raven said.
  259. “Hunt him out by scent.” Capn suggested.
  260. “Already tried that.” said Rob.
  261. “I have an idea.” said Kitten. “We comb the city, and count the number of XKCD posters and shirts. Wherever has the highest poster and shirt density is closest to his house.”
  262. “Okay, Jon.”
  263. “I’m not Jon.”
  264. “You do that. Tell me when you find it. You can take one other person with you.”
  265. “I’ll take Ann.”
  266. “Okay, now start looking.”
  267. “But...”
  268. “It’s okay, Jon.” said Ann “We can talk about obscure brit-pop bands while we walk.”
  269. “Don’t just give us the boring work to do.” said Kitten. “I want to be included in the decision making process.”
  270. Suddenly there came a new voice.
  271. “Am I included in this little circle jerk?”
  272. “Huh, who are you?” said Raven.
  273. “I’m Anon 6:33.” He looked very similar as the red-shirted guy that Capn had just beaten up.
  274. “We don’t care.” said Kitten.
  275. “Give me a break, I’ve already killed one Anonymous today.” said Capn. Ann poked him with his foot to check if he was dead.
  276. “I’m very different to that guy.” said Anon 6:33 “He was Anon 12:21.”
  277. “No offence, but you guys all look the same.” said Kitten. “Why should we acknowledge you as a useful human being?”
  278. “I have what you want.”
  279. “What’s that?” said Kitten.
  280. “I know where Randall lives.”
  281. “Don’t be all fucking mysterious.” said Rob. “Tell us.”
  282. “Okay, but on one condition.” said Anon 6:33. “If this is successful, then you agree to end this xkcdsucks blog for good.”
  283. “No u.” said Rob.
  284. “He makes a good point.” said Raven. “You really have no reason not to tell us.”
  285. Capn cracked his knuckles menacingly.
  286. “Okay, I’ll tell you, geez.” said Anon 6:33. “Randall lives at 112 Brastow Aven...”
  287. BANG
  288. A bullet, presumably fired from a nearby rooftop, ploughed into Anon 6:33’s forehead, leaving a bullet-shaped hole, stopping him from speaking immediately.
  289. “They’re just like redshirts.” Raven lampshaded.
  290.  
  291.  
  292. Megan looked up from the ball pit. Randall was calling her. She hadn’t left the colorful confines in over a day. Her darling Randall provided everything she needed, so it wasn’t really a problem. He’d bring meals straight to her room, so she didn’t even have to leave her room except to go to the bathroom. Sometimes she felt she was missing out on life, but Randall had told Megan it was the best way to beat the cancer, and she trusted Randall. She was still grateful for the love he gave. After all, their copy of the Kama Sutra had a few mistranslations...
  293.  
  294. She had been in a bit of a daze, so didn’t hear at first. Now she remembered why he was calling. Randall always liked her to watch him on update nights. Something about the tone of voice suggested stress. When she got up she saw Randall had already brought in the 13-inch MacBook Pro, then realised that she was still in her underwear.
  295. “It’s okay.” Randall said. “You don’t need to get dressed.”
  296. “That’s alright.” said Megan. “Is something wrong, darling?”
  297. Randall made moaning noises, while gesticulating wildly at the clock.
  298. “Yes dear, I know it’s 11:45 on a Sunday night. You can still make it in time for the Monday update.”
  299. “Buh, buh, but...”
  300. “I know, but you’ve made deadlines like this hundreds of times before.”
  301. “But every time I try to think of an idea for a comic, I just, I just think about cancer.”
  302. “Would this help?” Megan suggested, and took off her bra.
  303. But Randall couldn’t bear the thought that one of those lovely milk buckets was cancerous. He whimpered and shook his head.
  304. “Okay, bad idea.” said Megan. “Let’s just recycle an old idea.” Megan took the laptop from Randall’s trembling hands, opened up Chrome, typed ‘x’ in the URL bar, and clicked on xkcd.
  305. She clicked the Random button a few times, until Randall said “That one!” They had landed on comic 529, the one about drama.
  306. “Why that one.”
  307. “I could make it into a graph joke.” said Randall, as if struck by a sudden bout of inspiration.
  308. “That’s a good idea” Megan said encouragingly.
  309. “Let’s see, uh, the x axis should be... how often someone declares that they hate ‘drama’ and always avoids it. And the y axis, um...”
  310. “Could be the rate at which they create drama.” Megan suggested.
  311. “And it will just be a positive correlation. I can draw that in... how long have we got?”
  312. “11 minutes.”
  313. “Awww, I hate drawing straight lines.”
  314. “Better start now then.”
  315.  
  316. Randall went through sheet after sheet of plain paper, trying to draw the axes to his own proud perfectionist standards. He scrunched up every failed attempt and threw it over his shoulder. They landed on his pile of drawings of himself and Megan having hot stick-figure sex. This went on for about ten minutes. Eventually he got one right. The axes were straight, but the data line was a bit wonky. Megan said that would be fine, the fans on the forum would probably debate for themselves what that curve means. If they were really lucky, they’d probably find an excuse to have an argument about feminism.
  317.  
  318. Once they had scanned in and prepared to upload the comic, Megan said “Now all you have to do it think of the hover text.”
  319. “Aww, but I’ve already said everything I have to say on the subject of drama.” Randall moaned. “It’s just 'people being upset’. When someone says they're always surrounded by drama and they just ignore it, it starts to make sense that their strategy might be backfiring.”
  320. “Hey, that’s good, we can use that.”
  321.  
  322. After, comic 1124 had made it safely to the tubes, Megan realized there was something else she was going to say. “Have you been reading xkcdsucks?”
  323. “No.”
  324. “Don’t lie, Randy. I saw it in the URL bar. Criticism is bad for you. Now what did the nasty people say?”
  325. “One of them said he has the heart of a child...”
  326. “Well that’s not too bad.”
  327. “...Cupped against his balls. I swear to god, that’s what he said.”
  328. “Some people.” sighed Megan. “But did they say anything about the comic.”
  329. “They, they, listed six different reasons why the electoral precedent comic was invalid. It just makes me get in this mindset of where I think people are judging everything I do. I hate it. It’s like that movie, Defending Your Life.”
  330. “Randall, you don’t ever need to get self-conscious about your art.”
  331. “Why?”
  332. “Well I, uh, I fact checked that comic myself,” she lied. “So it can’t be wrong.”
  333. “You are right about everything,” Randall said. “except about the fact that my haters would someday rebel against me.”
  334. “Oh, that’s what I was going to ask you.” said Megan. “What did you decide to do about that?”
  335. “Oh, I sent the Android assassin. They’ll all be dead by now.” Randall said proudly, like a toddler who had just learned potty training.
  336. Megan secretly feared this would be the response, and tried to hide the sadness in her face. But she never did want Randall to kill them. She could never tell him why, because it would mean she’d never see that Rob guy again. What a shame.
  337.  
  338.  
  339. CHAPTER 4
  340. ----------------
  341. “RUN!” Kitten shouted. Then the rest of them panicked, running in every which direction, as several more gunshots were fired. No one noticed the shiny grey figure standing on the tower on top of the Inman Square Fire House.
  342. “Everyone get behind me!” yelled Rob, but giving them no chance to do so as he ran behind an apartment building. The others followed, and no one else was shot. They kept running through several people’s backyards, till they were certain they were out of the danger.
  343. “Randy must have known we’d be here.” said Kitten. “Damn him!”
  344. “Shooting people with guns doesn’t seem his style.” said Rob. “Maybe there are other forces at play here.”
  345. “Does Randall have henchmen?” Ann asked.
  346. “His fanboys would more likely do it for free.” said Rob.
  347. “Damn you, Randall!” Kitten screamed at the sky. “DAMMMN YOUUU!”
  348. “Goodnight, sweet prince.” said Raven. “Maybe we should fulfil his dying wish after all.”
  349. “No u.” said Rob.
  350. “Who?” said Kitten, who had already forgotten about Anon 6:33.
  351. “Where did he say to go?” said Rob. “112 Brastow Avenue?”
  352. “Already found it.” said Ann, pointing at his smartphone.
  353. “One question though,” said Raven. “What are we going to do with Randall when we find him.”
  354. “She asks too many questions.” Capn said.
  355. “Revenge.” said Rob.
  356. “Can you be more specific?” said Raven.
  357. “We destroy his web server, and ruin his life.”
  358. “But I always thought it might be possible to change him. We can at least try to convince him to make XKCD better.”
  359. “No.” said Kitten. “You suggest we reason with the guy who just tried to kill us?”
  360. “We had loads of ideas, like the picto-blog, and hiring an editor, or changing his update schedule.”
  361. “XKCD is beyond redemption.” Kitten said. “Taking it offline would be a mercy killing. It is like a diseased pet that just has to be put down.”
  362. “Randall is a broken man. He doesn’t produce bad webcomics because he wants to.”
  363. “Raven has a point.” said Ann.
  364. “That is exactly why we have to put his webcomics career out of its misery.” Rob said. “We won’t kill unless we have to.” he added, in an attempt to comfort them.
  365. “But...”
  366. “He won’t listen to us” said Rob. “We’ve been trying to improve XKCD for years. He never listens to criticism of any kind. He pretends the blog doesn’t exist. Everything we stand for, he just...”
  367. “Of course he won’t listen to us,” said Raven “when we keep scaring him away.”
  368. “It’s too late.” said Rob. “The war has already started.”
  369.  
  370. It took half an hour to walk to Brastow Avenue, by which time it was late afternoon.  There they saw a nondescript apartment building next to the house with 111 on the door. Hard to believe this was the home of the nerd god Randall Munroe. The list of doorbells showed that Randall lived on the second floor, by means of a name with a stick figure with a stick figure drawn next to it.
  371.  
  372. Without thinking, Rob casually pressed the doorbell with his fat finger.
  373. “Shit, what do we say to him?” said Rob.
  374. “I thought you knew said Ann.”
  375. “I have an idea.” said Raven. “We’ll go in and take a look around by posing as fans.”
  376. “He’ll never believe it.” said Rob. “Shiiiit.”
  377. They waited for a few agonizing minutes, and no answer came.
  378. “I have an idea.” said Kitten. “I got it from an Episode of Sherlock. All we do is pretend to know the guy in the room above, and drop right down from the balcony.”
  379. Before the others could stop him, he rang the doorbell of the household that lived directly above. A shrill female voice answered.
  380. “Who’s this?”
  381. “Hi,” said Kitten in his worst fake American accent. “My homies and I just moved in to the apartment downstairs. We wanna take a look round your place and introduce ourselves.”
  382. “Doesn’t Pat live in that apartment?” said the voice.
  383. “No he doesn’t. I just lost my key so I gotta use yours.”
  384. “Um, I don’t think so.”
  385. “LET ME THE FUCK IN!” shouted Kitten. His accent had gone completely redneck.
  386. “I’m calling the cops.” said the woman, as her voice cut off.
  387. “Stop it, Kitten.” said Raven.
  388. “Okay, let’s move on to plan B.” said Kitten. “Capn, break the door down!”
  389. “What...”
  390. Capn shoved his fist through the glass door, and opened it from the inside. There was blood on his wrist, but he wiped it on Kitten’s shirt.
  391. “...the fuck?” said Rob.
  392. “Wait, did she say Pat?” said Ann. “This isn’t Randall’s place. He must have moved.” But it was too late. Kitten and Capn had already gone inside.
  393.  
  394. Kitten rushed upstairs, and proceded to knock on the door of the woman he’d just harassed. She opened the door cautiously.
  395. “Good morning, Ma’am.” said Kitten, trying and failing to sound Canadian. “I’m a plainclothes police officer and I understand there has been an intrusion in...”
  396. “Get out!” she screamed.
  397. “Sorry, have to inspect your house first.”
  398. At this point, Capn caught up with him, and forced the woman out the way, and they rushed into her apartment.
  399. “What now?” said Capn
  400. “Now we go to his balcony, and...” said Kitten. “Shit, there’s no balcony!”
  401. “Don’t move, you assholes!” said that annoyingly shrill female voice from behind them. She was pointing a gun.
  402.  
  403. “The police are going to start arriving any minute.” said Ann. “And Kitten and Capn are still in there.”
  404. “Tell me something I don’t know.” said Raven.
  405. “Let’s just leave them.” said Rob. “They gave their lives for the cause of hating XKCD. We must accept their sacrifice and move on. I’m sure they’d do the same for us.”
  406. “No, noooo! This is all going wrong!” said Ann. “Kitten and Capn getting arrested is not part of the plan!”
  407. Raven saw the look of distress on her friend’s face, and decided she simply must do something to help, even if it involved revealing a terrible secret.
  408. “I kind of have this power. I can teleport all three of us into the Nether World. Once we’re there I can pick up Kitten and Capn.”
  409. “Why didn’t you tell us about this before?” said Rob.
  410. “Every time I use it, a random person on the other side of the world drops dead of a heart attack.”
  411. “Awesome.” said Rob.
  412. “Only if you’re comfortable using it.” said Ann. “How does it work?”
  413. “Most emos activate the power by cutting.” Raven explained. “I do it by writing a shitty poem on a post-it note.” She withdrew a little square pad of yellow notes from her coat pocket. She took out a ballpoint pen as well, and began to slowly write.
  414.  
  415. Wet pines stand watch
  416. over silent streets.
  417.  
  418. Drowning worms die
  419. beneath worn boots.
  420.  
  421. “Now, everyone touch the note.” Raven commanded. She held it in her palm, as Rob and Ann placed a single finger on it. “3... 2... 1...” she said, and they were all pulled into the darkness.
  422.  
  423. CHAPTER 5
  424. ----------------
  425. The world around Raven, Rob and Ann cascaded into an ebony nightscape. Shapes of the tangible world shifted downwards, sideways, in and out of extra dimensions, to reveal a world where everything was in the same position. But all completely out of phase with reality.
  426. Everything here was made of Shadows.
  427. The ground was the floor of an endless empty chasm. The houses and buildings    a were angular mountains of twisted darkness. Trees had been replaced by black dendritic skeletons, with skinny tendrils hanging from their brittle branches. Their heartwoods glowed with cold red life forces. This color was mirrored by the cold red sun hung in the sky, where before it had been early evening. The rest of the sky was a bone white void, which appeared to be slowly crumbling apart. Everything around them was covered in a thin layer of grey ashes, which stayed grey, despite being bathed in the light from the cold red sun.
  428.  
  429. It was neither a fiery hot like Hell, nor a cold world lost to sunlight. In fact the three people who appeared here did not feel hot, cold or room temperature. Temperature just didn’t exist here. It was hard to even remember what heat felt like.
  430.  
  431. “This is the Nether World.” said Raven. “Try not to get too comfortable here.”
  432. “Okay.” said Rob, who was surprisingly underwhelmed.
  433. “Wow, this is amazing.” said Ann. “How did you find out about this place?”
  434. “Intense introspection.” said Raven.
  435. “How do we rescue them?” said Rob.
  436. “We climb inside the building. and pull them into this world.”
  437. Whoa, what is that thing?!” Ann pointed at an Shadowy black figure walking towards them. Beneath its hood was a pulsating mass of twisted flesh, tubes, fluids and tendrils. Its life energy glowed with the coldest of reds.
  438. “It’s a human.” said Raven.
  439. “What’s that smoke around it?” asked Ann.
  440. A dark, ethereal, web-like cloud seemed to envelope it, and slither alongside it.
  441. “His deepest, darkest thoughts.” said Raven. “Disgusting things that no one in the physical realm wants to see.”
  442. “Looks like he’s having a bad day.” said Ann. “Why don’t we look like that?”
  443. “We do.” said Raven. “We just can’t see our own Shadows because our physical bodies are that much brighter.”
  444. “Shadows?” said Ann. “Is that what the things in this world are called?”
  445. “I don’t know.” said Raven. As far as I can tell they don’t have a name. but I call them Shadows.”
  446. “Wow, that’s deep.” said Ann.
  447. “Oh, and another thing.” said Raven. “Don’t eat any of the food here.”
  448. “Too late” said Ann, pointing at Rob. Rob had already walked away and started eating the Shadow of the apartment block. It was slightly tougher than his usual meal. His jaw opened into extra dimensions, but got stuck on the edge of the bony sky. Surely enough though, his teeth crunched on the shapeless black mass, and he began to digest it, before he had even swallowed it.
  449. Raven and Ann looked on in amazement as Rob consumed the entire front facade of the apartment building, or at least its nether form. It was hideous. The Shadows seemed to be screaming as they disappeared into Rob’s dark void of a mouth. Ann and Raven had never seen him eating before. They simultaneously said “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
  450. Their girlish scream echoed around the Nether World for days. Several emo kids jerked off to it.
  451. “Sorry guys, my table manners are atrocious. Did I mention that?”
  452. “Rob, how did you... how did you learn to do that?” said Ann.
  453. “Intense introspection.” he replied with obvious sarcasm.
  454. Raven edged forwards into the place where the apartment block should be.
  455. “Did we destroy it in the real world?” asked Ann.
  456. “It should be fine.” said Raven. “Capn and Kitten are still in there. Look, there they are.” she said, pointing at two ugly Shadows of two ugly humans.
  457. “How do we reach them?” said Ann.
  458. “I touch them with the note, and they will come into this world.”
  459. “Yes, but how do we reach them?”
  460. “Ann, I’ll stand on your shoulders. Then you stand on Rob’s shoulders.”
  461. “Whose shoulders do I stand on?” said Rob.
  462. “Oh, screw it. It’s not going to work.” said Raven. “I’ll just have to fly.”
  463. “You can fly?”
  464. “I can only do it in this world. And every time I use that power, a newborn star blows up somewhere in the universe.”
  465. “Awesome.” they said together.
  466. “I don’t want to do it, but I think I’ll have to. So get ready...”
  467. “Or you could just throw the note at them.” said Rob.
  468. “Aww.” said Ann.
  469. Raven folded the little yellow square into a paper airplane. It didn’t look very aerodynamic because it was folded into extra dimensions. She took a few steps back, and threw it at Kitten.
  470. When it touched his shadow, Kitten materialised and was caught by the cold grip of gravity. He hit the ashen ground with a muted thump.
  471. “What...”
  472. Raven wheeled around, and picked up the paper airplane and threw it at Capn.
  473. “...the fuck?” Kitten said as Capn hit the ground next to him.
  474. “Don’t worry, falling won’t hurt you here.” said Raven. “You’re in the Nether World, because we had to rescue you.”
  475. “I didn’t need rescuing. I was three steps ahead of that lady.”
  476. “She had a gun.” said Capn
  477. “You forget though, I can dodge bullets like lightning, faster than lightning with my cat-like reflexes.” boasted Kitten, punching the air for each of the last four syllables he said.
  478. “Okay.” said Rob in such a flat tone that it sounded dismissive.
  479. “Wait, where did you say this place was?”
  480. “The Nether World?”
  481. “This doesn’t look like it. Where’s Peter Pan.”
  482. “Dead,” said Rob. “they’re all dead.”
  483. “Aaargh, my childhood!” said Kitten over dramatically.
  484. Then Raven had to explain again to Kitten and Capn what the Nether World was.
  485. “So how do we get out?” said Ann when she had finished.
  486. “I just tear up the note.” said Raven. “Make be careful of where you’re standing. You don’t want to reappear inside a wall. That happened to me once.”
  487. “Whoa, what’s this?” yelled Capn. Almost at once, everyone looked around to see what he was shouting about. He had only found it because he’d fallen flat on his face. And while Raven had been talking, he had brushed away the top layer of ash around it to reveal a hole in the ground. But even more excitingly, there was something below it. A whole structure extended beneath the hole. It looked almost like he had uncovered the entrance to a secret underground base.
  488. “It’s probably just the foundations.” said Raven.
  489. “Only one way to find out.” said Capn, walked over to the abyssal dark hole, and stood directly over it.
  490. “No!” they all yelled. But it was too late. Without a sound, Capn had fallen directly from view. The others would surely never see his face again. No sound was made as he fell. They couldn’t even hear when he hit the bottom. As the realisation washed over the group, there was a moment of silence between them, and they contemplated their loss.
  491. “Capn, you idiot!” screamed Kitten. “How could you leave us?! Whyyyyy!?”
  492. “What do we do now?” asked Ann.
  493. “There’s nothing we can do.” said Raven. “We’ll just have to accept his sacrifice and move on.”
  494. “He was alright.” Rob said. “I’m sure he’d have done the same for us.”
  495. “That’s not right.” said Kiten. “There must be light down there. I’m gonna jump in after him and see if he’s okay.”
  496. “That would be the absolute worst thing to do.” said Raven. “I’m sorry Kitten, but he’s gone.”
  497. “This is too horrible. He can’t be gone. No, no!” Kitten said, and he tried to lunge towards the dark pit. Rob and Ann held him back. However Kitten was too strong for both of them, and began to drag them both forward as well, his right hand outstretched. Raven, seeing what might happen, thought quickly to herself, and hastily ripped up the post-it note.
  498. There was a most uncomfortable situation for the entire group, as everything around them faded to white, then beige, then a dull piss-colored ochre, then back to the real world. Their ears were ringing.
  499. They hadn’t taken time to position themselves beforehand. Luckily they were standing in the alleyway outside the apartment building. Raven was standing halfway through a trash can. Rob and Ann stood either side of Kitten, who had been trying to run into the wall of the building.
  500. “Did I really want to save Capn’s life?” said Kitten.
  501. “Yes.” said Ann. “It was embarrassing.”
  502. “And to possibly sacrifice my own? Why would I do that?”
  503. “The Nether World does strange things to your mind.” said Raven. “I told you not to get too comfortable there. I once spent too much time in the Nether World, and briefly entertained the notion of having sex with Michael...”
  504. But before she could finish he anecdote, they noticed something. Kitten’s hand was embedded in the wall.
  505. “Oh no.” said Raven.
  506. “Who’s Michael Ono?” asked Ann.
  507. “What? Oh fuck.” said Kitten.
  508. “Do we have to cut off his hand or what?” said Rob.
  509. “I think that might be the only way.” said Raven resignedly.
  510. “No, not Righty!” said Kitten. “We’ve had so many fun times together.”
  511. “Well it’s either cut off your hand or remain stuck there.” said Rob
  512. “No, isn’t there any other way?” he moaned. “I don’t want to lose me hand.”
  513. “I’m sorry Kitten,” said Rob, “but you did kind of do this to yourself.”
  514. “It would feel weird jerking of with my left hand.” said Kitten. There were tears in his eyes. “Wait, can’t we go back into the Nether World and get me out?”
  515. “It only works once per day.” Raven shrugged.
  516. “I can try and eat around your hand, eat the wall I mean.” said Rob.
  517. “Okay, if that’s the only way. Just be careful.”
  518. Rob detached his gaping maw from the terrestrial dimension, and proceeded to munch away on the bricks and concrete. The others stared in a kind of transfixed horror. Eventually rob had eaten both the inside and the outside of the wall. However most of Kitten’s arm was gone too.
  519. “Best I could do.” said Rob. Then he opened his mouth again, and spat out Kitten’s blood-stained arm.
  520. “My arm!” shouted Kitten.
  521. “We’ll get you a new one.” said Ann. First we have to get away from these police cars.
  522. “Huh?”
  523. Then they heard it, faint sirens in the distance, growing steadily louder.
  524. “Why are they coming for us?” said Kitten.
  525. “Because of what you and Capn did.”
  526. “Who’s Capn?” said Rob.
  527. “There never was a Capn.” said Raven.
  528. “How... ORWELLIAN.” said Ann. But the others didn’t hear him, because they had already started running.
  529.  
  530. CHAPTER 6
  531. ----------------
  532.  
  533. Meanwhile at the same time, Rob, Raven, Ann and Kitten had been running for several minutes. Rob was carrying Kitten’s arm, since the others were afraid to touch it. Eventually they came to stop near a busy overpass.
  534. “I’m dying.” said Kitten, who have obviously lost a lot of blood.
  535. “No you’re not.” said Ann confidently.
  536. “It’s no use, Annie boy.” said Kitten deliriously. “You’re just going to have to live twice as hard, for... me...”
  537. “Doesn’t anyone have medical training?” said Raven.
  538. “Yes, I do.” said Ann, over dramatically.
  539. “Don’t let us stop you.” said Rob, handing the severed and mangled arm to Ann.
  540. “Well, I kind of have to transform first.”
  541. “Transform?”
  542. “Yeah, it’s kinda like in anime shows. When I say the magic spell, I transform into Ann Apolis MD, a magical girl with the ability to heal people.”
  543. “Wait, you turn into a girl?” said Kitten, perking up suddenly.
  544. “I discovered this power through intense introspection, and typing random things into Google Translate, so... aisatsu, ika to kyuuban ga age rareru . watashi ha anaporisu M.D gozen.”
  545. Almost at once, Ann began to glow brighter than the streetlights around them. Light began to pour into him, and he floated gracefully, six feet off the ground, arms outstretched. His shirt and jeans disappeared, and were replaced with an overly elaboarate nurse’s outfit. For a brief period of about half a second, she was completely naked, and quite clearly had the body of a female. Her nurse’s outfit included frills on the sleeves, and a giant red bow, which matched the two in her hair. When her breasts finished growing, a giant syringe materialised in front of her, which she picked up with both hands, and gracefully touched down on the ground.
  546. “Now,” said Mahou Shoujo Ann Apolis M.D. “what seems to be the problem?”
  547.  
  548.  
  549.  
  550. To be continued...
  551.  
  552.  
  553. SNEAK PEEK OF CHAPTER 11!
  554. ----------------
  555.  
  556. “Well, well, it seems we have a visitor.”
  557. “Who do you think it could be?” said Megan.
  558. “I don’t know, but it had better not be a package with a bobcat.”
  559. Megan sighed. She was tired of that joke. “Hush Randy, that never actually happens.”
  560. “You’re right.” Randall cocked his super soaker, and walked vigilantly towards the front door of his secret underground base.
  561. Gamer had landed on his ass, and didn’t have time to think. He only saw the trapdoor above him that he couldn’t have possibly come through. There was not much to tell him where he was or even what time of day it was. He presumed it was still daytime. On the table to his left was a pile of xkcd posters, some of them rolled up, ready to be shipped. Strewn across the cold floor were scrunched of drawings of stick figures, all of which appeared to be performing perverse sexual acts. On the far side of the room, an electric skateboard was propped up against the wall. There was also a kite with a camera attached to it. Yes, he realised, this was definitely Randall’s house. No sooner than he’d realised that, he heard some footsteps.
  562. “You're going down the memory hole now, asshole.” said Randall.
  563. “What?”
  564. Randall looked disappointed for a second, as if he expected Gamer to get that reference. Then Gamer had a sudden burst of inspiration: he think’s I’m a fan. I can use that to my advantage. This was all but confirmed by the next thing Randall said.
  565. “You’re the first person to find my coordinates.”
  566. “Really, uh...?” said Gamer, trying to think of a comic. “I’ve travelled here from the year 1987 to say this. Are there any bagels left?”
  567. At once Randall’s eyes lit up. “This food is problematic.” he said, quoting his favourite show, Firefly, which had itself been quoted in xkcd.
  568. “I can’t afford to keep eating out this giraffe.” said Gamer, pulling another xkcd reference out his ass. Randall was in heaven.
  569. “I have licked your daughter’s nipples.” said Randall.
  570. “[citation needed]” said Gamer.
  571. “Frankly, you deserve this. You knew I wanted a sans-serif font, and you ignored me. So really this is your fault.” They carried on like this for several minutes, until even obscure xkcds were referenced.