R. K. Smith and The Treasure of Epicness

Dec 10th, 2019
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  1. >You are Anon, and you're likely one of the few people in the world who've actually been excited to be prisoner on a ship in the middle of the ocean.
  2. >Well, 'excited' isn't the right word.
  3. >More like...nervously enthusiastic.
  4. >Being prisoner sucks, but at least you're finally living your dream.
  5. >Yes, you're following in the footsteps of your hero, R. K. Smith.
  6. >Smith's an author with a knack for writing immersive adventure stories the likes of which Indiana Jones could only dream of having.
  7. >You're pretty sure R. K. Smith isn't the guy's real name, as he's always the protagonist as well as the author, but that just pulls you into the story even more.
  8. >You've read every one of his books, and it's the latest one that landed you in this little predicament
  9. >You'd finished reading the book only a few hours prior.
  10. >At the end was a preview of the next book.
  11. >R. K. claimed that he'd found a fragment of a map leading to a great treasure, but that wasn't what caught you off guard.
  12. >He'd found the fragment hidden away in an abandoned factory...in your hometown.
  13. >R. K. travelled all over, but the idea of him being in the same town as you was overwhelmingly excited.
  14. >The factory he mentioned actually happened to be a short drive from your apartment building.
  15. >Your curiosity got the best of you, and you decided to check the place out for yourself.
  16. >When you arrived late that night, you saw what you thought were security guards patrolling the area.
  17. >Odd, considering the place hadn't been in operation for years.
  18. >You concerned bailing, but your sense of adventure, fueled by the brave words of R. K. Smith, told you to press forward.
  19. >With some quick movements and good timing, you managed to sneak past the guards and get inside.
  20. >After looking around the area to case the place, you started really digging.
  21. >It wasn't until you checked out the offices that you found it.
  22. >Hidden away underneath a fake drawer bottom was the map piece.
  23. >You could hardly believe your eyes.
  25. >The paper it was printed on was old and yellowed, but the unmistakable markings of typical map let you know it was the real deal.
  26. >Or at least, part of some super-immersive ARG.
  27. >You didn't have much time to bask in the excitement, because you blacked out almost immediately after.
  28. >When you woke up hours later, your head hurting like hell, you were on the aforementioned ship.
  29. >Someone must have knocked you out.
  30. >Checking your pockets, you found your phone, wallet, and the map piece were missing.
  31. >You recalled several scenes like this in various R. K. novels.
  32. >R. K. would fins a clue to the big treasure or macguffin, but he'd end up captured by the bad guys who'd rip the clue from his hands.
  33. >Of course, he'd fight back and reclaim what was rightfully is, and you suppose that's what you should do.
  34. >Problem is, you're no R. K. Smith.
  35. >If you were, you'd bust the door down with your bare hands, engage in fisticuffs with any resistance you met, reclaim the map piece and escape to find the rest of the map.
  36. >As Anon, however, you doubt you could even make a dent in the door.
  37. >Maybe there's another way out, though.
  38. >You look around the room you're trapped in for anything that might help in your escape.
  39. >Just your luck, there's a grappling hook with an attached rope hidden behind some barrels in the corner.
  40. >You managed to open the only porthole in the room and squeeze your top half through.
  41. >Up above, there's another porthole, wide open for whatever reason; jackpot!
  42. >You twirl the grappling hook before tossing it up to the higher window.
  43. >It catches on the first try!
  44. >Gritting your teeth, you squeeze the rest of the way out of the lower porthole and begin climbing towards the one above you.
  45. >The ocean splashes up at you, hitting your back with sprays of water as the boat continues on its course to...wherever.
  46. >You forge ahead, and after a few minutes of climbing and wriggling, you fall into the room above your former prison cell.
  47. >Now to find the map piece.
  49. >You start to search the new room for a weapon to help against any guards, but you suddenly hear a scuffle begin just outside.
  50. >You open the door just a crack to see what all the fuss is.
  51. >Down the hall, you can see a whole bunch of sailors trying, and failing, to fight against...something.
  52. >At the moment, there's too many in the way to see what exactly they're up against.
  53. >"Someone tell the boss that the prisoner's escaped!" you hear one shout,
  54. >For a moment, you think they're referring to you, but another voice speaks up soon after.
  55. >"Call me a prisoner again, and I'll kick your bloody teeth out!"
  56. >This voice is feminine, much to your surprise, but full of confidence.
  57. >Immediately after this, two of the sailors are thrown in your direction.
  58. >You quickly duck back into the room and watch them sail past before sticking your head back out.
  59. >With less aggressors around, you can finally see the source of the voice.
  60. >A red kangaroo woman, dressed in what you can only call a female Indiana Jones outfit.
  61. >She's even got the hat.
  62. >She knocks out a few more sailors before she spots you
  63. >She takes a fighting stance, but you raise your hands.
  64. "I-I'm a friendly!"
  65. >That seemed to make her relax.
  66. >"Bloody hell, what're you doing here, mate? You're no sailor, by the looks of it."
  67. "Uh, no, they actually captured me after-"
  68. >"A civillian!? Crikey, this just got more interesting! Listen here, cobber. If we're going to get off this floating deathtrap, we're gonna need one of those lifeboats. Think you can snag one while I make a distraction?"
  69. >You're utterly confused at what the hell's going on, but you quickly decide it's best to just go along with it.
  70. "Yeah, sure."
  71. >"Great! Oh, before you go, you should probably take this. They'll expect me to have it."
  72. >She reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out the map piece that led to this whole mess.
  73. >How the hell did this chick know about it?
  74. >Furthermore, who even is she?
  76. >Since time is of the essence, you grab the piece and stuff it in your own pocket.
  77. >The kangaroo runs off down the hallway, and you run in the opposite direction.
  78. >Outside, you stay low to keep out of sight of any wandering guards.
  79. >It takes you a good five minutes, but you finally find the lifeboats.
  80. >It takes you another three minutes or so to figure out how to release the boat.
  81. >Of course, you hold off until the kangaroo gets here.
  82. >Sure enough, you hear her shout in the distance.
  84. >You don't hesitate to do so, the lifeboat plummeting into the ocean.
  85. >You hold on tight as the massive ship above you continues on its way.
  86. >On the deck, you see the kangaroo, running for dear life with tons of sailors behind her.
  87. >Fearlessly, she dives over the railing, splashing into the waves.
  88. >You watch the spot where she vanished, praying that she comes up alright.
  89. >Sure enough, she surfaces and swims over to the boat.
  90. >You offer a hand, which she takes, and pull her into the lifeboat.
  91. >"Now row like hell!"
  92. >You grab an oar while she grabs the other and you begin paddling in the opposite direction of the ship.
  93. >As you row, you can't help but notice it's not turning around to go after you.
  94. >In fact, it keeps going until it vanishes on the horizon.
  95. >You and the kangaroo let out a huge sigh of relief.
  96. "That was...probably the scariest thing I've ever done in my life."
  97. >"Well, you pulled it off with flying colors, mate! Not bad for your first day in the adventuring business. What's your name, anyway?"
  98. "It's Anon. What about you?"
  99. >"Ripley! Ripley Kangaroo-Smith!"
  100. "Nice to meet you, Rip-"
  101. >Wait, Smith?
  102. >Ripley giggles.
  103. >"Think you're missing a "-ley" there, mate. Don't worry about it. Most blokes just call me R. K. anyway."
  105. "Holy shit."
  106. >R. K. giggles again.
  107. >"Ah, I'd recognize the look in your eyes anywhere, mate; you're starstruck, ain't ya? An avid reader, I'd wager. I'd be happy to sign something for you as soon as I've got a pen...and we're not in the middle of the bloody ocean."
  108. >You struggle with words, but eventually you find them.
  109. "This is crazy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm really happy to meet you in person, but I just... you know, I never figured you were..."
  110. >"I get it, mate, I really do. It's actually why I added Smith to me surname. Figured folks would rather buy a book from R. K. Smith than Ripley Kangaroo. Or at least take an author like me more seriously."
  111. "You know, it's actually your newest book that brought me here. That factory you mentioned in the preview of your next book? I live right by it."
  112. >"Ah, so you followed your sense of adventure and went after the map piece yourself! Good on ya, Anon! Sure saved me a lot of trouble!"
  113. >You can't help but feel a swelling of pride in your chest from R. K. appraising you like that.
  114. >Sure, you got kidnapped because of your "sense of adventure" but you also met your literary hero.
  115. >R. K. pulls her bag off her shoulder and begins rummaging around for it.
  116. >"I was gonna visit the ol' place myself, but those bastards at Stinge and Sons nabbed me before I could buy a plane ticket. S'ppose it serves me right for making the whole thing public."
  118. >You're familiar with Stinge and Sons; they're practically the antagonist in everyone one of R. K.'s novels.
  119. >A shady mega-corporation that always tries to snag whatever treasure R. K.'s after for their own profit.
  120. >R. K. foils them every time, but being the massive corporate entity they are, they manage to cover their tracks and keep the public in the dark about their true nature.
  121. >Unoriginal? Maybe, but R. K. always made them sound pretty cool in a villainous way.
  122. "So, your books. They're all true?"
  123. >"Yup! Most of 'em, anyway. Us writing-type's gotta take a few liberties here and there. Ah, here we are!"
  124. >R. K. pulls out a tape recorder, presumable used to take notes in the field.
  125. >God, she's cool.
  126. >She presses record and begins talking.
  127. >"R. K.'s Log. Treasure of The Epics, day five. After days of being locked up, starved, and borderline tortured, I finally attempted escape. My efforts, as always, were successful, and along the way, I managed to pick up a rather friendly civilian. Not only is he a fan, but he found the map piece before Stinge's men or even I could! Bloke's definitely going places!"
  128. >Your cheeks heat up and you rub the back of your neck.
  129. >Just your hero giving you a huge confidence boost, no big deal.
  130. >"For now, though, he'll be going home."
  131. >Wait, what?
  132. >"Once I've secured the map piece, I'll row us back to dry land, drop him off at the nearest airport, see him on his way, and resume my search for the other pieces. I may even sign something for his troubles. If I remember, that is. End log!"
  133. >R. K. stop the recording and puts the recorder away, looking expectantly at you.
  134. "...Are you fucking serious?"
  135. >"Anon, listen. The adventuring life just isn't cut out for everyone. You finding that map piece? Pure luck. If I hadn't been captured, I would've found it myself. In fact, once the book's wrapped up and publish, all the readers will believe that I did!"
  136. "Wha- you're not even gonna give me credit!?"
  138. >"You'v read all my books Anon, you of all people should know that R. K. Smith flies solo. How heroic would he look if he'd had some nobody running around finding map pieces for him?"
  139. >Nobody?
  140. >Did your idol seriously just call you a nobody?!
  141. "I actually can't fucking believe this... what else have you lied about!?"
  142. >R. K. winces and hisses a bit.
  143. >"Oof, lie's a dirty word, mate. I prefer to say I've made the story a bit more interesting."
  144. >She squats down in front of you, holding an open palm.
  145. >"The map, please."
  146. >You shake your head, both in defiance and sheer disbelief.
  147. "I... I looked up to you, R. K. I thought you were the coolest adventurer there was! But here you are, practically spitting in my face after years of loving your work- hell, it's probably not even your work! Well, I'm not gonna take it sitting down. You're not getting the piece. Deal with it."
  148. >She looks at you for a moment, then lowers her head and sighs before standing back up.
  149. >"Right, then. It hurts me to do this to such a loyal fan, but it can't be helped. There are stories that have to be told."
  150. >You're hit with another huge wave of disbelief as R. K. pulls out a fucking GUN.
  151. >She cocks the hammer and points it at you.
  152. >"I'll give you once chance, Anon. You cooperate, I may just sign something for you after all."
  153. >She holds out her palm again.
  154. >"The map. Now."
  155. >You swallow hard.
  156. >Trembling, you reach a hand into your pocket and slowly remove the piece.
  157. >R. K. smiles a bit.
  158. >"There's a good boy. Wasn't so hard, was it?"
  159. >She reaches forward to grab it.
  160. >Before her finger tips can close around it, you stuff the piece into your mouth.
  161. >You stare R. K. in the eyes as you chew on it for a minutes before swallowing.
  162. >She's got an utterly bewildered look on her face; she definitely was not expecting that.
  163. "...If it's any consolation, it tasted like shit."
  164. >You half expect those to be your last words.
  166. >Instead, R. K. holsters her gun and turns around.
  167. >"Brilliant. That's just bloody FUCKIN' fantastic!"
  168. >She kicks the side of the lifeboat, making it rock a bit roughly.
  169. >"Months of research all gone to shit because of some fuck-off wannabe!"
  170. >She turns around and thrusts a finger at you.
  171. >"I hope you're fuckin' proud of yourself, mate! I had the opportunity to find one of the greatest treasures in history, and you've gone and squandered it just because you wanted to piggyback off my success like a damn leech! Now my latest book AND the bloody treasure's lost!"
  172. >Once she finishes ranting, she just stares at you with a fiery hatred you'd never seen before.
  173. >You stare right back... and slowly begin to smile.
  174. >Her angered expression falters a bit.
  175. >"The fuck you smilin' at?"
  176. "Because, you're upset that the map piece is gone. Even though it's right here."
  177. >"What're you gettin' at?"
  178. >You gesture broadly to yourself.
  179. "I'm your map piece now, Smith."
  180. >She squints.
  181. >"You didn't."
  182. "I did."
  183. >"The whole thing?"
  184. "I could draw it out in under a minute. On a few conditions, of course."
  185. >"I'm guessing keeping you alive isn't negotiable?"
  186. "That, and you give me a good amount of credit in your next book."
  187. >That earns a smug snort of laughter.
  188. >"And what makes you think I'll keep me word after I've got what I want?"
  189. >You remove your phone from your pocket, the voice memo app open and recording.
  190. >You rewind it a bit to the part where R. K.'s yelling at you.
  191. "Be a pretty big shame if this got out on the internet, don't you think? You know twitter LOVES to bash people for any reason these days."
  192. >R. K. glares daggers at you, though not as fiery and hateful as before.
  193. >You've got her backed up into a corner, and she knows it.
  194. >"...Fine."
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