Chapter 17:

Viral Infection

11 Kingdoms

Report: Viral Infection

Accessing Personal Logs: King Valspur Midin

The king continues his long and painful ascent towards the top of the tower. He has to pause to reactivate his wall-climbing spell, every five floors. All is quiet for him until he reaches the thirty-fifth floor of the tower. Suddenly, the quiet is disrupted by the personal speaker breaking into the world above his head. "Watch it, Rick! Looks like things are getting louder on the top. Guess like our target has visitors and I doubt any of them will be friendly towards you.”

“Well, looks like I have a few more floors till I hit the top. Are you guys ready to collect the data from this?" The king makes his fast-paced climb up the face of the tower walls, the faint blue magic giving off light from his hands and feet.

"We are, but we need to let you know you only have five minutes left on the virus shield. If you last much longer you will be defenseless against the plague virus attacks." The voice across the speaker carries a sense of urgency.

The king makes his way counting the floors as he passes. When he counts to four he dashes up the next floor to a window ledge to activate his spell again. “This makes floor forty and if I had to guess I have another ten floors. Do you think this is a little strange? The connection that most of the main towers have fifty floors, and here this tower the hacker created is also fifty floors.”

“You think that maybe the hacker has a stronger connection to the company?” The agent asks through the voice above.

"Well, it fits the profile? I just hope this clears my name in going after the hacker like this.” The king cracks a smile and quickly makes his ascent through the next five floors. “Given I am surprised that I haven’t been spotted by the hacker.”

“We thought that through and figured that perhaps the reason is you’re not on display when you’re active. Unlike Fawn is in the game, or at least when the game was in the beta form.” The king pauses on the forty-fifth floor and thinks over the words of the FBI agent over the line of the speaker.

“Wait? You mean you guys figured out the way the monsters knew how to track Fawn, was the damn camera setup they put in to follow her." Rick doesn't seem surprised at this confirms his suspicions from before.

“Better than a crystal ball if your target is programmed to be filmed when active. My guess Fawn figured this out as well and was able to counter it in some way.” The king looks down at the pin that shields him from the virus infecting him.

"The Chameleon pin, I should have guessed the program has a side effect she was enhancing. While active for Fawn she can change her looks to be someone else and with it, she confuses the system program that is set to film her. If she removes the disguise even for a second, then not only will the cameras find her but anyone watching that feed as well.”

“So she is safe from the attacks, as long as she hides from the onlookers. But the plan calls for Fawn exposing herself to the public, to keep them from pulling the plug on her body.”

“Looks like the hacker has us trapped in a bad spot, get a message to Gavin to hold off on exposing Fawn for now. At least till we know who this hacker is." The king casts his spell again. "Not much time left. Estaban, I have to go in, if things get dangerous…"

“We are standing by to pull the cord if a battle occurs while the shields are down.” The king doesn’t respond, he just moves on up the tower. Right as he passes the last window he grasps the top ledge just as his spell wears off. Lifting his mass he climbs over the edge of the building, turns, and faces a large collection of small winged creatures with bony-like figures and razor-sharp teeth. There in the center of the collection of the swarm stands the hacker Dark Mistress staring at her new visitor.

"Well guess the element of surprise was out of the question?" Rick remarks.

“I knew you were coming since the moment you arrived in my kingdom, Lord of the Black Kingdom.” The strange glowing green figure made of a collection of meshes with her glowing green eyes moves forward along with the swarm of creatures that surround her. The creatures move in a swirling movement to encircle the top of the tower. “What brings a useless fool of a king to come crawling to me?”

“I have come to destroy you.” The king pulls out a collection of bombs and a small yet decorative sword. Yet the image causes the hacker to laugh.

"Your weapons give me no fear. I am a God of this world, mere weapons have no power over my greatest form." Despite the threat, the king follows through with throwing an explosive at the hacker who raises her hand and blocks the explosion by stopping it in midair. "You doubt my power. My pets will teach you never to doubt my strength." She raises her hand towards the sky as the collection of creatures swirls around her arm. Lowering her arm down, she points it at the king. In mere seconds the form of the king is coated in every inch by the strange creatures. An explosion of light and fire rips out of the creatures. Most are engulfed in flame, with a few stragglers on the outer reaches as the survivors of the deadly attack. They regroup and move in for a second attack on the king.

This time their actions are halted as the king performs an action that teleports him nearer to the hacker with a blade in hand. He quickly swipes at the hacker but this time is halted by some invisible force. “What are you? You can’t be a god! This world is created by men and women, built in a computer. There is no place for a god in the program.”

“Yet here I exist. Please, you can fight me all you want but your attacks will not harm me. God’s have nothing to fear from mortals.” The dark creature cackles.

"Fine if you're a god then why did you attack Jamie. Why do you and your virus infect this world.” The king pulls back and changes his focus of attacks on the collection of creatures that surround him.

"I have no idea of this Jamie you speak of. And I am not out infecting my world. I am purifying it from those unworthy of walking about in my land. False idols, and prophets, the world cannot be infected by the poison of their kind." The hacker walks and snaps her fingers and suddenly the creatures halt their attack on the king. "Do not take me for a fool, Lord of the Black. I know you have taken measures to avoid purification from my pets. But then they are simply a small creation to help deliver my will and voice throughout the kingdoms of the world."

“You called them off and that’s because you figure that they can’t harm me.” The king smiles as he raises his sword preparing for a new attack on the hacker.

“No, I halted their attack as I don't want them to infect you with the pain of the flesh.” The strange form of the hacker moves in closer stroking her hand against the cheek of the king. “I would rather you suffer a different pain. Unless you give me the info I need.”

“What info do you need that you can’t find out already?” The King, questions.

"Oh, many things, about the world you horrible creatures come from. Why you must corrupt my vision of the world? Most importantly the location of the false idol, your child, the princess, Fawn!” The hand that was caressing the cheek quickly swipes back across, slicing at the cheek of the king and both he and his real-world counterpart feel the sense of blood dripping down their chin. "She is hidden from me. She appeared briefly last night in the kingdom of black, but soon she vanished from my visions." The king looks to see a collection of open panel scrolls. Sort of an in-game way of opening monitors and files in the game while keeping it from looking like a character is staring at nothing. One scroll simply reads no feed available.

“You fear her. Why what can Fawn do to you? Can she destroy you? What do you mean by your world?” The king stares at the hacker with puzzling gazes as a combination of fear and rage hit his body.

“Destroy me! No the princess of the midnight has no such power. I should know I granted her the power she holds, by sending monsters to test her skill. Then slowly I tested my powers on her, blessing her with new power, to use in her journeys. But since the last time my hands have touched her blood, she has found a new power within. I sent my loyal slave to deal with her and the leader of the blue kingdom, but he proved too weak to handle the powers she had within.” The hacker walks over to the remaining creatures and holds out her hand as they collect and lick off the blood from the king, dripping from her fingers. “She was a test of my power. But now she has outlived her usefulness and must be destroyed before her power grows stronger. Her power threatens the world crafted for me to rule.”

“This isn’t your world. It was created by a man named Kinchrou Masaru, designed by people including Fawn.” The king wipes the blood off his cheek. “You’re demented whoever you are! You have lost your sense of reality and think this world was crafted for you. Wake up to reality! This is a game it’s not real! I am not a king! Fawn is not a princess! You are not a god!” Suddenly the king is thrown off over the ledge by a massive magical wave of force but then is held above floating on thin air.

"Blasphemer, I am this world's god. I will not listen to the words of those that follow, the golden man. This is my world. It was crafted for me alone to rule. I am through tolerating your petty annoyance. My world will be purified and with it, we will leave our world, for your own, and purify that world as well. Both worlds will be baptized in a sea of crimson." The hacker walks out over the ledge walking on the air as if it made no difference to her at all, if she wished it, gravity just simply didn’t exist in this area of the game.

The king chokes for a bit of air "So you plan to kill me here." He fully expects the answer to be in agreement. But instead, the hacker walks up to him shaking her head in disagreement.

Suddenly the speaker above the king speaks up. “Bad news Rick the chair is sparking electricity and we can’t touch it, we are working on cutting the power so try not to get hit by her attacks.”

"Easier said than done!" The king states as he tries to pull away from the magical grasp of the dark mistress who is slowly closing in. She walks up and grasps at the forehead then squeezes her fingers deep in the skull of the king.

"No, as I said I do not wish for you to feel the gift of the pain of the flesh. I have a different kind of pain for you." Both the King and Rick cry out in a slow pain as the hacker's claws dig deeper in the head, but unlike his digital counterpart this time Rick doesn’t bleed from the wounds that the king suffers.

A loud cry of pain occurs filling the head of Rick as his body convulses from the surge of electricity coursing through his body connected to the direct current.

File Source End

Accessing Linked Material: Floor 47 Camera network

Suddenly the power of the floor goes black and suddenly the electrical shock halted. The medics cut away at the restraints as a slightly singed Rick groans in pain. The power is turned back on after the body of the leader of the top team of onyx is removed. The group watches as the chair sparks and a massive bolt strikes the chair, all breathing a sigh of relief as the intended victim is nowhere near the blast. Everyone waits for a while before speaking up. The medics look about at the damage Rick took while both he and Agent Estaban share a laugh at their close call.

“You’re lucky we had a guy on the floor and the tower’s power sources. A second later and you may have ended up as a matching end piece to the guy in Sydney that got his brain to explode. So guess it was a pointless venture to bother with her anyways." The agent walks overlooking the scorched chair.

“No, we learned quite a few things. One that the hacker is knowledgeable in the company's design, her kingdom shows that. Second that she used the virus to alter Fawn as a test of her power. This explains how her level grew so fast after she chose her class. And finally, it turns out that something Fawn stumbled upon recently has the hacker worried." Rick looks over the scorch marks of the chair. "Looks like I am lucky I have a spare at home. Guess I will be working from there for a few days.”

"Well, the info you found is good to learn the plans of the hacker. But we still don't have a lock on where the hacker is in the world." Agent Estaban glares at Rick with disappointment in his eyes. "The job we sent you in to do is to get the hacker to expose themselves to the public."

Rick pats Estaban on the shoulder. "And that will happen soon, but for now we have the recordings of my journey into the plague city, join it with the ship battle Fawn had with Alex and have the medical info and the police reports get leaked along with them.” Rick walks to the elevator and pushes the button to call it to the floor.

“Where are you going? We still have a lot of work to try to track down the hacker." Agent Estaban starts to run towards Rick and pauses as the elevator door opens, with Rick quickly stepping on.

"The Hacker is somehow connected to the computer system for Pangai. Her advanced city means she can alter that part of the world but has only been able to corrupt the code of the players and monsters of the other kingdoms. Thus she must somehow know something most of us don't, the location of the central server. But the company isn't likely to tell us where that server is. So I will have to dig further on my end, to find a clue about where. But given our list of names only one person knows where it might be."

“You mean to say that Kinchrou Masaru is the one behind this?" Agent Estaban is both frightened and excited at the news before the doors of the elevator start to close.

“No, but he knows something, and he's not alone I'm sure of it." The doors shut and Estaban cracks a smile shaking his head.

“We better prepare now for the storm that’s coming. Once this info is leaked the company is going to go from helpful to full-on denial if Masaru is behind this. Not to mention how the UN will act." He lets out a sigh and pulls out a small box from his pocket, places his thumb on it and it lights up a display at his head. “Call the office. Tell them to bring in Masaru for questioning.” The words of the agent appear in front of him dictating them and proceeding with sending out an alert to the FBI headquarters. When the team's hacker Ms. Rutashi approaches carrying a transparent tablet and hands it to the agent. “What is this?”

"We noticed the problem of shield data at, end.” The broken English of Ms. Rutashi. “Not sure, what happened, Mr. Mathers, infected.”

“Infected? How he is a human being, not a computer program. Your data must be flawed he looked normal just now." Estaban looks frustrated it could be the 4 hours of sleep a night or the fact that there is a current coffee shortage being suffered in the local confines of this floor of the tower. But the idea is far too strange for him to accept.

“Looks are deceiving are they not?” She says.

“Fine, I will send a report to his superiors to pull him from being active in the game for some time okay.” The hacker nods in agreement and returns to her collection of computers.

File Source End.

Accessing Linked Material

Personal Logs: Princess Fawn Midin

I watch as the sunsets across the bow of the ship. Jilland walks out to join me, much of the day has been spent with me explaining to him what has happened since the public witnessed the accident. I leave out much of my training sessions with Gavin for the past few weeks along with much of the details of my battle with the zombie pirate. But still, I can just look at his shifting facial forms to tell I have left him very confused at what I have done out of the public spotlight.

“So what attracts these monsters that are infected, to you? Have you figured that out, I mean from what you say, I am in greater danger at your side." Jilland asks with sheer honesty in his voice and I can't blame him.

“No clue, given Gavin has told me that others have run into one or two infected creatures but most these days they either know to avoid them, or they get booted from the game by the central computer network. But I can’t help but shake the last one was sent to face me intentionally.” I look over and see that Jilland is shaking at the thought of dealing with a monster in the game that actually could kill him in real life. “You understand now why I have to stay away from others, and why you should leave me too. Riex’s had his leg damaged severely from our last battle. He was lucky, but now walks in a limp in both worlds.”

"Well, it does explain why the Azurphire councilman is suddenly sporting a peg leg since the start of Beta. But no, I won't leave your side. I think it would be better if we gathered more members for our little party to help face the creatures if they show. And this strange hacker, if the world can help out surely more clues would arise if you went public." I watch as he balls up a fist and pulls it in an action of thrilling excitement for the prospects of helping me out. "I have seen a few underground sites out there in support of you. I will search for players that will help you in any way we can. But they need proof you still exist in this world, solid proof.”

I try hiding my oncoming familiar pain as it hits my gut. I try to respond. "If I expose myself then I am open for countless treasure hunting players, not just letting the world see me. But I will be placing a target on myself and all around me and I just don’t think it’s a good plan at this time.”

“Look I understand your fears, but you told me you have that letter from your team asking you to go ahead and expose yourself to the world as being alive but trapped.” I think about the idea of a letter, and then it hits me I still had another letter to open. One from Melissa. But I am sure it was just her apology for the hunt taking place and her being worried.

“Yeah maybe your right, I should go ahead and help my team out.” I sigh with an uneasy grin but instantly know it’s the right thing as the pain in my gut begins to fade. I stand with Jilland watching the night sky when a familiar chirping sound hits our ears and another message bird arrives delivering a message to me from Gavin. “That’s odd. I guess it’s more orders for when we land.” I open the letter with a smile but it soon fades and my guttural pain returns with a vengeance.

Dear Jamie,

The plan to expose you has been scrubbed. Issues with a recon mission with the hacker have revealed a hazardous situation should you be exposed in the game. We are trying to work around the camera system that is locked on filming your actions as Fawn. It looks like the chameleon pin helps hide you from them and in turn the hacker's attacks. So for now stay in what form you have. We will only try to reach you through the messaging system which runs separately. Only expose yourself if you find the situation dire and then we will do what we can to help you. Stay safe. All the team is looking out for you. Finally, no word on the actions Alex and Melissa are taking for your body in the hospital.

“What is this? The mission scrubbed and something is going on with my body.” I soon realized the hysterical panic I am being sent into and the labored breathing that I have becomes visible as my anxiety is coming into play in this world as well. Jilland walks up rubbing my back in trying to calm me down. “Where is this information, how did I miss being told the problems or plans that they had for me? Didn’t they feel like telling me?”

“Calm down and breathe, I don't know if you can cause yourself to be harmed in this game but you should at least calm down and think rationally here." I look at the concern that the strange faceless form brings forth in its gelatinous mass. When I once again recall the earlier letter from Melissa and quickly find myself digging through my supplies for it. Digging past a collection of coins and potions I stuck in with the basics any traveler would have I finally land my hands on the rectangular square and go-ahead to tear it open for its answers.

Dear Jamie,

I don't even know how to write this message to you, sweetie. This news isn't good. It turns out that with the buildup of the games release day events it was decided to remove your body from the companies provided health plan. With you going on the public plan, you were judged a lost cause to keep on the life support systems. They plan to remove the equipment that is now keeping you alive. While Alex, and I, were able to find a way to get your life's public attention. We are currently fighting a court to get the devices on you to stay. Additionally, there is no way to know how the world government will act upon this action we are taking. The team has devised a plan. We would use the footage of your gameplay after the accident that had been recorded, but never released. This action along with the testimonials, of the team, and your family to make the investigation go public in hopes to bog it down in the courts. All with a hopeful plan towards saving your life, in this world. While Rick risks his life confronting the hacker to try to lock down a location or clues to who the hacker is. But we need you to take a major risk. I know you’re frightened right now with the actions of Bart sending the players out to hunt you but if you don't go public and announce who you are. Then I am afraid you won’t have a body to return to when we find a way to bring you back. I want you to know that whatever happens with your decision we all are fighting for you. Your mother is the hardest of all, as she was arrested in an act of protest for the hospital's decision. Jamie, come back to us, we will find a way I promise don't give up on us.

I look away from the letter and I instantly have the whole problem wash over me in one breath. Then it begins with a single salty drop. The tears begin to fall from my face as hope has been lost, and now all that remained in pain. I drop the letter and force my head to be buried deep in the first soft mass expecting a warm flesh-based one. But instead, get a cool slime one to hide my tears from the world. My sad cries of loss are comforted by my new companion's touch. Months ago I questioned who would win this battle for my identity and here I stood at the battle's conclusion with regret of not having fought harder to return to my old life. With months of doing nothing but training for a day not to come, a day where I fight for my freedom from the game, all for what? I am lost. Jamie Eve is dead. Only Fawn and a broken form of that is all that remains. One that is being hunted as some sick game prize! My body convulses in the maddening sadness that takes me so deeply that I don’t notice Jilland is reading the letter from Melissa, till he speaks up.

"Listen here, Fawn. I am going to sign off just for a moment I want to cross-reference this message for news sources. If you want I can do a hard disconnect which will leave my character active in this place till I return." He takes my nod in agreement to do such and I continue to cry out for what seems like hours but in realistic terms couldn't have been more than a few minutes. I try calming exercises but find that they are less useful than any other technique over these words. I mean how does one deal with the idea that they are dying and have no way to fight it. All you can do is sit back and watch as it tears apart the friends and family you have. Hope is lost. My future is lost, my journey ends with my body's death, what good do I have going on, and risking my life and the life of others. It's better if the world does find me and the hacker as well.

Yes the hacker, Gavin said that they found out the hacker is watching the feed of me for when I appear in the game undisguised. All it would take is to remove the pin then let the creature that the hacker sends after me end it all. I go to reach for the pin and start to pull at it when I hear a voice I had not expected come from Jilland.

“I will not let them do this to my child! Jamie is alive! The company knows it and now that they can bury the bad press they try to let my daughter die.” I stand in shock looking at the unchanging face of Jilland. No, not unchanging, he has no face at all. And the voice it wasn’t Jilland’s. It was mom’s voice I heard. She was fighting for me as the letter stated. It takes a moment and then Jilland’s softer low voice hits and I see from the facial expressions forming that he has returned to the game. “Sorry I found that clip on the web and figured you would want to hear it.”

I try wiping the tears from my eyes with my elbow and face Jilland with a big smile. "Thanks, it's good to hear her voice again. I wish I could see her face but just hearing her speak so proudly of me. It helps me calm down." I grit my teeth and find the next words I want to say as the hardest ones I can muster. "What about my..." I stop in mid-speech unable to bring myself to continue.

"Well in a way they did it. The group saved you by going public with what was going on exposing the company trying to cover up and letting your body die off. A few hours ago they posted a video of you in a fight and then the team went public with their findings and about the arrest of a person that tried to erase your programming. Since then you, well the real you, have been reinstated to be kept on life support till the trial, of whoever is responsible is found guilty. For now, you have nothing to worry about with your body. But till then you need to survive." He takes his gel hand and wipes the hair from my disguised face. "It's up to you to remove the mask you are using to hide from the world, but I will tell you if you just come out as a weak and weepy person I doubt few will listen to you. Whether you're Fawn, Jamie, or this form I have come to know as Quinn. Your strength will show through in your actions calling forth the strengths of others. Your friends have just made themselves a threat to the company that made and controls this game. Now if the hacker can’t find you maybe with this disguise you will be protected from the company as well.” He places his hand firmly on the chameleon pin. “For now keep the mask on and hide, I will do what I can to help you grow strong. Let your friends find a way to protect you from the outside forces and I will help you with your inner demons.”

I look at the strange man and for the first time, I can't help but laugh a bit at the strange slime human that has just self-appointed himself, my in-game therapist. "What makes you think you're qualified to watch over me? Are you some kind of doctor in the real world?” I wipe my tears as my smile helps calm their release for a moment.

“Yes I am, not a psychologist but I do work my nights helping out at the hospital covering the emergency issues that arise. I kind of like it, working nights as it is both the most peaceful time and at the same time the time you get lost very easily in the job before you.” I start to forget the time difference we have in our actual homelands. “Allow me to be a knight in the service of the princess. I know I asked earlier if you would help me in turn for keeping your secret. But now I wish to change that. I want to help return the princess that acted as a guiding beacon for players to play the game from the bright spotlight back to the place she truly belongs, back to the real world." I nod in agreement with his offer and return my head in his chest as he looks up watching the simulated night sky flow past us, as the ship continues its path to the wintry kingdom of Perloud.

File Source End

Accessing Alternate File Sources

Transcript of News Report

Chip Walters (network anchor):

We have a CNC News ALERT. Breaking News is the body of Jamie Eve, otherwise known as the character Fawn Midin, in Black Clover’s hit video game 11 Kingdoms. Has become the cause of a great controversy today. Our news team has learned that as of five pm eastern standard time yesterday that it was decided to have her body taken off the companies health plan and which quickly placed her up to be taken off life support. However, the actions of a group of whistleblowers in the company that has worked with Jamie have claimed an unusual tale. For this tale we go to our reporter on the scene, Mika Simon. Mika, what is this tale you're getting?

Mika Simon:

The news we are getting is coming at us at a rapid pace, Chip. About 2 hours ago a video of over 30 minutes long went out featuring many people we can say are members of Ms. Eve’s team. Including, Rick Mathers, who was seen causing a scene on the day of the accident, by attacking another member of the press. Along with the video's release we have confirmation from both the FBI and Interpol in their involvement with both the investigation of the accident that hurt Jamie and the cover from Black Clover. While at the same time they state that Black Clover isn't responsible for the accident or any other issues that have been resolved since. They did want to let it be known that the company is trying to cover up the accident by letting Jamie pass away from the vital life support equipment. Now the action of pulling the cords was halted when Jamie's mother stepped in and tried to halt it from occurring while a legal case was being made. However, due to current healthcare laws, this action was considered that the mother was endangering the life of her daughter with her decision to fight the medical review board and she has been arrested for interfering with the law. Now I have just been informed by our inside man moments ago that a judge has put a stay on pulling the life support till a legal case of the accident is presented and the parties are all brought forth.

Chip Walters:

What about this case of having a man in custody, Mika? Does this mean they have a person of interest in charges of attacking Jamie and how?


I am told the person of interest was taken into custody at around the same time that the decision to take Jamie off of life support was made. And that he has been charged for endangering the life of another which is a lesser charge than what one would assume should be murder one. There are many rumors on the web that are pointing to a virus and hacker that was originally passed off as a glitch in the companies programming that showed up on camera while the accident occurred. So someone else may still be involved in this matter, Chip.


Has Black Clover released their statement as of yet, Mika?


Not at this time. We are waiting to hear from Gail Jeirade the head of P.R. for the company on the video.


Now you said the video showed clips of Jamie Eve’s character after the accident. So are we to believe the character is still active in the game?


Chip, that is what makes this story truly amazing. Yes, the group behind the video claims Jamie Eve’s character Fawn Midin, is alive along with Jamie’s fully active mind behind the character. They claim that in some way a rogue hacker was able to hijack her mind from her body using the game systems Nuro-link. And that she now is currently stuck in the game till they can devise a way to get her out.


Now is the game safe, I mean if the hacker can do that to the character Ms. Eve was playing what if others are attacked as well.


Well we are looking into that and it does raise questions, we hope to hear more from Black Clover, but quick research in issues in their tower locations shows 14 different injuries caused by the game and one death in Sydney, which is claimed unrelated. But the video refers to Sydney as being involved in this footage of Ms. Eve that we received earlier today. And The UN announced a full investigation on this matter and the threat it holds will begin soon.


Thank you, Mika, for your report, we here at Central News Network will keep you updated on further reports on this and other subjects as they come available so stay tuned.

Report end

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