"Long time, no see, Sky." The comment comes from an old friend of hers, going by the forum name of Michal Dragonbane. Of course--knowing her all too well--the comment is just a side-note on a critique of the 'junior writers' section'.
Sky continues with her own critique, ignoring the forumite from Texas. More likely, she started her own critique--likely her second because Michal can't see the future--before the post, not able to see it. After finishing up, she merely sighs at the comment, editing a slight "Good to see you, too, old friend. We should do something here eventually."
After hitting the "Okay" button, she scrolls up to the top, leaving to the "advanced writers' section". Patiently, she waits for her slow 60 k connection to load the page, her bandwidth already dangerously high. To herself, she thinks "If my parents found out what I am doing, they'd kill me." The page loads before she finishes that train of thought, so she scrolls down yet again, browsing the list to see any writers she knows or any titles that seem interesting. Since she had already caught up not too long ago, there is nothing new there, so she merely goes to the second page, finding her thread there...again.
She curses to herself, trying to avoid--yet failing to do so--the thought of "Why am I always back there? I have some of the best works available, they are fun to read, they have loads of comments, and even some typos for people like Stargazer to correct. So why?" The thought almost is typed out, but she deletes it, not knowing how it got there. She comforts herself with the knowledge that she is still new there, her skill being exceptional. She then quickly types up a few thousand words, posting another update on her favorite story. She writes her usual long response, trying to make sure that her update appeals to what little attention she receives. "Three pages. That's all I have. Stargazer got three threads in a week, yet in my month of being here, I have only three pages."
Again, she comforts herself with the thought that she is new, pressing the "Okay" button yet again. The usual gray background greets her after the usual load, giving her the chance to view her post or go back to the forum. She chooses the latter, continuing on to her other works in that area. She is typing furiously on her new computer, outfitted with XP instead of the newer version which she dislikes. "This place is the best and worst at the same time...just like real life."
Stargazer had recently received his own laptop as a Christmas present, so he had still yet to fully adjust to the system in there. However, he managed, eventually doubling his efficiency. His threads were running well; both his Role Plays--in the subsection of the Game Section--and his games were going well, obtaining five pages in only a few days. Because of his wit, he had already become a popular member in there, one that some had--via PM, as to not offend anyone--even said worthy of a moderation role there. Every time he logs on, some similar PM always greets him, congratulating him. Now, he runs five Roll-Plays, three games, participates in six other Roll-plays and in twenty other games. That, overall, is sixty-eight threads to visit, considering how he must also visit the Out-of-Character threads as well. This area could very easily be considered where he is the most welcomed, yet he also has quite some success in other forums as well.
In another tab--since he uses a browser that allows for such things--he visits the 'advanced writers' section' of the forum, browsing the area quickly. His thread had gained five pages already since his last visit, thoroughly annoying him. "By the light lord, I have to read that many comments?" he thinks to himself, opening his thread in yet another new tab. This thought he had kept from others, as he actually likes the non-spam comments after he reads them; the annoying fact is having that much to read every day. Continuing his browsing, he notices a recent update in Sky's thread, laughing "That poor girl. All her hard work is wasted by the fact that I'm pretty much her only reader and she doesn't exactly like me."
Of course, he reads the update slowly, also attending to his 'Contest and Games' tabs. He comments--purposely leaving a slight taint of annoyance as he gives a small critique--afterwards commenting "Yet another comment from someone who's more successful than you." Thinking about it, he realizes just how bad of a statement that is, holding the backspace key on his keyboard until that part is erased. He finds a different comment in its place, satisfied that it is only slightly annoying. He then presses the "Okay" button, moving on to further his works. He visits the 'General Discussion' section, skipping to the OOC section. Most people there just call it 'the spammer's paradise', as that is exactly what is done in there: spamming. After all, if there was no 'spam section', then people would spam more in other sections. He had contained his earlier conversation in a subset of this subset, the chat section being specifically for small groups of people to talk.
Commenting at his will, he wishes he could visit all tabs at once, yet is happy since he seems to be keeping pace just fine. Keyboard racing at eighty words a minute, his largest obstacle is flood control, a mandatory thirty seconds between posts greatly annoying him. He pays a small visit to the suggestions forum, paying Size a small visit. His life itself is in pretty bad shape, so the least he can do is help others at their worst time, despite being at this time himself. His location of Japan makes posting rather difficult, lest he start after midnight. That timing is better for him; his parents are already long asleep by then. His home is of the US, as he is quite fluent in both Japanese and English. His parents had moved to his home about seven years ago, enough time for him to memorize schedules. He knows that most people on the forums are from his home country, yet he does know at least three from other countries. After several more taps of the 'quick reply', 'post reply', 'reply', 'edit', and then 'Okay' buttons, he thinks to himself "Where would I be without this forum?"
Size had become quite the figure of popularity around the suggestion forum. He started out lazy, only typing in perfect grammar when he was posting an actual suggestion. His actual posts were littered with slang, abbreviations, and even a tint of leetspeak, though he had improved greatly. Now, he controls one of the largest suggestion threads around, though it is nearly deserted. "I really should finish up here once I have updated," he thinks to himself, laughing as he browses the old pages of his thread. Remembering back in the days, he remembers how he had originally posted the thread in not one but TWO wrong places.
He had already chatted with everyone from the forum, a few favorites like David the Evil One, Defenderdarkslayer, and Necromancer of Brute Strength all paying their visits. All live in different locations, one in Turkey and the other two friends in Alabama. Some others visit as well, though those three and one more whom is lurking more than posting are the main ones. All are good friends, also visiting him on another forum. He finishes up, paying his visits to his other sections as well. After a while, he begins to get bored, only kept online by the fact that he received comments from Stargazer and that all his friends are online. However, something doesn't seem right about the forums today: only his closest friends seem to be on. "Very odd," he thinks to himself, "some of the best suggesters that I am not that close to should normally be on about now." Yet there he remains, no more than a dozen people on this section online.
Another thought that disturbs him is the fact that about now, he should be receiving a phone call from coworkers. Yet his phone had remained silent. His stomach normally would have growled hours earlier, yet he hasn't left his computer since the morning. He hadn't experienced tiredness, hunger, thirst, or interruptions. As he thinks more and more about it, he decides to test his luck, posting that thought to others to see their reaction. However, his answers are more shocking and grieve than he could imagine:
"Sky, Stargazer, David, DDS, NOBS, and many, many more posted on this comment. I am greatly disturbed by this," he thinks to himself. All had basically said that they hadn't thought about it, yet faced similar situations. Stargazer flat-out admitted that he should've been dead tired over half an hour ago, yet is wide awake. All his friends seem to be gathering around the topic--plus a few extra--but one thing that is even of greater concern: the only ones who are posting, who are even online on a forum usually with thousands of people online at any given time, are all somehow friends with another of the group posting. No more than a hundred are on, but all are in identical situations. Their thoughts are increasingly similar and seem to be just appearing on the keyboard. Two reports even said they had no memory of posting that thought of theirs, yet it remained.
Of them all, there is only one administrator online, who was once a normal member who met the head administrator and received a promotion when his skill was recognized. His forum name is Garsim, living somewhere in western Washington State. Garsim had once been a friend of almost everyone, so he rejoiced to learn they were all online. Yet now, even he at his late teens is disturbed. He posted less than a minute ago with "My coworkers should be on now, since no one admin is left to all sections at once. I see less-than a hundred people who are even visiting here, my old friends, so I am beginning to wonder: what in the name of the deities is going on here?" The friend who had just been lurking for a while had logged on without knowing it, now posting his own thoughts.
All of them stare at their computer screens wondering, knowing something is not right. No members outside of the circle even visiting. No disturbances for those who normally would have five minutes if they were lucky. The very aura surrounding the forum. The fact that all of their thoughts are becoming more similar, how their personalities seem to be changing, how they are seemingly getting closer together. All at once--almost overloading the forum--they post "What is going on here?!?!?!?" Seconds later, a black portal engulfs them all, originating from their computers. They are being warped slowly into another realm, taking on some features of things that should not be possible. The black vortex begins to unite them in what could be an alternate dimension, their ending appearances being drastically different from what they normally look like. The black colors subside, swirling into purple, then blue, and finally green. Finally, they all emerge in what seems like a forest. Their posts become their words, as they scream "WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?"