Disclaimer: I don't own Psych.
A/N: Wow... this chapter ended up over 2K words. But I think now that I've got the introduction/briefing/basic info for the case bit out of the way, I'll be able to break up the rest of the story into smaller, more suspenseful pieces.
I don't own Psych, nor do I own Skyrim or Five Nights at Freddy's. Nor do I own Candy Crush.
Also, the first gamer, Magmacarter, is inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers, Jacksepticeye. He's just a fun, green-haired Irish guy who likes to laugh, make others laugh, and have a good time. The second gamer is not based off of any YouTuber I've seen. He's just a generally unpleasant original character I made up.
Shawn wouldn't keep his mouth shut this chapter either, but I finally was able to get through all the info I needed to get through despite his rude interruptions.
Finally, the "videos" are in present tense and italics to set them apart from the rest of the story. For more information on any of the games mentioned, check the end notes. If you're interested in more information than is provided, feel free to message me!
Please let me know your thoughts!
Oh, and there is more language in this chapter than usual. I kept it PG (I never use stronger language in a fic than is used in the show), so it's really toned down from what real Let's Play videos on YouTube are like. To give you an idea, the f-bomb and all its many variations is regular vocabulary in most YouTuber's videos. Like I said, toned down - but still more than most of the stuff I write.
Five Nights at Spencer's
Chapter Two: The Unusual Suspects Get Their Game On
"Up and at'em, Internet!" crows the skinny young man, light blue eyes sparkling with mischief and neon purple hair flopping against his forehead as he lurches forward to fist bump the screen. "My name is Magmacarter, and welcome back to Skyrim! Today, we're going to be continuing on with the main questline, because a ton of you guys have commented letting me know that you're getting tired of the Thieves' Guild and Dark Brotherhood quests. Don't worry, though – there's still tons of DLC to go through, but I want to get a bit more done in Skyrim before we head to Solsteim."
Shawn leaned over to Gus and muttered, "What language is this guy speaking? What's with the random letter combinations? Is it a secret code? "
Gus hissed back, "It's gamer language, Shawn. You wouldn't understand."
"And you do?"
"DLC means downloadable content, Shawn."
"Don't make up synonyms, Gus."
"It's acronym, and it's a real term. You're just not in on how the kids play video games today."
"Shhh!" hissed three irritable voices, effectively silencing the whispered exchange before the important bits started.
The game takes up almost the whole video screen, with Magmacarter's video feed nestled in the upper left-hand corner. On the screen, the character – a heavily-armored, helmet-wearing, double-handed axe wielding creature – runs up uneven terrain. A shriek rents the silence in the scraggly, mountainous area, and the crosshairs at the center of the screen slide up to lock on a great, scaly beast soaring high above in the slightly overcast sky. The gamer curses colorfully. "Another dragon already? Damn, you can't go anywhere without running into these scaly bastards." The axe is switched out with a bow and arrow. Magmacarter curses again. "Almost out of ebony arrows and the Dwarven ones are crap in comparison…"
Shawn scoffed. "Is this guy for real?"
"It's true," Gus proclaimed. "Maybe if their weapons had been made of ebony or dragon bone, they'd still be around and not reduced to rubble."
"How do you know this? I have literally never seen you play this game, and I'm with you a good… 94.5 percent of the time."
"You don't know me, Shawn."
"Yes, I do. I've known you since we were five, Gus."
"No, it's really not."
"This is a great time to build up my enchanting skills! I'm going to enchant my bow to cause fire damage upon impact. Just a sec…" A few button clicks, and he aims the bow and arrow at the dragon high above. "Eat this, you freaking lizard!" The arrow soars almost out of sight, before impacting the dragon right as it breathes a great peal of fire right at the screen. Another creative string of curses, and the character leaps out of the way. He's about to take another shot at the creature when another sound – ten times louder than the dragon's cry – screams through the laptop's speakers. Magmacarter jumps, yanks off his headphones,and spins his chair around at the fire alarm's wail. "What the—?" The gamer is already coughing as he stumbles to his feet, knocking his chair over in the process. He spares a single moment looking toward the screen, longingly, as if he is debating whether to try to save his Xbox or recording equipment. Then, shaking his head, coughing as smoke begins to build up in the room, he runs out of frame. There's rustling, more coughing, and Magmacarter reappears on screen, now wrapped in a heavy blanket. He disappears from the shot as flames begin to lick at the basement walls. Footsteps pound up an unseen set of stairs, wheezing, cries of pain… then… Then… The game screen cuts away, the view from the webcam now taking over the screen completely. For a few seconds, there is nothing but the sound of crackling flame and the sight of a recording studio being eaten alive by fire as somewhere above the fire alarm shrieked a warning to the empty house. Another sound permeates, one that has already made itself known earlier in the video. The sound of a guttural, feral shrieking – the roar of a giant, scaly, man-eating beast. Only, there's something different about this roar: It sounds wilder, and closer, and more real… And the game is no longer being displayed. That's when it appears. The same dragon that had been circling in the game stalks onto the screen, fire pooling around its feet. While obviously rendered from the game, there is still something inherently terrifying about it as it growls, smoke curling from its nostrils, and speaks in a voice like the tremors of an earthquake. "Death comes to all in the end; the Dragonborn has fallen." A burst of fire explodes somewhere behind the great, digitally misplaced lizard, and the screen goes black.
Magmacarter jumps, yanks off his headphones,and spins his chair around at the fire alarm's wail. "What the—?" The gamer is already coughing as he stumbles to his feet, knocking his chair over in the process. He spares a single moment looking toward the screen, longingly, as if he is debating whether to try to save his Xbox or recording equipment. Then, shaking his head, coughing as smoke begins to build up in the room, he runs out of frame. There's rustling, more coughing, and Magmacarter reappears on screen, now wrapped in a heavy blanket. He disappears from the shot as flames begin to lick at the basement walls. Footsteps pound up an unseen set of stairs, wheezing, cries of pain… then…
The game screen cuts away, the view from the webcam now taking over the screen completely. For a few seconds, there is nothing but the sound of crackling flame and the sight of a recording studio being eaten alive by fire as somewhere above the fire alarm shrieked a warning to the empty house. Another sound permeates, one that has already made itself known earlier in the video. The sound of a guttural, feral shrieking – the roar of a giant, scaly, man-eating beast. Only, there's something different about this roar: It sounds wilder, and closer, and more real… And the game is no longer being displayed.
That's when it appears. The same dragon that had been circling in the game stalks onto the screen, fire pooling around its feet. While obviously rendered from the game, there is still something inherently terrifying about it as it growls, smoke curling from its nostrils, and speaks in a voice like the tremors of an earthquake.
"Death comes to all in the end; the Dragonborn has fallen."
A burst of fire explodes somewhere behind the great, digitally misplaced lizard, and the screen goes black.
Shawn and Gus gaped at the screen, well aware of the implications of this video: Not only had someone tried to kill this guy, but whoever it was had taken the time and energy to edit and splice the video, superimpose the dragon from Skyrim onto the screen, and deliver a very clear warning to… someone. Whoever did this went way out of his or her way to, if not kill, then at least seriously scare the kid in the video. And to actually upload it on a website where thousands of people would watch it?
"Um… is that still online?" Gus asked when he finally found his voice. "Because we just watched a dude almost die on YouTube."
"It's been taken off," Juliet assured him, a frown puckering her eyebrows.
"And we've done as much damage control as we can," Chief Vick added. "When the video first aired, most of the commenters believed it was a joke by Magmacarter. We weren't able to keep this from the media for long, though. Some devoted fans have started a Kick Starter to help pay for medical bills, however."
"Why would you kick a man in a coma?" Shawn demanded indignantly. "That's just wrong."
"You kicked me when you thought I was in a sugar coma last week," Gus pointed out.
"Yeah, but it turned out you'd just taken Benadryl instead of Zyrtec, so it doesn't count."
"I only Benadryl because you switched out the medicines!"
"Gus, Zyrtec is white; Benadryl is pink. It should have been obvious."
"I don't make a habit of checking each and every pill I take, Shawn."
"Well, that's your problem."
"GUYS!" Both detectives turned to look at Juliet, who was, at this moment, the very epitome of exasperated. Both chiefs were mirroring her irritated posture and facial expression. "Can we please get back to the man in a coma?" She gestured to the screen.
"I'm sorry, Jules; it's just, do you realize that this time last night I was playing Candy Crush on my phone? This sicko is targeting gamers; that guy could have been me."
Lassiter muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, "Too bad it wasn't," but Chief Vick had regained hold of the situation and was continuing the briefing before Shawn could process the SBPD chief's comment.
"As we said before, Mr. Isaacs is stable but critical. Obviously, we won't be able to get anything from him until – if – he wakes up."
Shawn, for once, didn't have a snide or silly comment. He was coming to a conclusion that there was even more going on here than they had revealed so far. After all, even if this Magmacarter attack was a case that involved someone generally beloved in the public eye, it didn't explain why Lassie was in San Francisco coordinating with Chief Vick. They might have once been colleagues, but unless Lassie had a personal investment or stake in this investigation, protocol and time constraints simply wouldn't allow him to work this far outside of his domain.
Mostly out of habit, Shawn put a finger to his head. "I'm sensing that there has been another attack, within the past day or two, and that this time a YouTuber in or around Santa Barbara was targeted."
Begrudgingly, Lassiter confirmed Shawn's theory. "Unlike the last time, when the video went up days after the attack, though, we had no prior warning." He switched slides, revealing a picture of a light-haired guy in his late twenties that looked more like a surfer dude than a professional video game player. "This is Darren Reese. He goes by the username 'SuperHaut' on YouTube and mostly plays those cheap and dinky horror games for cheap thrills."
"Cheap and dinky? Lassie, I think you just turned into my dad."
Lassiter shot Shawn a dirty look as Juliet picked up where her former partner had left off. "Apparently, he is into some weird stuff – dark stuff. His fans tend to watch him because of the violent and brash persona he adopts while on camera. According to his girlfriend, the whole thing is an act, and he's actually a great guy, but… well, we've been 'binge watching' his most recent videos since last night, and he projects himself, to be blunt, as—"
"A grade-A a-hole," Lassiter supplied. "Even more so than you, Spencer, which is really saying something."
"Why thank you, Lassie."
"He glorifies the violence in the games, all but encourages his viewers to translate his views into real .life," Chief Vick picked up. "A very unsavory character."
Having picked up on the fact that they had not been referring to Darren Reese in the past tense, Shawn came to the conclusion that he had not been killed. The way they were talking and the fact that this guy had such a different persona and fan-base than the previous victim told Shawn that the act committed against this a-hole, as Lassie had so affectionately dubbed him, was different than the last. And, since this investigation had suddenly became more urgent, the only logical conclusion was that—
"SuperHaut's missing, isn't he?" Shawn shook his head. "No, I'm sorry. I will not call some dude I don't even know hot. It's degrading, embarrassing, and I have a fiancée. Jules, you are the only SuperHaut in this room."
Despite her professional demeanor, Juliet smirked at the compliment.
Blanching at the unwanted display of flirtation between the two, Lassiter answered. "Last night, just before midnight, this video was uploaded to Mr. Reese's account." The slide changed, and he pressed play on yet another embedded video.
"Hey, asshats," greets the smug, jerky-looking guy on the screen. "I'm SuperHaut. It's also my name." He smirks.
"Lassie, you weren't kidding," Shawn ventured. "This guy is an a-hole!"
Gus agreed. "You couldn't be that douche-y if you tried."
"Uh, thanks, Gus… I think."
"So, Five Nights a Freddy's. This freaking game scared the crap out of all you losers last video. Let's just try Day 2 and see if any of you bed-wetters can handle the pressure of these creepy bastards." He starts the game, which, for the first five minutes, consists of switching back and forth between camera angles while keeping an eye out for animatronics that have shifted positions or are missing from their spots, and a violent, crass, and entirely unpleasant commentary kept up by the gamer. Just as he is checking the place called Pirate's Cove again for movement, static buzzes to life on screen. SuperHaut pauses. "What the hell?" The screen cuts out entirely, static having overcome the video. Then, from somewhere beyond the superimposed, creepy static rises a strangled yell, one part pain and four parts terrified. The static gives way to a black screen.
SuperHaut pauses. "What the hell?"
The screen cuts out entirely, static having overcome the video.
Then, from somewhere beyond the superimposed, creepy static rises a strangled yell, one part pain and four parts terrified. The static gives way to a black screen.
"What… was that?" Gus asked, eyes wide.
Lassiter held up a hand. "Wait for it."
Shawn whispered in Gus's ear, "That's our line!"
And then all thoughts of intellectual and spoken copyright were driven out of their minds as the video flared back to life:
A disgusting, horrifying gurgling growl penetrates the speakers just as, from out of the pitch-blackness, leaps a horrifying effigy of some kind of giant, distorted woodland creature. A bear? Its teeth are bared, its robotic eyes swivel madly in its sockets, and it shivers and jerks as it lunges at the screen.
A harmony of girly shrieks rent the chief's office as the two consultants screamed at the jump scare. The other three in the room covered their respective ears until the shriek had faded into breathless whimpers.
"What the hell was that?" Gus gasped, clutching his chest.
"That," Chief Vick responded, equal parts irritated, disturbed, and sympathetic, "is Freddy Fazbear, and, unfortunately, he is our only lead and suspect in Darren Reese's disappearance."
A/N: GAMER'S GLOSSARY
-The Thieves' Guild is a special group you can join and become the leader of in Skyrim if you wish. You get endless little jobs and quests - and a few bigger ones along the way - in which you get assigned something to steal from one of the citizens, something to pickpocket, or evidence to plant, etc. The Dark Brotherhood is similar, except it's an assassins' guild, and you report to a freaky possessed mummy thing that gives you your targets and specifications of how they're to be taken out. Neither one of these options is mandatory, but they do make gameplay a lot more interesting. In my game, I'm the leader of the Thieves' Guild, the Dark Brotherhood, the magic college at Winterhold, the secret society the Nightingales... and I feel like the most powerful being in the world lol!
-Solsteim is a part of a downloadable content addition to Skyrim in which your character travels to the island of Solsteim and fights cultists, frost giant creatures, and a wide variety of exotic mythical creatures found nowhere except Skyrim. Unfortunately, the loading time when traveling between the mainland and Solsteim is longer than normal, so a lot of people try to get as much done as they can in Skyrim before going to Solsteim so they don't have to keep going back and forth.
-The Dragonborn, like I said last time, is the main character of the game (one that the player actually gets to customize in its entirety, down to race, hair color, armor, clothes, size, face, body, etc.). The Dragonborn has the ability to absorb dragon souls upon killing the creatures to become more and more powerful.
-In Skyrim, the dwarven race (they're called the Dwemer) are extinct, but their underground fortresses have become places of intrigue for questers, historians, and archaeologists. They were master inventors, with all kinds of advanced technology of which most knowledge was lost with them, but the Dwemer armor and weapons, while better than Elven, Iron, Leather, and Falmer, is not superior to Ebony, Dragonbone, Daedric, or Stalhrim.
*Five Nights at Freddy's references:
-Freddy Fazbear is one of the possessed animatronics at Fazbear's Pizzeria in the game.
-The premise of Five Nights at Freddy's is that the player has started working at this pizzeria similar to Chuck E. Cheese's, and he's a security guard who has to watch over the animatronics that tend to wander around at night. The player has to conserve power and not be caught by one of the animatronics, because their programming causes them to think that any person they see outside of a suit is a robotic skeleton without an outer suit, and so they will try to forcibly put the player into the suit, which is fatal because of all the gears and metal and electronics inside... Yikes!
~Emachinescat ^. .^