Embed – Chapter 7: The Manhunt

“This is just like when Sigourney gets kidnapped in Fourside!” Kobi exclaims as we stroll down the street, looking for any sign of Lamar’s existence.

“Her name is Paula,” I say. “And she’s not anything like Lamar. This isn’t a video game.” The hangover is starting to come on, and I’m feeling dizzier by the moment, but I of course am able to keep very calm and collected even in the face of ABSOLUTE DISASTER.

There were no clues hinting at where Lamar could have gone, outside of a tank top left precariously at the front entrance to my apartment complex. It was good to know he was probably shirtless right now, but that wasn’t going to help.

“I wish Lamar wasn’t such a stupid moron!” I shout. “I just want to find him…”

“The last thing he said before he left was that he was going out to find some melodies,” Kobi says. “I think he meant he was going to go to the music store.”

“Why would– Shit, I understand everything.”

“???”

“Wait, no, I lost it.”

Augh, I wish I were more sober. I’m not a bad detective, I swear, no matter what my sister tells me. I just need to… focus… But I can’t.

“I think we should go to the music store.”

“I think you’re a– Yeah, let’s go. I give up.”

We head down the street towards the nearby business plaza, where there are several music stores. Not that any would be open this early in the morning, but whatever. Apparently I can’t deal with alcohol as well as I thought. I was sure my body had some sort of override system to purge the toxins out in case I was in danger. I can heal from injury quickly and punch stuff really hard, so you’d think I’d get the whole shebang. Guess not.

As we cross over a pedestrian bridge going towards the businesses, I start to hear a faint ringing sound, and it grows louder as we get closer. It’s almost like… a siren?

“Do you hear that?” I ask.

“That is a robbery alarm,” Kobi says. “I know because my dad spent a lot of time figuring out how to disable them.”

“Ah, so someone robbed the liquor store again,” I say. “That’s okay.”

“Actually,” Kobi says. “It’s right up there. It’s one of the businesses in that building.”

I squint my eyes to try and get a closer look but my head starts pounding. Nah, I’m not dealing with that. Maybe Lamar is this way, I guess. There’s no possible explanation for him to be over here, but whatever. Not like I have anywhere to be in an hour and a half. I’ll stop the robbery if it’s still going on. That’ll fulfill my weekly hero quota.

We approach the store. It’s not a music store, though I wasn’t expecting it to be. Actually– it’s a Tim’s Codes Games Outlet. The display window has been crashed open, and the screeching robbery alarm is still going off.

But there is one man inside, wandering around the store and looking at game cases.

A shirtless black man with extremely well-toned muscles.

No friggin’ way!

“Hey, Lamar!” I shout.

We rush into the store to catch Lamar before he runs off again, but he seems entirely preoccupied by the game cases. He takes no notice of our presence, though I’m sure the security cameras are very interested.

I grab Lamar’s shoulder. “Lamar, are you okay–”

Before I can even register it in my mind, I’m five feet in the air, flying propelled backwards by some sort of magic. Or, more likely explanation, he threw me. I crash on the carpet and tumble over a few times before coming to a complete stop.

“I have to find the Eight Melodies,” Lamar says, staring at me blankly. Ohhhhhhhhh. Now it all makes sense.  “I have to find the Eight Melodies. I have to find the Eight melodies. I have to–”

I glare at Kobi. The word EIGHT really would have helped with the context here, kid!

“Earthbound: Fighters,” Lamar mutters while staring at the back of three separate game boxes. “Sixteen playable characters. Eight times two. Two. Earthbound 2. Spiritual successor. Fighting Spirit, released on the Nintendo Playstation 2, four years ago.  Also sixteen playable characters. No Earthbound. Hidden characters, none. Connection status unknown.”

It doesn’t take a sober detective to put together the pieces here. Lamar’s AI system kicked in and analyzed Earthbound for several hours. Now it thinks the game is real.

Lamar runs out of the store, shouting, “We have to keep Giygas at bay!”

It’s only a matter of time before the police arrive to catch the crazy man at this rate. We better go after him. I grab Kobi’s wrist and pull him along with me as I sprint towards my highly-inebriated friend–

And– puke all over the concrete the moment I exit the store.

Augh, disgusting…

Oh, hey. I don’t have a headache anymore. I feel fine. Damn, I do have an override system. It’s just the terrible, obvious one.

Kobi looks down at the ground and then back at me, but I continue pulling him with me as we run again. We have a Lamar to catch.

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5 comments

    1. If Fourside were Atlanta, then Fourside woulda been called the Big Peach, not the Big Banana…. alas

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