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Deep in the confines of the Deepsea Metro, far deeper than any sane Octarian would go, &7fs}}df opened her eyes and paused. Long, poison-green fingers, malformed at the ends, reached out hesitantly for the disks in front of her, and *u9)dm began to follow the beat which had led her mind into a stupor.

"Wh&A-" She gulped. Shaking off the confusion, she reached up and grabbed the dark red shades from her face. Shaking out her two tentacles, she threw the glasses to the ground and looked around.

The room was white on all sides, and aside from a small bed, a flap (presumably for food), and a set of turnstables at which she stood, there was nothing in it. The music coming out of the machine was discordant and unsettling, and so, with little else to occupy her mind with, she returned to remixing.

The sounds were less grating once she set to work, each movement removing the horrid screeches coming from the machine and returning it to a halfway pleasant melody, if a bit robotic and repetitive. Once she had the pattern down, *dnT^%l. thought carefully about her situation.

What happened last?

She winced as she hit a wrong note and quickly returned to sliding strange, unfamiliar fingers along the turnstable. She felt… different.

Taller. Weaker.

Her face had gone lean, and layed over her was a sliding black tee-shirt, held on her frame by a few strings. On one wrist, an armband pulsed, red sparks glowing.

What happened to me?

"Bzzt!" A voice cried, blaring in her ears and throwing her off her groove. Growling, she searched frantically for the source of the noise. "Sleep time, sleep time, Human 1!"

Human?

But that couldn't be right. SHe wasn*8nt the r&fnght colour^63n


Her eyes opened again.

The blaring voice was chattering away to itself, in a gibberish language ^78jn,mm didn't understand. It was harsh, and dry, and entirely unfamiliar. Forcing herself to ignore the grating noise, she hurried to the turnstables again and began to investigate.

There was nothing in the box except machinery, and stray marks of a greenish ink which glistened in the light. It had a strange consistency, too, almost li&b T^*7hnpa*8. *no&nk} rose and found herself looking up, out through a window which provided the only light.

There was no sky. A strange, almost flat area existed above her, a dark red-black in colour despite the light it was emitting. It flickered - changed - and a deep-seated dread began to fill her stomach. Up near the window, a small object - rubbery, familiar, sat, the image of an octoling staring back at her.

Oh my ink. Oh my ink ohmy ink ohm*nuh432-:}]nd


There is an ink-filled void.

All around her, Octolings float, naked yet fully grown. It's hard to see more than a few feet in front of her, yet light permeates every corner of her vision.

"Restarting simulation," a voice - light, male, something else - says. "3..2..1…"


&*9nls' eyes open again, and she groans from her place on the floor, her fingers gently caressing her pounding head. Despite the pain, she's almost thankful she endured, for what she knows now.

She stares up at the Octoling again, at the glitching sky above her, and decides she has to leave as soon as she can.

Hopping up onto the turnstable, she grabs the small object - so strange, so familiar - in her hands and stuffs it in the pocket of her pants, which are somewhat baggy and only slightly lighter in colour than her shirt.

Glancing around, and listening carefully to the strange, uncomfortable voice, she eyes the food flap.

Old instincts flare, and she's in her Octopus form before she can think. Creeping forward, she hears a break in the gibberish.

"Hey, hey, hey," the voice calls. "Where are you going? I thought you liked it here. Don't you? It's not nice out there, human 1. Come back."

She stoutly refuses to listen and hops through the chute. After all, if the world can glitch, then it isn't real anyway. And if it isn't real, she won't feel pain…

She feels her muscles contracting against her will. Sheer energy surrounds her, &*(dhgbn her brain huRTS80N&&]]