It was the announcement everyone was waiting for. Dozens of representatives gathered in the Ship Wars Assembly Hall on r/RWBY to hear it.
Peter s. Nachbar, the host of Ship Survivor, stepped onto the stage. He wore a shiny black hooded cloak, though no one agreed on what color it shimmered. Some said one particular color, others said plain gray, while a few said it was iridescent with every color of the rainbow. No one knew what his face looked like, he kept it covered at all times with a Guy Fawkes mask.
Closest to the stage stood Yukon Wolf, the official historian of Ship Survivor. Like Peter, his whole body was covered, though it wasn't always so. After suffering horrific burns in the first Ship Survivor, he retired from fighting and chose to become a historian and author instead. He wore a black life support suit and a terrifyingly realistic wolf mask.
Peter stepped up to the microphone. "The polls are in," he said, his voice gravelly. "Ship Survivor III will begin in approximately four months."
Some of the representatives, including Yukon, breathed sighs of relief, while others groaned in disappointment.
One particular representative, Link CMXXII of White Rose, was distraught. Peter began talking about the next Rate A Ship poll, but Link didn't hear. He was too busy replaying the announcement in his mind. "Four months…" How was he going to wait that long?
He turned around, walking towards the exit.
"Where the hell are you going?" asked his friend, Armory.
"Back to Pink Rose Gold headquarters," said Link, as he opened the door to leave the building.
The High Council of Pink Rose Gold was assembled at a round table at their interim capitol on r/RWBY. They didn't yet have enough Karma to purchase their own planet, but it wouldn't be long.
Link was at the table with his fellow councilors. His comrades from White Rose, Armory and Jannis, sat by his sides. On the opposite side of the table were three Oligarchs of Arkos. Kyle Strike Blaster Freedom X2 D'Elise, Supreme Commander of the Air Force. Blue Whale King, Grand Admiral of the Starfleet, and a new promotion, Lord Penguino of a branch yet to be determined. On another side sat Generic Usernaym XXI and Venom Ahab of Lancaster. Lastly, there were Sam Shazam, a primary supporter of Pink Rose Gold, and MacGregor Rose, who worshipped the goddess Ruby separate from any ship, but also supported Pink Rose Gold.
"First order of business, we need to capitalize on these four months as much as possible," said Sam. "Pink Rose Gold must have our own planet by Ship Survivor."
"I can make propaganda for r/ArkosForever," said Penguino. "There is support in the Nation of Arkos, we just need to help it grow."
"I'll try to promote on r/LancasterCavalry," said Generic, "if Masta Of Bitches will allow it. Unfortunately I can't guarantee."
"The Church of White Rose can make a considerable donation," said Jannis.
The councilors continued to talk about the logistics of moving r/PinkRoseGold to its own planet, but Link wasn't paying attention. He couldn't take his mind off of Ship Survivor.
"Link? Are you okay?" asked Jannis, pulling him out of his thoughts.
"Ugh, not really. I'm just upset about Ship Survivor. I really thought starting in one month would win. How am I going to wait four?"
"At least this will give Yukon enough time to finish his book," said Strike. "With all the memory loss and confusion after Ship Survivor, we'd be fucked if there wasn't a cohesive account."
"Yeah, but that doesn't make me feel better," said Link. "I still need something to occupy that time and blow off steam."
"I propose that you ask the mods if you can host your own event, maybe a Meme Ship Survivor" said Blue Whale King. "I voted for four months only for the reason Strike said. I'd much rather do it sooner, but I didn't want to risk there not being a book for Ship Survivor III."
Link thought for a moment. "Hey, that might actually work. I'll ask them first thing in the morning. Until then, I'm going to the bar to celebrate."
"I'll stay with you and take you home so you don't kill yourself like an idiot," Armory said.
"Armory, be nice," said MacGregor.
"Never," said Armory, smirking.
"No, thank you," said Link. "I'll just get a hotel room tonight and head to the Mod offices first thing in the morning."
"Ok, just don't go too crazy," said Jannis.
"You're one to talk," said Penguino, but Link had already left.
Too many drinks later
Link had reconsidered his idea to ask the Mods to host his own event. What if they said no? What if the time to get a permit was too long? What if he wasn't any good at it? What would a "meme ship survivor" even entail, anyway?
It really wasn't fair that Ship Survivor had to be so far away. Why couldn't Yukon just write faster? Or get help? Was it really necessary to have a book written about it? Couldn't people just find a way to remember better?
The longer Link thought about it, the angrier he got, and the less he could justify delaying Ship Survivor. Until he got an idea.
He would make Ship Survivor start tonight.
One ill-advised trespass later
Link looked up at the gigantic Anomaly Portal Connection Machine, towering like a skyscraper in the vast underground chamber. This was the machine that connected the Subreddit to Anomaly Zones, the remains of collapsing universes that were filled with Bragging Rights for anyone who could conquer them. These zones were where Ship Nations fought the Ship Wars battles every year.
But there was one Anomaly Zone that was greater than all others. It was a world just as real as the "main" one, but every year, a giant portal swallowed the entire RWBY Sector of the Reddit Galaxy and merged it with itself. The denizens of all the RWBY Subreddits had a brush with a medieval version of their world, and it was in this universe where they fought the war known as Ship Survivor. Afterward, the timelines would separate, and those in the futuristic universe had confusing, incomplete, and contradictory memories. Peter s Nachbar was in charge of dealing with that portal, while Yukon Wolf seemed to be the only one who had a clear memory of the events.
If Link could get inside the machine, he could summon the Ship Survivor portal early. If.
As he tiptoed towards the machine, he saw the primary guard on duty. Tragic Solitude, a former member of the Mod Council. Fortunately, she was asleep at her post. Unfortunately, she was in a reclining chair right in front of the entrance to the machine.
As he got closer, Link was having second thoughts. It had been hours since he left the bar, and the alcohol was starting to clear. Still, he had come this far, it was too late to back out now. Plus he had a ways to go before the liquid courage was completely gone.
He tried the door to the machine. Locked. He was about to grab his toolbag to pick the lock, but it would be too noisy. He looked down and saw that Tragic had a keyring on her belt.
Biting his tongue, he cut the keyring with a pair of wire cutters. The key to the machine was easy to find, as it had a large red Bragg crystal decorating the end.
Link opened the door and slipped into the machine. As he closed the door, Tragic started to stir.
Once inside, Link raced up the stairs to the top floor. Soon he found what he was looking for: a gigantic red button with the words SHIP SURVIVOR on it. It was a good thing Nachbar had a flair for the dramatic. Unfortunately, he also had a flair for security, as there was a nearly indestructible cover locked over the button with a retina scanner, thumbprint scanner, and a passcode required to unlock it.
"Hey! what's going on in there?" Tragic Solitude shouted, now fully awake and banging on the door.
"Oh shit," Link thought. He would have to be fast. Crouching under the button, he pulled a blowtorch out of his toolbag and melted open the paneling to expose the wiring and circuits. He began cutting and splicing various wires to bypass the locks on the button.
Outside the machine, Tragic grabbed her radio and called Melanie Antiqua, hostess of Ship Wars and owner of the Anomaly Portal Connection Machine. "Melanie, it's Solitude. We have an emergency, an intruder has broken into the APCM and locked me out!"
"What?! I'll be right over!"
Link almost had it. Just a couple more wires to unlock and prime the button, when he heard the door slam open several floors beneath him.
"Shit shit shit shit…"
He spliced the final wire just as Tragic Solitude and Melanie Antiqua, still in her nightgown, reached the top floor.
"Freeze!" they shouted simultaneously, Tragic pointing her gun and Melanie her Bragg-powered all-purpose shapeshifting key.
"You're too late," Link said, and pressed the button.
A hum went through the machine as it tried to summon the Ship Survivor Portal. Unfortunately, a couple of the spliced wires had exposed ends too close together, and the current jumped over. Just as the portal was beginning to form, a power surge rocked the machine.
The surge was so violent that it knocked all three people to the floor. "What did you do?!" Melanie asked, crawling to the hotwired button as the machine continued to shake.
"I can't wait four months for Ship Survivor," Link replied.
"You've created a feedback loop into the Power Core! It could destroy the whole planet!"
"You've doomed us all!" Tragic shouted at Link.
Melanie began tearing wires apart in a desperate attempt to stop what was happening. A few moments later, she sighed in relief.
"It won't destroy the planet, but I still need to finish stabilizing the core. As for you," she pointed to Link, "you're facing a sentence of-"
The Braggtonium crystal in the Power Core exploded. Melanie raised the key and formed a shield around them as the exploding crystal tore the machine apart.
It didn't destroy the planet, but the explosion was still cataclysmic. A red shockwave emanated from the remains of the machine. Wherever it encountered a large Bragg crystal in the Capitol of a Ship Nation, the connected crystal also exploded.
The Castle of r/LancasterCavalry on r/RWBY tumbled to the ground. The Renora Fortress did the same. The shockwave spread beyond r/RWBY, propagating through space to hit the other planets in the sector. The towering honeycombs of r/Bumbleby melted. The gleaming black and white spires of r/Checkmating collapsed. The magnificent cathedrals of r/WhiteRose burst into flames. The crystal dome over the Jaunrrha Citadel on r/ArkosForever imploded.
Within minutes, the superluminal shockwave had exploded the primary Bragg crystal of every established Ship Nation, destroying all of their capitols. Overnight, the RWBY sector of the Reddit galaxy had gone from well-established order to anarchy. Only the provinces of the Ship Nations and various unaffiliated groups, the Meme Ships, still remained.
On r/RWBY's arid sister planet, r/FNKI, the lawless people looked up at the lights in the sky and smiled. The old Ship Nations were gone. It was time for the Memes to take over.
The rest of this fic to be based off of Meme Ship Survivor. See you there!