AMY, I AM NOT SPAZ.

She takes this news fairly well, but says "you mean, all this time you've been saying you are it's been untrue?"

AMY, IT'S A LONG STORY.

"Start at the beginning."

AMY, I AM PLAYING A COMPUTER GAME IN WHICH I CONTROL SPAZ USING A TEXT PROMPT. I HAVE BEEN GOING AROUND ACTING MOSTLY LIKE SPAZ DUE TO THE PROGRAMMING OF THE GAME, HAVING VARIOUS ADVENTURES ON CARROTUS.

Amy stares at you for a while. Then "Oh, come on. You can't expect me to believe that."

AMY, IT'S TRUE.

"As true as 'I am Spaz'? Prove it somehow."

PROVE IT SOMEHOW

I think you're on your own with this one.

AMY, HOW SHOULD I PROVE IT?

"Oh, I don't know. Those games have save and load functions, right?"

YES

Yes, what?

AMY, YES.

"Well, save the game. I'll say something, then you load it, write what I said down, and I'll say something. If I say what's on the paper, I'll believe you."

WHAT IF SHE SAYS SOMETHING DIFFERENT IF SHE SEES ME WRITING?

Then you're in trouble.

IT'S JUST A GAME, RIGHT?

Of course!

SAVE

Your game is saved.

AMY, SAY SOMETHING.

"Do you like Hyperbolia?"

RESTORE

Your game is restored.

INVENTORY

You are carrying the following items:

5 Tiny carrots

Airboard

Dangerous Gun

Key to End of Game

Note

Rabbit fur parachute

No contents

No Coatrack

Red Key

Knowledge of where End of Game is

WRITE "DO YOU LIKE HYPERBOLIA?" ON BACK OF NOTE

You do as you instructed.

AMY, SAY SOMETHING.

"Do you like Hyperbolia?"

Yes, I agree, that was convenient.

THANK FROGS

They screw up their faces in huge smiles.

GIVE AMY NOTE

"A list of phone numbers?"

AMY, READ OTHER SIDE.

She turns the note over and stares for a long while.

"Oh. My. God."

BE GOD

Be serious.

WAIT

Amy suddenly speaks. "I'm.. not.. real?"

AMY, I'M AFRAID NOT.

"But.. I must be real! I've lived before now.. I can remember things happening...."

AMY, CAN YOU FOCUS ON THE MEMORIES?

She concentrates. "Yes.. they're not implanted in me or anything.."

HOLD ON..

You hold onto your consciousness, despite not being in any danger of losing it.

I'VE PLAYED TEXT GAMES BEFORE.. THEY DIDN'T HAVE NEARLY THIS MANY THINGS YOU COULD DO..

Have I mentioned that people who write their thoughts in text prompts are weird?

YOU BE QUIET.

Look, if I were quiet, you wouldn't be able to do anything!

MY POINT IS, HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY HAVE PUT IN SO MANY OPTIONS FOR SO MANY SITUATIONS?

Why ask me? I'm just part of a game.

AMY?

What about her?

AMY, AMY?

She looks at you. "What is it?"

AMY, YOU DO SEEM REAL.. SO DOES EVERYONE. I DON'T KNOW HOW A GAME COULD HAVE SUCH A VARIETY OF COMMANDS SO AS I CAN TYPE IN ABOUT ANYTHING AND IT WILL HAVE ITS OWN EFFECT.

She looks at you hopefully. "So I might be real, somehow?" She apparently is quite appreciative of this idea, for obvious reasons.

AMY, MAYBE. I'M GOING TO ASK THE AUTHORS OF THIS GAME ABOUT THIS.

You know, you're a very suspicious person. Do you believe in conspiracies?

Anyway, Amy nods.

SAVE

Game saved.

EXIT

Bye bye! Remember that your doctor is really an alien in disguise!

RESTORE

Game restored.

AMY, I'VE SENT AN EMAIL TO THEM.

"Email?"

AMY, IN THE RE - IN MY WORLD, EMAIL IS A METHOD OF COMMUNICATION.

"Oh."

WAIT

If you plan to type WAIT until you get a response to your email...

AMY, I'M GOING TO GO FOR A WALK UNTIL I GET A RESPONSE.

"All right, have a nice time.." she seems a little sad, but wouldn't you be?

GO OUTSIDE

You begin to exit the room, but she stops you.

"Wait a minute.. on Carrotus?"

AMY, YES.

"But... if I, and the other rabbits, ARE real.. every time you load your game, you're erasing parts of our lives!"

AMY, THEY'LL JUST DO THE SAME THINGS THEY DID ALL OVER AGAIN, WITH NO MEMORY OF DOING IT BEFORE. LIKE YOU AND THE HYPERBOLIA.

"But it's unfair to just erase pieces of lives, even if they'll do it again! How would you like parts of YOUR life to be destroyed?"

SHE HAS A POINT.

No, she doesn't. Go out and get yourself killed a few times.

AMY, ALL RIGHT.

You say that, then continue standing there. Go have fun! Better then typing WAIT over and over.

SAVE

Game saved.. come on, go outside!

I'M PLANNING TO.

Oh, good.

EXIT

Game exited.. but I want an adventure or two when you come back!

RESTORE

Game restored. You are standing in Devan's lab, and Devan is conveniently there too.

DEVAN, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

"Jazz is nosing around my lab again?"

DEVAN, NO. RELATED TO THE GAME-UNIVERSE THING.

"Oh, right. I've tended to forget about that since you re-installed real-time for the Devan universe."

DEVAN, ONE OF THE PLAYERS OF THE GAME HAS GOTTEN SUSPICIOUS.

"He knows that the game he owns is actually a copy of another universe?"

DEVAN, HE SUSPECTS AS MUCH.

"How did he find out? When I copied my entire universe and turned it into a game for you to publish, I made it completely game like, right up to the annoying Parser."

DEVAN, APPARENTLY, YOU MADE THE PARSER TOO CLEVER. HE ACCEPTS TOO MANY COMMANDS THAT OTHER GAMES WOULDN'T.

Devan glowers. "Well, he's just another human.. you can easily take care of him."

DEVAN, IT WOULD BE KIND OF SUSPICIOUS TO FIND HIM DEAD IF HE JUST OPENED A PACKAGE FROM MY COMPANY.

Devan thinks about this for a while, then nods. "I've got it. I just need to create one more machine.."

Devan gets out his tools, calls a few lizard assistants, and begins work.

WAIT UNTIL MACHINE IS FINISHED

You stand there for some time, munching on food the lizards bring you from time to time. After a while, the machine is done.

THANK DEVAN

You thank the turtle.

"Don't bother. After all that work removing the very existence of a real Spaz, right under Jazz's nose in countless universes, I'm not going to have that work undone in any way by a mere human.

"Now, once you have the code for the machine, replace the startup screen with a message telling the player to press enter. Have enter start the machine's code."

DEVAN, IS THAT ALL?

"Yes.. no. You might want to make pressing enter a one time thing, because otherwise it can happen to other people who come across his computer. Now go away."

SAVE

Game saved.

EXIT

Game exited.

RESTORE

Game restored. You have just reassured Amy you won't erase lives.

AMY, I'M BACK.

She looks at you oddly for a moment before deciding the time runs differently in your universe.

AMY, THEY SENT ME A PATCH FOR THE GAME WHICH WILL "FIX THE PROBLEM I MENTIONED".

"Make us not real at all?"

AMY, I'M NOT SURE.

She looks concerned. "So you have no way of knowing what this patch will do?"

AMY, NO. FOR ALL I KNOW IT'S A TROJAN.

"Trojan?" Amy asks, which is understandable. There's no Trojan Horse in the past of Carrotus, after all.

AMY, SOMETHING THAT WILL MESS UP MY COMPUTER.

She understands, but says nothing.

AMY, I HAVE AN IDEA.

About time you did. You haven't typed anything for around eight minutes.

Amy looks hopeful.

AMY, I'LL BACKUP ALL MY FILES, MAKE A COPY OF THE GAME, AND INSTALL THE PATCH ON THAT ONE.

She looks thoughtful. "And no lives erased?"

AMY, IF THE PATCH IS A TROJAN, I CAN REPLACE THE FILES, AND THE GAME WON'T HAVE BEEN RUN. IF IT MAKES YOU ALL UNREAL, YOU WON'T REALLY HAVE LIVES TO ERASE. AND IF IT IMPROVES MATTERS, IT'LL BE A COPY OF THE GAME, SO YOU'LL ALL BE THE SAME PEOPLE.

She thinks this over for a while, but finally gives you permission to do this. Yes, I know that sounds funny.

SAVE

Game saved.

EXIT

Game exited.

The changes were instantly apparently. The menu screen of the game was gone, and all that was there now was a red message atop the black screen, reading "Please press the enter key to initiate changes."

He pressed the enter key. And then he felt a very odd feeling, as his monitor opened up, and sucked him inside it, before closing contentedly.

The Player looked around him in amazement. He was in a castle.. the main features of the room were a bed, a desk, a red rabbit standing motionless near the door, and a fuschia rabbit sitting in front of the desk..

"Amy?" breathed The Player.

The fuschia rabbit looked away from the red one, surprised. "Who are you? How did you get in here?"

"I'm The Player.... I've been controlling Spaz.. and now it seems I'm in your world instead of him."

Then a deep booming voice startled them both. "Indeed you are, Player."

"And who are YOU?" asked Amy, trying to stay calm. In the past hour or so, she had learned Spaz was being controlled by someone from another universe, and her entire life might be just one part of a program. The controller had just now apparently appeared in the universe She lived in, and after all that, some voice was not her top concern.

"Me?" asked the voice. "I'm the Recorder.. I record everything that happens, and I know all. Your human friend there knows me as the Parser."

The Player sat there, stunned. "It's..... all real?"

"Oh, it's real, all right." said the Recorder, laughing. "This - everything around you - the whole universe around you - isn't just some game created by a game company back in your universe, Player boy. Nope! You've heard of Devan, I trust?"

"Of course.." said The Player, looking around. Amy just nodded.

"Well, he and this other guy from Your universe got together - due to a wormhole in the space-time continuum which plopped the other guy in This universe -, and together they created a program to turn the entire universe into a game, with Spaz as the main character. Spaz is crazy and random enough normally, he was the best candidate for it, not to mention it would be a real cool revenge on Jazz, completely destroying his little brother's soul. This universe is merely a copy of the original, the only other version of this universe to have real-time. Devan and the other guy were nice enough to let you be able to live, considering nobody will ever be able to control that particular Spaz again."

With that, the Recorder was gone. Considering he was unsolid, they weren't sure how they knew he was gone, but they could tell.

"What..... now?" asked Amy, quivering. It was quite evident to The Player that one more thing might well push her over the edge.

"There's only one thing I can think of, other then just forget about this all and live normally.." said The Player, hesitantly. "And that's finally find that end of game...."

iLegend tells of a rabbit and a human who explore the universe, searching for what they refer to as the "end of game". Many times they found hints as to where it might be, and just as many they could not find it there. They first traveled to Turtle Town, to find a small door only visible in the night time, but it just led to an old, deserted manor which, despite their careful searching, held no end to their quest.

Next, we are told, they traveled to Lagunicus, where they defeated a submarine type thing. Skeptics, ones who don't believe the legends, hold this as one of the major points bringing it down - everyone knows Jazz defeated that thing some time ago!

After this, historians and tall-tale-tellers lose track of the exact order of their adventures, but they have been known to ski down a large snowy hill towards a secret hidden base, to explore countless worlds searching for "Chaos Emeralds", to rescue anyone in need of rescuing (particularly princesses), and many other adventures.

In times of trouble, when they were between leads or at a loss of what to do, they were known to call out for the "Parser" to help them, but there was never any response. Musicians have decided they probably actually said "Purser", and have written ballads of the two coming from "the train ride from Dam Nation", many of which still are popular tunes today.

Are they alive or dead? Did they ever exist? Will they ever find the "end of game"? Time may tell.. but I won't. Better to leave Some mystery in the world./i

(From bCollected Recordings of the Recorder/b, volume 7)