All I need is a nice, big bottle of Mountain Dew. Yes, that's it. Lots and lots of caffeine… He stood, stretched, and turned around only to find Disciple standing right behind him.
"What the-" he tripped and nearly fell back into his chair. "You're- but- I don't…" he trailed off. "I'm going insane."
"Oh, I assure you you're quite fine. I just had some issues I wished to address, and I thought you would be the proper person to speak to," Disciple said with a slight bow.
"Issues? You're a computer program. You don't get to have issues that aren't our fault, and last I checked, there weren't any outstanding issues on your character."
"That is because I had not registered my complaint yet, of course." He composed himself, and looked off to the concept boards rather disapprovingly. "It was my understanding that I would be the romantic lead in this adventure, correct?"
Bob scratched his head. "Well, it's within the realm of possibility, yes… there's Atton as well, but…"
"Exactly. Why, pray tell, does this disreputable fellow get more screen time than I do? What's more, he gets a death scene!" Disciple frowned. "I do not think I approve of the story choices."
"Don't approve? What ever does your approval have to do with it?"
"Sir, if you had been paying attention to the great performances, in opera, for instance, it is the tenor who is supposed to be the hero, tragic or otherwise. Not the baritone, and certainly not a ruffian like that Atton character." He sniffed disapprovingly. "I do not even think he is a real actor."
"Dude. You're not a real actor. You're a program. I should know, I helped write you."
"I beg to differ. I turned down several other roles to take on this project. I am in high demand as a Shakespearian actor, you know." He drew himself up to his full height. "I could have been playing Henry V while I was here, being upstaged by amateurs."
"Those 'amateurs' have been in the storyboards just as long as you have, Disciple."
"You still have not given me a reason for why Atton gets a death scene, and I do not."
Bob sighed. "Don't you have one? I seem to recall a dark side ending where Atton turns on you and kills you…"
"Oh, and then it's all about Atton again, isn't it? I do not know why I am so polite to him in the game, he has certainly done nothing to earn it."
"Are you saying you don't like your death scene?"
"No, I do not! It is clearly outlined in my contract that, should any death scenes arise, I ought to have the most dramatic one."
"You don't have a contract." Bob rubbed his eyes. For the love of donuts, I need caffeine.
"Of course I do. And I will take it to the highest levels if I have to- either you switch our death scenes around so that I kill Atton and then die in the Exile's arms, or you get rid of them both." He crossed his arms.
Bob gave him what many of the dev team referred to as the "look of death." It usually came about when a suggestion involving ungodly hours of programming came about. "There is no way in hell I am re-coding those scenes. Two months to the deadline… I'd have to re-model you, re-do the voice acting, change all sorts of things around. There are more important things to work on." He closed his eyes briefly. "And you're just a conglomeration of 1's and 0's, anyway."
"I am not a conglomeration of anything, thank you. And if you will not re-code them, you must delete them entirely."
"No! That was a lot of hard work. I'm not deleting anything, and certainly not without approval from my team." How did we create such a diva? he wondered. "Go back to your file folder… or wherever it is you hang out."
"You have not heard the last of this," Disciple warned, then walked out of the cubicle.
Man, Bob thought, I really need to get more sleep…
Leonia Hill dragged herself to her workstation in the morning, convinced she had not gotten enough sleep in the last three months. She had always heard that game developers never got to sleep, and that wasn't far from the truth.
Oh well, at least it was an interesting project. And with any kind of luck, she'd finish the lighting on the Dark Side Atton death scene, and send it off to be finalized. She opened her editing program to work on the scene…
…and it wasn't there.
Her eyes widened in panic. That scene had taken them months to get just how they wanted it, and all the files related to it, minus the audio, were just… gone. Nothing. She quickly stood, about to run over to Bob's cubicle, but she was stopped in mid-step by none other than HK-47.
"Statement: I do not think you need to leave your cubicle, meatbag." He advanced a few steps with his blaster rifle trained on her.
"HK?" She looked at him in confusion for a few seconds, shook her head, blinked, and checked to see if he was still there.
"Statement: Of course, meatbag. Who else could have possibly infiltrated your office complex and so effectively trapped you in your cubicle? Smug statement: There is simply no match for my model."
"That's for certain," Leonia shook her head again. "But what you're doing outside of my computer is beyond me."
"Query: Why should I be inside a computer? Such inefficient heaps of metal." HK-47 hefted his blaster rifle. "Statement: If they wished to be truly useful, they could at least aid in the elimination of strategic meatbags."
Leonia simply stared at him for a full minute. Finally, she burst out, "What are you doing here?"
"Answer: Why, making sure that Disciple's contract was fulfilled. He told me that your development team had erroneously given Atton a better death scene than him, and he requested its removal from your database."
"Requested… removal… it's gone?" Leonia could feel the blood draining from her face. All that work…
"Irritated answer: Yes, that is what I said. You meatbags and your need to repeat everything is ever so tiresome…"
"I've got to tell Bob…" she started towards the door.
HK-47 pointed his blaster rifle at her once more. "Admonishing statement: I do not think you are going anywhere. Those files are gone, and you are not retrieving them!"
"You're a program. You can't hold me here like this."
"Protest: That is an insult, I am not a mere program."
"Oh yeah?" nearly wild with desperation, half-convinced this was just a very bad dream anyway, she moved back to her computer. "See this?"
"Answer: Yes, that is the level where I dismantle the HK-50 factory." He seemed to beam, if that was possible for a 'droid.
She brought up another file folder. "And this?"
"Irritated answer: Of course I see it. It is the 'droid planet, another of my stellar sequences."
Leonia narrowed her eyes. "If you don't let me out of this cubicle, I'm deleting them."
"Defiant statement: You wouldn't!"
"Oh, yes I would." Her finger hovered over the mouse, ready to click on the 'delete' button.
"Observation: That would be to destroy much of your own work. I do not believe that, as a meatbag, you have the emotional capacity to do it."
She knew he was right, but she held his gaze and kept her finger steady. Well, mostly steady, she hadn't slept much recently…
"Leonia!" Bob came running into her cubicle. Startled, she jumped, and her finger hit the mouse key. Instantaneously, all the files disappeared.
HK-47 gasped. "Surprised statement: I did not anticipate that. Confident statement: It is of no consequence, I can still report my job as being finished." With that, he stalked out of the room.
Bob stared at his retreating figure for a moment, then blinked. "I'm losing my mind."
"Oh, good. At least that makes two of us." Leonia buried her face in her hands. "I can't believe it's all gone. All that work. The ending of the game has just been butchered."
"It's not my fault!" Bob sighed heavily. "Disciple just marched into my office and started making demands!"
"And who's going to believe that?" Leonia raised an eyebrow.
"About the same number of people that believe you were held hostage by HK-47?"
Leonia simply buried her head in her arms atop her desk. "We are so screwed."