Not All Fun and Games (But Close)
(Bob, Dot, and the rest of the cast are sitting in a 'break room', a room with no windows, a table with four chairs, a saggy couch, a refrigerator and a broken coffee maker)
Bob: (looking into his coffee mug with distaste) You'd think with such a well-rated show, they'd at least be able to give us a decent break room.
Dot: I know. Of course, anything they spend on this room gets cut from our pay checks. If we were all willing to chip in a bit-
Dot: Fine. It was only a suggestion. I, for one, would like to have some decent coffee around here. I mean, this stuff isn't even warm most of the time!
AndrAIa: Oh, it isn't that bad. I kinda like the lukewarm, bitter grit at the bottom. Wakes me up.
Matrix: You're too easy to please. To get what you want, you have to take it! I say we go down to the author's break room and take their stuff!
Dot: Matrix, we can't just go in there and take it. Shouldn't we ask?
Bob: (dryly) Didn't work for me. Last time I asked for more benefits, I got raped by some guy in the Web. (looks at Dot) I still can't believe the way you acted in that one.
Dot: (defensively) I told you, it was the author, not me!
Bob: Sure, it was.
Mouse: Well, look. We're not doing any good sittin' around complainin'. Besides, I'm sure we all have fics to go to soon.
Matrix: Yeah. (looks at watch) I've got to be on the set of 'Descent into Darkness' in eight minutes.
Dot: You're still working on that?
Matrix: They were unhappy with some of my scenes. Said I had to film them over.
Bob: Remember that thing with the sweater? (laughs) That was hysterical! I could hardly keep a straight face! (makes overly serious face) Enzo, Dot's sweater is red. (snorts and laughs) Brown! How could you even say that without cracking up?
Matrix: Uh, it wasn't brown?
(all stare at Matrix)
Matrix: Wasn't it?
AndrAIa: (hugging one of Matrix's arms) Uh, it's okay, Sparky. The stuff they put in your eyes probably hasn't worn off yet, that's all.
Dot: Besides, red makes me look all yellow.
(all switch gazes to Dot)
Mouse: (whispering to Bob) Color-blindness must run in the family.
Ray: At least you have fics to star in. Nobody ever writes anything focused on me.
Bob: Probably for the best, surfr. If someone writes a fic focused on you, someone else'll write a bad fic focused on you just to prove they can.
Hex: Hello, everyone! How are you all doing?
Bob: Hey, Hex. We're great. What's up with you?
Hex: I just thought I'd stop by and say hello on my way to Slack & Hash's Domain.
(various mumbles from entire cast)
Mouse: You're over there today?
Hex: Yes! She's filming the next chapter of 'Daemon Blast' now.
Mouse: If you're there today, how come we're all stuck with spam?
Hex: (striking a pose) I've got an emotional scene by myself Kim wants to focus on. I'm a very important character in the series.
(Mouse and Dot roll their eyes)]
Bob: Yeah, well, I've got to go. See you guys later.
Dot: Bye, Bob.
AndrAIa: See you later.
Hex: I'll be awaiting your return!
(cast stares at Hex)
Hex: What? Well, I will!
Mouse: Uh, yeah, I think we all got our roles to play. Come on, Dot, time for another 'during the war' scene.
Dot: (sarcasticly) I'll be awaiting your return! Ugh, kiss my cute green ASCII, woman...
(later the same day, Dot and Bob are the first ones back to the break room)
Dot: (flinging a bag of stuff on to the table and flopping on to the couch) Whew! This story had me running all over the place! I need a shower and a rest before I film anything else...
Bob: (searching the refrigerator) Yeah. Mine was dull. I just floated around the Web and remembered stuff. You know how boring it is to just hover over a huge fan with a cheaply-painted background...and remember stuff?! (he grabs a can of something, pops the top, and takes a sip)
Dot: Yes, as a matter of fact. I spent a lot of time remembering you when you were shot into the Web.
Bob: (interested) You did?
Dot: Well, yes! It's such an obvious fic idea...
Bob: (disappointed) Oh, just in fics, then...
Dot: (quietly) I remembered you plenty during the actual thing, too, Bob.
Bob: (sitting down on the couch next to her) Really?
Bob: Oh, Dot. That's so...sweet...of...
(the two lean together agonizingly slow, closing their eyes. At the last nano, Megabyte walks in and stops short, then grins nastily)
Megabyte: How quaint. Don't let me disturb you. Just coming in to find a drink.
(he rumages through the refrigerator for a moment, then frowns and huffs. Bob and Dot look up again)
Megabyte: Who's been into my Guiness? (holds up the remains of a six pack: one can and five empty rings)
Bob: (fidgeting and trying to put his can of something out of sight) Uh...
Megabyte: (rolls eyes) Oh, really, Bob. I'd be happy to let you have some once in a while if you'd just ask...
Bob: (standing up) It's the cast refrigerator! Everything belongs to everybody!
Megabyte: Oh, and I'm sure that went for your Hot Pockets as well!
Bob: But...hey! I love Hot Pockets!
Megabyte: Don't point out the obvious, you hypocrytical bastard-!
Dot: Boys, boys, boys! Cut that out right now! Megabyte, I'll get you more Guinness. Bob, stop drinking Megabyte's beer!
(Bob pouts, Megabyte smirks. Dot snatches her bag and heads off to the back)
Dot: Now, I'm taking a shower. I hear one peep out of either of you, you'll both be sorry!
(she leaves. The moment she disappears, Megabyte and Bob glare at each other. Bob silently leaps for the last can while Megabyte holds it up out of his reach. Bob starts trying to climb up Megabyte's robotic frame, both hissing nasty things quietly at each other. At last, Megabyte pinches Bob's upper arm, and Bob yelps.)
Dot: You two shape up out there, or I'll give you both new ways of breathing!
(both men are silent. Bob subsides to poking Megabyte in the side every so often. Hexadecimal enters the room, sobbing)
Bob: Hex, what's wrong?
Hex: I'm off the cast!
Bob: What? Off the cast of what?
Hex: The show! The show! The real show! I'm off forever!
Bob: (comfortingly) Hey, cheer up. They never kick off big-ASCII characters. Remember when I was shot into the Web, and it turned out that I was okay? It's probably just the same thing!
Hex: It can't be. People kept vowing to find you, but I just jumped into some portal and fragmented!
Bob: Oh. Don't sweat it, Hex. They'll bring you back, I bet. You just wait. After the big traumatic experience, it's clear sailing.
Hex: (looking up) You haven't read the script for 'My Two Bob's' yet, have you?
Bob: Nah...(faintly worried) Why?
Hex: (grinning) Oh, nothing. (stops grinning) Oh, but you know what this means, don't you?!
Hex: I'll have to live off fanfic!
Bob: (cringes) Oo, that's no good.
Megabyte: That's what I've been doing all this time. Be prepared for the worst, sister, because if you're off the cast permanently like myself, it's all very rough.
Dot: (emerging and drying her hair still) You haven't read the script for 'My Two Bob's' yet, have you?
Megabyte: No. Why?
Megabyte: What are you saying?
Dot: Nothing, nothing at all!
Megabyte: Is there something I don't know about? Should I polish my armor again?
Dot: (ignoring Megabyte, comforting Hex) Don't worry, you're a popular enough character...(wince) I'm sure there'll be plenty of work for you. Kim's high-paying, isn't she?
Hex: (calming down) Yes, yes she is.
Dot: And there's always posing for fan art, after all. I hear that really rakes it in for some people. You should get an interview with Sylvestris.
AndrAIa: (entering) Hi, everyone. (while walking past, she snags the last Guinness from the rings Megabyte is holding. Megabyte gestures wildly from the game sprite to the now empty six-pack)
Megabyte: You sprites have no sense of ownership! Honestly!
Bob: (taking a seat on the couch) Ah, loosen up, Megs.
Megabyte: (dangerously) I've warned you about that before, Guardian...
Hexadecimal: (scooting closer to Bob on the couch) Leave him alone, brother. He's giving you good advice! And there's no harm in a nickname, (she cocks an eyebrow and switches her gaze to Bob)...Right, Cheekie?
Bob: (standing up and moving over to Dot, failing utterly to look casual) Uh, no...no, I guess not. (he leans faux-nonchalantly against a pile of boxes, which slide across the floor with a loud screech. Bob jumps but remains standing)
(the cast is sitting around the plastic patio table in the "break room" looking generally grumpy. The two Bob's glance at each other nervously, then quickly look away and pretend they didn't look in the first place)
Matrix: (obviously fed up) I can't believe it!
Dot: Matrix, we've been through this before-
Matrix: But we haven't resolved anything! Look at this! (pulls a script out from under the table, flips through the pages, and slaps it down on the tabletop) If I have to roll my eyes or shake my head one more time...!
AndrAIa: (patting his arm) Shh, it's okay, we all got screwed.
(all eyes move to AndrAIa)
AndrAIa: It was a figure of speech!
Bob: Yeah, well, she's right, anyway. I don't get it. You'd think if they waited all this time before coming out with a new season, they'd at least do it right.
Dot: (sighs) We've been through that, too. And we all did fine with fan fiction.
Hexadecimal: Don't forget fan art! Oh, I'm in a good deal of fan art in Kim McFarland's gallery...
Dot: (rolls her eyes, knowing another onslaught of Hex's achievements approaches) Yes, fan art, too. That's hit-or-miss, though, as to quality.
Mouse: And fan fiction isn't? Ev'ry time I walk through those doors, I get a lump of sick dread. I can bet my runtime they'll either have screwed up my accent or have me sleeping with you during some Season III fantasy-
Bob: (looking intrigued) What, now?
Dot: (blushing furiously) We've been through all of this!
Ray: I don't believe we've been through that "Season III Fantasy" part before...
Bob2: (feeling left-out) At least you guys get the fan benefits. Being the old actor doesn't help. I'm practically a costume!
Megabyte: Indeed. Do any of you know how frusterating it is to be part of the plotline and yet left out entirely during filming?
Hexadecimal: Many of us do! I still had to do voice dub, at least, but that's nothing compared to being out there, in front of everybody...!
(Hexadecimal begins to look dreamy, and White Hex elbows her sharply. She scowls, but settles in again)
White Hex: (in un-Hex-ish voice) You should be glad you were in here. People weren't so accepting of things in general after the first few episodes.
Dot: Look, it doesn't do any good to sit in here and whine. The season's over now, and we're all in the same position.
Hexadecimal: Not, either.
Dot: Excuse me?
Hexadecimal: Dead characters don't get as much recognition. After Daemon Blast is over, I'll be out of work!
Mouse: There's always the hentai business, they'll take anybody off the street an' show 'em-
(eyes go to Mouse in shock)
Mouse: Oh, come on, are ya' really that surprised? Would ya' rather have a bad look-alike out there doin' it?
(eyes return to staring dejectedly at table. Daemon walks in, searches the refrigerator for a moment, and pulls out a Guinness. She pops the top)
Megabyte: If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times! Those are mine!
Daemon: I am sorry, but champagne was getting very old.
(silence for a moment, until a perplexed Bob raises a question)
Bob: Hey, Daemon,
Daemon: (taking a sip) Mm?
Bob: Who plays your character in Daemon Blast? That couldn't have been you...
Dot: Come to think of it, who plays you in any of those fan fics you starred in before Season IV?
Daemon: Well, in "Blood and Tears," I believe a member of KISS was hired...
Matrix: (shudders and eyes AndrAIa's minimized trident warily)
Daemon: ...and in Daemon Blast it was my cousin.
Mouse: Your cousin?
Bob: (whispering to Dot) It was just a blob covered in virii, near as I could tell...
Daemon: (embarrassed) Yes, I...She doesn't do as well in theater as I do.
Ray: (quietly) I can see why...
(snickers from members of the cast who were present at the time and fic)
Dot: (checking her watch) Shoot. Break's over.
Bob: Man, I'm booked all day, too.
Mouse: See y'all later, then.
(Daemon takes a seat on the sagging couch next to White Hex. They glance at each other, then at the floor and sigh in unison)