Chapter 1: Welcome to the Dreamscape!

I woke up.

That's the perfect description for the beginning of my day.

I woke up.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

I woke up.

Who am I kidding? There's nothing fantastic about it. It's an average beginning to an average, not so happy life. Maybe I'm to blame for being so average and… not so happy. But wait, no! It isn't my fault. Nothing has ever been my fault! There's a reason why bad things happen to average, not so happy people! Do you know why? Well…

It is all the fault of that dirty, blasted NHK!

Yes, an evil society is conspiring against me! The Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai… They won't ever rest until I am destroyed! But… I am ready. At the moment, I've awoken to find myself in a truly incredible situation. I am holding an epic last stand against the terrible, cruel empire of the NHK. Atop a tower of infinite heights, I am blasting the NHK hordes with my railgun! They're coming at me from every direction. From the air, up the tower's base, teleportation… you name it… they're doing it… Good thing justice shall always prevail!

I unleashed another round of bullets. I could feel the heat of the railgun burn my fingers.

BOOM

BANG

KA-POW

I yelled an incredibly triumphant proclamation, "Take that! You hellspawns! I send you to the place from whence you've came forth!"

NHK's army was relentless. A gigantic bird with the face of an NHK imp propelled itself towards me. I aimed, and fired. The creature's body incinerated as it fell to the world below. Behind me, a demon waved its gleaming dagger. I summersaulted backwards and blasted the thing to smithereens. Then, up there, above my head! I could see some NHK stealth bombers! A flurry of ammunition rang out from my weapon. The stealth bombers disappeared in clouds of fire.

This was almost too easy.

"YOUUUU THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? I AM SATO TATSUHIRO! SAVIOR OF THIS PLANET, AND HERO OF HUMANITY!"

The onslaught of enemies kept coming, but I continued to fend them off. I yawned as I repeatedly pressed the trigger button.

"Ha! To think I was once afraid of the NHK!"

I heard a sound from behind me. Instinctively, I swerved around, gun in hand, smile on face. Then that smile evaporated. The sky around me became dark. The cries and screams of NHK's minions faded in volume until there was nothing. A deep pain began to dwell in my chest. My body wanted to topple on the floor, as if gravity itself was too harsh a force to contend with.

"M-Misaki?"

The shoulder length hair. The doe eyes. That smile that fit so snugly in her face… It was definitely her.

"Misaki? W-what are you doing here?"

I looked at her forehead. The letters N, H, K were etched a few centimeters into her skin. It was a permanant mark. The shirt she was wearing even had those damn letters on it. And that smile… She wouldn't stop smiling. I don't ever remember her smiling this much… She seemed like an entirely different person… Yes, this image was instantly burned into my memory. I would never forget it.

"Hey, Sato, what's up?" She began to walk towards me.

I dropped my railgun.

"I see you've been hurting… my friends. You shouldn't do that, you know. Especially since you're such a dirty, rotten, disgusting hikikomori!"

Mouth agape, I took one step back, only to nearly stumble backwards. I looked over my shoulder. There was a vast, black chasm of nothingness. I was on the edge of the tower. I had nowhere to run.

She continued to walk towards me. "You know, Sato… For a while there, I thought there was something in you. Something of redeemable value. But I guess… I was wrong! You're worthless. Trash, as you sometimes say. I think you'd be better off not even existing." Her serene voice contrasted with the harsh words.

I wanted to say something, but no words would come out. Then, after she took one more step, she jumped forward and pushed me. Tumbling backwards, my body fell through the air, down into that dark abyss. Deeper and deeper and deeper… I continued to fall, for what felt like miles. The image of Misaki, looking down at me, got smaller and smaller until she was a speck, and then she was gone. For all I knew, I could have been falling for hours, days, or perhaps even years.

As my body made its way through space, I cursed, "Damn you… NHK…"

My body crashed to the ground. After the numbness wore off, the pain came. My whole body ached. I groaned.

"ugghhhhhh…"

I woke up. This time, for real.

My face was glued to the floor. With a push of my arms, I lifted myself upwards, only to fall down again on my back. I opened my eyes, and stared at the cold ceiling. Now I remembered. I had been in such a crappy mood that I couldn't bear sleeping in my futon. Instead, I tried sleeping in my bunk. Yeah, bad move.