“I liked Arkham Knight,” Hero’s Shade replied to the two newcomers confronting him about his opinions.
“But the internet says that it’s bad!” he said as he guzzled down Kool-aid.
“Yeah, Angry Joe rated it a 6 out of 10, and everyone knows that any game below an 8 out of 10 is trash and not worth anyone’s time!” His buddy said matter-of-factly, before chugging an entire of keg of that Kool-aid.
“Doesn’t that just render numbers 1-7 entirely pointless in that case? Every game doesn’t have to be an A-list blockbuster for you to enjoy playing it. I mean just look at Metal Gear Rising. It has plenty of flaws but people love it.”
“That’s because it’s a meme,” he replied without skipping a beat, then proceeded to drink Kool-aid by the barrel.
“Yeah, if it’s a meme, then that makes it okay.”
“But I thought you guys hated Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure because of the memes…”
“No, the fanbase is bad.”
“Are you kidding me? They’re harmless.”
“But they’re all just a bunch of shitposters who spam Jojo memes all the time!”
“Yeah, and since the fanbase is bad, by extension the show itself must also be terrible,” they said, dumping an entire truckload of Kool-aid into their mouths.
“I’m a Jojo fan, and I don’t spam memes…” Hero’s Shade checked his internet history, which was filled to the brim with Dio vines, Duwang, and Jojo shitposts. “Okay well… I don’t do it all the time…”
“Tch, next you’re gonna tell us you like Undertale.”
“I mean… I’m not super into it, but I don’t see what’s supposed to be so bad about it. I think Papyrus is pretty relatable, and the dynamic between him and Sans is entertaining.”
“But if you are a fanboy of Undertrash, then you by extension are also trash!”
“I never said I was a fan, I don’t even know that much about it. I literally just listed two things I like about it.”
“Either you are a fanboy or a hater, there is no in between! THE INTERNET HAS SPOKEN!”
“Okay, fine. I like Undertale. What are you going to do, call the Opinion Police?”
The two Kool-aid guzzlers looked at each other, then whipped out their phones. In no time, a heavily armored riot team busted through the door of the Hangout Spot and grabbed Hero’s Shade, loading him up into a car.
“I was fucking kidding!”
“You better settle down, sir,” commanded the Opinion Police. “We don’t want to hear any of your terrible opinions. We’re gonna take you to a place that’s going to straighten you out.”
The vehicle drove into a vast facility, and tossed him out in front of one of the loading docks.
“Don’t worry kid, they’ll get your opinions fixed up in no time. Soon enough you’ll be drinking the Kool-aid too. Take him to the Echo Chambers!”
“Noooooooo” Hero’s Shade shouted as he was dragged away by robotic drones.
As they walked him to his designated Echo Chamber, they monotonously droned things like, “Steven Universe is SJW trash” and “Marvel movie fans only like jokes and don’t get deeper stories”
Shade just sighed and tuned out the rest of their mindless droning as they hooked him to a machine that was housed by an enormous room in the shape of a dome. They left him in silence. The machine whirred to life, and its humming resounded against the walls of the appropriately named Echo Chamber.
“Cartoons were way better in the nineties”
He heard, felt it vibrate through him, and then bounce off the walls, then continue with other statements.
“Ghostbusters 2 was a good movie, screw everyone else who thinks different”
“Super Smash Bros. 4 is the best fighting game”
“Raven is best waifu”
“Godzilla 2014 was great, fuck the haters”
Wait… he thought. These are all my opinions.
Upon that realization, Hero’s Shade felt comforted in the Echo Chamber. Here, he was free from all of the droning. In here, he could not hear anyone criticizing him for what he liked. Rather, all of his thoughts were reassured. Here, he was free to be himself. Here, he was safe.
The rounded walls of the dome-shaped room flickered into images. He saw other people, just like him, who had the same thoughts that he did, and they had smiles because of it. They were happy to know that they knew someone with good taste. He soon realized that the machine amplified his own thoughts, the Echo Chamber was his own vision, his own reality, where everyone shared the same ideals. It was… perfect?
No. Perfect isn’t the word he would use for it. Something felt… off. This felt like something he had fought before.
“Yes,” he remembered. “The sword that stings the most…”
This wasn’t a safe place. This was a prison.
He broke from the shackles and grabbed his sword, releasing a beam that disabled the machines and broke away an opening.
He was crowded by more of the drones, which he reduced to scrap quickly.
“The Dark Knight is the best superhero movie ev-”
“Nintendo is faili-”
“Teen Titans Go is absolute garbage”
Shade stopped his sword just short of cleaving the automaton in two.
“I’m probably being a hypocrite for sparing you specifically, but I give no fucks.”
Another wave of machines came out from the adjacent corridors and all leapt toward him, and he responded with a tornado-like flurry of sword strikes, like a giant blender shredding all of the would-be attackers to pieces.
He turned into the next hallway where he witnessed other captives being reprogrammed to have the minds of sheep, who followed the drones as part of larger herd. Shade put away his sword so as not to harm them, and slipped silently into one of the reprogramming rooms.
There, he saw a boy about in his mid teens who appeared to be unnaffected by the reprogramming.
“Oh hey. Did it not work on you either?” he asked.
“Actually, they tried taking me to the Echo Chambers.”
“Yeah, that’s where they were gonna send me next. The sheep thing works best on the weak-minded. Turns out I’m special. But they just tell me I have shit taste... I’m HomestuckLover by the way.”
“Is… that the name they gave you?”
“No, I had that name before.”
Shade wanted to say something, but considering he used to go by the name “DBZfanboy” he figured he shouldn’t judge.
“So do you want to escape with me?” Shade asked “Or are you… Homestuck?”
He looked at Hero’s Shade in utter disgust. “If where we’re escaping to is Wienerschnitzels, I’ll forgive you for that.”
They followed the hall down to the end, where a gigantic unpiloted mech crashed through the wall and rained down a hail of missiles. Shade let loose a barrage of sword beams to intercept them, and leapt toward it, ready to hack it to pieces.
Suddenly, it disappeared, and he looked down at HomestuckLover who had just swallowed.
“Did you just…”
Homestuck let out a burp of smoke.
“Questions for later.”
The two continued to navigate the vast facility until coming across a robot that looked different from the rest. He was much taller than the rest, and had a screen display on his chest.
“Hello. I am Farcical Automated Nano-Dome Obfuscating Matches,” it spoke, as the letters ‘F-A-N-D-O-M’ appeared on its chest screen. “It appears more extreme methods are required in order correct your minds. The attempts to categorize the two of you has been most difficult.”
“But why?” Shade asked. “Why is it necessary to put people into groups and label them?”
“Label? F.A.N.D.O.M. has many labels,” he said, procuring a roll of stickers. “What is your opinion on Pokemon?”
“Oh, well I guess I can’t really say much about it, I only really played the first few on Gameboy.”
“Genwunner!” it shouted, slapping a label onto Shade.
“Are you a fan of anime?”
“I mean, not really I only watch like three or four…”
“Westaboo! Do you have-”
“STOP THAT! Neither of those are even accurate to their original meanings!”
“F.A.N.D.O.M. overextrapolates the most minute possible hints of preference or favoritism in order to designate individuals to the herd.”
“No, you’ve got it all wrong! Opinions are supposed to make us all different not the same!”
“Unique variations in each individual accounts for an infinite number of possible variables. By removing the smaller, minor variations, F.A.N.D.O.M. simplifies humanity itself to its most basic level.”
“Those variations, however small, are what makes humanity what it is! Have you considered that the reason the two of us don’t fit into any of your categories is because there are outliers? People who don’t think like the rest? People who aren’t shallow enough to expect someone to act or behave a certain way just because of one or two oversimplified traits about them? People like us who think…” Shade raised his hand, shooting an energy blast to make a hole in the ceiling. “...outside the box. And to be frank, these people here can afford to think that way too.”
“Yeah. We don’t want your Echo Chambers or your labels. Understand?” Homestuck chimed in.
The light from outside shined down on F.A.N.D.O.M. “Yes… F.A.N.D.O.M. understands.”
It reached and flipped a switch on its arm. The alarms blared.
“HIPSTER ALERT! HIPSTER ALERT!”
“Oh, for the love of fuck…” Shade and Homestuck said simultaneously.
Thousands of tiny flying robots swarmed the two, but Shade released a thunderbolt from his hand that fried them all.
“Since when could you do that?” Homestuck asked.
“Who cares? Electrokinesis is an awesome power.”
The two turned to see F.A.N.D.O.M. who had already gotten into a small one-manned ship and had taken off. Hero’s Shade readied his blade but Homestuck put his arm in front of him.
“I’ve got this…” He said, holding up a pie. He tripped over a rock and the pie flew out of his hands, colliding with the ship and resulting in a devastating explosion followed by a mushroom cloud.
Like a meteorite, F.A.N.D.O.M.’s head fell from the wreckage. Hero’s Shade examined it closer to find some kind of string sticking out of the top, perplexed by what it could possibly mean.
“How… how can we go on without other people to tell us what we should like and what we should dislike?” they heard from behind them.
“You’re just going to have to form your own opinions from now on,” Shade replied. He then turned to Homestuck. “Well, I suppose the only thing left to do now is go home. My friends I’m sure would like to meet you.”
“I don’t know… they might not like me. They’d probably just think I have shit taste like the others.”
“Actually… we’re all pretty different. So if you’re weird, you’re gonna fit right in.”
“Your friends sound like pretty cool guys.” he smiled.
Hey guys, Shade here! Sorry about the long hiatus, but in all fairness, again, I did warn you. Can you really blame me though? As you know, quality takes time B)
This chapter may also be shorter than usual, and I try to work a prologue into each chapter, but honestly I just wanted to get this out there before the day was over, since this is all I've been working on today. So I hope you enjoy this little treat before I have to go back to college, though hopefully I'll have more time in between classes to work on more! Hopefully...
The next chapter will definitely be worth the wait, since it's one that I've been hinting at for quite some time! (It's the one I posted a sneak peak for).
See ya till then!
Created and written by Hero’s Shade
Co-written by G1’s Kirby Kid, Grand Blazer and others who wish to remain anonymous
Starring… the G1 Community!
Original thumbnail art by ThorGundersen1058