“Hello world and welcome to the 10th annual Livestream Day,” said George, one of the commentators. “Livestream Day is when every creative and their hyper-intelligent dog is broadcasting a livestream of one sort or another.”
Maggie, the other commentator, joined in with, “That also means it’s open season on streamers. Thousands of stream snipers and trolls have descended upon the Virtual Net in the hopes of bagging a streamer or two.”
“That’s right, Maggie,” said George. “But it means a good day if you’re a grinder. Every grinder has been hired out for today’s event. The grinder’s job, of course, will be to protect the streamer from snipers.”
Maggie smiled a little too brightly. “And how might they do that?”
“Many ways, Maggie, but the most common is the grinder will make a decoy account. The grinder will look exactly the same as the streamer, right down to the gamertag, or the grinder will squad up with the steamer and act as a human shield protecting the streamer for as long as possible.”
Meanwhile at Spydrone base camp…
I paced across the small stage; an American flag acted as the backdrop.
“Troops,” I said looking over Sally, Brain, Danny, and Bandit—my human intelligent dog, “today is Livestream Day. We’ve been hired to protect Spydrone.” Spydrone, a female-looking robot wearing a black trench coat and fedora and carrying a briefcase attached to her back, waved. “We must protect her at all costs. I won’t lie to you; it’ll be war out there, and some of us won’t make it.”
Danny gulped. Brain rolled his eyes.
“Danny!” I pointed at him suddenly causing him to jump. “You will be our decoy. You’ll dress up as Spydrone and hopefully lure many of the snipers away. Sally, Bandit, and I will act as bodyguards. Brain will remain here and act as our monitor.” My pack of friends nodded in agreement. “Everyone have proximity chat enabled? They nodded. “Are we all connected to TinCan so we can talk even when we are away from each other?” They nodded again. “Alright then; let’s do this!”
Streamers from all around the world arrived at the stream lobby. Sally, aka Kickbutt98, looked amazing as her avatar. Her outfit consisted of a camouflage cheerleader uniform and black war paint under her eyes. When she equipped her shock-gun, she looked even hotter.
The host for the event appeared on the stage via a burst of log-on-light. “Welcome everyone,” he raised his hands in a greeting gesture, “to Livestream Day. To better assist you, all available bandwidth was transferred here for two hours, so you have two hours to complete your livestream.”
He cleared his throat. “And as you might guess this also makes you easier targets for the stream snipers and trolls.” He offered a quick shrug. “Oops.”
“The livestream session,” the host pointed to a large holographic clock overhead, “begins in ten seconds. May the algorithm always be with you.” The clocked buzzed resetting to two hours. “I’m outta here.” The host vanished in another burst of light.
“Hello, web-heads,” said a streamer talking to a floating sphere that acted as the camera, “and welcome to today’s livestream. We’ll—”
The streamer screamed as he derezzed into pixel blocks. More shots rang out from all around us.
“It’s an ambush!” I shouted.
“The host set us up!” said Sally.
“Go, go, go!” I waved.
Sally, Bandit, and I took up positions as we ushered Spydrone out of there. One streamer got shot in the back. He fell; he held a pleading arm out to everyone. “Tell my viewers,” he coughed weakly, “to subscribe.” He collapsed into pixels.
Explosions hit around us as I tried to plot the safest course. Suddenly, a sniper dropped from their position in a tree. She aimed her rifle at Spydrone. “End of line, streamer,” she said.
We’ll be right back after these messages.
The adventures of Joe and his friends continue in the Dogboy Chronicles. The Dogboy Chronicles is a multiverse of sci-fi action and adventure for young adults. The book series is available at select retailers. Paperback copies are available at Amazon.
And now back to the story.
A yellow car came out of nowhere and smashed into the sniper derezzing them. Time slowed for a moment as I saw Danny, dressed as Spydrone, behind the wheel; he gave us a thumbs-up before disappearing down the path with a swarm of motorcycles, hover vehicles, and jet pack riders in pursuit.
A few feet away, we rested near a park bench. Bandit, as Silent-Paw—his ninja-dog avatar, sniffed out the area. He gave us a head nod to indicate it was clear. Sally and I caught our breath while Spydrone began her intro.
“Thanks for asking me to come along,” said Sally. She leaned back in the bench resting her arms on the backrest and staring into the sky.
I was leaning forward resting my face in my hands. “Sure,” I said, lowering my hands. “You’re a great gamer and fighter, why wouldn’t I invite you? You’re also my friend.”
She rested a hand on my shoulder; my face flushed. “I’m serious; not a lot of guys would let a girl—”
“Wait,” I said. I stood. “Something’s wrong.”
Sally stood too. “You’re right. It’s much too quiet.” She scanned the area. “Joe! RPG!”
A rocket-missile whistled as it shot towards us like a bat with a grudge. We gathered around Spydrone.
“Barrier!” I said.
A bubble appeared around us as the missile hit. We ran for it using the blast’s smoke as cover. Soon, we were out of cover; bullets started pinging around us.
“This week’s theory,” said a nearby education-entertainment streamer. He stood before a chalkboard with a crudely drawn elephant, “will be on how the elephant in Epoch’s Curse was in fact an alien lifeform.”
Team Spydrone took cover behind the chalkboard. The streamer stopped speaking; he leaned around the chalkboard so he could address us. “Excuse me, I’m trying to tear apart an award-winning movie so that I can earn a few coin in ad revenue.”
Three shots hit the chalkboard and the streamer dove behind the chalkboard. More shots came from the trees, bushes, and I could hear incoming vehicles.
“Hey!” shouted a new voice, which drew everyone’s attention. A streamer wearing ripped jeans, a denim jacket, and sunglasses waved his arms. “I’m doing a charity livestream for the BLT Foundation. For every $1,000 donated, you get a free shot at me!”
The air filled with the sounds of thwips as money bags materialized next to the streamer. His donation counter jumped to $3 million. The next sound was thousands of gunshots. A moment later, the charity streamer had more holes than Swiss cheese.
“Worth it,” he groaned before derezzing.
“Jeffery!” shouted Spydrone. “No!!”
“We need to go,” I said putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. “We can’t let his sacrifice go in vain.”
She nodded, and we were on the run again. We passed by two streamers standing by a sign attached to a tree. A sniper stood with his rifle aimed at them. One of the streamers, a blue skinned humanoid, ripped the sign off the tree. Underneath was another sign saying, “Sweats Season.”
“Sweats season,” said the streamer.
The other streamer; a sweat dressed in tights, headband, and leg warmers, pulled the sign off. He pointed at the sign. “Streamer season.”
“Sweats season,” said the streamer pulling down the sign.
“Streamer season,” said the sweat.
“Sweats season,” said the streamer.
The sweat streamer pointed the sniper’s rifle at himself. “Sweats season.”
The streamer jerked the sniper’s rifle back towards himself. “I’m sick of arguing with you! It’s streamer season!” He faced the sniper. “Now, fire!”
The sniper shrugged then fired.
The fooled streamer glanced down at the hole in his chest. “Dang it,” he said before falling into a pile of pixels.
The other streamer, the sweat/try-hard, chuckled for a moment. The sniper turned his rifle on him. “Uh-oh,” said the sweat.
Both took off with the sweat jumping to avoid each rifle shot.
A man in a business suit logged in right in front of our group. He held up a hand in the “stop” gesture. We screeched to a halt. He presented a badge. “I’m from the Internet Censorship and Protocol Department. I’m afraid we cannot allow this to continue. This level of violence is not suitable for this target audience.” He reached inside his jacket seemingly to put away his badge; but instead, he pulled out an oversized mallet. “This, however, is appropriate levels of violence. Death to the streamer!”
He swung. I jumped forward activating my power gloves. A quick-time event activated as we fought for the mallet.
X, X, X, X, X… I thought as the game responded with flashes to my “button mashing” input.
I won the duel and wrestled the mallet free from the censor. I bonked him on the head sending him back to whatever log-in spawn point he came from.
It was time to run again. Sally, Bandit, Spydrone, and I panted as we made our way across the map. Spydrone then slowed.
“I have a donation,” she said.
“Don’t respond,” I said. “It’s a trap!”
“I have to,” she said. She stopped and addressed the camera sphere. “Thanks for the $10 donation, XMonke. I really—”
We’ll be right back after a quick word from our sponsor.
And we’re back.
The shot came from the bushes. Spydrone vanished. Sally, Bandit, and I looked at the ground as the sniper leapt out from their hiding spot; they pumped the air in victory.
Spydrone then reappeared.
“Whaaaaa?” we all said.
Spydrone blinked a couple times, confused by our reactions. “What happened? My Internet lagged.”
Sally and I glanced at each other then back at Spydrone. “That’s the first time I’ve seen lag save a life,” I said.
The sniper kicked the ground in frustration; steam came out of their ears. A moment later, we were surrounded by vehicles of all kinds. A gang of stream snipers exited the vehicles. One shot the sniper who failed instantly derezzing them. The gang parted so a figure in a dark cowboy suit could step forward. He had a five o’clock shadow and chewed on a toothpick. We instantly recognized him as theRezzmaker, the most notorious stream sniper in the land.
“I’ve been looking for you.” He pointed to Spydrone.
“Wh-wh-why mm-m-me…Why me?” said Spydrone.
theRezzmaker flicked away the toothpick. “Because you said you left the crusts on your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That ain’t natural.” He cracked his neck. “And with you as the last streamer standing, I’ll have my third in a row Livestream Day victory.”
He signaled his crew with his head. They equipped their weapons. They took aim.
“Not even this pathetic group of grinders can save you,” said theRezzmaker. “Ready, aim…”
“Wait!” said Spydrone.
“What is it?” growled theRezzmaker.
“An ad is playing.”
The crew lowered their weapons; theRezzmaker relaxed. We saw a holographic message informing us that three non-skippable ads were playing.
theRezzmaker groaned. “MyVideo gets greedier every day.”
Finally, the ads ended. theRezzmaker’s crew raised their weapons. “Ready,” said theRezzmaker. “Aim. Fffff…”
The crew and theRezzmaker moved in slow motion.
“What…is…hap…pen…ning?” said theRezzmaker painfully slow.
Brian’s voice came over TinCan. “That would be me. I am currently spamming the stream like Danny during March Madness.”
Sally looked to me. “Brain’s still here? I would have thought he’d be distracted with some new invention by now.”
I rubbed the back of my neck. “Honestly, I forgot he was even here.”
Brain continued, after a slight insulted grumble. “My spamming is slowing then down for now. It won’t be long before the moderators boot me.”
Sally and I nodded to each other.
I jumped into the air with my power gloves raised; I slammed back into the ground with a shockwave attack. The sniper crew flew into the air…slowly and fell back even slower. It was kind of fun listening to their slow motion, “Whoa!” While the crew were still airborne, Sally used her bow and arrow to take out the foes. Each dissolved into pixels before they hit the ground.
Sally and I were about to do a victory high-five when we turned around.
“You think you’re pretty clever with that little trick,” said theRezzmaker. Where’d he come from? He started to reach for his pistol. “I’ve bested the best. I will not be taken down by a couple punks and a puppy dog.” Bandit huffed. theRezzmaker had his hand on his gun. “I am the greatest stream sniper the world has ever known. You are just grinders. I have—”
theRezzmaker jerked around like fish on land. I glanced to my side. Sally pointed her shock-gun. Smoke trailed off the gun’s muzzle. “He talks too much,” she said. She blew way the smoke.
“Congratulations!” said a disembodied voice that sounded similar to the host. “You’ve survived! All the snipers have been defeated! And you have a whole two minutes to finish your stream.”
Spydrone looked panicked for a moment but then became a professional again. “I hope everyone enjoyed today’s stream. Don’t forget if you want to show support for my channel, you can become a member or subscribe. I’d also like to thank Joe Rover and his friends for protecting me during this stream; they were awesome—especially Sally Pine, go girl power!” Sally raised her arm in a half-heart fist pump. Join me for tomorrow’s stream where I’ll show you how to use duct tape to keep intruders from using vents to move around your base. Bye for now.”
Copyright Joe Rover 2021. All rights reserved.
Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.