Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Scam of the Mysterious Adventurers

I have long since come to the conclusion that the "rat menace" is actually an elaborate scheme to defraud the town of its money. The warning signs are all there, so clear as day that I wonder why anyone else hasn't caught on yet.

First, these "adventurers" that mysteriously appear out of nowhere, dressed in exactly the same attire, all so coincidentally mute. They'll approach me to be "briefed" on the rat problem, but many simply skip through my introduction as if they've heard it before. I suppose they must have, for immediately, without even doing any prior research, they know where to head in order to hunt rats.

It's almost as if they have some magic arrow that points them in the correct direction.

Then, as quickly as they leave, they'll return with evidence of their successful eradication campaign. Interestingly, the proof is always 50 rat tails, not one more, not one less. Not rat pelts, nor complete carcasses, always rat tails. And once they collect the reward, they'll never appear before me ever again, even though the bounty still remains.

It's clearly a scam, isn't it? For all we know, they could literally be farming rats somewhere right outside of town.

The joke's on them, though. I've managed to convince these adventurers to accept most of their bounty in the form of an entirely imaginary reward. It's not money, or weapons, or any real or physical material. Yet for some reason, they all seem exceptionally delighted to be informed that they have received 'XP'...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Website Stumbled upon Purely by Accident

I discovered the website by clicking on a link on an email I received. The email was titled "Millions of videos, 2 min free previews, blondes, redheads, all ages included!!! Secret videos of everyone you know and want to know inside!!"

I figured there was no harm in following the link, if only out of curiosity. Yup, nothing but sheer curiosity. In any case, my computer was protected by the latest in antivirus software and I had the most recent patches to Internet Explorer installed.

Damnit, it was another bait-and-switch. Again. I ought to have guessed from the preview thumbnails, which were strangely aligned to a more elderly demographic. I thought it was a cookies issue.

Was this a new sort of snuff website? All the 2 minute previews showed were people dying. Of heart attacks, on the surgical table, in their sleep, in car crashes... All manners of strange and unusual deaths were documented and indexed under various search labels.

It got stranger when I selected "My Location!!" from the drop-down search options. The search list was repopulated, and immediately I could tell something unusual was at work. I could recognize some of the locations in the preview thumbnails. There was a video of a recent fatal car crash that happened two blocks away. Another video depicted a failed mugging from about two decades back. Curiously, there was an old black/white GIF of a laborer dying in a construction accident. But one thing was clear- it happened somewhere near me.

Intrigued, I decide to go one step further- I clicked on "Facebook Integration". I thought that there would be no search results, since all my friends were still alive- to my knowledge- but when the search returned over a thousand hits, I knew I had stumbled across something great.

I had discovered a database which stored videos depicting the last two minutes of each person's life.

Then the question struck me- what about myself? How would I die?

Without much hesitation I entered my own name into the search box, with the various search filters to remove others of the same name.

There were no hits. Perhaps the filters were too strict. I relaxed the filters.

No hits again. I performed one more search, this time with no filters.

A few tens of search results were returned. Strangely, none of them were me.

Where was I? I reviewed all the search results, this time searching more closely for a resemblance. Nothing.

What did this mean? Was I... could I be... immortal? A sense of glee welled up inside me.

It was exactly then that a massive message box popped up in the middle of the screen.

"Congratulations for being the 1000,000,000th visitor!!! You have WON a FREE privacy protection package!!! LIFETIME protection, GUARANTEED!!!"

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Monsterslayer is a Child?

The king and his maester stood before the site of the battle. The battle had already been won for them, and the monster lay prone on the battlefield, motionless even in the braying winds. 

"A child slew the monster?" the king asked.

"By all accounts it was, my lord," replied his maester, who was known as the wisest man in all the lands.

"But that is impossible."

"That is indeed what it should be, but all facts point to that. There was no trace of a wound on the great beast, save a small injury matching that weapon wielded by the young one."

"And that fell the beast?"

"It would appear so, my lord."

"But our great armies failed to match it in battle, and were destroyed!"

"That too is true, my lord, but there are some things beyond mortal reasoning."

"Beyond mortal reasoning? Hold on, don't tell me this is one of those bullshit legends- you know, no man of woman born shall blah blah blah. This child isn't a man."

"I hardly think that is it, my lord. We did try arming a hundred younglings, of various ages and genders, and sending them into battle against the beast. The results were... unsatisfactory, and certainly did affect your approval ratings. What is fortunate, though, is that this is not a democracy."

"Could the fact that he was alone have influenced the outcome of the battle?"

"You are referring to what the Easterners refer to as the conservation of ninja strength? A ludicrous theory, though in our desperation we did attempt it. Several waves of men (and sometimes children) were sent to assault the creature, and we varied the number in each wave by powers of two, starting with five-hundred-and-twelve and finally ending with a lone champion. Again, the results were appalling, though I am glad to report that your manpower bills for the subsequent months will be substantially reduced."

"I suppose there are silver linings to every cloud. Did you notice the weapon the child was wielding? Could that be the key? Perhaps it was previously intractably encased in stone, or was gifted to him by some watery wrench?"

"Pardon me for failing to mention this, my lord, but the wound was inflicted by a finger poke, which if you forgive me for making the assumption, is unlikely to be supernaturally gifted. On later inspection, his finger was not found to have vorpal properties."

"That hardly clarifies matters, does it? This is an important mystery crucial to the survival of the realm, and it must be resolved!"

"I do have a theory of sorts, but it will take some time to research."

"Speak, noble maester."

"What if the child was a mere agent of chance? It is considered very unlikely, if not impossible, for a single person to win the lottery, but all the same someone will win the lottery. By this learned hypothesis, it is clear that this child, which we have shown have no advantage or talent to beastslaying, merely benefited from being near the beast when it expired naturally."

"Expired naturally?"

"Yes, my lord. It is not unheard of for foreign, or even alien, invaders to succumb to all manners of natural deaths. One might even say it died to a bacterial infection."

"That is heresy! We have just barely researched the miasma theory, and I will not have a maester of the realm proclaim the blasphemous theory of germs!"

"Quite right, my lord."

"It appears that we have, again, come to no conclusion. It is most unsatisfactory, but there is no other possibility. Perhaps this is yet another contrived scenario proposed by some odd god to test the wits of mortal men."

"Quite right, my lord, quite right."