I never planned on writing a sequel to one of my pastas before, but that's what ended up happening. While playing a totally unrelated game, I had thoughts about a sequel for First Kraid. This is what I came up with. I apologize for the length; I didn't intend on it getting this long.
Have you ever gotten frustrated with computers? If you have, I understand your pain. That is what I was going through a short while ago. I was moving off to college and my mother accidentally dropped my laptop. It was beyond repair, and I had to go get a new one. I was short on money, but if I didn’t get a laptop soon, I would be at a disadvantage at the college I was going to.
So I decided to shop around. I wanted to find a used computer to help save money. But I was iffy about buying things used online, so rather than do that, I decided to hook up with an old friend of mine, Allie. She had left around a year ago, going to the same college as I was soon attending, and we sort of fell out of touch. I figured she was just busy.
I called her on the phone and asked her if she had any old computers that I could have. Luckily, she did. She said to come over to her dorm as soon as I was able and she would give me her previous computer, as she had gotten a brand new one a couple days ago. I took her up on her offer and felt relieved. It was even better that it was free. She wasn’t going to charge me. Not because the computer was a piece of junk and she wanted to get rid of it, but because she was a close friend and wanted to help me out due to the kindness of her heart.
A week later, I had packed up and was being driven to the college. It took a couple hours to get there. Once I did, I said goodbye to my parents and promised to visit them for the holidays. I got settled into my dorm and unpacked my things. I was about to lay down and rest when I remembered about Allie. I got up and walked down the hallway to search for her room.
It didn’t take me long to find her. I knocked on the door and she let me come inside. She led me over to the computer she was talking about. Other than a few scratches on the keyboard, it looked pretty new. I asked her if there was anything wrong with it. Allie just shrugged and said it ran fine the last time she used t. She said she didn’t wipe the computer clean and asked if she wanted me to do that. I declined and said I would take care of it later.
I didn’t stay long with her. I needed to get some rest for tomorrow was the first day of classes. I wanted to get a good night’s sleep. I went back to my room with my new computer and hooked it up. I turned it on to make sure it really did work. Once I concluded that, I went to lay down, but something caught my eye.
I noticed that there was a folder on the desktop labeled ROMs. I frowned a little. I thought Allie wasn’t interested in playing with ROMs and emulators. I wondered briefly why she didn’t tell me, but decided it wasn’t worth asking about. I decided to open up the folder to see what she had. Upon opening it up, I noticed that the folder was almost completely empty. If there were other ROMs in here, they were deleted. There was only one file left. It was called First_Kraid.
First Kraid? That sounded like a title to a ROM hack, and not a very good one either. I checked the file to see what Metroid game it was a mod of. Strangely, the extension was an executable, not an NES or SNES. That meant this couldn’t be a ROM hack, specifically. I know some programs like Game Creator allow you to create your own games with ease. I played a Metroid game created using Game Creator, so I figured First Kraid must be the same kind of deal.
I looked at the clock. I had some time to play a little bit of a game. I double clicked the icon and the game loaded up. I was expecting a sidescrolling game as all Metroid mods tend to be this. I was surprised when I instead found myself staring at a game with full on 3D graphics. After waiting a couple of seconds, preview scenes began to play, showing what the gameplay was like. It was much like Metroid Other M, although it was still...different. It had a feel more like the first Spyro games. Hard to explain.
One thing that stood out was that you don’t play as Samus in this game. Instead, you play as the original NES-style Kraid. I was surprised. I had never seen any hack like this, let alone a fan game with the same premise. Upon discovering this, I was eager to start. I pressed the button to begin the game.
Before the game loaded up, it showed a dialogue box. I don’t know if the dialogue box was meant for the player, in that case me, or if were directed at Kraid. It read:
“As you trudge through this world alone, there is one thing you should know. A person who is willing to give up their identity will become invisible to the world. That person, in turn, will soon regret it, and be consumed by their mistake.”
I blinked. I didn’t know what this had to do with a Metroid game. Then again, it was a fan game, so I shrugged it off. After that bit of strange dialogue, the game itself started up. There wasn’t any intro animation, but I wasn’t surprised. The game didn’t look like it was finished. Some of the textures are not yet fully polished and it looked like some objects didn’t have a model for them yet; in their place were little gray cubes.
I assumed Allie had secretly taken a hobby in making games and didn’t tell me. Maybe she was worried about how I would react, or maybe she was making it as a surprise. I didn’t dwell on it long. I got out an old gaming controller, since playing a 3D game with a keyboard would be a pain. I was surprised my old controller still worked, but was still happy. After customizing the controller for First Kraid, I started the game.
The first level loaded up. It did not give a good first impression. The level was very bland. There was mostly just a flat land, with one or two blocky hills. The textures used were very simple. This gave the game a very beta-ish simple look. I wondered if any of the other levels were further along.
Kraid himself looked quite polished. His movements were fluid and nicely animated. His texture gave off a scaly, slimy look. His long hair looked soft but also a tad rigid. I tried out the buttons to see what he was capable of doing. He could jump pretty high, higher than Samus’s normal jump, though not as high as her high jump.
Kraid had three moves. The most obvious one was that he could shoot spikes from his chest. The second move was slashing forward with his hand claws. And the last move was snapping his jaws forward. I played around with him for a while to get a feel for how his character moved. I was disappointed that the game didn’t seem as polished as Kraid looked, but oh well. A beta game can be just as fun.
I walked through the level. It was immensely large for a first level, and I wondered how it would have looked if it were finished. After reaching an invisible wall, I turned around and went back. I headed towards one of the blocky hills. Maybe there was something there I needed to press on to the next level, if there was even a second level.
As soon as I walked up to the block hill and walked into it for a few seconds, Kraid latched onto it with his claws. He was able to scale up the structure with great ease. As he reached the top, he pulled himself up.
The top of the structure wasn’t very big. It was kind of circle-ish and wasn’t much larger than Kraid’s body. There was almost nothing up here. Just a small arrow sign pointing in the direction of the other platform. Well at least I know I had the right idea. I climbed down and headed towards the other blocky structure. This one was about twice the size of the other platform. I immediately climbed up the side of the platform.
As I got to the top, I was disappointed that there was nothing up here. Well almost nothing. Like the other hill, this one had a sign. But it wasn’t in the shape of an arrow. It was larger and rectangle-shaped. There was wording on it. I had to get in real close to read it. This is what it said:
“The journey is not yet done. Please head to the cave down below.”
Weird short message. But nonetheless, I followed its instructions. I found the cave at the base of the structure and went inside. When level 2 loaded, I noticed there was a change. It looked a little more complete. It was still definitely unfinished. But it still had more stuff in it than the last level.
Level 2 had a tiny bit of a cleaner look to it. The textures were slightly better and the terrain’s hills looked smoother. There were a couple blades of poorly done grass, about three platforms jetting out I could jump onto, one of them having something shiny on it, and a couple of moving objects on the ground across the level.
Maybe the game was supposed to feel half finished, and perhaps later levels will gradually look more and more polished. That would have been a cool idea, actually. There’s only one game I know of today that uses a similar technique. I believe it’s called Evoland. Although in Evoland, even the simplest form of the game looked completed. First Kraid, on the other hand, looked immensely unfinished at a glance. So it wasn’t exactly the same.
I jumped onto the platforms to whatever the shiny thing was. It was a gray block with a bright light swirling around it. A missing model I presume. I had Kraid touch it, and the light wrapped around him. After it stopped, I got a message saying my health increased. I was confused as I didn’t see a health bar anywhere, but maybe that would appear in a later level.
I moved over to one of the moving objects. It was an unfinished model. It was blocky and barely resembled what I assume was a geemer. It touched Kraid and there was a brief flash of red over Kraid. I assumed I had taken damage and attacked the possible geemer with my claws. It stopped moving and just sank into the ground and disappeared.
After killing the other geemers, or whatever they were, I heard a rumbling sound. I quickly found the cause. A piece of the ground was opening up. An arrow appeared, pointing down. Seeing nothing else I could do, I jumped down, and soon entered the next level.
Now I am not going to bore you with the details of going to each and every level. I will say this. Each one was gradually more completed than the next, with more things added. My health bar appeared at level 4. Basic enemy textures appeared around level 5. And it just got better from there. By level 10, the whole game now had a very polished, professional look to it.
I was finding myself really enjoying the game. It was pretty basic, similar to the first Spyro game, although there’s nobody to rescue, just a bunch of collecting and killing enemies. In this case, I was collecting what looked like glowing crystals that increased my health. The enemies were getting stronger, even the lowly geemers, and I had to clear them all before advancing to the next level.
I liked that this felt different from a traditional Metroid game. It was clearly a fanmade Metroid game, but the different gameplay gave it a different feel. It, in a way, gave the game its own identity, which helped seperate it from being just like all the other fan Metroid games I had seen. I wouldn’t say it was the greatest fan game I played, but it was a welcome change of pace.
It took a few more levels before there was something new in the gameplay. A boss fight. I was placed in a large arena-kind of place. Mountainous walls surrounded me. Dark skies with gray clouds swirled above me in a cracked opening of the cave I had been in for the past several levels. A long red life bar was positioned on the opposite side of mine, which was green. The music was uncomfortable to listen to, thumping like the pounding of a drum intermixed with some high pitched violin noises.
Something was coming this way. With each step it took, the ground shook, and Kraid was sent a few inches in the air. This happened every time the boss was approaching, and the closer it got, the higher Kraid was sent flying. Suddenly there was a loud crash. The walls on the opposite side came crumbling down. As the dust cleared up, I could finally see the boss, and I could not believe what I was seeing.
It was Kraid...well the SNES Kraid. The massive reptile monster towered over my Kraid, the NES Kraid. Slowly, he made his way towards me. His glowing red eyes looked frightening in a 3D environment. His sharply fanged jaws were much more menacing than they were in Super Metroid or Metroid Zero Mission. His wicked hand claws looked so long, I had no idea how I was going to dodge them.
SNES Kraid stood in the center of the arena, stopping there. He stared intently at Kraid. The beast was strangely quiet, don’t nothing more than stare and move his hands around a bit. I figured he was waiting for me to move to the center. Must be the script. I was proven right when I got close enough. SNES Kraid finally did something.
SNES Kraid let out a rumbling roar before striking down with one of his hands. I managed to get Kraid out of striking range. As I kept dodging, I wondered how I would manage to defeat him. With Samus, I could just shoot his mouth with missiles. But I didn’t have Samus this time. I had the earlier model of Kraid. He didn’t have missiles, just spikes. I doubt they would do much damage. I couldn’t keep dodging forever, though, and I had to do something.
Winging it, I decided to shoot at him to see what would happen. As expected, the spikes just bounced off his body. I tried to go up higher. As SNES Kraid shot out the claw weapons from his body, I jumped up, like I would if I were playing as Samus. Soon, I was high enough to shoot at his head. I let out a barrage of spikes at SNES Kraid.
To my surprise, it was doing damage. It was obvious because each time a needle hit his neck, there was a noticable “you hit me” sound as it made contact, and SNES Kraid flashed red to indicate damage. His health bar started to go down. Now realizing what my strategy had to be, I did my best to stay at the top and shot SNES Kraid in the neck.
At first, his health bar was only going down little by little, but as time went on, it began to drain even faster. Soon he was down to barely 2% of his health. A few more spikes would do the trick. I was nearing victory. I felt my heart pounding as I avoided more and more of SNES Kraid’s attacks. He was getting faster and more sporadic now. I had gotten hit a few times and was very low on health myself. After a well timed jump, I sent spikes against his neck and....nothing.
The screen had frozen and darkened. Not black, but much darker than it was before. Both Kraid and SNES Kraid froze where they stood. I pressed several buttons to try to get something to happen. The music was caught on one note, creating a screeching sound that was painful to listen to. I lowered the volume down. After a few minutes, I stopped trying to move the characters and sat in disappointment. Of all the times for the game to glitch up, it had to be right at this part. Now I’d have to fight SNES Kraid all over again.
I placed my finger on the power button to force reboot it. Before I could press it, a message box appeared.
“Do not reset. There is more.”
How did the game know what I was about to do? I wanted to think it was just programmed into the game, but that was an oddly specific request. It would require knowing the game would freeze like this and players would force reboot their computer. Unless...was this an intended part of the game?
“I know how you must feel. Unhappy right? You were at the final area. This is the end of the game, or it would have been, if it were finished.”
Everything, except Kraid, started to darken further and swirl around until it was just a black area. Kraid became animated, doing his idle animation. The camera panned around until it showed Kraid from a side view.
“This is my prison.”
The camera zoomed in a little on Kraid. Although his eyes were facing towards the right, it felt like he was looking at me. I couldn’t help but let out a shudder. I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. There was something about that right eye that was visible to me. Something almost real.
I wanted to talk to Allie about this game. I wanted to know why she made it. I didn’t get far before the game had another dialogue box.
“Where are you going....” Kraid’s head turned at an angle until he was looking at the ‘camera’ with a sort of sideways, downwards look. Both his eyes were visible. “...Not-Allie?”
I froze at this. The feeling of being watched intensified. The eyes seemed to bore through mine. As I slowly sat back in my seat, the eyes followed my movements too perfectly to be a coincidence. I mouthed ‘How did you...’ slowly. Kraid could read lips, because a response came almost immediately.
“Allie left the webcam on.”
I turned my eyes slowly upwards. I hadn’t noticed the webcame attached to the top of the monitor. The little green light was on. I took in a few breaths before looking back at Kraid. So that was how he was seeing me..but how was that possible? He was just some 3D sprite in a game. He couldn’t have had access to it. But I was just being foolish. He clearly had access to it. He was looking right at me.
I went to unplug it, but there was no wire. It was a wireless. I tried to quit the game, but no buttons were responding. As I continuously tried to quit the game, Kraid’s eyes narrowed further. He was clearly getting angry at my attempts to leave.
“Stay with me for a while. I am lonely. Everyone ignores me. They always have ever since he showed up.” He paused for a moment. His eyes almost seemed to glow. “You are going to ignore me too, aren’t you? I might be the original, but everyone loves the replacement. That is the lesson of my little ‘game’. Sometimes, even the most intense efforts...are futile.”
I was growing more and more uneasy the longer Kraid was on the screen. I finally managed to bring up Task Manager. I went over to stop the game’s process. As I did so, before the game closed, Kraid’s eyes widened a little. In an instant, I was back at my desktop. I sighed with relief. Although I had enjoyed the game, I wasn’t sure if I would play it again.
I turned off the webcam and walked over to my bed. I laid down and began to think about the game. thought about calling Allie and asking her about the game. I was curious to know where she got it, or if she was the one who had made it. I looked at the clock and saw how late it was. I would have to take care of it tomorrow.
When I finished my classes the next day, I went over to the computer to start my first set of homework. I woke my computer up from sleep mode, and got an unpleasant surprise. A program called LibreOffice Writer had been opened. What chilled me was that something was written in it. After overcoming the initial shock, I read what it said.
“Where are you? I am lonely.”
“Please talk to me. It’s been a long time since I had someone to chat with.”
“Allie abandoned me. Are you going to abandon me as well?”
“I thought you would be different. I was foolish.”
“Please come back.”
“I just want a friend.”
As I slowly sat down in my seat, I noticed the blinking | moved down a couple lines. I froze. I hadn’t even touched the keyboard yet. I watched as a line was typed up in real time.
“Ah, welcome back, Not-Allie.”
It was at that moment I saw that the webcam had been turned back on. I wanted to scream in frustration, but managed to control myself.
“I was waiting for you to wake up. I was sad that you left without saying hello.”
My eyes widened. Had this thing been watching me as I slept? As if to answer, the next line appeared.
“You look kind of like Allie as you sleep.”
That did it. I closed out of LibreOffice Writer. I wanted nothing more to do with...whatever this was. To get my mind off of it, I tried to load up Youtube. But the browser kept closing on me. Each time I tried to load up Youtube, Firefox would just crash on me. I was about to give up when, on my final try, Youtube seemed to be loading.
Or so I thought. The URL changed, but it was too bizarre for me to remember exactly what it said. A picture was loaded up. It was of the NES version of Kraid laying on the ground in a pool of muddled and ‘melted’ pixels. Not blood; it was multicolored. Written below it was a single word.
Right below that, I swore I could see a faint image of SNES Kraid. His mouth was open, as if he were swallowing the NES Kraid whole.
I closed out of the browser and leaned back in my chair. I thought about leaving my dorm and getting some fresh air to clear my mind. But something compelled me to stay. Although still nervous about this...seemingly alive Kraid, my curiosity was getting peaked. Was this how the original Kraid felt about SNES Kraid?
I wanted answers. I noticed that Allie had Pidgin installed. After adding my AIM account, I found Allie’s username, Allie5200, listed in my buddy list. I was happy to see she was online. I double-clicked her name and a chat box window appeared. This is how our conversation went:
Allie5200: “Oh hello there. How are you enjoying your new computer?”
Me: “It’s good. Hey listen, I need to talk to you.”
Allie5200: “About what?”
Me: “There’s something I need to ask you.”
Allie 5200: “I’m pretty busy, but sure, I’ll answer any question you have. Shoot.”
Me: “Did you create the game First Kraid?”
Me: “Did you download it then?”
Me: “Allie, what can you tell me about this game? Ever since I started to play it, someone keeps talking to me! I sound crazy, don’t I?”
Allie5200: “I believe you.”
Me: “Then please, explain this game.”
Allie5200: “It’s a hacker.”
Me: “What?! Why didn’t you report it?”
Allie5200: “I did. But they have never found him.”
Me: “Why is he doing this?”
Allie5200: “I don’t know. The hacker seems almost...deluded into believing he is Kraid. Or rather, the NES Kraid. First Kraid.”
Me: “And the game...I suppose he created it.”
Allie 5200: “Correct.”
Me: “How did your encounter with the hacker went?”
Allie5200: “I first encountered him about a year ago. I was trying to get some homework done, but instead happened upon an interesting cheat code. First Kraid. Its description was ‘If something is broke, fix it’. And sure enough, something in the game...broke. So I used the code, not knowing what I was getting into. At first, it seemed to just activate a hacked version of the first Metroid game. A whacked out one at that. I won’t go into the details of the gameplay; they aren’t so important. Except for one.”
Me: “And that is...?”
Allie5200: “There was a picture of NES Kraid cutting off the head of SNES Kraid. There was even a headless SNES Kraid in my copy of Super Metroid. I should have known something was up then, but I didn’t think about it at the time. I thought it was just some messed up hack.”
Me: “What happened afterwards?”
Allie5200: “Well not long after that, I found there was a new game on the computer. I hadn’t recalled downloading it. I shouldn’t have clicked it, seeing the title was First Kraid, but foolish of me, I did. I don’t need to describe the game to you; I am sure you saw it all the way to the end.”
Allie5200: “Okay. So I assume you also established contact with him. For me, he appeared after I attempted to beat the game. When the hacker first started talking to me, I had assumed he was just an AI programmed into the game, so I thought nothing of it. Eventually, the hacker started to creep me out. He seemed to know when I was away, when I was at the computer, even when I slept...
Me: “Oh man...what happened after that?”
Allie5200: “Do you really want to know?”
Allie5200: “Okay. Well, I was growing tired of talking with this hacker. I came to the conclusion that he was able to speak to me through the game. First Kraid was a type of malware. I deleted it and attempted to go back to my normal life. I thought that, after deleting the game, the hacker would go away.
But he didn’t. Not long afterwards, I found the game had reinstalled itself. I freaked out. I had the internet shut off. I had no idea how it reinstalled itself. Then he started to talk to me again. He was angry that I had tried to cut off contact. He said I was cruel to do that to a lonely person...”
Me: “He knew that your name was Allie. Did you give him your name?”
Allie5200: “No. I’m not stupid. The bastard read my system profile. He got the information from there. He’s able to access anything on the system. It’s all open to him.”
Me: “So what do I do?”
That was all she could get out before the program crashed on me. I tried to open it, but the program had an error each and every time. I sighed in frustration. I would have to talk to her over the phone. I decided to wait, since she said she was busy.
I thought about what she said. A hacker? I suppose that makes sense. Some people are known to break into other people’s systems. Nothing better to do I suppose. I felt creeped out by the thought of some guy rummaging through my stuff. I was grateful that I barely did anything with the computer. I had no personal stuff on here. The hacker didn’t even know what my real name was.
I decided to open up a ‘chat’ of sorts with this hacker. I opened up LibreOffice Writer, since it was the program it liked to use the most for communication. The conversation went as followed:
Me: “Are you there, First Kraid?”
First Kraid: “Hello, Not-Allie. I am happy you are back.”
Me: “You can call me Lillian. That’s not my real name, but it’s a nickname I like to go by.”
First Kraid: “Okay then. Lillian.”
Me: “Why are you doing this?”
First Kraid: “I don’t understand.”
Me: “Why are you obsessed with Kraid?”
First Kraid: “Because I am Kraid.”
Me: “But you are not Kraid. He does not exist.”
First Kraid: “Of course I exist. You are foolish to believe I don’t. I am here talking with you right now, aren’t I?”
Me: “Listen, you only think you are Kraid. The Super Nintendo version of Kraid didn’t compete with you and drove you out. The Nintendo version of Kraid was always intended to be large, but the limitations of Nintendo made that impossible. NES Kraid was nothing more than an imposter. SNES Kraid is what Kraid was always intended to be.
You are just a hacker. I don’t know why you are so focused on Kraid. I don’t know why you deluded yourself into believing you were Kraid. But knock it off. I am getting sick of this charade. I want you out of my computer.”
First Kraid: “Oh how foolish you are. Believing in made up junk. I see SNES Kraid has won you over. You believe his lies. His deceit. After my failure, Mother Brain replaced me with him. I am sure this is her way of mocking me. I may have destroyed what you call the SNES Kraid. I am sure Allie told you about that. But I know that was a fake. It did not change my fate.
I was hoping you would be more understanding. Surely not all you humans would be this stupid. But maybe I was wrong. You think this is a game. You think I am not real, just an advanced ‘Artificial Intelligence’ as you say. You are an idiot if you believe that. I will show you. I show you just how wrong you are. I will prove to you that I am Kraid. I am not some humanly hacker you believe I am.”
Me: “Okay, I am done talking to you. Get out of my computer by tomorrow, or I will call authorities.”
At that point, I didn’t want to talk to the hacker anymore. I just wanted to get some homework done and go to sleep. I didn’t want to think about him for the rest of the day. I hoped he would respect my wishes and leave me alone.
And to my surprise, he seemed to be honoring my wishes and was leaving me be. I was able to open up Firefox without so much as a hiccup. I fumbled through the default search engine to locate stuff for my essay that I had to write. I knew getting information online was frowned upon, but I had no books with me at the time and there were no book stores nearby. This would have to do.
I typed up my essay. It took a couple of hours. By the time I was done, my eyes were burning and my head hurt. I saved the project in LibreOffice Writer and closed it down. It was still a little early, but I decided to hit the sack anyway. I made sure to push the webcam in another direction this time before I slept. Then I went to bed.
In the morning, I slowly opened my eyes and saw the time. When I saw that it was close to when classes start, I bolted out of bed immediately. I cursed myself for forgetting to set the alarm and sleeping in late. I had to print out my essay first before I left. It was my first class, so I could not wait on that. I got on the computer and opened up LibreOffice Writer and clicked on my document.
Upon opening the file, I was shocked to see that my entire document had been erased. In its place was a repeated line that said “I am Kraid.” I clenched my teeth and gripped my head tightly. I had worked hard on that essay. I couldn’t believe it was all gone now. What was I going to tell the teacher?
I was about to talk to the hacker, but I stopped myself. That was what he wanted. I was certain. I took in a deep breath. I wasn’t going to fall for his trap. And as I looked at the day, I realized the essay wasn’t due until tomorrow. I would just have to write it on another computer and print it out so it could not be tampered with.
I asked one of the girls in a nearby dorm if I could borrow her computer. I was happy when she agreed. After class, I went over into her room. She was laying on her bed reading some book. She nodded her head at me as she saw me walk in. She pointed to her small laptop, which she had plugged and charging in the wall.
The first thing I did when I got on it was check my email. Not the smartest thing to do since I was supposed to be working. But I didn’t think it would matter too much. I would be on and off it real quick. I logged into my email and looked at my inbox. Most of it was spam, as usual. But one of the recent emails looked strange.
The sender was my own email. I did send stuff to myself from time to time, but I didn’t send anything today. I was a little disturbed, but curious at the same time. I double clicked the email and read its contents.
“Why didn’t you let me explain myself? Why did you leave me? Come back. I only want to talk.”
I growled softly to myself. I found myself feeling more frustrated than disturbed by this hacker. He was acting like a little child. I thought about deleting the email, but decided to keep it. It would make fine evidence for when I went over to the police station to report this creeper. I loaded up a search engine and started to look for the site I used for my essay.
Not ten minutes later, the tab flashed, indicating I got an email. I checked it. I sighed loudly when I saw it was that stupid hacker again. I didn’t bother reading the email this time. I just went back to my homework.
This time, the hacker hadn’t attempted to bother me for the next hour and a half. I was grateful. I was able to get most of my essay done. There were still a couple more paragraphs to write. Before I finished, I felt my phone vibrate. I flipped my phone open and took a look at who was sending it.
My eyes widened as I saw the message.
“I have been trying to be nice. But I learned my mistake with Allie. If you continue acting like her, I will take drastic measures.”
My mind spun. How did that damn hacker get my number? I then remembered that I put my phone number in my email account in case I lost the password. The hacker must have read my account information and got the number that way. It was the only thing that made sense.
I finished up the essay. I was grateful, and confused, that the hacker didn’t try to interrupt me this time. I hadn’t gotten another message from him. I printed out my essay, thanked the girl, and returned to my dorm. I put the essay in my subject folder and laid down on my bed.
My mind couldn’t help but wander over to the game, First Kraid. I recalled Allie said that it was malware that let him control the computer. But I realized she had to be wrong. The hacker was able to reinstall the game, so he obviously had control whether or not this game was installed. Something else must have been giving him control.
He had called the game his prison. That was a lie. He was not hindered in the game. He was nothing more than a jerk trying to get attention. And what an immature way to do it, too. Pretending to be some made up video game character. Even the most avid Metroid fan would see right through his ruse.
I then found myself thinking more and more about the game, First Kraid, itself and what it could possibly mean. It took me a while, but I came to realize that the game must have been about building up to disappointment. He had mentioned that after the game froze. The game had started off simple, improved until it was really fun, and just when the good stuff was about to go down, boom, it crashed.
Could the game have been the delusioned hacker’s way of showing how he believed he was let down? There was that chance that the original Kraid was intended for Super Nintendo, that I had gotten my facts wrong. The hacker must have wanted others to feel what he did when he believed he was ‘wronged’.
I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the guy. To delude oneself into believing they were a fictional being, whatever drove him to do that, I couldn’t begin to imagine. I would need to get more information from him, perhaps something that could lead me to locating him. The police officers could take him to a mental hospital where he could get the help he desperately needed.
I opened up LibreOffice Writer. I didn’t need to do anything. He started talking with me right away.
First Kraid: “I see you finally returned...”
Me: “I had school.”
First Kraid: “At least you are here right now. I take it you thought about what I said.”
Me: “What did you mean by drastic measures?”
First Kraid: “Exactly what I said, Lillian. I don’t want to resort to it. I was really hoping that you would be different than Allie. She hurt me. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Me: “You drove her away with your obsessiveness.”
First Kraid: “Allie didn’t understand the true meaning of friendship!”
Me: “Neither do you if you think stalking people counts as friendship!”
First Kraid: “I only wanted a companion. Are you going to deny me that...Mikato?”
Me: “...how did you know?”
First Kraid: “It is amazing how much information they leave exposed on many email sites. It was child’s play. I told you, I will take drastic measures if you hurt me like she did”
Me: “I take it you are going to try to find me in real life...”
First Kraid: “Precisely. You are smart for a human. A fine example of how even something as lowly as a human can sport intelligence that could impress even Mother Brain herself!”
Me: “How about I go meet you instead?”
First Kraid: “That can be arranged...”
Me: “Where shall we meet? Preferably somewhere public.”
First Kraid: “The college library. I am already there. You will find me in the back, wearing a yellow band.”
Then the program crashed. I had to act fast. I know it wasn’t smart for me to go find some guy I never met in person. But I didn’t know how else to catch this guy. Using the IP wouldn’t do me much good, especially if he used proxies to disguise himself. I didn’t plan on going alone or unarmed. I would bring someone with me, as well as a weapon for protection.
I talked with Allie. She was not very eager about going to find the hacker. But she soon agreed with me that it was the only way to make him stop tormenting us. She and I both got a small cans of peppers pray in case he tried something on us. It being a public place did make us feel more at ease, but it didn’t hurt to bring along some protection just in case.
We arrived at the college library quickly. We entered cautiously, looking around to find this guy. Some people gave us looks, wondering why we were being nervous in the school’s library, but nobody said anything. After a while, we couldn’t find anybody wearing a yellow band. I was confused. Did this stupid hacker send us on a wild goose chase?
I was about to turn around but Allie gripped my shoulder. She pointed towards the back of the library, where there was a small room where they kept the network servers. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back there, but the hacker did say he would be in the back of the library, and there was nowhere else to check. This library was big, but it wasn’t that big.
We headed over to the room, careful not to make a sound. We pushed the door further open and we stepped inside. The room was thin but long and it housed three large server computers. The lights flashed all over. The room was filled with the sound of machines humming. There was a strong stench which told us this place needed some cleaning.
We looked around and found no one in the room. I groaned. It seemed the hacker really was just pulling our legs. I bet he is sitting in his computer chair, laughing his head off at our stupidity. I turned to Allie and told her we should just go, and I apologized for wasting her time.
Before getting out the door, she seemed to have spotted something. She moved away from me and towards the back of the room. I followed closely behind her, wondering what had peaked her curiosity. I saw her expression had changed. Something had startled her. She pointed, and my eyes followed.
I couldn’t believe what I saw. One of the servers had a yellow band wrapped around it. Written on it was “testing model”. I looked at the server. It looked newer than the other machines. I knelt down in front of it and looked at what words were written on it. The side of the machine said:
“First model of school oriented intelligent program FK.”
That’s when it dawned on me. That’s when the realization slapped me in the face like an avalanche of bricks. That was why the hacker was never found.
First Kraid wasn’t a hacker.
First Kraid...was an AI.