NaNOrlando – The Evolving Story of Nanos

Part 5 – The Dialogue Gem Setup

After spending a day following clues throughout the Disney area, members of the League discovered that a being known as The Librarian may know the whereabouts of one or more of the Writing Gems. The Planner left immediately after the Write Around for The Librarian’s planet, Dewdec. She hasn’t gotten much information out of the eccentric collector of stories, but she did find out that the Dialogue Gem is on the planet of Novem.

“Novem is the homeworld of Nanos,” The Face says as you ride in the ship headed to the planet. “It isn’t surprising that one of the stones would be there, but this will likely be our hardest mission yet. Chances are high that Nanos will be there.”

The ship approaches the light blue sphere of Novem and begins to descend to its capital city, Ides. The city is large and sprawls over a great area. It looks like any major Earth city, with tall buildings of glass and steel, except a giant tower rises from the center of the city.

“There,” The Face says pointing to the tall tower. “That’s the Central Theater, and where The Librarian says the Dialogue Gem can be found.”

The ship lands on a platform of the Central Theater, and you disembark, following The Face and Dr. Code, his floating AI cube LAIRD following behind.

The building itself is magnificent, gilded arches and ornate statues covering every inch of the facade. Yet, even that splendor is shadowed by the elegance of the inside of the building. The Central Theater is not just one theater, but a series of hundreds of theaters.

“The Wrimos,” Dr. Code says, “are a people whose entire civilization is built on stories. Storytelling is practically a religion to them. Makes sense that they would build theaters on the level of a church.”

“They get the point,” The Face says, cutting off Dr. Code. “Focus now. We need that Gem.” He looks around and rubs a hand on his leg. “And it’s close,” he adds softly.

The Face leads you up through a series of stairwells, floor after floor of theaters, balconies, and concession stands. After climbing what feels like twenty floors, all unique in design and style, if not function, The Face stops. “This is it,” he says as he darts through the door to the stage level. Rows of ornately upholstered seats line either side of the main aisle he runs down.

You and Dr. Code quickly follow behind, but The Face’s unexpected haste puts him twenty paces ahead of you. As he runs, a green glow emits from his clenched fist, and the stage floor begins to fold over on itself opening like an accordion. From the opening, a red glow shines faintly.

As The Face puts his foot on the stage, there is a flash of movement, a blue blur, and a bang, as Nanos drops from the catwalk onto the floor just in front of The Face. With a quick punch, Nanos sends The Face flying off the stairs and down the aisle, falling directly into you and Dr. Code. You all stumble, ending in a heap on the red carpeted floor.

You must hurry if you are going to stop Nanos! He’s seconds away from grabbing his second Writing Gem, so get those words written so that we can stop him!

Part 4 – The Setting Gem Concluded

Your ship lands, following the red streak of Scrutinizer. League members quickly disembark and prepare for a fight as Inner Editor walks calmly off his ship, his oversized red gun Corrector slung over his shoulder.

The area you landed in looks like something out of a dream. The surface looks like a checkerboard of terrain, snow, water, grass, sand all side-by-side, like a bizarre tile store for ground. Sections of the sky vary every 15 degrees, stormy clouds, beautiful sunrises, cloudless blue, and extremes like tornadoes and hurricanes.

“This is all wrong,” Inner Editor says looking around. “No continuity, no structure. Work denied, go back and try again.”

His gaze wanders down toward the collected League members. “And you all, there’s no recovering you.” He slides Corrector off his shoulder, aims the pointed tip at The Planner, and fires. She jumps out of the way, and lands hard in a patch of desert sand. The red tinged laser blast barely misses The Planner’s leg as she dives, and hits the ground a few feet away creating a large impact point out of which a green glow emits.

The Face reacts first, yelling “The Setting Gem,” as he runs toward the spot.

Inner Editor fires again, narrowly missing over the top of Face’s shoulder as he drops to the ground, digging frantically. Inner Editor fires again as Face comes up with a glowing green gem in his hand. He sees the bolt, and instinctively moves his hand in front of him to block it.

As he does, a patch of rocky ground in front of him jumps up, blocking the blast of Corrector in a shower of rocky rubble.

For a few seconds, no one moves, all staring mouth agape at the shattered rock jutting up from the ground. As it slowly dawns on The Face what had happened, a small smile curls across his lips. He grasps the Setting Gem tightly in his fist and wall of sand pops up from the ground and buries Inner Editor up to his shoulders.

“Oh, the power,” The Face says softly.

“Not even a completed job,” Inner Editor quips. “Minions, attack.”

At his command, a wave of hundreds of tiny gremlin-like creatures rush off of Scrutinizer, and start to swarm toward you and the other heroes. You brace for a fight as they cut you off from your ship, but before you can even throw your first punch, the ground opens beneath them. They fall into the rift, and as quickly as it appeared, the ground seals together again without a sound.

“Let’s go,” The Face says cooly. “There are still 4 Writing Gems out there, and we can’t let Nanos beat us to them.” He begins walking back toward your ship, and as you follow him up the ramp, ignoring the screams and curses of Inner Editor, the deafening sound of metal being ripped apart echoes through the area. As you take the last steps up the ramp, you look over your shoulder to see Scrutinzer repeatedly punctured by jagged spikes of rock from the ground.

Part 3 – The Setting Gem

With the collection of the Character Gem, Nanos begins his sweep across the cosmos. From Creatara, he goes to the planets of Faulkner, Timkim, and Marya and decimates their theaters, libraries, and other repositories of knowledge. At every planet, Nanos captures their stories and destroys their writers, directors, and artists. He is savage in his determination to be the only storyteller left.

The League has dispatched teams to these places, and they have fought valiantly to defend those worlds. Most have not returned, and those that have tell of overwhelming numbers of creatures, legions and armies of monsters swarming like ants across the land.

Meanwhile, Baty sent us a communication from the Planet of the Plot Bunnies. After sending us the early reports of Nanos’ return, he has been hard at work talking to elder Plot Bunnies to find more information about the Writing Gems and their locations. He uncovered a legend that tells of “a place that makes places.” He believes that story refers to the Setting Gem and hints that it might be found on Messrathea.

It isn’t much to go on, but we are desperate. We are losing heroes every day, and if we don’t collect one of the Writing Gems, Nanos could become unstoppable.

You arrive at Messrathea to find a massive planet. The surface of the planet looks like a patchwork quilt of map pieces. Beaches butt up to cliff faces, grassy plains abruptly end and are replaced by arid desert.

“That place is massive,” The Face says. “How in the world are we going to find the Setting Gem there?”

The Planner points to an area to the northeast of your ship, where a smaller planet, still probably the size of Earth, sits half-formed just off the surface, long tendrils holding it in place next to Messrathea. “That looks like the factory sector,” she says. “If there is a central point to the ‘place that makes places’, that would probably be it.”

She angles the ship toward the surface below the smaller planetoid. As she fires the accelerator, another ship zips overhead, rushing to the same location, leaving a long red streak in its path.

“Inner Editor,” The Face says softly, staring at the long cylindrical red shape of the ship Scrutinizer. “Move fast, Planner, we have to beat him to the gem.”

And so, you ride on the edge of your seat as you rush to beat Inner Editor to the second Writing Gem. If Nanos collects this second stone, all could be lost. We need everyone’s help to defeat his minions this time!

Part 2 – The Character Gem Concluded

Doc Proc turns to face you at your approach. “Ah, look, The League has arrived. Can I interest you all in a game? A show perhaps? There’s a new season of Stranger Things to binge!”

“Your procrastinating ways won’t work on us Doc Proc,” The Face declares, but without the confidence he intended. “Now leave this place before we have to make you leave!”

Her arms moving menacingly as she takes a few steps towards you and the other assembled heroes. “Not just yet, first I want to have some fun.” She laughs softly. “And what sounds fun right now is kicking your butts!”

Doc Proc leaps forward, landing on two of her clawed arms and swinging the others toward you. The Face grabs hold of the fidget spinner and quickly loses focus. With a far-off look, he spins it absently in his hands.

“Quick,” The Planner calls to the other heroes, “Publisher, get behind her, I’ll distract her from here.”

Publisher does as she says, trying to circle around Doc Proc while avoiding the video game controller and cell phone as she offers them temptingly. He makes it behind her as The Planner says, “You’re running out of time, Proc! Nanos won’t be able to get the gem once we have it.”

“No,” she screams, turning around quickly.

As she turns, Publisher, tosses his signature Deadline Lasso to you. You pull it tight, catching Doc Proc in the line. She falls to the ground with a metallic clunk, and you race to tie her up, ensnaring her in her one weakness.

But your moment of triumph is short lived. A flash of light is followed by a loud bang and a wave of sand is blasted out. As it clears, you see the imposing figure of Nanos, standing with Hreffler’s neck held tightly in his gloved fist.

“The League of Letters and Light will not stop me,” he says coldly. With his free hand, he pulls the Character Gem from Hreffler’s staff, and places it in the horn of his helmet. As it seats itself in the slot, it glows a bright blue, and Nanos appears to swell in size. He closes his fist tightly around Hreffler’s neck, then tosses her lifeless form aside. He takes a deep breath, and then exhales a blue mist that turns into an army of small gremlin creatures. “Oh, the power,” he whispers, and with a leap he is gone.

Finally putting the fidget spinner down, The Face looks around like a man waking from a dream. “What? Oh god, Mrs. Hreffler is dead!”

There’s no time to mourn as the creatures swarm around the League.

“We have to retreat!” The Planner shouts. “Back to the ship!”

Our power of story wasn’t enough to defeat Nanos this time. There will be other days and other battles. The fight against Nanos isn’t over—there are more story gems to find and more words to write. Next time, avoiding procrastination, attending League meetings, and writing more words, we’re sure to defeat Nanos!

Part 1 – The Character Gem

There is rumor of a being on the planet Creatara that can bring objects to life, make creatures speak, and even bring forth people from their mind. This could be little more than an urban legend, but it could also be the first of the Writing Gems, the Character Gem.

We have dispatched a group of heroes from the League of Letters and Light to search for this being. According to the legends, this being goes by the odd name Hreffler (and no, the H is not silent).

By the time you arrive on Creatara, Nanos’ ship Fragmentation is already circling the planet.  This will not be a simple grab and bag as we had hoped.

On the planet’s surface, you find a world shrouded in a dense fog, full of unseen wildlife. The noises of movement against the amorphous white view send a chill down the spine of The Face, The Planner, and the rest of the League team.

“We should head that way,” The Face says, pointing in a seemly random direction.

“Maybe,” The Planner says in her calm tones, “but let’s check the scanners first to see if that’s the right way.” To no one’s surprise, the scanners suggest that a settlement is nearby in the opposite direction of that which The Face suggested.

As the group approaches the settlement, they hear a faint buzzing sound. It grows louder as they approach, and is joined by the occasional beep and click.

“I think I see a light ahead, through the fog,” The Face says.

As you approach, you see not one, but two faint lights through the fog. The buzzing sound can still be heard, and you begin to recognize it as the sound of spinning ball bearings. A cold dread rushes over you, because that can only mean one thing.

You take the final steps forward and the fog lifts enough  the see shapes. It’s a small town, a central circle surrounded by four small wooden shacks. Standing in the middle of the circle, facing each other are two women. One wears worn leather clothes, and holds a wooden staff in her hand, a glowing blue gem at the top. Her long grey hair trails wildly around her, and even covers her face in what might be a beard.

But it is the other woman who draws the attention of the League, with her long red hair and six robotic arms moving wildly. Each arm clutches a different device, a cell phone, a TV Remote, multiple gaming devices, and a fidget spinner, still making a faint buzzing sound.

Doctor Patricia Procházka, better known as Doc Proc, now stands between you and the first Writing Gem. What will you do now?

Introduction

We are the heroes of the League of Letters and Light. Our mission is to bring literacy to the world through the power of fascinating fiction. Much like other lesser-known leagues, we work on our own, striving in our own boroughs and cities to inspire people through our prose, but in times of great need, the signal is lit and The League comes together.

This is one of those times. Our greatest enemy, Nanos, has returned (as he seems to do every November). Nanos, a being of immense power, and his legion of minions, the Illiterati, have fought against great story-telling since the beginning of time, or 1999.

Last year, The League fought valiantly, and Nanos was blasted into space, over 15.5 million miles away. Unfortunately, he crash landed on the homeworld of the peaceful Plot Bunnies, a world full of mystery, action, and suspense. It appears that while there, he learned the legend of the Writing Gems, 6 powerful stones that control all stories. We have a contact in the land of the Plot Bunnies, a Chris Baty, and he tells us that Nanos believes these stories to be true, and is, as we speak seeking out the 6 Gems.

It is now up to us to stop Nanos by any means necessary. Only through the power of your words can we, as a league, be mighty enough to defeat Nanos and his Illiterati. We will face many challenges along the way, and at each turn, you decide whether we will succeed or fail. Nanos is stronger than he ever was before, and we will need to unite as a League to defeat him. Only when we unite, writing more words than ever, will we succeed.

Only we have the strength of story to stand against him. Others may aid us in our fight, but the tide of battle will be determined by you.