Last week, on The BLended Saga:
Lady Zhu has appeared to Zasu and informed her that her lost lover has left the grid and has amnesia. She does not say how she knows this.
Zhu rubbed her eyes. The sky was a bright...grey...? She checked the weather system; someone had set it for Washington instead of Hawaii! She wondered if it was one of her tenants - if it was, she should set the weather to Montana just to show them who was boss. She smiled to herself. So much of Before was gone from her memory, but she could still recall the States’ weather patterns.
After resetting the system to Maui, she sat in one of her cuddle trees to think. When she took the undercover job with the Lindens, she thought it would be fun. The job description called for her to help Support with inworld problems. She was given the powers of a Linden, but they wanted her to be undercover so that people would talk to her more freely. She’d developed the “Lady Zhu, Ask Me Anything” persona to help her with this. The Lindens had pretty much left her alone to do her job as she saw fit, as long as she reported in on a weekly basis. This was the first time they had intervened.
A Linden had approached her, and he was so powerful that he was able to hide his first name from her. He (well, the avi was male anyway) told her to seek out the Zasu avatar, and give her information about her lost lover. He told her exactly what to say. When Zhu questioned him as to the veracity of the information, the Linden said, “That need not concern you. Just do as we say or you may find yourself banned.” Banned - the ultimate punishment. Still, Zhu was having some serious regrets about following orders - the woman had been so distraught upon hearing the information!
She decided to visit the forest where she’d found Zasu jogging- it had been a beautiful place. She found the landmark in her inventory and tp’d there. It was SO realistic she could almost smell the fungal undergrowth - a woodsy odor she remembered from Before. She checked her radar to see if Zasu was nearby, but no one was around. Entering Zasu’s name into search, she was surprised to read: None found. Odd, she’d searched her last time with no problem. She tried again, same results.
Zhu was feeling very uneasy. She im’d her Linden contact, and explained the problem. After a few minutes the Linden replied, “This is above my pay grade. I need to contact my supervisor. I’ll get back to you.”
Really worried now, Zhu could do nothing but wait and fret. She decided to pass the time by visiting Orientation Island and answering questions there. After an interminable hour of explaining for the umpteenth time what a prim was, her contact im’d her. Zhu excused herself and walked to a quiet place so she could concentrate.
The Linden began by reminding her about the TOS regarding copying IMs. Then she said, “I shouldn’t be discussing this with you. But I know how tenacious you are, you’ll find this out with or without me lol. The Zasu avatar was not banned, she simply no longer exists. And she’s not the only one. There is something very odd going on in the grid. We have an ongoing investigation into how avatars are transformed, like yourself; we call them Blended avis, Blens for short. We still don’t know how it happens, but it’s very common. Makes it all the more curious that we can’t find out the mechanism. But the loss of a Blen, well, that’s new. We don’t know how they’re untransformed, if that is even what’s happening to them.”
“I was told it was emotional trauma...” Zhu was certain the Linden knew more than she was telling her. “Who told you that??” The Linden sounded shocked. Zhu answered, “Ummmm, not sure? A Linden, I couldn’t see the first name.”
“That’s not possible. Start from the beginning please.” So Zhu recounted how the other Linden had contacted her, and told her exactly what to say to Zasu, and the threat of banning if she didn’t follow orders. “Zhu, I don’t know who or what contacted you, but it was NOT a Linden. Your job description didn’t include taking orders remember? We would not have threatened to ban you, it’s just now how we work. Plus, we’ve never heard of this theory of disrupting the grid continuum. We don’t even know what a grid continuum is!” The Linden was clearly upset. She logged off without another word.
Zhu tp’d home to think some more.
Good Queen Llola was having her morning tea, trying to remember her dream. She turned to King Sven. “I dreamt of Before,” she began. “Do you remember that little girl Dorothy that we helped? I dreamt of her. She wanted to go home again. I thought we left her at home. What do you suppose happened?”
King Sven smiled indulgently. “It was just a dream,” he said, patting her hand fondly. “Don’t fret.” Good Queen Llola frowned, although a smile was pasted on her face. She hated to be patronized. She resolved to look into it further, maybe Lady LaForza could help. She made an appointment.
The white disk hummed happily (yes, disks can hum). Its plan had worked. The follower’s lover had left the grid; now it just had to find her! If it could find her, maybe the white disk could get them both back to the grid. It turned on its universal locator and put Zasu’s name into search. Then it powered down to wait.