The three figures, cloaked in shadow, gathered around the desk. The room was dark, but for a single ray of light that conveniently sliced right across the desk, illuminating a bright red button (though it was really more of a coral pink, but “bright red button” sounded so much better and more ominous than “coral pink button”). Three sets of eyes looked upon the whatever-coloured button grimly.
“Must we, really?” asked one.
“I’d rather not,” said another.
“There should be another way...” reasoned the last.
“Wait, if none of us want to do this, why are we all here?”
“Orders from the big guy.”
“It’s hard to say no to him...”
The three nodded in unison, though their mouths curled into frowns.
“Maybe we should just be sadistic for once?”
“Could be fun.”
Though none of them said it, each was reminded of that time that they had all gone to that restaurant they all hated but had agreed to go to anyway since nobody else had objected. Incidentally, they would end up going there later that afternoon.
With what appeared to be resolve on all their faces, they simultaneously held out their right index fingers and pressed the bright red but really coral pink “Delete” button.
It was early evening (well, depending on your time zone) on a mostly average day on the forum. Incidentally, it was Easter Monday, meaning no work, no school, and zero responsibility. Consequently, the forum was busy, but a mostly calm atmosphere hung in the air as members basked in the glory of the long weekend and the euphoria of the arrival of spring. (Those whose time zones were not in early spring had about 50% less euphoria and 20% more anxiety, but you can’t win ‘em all.) Readers glanced over the shoulders of writers hard at work, everyone munching chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps and gummy bears, which they shared heartily amongst themselves, but for the few Jews for whom it was the second to last day of Passover. Instead, they had the privilege of chomping on edible cardboard, also known as matza, and nobody really wanted any of that (b-but thank you for offering).
The gentle hum of conversation filled the Café, members sitting in plush couches and seats sipping from bowl-sized mugs as they chatted about Writing, Life, the Universe, and Everything. A few seats in the Completed library were occupied by readers deeply engrossed in tales of adventure, tragedy, romance, and many mysterious dungeons. Mostly mysterious dungeons.
The Non-Pokémon section was relatively dead as always, but what else was new?
It started when, amongst a circle of writers, one individual, staring fixedly at an entirely blank page save for the words “Chapter Two” at the top, turned around to ask a friend how to thinly veil a metaphor for the systematic excommunication of attention *****s, only to realize that she wasn’t there. He blinked back his surprise. Hadn’t she just been loudly ranting about how unnecessary Sylveon was not a moment before? He looked around desperately, but didn’t see her among the crowd. He turned to the neighbour on his left.
“Excuse me, have you seen-“ He gasped. Where had his neighbour gone?!
“Does anyone know where-“ His words got caught in his throat as he realized the circle of writers he had been a part of was now just an arch.
Shelving the thought that this could make for a fantastic mystery story to the back of his mind, he got to his feet. Only then did he see the bright red flashes of light flaring across the forum.
“Mother of Arceus.”
“Kingpin. They’ve done it.”
A fake cigar dropped to the floor in the head mafia office, a bit of spittle flying off the end of it.
“You don’t say.”
Luxurious curtains were pushed aside, light flooding the spacious room. But this was no ordinary daylight – these were the blinding red flashes of deletion. Everything in sight was blasting out of existence.
“The transport is ready. Fanfiction.net is a cesspool of mediocrity, but it will sustain us.”
The kingpin nodded, retrieving her cigar from the ground. She examined it briefly before sticking it back in her mouth.
“That will do. In time, we can move things to my personal forum.” She spared one last glance out the window, her face illuminated red. “From there, we will watch this place burn.”
“We have to do something!”
“There’s nothing we can do but try to get away, before it’s too late.”
“Damn it, we can’t just run! We stand for good! For justice!”
“Dude, it’s just a name.”
“We don’t have any responsibility here.”
“Oh, right. Well, time to flee the server.”
“Darn, I was so looking forward to the Awards this year.”
“I actually put in the effort and read every single nominated fic so I could vote fairly.”
“Oh, I just voted for the fics I read and put ‘No Vote’ for everything else.”
“I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to do it...”
“And I was looking forward to finally winning something!”
“You can’t win if you haven’t been nominated, silly.”
“You don’t know that.”
“And I was looking forward to adding another award to my collection.”
“You poor, depraved child.”
“Maybe it’s for the best that there won’t be any Awards, then.”
“Maybe,” a few voices chimed.
The group disappeared in one great flash of light.
Writers, not knowing what to do, ran around like roosters with their heads chopped off, spewing random nonsense about tiaras, chicken flavoured dishwashers, Nicholas Cage, “THAT'S MR. PSYCHIC!”, and other ridiculous-sounding things in the hopes of being funny and bringing laughter in their last moments. Indeed, each writer was laughing hysterically, but of course only at their own “jokes.” Everything else they heard was a bombardment of random, incomprehensible nonsense. Thankfully, the red light took them out of their confusion swiftly and silently, but for one unfortunate farting sound.
From the Beta House, the last remaining mentors and mentorees fled like Durant scurrying from an anthill before seemingly being swallowed up by invisible Heatmor tongues.
“All my ideas!” people screamed at the vanishing thread before they disappeared as their ideas had.
The Almighty Rules faded away into nothingness. Not a **** was given that day.
The forum was silent. A single tumbleweed bounced off some ancient fics from ’04 or so, but soon the person that had kicked it vanished, too.