1819: The Beginning – TwoShot, Part OnePosted: July 26, 2017
Salutations, gentle patrons. This week I have a new canon for you all: Plants vs. Zombies. Luckily there isn’t a lot to this canon, so it should be a fairly short infodump; let’s get to that first.
Plants vs. Zombies is a series of games that feature primarily tower-defense style play. For those who haven’t experienced tower-defense, it’s a pretty simple concept: you build things that attack other things that are trying to get to a thing you don’t want them to get to. In this case, you are building plants to kill zombies that are trying to eat your brains. Currently, there are two primary installments to the franchise as well as a small handful of spin-off and over-seas games. For the sake of this fanfiction, we’ll only cover the core games so far as canon goes (such that it is).
The first game has barely any plot to speak of, which is fine since the game has its roots as a simple Popcap game. The main thread of the game is that you’re being attacked by an ever-increasing zombie horde that has been cooked up by an evil zombie scientist: Doctor Zomboss. The ultimate goal is to eat your brains. You’re sorta helped along the way by Crazy Dave, who both acts as a sort of narrator as well as selling you tools, plant seeds, and various other things out of the back of his station wagon. That’s about it.
Plants Vs. Zombies 2 took a different approach and was released as a freemium game. It expands quite a bit on the canon by including a large array of new plants, a much larger progression of levels, as well as introducing an unapologetically shallow plot. In PVZ2, you follow Crazy Dave as he travels through time in order to recover the taco that he’s already eaten so that he can eat it again. Seriously, that’s the plot. Through your misadventures, you travel to a variety of time periods via Penny, Crazy Dave’s sentient time machine (which is little more than an assemblage of old car parts). Through time you’re constantly faced with more of Dr. Zomboss’s hordes which are themed to each time period. Once again, Dr. Z’s primary motivation is kept simple: get your brains. There’s some filler plot that mostly amounts to either tongue-in-cheek jokes or tutorial fodder, but at it’s core, the plot is kept tertiary to the rest of the package.
And that’s really all the plot that there is. There’s a bit more plot available in the spinoff games or overseas games (such as the Chinese PVZ: Online), but that’s like saying there’s a bit more chocolate in a Hershey’s kiss than in an M&M. Sure, it’s true, but neither of those is a chocolate bar.
I await the posting of the obligatory 1-pound Hershey’s kiss.
Now, I told you all that to let you know that the above plot is all mostly irrelevant since this fic appears to be based on the PVZ: Garden Warfare spinoff games and these actually have a lot less plot than the core games. The first two of the PVZ: Garden Warfare games has the plot of: Zombies are trying to take over Suburbia, the plants want to stop them. The second game has the plot of: Zombies have taken over Suburbia, the plants want to free it. There is a sort of story-mode in the second game, but it’s mostly there as a questing system more than something that really provides any amount of deep plot.
Not that it matters anyway, because our author is just going to be making everything up as she goes. So let’s dive in!
I own nothing.
Nothing at all? That’s kind of a sad note to start on. Although maybe it’s more of a naturalist statement about ownership being a social construct. It’s awful early in your fic to start getting preachy, Purp.
Catastrophe stood on a hill overlooking the ruined lab, thinking of the events leading to her escape.
Which are apparently none of our business, so why bother mentioning it?
I can already see that we’ll be breaking from canon. In PVZ, all the plants are referred to as what plant they are. The sunflower is called Sunflower, the peashooter is called Peashooter. Now, I’m fine breaking with this bit of canon as it would otherwise get confusing; however, I’m not fine breaking with the canon for a name like “Catastrophe.” With a name like that we’re either getting an edgelord anti-hero, or a villain that’s trying way too hard.
She knew what would happen if they knew what had happened, but she would do anything in her power to ensure that no one would ever find out.
And I know what would happen if they knew that she knew what would happen if they knew what had happened.
She hurried away. After hearing the explosions and seeing the lights and what had happened to the sky, she knew that the area would soon be crawling with enemies.
More things are happening! Things that summon enemies! I think Purp might have bought one of those economy sized cases of vague from Costco.
It was for the best that no one knew of her existence.
You know, aside from all those that were implied to already know about her existence. Obviously those don’t matter; probably due to things.
“I’m so sorry Catacomb.”
I thought your name was Catastrophe? So Sorry Catacomb isn’t much better of a name, but it is better.
Anyway, we get a scene change, complete with an honest to goodness <hr> line break.
The vampire flower squinted through her telescope and gasped at what she saw.
Oh man, I bet she’s seeing the things!
“HEY!” She shrieked. “SPY, COME HERE! ITS AN EMERGENCY!”
If you’re a spy and everyone is always shouting at you like that, you’re probably not a very good spy. Or maybe the spy version of Contacts.
The agent pea sighed and walked over to the vampire flower that was yelling and jumping around her telescope.
Oh, wait, wrong Agent P.
“Why do you have to yell so loud?” he softly asked. “You’d yell too if you saw what I just saw.” the vampire flower replied, even though she knew it wasn’t true.
Oh gods, it’s one of these. Why is dialogue formatting so easy to fuck up!?
“Look.” The agent pea peeked through the telescope. He was still as he absorbed the scene.
A scene so critically important to the plot that the author doesn’t dare share it with the audience until just the right moment.
After a moment he calmly stepped away and whispered “I’ll go get Commander Pea.”
See, this is what I get for complaining about the naming thing. Now everything is going to be _____ Pea. Which is definitely the way the canon naming works, so I can’t really knock it here. I’ll just be annoyed that the naming isn’t consistent to the ‘important’ characters.
He walked across the yard toward the door. As soon as he stepped through the door he ran as fast as he could down the hall, nearly running over a stuffy flower, and iron citron, and two chompers.
While I appreciate the attempt at an Oxford comma, that’s not how listing things works.
The vampire flower looked back through the telescope, just to make sure it wasn’t imagined.
Are imaginary telescopes actually a common enough problem that you need to specifically check for them?
As she waited for Commander Pea to arrive she wondered what could have happened over there on the zombie-controlled side of the valley.
I’d try to help explain it, but all I’m seeing is an imaginary telescope that’s pointed at some swirling mist.
And that’s it, that’s the first chapter. I’m sure the author assumed they were being deeply portentous and mysterious. Shame that there’s little overlap between that and what she was: obnoxiously vague.
Wait, there’s an author’s note down here, too!
Here it is. The very first chapter to the first real story I have ever wrote.
Oh. Oh, hon.
Spy dragged Commander Pea (a commando pea) down the hallway and out into the yard where the telescopes were.
Where the maybe telescope might be.
“Look, see!” he said and gestured towards the telescope.
Yessir, that there is one genuine real imaginary telescope.
Commander Pea looked through the telescope and said “I don’t see any meteors or strange lights, but I do see that the Zombie Lab has been completely destroyed.
Ah, I see, Commander Pea is the only character with the security clearance necessary for exposition. That’s why we weren’t given this information the last chapter.
Do you think that we should get a team to investigate?”
Why are you asking the schlubs? You’re the commander!
Spy nodded and soon a large team was assembled.
Soon? So like, do I have time to get a sandwich or something before hand?
The plants set off through the valley that separated the Lawn from the Zombies’ Lab. They were all silent and slipped through the shadows to avoid any zombies.
I’m sure taking the only valley that lies between you and the zombie lab will make you absolutely undetectable.
When they finally arrived without running into a single zombie, the plants gasped at the Lab.
Anyone else picturing an amorphous plant group gasping at the side of a laboratory building? Just me?
“Wow!” said a rock pea. “It would’ve taken us about a million chili bean bombs to wreck it this much!” A nearby toxic pea answered in a series of sounds that sounded like a kazoo. It was a language that only peashooters could understand from way back when they were banished from the lawn over a thousand years ago.
Wow that totally-not-pointless exposition added a lot to this story!
Like exactly thirty-nine words.
A cactus who was clearly irritated by the peas’ secret language said “Come on, lets split up and see if we can find any clues to what happened.”
I’m guessing some kind of explosion, but maybe that’s just me.
She was obviously doubtful as to whether or not what Spy and the vampire flower saw really happened.
Are we talking about the explosion, the wreckage of which you’re standing next to, or are we talking about the alleged imaginary telescope? Because if it’s the latter, I’m right there with you!
“We’ll meet back here in an hour.” She started to head off but was stopped by Spy.
“Maybe we should split up into small groups,” he said, “so if we run into any trouble there will be a few more plants to look out for us.”
Why split up at all? Are you on some kind of schedule that I don’t know about? If there’s no hurry, I don’t see that splitting into small, easily overwhelmed groups is really a good idea this deep into enemy territory.
“Fine, whatever.” The cactus grumbled and went off to find a group.
Although on the other hand, working in groups kinda sucks when all your peers are idiots. I think I understand where cactus is coming from with the whole splitting up thing.
The vampire flower got into a group with a mystic flower, a fire cactus, and a chomper. “Let’s head over this way.” She said.
Yes. This way. We’re going to go toward the place over there by the thing.
They set off looking for anything that could be important and wasn’t destroyed. She said to the mystic flower, “So, Misty, why did you volunteer to come? I thought you hated anything that has to do with this war.”
Hold on there! Only the Commander is qualified to provide exposition!
The mystic flower was about to respond when a large piece of cement that the vampire flower was standing on shifted, sending her falling down a deep hole.
That was close. Had she finished that thought, they’d have both been court martialed for expositing without a permit.
Misty screamed and the fire cactus and chomper rushed over. Misty was able to stutter out what had happened and the chomper ran to get help while the fire cactus tried to calm the sobbing mystic flower down.
*Raises his hand at the back of the class*
So, if they were all in the same group, how was it that only the mystical flower saw what happened? Also, is a flower that breaks down into uncontrollable crying at the first hardship really the sort of soldier you should send on a mission deep into enemy territory?
All these questions and more will never be addressed by the fic!
And that’s the end of chapter two. Luckily there are no author’s notes this time, which by itself is almost worth a redemption cookie. Onwards to chapter three!
The vampire flower groaned and looked around. It was so dark that she couldn’t see a thing.
It must be really frustrating not being able to see anything.
*Looks meaningfully at the author*
She looked up and couldn’t see the hole she had fallen down, so either it was very, very far down or some rubble had blocked the entrance.
Or the hole isn’t straight. Or it’s night out.
It’s kinda fun not having any setting, you can pretty much make up whatever you want!
And by “fun” I mean annoying.
She quickly grew a heal flower that healed the scrapes and bruises that she had received on the way down.
So, yeah, this is definitely based on PVZ: Garden Warfare. If you have a free pot and a spawn sticker for it, you can create a heal flower to produce small healing sundrops for your team. Ah, video game mechanics, how I’ve missed you.
Keep in mind, all backyard plants in the PVZ universe are sentient. So now Vampy here just stranded a heal flower down in the pit with her. All to treat a few scrapes and bruises. Good jerb.
The small drops of sun that the heal flower produced also provided a little bit of light so the vampire flower could see better. She saw a hallway leading away so she picked up the heal flower and headed down the hall.
Don’t say hi to the heal flower or anything. Just suck down her sundrops and use her like a flashlight. Nope, I’m sure it’s fine.
She saw a lot of doors so she peeked into every door that she came across.
Closet, closet, bathroom, smoldering rubble, closet, cold rubble, closet, bathroom, Narnia, closet, closet…
Behind every single door there was what looked like a hospital operating room, filled with demolished tables, strange tools, and machines, with chemicals spilled on the floor, filling the rooms with their disgusting smells.
And in this lab they were creating… FRANKENSENTENCE! Yes, by using commas they were able to splice together ideas into one horrific abomination of grammar! Live, FRANKENSENTENCE! LIVE!
At the end of the hall was a solid iron door with a high-tech looking lock on it. However, because of the catastrophe that had occurred, the vampire flower was easily able to break it down.
See, this is why I invest in locking mechanisms that fail into a locked state, rather than fail open. Sure it means occasionally spending a day or two trapped in the stairwell with Crunchy while sitcom-esque hijinks ensue, but I find the added security worth it.
It lead into a huge room with what looked like a battlefield, surrounded by rows and rows of bleachers, and on the wall completely opposite her was a beautiful mural that had somehow survived.
The vampire flower’s heal flower got tired so it popped back into it’s pot and the vampire flower put it away.
It’s very likely she got sick of being used like a lamp.
She turned around and was about to head back when she noticed that she was still somewhat able to see.
New PCC brand Nightvision! Have an inexplicable need to put your flashlight away yet still be able to move around in the dark? The PCC has you covered with our new line of Suddenly There™ plot-proof nightvisions!
*Taco pockets a small box of commas that are suddenly sitting on the console*
Now I see why the minions keep ending up on their payroll.
She turned and saw that a very dim, flickering white light was coming from a crack between a small section of the mural wall and the floor. She walked over to the mural and noticed that there was a hidden door on the mural wall.
Oooh, sorry guys, I pushed the wrong product. The heal flower was afflicted by the PCC’s line of plot-sensitive fatigue.
It was even stronger than the iron door and took a lot of her effort to break it down.
How much effort did she have in the first place? Like, did she have a gallon of effort and this took three quarts? Did she put it through some kind of slot in the lock or something? There are just so many questions.
When she went in, she was immediately shocked by what she saw.
I’m noticing a pattern here. Vampy sees something, is shocked by it, and then has to call in backup to provide exposition.
There was a room filled with machines that had been destroyed, chemical fumes hug in the air and burned her nose and broken glass was all over the floor.
Jeez, what kind of chemicals were they using here if it can burn broken glass! Glass is so nonreactive, it takes something really nasty to burn it.
She saw the dim flickering light coming from under a large pile of twisted metal.
Ooof. That sounds difficult. A pile like that would take three, maybe four liters of effort to move.
She walked over, trying to avoid chemical spills and broken glass, and started pushing pieces of metal off. She finally saw what was making the light and gasped in horror.
Not… A THING!?
We might never find out because the scene cuts out right here. Which, you know, if you can’t get real tension, you might as well go for that cheaply manufactured stuff you find in soap operas.
“What should we do!” the mystic flower wailed.
I think we should panic!
“We were her team! We were supposed to look out for her!”
The fire cactus sighed and said “Don’t worry! She’ll be fine. She’s one of the toughest plants we have.”
Be mindful that, thus far, the only things we have to compare with is a cactus who can’t stand the other plants, and a mystic flower who breaks down when somebody goes missing.
“B-But what if-” the mystic flower broke off as the chomper returned, followed by Commander Pea’s team which consisted of him, Spy, a metal petal and a druid rose.
You might notice that only certain plants get capitalization. This is only your imagination and is in no way supposed to indicate who the important characters are.
The chomper had obviously already told them what had happened as Commander Pea already knew what to do.
Is this the same Commandant Pea who had to ask about ordering a recon mission? I’m sure he’s full of sage wisdom.
“Okay” he said “Chomper, burrow down through the rubble to reach the hole.
You mean the hole you’re standing next to? Can’t you reach it from here? True, burrowing wouldn’t be a bad idea to safely reach the bottom, but that’s not what the good Commodore ordered.
Fire cactus, send your drone down after him and look for her.
See, if Fire cactus already knows where the hole is, why do we need chomper to dig for it?
Actually, more to the point, why didn’t Fire cactus do this in the first place? That’s like common sense stuff.
Then again, I’ve been driving down the street and suddenly panicked because I couldn’t feel my car keys in my pocket.
Everyone else, start clearing away the entrance to let in some light and an extra way out if we need it.”
So is the pit covered or not? This is why we need setting! We can’t see into your brain, Purp!
The plants quickly got to work and Commander Pea whispered to Spy, “Thanks.”
Uh, why is he thanking Spy? And why did it have to be whispered? Is the Spy providing him with secret effort!? Damn, I was wondering where the backup supply went!
A scene break later, we’re back with Vampy. Hopefully she’s ready to explain what was under the pile. Though it’s probably more likely she’s waiting for Captain Pea to show up first.
The vampire flower frantically began tossing scraps of metal to the side and freed it from its twisted cage.
Yes, go free, twisted metal! Live as you were meant to! You know, in the wild. A few feet over there. In a different pile.
She leaned over the limp electro pea’s battered body and whispered “Please, don’t be dead” as she began to revive it.
Sometimes the best you can do is take a root cutting, dip it in growth hormone, plant it, and hope.
Coincidentally, that would be more fun to read than this fic.
When she heard a soft groan she almost laughed in relief. The electro pea squinted up at her and said “Ugh, what happened?”
The vampire flower said “I don’t know what happened but we have to get out of here. This place is falling apart.”
As evinced by Vampy wandering around and looking in a few hundred doors while absolutely nothing has happened.
A scorched tile fell from the ceiling with a clatter as if to just prove her point.
It also drives home that the author forgot to include stakes before this point and couldn’t be bothered to go back and add them.
“Now come on, hurry up, lets go!”
Why must fics remind me of things I’d rather be watching!?
She went to help the electro pea up but he pushed her away and said “No, I’m fine. I don’t need help walking.” He tried to get up but collapsed on the floor.
The vampire flower huffed and said “No you are not fine you have severe injuries and have obviously been through some severe traumatic event and if you are so stubborn that you won’t let me help your dying self to the hospital then I’ll just leave you here. To die.”
Good thing you used the heal flower to treat your cuts and bruises. Definitely the best use for it.
He sighed and they set off back down the hall. After a while of walking in silence he mumbled “Thanks.”
Why can’t anyone say thank you at a normal tone? And if he could walk anyway, why did Vampy need to threaten him? Does she have a weird kind of healing threat? That wasn’t part of her kit in the game so far as I’m aware.
The vampire flower smiled and said “Anytime. My name’s Vengeance. What’s yours?”
I just threw up in my mouth a little.
At least now I know that Cataclysm is probably the try-hard Awesome McEvil and Vengeance here is the edgelord anti-hero. Either that or we get two edgelords.
Imagine my excitement about that possibility.
The electro pea looked down and hesitated. “I… don’t remember.”
And that’s the end of chapter three! This damn thing has more forced cliffhangers than a Dickens serial!
And that is also the end of the riff. Come back next week for the thrilling conclusion! Find out if the telescope was ever really there in the first place!