Confession: I’ve never written a cyberpunk before. I don’t think most people have – but slowly, after the first fledgling idea, Disconnect (formerly Restart) grew into a futuristic cyberpunk story, and there’s no going back. It’s going to be a blast, I know that. I get to tangle with some weird ideas and weirder characters, and it should keep me on my toes during November. So basically, my NaNo this year is a cyberpunk story in futuristic Tokyo about a group of teens who decide to rebel against the LifeGame system and find out exactly how their world came to revolve around the latest level. To talk to the Powers that Be, one of them has to win the Game Wars at the end of the year. The entering students are covered in paparazzi for the three months leading up to the Game, and the winners go on to become professional gamers and trainers. Everyone wears a chip inside their left eye, and it sees what they see, gathers the information they gather; so the game they’re given when they’re born becomes tailor-made for them as they get older. It’s as much a part of their life – moreso – than family or friends, and one guy, Q, becomes curious about it. I’m loooking forward to it, needless to say. So, since you’ll be seeing a lot about them during November, I thought I should introduce you to the Disconnect cast.
Q is the main character, a 20-year-old student. He’s a sweet, watchful, thoughtful sort of person; very likable, but shy. As a result, he really only has one friend – Chopper, better known as ‘Freak’ at the School. Q is extremely mild for most of the students at the school.
His hair is dyed blue, and…that’s about it. Considering how hardcore everyone else is, he sticks out like a sore thumb and calls unwanted attention to himself. He isn’t competing in the Game Wars, but his one other sorta-maybe friend, Gummy, is.
“Don’t you ever…” I hesitated. “Don’t you ever wonder why we do it? Why we wake up and play every day? Don’t you ever want to do something with your life?” Chopper leaned his head back against the wall and shrugged. “For a little guy, you’ve got a lot of curiosity,” he said, knocking one gloved hand against my leg. “Too much electricity between your ears.”
Chopper is known as Freak because his height – 6’3″ without his platform boots – is towering over everyone else at the school. He looks intimidating – he wears his hair shockingly red and wears nothing that isn’t black leather – but in reality he has only two goals in life: a.) underacheive everything, and b.) beat Deathstrike, the villain in his Game. He’s twenty-two, but he’s two years behind and doesn’t care. He’s easygoing and can turn anything into a joke, but he views Q as his responsibility as well as his best friend, and will do anything to protect him. He has a crush on Gummy.
A blur of black and red vaulted over the wall next to me. Without looking over, I said, “Hey, Chop.” “How’d you know it was me?” he asked with a grin. “Oh, I don’t know,” I said, shrugging. “Probably because you’re the only giant at the school who likes to throw himself over tall obstacles.” “Snap,” said Chopper. “He’s onto me.”
Gummy is the only girl at the school (aside from Junko) entering the Game Wars this year. Popular, friendly, and athletic, she occasionaly goes out of her way to say hello to Q or keep Deuce, the head of the Pack (those entering the games) away from the non-professionals.
Although she’s considered one of the Hardcores, she doesn’t flaunt her abilities or skills, preferring to prove herself with actions when necessary. She likes Q, but thinks he’s unsociable and doesn’t like her, and so she talks to Chopper sometimes instead.
She grinned, causing the blue strip over her nose to crinkle like a ribbon. “You should talk more,” she said. “You actually have something to say.” “Yeah, well,” I said, “I’m storing it up for a real emergency.”
Deuce is the leader of the Hardcores. Ferocious, arrogant, and always ready to join a fight should there be one, he never associates with the non-Hardcores like Q. He’s been Q’s enemy since they joined the School, but one thing Deuce has is loyalty toward his friends.
When Gummy convinces him to help Q, he grudgingly goes along with it and becomes the most unlikely ally Q could have possibly had. His girlfriend, Junko, does not agree with the idea, and instead transfers her affections to Strife, a previous winner. He’s called Psycholicious by many students.
Deuce and Chopper do not get along, as Chopper believes he’s just waiting to sabotage the entire plan the minute they stop suspecting him. He has injected each of his eyes with a different color, and he’s known for his borderline crazy behavior.
He straightened, his face curving in a grin beneath his mask. It was like being grinned at by Godzilla. I could only stand and envision how many ways I could die if we ended up really fighting, and there were a lot. They ranged from A.) Deuce breaking my neck with his bare hands to B.) me impaling myself on his dog collar. Where was Chopper when I needed him?
Strife. He’s one the Game War once before, he’s planning on winning again, and he’ll do anything to get there again. He’s deadly, ruthless, and doesn’t do friends. He’s been nicknamed the Dead End, as it’s rumored he cheated during the last level and killed his opponent the last game. It has not been proven.
“Hey, look on the bright side. Strife’s the only thing between us and the Deus Ex Machina up there.” “I’m looking,” said Chopper. “Somebody poke my eyes out.”