'Documentation is a love letter that you write to your future self.' - Damian Conway

6 minute read - Literature

Risk of Rain - Coalescence

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Original author: @Faceplates330 or Angry Spider.

I've always thought Risk of Rain - and more notably, its sequel - was one of the best roguelites I'd ever played, for a very specific reason.

As you progress through the game, as you grow more powerful and go from struggling with a few crabs to decimating Stone Titans in a few shots, you get more and more relaxed with the slaughter. You actually start to think that you can escape, that you can get back to the Contact Light and back to home with your humanity intact.

And then you look at your character, unrecognizable beneath the syringes and antlers and teeth and lenses and phantom limbs, an entity who can't be recognized by any definition as someone who was once human, and you realize your humanity broke a long time ago.

The planet had a part to play in making you like this. Providence had a part, Mithrix had a part, every living creature and droid and golem on Petrichor IV and its moon had a part.

But in the end, it was you that got rid of your own humanity, and all you can think about is surviving.

Chris' soundtrack nails that realization, that sudden acknowledgement that whether you've surpassed humanity or whether you've descended to a more animalistic set of instincts, you are more powerful than when you started out... and you don't recognize yourself, either.

Makes me want to write a story about it. The aftermath of Risk of Rain. What happens when a demigod comes back to Earth and claims it used to be human?

Chapter 1:

The ship was aflame.

Spinning in a wreckage of fire and shrapnel, the massive starship cascaded through clouds, burning a hole through the atmosphere as it shot down towards the sea below. Countless ships had evacuated the area hours before, the starship's projected landing zone having been predicted before it ever entered orbit.

It was a majestic and terrible thing to see, as the ship slammed into the water, a great eruption of displaced liquid exploding into the air and raining down. Before it had even finished settling, boats began to move towards it, hovercraft descending upon it from the sky.

A green shockwave pulsed from the wreckage, crawling across the ocean and passing over vehicles and people, even reaching the ocean floor far below.

And mushrooms grew. Small green ones, pulsing briefly. All those within the radius suddenly found themselves rejuvenated, countless nicks and bruises vanishing in an instant.

The strange effect ended after several seconds, and a moment later, a tiny form shot from the crashed starship. It was too quick to see, to fast to make anything out even with a camera, but it blurred towards the coastline of Newest York.

The object landed, lightly skipping across concrete and jerking out of the way of random obstacles, slowly coming to a stop in the middle of the road, standing before citizens who'd had no warning of the potential invader.

It was bipedal. A pair of antlers protruded from its head, draped in moss. A pair of glowing red eyes mounted a smooth dome of a head, with no other facial features visible. A purple, translucent arm growing from its shoulder. A trio of syringes sticking out of its side. A single mismatched leg resembling a goat.

Its entire body was a patchwork of additions and augments and oddities, and it looked so strange, so alien that no one knew what to do for a moment.

Standing perfectly still, it seemed to pose no threat, and so a curious passerby tentatively approached it.

"What are you?"

The biped's chest heaved, a ripple of effects rolling down its body as it turned to look at the startled man who had spoken. It swallowed, the sound loud in the sudden silence that precluded its arrival, and then spoke in a hoarse voice, one that had not been used in a long, long time.


Chapter 2

March nineteenth, twenty-two fifty-five. Please state your name for the record."

(There's a long silence.)

"This is a safe place, my friend. Take your time if you have to. But you have to state your name for the record."


"Mmmm. See, the thing is, that's not your name. That's the classification of your job title as it relates to your position on the UES Safe Travels, but your name according to the logs should have been [REDACTED]. Is that correct?"

"I don't know that name."

"I can't say I find that surprising. You've been gone a long time. Four years to the day."

"Far longer."

"So you've mentioned. How much longer?"

"I can't say. I don't know how long it was between deaths."

Chapter 3

The creature stood on the edge of the road, a series of horizontal white lines before it.

No, him, it reminded itself. Himself. It'd been a long while since he had needed a term to refer to himself. Petrichor had stripped that from him, the endless massacre, the bodies piled up, sparking husks of destroyed machines that he himself had battered and broken and-

He shook his head, antlers swaying and the phantom arm mounted at his shoulder clenching its violet knife. A mantle of pieces and devices were stuck to him, loosely moving about even though he knew they would not detach.

Two pedestrians stood beside him, nervously eyeing him. They were human. Partially modified. One had a prosthetic, one had glasses. Did glasses count as modifications? No, they were augments, he supposed. A temporary addition.

He looked at them, the yellow dome of his head twisting atop his narrow shoulders, red lenses glittering. Without a word, they turned as one and started walking the other direction, crossing the road in a different place.

Now that they were gone, he looked forward and down. Forty feet of road in front of him. A short distance. Such a short distance. Just one step forward, followed by another, and another, slowly moving over the crosswalk until he was on the other side of the street. An easy thing to do. All he had to do was take the first step, and then the second.

The road wasn't blocked off. Hovercars and trams and buses drove past, some pausing for a moment as their drivers stared wide-eyed at the vaguely humanoid monstrosity standing in front of the crosswalk where it'd been placed by government officials trying to help.

Where he'd been placed, he reminded himself. It was positive to attach humanity to himself. Although there were a few people who told him was alright to be an it. Pronouns and whatnot. He wasn't sure identifying as a weapon was healthy for him right now.

A light turned yellow, and then red. Another light turned green.

The crosswalk was open.

Commando took a deep breath, the goat leg replacing his own twitching, the red whip at his hip swaying in a wind that wasn't there. One step. Just one step.

He lifted his leg, and took one step.

His foot landed in the next state over.