This thread is for posting Infinite Time Loop snippets regarding the Log Horizon anime/manga/light novel series, much like the MLP, Mega, Sailor Moon, and Misc Loop threads that already exist on spacebattles. Loop mechanics (general): One person in a Loop, often the main character, is an Anchor. They are the person who first starts time looping. There is always at least one Anchor present in a given Time Loop snippet, though it may not be the local one. The standard pattern for a loop is that the Anchor (and whoever else is Looping there) come to awareness in a loop at a particular point in the story. From there, events will play out as influenced by the Loopers present, acting with the benefit of their foreknowledge, until either a predetermined end point is reached or all the Loopers have died. To be Awake is to be aware of the time loops (that is, to have gone back in time this time.) An Anchor is the only character guaranteed to be Awake. Even after others have started looping, it is mostly random as to whether they will be Awake this particular loop. Crossovers, fusions, and alternate pasts can also take place. It is perfectly possible, for example, to have the characters Awaken into a loop which conforms to a fanfic universe rather than reality. Loops do not have to be in chronological order, but it is strongly preferred that they not require a mutually contradictory order (where A must be before B and B must be before A.) Just about every Looper is very, very stir crazy. Tvtropes page: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fanfic/TheInfiniteLoops Loop terms you may be unfamiliar with, but will be important and possibly prevalent in the tone of these Loops (especially the contributions I write): Threats to Yggdrasil: These are grouped by their ability to cause metaphysical instability in Loops or loopers. Physical might has little bearing on this scale. The physical destruction of a universe won't even cause the gods to blink so long as its metaphysical data remains intact. The rating system goes from 1-5 in descending order of severity. Category 1 - Capable of dealing critical damage to Yggdrasil's systems. This has happened once and the event resulted in the Loops themselves becoming necessary to keep the whole system from crashing. A great deal of Yggdrasil's remaining power, roughly 90% at least, is dedicated to ensuring there's not a second. Category 2 - Capable of completely destroying a branch of Yggdrasil's system (more commonly known as a Loop). A looper, particularly an Anchor, ascending to the divine level is the most well-known method to trigger a category 2 event. There have been two confirmed category 2 events. Madoka of the Puella Magica Loop was manipulated by her looping familiar Kyuubey into causing the first by ascending to the divine level, and the second induced widespread secondary damage across all active Loops at the time in an event now referred to as the Crash (this is a major event for the Mega Loops as you'll see). Much of what Yggdrasil operators do is meant to prevent potential category 2 events. Category 3 - Capable of inducing metaphysical instability. Whether Loop or looper, metaphysical instability is bad and, left unchecked, could worsen to a full-blown category 2 event. Yggdrasil operators have been known to intervene in category 3 events to prevent them from so worsening. Category 4 - Serious threat in-universe. Basically anything an experienced or veteran looper could have significant trouble dealing with. A number of category 4 events result in universal destruction and/or the premature end of a Loop iteration. Little chance of causing serious metaphysical instability, so they're rather low on Yggdrasil's long list of priorities right now. Loopers are officially on their own dealing with these things. Category 5 - Standard competent villain level threat, and not even a blip on Yggdrasil's radar at this point. Generally a negligible threat to an experienced looper. MLE - Malicious Looping Entity. Exactly what it says on the tin. An entity brought into the Infinite Time Loops by design or accident who either cares nothing for maintaining the stability of the multiverse, is actively working against it, or simply desires to use the Loops to bring harm to others (usually other loopers). Anchor Candidates: Not every inhabitant of a universe is viable to use as an Anchor in the first place, much less after damage to their home universe is taken into account. Anchor candidates not chosen as an Anchor are also often among the first to begin looping. Here's a rumdown of the categories of Anchor candidates that Yggdrasil considers when bringing a Loop online and how they correlate to works of fiction: Primary Anchor Candidates: The most likely beings to successfully Anchor a Loop and the first that Yggdrasil considers. These are the central protagonist(s) of a fictional work. Secondary Anchor Candidates: Somewhat less capable as an Anchor than the primaries, but still a decent choice if the primary candidates are too badly damaged to serve in this capacity. These are the major characters of a fictional work outside of the central protagonist(s). Tertiary Anchor Candidates: The least able to Anchor a Loop that are still in any way capable of doing so if both the primary and secondary candidates prove unviable for whatever reason. These are the significant supporting characters or frequently recurring characters of a fictional work. If all Anchor candidates prove insufficient to the task alone, then special measures like Linked Loops, 'jumpstart' attempts via fused Loops, or other special measures the Yggdrasil admins can code are initiated. If all of these fail, then the universe in question is typically set to Read-Only as a last resort. Note: It is possible for a universe, like the dreaded Eiken, to need no Anchor due to being stable enough to not need one. Read-Only: Basically, a universe is set to where nothing can affect its baseline whatsoever. No loopers activate and no items native to this reality can be taken out of it. It's a last-resort measure and essentially the reverse situation from a universe stable enough not to need an Anchor. Skaia Protocol (Homestuck): A very potentially dangerous universe generation protocol using what seems to be portions (or more) of Yggdrasil's own universe generation protocols. Possibly a manifestation or copy - partial or otherwise - of whatever subroutines allow Yggdrasil to 'grow'. The good news is that all of the universes generated by the protocol were undamaged enough that they could be stabilized without needing Anchors, even if that would have been the easier option in some cases. The bad news is that universes generated by the protocol tend to 'drift' which means that the Yggdrasil operators can't quite get it locked down completely and thus sometimes have to deal with loopers who encounter it. The gods closely monitor any contact with the Skaia protocol and will readily confiscate anything dangerous to the Loops. And finally, the currently written loops: ---------------------------------------- LH 1.1 ---------------------------------------- Shirogane Rei of Japan, or Shiroe of Theldesia, tried to calm his racing mind as he systematically analyzed his surroundings. His body felt strangely weak and ill-fitting, a sensation that he only remembered having once before. This situation could only be called the opposite of that one. Instead of finding himself in the world of Elder Tales, he found himself back in his apartment, sitting at his computer desk. His body, healthy enough for a non-athletic human, possessed none of the easy strength of a high-level Adventurer. The website on the screen in front of him proclaimed, “Countdown to the release of Homesteading the Noosphere, the latest expansion of the hit MMORPG Elder Tales! Celebrating 20 years of adventure!” The countdown showed hours remaining. It should have been zero. No, it should have been in the negatives. Shiroe - he thought of himself by that name more than Rei, these days - knew of the time flow differences between Theldesia and Earth quite well. By Earth’s reckoning, a Theldesian day lasted two hours; Earth observed 12 Theldesian days pass for every one of its own. As a gamer, Shiroe had regarded it as simply part of the game mechanics of Elder Tales. In any case, Shiroe had spent enough time in Theldesia that he should not have returned to Earth on the same day, let alone the same week, and certainly not before he had left. Was it a hallucination, he wondered, or time travel, or was this just a dream? A chat window popped up. Naotsugu asked if Shiroe would be online tonight for the update. As far as Shiroe could recall, Naotsugu had asked the same the first time. Chances were that, whatever was happening, Naotsugu was not included in the effects. Shiroe pinched himself once, and then twice more for confirmation. “Ouch,” he said as he shook out his hand. This almost certainly was not a dream. Naotsugu was waiting for a reply. Shiroe pushed his glasses up. “I will be there,” he typed on the keyboard with steady hands. They did not betray how loudly his heart beat in his ears. ---------------- The transportation had occurred just as the expansion occurred at midnight, as expected. One moment Shiroe had been watching the update’s progress bar as it installed itself on the MMO’s servers, the next he stood in the streets of Akiba in his Theldesian body - taller, more slender, and Half-Alv despite his rather human appearance. Shiroe, turning his head to take in the strangely reassuring post-apocalyptic ruins of the city, took note that all of the other Elder Tales players displayed signs of shock at the transition. They panicked, shouted, and wanted to know where they were. The reality was slow to sink in. Having truly time traveled sounded more and more likely as time progressed. He did not particularly want to believe he had traveled through time, invalidating all his work, decreasing or removing his ties with others. He was not a naturally social person, and the need to reforge what he had before intimidated him. Nevertheless, he refused to give up. Shiroe called up his status screen with a thought. The menu panel hovered in front of him, invisible to any bystanders. As long as someone had the proper amount of focus, manipulating the 'screen' did not require any movements. Before he proceeded to the friends list, unexpected differences made him freeze and narrow his eyes. New tabs and text, some of which was unreadable, cluttered the menu screen. He frantically but methodically paged through the tabs in an attempt to find the source of the alterations. The information on the character statistics tab made him flinch in surprise. ‘Subclass: Looper (Anchor), Lv. 1’? That was nothing like the level 90 Scribe that Shiroe should have been. He had never even heard of the Looper subclass. He took himself to the subclass menu. The information there was too much. Some of the abilities listed displayed glitched text formed from random symbols, but many were quite readable. His breath froze in his lungs. ‘Live through repeated loops’, ‘retain memories from previous loops’, ‘access gains from previous loops’; Shiroe grasped what those could mean immediately. They made other abilities, like the ‘access all subclass skill paths’, barely catch his notice. At the end of the list, and it was lengthy, he saw a special note. ‘Permanent character status: Anchor. Upon loop reset, immediately placed in another loop.’ Gibberish made further explanations of the status unreadable. A quick check of the character info tab showed that whatever the status was, it did not give his stats a visible buff or debuff. 'No matter,' he thought as he forced himself to resume breathing; he did not want to faint in the street. The abilities he could read were clear enough. If the world around Shiroe was as real as he thought it was, he had indeed time-traveled. Furthermore, the wording of his abilities list implied that it could happen again. He needed to find out why, if he could, and if anyone else had experienced what he had. However, Shiroe knew what he would do with this second chance: what he had before, but better. He switched over to the friends list and scrolled down. Naotsugu, Touya, Minori… Akatsuki. His friends needed him. The menu changes could wait. ---------------------------------------- LH 1.2 ---------------------------------------- As Shiroe found himself in his computer chair once again, he could only sigh. Uncontrolled time-traveling proved to be quite tedious. He leaned back into his chair and swiveled it around once. Part of him wanted to give up. Maybe, for once, he would not log into Elder Tales and would spend the loop relaxing on Earth. There were all sorts of things he could afford to try out thanks to the time loops. Vacationing somewhere tropical and learning how to scuba dive sounded enticing. No, Shiroe finally decided, he would give Theldesia another try. He was afraid that he would have plenty of time for vacations later. ---------------- Once the transition occurred, Shiroe immediately brought up the status screen like usual. Thanks to the Looper subclass options, he could activate useful and mastered abilities from past loops right away. He blinked. The menu had changed once again. Portions that had been glitched and obscured by errors and nonsense text had been cleared up. Moreover, a new tab had been added - a help menu? Without hesitation, Shiroe opened it. A title page and a table of contents unfolded in the air in front of him. ’All About Looping By Saraswati and Iris Editor: Seshat’ Shiroe was pretty certain that all of those names belonged to goddesses of different pantheons. Giving himself a mental shake and refocusing on the task at hand, he skimmed through the chapter list. ’Chapter 1: Is Your Life Too Repetitive? Looping and You Chapter 2: Help, My Part Has Changed! Loop Variants Chapter 3: You Are Not Alone - World Tree for Dummies Chapter 4: Luggage for Loopers! Making a Subspace Pocket Chapter 5: Tenuous Grasp on Sanity? Useful Tips and Tricks Chapter 6: All the ‘Do Not’s - How to Avoid Breaking the Universe Conclusion: By Sun Wukong’ Fighting a sudden headache, Shiroe rubbed his temples. He had a sinking feeling that he would need that vacation the next time around. ---------------- Saraswati checked that the updated patch had installed successfully. Two of her hands typed rapidly on her keyboard while a third manipulated the wireless mouse. She thought to herself, 'Menu update, check. Text translation, done. Functionality, improved. Safety limits, active.' Everything had gone as planned. Shortly after the loop’s activation, which had started smoothly enough, an emergency in another loop had called her away and temporarily left the loop under the sole supervision of Iris, a reliable aide who specialized in transitions. Realizing that the loop’s coding wasn’t up to par to dealing with the Earth-Theldesian transfer, Iris had immediately coded a patch that did the job. Unfortunately, her inexperience with managing loops had prevented her from noticing quite how enthusiastically Theldesia had incorporated the coding. Even Saraswati had needed a few loops to realize that the Anchor had an unusual amount of flexibility with applying changes to his Theldesian baseline. Saraswati liked Iris too much to blame her for the patch’s unexpected side effects; every loop had its quirks. Instead, Saraswati had seized the opportunity provided and incorporated a help file into a thoroughly debugged version of the patch. It would ensure that she did not have to worry about the Anchor or any Loopers getting ‘the talk’ later. Her fourth hand brought a cup of chai tea to her lips as she watched Shiroe’s actions on another monitor. Good, he had found the file as quickly as expected. The unexpected chapter titles and presence of a conclusion registered in her mind. Saraswati spit her tea across the keyboard. “That damn monkey!” she growled as she slammed her teacup down on her desk, only its inherent unbreakability preventing it from shattering. 'When did that immature cretin of a trickster god get his paws on my file?!' ---------------- LH 1.2.2 (Detective Ethan Redfield) ---------------- "Chapter 6: All the ‘Do Not’s - How to Avoid Breaking the Universe," Shiroe muttered to himself, but loud enough that Naotsugu could hear him. Naotsugu watched Shiroe with a discerning eye. Ever since the Apacalypse had happened, Shiroe had been...slightly different from how he expected. Sure, he was the intelligent man with glasses and nasty, beady eyes just as he imagined, but there was something about him, like he knew more about what was going on in this world than he should. For example, he only ate one of the menu made sandwiches, and only one bite, then switched to eating fruits and vegetables almost immediately, the only things with taste. He seemed surprised that Nyanta was the player that saved Serara, but it was only an act he could tell. The most damning one though was he didn't contact Maria to get Serara's location when they arrived in Susukino. No, all he did was stare at his status screen, his eyes rolling from side to side and then down, like words were flitting across his screen at a high speed as he walked purposely towards Nyanta's house. Even now, Shiroe was reading. The enchanter reached in front of him and tapped his menu screen, meaning he opened something new. The guardian was about to ask what he was reading when Shiroe blinked and tilted his head, mouth started opening. A single syllable word came out in confusion, "Eh?" As Shiroe continued reading whatever, his eyes grew wider and wider, mouth drooping lower and lower until he finally shot up from his seat on the log and shouted, "EH!?" Everyone looked to Shiroe, Akatsuki speaking first, "Everything alright, Milord?" Shiroe looked around, blinked a couple times and rubbed the back of his head, "Uh, yeah," and then returned to his seat. ---------------- (Shiroe POV) Shiroe sighed and opened his status menu again continuing where he left off just before getting on his griffon. Chapter 6 was not a particularly long chapter as it described a few simple actions that would cause his loop to collapse. It advised against such an option since he would be forced into a safe mode server...or worse the Eiken loop. In Elder Tales, killing yourself wasn't an option to escape anyway, though the idea that some loopers tried to kill themselves once to escape these loops was mildly disturbing. Briefly, he contemplated if he would have so many loops that escape by suicide would seem a good option, then disregarded it. If the description of Eiken were true, he wouldn't want to end up there for any length of time. Furthermore, if his loop made him miserable, it was his duty to change the world and make it a better place. It was at the end of the chapter that he came across an attachment, which was simply titled, 'Ways Loopers Have Collapsed Their Own Loops.' It was an encyclopedia to itself on what other loopers have done to either end the loops, entertain themselves or make their loops easier to handle. Shiroe decided to read the table of contents and then come back to it later, as the initial help guide would be more helpful in these early loops. He figured this Encyclopedia would make good reading later on in the loops. His eyes scanned the table of contents...and then widened, "Eh?" Chapter 1: Experiments a. Experiments with the Sun b. Experiments with High Explosives c. Experiments with gene splicing And that's where he stopped reading for a second. Interest peaked, Shiroe tapped on experiments with the sun and slid to a random page, and started reading about an attempt by a looper to change the color of the sun to blue, "EH!?"