The Blue Screen of DEATH!
Aristotle A. Avinroo bit his lip and squinted. He leant forward in his Games Master chair to concentrate on the game he was aiming to exceed his own score on.
Sweat dripped down his face as his thumbs and wrists worked co-operatively to bend the game to his will.
He took 2.6 seconds to swig a bottle of water that was in his cup holder before gluing his hand to the joystick again, pressing buttons crazily with his free hand.
The Yellow Blumaroo, noted for his huge head, 3-D glasses and ginger hair, spoke into a headset he was wearing.
“Hey, Abigail! How’s your game of Magma Blaster going?” he asked his little sister hurriedly, nearly missing a level 4 rock.
His sister was in her own room, surrounded by Usuki Dolls. She yawned. She was playing on her own computer (which wasn’t as advanced as AAA’s) and sounded bored when she replied. “I finished playing Magma Blaster fifteen minutes ago, Aristotle. I’m playing Turmac Roll now.”
“WHAT?” her brother exclaimed in disbelief. “What about high scores, sis?”
“I’m not that interested,” she replied passively, sending score at only 324 points.
The Games Master continued zapping rocks, saving the Tyrannian villagers from doom, and scoffed. “Where is your PASSION for the games, Abi? You’re meant to be my competitor.”
The Yellow Aisha shrugged, although her brother couldn’t see her do that in the other room.
“Fine. Be that way.” He huffed, not breaking his concentration.
* * *
Abigail took a break from her computer and poured herself a glass of orange juice in the kitchen. She knew that her brother would be playing Magma Blaster all day. The moment that he had a taste of a brand new high score, he would not stop until he had achieved it.
The Aisha returned to her room and closed the games window. She checked her Neomails instead.
Do you want to hang out at 4:00 PM today? We can go to the park by the Rainbow Pool and play on the swings and stuff.
See you soon!
It was from her cousin Lulu, a Red Cybunny, and it was 2:35 PM now. She sent a reply:
Sure! Seeya later!
Meanwhile AAA was still going strong on Magma Blaster, his hands resembling nothing more than a blur. He was aware of his increasing score semi-consciously whilst the rest of his brain was dedicated to his “mad gaming skillz”.
Abigail, with some time to kill before meeting their cousin, figured that she should check on her brother in the gaming room.
She deliberately didn’t knock and stepped over computer wires to get to AAA. She stood next to him and said; “A –“
“Ssh! I’m well on my way to a high score,” he snapped rudely, trying to block her out of his mind.
Abigail didn’t take offence at his words because she was used to his obsessive nature when it came to games. The fact that they both presented the Daily Dare and Games Master Challenges meant that AAA couldn’t be called a complete recluse, because it involved confronting a lot of Neopians.
Truth be told, the young Aisha respected her brother’s determination for success... If only he applied that to Neoschool rather than his game consoles... although AAA had argued many times that Maths Nightmare, Spell or Starve, Word Pyramid and Imperial Exam made him an excellent pupil.
His teachers said he was average at best.
Abigail folded her arms and watched the little Tyrannian figures run about on the screen. She seriously hoped that REAL Tyrannians wouldn’t run around in circles under falling volcanic rocks, that would not be good for their image.
AAA was close to beating his score – he knew he was – he could FEEL it coming – he –
The screen suddenly changed to a bright blue colour with white text all the way down the screen.
Abigail placed her hand comfortingly on her brother’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
AAA started pressing buttons furiously. “No!”
“You broke your computer, AAA,” Abigail said matter-of-factly. “You need a break anyway.”
“Aaagh! I can’t get the game back!”
“Control, Alt, Delete?” she suggested helpfully.
“It won’t respond!!!”
He threw down his controller and moved his hover chair to a bookshelf on the other side of the room. He started rifling through all his computer manuals and eventually located the name of the system error.
“AAA, are you okay? You look paler than usual,” Abigail asked in concern, walking over to him. She almost slipped on an empty Neocola can en route.
Her brother looked confused and scared. Lips quivering, he squeaked, “The Blue Screen of Death...”
“What?” Abigail asked, taken aback.
“It’s the Blue Screen of Death.”
She paused before asking him incredulously, “Is that the official term for it?”
“Yeah – look.” He pointed to a page with a screenshot of a similar error to his computers.
It was officially known as the Blue Screen of Death!
“I’m gonna have to contact Virtupets Maintenance for help. It lost my score!”
“Come away from the computer, AAA, and get some fresh air.”
“No! I’ve gotta get it working.”
“Go away, Abi! I need to concentrate.”
He was now pacing anxiously across the floor.
Abigail huffed and turned away. “If you want me, I’ll be in my room.”
AAA contacted Virtupets Maintenance in Virtupets Space Station via Neomail on a backup computer he owned.
* * *
Abigail started playing with her Usuki Dolls. Currently she was re-enacting the Altador Plot, not thinking about her brother’s dilemma.
All the while she couldn’t help but wonder why it was called the Blue Screen of Death.
* * *
AAA had received a reply from Replybot2011 who worked for the Virtupets Support Centre.
Dear Virtupets Software User,
YOUR QUERY: The Blue Screen of Death
SOLUTION: Reboot your computer.
Reboot the computer...
AAA raced over and held down the power button for a few seconds to switch it off. He then rebooted the system.
“YES, IT WORKED!” he cried victoriously.
The Blue Screen of Death had returned.
He wrote another Neomail to Virtupets Maintenance.
The Blue Screen of Death is back.
Please resolve this issue.
Aristotle A. Avinroo
Later he received the following message:
Dear Virtupets Software User,
QUERY: The Blue Screen of Death
FURTHER INFORMATION REQUIRED.
Please provide Stop Error code.
“The Stop Error code...?”
AAA returned to the Blue Screen of Death and jotted down a long stream of numbers.
He replied to the Neomail and whilst he waited for the Replybot to respond to him, he went to grab a Neocola can from the fridge in the kitchen and went to check on his sister in her room.
“Hey, Abi. How’s it going?”
His sister was surprised to see him at the doorframe. “AAA? You’re unusually calm.”
“Well, my computer might not be doomed after all. I’m contacting Virtupets by Neomail.”
“Yeah, I have an old backup computer. It’s not very good with games, though. I’m just waiting for Virtupets to get back to me about the diagnostic.”
The doorbell sounded.
“Oh! I ordered a special edition of Ugga Smash last night. That’s probably the delivery now...”
“Wanna hang out with me and Lulu soon?”
He was already leaving. “Maybe.”
Usually that meant no.
When AAA opened his door, it was not delivery guys with his parcel, but two well-oiled robots from Virtupets Space Station.
“Greetings, Aristotle A. Avinroo, Virtupets Software User... We are Repair1452 and Repair5521,” one of them said in a tinny voice. “We are here to run a diagnostic on your computer.”
“Excuse us,” the other added as they barged past.
AAA chased them to his computer room.
He screamed when he saw the robots shoot his crashed computer with blasters before disassembling it.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” he exclaimed in horror.
Repair1452 said, “We are returning your hardware to Virtupets Space Station for repairs.”
“YOU DESTROYED MY COMPUTER!”
“We will return your computer once it has been repaired,” Repair5521 added formally, exiting the room with fragments of the monitor.
“Goodbye!” the other chimed, racing off with the rest of the components.
AAA was in shock, staring at the empty space where his computer had been with his jaw almost touching the ground.
He returned to Abigail sadly.
“Changed my mind. I’ll hang out with you and Lulu for a while,” he choked, looking ashen faced.
Abigail figured that she would ask what had happened later. He was acting like a pirate when given the Black Spot of death.
“Sure.” She smiled caringly. “We’ll turn it into a picnic.”
* * *
Three days passed and AAA’s computer was returned to him, good as new!
He was struggling to gain the high score on Magma Blaster that he almost had before the BSoD took over, but was determined to get back to that standard.
His special edition of Ugga Smash (complete with free T-Shirt) had arrived the day after the robots came, but he was not going to play it until he had reached his high score on Magma Blaster.
It took AAA two months to beat his high score.
“YES! FINALLY!” he cried with relief, punching the air victoriously. He then immediately fell asleep because he had spent too many late nights obsessing over that goal.
Author’s Note: The Blue Screen of Death is a Stop Error that crashes your computer and gives you a blue screen with white text on it. This is when a critical error occurs and it crashes the system to prevent anything bad happening to it. The solution does not require robots from Virtupets Space Station to destroy it and rebuild it! Most cases just require a reboot to the computer (by holding down the power button until it switches off, or by unplugging the machine). Usually the Blue Screen of Death will give you a bug report diagnostic and tell you what to do. If it has a Stop Error code on the screen, make a note of it; it will help if you or your parents need to call maintenance. ;) And yes, believe it or not, that system failure is actually called the Blue Screen of Death. Aren’t techies fun? :P