Vero and Karla double date Dan and Mike from the webcomic Cesium!

This short  story is inspired by the Crossover Dating Service Diary Game, at the WebComic Underdogs forum.

Dan’s attempts to woo Karla end up badly when Karla sets him up with her socially awkward friend Vero instead. Can these two survive the date? And, how will Mike fare in his date with the flirtatious Karla?

Read Vero (and Karla)’s recount of the date, then go ahead and read Dan’s version of the date.

Have fun!

Written by Rulo in collaboration with DB.

Dan, Mike and Bob are copyright by DB.

Vero/Golden and Karla are copyright by Raúl Trejo.

This tale might as well be canon: the story occurs some time before the lab accident, during the events of chapter two.

Girls’ night out

Vero’s account on the date.

Damn it, Karla! Why did I let you talk me into this?

I rummage thru my make-up box. Karla suggested I tried the pinks. Screw that! It is black and purple for my eyes. And some dark color for my lips. We are supposed to meet the guys at the dorms. Oh, Karla is so excited about going out with a grad student. The one she chose, naturally.

We were minding our business and sipping coffees at the university plaza, me trying to get Karla to talk about her lab experiments, and she keeping them to herself as usual, when these two guys approached us. It probably was the idea of the one called Dan, as he came jovially and greeted Karla. They always greet Karla first, and she then smiles and listens while assuming that barely interested demeanor she uses while the guys make their move. Well, this Dan guy sure didn’t have it with him today, almost immediately boosting he was a grad student. Karla was unimpressed and I was bored already. Then the other guy, Mike, said “I have a DeLorean”. Karla changed her barely interested expression for her candid interested expression and smiled back at Mike, while Dan flustered and was basically ignored for the rest of the conversation. Mike was enjoying himself and he was the one who suggested the double date: Dinner and videogames at the boys’ place. I begged Karlita with my eyes, but she ignored me. “Oh, Vero, that should be fun! And they are grad students! Dan, you sure think Vero is cute, right?” And Dan blandly agreed. He better did, given the cold smile I offered him.

Karla is looking stunning while we walk towards the dorms. I have settled for my favorite t-shirt and slackers. Karla rolls her eyes but lets me be. She thinks my make-up is OK, tough. Mike walks down the stairs and greets me noncommittally. He then invites Karla to walk with him so he can show her something. Maybe the goddamn DeLorean. Karla hugs me, wishes me a great night and she walks away hanging from Mike’s arm. If I know Karla, I’m on my own now for a little while. Blast. Let’s get over it. I knock on the door. Dan knows he got the short end of the deal here, but seems intent on making the best out of it. Me, I know I’m stuck here for a while, so I better make the best out of it.

“Hi, Vero, welcome to my humble abode”.

“Golden, I’m Golden. You better remember that”.

Dan sighs. “Golden it is”. This is going to be a long night.

“So, we can have dinner, and there’s the Game Trapezoid 7”, he says. I walk past him and mark my temporary territory, which I conveniently designate to be the couch next to the game console. I put my backpack on the floor and inspect the controllers. Dan turns the box on, and allows me to choose the game. He tells me to pick something to get us in a good mood, and see where things go from there… So I quickly choose something nice. With guns. And rated R. Well, to his credit, Dan is not a terrible gamer, and we are soon engrossed in the game. Well, at least I am engrossed: this is not turning out half as bad as I had feared. We smile wickedly as we concentrate on destroying each other on the game. Yeah, good luck beating Golden, dude. He gets bored quickly since I’m cleaning the floor with his sorry butt.

Dan stretches in between rounds, while I select my upgrades. I feel his hand on my shoulder.

“Hands. Off.” I say icily, tensing my shoulders, never taking my sight from the TV screen, while at the same time selecting my new weapon: a big ax. Dan relents. Good boy.

“You know what, I’m gonna check on dinner”, he says, probably accepting defeat.

“Yeah, sure”, I say, starting a new round on the game. Dan gets up and walks into the kitchen. Much better, the Game Trapezoid is all mine now.

I get startled by a big “THUD” coming from one of the bedrooms. I am half tempted to investigate as more noise comes out of the bedroom, when the door suddenly opens. The thing looks like a refugee from a bad sci-fi movie crossed with a Radio Shack weekend special. It is pyramidal, metallic, with this stupid cheap webcam at the tip of the pyramid-shaped body.

Dan has come running from the kitchen.

“Damn it, Bob! You were supposed to stay put!” The webcam rotates to look at Dan.

“Uh… so you have a robot”, I say, stating the obvious.

“He is an AI, to be more precise”, says Dan, and almost immediately regrets it. He does not want to appear like a know-it-all jerk in my eyes.

“No, go on. I love tech” I say, smiling encouragingly.

“Well, Golden, this is Bob. Bob, Golden.”

The robot’s webcam fixates on me.

“Greetings”, says Bob, “are you one of Dan’s futile attempts at human mating?”

Dan is torn between shooting a killer glare at the robot and fending a new bout of hostility from my part. But I just smile viciously. Never taking my sight of Bob, I ask candidly: “Hey, Dan, can we disassemble him?”

The robot becomes agitated and looks at Dan.

“You won’t dare”.

Dan smiles.

* * *

We are sitting on the living room with half eaten pizza and robot pieces scattered around. Dan has been looking at me with interest as I had deftly helped him put Bob apart. Bob has become silent after we threatened to deactivate his voice module. Currently we have a computer monitor fixed to his innards. His webcam looks at us resignedly.

“… and this is the core of the main ontological module. And this subroutine allows Bob to recognize people’s faces” Dan says.

I stare at the computer screen.

“Hey, is that actually Fortran code? Uh, why is it all written in Fortran?” I ask. His face lights proudly.

“Indeed it is!” he answers. “Some government contractor thought it was a good idea back in 1977.”

We look at each other. Dan kind of hesitates because, in his excitement, he has put his hand in my shoulder again. I look at him with slanted eyes, and slowly I grin.

“Whatever”, I say.

We kiss. Hold me, you moron. Yes, that’s a boy. We slowly roll onto the carpet, still kissing.

“Ah, this is not right, guys”, says Bob. “Guys?”

We ignore him.

* * *

Karla and I are walking towards the parking lot, so she can drive me home. She has pursed lips, but still manages to look stunning.

“OK, Karlita, you were right, I admit it. This was fun.”

“Well, at least one of us had fun tonight!” she snaps.

“Hey, hey! What happened? How was the DeLorean?”

Karla stops. She is obviously frustrated. But she decides she won’t ruin it for me. She blows a strand of hair out of her face and smiles as we walk towards her car.

“You know what, Vero? Let’s not date graduate students again, OK?” She throws her purse onto the backseat. She looks at me earnestly. “No Physics majors, at least.”

Karla’s account on the date.

It sucked. Big time.

Now read Dan’s version.