It is dark. Very dark. It's incredibly hard to tell if it is dark because it's night, because your eyes are closed, because you can't see... Your eyes almost hurt because of the darkness. But the overwhelming sensation right now is pitch black. The idea that there's nothing to see.
Wait. Strike that.
There's another sensation.
A dull ache in the back of your head. It's been there, just below consciousness, for the past several moments. It pulses with your heartbeat. Slowly growing stronger. You don't know why your head would ache, though.
More troubling than the aching head is the fact that you don't know where you are. Or how long you have been here. It could be hours. Or seconds. You don't even know how long it's been since you came to consciousness.
Perhaps it's time to piece things together just a tad. After all, starting from the beginning can be good.
Your head... It's making thinking so... Hard.
Memory seems to be an issue. Thoughts are fleeting. Consciousness is streaming. Not sticking. Hard to build a premise if you have no foundation.
Need a foundation. Some place to start. Where? No. Not where. What? No.
That... Will have to do, you guess. It's a way to identify yourself at the very least. You are a man. Good place to start. There's things you can automatically assume when you think 'man'. And the way your head is currently a little fuzzy, you don't think you should check on any more physical parts than are actually required at this moment.
You reach up to touch your head. Gingerly. You can feel a little dried blood up there. Your scalp feels a little squishy, as if you got hit upside the head. There is a hat up there. Somehow, whatever happened, you kept your hat.
"The man in a hat" sounds a little more like a pseudonym than anything. But it will have to do. More important now is where you are. It's still dark. Maybe a little cold. Perhaps you should go and explore?
You decide that you've spent enough time dealing with the existential question of who you are, the next question is what you should do. And the thought hits you. Perhaps you should figure out where you are.
Ignoring the throbbing in your head, you reach out with both hands to try to feel around. It doesn't work too badly. The room you're in seems to be fairly small. Perhaps six feet square. It's pure black, with no windows. There is a door, but the handle seems to be locked. No deadbolt though. It seems to lock from the other side.
It almost seems like you're being trapped here somehow.
Oh, you crawl. You don't want to be in that room any more. The vent is rather narrow, but thankfully it doesn't creak or anything while you're working your way through it. No, it's nicely built. It's lucky for you. It's also very dark. You may be eaten by something unidentified that's in no way infringing potential copyrights of an old game.
You do come to a bit of an intersection, however. To the front is some sort of light coming from a grill. A dead end anyways. To your left is more darkness, more vent. Where do you go?
The actual grill itself is made of metal slats that can be angled to direct air throughout the room. This confirms that you're probably in an air conditioning vent. Or maybe heating. Something to direct air. Right now it's fairly closed. You can see light through it, but no real details.
You decide to eschew the potential for light and head into the darkness. You can always backtrack, right? You start crawling. And continue to do so. All of a sudden, you feel a drop in front of you. There may be more vent on the other side, or it may simply be a fall. You can't tell, it's too dark.
>SMITH: Unleash war cry, plunge recklessly into darkness
You'd be amazed at how well this works.
Well, not really. See, Newton's Third Law says 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction'. Kicking the grill, which happens to be sturdy and locked (odd for a building) propels you into the darkness. Your war cry could also be called a scream.
Luckily, it's only about two feet down. You simply bang your head rather well.
It doesn't seem like anyone heard it, but you really can't tell. You're in an air shaft. You see some grates ahead of you, on the bottom of the shaft. Each is lighted. And there's a whooshing sound from ahead of you every once in a while.
>SMITH: Determine what I can about the contents of the room.
It's hard to see through the grate. You know there's lighting. A desk of some sort, with a high backed chair. Unfortunately, the back of the chair is aimed towards you. You can definitely see that there's a door on the other side.
You are an 'executive' of the building, whatever that means. Well, actually, you know what that means. It means that you sit in a comfy chair and order the mooks around while the cash flows in. You get to sit in this high-backed chair with the lovely (if noisy) air conditioning system behind you and look all kinds of cool.
Suddenly, you feel as if there's a yellow exclamation point above your head. You hear an imagined warning klaxon. You heard a louder noise than usual behind you!
You stand up from your chair and turns around. Then you punch the grill of the air conditioning system. A second later you howl with pain. What were you thinking? The actual unit is floors beneath you. This is the vent. Punching it won't do anything!
>Both: Stare at each other warily, then offer to shake hands.
You look at the hatted stranger inside of the vent for a moment. Then you reach out to shake his hand. You pull him out of the vent and help him get set up as a fellow executive of the building. Together, you both wrangle together billions in lucrative deals and proceed to live a wonderful life together. The most iconic moment of your lives is when you turned to him and said, "Smith, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Yeah right! There's some strange man in a suit in your vent! You haul off and fire off a punch at him.
Who's this Smith character you speak of? Besides, that yellow exclamation mark was a figment of your imagination. You shouldn't even have an imagination. You're an executive. You make sure to stamp this out quickly.
Now THAT is a plan you can get along! You reach out to grab the gentleman in question and haul him out. You attempt to go for the ears. Your mother dragged you around by the ears as a child, and you hated it. This is something you love doing to underlings when they upset you. This happens a lot.
The stranger doesn't seem happy about it. This makes you happy.
HEB: Smash the weirdo, and his condescending hat, into the wall already.
This works. To an extent. You get his face into the wall, which causes a bruise and a slight cut. He response by turning, grabbing your head, and smashing it into the desk. This is already seeming like a bad idea. You're an executive! You have hired goons for this. Where are they?
Now you have to deal with this whacko. And you have no idea how.
The Stoats! Of course! You can't believe you forgot about those. They're rather amazing, if you do say so yourself. You go to release them... And get snagged by Smith and slammed into the desk again. OW!