Session 0: Scooby Gang, Assemble! Report
Welcome to the world as you only kinda know it, one devastated by an event called All the Apocalypses because, well, that's what happened. All the apocalypses one could imagine -- all the ones that weren't just automatic world killers, anyway, happened all at once on a cool spring day ten years ago: zombies, nukes, mutants, aliens, monsters, horrors from beyond ... all of 'em. Civilization lasted about ten minutes. Those who survived had to adapt or die. The Scooby Gang chose to adapt. Fred Jones (The Spooky -- Em): Having hidden his abilities to see into the Worlds Beyond even from himself, it took the apocalypses to awaken Fred's Otherness. Dressing much like he used to, right down to the ascot, Fred is still trying to figure out his powers and what to do with them. Toward that end, he enlisted Daphne's aid. After the initial breakup of the Scooby Gang, Daphne took up big game hunting and so got to know shamans all over the world and so when a panicked Fredd came to her for advice, she took him to the only one she was sure could help: Sensei Old Man Withers in his Amusement-Park-of-Wisdom-and-Martial-Arts-by-the-Sea. There, Sensei Withers bound the two in secret blood pact and, over tea, worked through some of Fred's issues. Despite this, Fred couldn't entirely master his connection with the Otherworlds, and so when the gang came back together less than a year ago in order to free Shaggy from imprisonment, he lost control. Velma saw him cast the insides of one of Shaggy's captors out of his body and into the ether. As a robot, Velma didn't seem overly concerned about that, but Fred worries that if the others find out, they will cast him from the group or, worse, look on him with pity. He also worries that Shaggy, whom he later successfully teleported with all organs intact, will find out how close to death he really was. And it certainly doesn't help that Scooby, who did not see the incident, seems to sense the otherliness inside of Fred anyway and, certainly without meaning to, gets his hackles up whenever his friend is close. Daphne Blake (Big Game Hunter -- Kelsey): After Mystery Inc broke up and after a few years of college, Daphne found herself bored. She needed a thrill and wanted to 'find herself'. So, on a lark, she went on a safari. There, she discovered that she had a taste for the kill. In the few years she had before the Event brought all the apocalypses, Daphne travelled all over the world, hunting the deadliest prey Earth had to offer. Now she has redoubts and contacts all over the planet. Still, one creature of the pre-Apocalypses world continues to elude her, and even though she has mostly turned her sights on the new monsters, including, before her heart was softened, Velma 2.0, she still, now and again, longs to pit herself against the Most Dangerous Prey: the wily jackalope. Once, she was close, but Scooby was there before her, seeking to eradicate the werefleas that had taken his cousin Scrappy and allowed the jackalope to escape. She hasn't ever quite forgiven that trespass, nor the time that Shaggy stopped her from killing a creature that he described as, "A medicinal slime monster cultivated by the Illuminati, maaaan," but she soldiers on. Velma Dinkley (Constructed -- Sharon): Back at the edge of time, when Earth-That-Was was first overrun by all the apocalypses, that moment called The Event, Velma, fascinated by Jewish Golem lore, worked toward creating her own golem -- creating life. She was giving it the old Dr Frankenstein go, lightning towers and all, but something went wrong. Or the apocalypses went wrong. Velma-Bot isn't quite sure. But aliens showed up. That much is certain. Oh yeah. Showed up, looked around, and said to the dying Velma 1.0, "Huh, you screwed the pooch on this one, suckah!" and decided to do a better job themselves. So they finished what Velma 1.0 had started and gave Velma 2.0 her current existence. But then, well, the apocalypses kept happening, and for a long time Velma 2.0 languished, her various parts hidden in various and different places, including, apparently for some reason, Daphne's closet. Shaggy found Velma 2.0's head and came close to destroying it, thinking it was an evil doppleganger of his friend, possibly created by the Council of Facebook or the Cult of Bezos, or both. But it was Daphne who was first among the Gang to treat her like a real person. Was it because Velma 2.0 had shown compassion toward Scooby? Or because Daphne saw something important and alive inside the robot version of her childhood friend? Velma 2.0 is unsure, but she is happy for it, if such an expression can be used, and it makes her smile as she and Scooby play Catch Arm in the park with her detachable plastic-and-metal body parts. Norville "Shaggy" Rogers (Flake -- Christopher): "Everything's connected, maaaaan! Everything!" Given what his deep, Dark Web dives and eccentric connections reveal to him, yes, it all is. And if you can "just seeee the patterns, maaaaan!" then maybe all this apocalypse business would become clear. Because, you gotta know, that shit wasn't just random. THEY meant for it to happen. THEY know stuff. And maybe THEY know how to turn it all back. Shaggy was with Scooby when the werefleas took Scrappy; he conferred with Daphne on cryptozoology even before the Gang got back together; and though Velma-Bot was obviously made by aliens, the aliens themselves are controlled by THEM, so why? Why a Velma-Bot? Then, of course, there was his imprisonment. But that's as far as Shaggy likes to think on THAT subject. No, he'd rather play Catch Arm than dwell too long on those memories. But ... but ... it was his imprisonment that got the gang back together. Is there a reason for that? Oh, yeah, maaaaan. Oh, yeaaaaah. Because it's all connected, maaaan. IT'S ALL CONNECTED! Scooby Dooby Doo (Wronged -- Josh): When the werefleas took his cousin Scrappy Doo, it nearly broke Scooby -- he had frozen, after all, both in fear and denial. Werefleas? "Really, Rooby?" But, afterward, Daphne had taught him how to hunt -- how to turn his fear into cold, calculating visciousness. Fred, despite the weird not-this-world smell about him, used some of that magic to help him keep it together. And, of course, his old pal Shaggy was there for him, too, and helped bring him back from the brink just by eating sandwiches and talking with him; they had even hunted a few wereflea packswarms together. Scooby thought he'd gotten over his fear and his insecurities ... but then there was that day when he and Velma 2.0 were playing Catch Arm in the dog park, Velma-Bot throwing her plastic arm two or three hundred feet and Scooby bounding off happily after it. There had been that dog with its person ... and they were both scratching at themselves at the same time ... and, well, Scooby snapped. He couldn't let it happen again! He remembers very little of the incident, though Velma 2.0 said, afterwards, that it was "...quite instructive to have seen human insides on the outside. Very interesting indeed. Jinkies. Beep." He doesn't remember much. But he doesn't want it to happen again. Now the gang, reunited still, a year after extricating Shaggy from his imprisonment, find themselves in the Pacific Northwest, fleeing from Yog Sother road warriors: The faded blue-and-yellow van, sprouting spears like quills, tops a rise at speed. For a moment, the van -- the words "Mystery Machine" painted on the side, scratched and flaking, but still visible -- takes to the air before reconnecting with the pitted, cracked and overgrown asphalt it has been careening down in an attempt to escape a pack of the feral Yog Sothoth road warrior tribe. Fred, himself as scuffed and scraped as the van they'd pulled out of a Nevada Car Forest, hunches over the wheel like a possessed man, his teeth bared and his eyes focused straight ahead on what used to be US 30, or on something only he can see in the Otherworlds beyond this reality. Really, Fred shouldn't be driving. But there's a reason he is. Behind Fred, Velma's clinical voice states that reason, "Jinkies. Shaggy's heart has given out. Beep." "F*%k all, Velma, give me the paddles!" Daphne yells. "Waggy?" says Scooby from the passenger seat, blood still dripping from his silver-plated teeth. The van's electronics glitch as Velma puts one of her hands on Shaggy's chest and the other into a power socket. "Clear. Beep" she says. Fred's heart glitches in sympathetic vibration and with fear as all the controls on the dash go dead for a moment, but then they come back to life. "Wed?" says Scooby. "I don't know, Scooby Doo! I don't know! I'm driving! Look and see if they're still back there!" The Great Dane shoves his head out the window, tongue lolling. Yes, they are, indeed, still back there: four Yog Sothoth wasteland buggies -- the cobbled-together, armored, off-road vehicles filled with Yog Sothoth madders, probably, shudder, flea-ridden. "Oh Witt, Weddy! Wuh huh!" Scooby says, head still out the window. The van bottoms out in a dip and salvation lies only a quarter mile or so ahead: a town nestled in a valley between the Wallowa Mountains to the east and the Elkhorn Mountains to the west-- a strangely welcoming sight; a flashback to an almost-lost time. There's no wall, and the town looks untouched by the years and the apocalypses that have ravaged the world, but they had to have SOME defense against the marauders and .. other things .. that hunt the Earth. Indeed, as the Mystery Machine flies into town at 40 mph -- Fred already riding the brake that has become, to him, a writhing snake on floor mat -- the Yog Sothothers skid to a halt just beyond the bridge that spans a snow-choked river at the edge of town. In the rearview mirror, Fred can see them waving spears and rifles, but all he can do is lean over the steering wheel and pant as the brake snake slithers around his ankle. Daphne, however, leaps out of the van's side door. She yanks their one-shot, disposable rocket launcher out of the Mystery Machine's side-mounted weapon rack and points it up toward the madders as Fred spills out of the driver's side door. But the Sothothers are gone. Whether they have retreated just beyond the bend in the road or are giving over the chase entirely, neither of them knows. Daphne lowers the rocket launcher. Fred stands up and looks around the quaint, old-fashioned town. Seeing and smelling and hearing ... nothing. Not even the whispers he always hears sliding along on the wind. No one has come out to greet them, or repel them, or do anything to them. The place is quiet. Too quiet. "Fuuuuuuuuck," Fred whispers.