So my one-day visit to this site before retreating back into my art cave has been prolonged just a little, as this collab that I was technically involved in came out while I was sleeping:
THE FROLLAB - The Father of Forumsby KutaykomiksA bunch of artists get together to tell the epic story of Fro, The Father of Forums.
I'm credited as "Collab Organizer" which is a rather generous descriptor, I "organized" it in as far as it was, in the broadest sense, my idea, as in, I made a rather non-committal forum post somewhere about how it would be neat or something to that general effect, and that inspired Kutaykomiks to DM me and say "Yo, but what if we did that for real bro?" and I was like "Ok" and made a thread about it, and that's about where my organizational input stopped. The fact that the video version was finished genuinely took me by surprise, and it was only by happy coincidence that I was online for Pico day so that I could say "Yeah, posting it on Pico day does make sense."
In fact, I was likely the least organized contributor to the whole thing, as I didn't actually even know what we were doing, exactly, until the day before the deadline to finish it, as my internet usage had exceeded it's monthly data limit at the time (24GB, if I'm not mistaken) and didn't return until that day, during which time I guess I either didn't know about the deadline yet or thought it wouldn't be an issue.
All this to say, when the day came that I learned what I was expected to be doing (writing from Fro's leaving Nepal to his arrival at Pennsylvania) I was in a little bit of a hurry to get something done, so sat down and wrote for six hours that day, at least. The text I produced was over 3,000 words and 18,000 characters long, meaning I had not only exceeded what could fit into a forum post but I had doubled it, and also exceeded that, and so my task for the following day was to heavily abbreviate what I had made into something of tolerable length and get it out there, which I did, but the long version remained saved on my laptop, and there was never an appropriate time to post it, until now.
So here and now I'm presenting the unedited version of part 3 of the Frollab. I couldn't think of any funny wordplay that could connect my username or the subject of the collab to the Snyder cut so I won't offer any. I have not re-read this, as I apparently wrote it almost ten entire months ago and would surely curl in on myself from embarrassment, but I can assure you that, at the time, I thought I'd done a decent job, but it's also 3,000 words long as mentioned above so, know what you're getting yourself into:
There was a noise overhead. Fro knew, in the depths of his memory, what it was, but he had spent so long in the wilderness that it sounded strange and unfamiliar. He stayed concealed beneath the trees, amid a beautiful setting of blooming rhododendrons, that his dog had managed to adapt to rather handily. Unbeknownst to him, they were blooming early this year, but time had rather lost its meaning while he was stuck there.
It was a sort of repetitive powerful whoosh, like the air itself was being repeatedly struck, that after some consideration he identified as a helicopter, which after very little consideration he decided was highly suspicious, so he clung to cover as it passed overhead.
Had the people that shot him down finally come to try and finish the job, weeks or maybe even months later? It didn't make that much sense, admittedly, but it wasn't entirely improbable. If his theory was correct, then these people had eyes all over the world, but, as far as he or anyone was aware, their reach did not cover the depths of the Tinjure Milke Jaljale, though he and indeed anyone would probably not think of it in quite those words, as the average person does not know the name “Tinjure Milke Jaljale” and probably just calls it either “a Nepalese forest,” or “the Nepalese forest.” Regardless, there was in fact some cause for them to look for him, as one of this entity's eyes had wandered close not that long ago.
He had been doing as he had been doing for most of his stay there, steadily moving away from the mountains until some form of civilisation presented itself. While he had successfully moved from jungle to forest, no form of useful civilisation had made itself known, but he had stumbled into another human being on the way. Or it could be said that another human being had stumbled into him. In any case, their interaction was brief:
He and what looked like a tourist entered a small clearing, at around sunset, and one stumbled into the other.
“Do you speak English?” said Fro, after reminding himself of the words.
It was made evident that the tourist did not speak English. Fro's pet labradoodle barked.
“Parli Italiando?” said Fro, meaning “Do you speak Italian?” but in Italian, because he is Italian.
And lo, a similar response. The tourist acted generally panicked, and rather refused to listen to anything Fro said.
“Well,” said Fro, turning around, rather unsatisfied with the whole affair, “I guess I'll go fuck myself.”
And while he was walking away, the long shadow that the sightseer cast showed him taking his phone from his pocket, and just within earshot, Fro heard the artificial shutter sound of camera. Then his dog barked again.
Fro could only imagine the image had been shared somewhere, maybe some cryptid-concerned subreddit, but could not be sure if it had travelled far. Then again, those who wanted him dead would probably have their eyes on the whole country just to make sure, so maybe it would only have to travel a short distance to be seen. Or maybe he had been reported to the authorities and the helicopter was indeed looking for him but it wasn't hostile. In any case, Fro's plan of action for now was to lie low until the thing could be identified somehow. He stayed under the cover of a tree and crouched to talk to the dog.
Talking to the dog meant pointing in the vehicle's general direction, making a thumb's up, with his eyebrows raised to add a question mark, and then turning his thumb down with much the same expression. The dog understood things, but didn't say anything. It sniffed in the even more general direction of the helicopter, and then seemed to stop to think about things, with that kind of blank stare many dogs are known to employ. After a few moment's consideration, it smiled, left cover, and began barking happily.
Fro was not sure what to do about this. If the dog's judgement was poor, then it being out in plain view was a major issue, but if that was the case, Fro did not really have a means by which to fix this. If he tried to get the animal back, then he was sure he'd either be seen or heard, which would put him at a greater disadvantage if he was in danger. So, confident that no harm would come to his pet labradoodle, he hid himself more completely as he heard the vehicle descending. When it landed, he heard a door opening, and the patter of his pet's paws running to greet whoever it was who stepped out.
“Hey buddy,” said a voice that Fro recognised but could not place at first. “where's Fro at?”
Fro peeked out to look at the scene and saw the unmistakeable ginger beard of PsychoGoldfish, whose real name, I, the writer, did not take the time to investigate. The helicopter had the Newgrounds tank on the side of it, akin to how war pilots would decorate their planes with pin-up illustrations, but with something much sexier.
“Right here.” said Fro, emerging from his hiding spot, whereupon the labradoodle ran back to him.
Psycho's eyebrows raised as Fro showed himself.
“You look like hell.” he said.
“Yeah, I've had a rough couple of weeks. All started when I got some hot white stuff blasted in my face.”
The two men chuckled and did the Predator handshake.
“Though I haven't seen a mirror in a while, so let's see what hell looks like.”
Fro ambled over to the helicopter to look at himself in the reflection in the window glass. His beard had grown to an absurd degree, somehow going all the way down to his waist, and his chest hair was fit to stuff a pillow.
“Mio Dio,” he said, because he is Italian, “how long was I stuck out here?”
“Oh, a couple of months.”
“Yeah, seems like winter came and went, with all these flowers in bloom.”
“Yeah it seems like it, but that's not quite the case. Looks like they bloomed early this year. Very early, actually, because it's still December.”
“Yup. I'm sorry to say this, but you missed Christmas.”
“So what day is it?”
With that, Goldfish shut the door of the helicopter, as during their conversation the various actions associated with getting in the helicopter and preparing for liftoff had taken place, but weren't written down because they are rather dull. The labradoodle was not given a seatbelt, and for that reason Psyop would have his helicopter license revoked for six months after the flight that then began taking place.
“Well, I didn't quite miss Christmas then.”
“Well there's twelve days of Christmas.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”
“I could go for a pear or something right now.”
“Not a partridge?” said Goldilocks with a chuckle.
“I've never tried it.”
“Bark.” said the dog. The two men looked around because of this, and then Pisces turned back to where he was looking because he was piloting the helicopter and it's not a good idea to turn away from where you're flying to.
“So,” he said, “any ideas who's behind all this?”
“Oh, yeah.” said Fro, “I'm pretty sure, actually.”
“Who do you think, then?”
Fro looked at PilotGoldfish and then around the helicopter before he responded.
“Do you have your phone with you?”
“Shit, I think I left it at home.”
“No, actually that's good. They could've been listening in if you had your phone with you, if I'm any judge.”
“The NSA, then? Or, uh, Five Eyes I think was the name?”
“Please don't say the name Five Eyes again, you're making me hungry.”
The ginger pilot paused to think about this for a moment before realisation dawned and he chuckled.
“Well, I'll take you there when we get back to the USA.”
“That'd be nice. Anyway, no, not the NSA or Five Eyes, though they may be involved. I think it's Apple.”
“Well, we're gonna need to do some planning if we're taking them on.”
“I mean if it had been the two you suggested it would've about as dangerous.”
“Well, yeah, I guess. But something about the unyielding smooth whiteness of Apple products carries an air of alien menace that rocks me and others to their very core in a manner to which the relatively banal threat of the NSA or FE cannot compare.”
“...Ok, but anyway, don't you worry about planning, because I know a guy.”
“Can you reach him without using a phone, though? Because if not then you'll probably get intercepted, if it really is Apple.”
“Well, I won't be using a smartphone at least.”
“Ah. So you've got a plan, then?”
“Well, yeah, I've had some time to think about it.”
“That's fair. So do you want me to try and drop you off at home or to try and go somewhere where you don't think they'll be looking for you?”
“Second. Though they'll probably figure out this helicopter is carrying me.”
“Oh, no, I was very careful about that, they shouldn't have any idea that I even went to Nepal. I headed off the continent in, like, the worst way to get to Nepal.”
“You've got the Newgrounds logo on the side of this thing, though.”
“Shit, I do, don't I? Oh, well, sorry about that, hopefully I at least bought you some time.”
“Well, we'll see.”
And so they flew, over mountains and fields, over forests, over deserts, over the Arctic for some reason, through hoops, under bridges, over bridges, under bridges again, and a load of other shit. They eventually landed somewhere in California, where it was safest to assume that there was a Five Guys nearby. After presumably having burgers and fries (I've never been to a Five Guys) Fro approached a lady with a car that looked like it had been through a war.
“Hey, you wanna take a helicopter ride wherever it is you're going?”
“Uh...” she said, turning around and appreciating both his shirtlessness and his labradoodle before continuing, “sure? What for?”
“Lemme borrow your car.”
“Oh, you know, because it looks like shit.”
“That doesn't answer my question.”
“Well, I'm going sort of incognito so I thought no-one would suspect me if I went in a car that looks like that.”
“...Makes perfect sense. Just don't wreck it.”
“It's pretty wrecked already.”
“Oh that's like a fashion statement, you know, it's like those ripped jeans you get.”
The lady raised a hand as if to gesture at herself and then presumably realised she wasn't wearing those ripped jeans you get.
“Well, you get the point. Where's the helicopter?”
Fro pointed at the helicopter. The lady turned around and appreciated it for a moment.
“Yo, I love Newgrounds!” she said, before tossing her car key in Fro's direction. Fro caught it deftly, then he and his labradoodle got inside and began driving. He was more than capable of running the distance he wanted to go, but thought this would be more subtle. He was going to visit an Italian relative, because he was Italian, all the way over in New York. Needless to say, unless you're European and had to look it up like me, this was going to be a long drive.
It turned out to be a fairly constant drive, though, save for one major interruption, when he ran out of gas somewhere in the Ozark highlands. The fuel gauge, it turned out, was broken, which meant Fro ended up stuck many miles from a gas station and had to push the car all that distance, a trivial task for a man of his talents.
While he was refilling the tank, someone approached him with an envelope. After looking at them in confusion for a bit, he took it and opened it, finding inside one of those nigh indestructible Nokia phones, one which still had buttons. It began ringing while he looked at it, so he put it to his ear and answered.
“Who is this?”
“Oh, it's me.” said Dom.
“How did you know where I was? And where did you get this phone?”
“Oh, you know. A friend saw you pushing the car and I figured out which station you were headed to.”
“The phone's just something someone threw at me in a bar fight.”
“That didn't go so well for them I guess.”
“Yeah, basically. You okay, man? Haven't heard from you in a while.”
“Oh, yeah, I sort of ended up on an extended business trip.”
“Oh, cool. Well then.”
Dom hung up. Fro looked at the phone for a while, brow furrowed, before getting back in the car. He arrived in New York approximately forty hours after having set out for it, and headed to the apartment of one of his local Italian relatives. It was a bit of a run but he made it in record time, cutting across the city with slick parkour moves while his dog waited behind in the car, playing with the Nokia phone. When he arrived he entered through the window, on the building's seventh floor.
“Hey, can I use your phone?” he said, in Italian.
“Of course you can.” said his Italian relative, in Swahili.
Fro action rolled over to the phone in question, an extremely old-fashioned rotary affair that he was sure wouldn't be tracked, picked it up and dialled the number of another Italian relative, living over in Italy. This Italian relative was part of the mafia, because they, like Fro, were Italian. After some back and forth they decided that if Apple was going to take on a family member, then they were going to take on Apple. They would set something up, and in the meantime Fro just had to get his ass all the way back to California, where it turns out Apple's headquarters are located, making the decision to land in that state rather bold in hindsight. Fro's journey back took another forty hours, giving him less than a day to get this shit done with. For the journey to Newgrounds HQ, there was a plane set up at a manageable distance from Apple's headquarters.
Fro was very, very tired at this point, but he knew there would not be much longer to go before he would get back to moderating, something which he both appreciated and dreaded. Entering Apple's headquarters was easy enough, as the guards had all been either bribed or replaced by mafia agents over the course of the drive back to California. His dog barked at him on the way in, so he turned around and then saw it pissing on a fire hydrant. He didn't know what to think of this, so got back to his business. There was a map of the headquarters that he studied for anything suspicious. It was a large map, so he took a while to come up with anything, that time surely making him visible to the security cameras, but he was sure there wouldn't be any major confrontations until he got close to where the Ruffle hardware was being stored.
Something did present itself as suspicious. Highly suspicious, in fact. Due to a cursory googling of the headquarters' location, he knew the building had only been in use since 2017, and he knew from a general recollection of the news about it that Steve Jobs had died at some point between 2010 and 2012. Whatever year it had been, it was at least 5 years before 2017, which made it highly dubious that there was an office denoted as being the workplace of one Steve Jobs somewhere below ground. There was no doubting that that was where he needed to go.
One small problem presented itself, and that was that there were no stairs leading below ground. Fro examined his surroundings, and eventually located a guard who looked suitably high-ranking. He casually followed the man, more casually than most would, on account of being shirtless. Eventually he and the guard entered an elevator and he knocked the man out. Searching the unconscious body, he quickly found what he was looking for: a key-card, and he pressed it against a scanner on the elevator control panel, whereupon three new buttons rotated out of the wall, leading to the layers below ground. Fro hit the button for the very bottom.
Surprisingly, there was very little security blocking the way to this mysterious Steve Jobs office, so in that safety his labradoodle barked and pissed on another fire hydrant. Fro entered the office to find no Steve Jobs, but there was a massive screen and, more importantly, the floppy disk with the Ruffle hardware, right there on a smooth white desk that cost 15,000 dollars, suspiciously unguarded.
Fro approached it and the screen lit up, displaying Steve Jobs' face.
“Go ahead,” said Steve, “take it. See what happens.”
“...What the fuck is going on right now?”
“More confused than anything. You're supposed to be dead.”
“Well, I am dead. Or at least, my body is dead. But my mind was uploaded to the iCloud, and now I'm never leaving. Did you really think I would let the company operate without me? Why do you think they're called the iPhone and the iPad, hmm? It's because I control everything to do with them.”
“Then why is your company seemingly so incompetent nowadays?”
“That was to get you Newgroundsers off-guard.”
“Well, it worked, didn't it? Managed to steal that thing.”
“Well, I'm just gonna steal it back.”
“Oh, are you? How good are you at dodging bullets, Mr. Fro? Because the moment you touch that thing, they're coming at you from all sides.”
Fro looked at Steve Jobs' big dumb face. He looked at the floppy disk. He looked back at the unliving CEO.
“Well, we'll just have to see, won't we?”
He took a few steps back, positioning himself as an Olympic sprinter does before a race.
“Here goes nothing.” he said, before soaring through the office and leaping over the table, somersaulting to grab the disk as he passed. Bullets flew, but only one of them hit him, and it got too entangled in his beard to do any damage.
“Well, that's very impressive, but now you'll have to get out alive.” said Steve.
“That'll be easy, there weren't any guards on the way in.”
“No shit? Didn't you think that was just a little bit suspicious?”
Fro turned to see something in the region of fifty guards pouring through the entrance to the office, and his pet labradoodle barked. Fro suddenly realised something. The fire hydrants meant that the building was health and safety compliant, meaning…
“There's a fire escape!” he shouted, running away from the entrance.
“Fuck!” said Steve Jobs, in unison with the guards chasing them. Fro got to the fire escape, and managed to climb up at an impressive speed, especially considering both hands were occupied, one with the labradoodle, the other with the Ruffle hardware, as the guards thinned out behind him, as only one could use the ladder at a time.
Fro dodged a few shots as the leading guards tried to get him, but soon there was the sound of machine gun fire. Fro turned around to see a man in a wide-brimmed hat and trench coat had taken down the guards. He gave Fro a thumbs up and yelled “I cook-a the meatball!”
“Grazie!” said Fro, sprinting to the aircraft that had been prepared for him, still carrying the two items he had been carrying up the fire escape. Once he got to the aircraft he practically leapt into his seat, and remembered to tie his seatbelt once again, as it blasted off. Apart from two more smooth white missiles, which the pilot, named Marco Rossolini, deftly avoided, the journey to Pennsylvania went without a hitch, though it still left Fro with less than an hour to re-install the software and save Newgrounds from certain demise.