Synopsis of Jay's Empire AU⚡⚡
[[Made by me and @culturalmochi ]]
The way it starts out is that Jay goes on a solo mission, finds the hard drive for Prime Empire, and gets trapped in the game.
Nobody knows where he went, so the ninja are desperately trying to find him.
Time in game moves a lot faster than in real life, so a few weeks for the ninja is a few months (close to a year) inside of the game.
Jay met Scott and he showed him the ropes of the game, but tried to subtly warn him about Unagami. Jay spent a lot of time leveling up and grinding so he could get high stats, but later found out that he wasn't able to leave or communicate with the outside world. Enter Unagami.
Unagami tells Jay that he sees potential in him, and that he's impressed with his progress through the game. They begin to have a sort of mentor/mentee kind of relationship.
Once again, time moves much faster in game. So jay starts to miss the real world and tells Unagami that he misses his friends. Unagami tells Jay, "if they were really your friends, they would have come back for you by now, wouldn't they?"
Later on, Jay is approached by none other than the ninja! His dearest friends finally coming back to rescue him and bring him home!
But as he spends more time with them, something feels... wrong. It turns out they're NPC's, and in his mission objective list, it says he has to "discard" them. So he does, and they crumble into little pixelated cubes. He levels up.
This repeats several times, each time the ninja dupes become more rude, indifferent, hateful. At some point they become so far removed from their true counterparts that the only thing in common they share is their appearances.
Then comes the time where Unagami is ready to open the game to the rest of the world. He brings Jay to help him spread the word by broadcasting an advertisement for Prime Empire.
That's when the ninja find out where Jay has been this whole time.
So the real gang enters Prime Empire and find Jay, who looks displeased to see them even if he tries to hide it.
Everyone is so happy to see him and to bring him out of the game, surrounding him with hugs and tears of joy.
But then Jay checks his objectives. "Discard the ninja". It's the same as it's always been, so he goes along with it.
But as Jay journeys with his friends through the game, he slowly comes to the realization that they aren't NPC's.. they're his real friends.
Scott, when he was first sucked in by the game, leveled up really fast and eventually gained the attention of Unagami. Unagami said he saw "great potential" in him and gave him access to the coding of the game. For Scott, this means he can essentially influence and change parts of the game, but not always by his own free will. With him being connected to the coding, that includes his thoughts, emotions, memories, trauma, etc. this connection also gave Unagami a way to keep track of where Scott was and what he was doing at all times.
so eventually, Unagami wants to bring empire to the physical world, but he needs help getting the world out. he tells Scott his plan and Scott is like "actually, fuck this :)" and escapes from Unagami. in order to keep him from tracking his every move, Scott cuts off his own connection to the game's code. He hunkers down in his hideout and tries to plot a way to a)escape and b)prevent Unagami from taking over the real world.
so finally, Jay enters the game! Scott finds him running away from red visors and picks him up and takes him to his hideout. Scott explains the general rules of the game, gives him tips on how to survive, glitches, cheats, all of it. but he tries to warn him about Unagami and Jay is too enraptured with the thrall of the game to pay any mind to Scott's warnings. Jay starts leveling up and progressing, very similar to how Scott did, and gained the same kind of attention from Unagami. he saw great potential in him. at that point, Scott says that Jay can't come to the hideout anymore, and Jay asks why. Scott says "i already told you, but you didn't listen to me." and so Jay goes to Unagami. Unagami promises him steep advantages in the game, protection, etc and Jay is going along with it because, to him, its still just a game. the gravity of the situation hasn't quite hit him yet. he doesn't know that he's trapped.
so now, Jay and Unagami have a sort of mentor/mentee kind of relationship, and Jay very much fits into the role of the teachers pet. the red visors are **VERY** protective of him and will often accompany him wherever he goes unless he tells them to leave (sometimes they listen, sometimes they dont). There is one red visor who is particularly close to Jay. she goes with him everywhere and is the most protective of him compared to the other RV's. Jay tries to talk with her sometimes, and one day he asks her what her name is. her voice glitches out a lot, like something is corrupted in her code. she repeats "four o-oh four-r-r AA e-rror-r four o-o-oh four-r AA" and Jay is like "hmm.. rora? can i call you rora?" and she just nods at him. (Rora becomes important later!!)
so anyways, going back to how Unagami has adopted Jay as his mentee, Jay has the same kind of access to the game's coding that Scott does. including the influence of his memories and past traumas. this manifests in several ways, but one of which is how the NPC clones of the ninja interact with him. Jay has a lot of issues with self esteem and often fears that nobody really cares about him, finds him annoying, etc. so with each iteration of the ninja dupes, they become meaner and meaner until the only resemblance they share to their irl counterparts is their physical appearance.
Jay (not realizing that Unagami is the one creating the dupes) goes to Unagami to vent about how he misses his friends and wishes they could join him in the game. Unagami tells Jay "if they were really your friends, they would have come for you by now. They probably forgot about you. but it's not you ever needed them anyways. here, you are powerful, loved by everybody, adored by the masses. in here, you are important." gotta love that gaslight gatekeep gameboss moment. eventually, Unagami is ready to bring prime empire to the physical world once he's seen Jay get to the same point that Scott was at. Unagami says that he needs Jays help to deliver the message, and that crossing the line between digital and physical means that Jay can go back to the real world while still maintaining the same power and reputation he has in the game. Jay agrees and works with Unagami to make an advertisement.
this is the advertisement script:
[Do you want to join Prime Empire?
“What is Prime Empire?” it’s a fully immersive, futuristic video game experience! Using the latest virtual emulation technology, players are quite literally part of the game. Customize your avatar, meet other players, level up, and compete in tournaments!
“But how do I join?” The answer is simple, silly! Prime Empire can be found in your arcades, in your consoles, even on your phones! You would have to live under a rock to not find your way in.
“How do I win?” Your quest is to seek out the legendary Keytanas. But be warned, there are challenges that you will face. Deadly forests, dangerous races, and more! Will you rise above the rest and claim your rightful victory?
Join today, but don’t delay! Only the first 100 players will get a chance to meet yours truly (winks). In the Super Star Rocking Jay event, I will teach you the ropes of the game, along with exclusive tips that will give you an advantage over other players!
Do you have what it takes? Prove your worth and become part of Prime Empire!]
however, Scott has caught wind of the ad, and so he hacks into the broadcast and tries to warn everybody to "STAY OUT OF PRIME EMPIRE!!" but once again, his warnings fall on deaf ears.
however, now the ninja know where Jay has been all this time! they manage to be part of the 1st 100 players in the game and go to the super star rocking Jay event. Kai, Nya, Lloyd, Cole, pixal and zane all get in the game. but due to their own coding, pixal and zane despawn and get plopped back in the real world within the first 10mins of the game. They spend a lot of time outside of prime empire trying to find ways to re-enter the game.
so now we finally get to when the (remaining) ninja meet up with Jay, and he is disappointed at best when he sees them. but when they surround him with love and hugs and tears of joy, it throws him off guard. all of the NPC's were never this kind to him. He checks his objective menu and a new notification shows up. "discard the ninja". same as it's always been. part of the objective has always been to "not let the ninja know that you know they are fakes." but after all of this time, Jay has grown tired and so he doesn't really bother trying to keep up appearances. he won't flat out say that he thinks they're fakes, but his demeanor is completely off.
the ninja make it to okino and they start going through the forest, the cliffs, and finally the maze of the red dragon. throughout this time, there are several little moments that lead Jay to believe that these might be his real friends. he tries to write them off, but it keeps nagging at him. in the canon scene where Unagami pauses the game and talks to okino, its the same except its Jay that Unagami talks to. "just wanted to check in with you, everything is still going according to plan, correct?" Jay responds with "yes, but these ones are different. none of the other clones have acted so.. so close to my real friends." Unagami scoffs "these ones are just as fake as the others. make sure you complete your objective. we are very close to bridging the gap, and I wouldn't want anybody to hold you back from being at my side when we cross over." Jay agrees and the game resumes.
Jay has the perfect opportunity to let his friends perish at the hands of the dragon, but something in him screams at him to help them win. he points out the scale on the back of the dragon, they defeat it, and Jay gets the dragon summon. instead of keeping it, he gives it to Cole. "i figure you guys will probably need it more than me. I've got higher stats, i can take care of myself." (that dragon summon becomes important later) so ANYWAY now its time for the speedway 5billion. but they don't have enough credits so they have to get some extra money. the gang goes to the dance battle, but! theres also a karaoke battle they have to participate in. Jay and Cole sing Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears for Fears (this song is also important later!) and they win the contest and get enough credits to enter the race. however...
by this point in time, Jay is pretty sure that this group is his **real** friends, and he doesn't feel like he can go through with his objective anymore. besides, would clones really dance with him? sing his favorite songs with him? watch out for him when danger approaches? smile at him with such kindness and sincerity? clones wouldnt, but his real friends would. once again, his connection to the code means that Unagami is able to track him, and also take peeks into his mind. Unagami senses this realization and pauses the game again to confront him. "Jay, you must not let these clones cloud your judgement. you still have a mission to complete." Jay says "Unagami, these aren't dupes! they're really my friends, and they came back for me! i can't just "discard" them like you want me to. I won't!" "you WILL if you ever want to leave this digital space. if you will not join me in bridging the gap, then you will be left in here for all of eternity. the choice is yours, Jay walker." and with that, the game resumes.
the ninja are all talking and they realize that Jay has gone silent. "Jay? you good?" Kai asks. Jay snaps out of it and reassures them that he's fine. but thats when he sees *him*. in the crowd of NPC's bustling about the city, he sees nadakhan. staring at him with that evil, calculated grin and begins approaching them. Jay's eyes go wide and his stomach drops. "are you sure you're okay?" Lloyd asks. "we.. we need to get out of here. we need to leave *now*" Jay says with a quiet, wavering voice. Just as he moves to flee, Nya gasps.
It was the scene of Nya dying. She was cradled in Jay's arms, muttering her last words before going completely limp. The master of lightning shook with broken sobs, clinging to his friend as if holding her tight enough could bring her back. That was the day that Jay Walker had lost everything.
And now, that moment was set on an infinite loop, broadcasted on every screen in the capital city of Prime Empire.
Jay was frozen, unable to do anything but succumb to his rising panic.
Nya was in a similar state, feeling the sharp pains of her chest that came from her old wound. She remembered dying, the pain and vulnerability. Now her final moments were in full display.
The rest of them gazed in horror and confusion, unable to comprehend what was going on. Jay thinks he heard Kai yelling, maybe he was asking why his sister was dying over and over again. Cole sounded like he was trying to warn everyone about the approaching assailants. Those of which looked like clones of the Misfortune's crew, including their tyrannical captain.
It was all too much. Jay felt his digital blood freeze in his veins, his air cutting off entirely, and his vision slowly turning to static.
Nadakhan. Nya. Tiger widow venom. Kai. Nadhakan. Nya. Zane. Cole. Nya. Lloyd. Nadakhan. Nya. Nya. Nya. N-
Jay's friends tried to reach for him, to help him, but then it happened.
An explosion of lightning burst from Jay's body, flooding through the city with blue and white pixelated sparks. And once the wave had passed, the city went dark. The screens that were looping that wretched day were now idle. The Misfortune's crew were nowhere to be seen. Jay had fallen unconscious.
"What are you guys doing here?" Scott asked, his face contorted in concern.
"Scott, it- its Jay. He had this weird power surge and he-" Lloyd stuttered before him and his friends were roughly yanked inside of Scott's hideout.
Cole was carrying Jay's limp body, and followed Scott's instructions to lay him on the workbench. But not before he had thrown all of his tools and blueprints on the ground in a rush.
"What did you say? About a power surge?"
"It was-" Lloyd started again
"It was like he exploded," Kai cut in, "we've never seen his element act like that."
"The city, it went dark." Nya added.
"And there was something going on with the city screens, they were showing-" said Cole.
"My sister dying! Over and over again! That's not part of the game, right?!"
"Guys guys! Chill the fuck out, one at a time." Scott demanded. They all went quiet before Nya spoke up.
"The screens showed one of Jay's memories. One of his most traumatic ones. NPC's started changing into people that.. are related to that memory. They started attacking us from all sides. Jay had gone into a panic attack before he surged. That wave of power blew out the whole city's power and everything went dark. After that he passed out."
Scott looked at her with a look of dread.
"This is worse than I thought.."
"What do you mean worse? Scott, what's wrong with Jay?" Cole asked. Scott sighed.
"He's.. he's become part of the game."
"Like an NPC?" Lloyd said.
"No, not an NPC. His memories, his soul, his life force- it's bleeding into the coding of the game. His emotions and memories are able to affect the behavior of the game. Environments, NPCs, everything."
"How do you know all of that, Scott?" Nya interjected.
"Because he's just like me."
"What??" The ninja said in unison.
"When I first came into the game, Unagami wanted me to bring Prime Empire to the real world. To break out of this digital prison and conquer the rest of the physical world. I agreed to help him because I didn't see any other way out of this hellscape. He granted me access to the code. So I'm just as connected to Prime Empire as Jay is. My memories are there too.
But the thing is, is that I've cut myself off of the code. It's the only way I could hide from Unagami, since I had abandoned ship and didn't want to help him anymore. I'm a threat because I can affect the code.
But if I don't connect to it, I stay hidden.
But Jay, his connection is so strong by this point. Everything he does changes the game.
He's gonna be okay, for now, but I can't guarantee the same for all of you." Scott finished, his eyes sunken and tired.
"Wh- what are we supposed to do then? How can we get Jay out of here?" Kai asked.
"Beat the game. As far as I know, there's no other way out of here."
They all looked at each other, faces grim but determined.
"Well we can't leave here without Jay, can we stay here until he wakes up?" Said Nya.
"Absolutely not." Scott replied.
"What? Why??" Cole butted in.
"The longer you guys stay here, with h i m, the more danger all of us are in. Jay is part of the coding, Unagami can find him. And that means he can find u s."
"Well how do we wake him up? There's gotta be some way!" Lloyd pleaded.
Scott looked at Jay's unconscious form.
"Fuck, okay, let me try something."
so Scott does the only thing he can think of that might work. he reconnects himself to the game's code in order to "plug in" to Jay and wake him up. when he plugs in, Scott sees Jay in a dark, endless room. he's crouched on the ground, sobbing and shaking
But thrashing from his body is manifestations of his trauma, like a horrible amalgamation that is distorting his physical form and its. Horrifying.
Scott looks at him and tries to approach him without getting hurt
He gets to him and he makes contact with his shoulder and then the surge of energy happens and he gets unplugged and shot across the room, and Jay wakes up with a start, chest heaving and his eyes still wet with tears. Cole is there right next to Jay, and Jay clings onto him like a lifeline. Kai wraps his arms around Jay too and they hold him and comfort him as best they can. Lloyd and Nya go over to Scott to see if he's okay. he groans and sits up, Lloyd and Nya help him stand. "what happened? what was that??" Nya asks. "I woke him up. but its not safe anymore. you guys have to get him out of here, or else Unagami is gonna show up and if he does.. well its safe to assume it'll be game over for all of us."
"we still have to win the highway 5billion and get the second keytana." Cole says, "and we need cars." Scott sighs at this, "i've got cars you can use, i won't be using them very much anymore anyways." "what does that mean?" Kai asks. "did you not hear me? its game over. you guys have to get Jay out of here." Scott says. "Scott, you know the game better than anyone, we need your help. will you race with us?" Nya pleads. Scott is about to reject when he looks at Jay. Jay is looking at him with a look that breaks his heart. "fine. I'll race with you guys."
so they fix up the cars and enter the SW5B and Scott is like "i guess if we're going in, i might as well get a new look." so he customizes his avatar (if u check my post with his redesign, thats the avatar he has, the glowing parts of his outfit change colors!) and they start the race! Scott doesn't have his own car, instead he's jumping from vehicle to vehicle and taking out the other drivers so that the ninja can win. he uses his baseball bat as a melee weapon but it can also shoot lasers! Kai still gets that loot box upgrade and has the running mech, and just like in canon, Cole and Kai get cubed. so does Scott, he gets run over lol. now its just Jay, Nya, and Lloyd and they make their way to the temple of madness.
then we have the fight. in canon its Lloyd and harumi, but in this au, Jay enters the arena instead. he gets in and the game picks his fighter. expecting it to be someone he's fought before, he prepares himself. but nothing could have prepared him for who he saw standing in front of him. it was echo zane.
Nya stares in horror and Lloyd is confused. "who is that? that can't be zane, right? why would he be part of the game?" Lloyd asks. Nya can't say anything, and neither can Jay. Jay wants to give up, he cant fight echo. someone who helped him in the most dire of times, only to be left alone on that island for the rest of eternity. Jay had never gone back for him, and that guilt he felt had just kicked into high gear having to look echo in the eyes. but then echo starts attacking him, and Jay has to defend himself. Jay wins, and sees echo disappear after the final blow. the walls of the arena disappear and Jay falls to his knees. Lloyd and Nya move in immediately to help him up. "seriously, what the hell is going on?? why aren't you guys saying anything??" Lloyd demands. "we can't talk about it right now, Lloyd. we'll have to tell you later." Nya says quietly. her voice is tight and dies in her throat. Lloyd gets the hint and doesn't push it any further.
so the three of them make it through the sushi restaurant and make it to the gate with the 3 keytanas. Jay, Lloyd, and Nya go to put in the blades and they open the gate. standing in front of them is none other than Unagami. "Jay, you have disappointed me. you were so important, so valued, and you have thrown that away for the sake of your so-called 'friends'. thankfully, there is still a place for you." Unagami says. "i don't WANT a place with you! you've hurt me, you've hurt my friends, you've hurt so many innocent people. all of those cubes? those are REAL PEOPLE! i can't let you do this Unagami. I won't let you get away with this." Jay says defiantly. Unagami sighs, "i was hoping it would not come to this. but if you chose to act this way, you will face the consequences. you will help me bridge this gap, whether you like it or not." and Unagami holds out his hands. an intense blue beam of light bursts from his palms and hits Jay square in the chest. the light is absorbed by his body and his form begins to glitch and spasm violently. mochi and i have called this the Blue Screen of Death. (tw for mild(?) body horror) Jay is overcome by the blue and his body begins to grow and distort, all the while he's screaming and his cries are glitched out and staticky. Lloyd and Nya watch, frozen in fear as their friend begins to grow to massive size, writhing in agony. Jay thrashes and knocks into both of them, sending them off the side of the platform and cubing them. the last two energy cubes join the gate and Jay crawls through.
(with this scene, in the background, the lorde version of everybody wants to rule the world would be playing, just as a nice parallel to the song from earlier at the karaoke battle)
MEANWHILE, as pixal and zane attempted to find ways to get back into the game, find milton dyer, etc, zane gets captured by the mechanic. everything goes the same as it does in canon where the mechanic hooks zane up to the gate.
and now, we get a look at where everybody who got cubed resides. Scott, when he was cubed, was greeted by Unagami personally. he criticized him for his actions and expressed his disappointment before ultimately locking him inside of a digital cell. Scott figured that this was how the rest of his life would be, trapped in a cage with no way out and no way to die. but then! Rora shows up. that corruption in her system from the beginning? that was her beginning to break away from her coding and becoming more of a person. she saw what happened to Jay, and she wants to help him. she breaks Scott out and they agree to work together to save Jay. but they're gonna need all the help they can get. together, Scott and rora free the ninja and all of the other cubed players and they make it through the portal.
and thats where they see Jay, now as tall as the skyscrapers in ninjago city and wreaking havoc on the entire area.
everyone looks up at him in utter horror and see just how corrupted he's become. he's wailing in pain as he drives his guitar down on building after building. thrashing and flailing, causing the structures around him to crumble and collapse. "how the fuck are we gonna fix this?!" Nya cries. "i can help." Unagami approaches them. everyone gets into fighting stances, ready to beat Unagami into the pavement. "i did not realize that corrupting him would turn out like this. i know how to fix him, but i need your help." "why should we help YOU?" Kai growls. "if you want to save your city and your friend from complete destruction, you *will* help me." and so Unagami explains that if they can lure Jay back through the portal, Unagami can undo his corruption and fix Jays "coding"
so now the ninja are trying to figure out how to get Jay's attention and bring him back through the portal. it seems like nothing is working, and then Cole gets an idea. he starts singing the lyrics to everybody wants to rule the world. it seems to get Jay's attention, so he keeps singing.
the others hear him and they join in. now they have Jay's attention, and he's closing in on them. that dragon summon from earlier? now thats when that comes in handy. Cole calls the digidragon and rides it so that Jay cant crush him while he lures him back to the portal. low and behold, they manage to get Jay through the portal, Unagami purifies his "coding" and they return to the physical world once again. Unagami gets to have his talk with milton and all of the npcs+pcs that want to come out do, and the others stay in the game. the city is in shambles, the portal closes, and zane+pixal+wu reunite with the others.
the car ride home is very quiet. everyone is exhausted, Jay is asleep and leaning on Cole's shoulder. they have a lot to talk about, but for now, they just want to sleep through the night. they make it home, go to their separate rooms, and go to bed.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand thats pretty much all of it!! theres a little epilogue that has snippets of what Scott, racer 7, okino, and rora do now that they're outside of the game, but thats just kinda there lol.