After the arcade closed that night, Vanellope and Mike weaved through characters, keeping an eye out for the new Mike. She spotted someone coming out of the new game, tugging lightly on Mike's hand and moving him along. "New Mike!"
The young man blinked, looking at the child approaching him. "My name isn't Mike... it's Jeremy. I... I need to go see someone."
Mike couldn't help staring at Jeremy, who was definitely not a Mike. This was guy that was technically "him" in the sequel, despite not having the same name. "Jeremy, is it? H-hi, I'M Mike, I was the avatar in the first game."
"Wait, what? So you're-"
"Yeah and I'm Vanellope, look, we need to go inside your game, it's real important!" the little girl spit out, not taking time to consider any formalities.
Upon hearing this, Jeremy forgot whatever he was going to say and gave Vanellope a bewildered look. "Excuse me? Heck no, you guys aren't going inside! I forbid it!"
"Look, Jeremy... I went inside the first game and... ever since then these nightmares won't go away. I have to go in there and finish this, or else I'm never gonna sleep again."
"I keep having them too. I keep seeing certain things I don't recognize. I always wake up feeling sick to my stomach for a few minutes. As crazy as this sounds... we have to see if there's anything I... we... can find out."
"Well, it's pretty crazy... like, you think your game was bad, Mike? Wait until you see this. Actually... no. I can't. My brain is already scrambled. In this game there is literally, not a second to relax. I-"
"Look, I get it. It's hard guarding-"
"No, you DON'T get it. Try... eight basic animatronics, with two additional characters, and Golden Freddy, and we have NO idea how he's even triggered-"
"Wait, what? Eight? Two new characters? Why are there so many?" Mike asked.
"I don't know, okay? Just... I have to go take a break man, my brain is gonna burst!" Jeremy stormed past them, leaving Mike and Vanellope appearing bewildered.
Meanwhile, Calhoun, Ralph and Felix spotted Mike and Vanellope when Jeremy stormed past them.
"Jeez, what's his problem...?" She asked. "Hey, did you know who that guy was?" She questioned when they reached the other two.
"That was Jeremy... the night guard of Five Nights at Freddy's 2." Vanellope answered.
Mike was losing his nerve quickly after having heard about the new dangers. "And he said there's EIGHT animatronics plus two new characters PLUS-"
"Okay, that's it, you're definitely not going in there," Ralph said with an authoritative tone.
Vanellope dropped her arms down in a slump. "But Ralllph-"
"No 'buts', kid, I'm with Wreck-It on this one," Calhoun inputted sharply. "It's a miracle in itself that we survived against only four of those freaks. And now there's ten all together?"
"E-eleven," Mike gulped, his knees knocking together from shaking so hard. "G-golden Freddy's back too."
Vanellope stared up at Ralph. "You have no idea what these nightmares are like, Ralph. Mike does... and if you're not going to help me get in there, he will."
"Now you listen here. NO one, I repeat, no one, is going in that game. I don't know what fantasy you have in your head but it's not happening." Calhoun said, bent on one knee.
"How am I supposed to make the nightmares stop then, huh? I can't even race, I can't focus!"
Ralph furrowed a brow. "I'll take you to Dr. Mario tomorrow. Both of you." He nodded to Mike. "Going in that game isn't going to solve anything."
"Dr. MARIO?" Vanellope scoffed. "What's HE gonna do? Stuff a pill down my throat? I don't want to be doped on meds forever!"
"But you wanna go face a pack of carnivorous robots?" Ralph asked, his temper rising a bit. "That's as dumb as walkin' into a nest of cybugs!"
"QUIET!" Everyone piped down at the sergeant's loud command; a few random people walking around in the station even stopped to stare at her. "Arguing is getting us nowhere. I say we try the less dangerous approach FIRST. That means Dr. Mario."
"Maybe King Candy would have liked that idea too when I was nothing but a glitch." Vanellope crossed her arms.
"Now Vanellope, you know that Ralph doesn't think that... he's worried, we all are." Felix said, frowning and placing a hand on her shoulder.
"I don't care!" She growled, shoving his hand off of her and for a moment, her eyes darkened. She blinked, snapping herself out of it and shaking her head.
"Uh, kid?" Ralph gently prodded. "What just happened?"
Mike hid behind Calhoun, much to her annoyance. "Th-those eyes..."
"Gee, maybe if you'd let me go inside the game…" Vanellope began, throwing her arms out towards said game to get her point across, "… then maybe I'd find out what happened!" She glitched in place a few times, something she hadn't done in a long time, ever since she reset Sugar Rush so long ago. "I'm sick of arguing about this, I'm going!"
To Ralph and everyone else's horror, she teleported herself away from the group and towards the entrance to Five Nights at Freddy's 2.
"Vanellope!" Ralph shouted to her.
"L-Look, I'll go after her, o- one of you find Jeremy!" Mike shouted as he ran in.
Vanellope heard someone calling after her as she entered one of the party rooms. She turned to see Mike. "I am not going back out there until-"
"I'm not leaving either." He sighed. "There's got to be an answer in here for both of us. I promise, we'll figure this out together."
It was then they realized how eerily quiet it was, standing under the dim security lighting.
Mike grabbed Vanellope by the hand, not wanting her to run off again. Also, he didn't want to be alone either. "W-well, any bright ideas in that noggin of yours?"
"I didn't think this far."
The former guard lightly face palmed himself with his free hand and slid it down slowly. "Well, not dying would be a good start. Maybe we should find weapons."
She raised a brow. "Yeah, I didn't exactly pack my Sweet Seekers gun in my hoodie, so..." She let out a sigh. "Let's just look around 'til we find someone. Maybe in this game, the animatronics are normal-minded bad guys like Ralph is."
Mike tensed up when he heard what sounded like a music box playing in the background; it was even worse than the silence he had dealt with in HIS game. "I wouldn't bet too much on that."
They followed the sound, arriving in the prize corner. She spotted a cupcake plushie, beaming as she went over to grab one, hugging it. "I left the one you gave me at home, Mike." She said, looking up at him and he smiled lightly. He then blinked, noticing one of the other cupcake plushies moving, and he gasped when he saw it was attached to a hand, something slowly crawling out of the plushie pile.
"Vanellope, move!" Mike shouted, grabbing her and pulling her back as Toy Chica came out. Her robotic eyes rested on Mike, and she began to approach him slowly, menacingly.
"This one looks different, Mike!" Vanellope cried, staying close to him. As they backed away, they bumped into something, whirling around and screaming as Toy Bonnie stood there. The two animatronics neared Mike and Vanellope, reaching out towards them.
Mike had always thought nothing could be scarier than the old versions, but these guys... their deceivingly friendly expressions terrified him more than the old ones ever did. His fear sent his adrenaline levels through the roof, and he bolted away from them, Vanellope flying out behind him as he kept a firm grip on her hand.
"We need to hide!" he panted as he rounded a corner and nearly collided with a boy. "Ahhh!"
"What is it?!" Vanellope asked in a panic as she fell to the floor after Mike accidentally dropped her. Her question was answered when she looked straight ahead and saw the blank stare of a smiling boy, holding balloons. He looked as harmless as Toy Bonnie, who she actually thought was kinda cute in a disturbing way, though that probably meant that he wasn't harmless at all. Then again, he wasn't even moving. Was he just decoration?
Balloon Boy stared at them eerily, giggling and emitting a cheerful "Hi!" Vanellope grimaced, standing closer to Mike. She looked up at him, about to say something when-
"Hey!" Jeremy called, catching up to them, Ralph, Felix and Calhoun following behind. "None of you belong in here. Now if we don't get out before the game goes into 'after hours' settings, this place is going to shut down and we'll be trapped-"
They suddenly heard the sound of doors and windows shutting closed, sealing all ways into and out of the restaurant.
"You were saying?" Calhoun asked dryly as she blew her hair out of her eyes. She already had her gun out, not wanting to take chances as she and the other two had hunted down Mike and Vanellope. "Well, you two wanted to come in here, guess you got your wish."
"At least it has a better soundtrack than the last game," Ralph noted, talking about the faint music box he could hear in another room.
"It gives me the willies," Mike whispered, not trusting anything not even music.
Jeremy groaned. "Great. Stuck here with a bunch of strangers. Well, may as well just head to the office. Hurry up, the animatronics won't sit tight for long."
Vanellope looked around, looking at her surroundings. She glanced up at Ralph, who was not happy in the slightest. "Ralph, I'm sorry, but I need to-"
"Survive another night in this nightmare? So do the rest of us now!" Ralph threw his hands up.
The little girl furrowed her brows, shaking her head. "You don't understand anything!"
"No, you don't understand the danger you've put us in!" He replied.
"Both of you stop shouting please... I can't think with all this noise." Jeremy groaned. They approached the office, filing in one by one.
"Okay, I gotta ask." Mike started as they entered the security room, "What's with the music?"
"That's for one of the extra characters I mentioned earlier," Jeremy griped tiredly. He was obviously exhausted already despite only plugged in one day. "Have to keep it wound up."
"I think it's kinda catchy!" Felix smiled only to have it drop when Calhoun glared at him.
"Good, then YOU can keep it wound up," said Jeremy, still being somewhat rude to everyone. He didn't sign up to babysit all these trespassers; and he especially wasn't comfortable with one of them being a little kid. "One less thing for me to worry about."
Calhoun turned to Jeremy then. "So, were there any phone messages left for you during gameplay?"
Jeremy nodded. "Yes, one for each night."
"Mind if I listen?" She asked.
"Sure, fine, not like I'll just have to listen to them day after day..." Jeremy rolled his eyes.
Calhoun shot him a glare, playing each of the messages that were left.
"Uh, hello? Hello, hello? Uh, hello and welcome to your new summer job at the new and improved Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. Uh, I'm here to talk you through some of the things you can expect to see during your first week here and to help you get started down this new and exciting career path."
"You mean besides killer animals of death?" Ralph commented, and Calhoun shushed him.
"Uh, now, I want you to forget anything you may have heard about the old location, you know. Uh, some people still have a somewhat negative impression of the company. Uh... that old restaurant was kind of left to rot for quite a while, but I want to reassure you, Fazbear Entertainment is committed to family fun and above all, safety. They've spent a small fortune on these new animatronics, uh, facial recognition, advanced mobility, they even let them walk around during the day. Isn't that neat? But most importantly, they're all tied into some kind of criminal database, so they can detect a predator a mile away. Heck, we should be paying them to guard you."
"I wonder what happened in the first location... sounds a bit suspicious." Mike frowned.
"Uh, now that being said, no new system's without its... kinks. Uh... you're only the second guard to work at that location. Uh, the first guy finished his week, but complained about... conditions. Uh, we switched him over to the day shift, so hey, lucky you, right? Uh mainly he expressed concern that certain characters seemed to move around at night, and even attempted to get into his office. Now, from what we know, that should be impossible. Uh, that restaurant should be the safest place on earth. So while our engineers don't really have an explanation for this, the working theory is that... the robots were never given a proper 'night mode'. So when it gets quiet, they think they're in the wrong room, so then they go try to find where the people are, and in this case, that's your office. So our temporary solution is this: there's a music box over by the Prize Counter, and it's rigged to be wound up remotely. So just, every once in a while, switch over to the Prize Counter video feed and wind it up for a few seconds. It doesn't seem to affect all of the animatronics, but it does affect... one of them. Uh, and as for the rest of them, we have an even easier solution. You see, there may be a minor glitch in the system, something about robots seeing you as an endoskeleton without his costume on, and wanting to stuff you in a suit, so hey, we've given you an empty Freddy Fazbear head, problem solved! You can put it on anytime, and leave it on for as long as you want. Eventually anything that wandered in, will wander back out."
"Oh, real simple, just like last time." Vanellope said flatly.
"Uh, something else worth mentioning is kind of the modern design of the building. You may have noticed there are no doors for you to close, heh. But hey, you have a light! And even though your flashlight can run out of power, the building cannot. So, don't worry about the place going dark. Well, I think that's it. Uh, you should be golden. Uh, check the lights, put on the Freddy head if you need to, uh, keep the music box wound up, piece of cake. Have a good night, and I'll talk to you tomorrow."