The intention of this file is to provide the real-world timeline and in-game events surrounding the .hack integration for the animes Sign and Roots, as well as the game Infection. This is the non-in-depth version that is player-facing. Meta-plot details will be intentionally omitted from this document. It will contain a cause-and-effect analysis from the POV of its players - who will be considered unreliable actors.
Fragment: SIGN & INFECTION
The events of .hack//SIGN and .hack//Infection are featured within the Elder Tale Online MUSH timeline. They exist within the former IC game of Fragment. However, as the events of the game series that starts with Infection are not resolved through Mutation, Outbreak and Quarantine, it puts some characters into the situation where their arcs are unresolved. The Elder Tale Online game, ICly, will hold the promise of bringing back those people. It is noteworthy that the players are considered Unreliable Actors; Tsukasa being a character of note for this. Some of their memories and recollections may be slightly inaccurate on these events.
Key points to these events are Tsukasa and her journey in .hack//Sign and her dealings with Morgana and the mysterious girl in white, called Aura - and the eventual awakening of Tsukasa, and the witnessing of Skeith and the escape from Morgana.
After this, Key points are the coma for Orca, Kite’s receiving of the Book of Twilight, and the defeat of Skeith: resulting in Sora’s player coming back from his coma.
The public is somewhat aware of a player called Tsukasa who has a personal Guardian who PKed players. Additionally, there are the strange rumors of a ‘Key of Twilight’ that gives some kind of administrator-like privileges. Other players are convinced it’s some kind of god-weapon or perfect armor that is sure to be priceless.
The public would see the Crimson Knights thinking themselves better than other players, modding the community. To some, the guiding hand of the Crimson Knights was positive, to others - their meddling was seen as undesirable. The reasons why their Guild Leader eventually decides to disband the Crimson Knights is gossip material at best.
Towards the end of the life of Fragment, there were a few strange Bug Monsters that could not be defeated. Most players gave up trying to beat them upon meeting these things with infinite HP - accepting them for what they were; small occasional bugs. They usually disappeared shortly after reporting them on the BBS. Some talked of a Twin Blade having a way of beating them. But those rumors were about as well accepted as those of the mysterious ‘white clothed girl’ that supposedly would float through dungeons from time to time.
Elder Tale Online: ROOTS & G.U.
The events of Roots play out in the first year of the Elder Tale Online world - before Apocalypse - which takes on different UI and experience from what is represented in the canon of .hack//ROOTS. However, all events occur in largely the same way - even if locations are different: Chaos Gates are not active as instance-dungeon teleporters during the first year of Elder Tale Online. Instead, these locations should be considered to be within the first few floors of the Tower of Aincrad. The MUSH will be starting at the events of G.U. - with Haseo instead becoming trapped into the game and his level reset just like everyone else's.
Key points are Haseo getting hunted and PKed, as well as the rumors of the Key of Twilight and his mysterious relation to this unknown object. Additionally, Shino’s death at the hand of Ovan’s Data Drain.
The Twilight Brigade’s existence, and rumors of some Key of Twilight that Haseo is supposed to be closest to or possess cause a hunt by some of the more -- or less -- skilled PKers in the game. Outside of this, most of the events of Roots are limited to the characters themselves.
Elder Tale Online: The Apocalypse
Just before the Apocalypse occurs, various members of the cast of .hack get a personalized message telling them that if they wish to help those who are still held in the grip of Fragment, to log in to Elder Tale Online.
It is important to consider that there is a change from the regular canon that is important, in that we are considering the events of Infection having been where things ended for Kite, who then had to live through a great deal of time without any way to help their friends. This leads to the G.U. events being paired with .hack//Mutation, Outbreak, and Quarantine.
Notes on Appearance
.Hack players will find that when they log in, their characters look remarkably like the ones they had in Fragment. Sometimes even still owning some of their special gear.
Appable Characters from .Hack
The following list is not fully inclusive. It contains the Feature Characters we have prepared, or have otherwise already been applied for on this MUSH.