Chapter 1

Benjamin Campbell was ecstatic and overexcited when he found an email from Dimension Studios on a faithful early morning. He was giddy as hell simply because this is an invite for early access to “The Almighty MMORPG.” Dimension is advertising this experience as “The world’s most advanced game.” They never advertised any features, just implied that a major in-game prize was waiting for the first online player at launch. The launch was only two hours away.

Benjamin raced over to the nearest vGame, known for selling the trendiest Virtual Reality games. He had a long line to wade through, which is why he came a few hours early. Not everybody was there for the exclusive access he was getting. Benjamin patiently waited, not concerned that he would miss this so-called prize offered at launch.

As predicted, he had an hour to get this set up when it was his turn in line. When the clerk asked how he could be of service, Benjamin responded by holding up the exclusive invitation from Dimension, with the Dimension stamp of approval. The clerk nodded to Benjamin, motioning for him to follow him to the back of the store.

The clerk handed Benjamin a nondescript box and said, “This is all yours. We don’t have information about it. Knock yourself out.”

Benjamin nodded and headed out of the store.

Candice Pence had a long and very frustrating day at work. She was looking forward to getting home and having a nice; home-made dinner served to her by the best cooking bots on the market. The cheap bots cooked only basic meals that didn’t have very good filling. Candice deserved better. She was, after all, an accountant for the biggest technology company in the 27TH century, Microfox. It was responsible for the advances in telecommunication since the advent of Virtual Reality software prevalent in the 21st century.

[Come to me, transportation home.] Candice simply thought her action, and soon enough, her generic MFV-620 pulled up in front of her. Candice walked up to it. “You are Candice Pence, are your not? Say my name for access to root privileges.”

“Hi Izzy,” Candice said. [One day these codewords will fucking get everybody killed.]

“Good enough, Candice, Izzy said. “Identity confirmed. Enter.”

A passenger door opened, and Candice was all too happy to obey Izzy’s pleasant order for a safe trip home. The door slid shut with not even a hiss. “Normally at this time, 5 PM, you head home. If you want, there are several stores I can stop at on the way if you need to do evening shopping.” “Would you like to proceed with previous action?”

“Yes, Izzy. I have everything I need. Please head home. I’m tired, and I need some much-over due rest.”

The vehicle pulled away from the curb with a smooth motion and made a perfect liftoff a few inches above the ground. Candice, content that Izzy was programmed to perform her job well, relaxed and was content to dose off in this slowly heating chair.

“Izzy, how long until I’m home?” Candice asked.

“Journey before destination,” Izzy says. “Give it about an hour. There’s a high amount of hover-car traffic today.”

Candice nodded, wishing that any day but today would be the day when her trip home would be delayed by an hour.

Not 15-minutes later, Izzy started beeping. Izzy continuously beeped.

[Izzy, talk to me. Give me a status report.]

Nothing. Candice began to panic. There was no way to gain control of Izzy; drivers are a thing of the past. Candice looked at her view-screen to outside. One minute she saw hover-car traffic. The next, her screen went black and the beeping got louder.

Candice was thrown forward as Izzy was rammed from behind. Izzy flipped over and landed in a field. The impact jarred Candice, breaking her ribs. The back of her head slammed into the window on her side, made just for show. She could only stay conscious for a few more seconds before passing out entirely.

For Benjamin Campbell who had been gaming and examining Virtual Reality for most of his teenage and adult life, the standard “Plug and Play” rigs commonly in use now were child’s play for anybody to set up. After plugging it in and putting the gear on, he had to wait an hour for a launch patch to download. The gear was pretty simple. The setup consisted of a patted durable chair, combined with a standard HD view-screen to visualize content, and most VR rigs came with the 3D bin oral audio headsets. If one can afford it, all of this gear is completely replaceable with better equipment. For now, Benjamin just had to deal with what they gave him.

A patch downloaded an hour later, Benjamin “simply followed the on-screen instructions as prompted. [I don’t think they could make these damn account bullshit simpler if they tried.]

There were a few things unique about this developer and game that caught Benjamin’s eye immediately. He noted the strict rule that advised “The almighty among you” whatever that means, to please treat artificial non-player characters as real, living beings. Benjamin got a chuckle out of that. [Treat them like real humans? What are these devs smoking? The last time I checked, you’re killing them.]

Account created, Benjamin was ecstatic about the creation of a “world”, not a character. [A world! What will I are able to do with this? Or is that we?]

“Each world created on The Almighty MMORPG is procedurally generated in real time,” the game outputted. “Next, you will choose from a number of creation options that will define the world and simulate one century by default, or you may optionally simulate more.”

[What am I getting myself into here! This is awesome!]

Benjamin opted for a starting world template. These templates offered a variety of genres to “mash”, as the game says. The game claimed that mashing and mixing favorite genres will make your world more interesting. Several templates were available. Benjamin made a custom world template mashing the genres Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Urban Fantasy. These are his favorite genres in entertainment, so Benjamin finalized his selection by clicking “next”.

“Now simulating 100 years of history for your world. This will populate your world and provide some substance to it.”

“Congratulations, account holder Benjamin! You are the first player online. As stated in our invitation extended to your, you are getting a special prize. That prize is that your world is the central world of The Almighty MMORPG. There can only be four gods. You are the first, and have final say on any Almighty decision that may have a massive effect on all worlds.”

[Cool! This is getting better and better.]

“However,” the game outputs, “You’re responsibility is enormous. “In order to provide a challenge, the Central World can only contain a certain percentage of crime and evil daily. Your actions will only influence worlds. Not everybody will be quick to obey. Most may disobey at first.”

“World simulation takes only a few minutes, and a few years have already been simulated already as you read this Benjamin. The Dimension wishes you the best of luck being the most powerful over the Almighty. This power may be taken from you, but if you influence the right people, this will be most hard for anybody indeed.”

“The Dimension out, for now!”

Benjamin couldn’t contain himself. He danced in his seat, just waiting for worldgen to complete, satisfied that his world was the first.

Michael Mcclintock heaved what was supposed to be an autoclean vacuum to the second floor of his very elaborate mansion he inherited from his parents. Even with the drug pushing he was involved in, his parent’s fortune combined was about six figures. He could easily stop with the money he had saved up now accumulating interest; however, his addiction was too great. The invitation he received from Dimension Studios to participate in “The Worlds most advanced MMORPG” would help him kick the habit for good.

[Is getting addicted to games any better though?] He had heard so many stories of gamers who would actually be so into the game that they would go so far as to neglect children, their jobs, and simple responsibilities. Michael admitted to himself that he’s been pretty irresponsible as of late, but he thought he kept a good cover going. He was one of the fortunate people to actually have a vGame console. Most people tended to call them gaming rigs to associate them from video games. Video games were a fading pastime that is quickly being eradicated for the more immersive Virtual Reality game.

Michael set the Vacuum down with a heavy sigh and pressed “Resume Clean.” The device zoomed off to the East, using artificial path finding to map the area and did an entire sweep. He was pretty sure that the damn thing would get stuck up here as well, but he had a game to play. He willed his tired self into his bedroom, which doubled as an office. His vGame rig was the biggest contraption in the room. Michael’s was about five times bigger than most vGame setups because he opted to have a computer in his. The disadvantages were mainly space. Michael had all the space he needed. The advantages, therefore, were that he could have Email and internet browsing on the same setup. He opened up the email from Dimension Studios and followed the prompts to install The Almighty MMORPG app to the firmware of his vGame rig. This was largely uneventful. The standard these days were everything automatic. If it weren’t automatic, it had no business being developed in this time.

Michael created his Dimension account with relative ease. He didn’t understand some of the rules he was to follow, but he never followed rules anyway. Who needs those?

[Wow. What’s this about my own world? That sounds pretty dope!]

For his part, Michael chose modern and Fantasy to mash genres. [Modern tech with fantasy and magic? Epic yo!]

Michael read the introduction to the game proper with growing interest. [So, things happen around me, and I can’t change events directly, but when I make a choice I can influence the outcome. Ha.] Michael mulled over this information with a mixture of delight and confusion. [This is an MMORPG. There’s other people on here. What do they do on here? Can I impact their events?]

Michael just wanted to get on with the game already. Worldgen had another thirty minutes until completion.

It had only been a few hours before Candice woke up in a hospital room, laying on a hospital bed. She was very aware that things have already been done. Her ribs feel as they were put back in place, but that didn’t dismiss the fact that they were sore as all hell. Both legs seemed as they were in working order, but both had a cast, so she couldn’t know for sure. [Figures. I’m sure Izzy is totalled. Why me?] A nurse came in then, smiling at her as though she just discovered a new planet in the universe.

“You’re awake! she exclaims. [Time to deal with these overexcited nurses hospitals always clammered for because they bring the elderly out of their shells.]

Candice thought that oddly suspicious. How did she know the precise time she would awaken? No matter, she needed to figure out what was going on and how long she’d be here.

“What happened? Obviously, I was hit but I couldn’t see anything.”

“All we know is that another vehicle rammed yours from behind,” the nurse says faking her best sad voice. Candice knew she could give a fuck. Her job was to check on patience. It was the doctor’s job to care. Everything about this woman screamed the corporate sabotage. “Police are saying that your vehicle was part of the first self-driving hack. Can your believe that? Incredible!” she exclaims.

The longer this woman was in this room; the more insane Candice felt. Of course, it was not incredible. This was Izzy she was talking about! Her first and at this time only self-driving internet vehicle. [I wonder if I should make this bitch apologize for that comment ... incredible. Ah, the irony.]

“we took the liberty of performing an advanced operation on your because you’re had mere seconds to live. Normally, we would’ve asked for consent, but you’re were ... unavailable for comment,” she explains. “It was either that, or you die, and we know some people who want you out of here quickly and on your feet, so we are complying with them as much as we possibly can.”

[People want me out? Who? My coworkers? No, they wouldn’t want me to have a speedy recovery ... so who?]

“If I may ask who wants me out?” Candice asked.

“All we can tell you is that someone emailed us from a Dimension Studios with concern for your health following the accident. That’s all we know at this time and all we are willing to reveal at this time.”

[All they are willing to reveal? So that, therefore means they do know something.]

Recovery took a few days. Candice was discharged and out four days after the unfortunate accident. Upon exiting the hospital, she was greeted by new transport. It was no doubt supplied by this... [Dimension Studio or whatever this place is traveled in style, I see.]

This vehicle had a chippy voice. “Greetings Candice, the vehicle states. “Pick a codeword.”

“Chipz”, Candice says. [Hey, I like that improv little word I created there.]

“Chipz it is,” Chipz says. “I like that name. Let’s head to vStocks for your very first vGame rig set up.”

[vrig set up? I’ve got no money. Bloody L!]

Candice did as instructed and felt as naive as she did when taking her last trip with Izzy. [How is the security in this transport?]

“The security in this transport is aeons more secure than the consumer-level Izzy,” Chipz states, as though she read from a database of phrases. Knowing the people who were responsible for this arrangement to acquire Chipz in the first place, she felt a bit more secure. She felt just a bit secure.

“What does this Dimension Studio want from me?” Candice asks of Chipz.

“You’re not a gamer, right? You’re just the common consumer, work the common nine to five job and do your fair share for society,” chipz states. “Candice, Dimension wants this game to be a game for everyone. Virtual Reality gaming is now a standard gaming activity; however, Dimension says that this new project they are working on is “The most advanced project in gaming”, not just Virtual Reality. It is the most advanced MMORPG ever created and played.”

[If it’s the most advanced game ever created, of course, it would be the most advanced game ever played. Computers... ]

Candice knew that this was just a programmed response by Dimension themselves. She figured they knew she didn’t have any money to speak of, so they’re trying to sell her on features. Candice liked to see things hands on so this tactic doesn’t work as well on her. She was both naive but has also been countlessly ripped off and scammed more times than she could count.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Campbell was in another world. He was in his own world. After worldgen, the world map expanded to encompass the entire world. Benjamin was its king. He could fly around his world with ease. He found that scrolling through the map made him fly through the locations as a spirit, able to observe. There was a lot of things to observe. Creatures both beautiful and ugly. Abilities that in his time, were from Science Fiction flix and novels. One battle he observed as a spirit was a nimble creature that looked female, up against a vehicle half her size, yet she was winning. She had flaming claws and expertly swiped at this vehicle as though she was a cat on the chase. She was winning. [This is simply mind-blowing!] Benjamin, as the Almighty king of his own world, had to come up with names for all of these ... things. Creatures, locations, all of it. It was very daunting and overwhelming. Benjamin had to admit that this was a very elaborate simulation. On the other side of his kingdom, creatures used magic to get things done. They also had their fair share of tech. Benjamin zoomed around for a while, until he found a pub. He flew into it and saw happy patrons in a top-down view. It looked as if a fight were about to break out. Benjamin tried to fly over to the creature in question looked about to instigate it. He could not fly over directly, because he was a spirit; however, an icon above his head allowed Benjamin to “Take control.” He didn’t know exactly what that meant, but he was about to find out.

Gloria White was living it up hardcore in her favorite local establishment, Whiskeybuds. Their specialty was the hard shit. They focused so much on the hard shit that there wasn’t any soft shit to speak of. All manors of whiskey, lickers and a choice of accessory drink to mix them. Gloria had the unfortunate misfortune of working the night shift as a bartender. She hated the job. She had to work odd hours, the pay was nearly fuck all for what things she had in mind, and it overall just sucked her dry. There were other things she could be doing, but listening to customers prattle on and on about their shitty and rather unimportant lives to her was highly unproductive.

It was an average night. Patrons entered, and the place became crowded. As the night wore on, the IQ level of some patrons, specifically categorized as male, began to drop as they became increasingly intoxicated. Gloria was the only bartender on shift tonight. That meant that she had to deal with every single person that had a problem. She put on her best smile face as a tall, brutish man approached the bar, looking half out of it.

“I’ll have a Pussy rules the Mouth with a side of Bloody Marry, please,” the man demanded. “That’ll be all.”

Pussy rules the Mouth was obviously an ode to what a lot of men, and some women think a vagina tastes like after licking every drop of juices for all she’s worth. Looking at the ingredients, Gloria thought that this place just wanted to cash in on the words Pussy and mouth. [Mix this together and the fuckin’ things about as hard as breaking the hymen on first penetration.] The drink had common fruits like an Orange, two Apples and this cream that the owner made in an attempt to look like a wet Vagina at the height of a woman’s arousal. The concoction was, in all honesty, shit, and Gloria made it with reluctant disdain. She made it and his side drink and set them on the man’s table without so much as a glance before walking back behind the bar. He didn’t bother to wait there like a civil gentleman.

When that man left for the night, he casually set a box down by the bar with her name on it. He winked at her and said, “This is for you. This is for the excellent pussy you mixed with brilliance that only an expert bartender who loves men has the tenacity for. That pussy had better flavor than my recent X-wife. Your abilities are to be commended!”

[Why thank you, gees! Surely, this is over-exaggeration, the man just broke up with his Ex who probably didn’t give him enough of her pussy to crave the taste.]

[Well I’m glad I could be of service... ] She nods to herself as he walks away, meeting his friends at the door. They patted him on the back and gave him high-fives. If he and his friends thought Gloria would go along with their sickening game, they had another thing coming. The group knew this, or maybe not. They exited the bar quickly.

[Now, this box... ]

Gloria was smart and dragged the box behind the bar with her. In almost all circumstances, only staff was allowed behind the bar. Patrons couldn’t even get close. If needed, the place was built with electrical fencing around the outside of the bar, and the staff could evoke it if necessary. The people who built it were barbaric and thought that treating misbehaving customers like disobedient pets, shocking them until they past out, was a safe business practice. Gloria was evil to have fun. She would never activate that fencing.

All and all, the night was the usual party night. Bars were the main attraction to nightlife these days. People don’t drink responsibly though because over six centuries, Illusion became something to use mainly for socializing and having a fun time, to a complete 380. Now, it’s used for all kinds of things. Stress relief without having to worry about quantity, beer is shrinking in sales because of the taste of cocktails. There are other advantages of Alcohol in the 27th century, but Gloria resigned from Whiskeybuds at the end of her shift. It was time to find a new career path. A nagging feeling told her it was in this box. [Will this box deliver me riches and fame beyond my wildest dreams? No, that’s crazy talk. It does have my last name on it, and I didn’t tell that person my last name... ]

[Fuck. Is someone onto me?]

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Story tagged with:
Fiction / Science Fiction / 2nd POV /