Chapter 1

Hi, my name is Alan Hawker. I'm 21 and learning to be a programmer in the local university. All my life I was a geek, but luckily I hadn't had problems with bullies, I just was a bit of a loner. When I got to university I felt I should change my ways, so I went to a few parties. After a few I realized I don't feel I belong, and I really can't hold my alcohol, so the safest for me is abstinence. Unfortunately this realization came to me after I got a tattoo. At least I like it. It's a screeching hawk's head on my upper right arm. I'm 6', 140 pounds and pale as white paste. I like MMORPGs in fantasy settings and I'm a great fan of cmsix's writings on Storiesonline, but sometimes I feel his characters have it way too easy.

When the events I'm writing about started I was reading the latest chapter of John and Argent and thought about that if it would have been me I would have died of a thousand deaths:

- poisoning from an unknown plant

- a stealthy predator could have got close to me before I could realize it's there

- the people there could have killed me because I was an alien in their eyes

- someone could have murdered me in my sleep for my treasure

- could have died from a disease the locals are immune to

- etc...

In the end I decided I send an e-mail to him with my problems with the story hoping he will take it as constructive criticism, and not as hate mail, and maybe it can be a beginning of inspiring talks between us.

A few days later I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw an answer from him in my inbox. We started to talk about what would we do if it really happened to us, what would we take, how many women would be in our harem...

A few weeks have passed when I got a visitor. He was 7' tall, skinny, his face was elongated, his eyes too big and too far apart for human standards, he had pointed ears, his skin had a silvery hue and he didn't use the door to get into my room.

"Probably an alien." I thought.

"Hello. You can call me Argent. Of course it's not my name, but I have the same offer for you as his in the story of our ambassador, who you have been in contact with."

"You mean cmsix?"

"Precisely."

"The offer in the story is you give me a young healthy body and take me to an alternate dimension of earth where civilization is at the Stone Age level, and I can take three thousand pounds of equipment."

"That's right."

"I would really like to accept it, but unfortunately it's not as tempting to me as it was to John. I'm young and relatively healthy in this day and age, but I would be in a serious disadvantage in that society. I'm too weak, my senses are dulled by forty thousand years of civilized lifestyle and I have no skills to speak of that would help me to survive. Only way I know of to light a fire is with matches or a lighter for example, and I would need some lighter fluid too to make a campfire."

"I see. We have the ability to give you the body and any knowledge you want while in transit."

"Then I want the strongest, fastest and most dexterous body, with the keenest senses, and all the knowledge in the world."

"You can't have all those. It would be detrimental to the experiment."

"I thought so, I just wanted to start haggling from a good position. What I would really like is a body which puts me in the top 1% in the world there, immunity to all diseases, a good basic knowledge on the flora and fauna there, good survival skills, good hunting skills and high martial arts skills to defend myself. And the possibility to learn new skills as I need them, maybe in a form of an AI like Ralph."

"You can't have an AI from the beginning. You have to earn them."

"So tell me how I can earn them and I will get them as soon as possible, and I can choose my skills and resources to make it possible. If they are like in the story they can make anything I need after that."

"It's impossible. I can't tell you the purpose of the experiment, that would make all our efforts pointless."

"Why? Aren't you in this for the entertainment?"

"No, no. I won't tell you."

"Well it's not important, till you rather see me live through it all. If you just want me to die I would rather not accept your offer."

"Oh, I see. Yes, we would like you to survive, just not make it too easy."

"So why don't we make it into a game?"

"What do you mean?"

"Let's make it so that you offer me quest, and if I fulfill them you reward me with knowledge, equipment, resources and the like."

"What kind of quests? We don't want to give away the point of the experiment."

"Well, mix different quests together, that lead to different ends. Survivalist, civilization building, show and dozen different types. For example a survivalist goal is: build a log cabin, a civilization is: make contact with all the local tribes, show: hunt a mammoth."

"Ahh, I get it. Because all types of activity is rewarded you can't guess what we are after. And if you do nothing extraordinary like sitting in a meadow and hunting rabbits, you survive but get nothing. Anything really valuable would be rewarded only if you do lots of different things though."

"All right. So if I accept can I have time in transit to get used to the new body and the first set of skills I learn, and to make my list of equipment?"

"Yes, but your new body will only be average in the site of the experiment, and you will have to earn any improvement, or make them naturally. And your weight limit is lowered too."

"Then I formally submit my petition to participate in the Game of Survival."

"I accept."

And so my adventure began.

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Story tagged with:
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