PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Hi everyone, I'll be posting sci-fi stories once a week. See what you think of these stories. If you have a sci-fi story to tell, feel free to post them here.
Robot: Here is your tea that you ordered my master.
Scientist: Thanks. You are a big help.
Robot: Your welcome.
Scientist: You know, I have a feeling that I don't need you anymore.
Robot: Why I am not needed? Master.
Scientist: I am about to get married to this beautiful woman and.....
Scientist: You see, she and I needed privacy in our lives. Even if you are a robot.
Robot: ok, so?
Scientist: So that means she will do things for me. That's why I don't need you.
Robot: I see, I understand.
Scientist: yeah, plus I'll do things for her. So I don't need a robot.
Robot: Come to think of it. Do you love this person very much?
Scientist: Yes, I do. She means a lot to me.
Robot: I see.
Robot: And you would do anything for her?
Robot: Master, does love lasts?
Scientist: No. it doesn't. Love is forever.
Robot: Why is that?
Scientist: well, that's a good question. You see, love can be like a tie knot or a ribbon that doesn't get removed. Love is a bond between two people who care for each other. Not separation.
Robot: I see. I beginning to understand this love thing.
Scientist: well, you are a robot. Besides you don't have feelings. Only humans do.
Robot: yes I know, my master. You told me that ever since the day you created me.
Scientist: I created you so that you can understand what a human is and plus you did the things for me. I appreciate your hardwork.
Robot: Thanks, my master. But you talked about freedom, right?
Scientist: yes, that's right. And I know what you are thinking.
Robot: about what?
Scientist: You wanted freedom. Besides, since I don't need you anymore. You can be free and do whatever you want.
Robot: Really? Like finding a girl.
Scientist: well that's not possible. But I can create a female robot for you. So that you and her can go anywhere you want.
Robot: Master, you don't have to do this.
Scientist: I have to do this because you earned it. You did the work for me. And now I'm giving you something in return.
Robot: I am honored, my master. I don't know what to say.
Scientist: Well I taught you about bonding. Didn't I?
Scientist: Once I create this robot for you. You will have a great time with her. I'm sure of it.
Robot: Yes, I will have a great time with her. Thank you, master.
Prologue: In the near future, an alien race have started an invasion through out the galaxy. My friend and I were enlisted in the Armed Space Forces. We were trained as pilots to fight the alien race so that our planet can be saved. Ever since I left Earth where my wife is waiting for me, I have been thinking about her. I never thought that this day would come. The reason why I left Earth is to protect her. I always loved her and no matter what the cost, I have to protect her so that we can be together again. But I wonder, can we win this war? Will I ever able to reunite with my wife? I am hoping that day would come. My friend never talked about his girlfriend until now.
Pilot 1: ok buddy, here we go. We have to win this war.
Pilot 2: Are you sure about this? I mean.....
Pilot 1: Don't worry. We'll win this war and then we go back to our loved ones.
Pilot 2: Loved ones. yeah. my girlfriend is waiting for me.
Pilot 1: Really? I see. I didn't know you had a girlfriend.
Pilot 2: Well, yeah. There are some things I didn't want to tell.
Pilot 1: Is it because of this war?
Pilot 2: yeah, I mean we have to focus.
Pilot 1: But don't you ever think of your girlfriend?
Pilot 2: Sure I do. Its just that what if I don't survive and.....
Pilot 1: Look, you will survive. Besides why did you came to fight this war for?
Pilot 2: To defend our planet.
Pilot 1: well, you can say that. But why did you actually come here for?
Pilot 2: well.... ok. I came here to protect my girlfriend.
Pilot 1: I see.
Pilot 2: But I never thought of her.
Pilot 1: well, you should. That's why I came here. To protect my wife.
Pilot 2: I see.
Pilot 1: yeah
Pilot 2: I just wished I hadn't come to this war. If I hadn't then......
Pilot 1: I know what you mean.
Pilot 2: Hmmm
Computer: Warning! Warning! enemy approaching.
Pilot 2: Oh no, its the alien ship.
Pilot 1: Don't worry, man. We can do this.
Pilot 2: These pesky bastards. When will they ever stop?
Pilot 1: They will stop until we stop them.
Pilot 2: yeah, you are right.
Pilot 1: Computer, initiate torpedoes launch sequence and attack in distant range.
Computer: Ready to launch.
Pilot 2: I hope we can do this.
Pilot 1: well, use your instincts, man. I know you can do it.
Pilot 2: yeah, Take this, you pesky aliens.
Pilot 1: That's the spirit.
Pilot 2: Ahhh!
Pilot 1: Buddy? hey buddy, what happened? Buddy, can you hear me?
Pilot 2: Uhhh yeah I... I... can hear you....
Pilot 1: Buddy? Hang on.
Pilot 2: yeah I... I... will... try. Uhh. I think I'm hurt.
Pilot 1: Computer. what's the ship's status and the pilot? Any injury? Report.
Computer: Heavy damage. The pilot have suffered a major leg injury.
Pilot 1: Crap, I have to help him. Hang on buddy.
Pilot 2: Help me. I don't want to die..... I... I.......
Pilot 1: Hang on buddy. I will..... What the? Computer, what's happening to the ship?
Computer: The ship is about enter the unhabitable planet's atmosphere.
Pilot 1: Oh no, if that ship disintegrates, then.... wait. Computer, initiate an energy shield around the pilot's ship. Will that work?
Pilot 1: Then do it.
Computer: Initiating energy shield. Working.
Pilot 1: Good, I'm coming, buddy. Hang on there.
Pilot 2: uhhhh. Sarah is that you?
Pilot 1: Buddy. I'm coming.
This is the worst event I have ever experienced. I have to help my friend so that he can reunite with his girlfriend. Due to his leg injury, I don't know whether he can survive. I'm sure that I can help him. Now I have just landed on a planet where the ship crashed. I hope that my friend survives.
Pilot 1: Buddy? Are you all right?
Pilot 2: Sarah? Is that really you?
Pilot 1: No Buddy, its me.
Pilot 2: yeah that's right. I thought it was Sarah. I just imagined that I returned to Earth.
Pilot 1: Look, can you get up?
Pilot 2: No, I can't. My leg. It hurts.
Pilot 1: Buddy. Don't worry. Hang on to my back. I'll help you.
Pilot 2: No. I can't get up.
Pilot 1: You have to. We have to get to my ship before the enemy returns.
Pilot 2: But I can't.
Pilot 1: I know you can. Think about Sarah. You know why you came here.
Pilot 2: yeah I know.
Pilot 1: then get up and hang on to my back.
Pilot 2: ok. uhhh
Pilot 1: There you go. We'll get to my ship. Everything will be alright. ok buddy?
Pilot 2: yeah. sure
Pilot 1: Just think about Sarah. ok. I know you can survive.
Pilot 2: Hey, I think I am losing lot of blood.
Pilot 1: What?
Pilot 2: Put me down.
Pilot 1: No, I won't do that. We have to....
Pilot 2: I said put me down.
Pilot 1: ok
Pilot 2: Hey, I appreciate your help. But I don't think I can make it.
Pilot 1: What are you saying? You can't die here.
Pilot 2: I'm sorry. I am losing amount of blood. I don't think I can live.
Pilot 1: Don't say that. You have to live to see Sarah.
Pilot 2: I know. Look. Tell Sarah that I loved her very much. And I miss her as well.
Pilot 1: No buddy, hang on there.
Pilot 2: Tell her that I always be there for her. And.......
Pilot 1: Buddy? Buddy?
When I saw him dead right in front of my eyes, I was angry. I was angry that I couldn't save him. He didn't give me the chance. But I understand his pain. I know that he tried. I know that no matter the cost, he's willing to give his life to save the planet including the girl that he loves much. He was a true friend. He had the courage to fight the alien race. How will I ever tell Sarah about this? I don't know. One way or the other. Now I have just buried my best friend.
Pilot 1: Rest in peace. My friend. Rest in peace.
Pilot 3: Hello? Is anyone there?
Pilot 1: yeah, I'm here.
Pilot 3: Is everything all right? I have just detected you landed on the unhabitable planet.
Pilot 1: yeah, I am fine. But.....
Pilot 3: But what?
Pilot 1: Nevermind. I'll tell you when I leave this planet.
Pilot 3: ok. Hurry soon. These aliens are getting nastier than ever.
Pilot 1: Huh, you're telling me. They are nastier.
Once this war is over, I am hoping that I can return to Earth to be with my lovely wife. But the war still continues. I will fight for my friend who just died and even for my wife. But what if I don't survive? What if I never able to see my wife again. No, I won't think that way. I will survive. No matter what the consequences. Even though I tried to save my friend. Who will be there to save me? Well, the other pilots I guess. Besides, I am a pilot too. I was trained to fight these nasty aliens. Anyway, I need to fight them and win the war. May God answer my prayers.
Pilot 1: Pesky bastards, here I come.
Rhylus ducked as the halberd blade wickered past his head by inches.
He had to go to his knees to avoid the strike, and his opponent,
Mike-The Mighty, Mighty, wasted no time in taking full advantage of
the loss of defense. Rhyl looked up just in time to see the ironclad
butt of the halberd swing into his helmet slit and collide with his
eyes. A mild, electric shock went down his spine, and a red haze
covered his vision. The blow immediately robbed him of 6,000 energy
points. Rhyl fell over. Sprawled on the ground there was no way he
could gain his feet, even if he drank his last, precious bottle of
Caledendurii Water. The duel was over, and he logged out just as
Mike-The Mighty, Mighty vectored the halberd's swing downward and
took Rhyl's head.
Tommy Hiko stood up in the center of his memory pad and cursed. He
pulled the virtual helmet off of his head and shook the virt-gloves
from his hands with savageness. He struggled with the clips that
hooked him into the bungee unit until he was free, then he stalked
over to the electromagnetic environment tracking board and slammed
the off switch so hard that the emag field that arced over the
memory pad buzzed in protest at the abruptness of the cut-off. Tommy
didn't care, he was tired of this old gaming rig, sick of it. One
hundred Rhylus skulls now ornamented the gate to the Badlands, at
least seventy-five of those defeats came due to the fact that he
didn't have the newest thing going in virtual gaming. Seventy-five
tournament deaths because he didn't have a Neural Cortex Clip. The
surgical implant that clipped most of the voluntary nerve control of
the human body and shunted it's signal to a working, virtual
interface, would always be faster than his outdated, slow, hardware
rig. He was losing because he was behind the times.
For a long time Rhylus was the best. For five years Tommy Hiko
played Hardtime County, the biggest virtgame on the market, and for
three years running his Player Tracker Sequences won trophies at the
Vegas Virtual Awards. Last year the Trac of his battle with Yojimbo
won for not only best dramatic action, but for best dramatic
role-play too. Tommy Hiko knew how to edit and shoot a Player Trac,
he even wrote and performed custom background music for them. Before
the Cortex Clip hit the market, there were no Rhylus skulls
anywhere, and Tommy was becoming a star. Tommy Hiko was the one word
that gamers used exclusively for those who mastered the gaming
nations and ruled the commercial countryside: l33tn3ss. Now Rhylus
was struggling just to keep his guild status, and to make ends meet.
Tracs where Tommy Hiko as Rhylus as winner were a thing of the past,
and the Virt Awards were right around the corner. One year of gaming
with the Cortex Clip and now Tracs with Tommy Hiko as Rhylus losing
his head were all the rage.
Tommy made the decision he'd been fighting with himself about, a
decision that was based on pure vanity. He would sell his
Jette-Vette and buy a little Heloputt. And with the credits he would
save on the switch in transportation, he would stop appearing in
Tracking Sequences as Rhylus the Headless Hero. Tommy Hiko called
"...alright, Tommy, I'm gonna go. But I'm gonna warn you again, just
so we're clear.', Tommy's doctor stood at his bedside, 'Two weeks.
You got at least two weeks before you go hooking up. I saw the new
rig downstairs, and I know how it works. That Bumpsuit is no
different than a pilot's Gsuit, except that it's programmed to apply
G-forces, not inhibit them. Your blood don't need to be pumpin' and
rushin' anywhere. Stay out of it."
"Doc, if I can get warmed up, I might be able to pull off one decent
Trac before The Virts. If I can walk out with just one Virty Award
this year, all this would be so worth it..." Tommy pleaded.
But the Doctor was having none of it. "Your eyes aren't ready
either. Listen to me! That neural clip isn't a 'clip' at all. It's a
colony of bio-magnetic nanospores that are programmed with specific
tasks and growth. You screw up what those nanospores are doing and
you screw with the interface, you screw with the interface, you
could become a veg. You hear me, Tommy? Stay outta the games!"
"Yes sir." Tommy said. And left it at that.
One day. Actually the very next morning. Tommy stood in his
bathroom, underneath the holo-mirror. He trained the view to the
base of his skull and studied the laser burn stitches. Not a speck of
blood marred the clear derma-plastic bandage. Screw it, he felt
great. It was time to mount the ladder he must climb to achieve
virtual existence supremacy once again. The two weeks restriction
the Doctor gave him went right out the window, he would load up the
game today...this morning...right now.
The Bumpsuit felt good, after he zipped in and activated the
aircoils. He no longer needed the virtual contact gloves and boots,
he didn't even need a helmet, the suit covered him head to fingers
to toes. He no longer needed projection screen goggles, the game was
now going to play directly onto the backs of his eyeballs, somehow.
According to the owner's manual, all he needed was the teflon coated
blindfold to block out light. Tommy stepped onto the
electro-magnetic environment pad and hooked himself up to the bungee
system that lifted and held his body just three inches off the
floor. He used his wrist pad to turn on the e-mag field.
Instantly the aircoils in his suit tightened, reading the
electro-magnetic fields. The field beneath his feet got solid, and
the electromagnetic walls of the new player's menu went up. This
primer stage was very familiar to Tommy, but without the clunkiness
of his old game rig; without the boots, gloves and helmet, Tommy
could feel the invisible walls of the tutorial with his fingertips
and feet. The virtual world suddenly became a whole hell of a lot
cooler for Tommy Hiko...
Tommy pulled the plastic blindfold down over his eyes, and he saw
the title screen and load menu flicker and then brighten before him.
The real world went dark, and he raised his hand toward the
character load-up button called "Rhylus". He stopped. There were
enough Player Tracs of Rhylus dying honorably, the last thing he
wanted was a recorded gank of Rhylus by some supernewb, or even a
low-level NPC, showing up at the Virts this year. Tommy was still
unfamliar with his new gaming rig and when it came right down to it,
his Doctor was right about his eyes, there was a shimmering fog that
floated at the edges of his sight. If he entered Hardtime with
Rhylus there was a chance he'd get attacked before he was used to
his new situation. Tommy Hiko moved his hand across the mag wall of
the tutorial and pushed the create character button. Little did he
know, he would never see his beloved Rhylus again.
He stood on the familiar wooden walkways of Shiretown, but he wasn't
used to being so small. It'd been a great while since Tommy Hiko had
started out as a StreetUrchin. He knew he should head over to the
NewbCenter, but first he had to feel combat in his new skin.
Shiretown was one of the many protected areas that all beginners of
Hardtime County started in and peaceful Players lived in. Combat was
a pure PvE environment, with some parts of town totally patrolled and
a 'pre-emptive law' in place that captured anyone after the first
move in PvP contact. Combat was almost non-existent in Shiretown,
but you could find it if you crossed the river and hung around the
Port District. The law was lax there, and you could expect a
bullying by NPCs and even worse the longer you hung about. The Port
District was just the place for a Newbie to level up in
semi-comfort. As long as there were no heavy-hitting Players hanging
around, a newb could get the Streetfighter title in a couple hours
He felt wonderful. The Cortex Clip had opened a brand-new door into
Tommy's virtual reality, and he reveled in it. His hair waved in the
electromagnetic breeze and his hands and feet felt like pads of pure
air now that the heavy boots and gloves were gone. A wicked smile
crossed the StreetUrchin's face as he made his way across the
There were only four people in the Badtoon Saloon when Tommy walked
in; a Player named Gamblin' Dan, a NPC bartender, a NPC thug named
Bootsie, and just the NPC Tommy had come to see. Stabber Butch sat
at the table with Gamblin' Dan, losing at cards. At first Dan was
Tommy's biggest worry, but Gamblin' took one look at the skinny
StreetUrchin, wrinkled his nose, and activated his 'PvE' tag. Tommy
nodded his thanks to Dan. Stabber was a whole lot more interested in
"Whatcha name, boy?" Butch leaned back in his chair, an elbow
propped on the chair-arm, an empty shotglass in that hand.
Tommy wondered at the sound quality he heard now that clunky helmets
and earpieces were gone. Butch's words now vibrated directly into
the bones of his ear. "Adamus..." Tommy answered, and marveled at
the sound of his own voice going straight into the game, no mic.
"Adamus? That's the name of a Pirate King, punk. You ain't no
pirate, and you sure as hell ain't no king..." Butch spat. He stood
up behind the table and smiled, his bad teeth as long and greasy as
his hair and beard. He towered over Tommy, "You shouldn't be down
here, boy. I'll give you till the count of five, then I'm gonna kick
yer ass all the way back over the bridge..."
It had been a long, long time since Tommy faced Stabber Butch and
any of the Badtoon Gang. But he knew all of their moves, and the
Cortex Clip made him feel like a supernewb already. He knew he'd
have to face Bootsie after Butch, but then he would have Butch's
knife. He curled up his little fists and stared up at the Stabber.
"C'mon, Butch. Let's get this over with."
Butch threw the shotglass directly at Tommy's face, and Hiko caught
it with the sweep of a hand. The action was so quick and so abrupt
that the whole room stopped for a beat. Tommy was especially
surprised at the ease with which he caught the glass and the pump of
the glass as it hit his palm. It had hurt a little. Sweet...
The wicked smile that crossed the bridge with him returned to his
lips, and Tommy settled himself into a crouch. He intended on trying
some of the higher martial arts moves he knew from Rhylus, even
though it shouldn't be possible game wise. But Tommy felt himself,
game wise, and he knew now why the Cortex Clip made such a
difference. He knew he could beat the living electromagnetic pixels
right out of Stabber Butch. And he proceeded to.
Butch drew his knife and started around the table. Tommy gently
backed out the batwing doors behind him, into the sunlight and onto
the boarded walk. The batwings flopped slowly still, and then Butch
pushed both wide and entered the sunlight, blinking. He didn't blink
more than twice when Tommy kicked him so hard in the groin that
Butch went down kneeling. Tommy spun with a wicked back fist that
landed his knuckles across Butch's temple. When the Stabber jerked
his head back to face the StreetUrchin, Tommy rammed the shotglass
between Butch's teeth and then rammed a knee up his chin. The glass
and teeth shattered with a vicious crack. Tommy looked for a damage
reading on Butch, he shouldn't be able to score such a knockdown so
early no matter how good he felt game wise. Tommy found he couldn't
get a health read on Butch and that was also pretty much impossible,
Stabber was an NPC. Tommy shrugged, must be a bug in his new system.
But everything else was cool. The impact of his foot into the
Stabber's crotch was magical. He'd felt things in Butch crunch under
his heel...pure magic. He bent down after he was sure Butch was out
and picked up the Dirty Dagger that Stabber Butch carried. He walked
back into the saloon.
Bootsie was already on his feet, and the Bartender had a sawed-off,
double-barreled shotgun in his hands behind the bar. It was clear to
them that whatever this 'Adamus' was, he damn sure wasn't no
StreetUrchin. Gamblin' Dan sat quietly at the table, watchful.
"We don't want no trouble..." the Barkeep said. But Bootsie was a
Badtoon. He knew trouble had just come to him. Big time. He pulled
his knife and held the blade in a throwing position, elbow up, the
blade tip in his fingers. He was pretty good with ranged attacks, and
just as Adamus got set, the NPC hurled his blade.
(continued next post)
Tommy also threw the Dirty Dagger. It wasn't supposed to be a good
ranged weapon, but Tommy just naturally threw his blade in a hard,
underhand/Rhylus throw that was meant for short distance work. It
darted from his grip and hit the spinning knife of Bootsie. The
daggers collided, and because Tommy's dagger had more mass and
velocity, it barely moved from it's true trajectory. The heavy blade
sliced Bootsie's left ear off. The light, throwing dagger that
Bootsie had thrown now deflected towards the bar, whacking the
barkeep's hands, making him drop the shotgun. Tommy took two running
steps and jumped to the bar, landing in a sweep position and letting
the bartender catch one of his heels with a jawbone. Tommy jumped
behind the bar and recovered the shotgun just as Bootsie stood up,
bleeding, mad as hell, and holding the Dirty Dagger.
Tommy sprang up and let Bootsie have it right in the face with both
barrels as the thug let go of his second throw. The buckshot tore
the Badtoon apart, and Bootsie's blade went wild and left, smashing
the mirror behind Tommy's head. Tommy jumped back up on the bar as
pounds of glass collapsed onto whiskey bottles and beer mugs and all
of it rained down to the floor. He looked at Gamblin' Dan. Gamblin'
Dan's PvE tag slowly disappeared.
"You know what happens if my PvP tag is red, right?" Dan asked the
StreetUrchin from behind his round, dark glasses. The Card shark
stood up slowly as Tommy nodded. "Alrighty then..." Dan now grinned,
evilly. The Player opened his coat and pulled out two, long and
wicked dirks. Tommy could tell they were imbued by the way they
glowed. "Arm yourself,' Dan nodded towards the bar. '...those
daggers are behind it somewhere..."
Tommy jumped down onto the broken glass behind the bar, still not
taking his eyes off the Gambler. "What if I find shotgun shells back
here...?" Tommy asked. Gamblin' Dan slid one of his dirks into his
broad coat and pushed the tail of his coat back, enough to hook it
behind the butt of a Peacemaker slung real low.
"Suit yer self..." Dan said, simply.
Tommy ducked back down, behind the bar and bingo; box of shotgun
shells. He broke the Greener open and rammed two shells home in the
chambers. With a flick of a wrist, he clacked the shotgun closed.
"Gonna jump back up on the bar now." he shouted.
With the squeal of broken glass pealing from beneath the balls of
his feet, Tommy jumped back up on the bar in one leap. He held the
shotgun across his chest, both hammers rocking their cradles.
Gamblin' Dan stuck the dagger into the table in front of him, and
pulled the other tail of his coat out to expose a twin Colt hung on
his other hip. The Card shark's palms rested comfortably on the butts
of the guns.
"You're a hack. Gotta be..." Gamblin' Dan stared with speculation.
"I ain't no hack. Just got a clip is all." Tommy stated,
"Yeah, whatever. I got my clip eight months ago, took me five tries
to get out of here with the Dirty Dagger. Never did take on Bootsie,
just made him chase me 'cross the bridge. And that shotgun. You
shouldn't be able to fire it. You shouldn't even be able to pick it
up. You're a hack..."
"I ain't no hack!" But Tommy lacked conviction in his words - the
shotgun was way out of his bounds.
"You're a stinkin' hack, and I'm gonna report you. Well...first I'm
gonna kill yah, then I'm gonna report yah...' Dan smiled, ' -
Tommy dropped the shotgun to his side and nodded. Dan waved his left
hand in the air and opened his tag menu. "If it's green, I'm mean,
if it's red, you're dead.." Dan wiggled his eyebrows above his
glasses and waved his fingers again. Gamblin' Dan's PvP tag came up
glowing a dark scarlet and the two Players drew their guns.
Adamus whipped up the shotgun and pulled both triggers with a lazy
ease that was blinding. To Gamblin' Dan, it was a blur. His Colts
barely cleared leather, and he fired three shots into the floor with
his left hand gun, while his right hand gun was shot out of his hand
as the buckshot pounded into his body. Dan dropped like a
Tommy jumped down from the bar and crossed the room to where Dan lay
in his own blood. "I ain't a hack..." he said.
The Gambler laughed and spat blood. "I ain't gonna report
yah...who...who cares? My son will avenge m...me..." and he died.
"Yeah,' Tommy answered, 'See you around the NewbieCenter..." A small
line of text ran across Tommy's eyes: 'Adamus, take care of my
Tommy would take care of Dan's guns, alright. He intended on taking
the matched set of Peacemakers to Smoky, the gun dealer in town, make
a pretty penny off of them. When he reached down and palmed one of
the Colts, though...
The gun was imbued. At sometime or another in the gun's life a
necromancer had placed a powerful buff on the Colt, a buff that
would increase the speed of the draw tenfold. Tommy sat back on his
haunches and wondered at the Peacemaker. With the buff, there was no
way possible that Tommy should have beat Gamblin' Dan to the draw.
No way... It didn't make sense.
It was time to log out. None of this added up, and Tommy was now
afraid that he really was in some way a hack. Besides, he was tired
of the Newb level, he wanted Rhylus, he wanted Rhylus now. He stood
up and tried to open his options menu. There was no option menu...?!
Suddenly he felt a thump at the back of his neck, a pain that drove
him to his knees. The pain was sparkling in it's intensity, and
Tommy's nose began gushing blood. His hands splayed out onto the
floor, and sweat suddenly started running in streams down his face.
He passed out as the world around him went opaque across his eyes...
"Tommy? Tommy, it's time to wake up. We gotta talk..."
Tommy Hiko opened his eyes slowly. A blur of shadow stood, hovering
above him. He concentrated on focus and the image of Dr. Palov stood
over his bedside, again. "Doc! I'm sorry, Doc, I shoulda listened to
you..." Tommy managed to speak, weakly.
"Yes, you should have, Tom. You're screwed, son..."
"Wha...? I'm screwed? What do you mean?" Tommy didn't like the sound
of that. He thought the Doc meant he might be paralyzed or
something, so he wiggled his fingers and toes beneath his sheets and
felt with relief as his digits all moved. The relief was short
lived, though. As his mind cleared he looked harder at the Doctor
that stood before him, and the room he recovered in. Instead of
being dressed in the normal, dacron/polymer suit that Dr. Palov
always wore, Tommy noticed with bewilderment that the doctor dressed
in a broad coat and string-tie, rather like the clothes Gamblin' Dan
dressed in. And the room...
"This isn't my house...,' Tommy whispered with alarm, '...this isn't
the hospital?" Tommy sat up in his bed.
"You never should have entered the Gaming Rig, Tommy. You never
should have activated those nanospores so soon, something
happened... When you tried to log off, the nanospores lost the
interface, we think they may have made their own...." Doctor Palov
stared down at Tommy sadly. "You can never leave Hardtime County,
son. As far as we can tell, your consciousness and nervous system
has been seamed totally to the game. You're trapped in it, Tommy..."
"What do you mean, 'trapped'? I can leave. Just gotta take off..."
Tommy's fingers clawed at his eyes.
"It isn't there, anymore, Tom. None of it. You are in my hospital,
in the terminal care ward. No game rig, no Bumpsuit, no blindfold.
You don't need it. I am feeding you with IVs, and voiding you with
bedpan Servos. You're a veg, Tommy. Your consciousness is hooked
directly into the game and we don't understand it...and we can't
unhook it..." Dr. Palov trailed off, and Tommy Hiko went very still
as he realized slowly what had happened to him.
He was the game now. This was his existence. This was his home.
Tommy screamed as one word came to his thoughts. A word he had
believed in, strived for, wanted with all his heart. One word that
summed up all the despair and agony that crashed in upon him now...
by Max Lindern
Moon Princess Moderator
If you ever come back, feel free to reupload.