Writin' a short Cyber Punk story. Kind of a wierd writing style, and an even wierder plot. Trying to get the feel of late night gaming. Anywho, here's what I've got so far. Ends rather abruptely. Tell me what you think. Probably going to be better off if you're a gamer.
It's around four thirty in the morning, and I know at this point I'm not going to get much sleep - not with six or seven cans of caffeine-saturated soda running through my blood. My room is dark save for the dim artificial light raditating from my computer monitor, and the only sounds I can hear are the endless ringing in my ears and a thin treble synth emitting from the headphones around my neck. My mind begins to imagine surreal things. Anything I stare at too long seems to buldge and stretch, like a rubber veil being pushed at from the other side. My brain keeps on ticking, but my conscious doesn't care to register most of the input. Theses are the ideal conditions under which reality and non-reality flow together seamlessly.
So I decide it's time to escape into my prefered psuedo-universe, and untangle my bulky plastic VR visor from the mess of wires crisscrossed and hanging off my desk and spilling onto the floor. The universe is none other than the digital realm of CyberWorld. There are six billion people on this earth, and to most of them who've heard of it, it's nothing more than a frivolous diversion from whatever it is they spend their life doing. They think it's little more than a childish hobby.
To those raised and nurtured by the warm radiation of the television and the Atari, it's something more. An entire universe where a player might find themselves in the most epic of battles, the grandest of adventures, or the darkest of perils. There are windy, arid plains to be crossed and overgrown carniverous jungles to be overcome. Space stations and crystal-lined towers displaying technologies only dreamed of in the real world coexist with ancient menacing stone fortresses and mud mucked straw hut towns.
So finally, the program has loaded, and I'm in. Previously I was in a dark room, disconnected and lonely. Now reality completely slips away, and all that exists is here, the colorful and populated universe that is CyberWorld.
Spawning into the world is like waking up. Vision starts off as a blurry mess and works it's way up to a crystal clear image. Once I adjust, I'm ready to walk around and interact with the universe. Actually maneuvering can be a bit tricky at first, since your face is covered by the visor and your hands have to work complex controller pads that rest on your desk. Soon enough though, your brain stops thinking of the pads as external controls and accepts them merely as a form of propulsion and manipulation. In essence, they become as much a part of you as any of your limbs.
I'm born into the universe exactly where I stepped out of it last time. The setting around me is a familiar sub tropical island. In front of me, azure skies and an infinitly large sapphire ocean run out from the beach as far as the eye can see, meeting at the horizon, fading and mixing together as though they are one. Behind me the white sand runs up a steep bank and meets a wide expanse of bright green grass that stretches out to the bases of short, sandstone cliffs that form a concave crescent around the north eastern shore, where I now stand.
I make my way up a small sloping path near the end of the beach that takes me up to the top of the cliffs. From here I can see most of the island. Pretty bare of anything exciting, except the small resort town standing on the western shore. It's made of a lot of small dwellings cut from the same white rock that the rest of the island is made of, with a few shiny glass office buildings and old wooden monuments. That's were I'm headed.
As I get closer to the town, the slate path gives way to asphalt road, bleached from the relentless rays of CyberWorld's sun. It's light reflects off a flimsy blue metal sign. My vision has gazed over it countless times, but the glare catches my eye, and I peer at it once again. It reads, in big white letters. "WELCOME TO THE TOWN OF WHITEROCK". Underneath a large wooden plank propped against the signpost are two small animals who've dug out a pit in the ground to keep cool. They resemble armadillos, with large, sickeningly cute eyes and benevolent temperments. They're common, and usually end up as cannon fodder for undiscerning marksmen.
Finally, I've made it into the town, amongst the palm-tree lined streets and bright buildings. There are people on all sides of me now, strolling to and from places, chatting, haggling over curious trades. Somebody flies past on a hover bike, kicking up dust into the faces of bystanders. Guy must have a lot of credits to his name to own one of those.
Most of the avatars in CyberWorld resemble spiky haired, moon-eyed, Japanese cartoon characters. They're mostly dressed like they're on their way to a rave - baggy synthetic jumpsuits and loaded with shiny plastic accesories. But there are a lot of interesting characters. On one side of me, some reptilian humanoid walks past, earth-toned scales glinting in the light and long, sinewy tail dragging behind him. Ahead, a couple of guys heavily clad in pearly metal armour regard those around them with hostile eyes. When other players look at me they see the neon-green wireframe build of an
anthromorphic wolf, average in height, a fishing hat atop his head and a bamboo kendo sword at his side. Tends to turn a few heads.
A few streets later I finally arrive at town square. This is the oldest section of town, and it shows. Instead of asphalt, old cobblestone is
laid down here, covered by an inch of sand in most places. The wide opening is surrounded by old wooden mariner-themed shacks, look like they'd be permanentely infused with the smell of saltwater if CyberWorld could generate scents. In the center is a stone fountain with a dolphin-shaped statue mounted at the top of an elaborately carved column. A few drops of water perpetually bubble up from the mouth the of the stone mammal into a pool at the base, who's bottom, if one takes the time to look at it, is a mosaic done in small colorful tiles depicting an underwater landscape.
I head into the largest of the buildings, which is the size of a small tavern. This is because it is, in fact, a small tavern - one which goes by the name, "Sunken Anchor Inn". The inside is dimly lit, with a dozen or so tenebrous shapes seated in creaking wooden chairs around dilpidated tables. A few of them who're unfamiliar with the inn turn their heads to take a look at me for a moment for going back to their own affairs. All the regulars already know who I am.
Sauntering over to the bar I notice that a few heavily armed mercenaries sit menacingly in the corner of the room, eyes still transfixed on me. They're not wearing armour, just some loose, worn traveling clothes. But they're all wearing an assemblage of shoddy leather straps and belts, each
with a multitude of battered metal and electronic gadgets on them. Combine with their unshaven, angular faces, they look for all the world like space-faring treasure hunters. They bear mean looks, but I know I could take 'em if they try anything. I'd bet anything I've got more experience than these guys, and that counts for a lot here.
The bar is run by a non-player character. Meaning he looks and functions like a person, but he's actually just a bunch of data in a computer bank. This particular bartender is named Sam, and his artificial intelligence is top-notch. Some new players can talk to him for ten minutes and not realise he's just a robot.
I sit down at an isolated stool and wait for Sam to finish his business with the other customers, and he automatically walks over to me. Something in his code teaches him to recognize patterns. He knows who I am, and what I'm about to order, because it's been the same thing ever since I
first set foot in here. He sets down in front of me a frosted mug bubbling over with a carbonated black drink, and tells me the latest in the realm. Nothing worth noting. Back in reality, a slight bit of fatigue sets in. From the corner of my eye I can see the mercs getting up, and heading my way.
There are four of them, and it's the biggest on the approaches me, while the rest of them stay a few meters back in a way that suggests caution. It suggests that they probably know me better than I thought. What a lot of cowards.
The merc steps up and sits down in the empty stool to my right. I nod and give him a charming smile, and go back to my drink. He smiles back politely, then raises his eyesbrows, and in a friendly tone of voice asks, "'Scuse me, but you wouldn't happen to be the guy that goes by the handle Guest#0042 would you?"
I look back at him and kindly inform him that I am, in fact, the very same, and that if he would rather address me simply as 'Guest', that he
is quite welcome to do so. He kindly informs me that he was hired to kill me, and that, no offense, but he wants to get it over with, nothing personal.
He stands up and draws from his side a simple metal club, with blackened, twisted pieces of metal crudely welded to the giving end for a more damaging blow, and an ugly, intimidating look. His thick, log-like arm comes down in a wide arc, and the barbaric weapon with it. I make haste to
vacate my current spot. It ends up crashing into the bar with a collision that should smash the wooden surface into splinters. And at first it appears
so. A sound something like the crack of lighting emanates from the point of impact, and wood shards fire out into the air. Suddenly I'm glad I moved.
When he takes his club away, the bar is undamaged. Some things in CyberWorld are just there for effect.
By now I've drawn my kendo sword. Sure it's only made of bamboo, but this isn't real, so it can do whatever sort of damage it damn well wants.
And to prove my point to anyone around me who might have doubts, I strike out, and the end of the sword hits my opponent in the side, right below his
avatar's ribcage. There's a satisfying 'THACK!' on contact as the individual strips of bamboo compress, and the man bends sideways and falls into the
bar. He's not dead, but he's not getting up soon either. In real life, the controls and headset for the game have a cluster of motors inside them that
vibrate slightly when any sort of notable movement or impact occurs to one's avatar. A hit like that makes a user's equipement tremor like an
earthquake, so I know he felt that one.
I grin to myself and glance towards the direction of the rest of the group, who're are slowly edging towards the door. A crowd of spectators
have already lost interest, someone picks up the still body and heaves it out the door, and I can finally sit down and finish my drink. Or I can try,
at least. A few questions run through my mind, the prime ones being who wants me dead and why. Of course, if that's the best they can do, then I'm not
going to worry about it.
Going over these questions, and close to finishing my drink, a very familiar voice comes from the adjecent stool. A voice that often suggests that the near future is going to be rather hectic.
I push my drink away and, sighing to myself, turn my full attention to the woman sitting next to me. A pair of emerald green orbs peer back at me from beneath long red locks of hair that fall across her fair-skinned face. Of course, I have no idea what deviant lies behind the pixelated mask, and I doubt it's truely a woman, but I'm well aquainted with the character, at least. She regards me with frowning eyes, her lips a thin, tight line. Leaning back she looks me over for a moment.
"Not like you to make such a spectacle of yourself," she says in a critical tone.
This is true.
"It would seem," she continued, "that somebody is already aware of the proposition I have yet to declare to you."
"I see," I lied.
The woman next to me is none other than the dark witch Abatha. Probably the best spell slinger in the world, and she can conjure curses like