The Abyss 5.11 and Earth’s Gambit Release!

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***

To begin, activate divided mind, Lambda sent. You will train in Cyberspace with Eve and in-game with me.

Alan activated divided mind, sending one half inwards, into the Citadel in Cyberspace. The half of him that was in-game focused on Lambda.

 It is finally time for you to master using that power armor you wear. Luckily my vast banks of knowledge include details on all that jazz, otherwise, we’d actually have to go listen to Omega drone on about his second coming and so forth, Lambda sent.

Great, it’s about time, Alan sent.

Yes, well, there’s another thing I want you thinking about too. You have been ignoring a major game changer, something we will need to remedy, Lambda sent.

And what’s that? Alan asked.

Reality, Lambda sent. You have already begun to feel changes in reality due to the nanobots manipulating your body, but I can also help with translating abilities from in-game to both reality and Cyberspace. We’ll need to find and install a real, comprehensive Machine Lord implant, but I’m sure you can find one with enough money. It will be expensive, but you are beginning to reach the level where you cannot be useless in a real life situation. I’d feel safer knowing that there were more safeguards in place protecting you and your capsule. Remember that the Game simulates reality, not the other way around.

Great, so I’ll eventually need to tell the difference between in-game Cyberspace and then an actual Cyberspace? Alan asked. This is getting a bit complicated, how many levels are there?

More than you know, and perhaps fewer, Lambda sent. The parts of Cyberspace that you connect to in-game: the Market, the Arcade, the Archives—they can all be directly reached from reality, without the need for going through the Game first. There is only one ‘real’ Cyberspace. Only, some of the devices connected to Cyberspace aren’t real, while other devices are actually real life machines. But real life devices have security barriers far beyond whatever you’re capable of hacking into at this point, and the same rule that you can be actually killed in Cyberspace applies. Don’t try hacking in reality, the defenses in place are designed to eliminate greater threats than you.

How does that even work? Alan asked. Simulated devices within the Game?

They’re like virtual machines, Lambda sent. Before the Game, computers ran emulated versions of a computer; virtual machines provided the function of a computer without there ever being any physical computer. The same thing is done for electronic devices in-game. Even as emulated devices they still have a space within Cyberspace. Anyways, your takeaway should be that there are still only three things you need to worry about: reality, in-game, and Cyberspace. But you need to start thinking more about reality.

Don’t the Enforcers hold the peace? They’ve been the only ones I’ve seen in reality with weapons, Alan sent.

Not every species was so technologically backward that they had to unequivocally surrender to the Enforcer Fleet, Lambda sent. At least a few empires retained the right to bear arms, out of self-defense. There might even be a few ongoing conflicts nowadays. I haven’t kept up with the latest frontier news. Other ships and weapons aren’t allowed near Khersath, but that doesn’t mean nothing is ever smuggled through. The Enforcers aren’t infallible.

But this is a worry for later, Lambda continued, I‘m sure that the Black Rose guild has defenses in place. Better to be safe than sorry, though. If you’re ever fighting in reality you don’t want to be defenseless.

Okay, Alan sent. He wondered what he would do if an emergency happened in reality. He’d probably run and try to find the nearest Enforcer. He needed to make preparations for when that wasn’t an option.

Now, change out of the Scout Power Armor into the Spectral Power Armor, Lambda sent.

What about our job? Alan asked.

 We’re doing it. I’ll scan the area every so often to see if there are any interesting players or signals, Lambda sent. Besides, you’re not expected to watch the Abyss Labyrinth entrance 24/7, you have to sleep. The android standing guard is also constantly sending out scans. The Black Rose guild put you here so you have easy access to the Abyss Labyrinth if needed. A card held up their sleeve, the quest holder.

But why give me a list of important figures to keep a watch out for? Alan sent. A few of these players have pretty serious bounties.

Killing two birds with one stone, Lambda sent. The guild definitely wants to know if any major players or higher-ups in the gangs are making moves, but they don’t expect it. I’m sure as soon as we alert the guild to anyone on the list they’ll tell us to clear out immediately.

When did you pick all this up? Alan asked.

It’s called reading between the lines, another skill you’ll need to pick up on, Lambda sent. But now, power armor.

What followed was a lesson in repetition. Alan went inside the empty store and put on the Spectral Power Armor. Alan took off the Spectral Power Armor. Alan put on the Scout Power Armor. Alan took off the Scout Power Armor.

It wasn’t very hard. Each set of power armor practically put itself on, Alan just needed to place a piece around the body part it would fit on—each arm, leg, his body, and his head—and the armor would attach itself. He repeated this motion for a good hour until his muscles began to ache. Power armor was not, in fact, weightless—Eve simply defaulted to have the power armor use energy to support its own weight.

Alan knew that the high-tech Revenant power armor was equipped with many technological advances. Only, he’d never had to deal with the settings before, that he’d left up to Eve. Lambda walked him through all the basic functions and commands.

Turn shields off. Turn shields on. Turn temperature down. Turn temperature up. Turn air filtering off. Gag a bit at the smell of the Undercity. Turn air filtering on. Turn weight assistance off. Scream as hundreds of pounds of metal crush your body. Turn weight assistance on. Yell at Lambda for not providing any warning. And so it went.

Power armor, Alan had to admit, was a genius technological advance. It was capable of adapting to a thousand problems Alan had never even thought of when it came to having to fight in space or on other planets, an adept tool of war in nearly any scenario.

Once he ran through the basic checklist of commands a message appeared:

[Finally demonstrating the basic functions of power armor, you gained a new ability Power Armor Instruction (Basic)!]

[+1 Intelligence]

That’s not much of a stat boost, Alan thought.

Diminishing returns, it’s a very basic ability that doesn’t take much effort to get, and your intelligence is already relatively high, Lambda sent. There are other factors as well, but it boils down to stop dying. There’s a reason I’m telling you to slow down and train.

Okay, let’s continue, Alan sent.

You’re going to need to get Phantom’s help with taking power armor apart and putting it back together, but we’ll make do with what we have, Lambda sent. Let’s start with the Scout Power Armor.

Alan turned on the basic invisibility field. He then turned it off. That part was easy. What came next was hard. Alan began to understand why Eve had to devote a large part of her processing power to maintaining the advanced stealth mode—there were simply too many variables to keep up with.

First, the entire electromagnetic spectrum in the area that Alan was standing in had to be replicated perfectly. To be successful Eve had hacked together a way for the armor to access the electromagnetic spectrum using Alan’s bionic eye implants. The scan wasn’t at the level of a full scan, thus requiring computational energy to activate, but still provided enough information to provide a snapshot of the electromagnetic spectrum surrounding Alan. His bionic eye implant sent out constant pings that had to be read and copied; it was like playing a game of Marco Polo, except the call-and-response happened hundreds of times a second and there were multiple levels of reality you had to keep track of.

Next, the various mechanical waves had to be propagated correctly. Alan knew things like sound waves had to travel through a medium, but to pretend to be that medium was complicated. Different types of waves had unique movement patterns whose direction of energy had to be calculated, and even with the power armor’s instruments and Lambda’s help with the physics calculations, the work was cumbersome.

Then, while all this was going on, the power armor’s own energy shields had to be kept up and disguised as noise or empty space. Alan didn’t even try to figure out how this worked, he just trusted in the black box that was advanced technology and followed Lambda’s instructions.

Of course, since all that wasn’t complicated enough, most of these calculations had to be done in anticipation of the future, for all these waves traveled at a speed which would be impossible to copy in real time.

There should be some way to automate all this, that’s what the basic invisibility mode does, it just detects all incoming light and copies it, Alan sent.

Maybe, but it would require the armor to have more scanners and computational power, Lambda sent. Besides, light is easy, with a nice constant speed.

Alan then repeated this process, but with the Spectral Power Armor. This was slightly easier to use, as Alan only needed to worry about electromagnetic waves. The armor had to be set to block the correct wavelength before it hit Alan, but with most electromagnetic waves moving at approximately the speed of light the only way this was possible was if Alan calculated the correct wavelength before a weapon was fired. (Though electromagnetic waves would be slowed traveling through matter like air, it wouldn’t be noticeable to Alan.)

What followed was a lesson on the wavelength of lasers, plasma, and similar energy-based attacks, and what they signified by Lambda. Eventually, for simplicities sake, Lambda decided to just color code incoming attacks, tying energy-based attacks to colors Alan was familiar with. Lambda used the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Red, having a long wavelength, would signal lower energy attacks, while progressing along the colors of the rainbow would signify higher energy attacks, violet being the most powerful.

Alan’s power armor instruction ability rose to intermediate and he gained five points in intelligence, strength, agility, and endurance.

That should be enough for now, reaching advanced will take a while, Lambda sent. Let’s move onto the Revenant training program after the next break.

***

Meanwhile in Cyberspace Eve had Alan memorize entire volumes on the weaknesses of various species, items, and vehicles. It seemed oddly racist, or speciest, to take a look at a hologram of an alien and then evaluate its weakness. At least, that’s what Alan thought. Eve didn’t care. More often than not the weakness of a living being turned out to be their head or reproductive parts. Go figure.

Technology turned out to be a bit more complicated, but usually, it boiled down to go for the power source. Either removing the power source or disrupting the flow of energy tended to disable most items. Certain more popular laser weapons and power armor had design flaws or backdoors, but this tended to only involve older models, as the newest versions had patched these obvious defects.

Instead of going into calculations or thought processes, Eve provided succinct summaries. Shoot here, ask questions later. If someone looked like this, shoot them here or here. If they wore armor that looked like this, shoot the shields with this type of ammo or in this place.

Vehicles were more complicated, but Eve taught Alan how to identify and navigate to the engine rooms and command centers of a few of the most popular starships, including the Rank A capital ship that helmed the United World Government’s space fleet.

Once he exited the Machine Lord implant’s Cyberspace bubble, also known as the Citadel, a message appeared:

[Learning the basic weaknesses of many players, items, and starships, you gained a new ability Detect Weakness (Basic)!]

[+3 Perception!]

Alan deactivated divided mind, and let everything he had learned from Eve and Lambda settle. While each divided mind was aware of the other, when the ability was active Alan had two distinct thought processes running at once. Alan worried that his mind would somehow diverge if he let the ability run for too long. There was also the worrying thought that he was killing off one of his ‘minds’ each time he activated and deactivated the ability, but the transition from two to one was seamless enough that it did seem like a true merging rather than one mind subsuming the other.

Well, whatever was happening when the ability was used didn’t matter now. Alan had more training to do. He reactivated divided mind and got back to work.

The Abyss 5.10

Alan was blinded. It was as if the light setting had been turned up to max. There was only bright white; Alan wished his implants functioned within Cyberspace as well. He shut his eyes.

Alan tried to speak, to get a sense of where the others were, but only a small whisper left his lips—the words were lost to the wind.

Alan stood still in the blinding white with no awareness of his surroundings. Minutes passed, and then the light began to dim. Alan opened his eyes.

Everyone stood on a golden white rectangle, a moving platform of light. Translucent strands of energy trailed behind.

There was an ethereal tone that hung in the air. It was like a fantasy world. No sun hung in the sky, no source for the bright light. Light was just there—embedded into the world.

Looking forwards, Alan saw that they were headed for a golden palace. It was magnificent, opulent, ethereal, Alan could think of a thousand words that described it, but each time his brain tried to fix a concrete shapea structure to the buildingit shifted.

No messages had appeared; nothing let Alan know he had switched phases. The entire messaging system was off. Paused. It was like they had changed dimensions, but that thought seemed absurd to Alan.

They were in Cyberspace, within the Game. Where else could they be?

The platform of light that carried them continued forwards. Alan felt no air, no forces pushing against him, but they were travelling forwards, covering great distances in short moments. A period of time later the platform slowed. It approached the palace gates.

“Let me speak. Do not draw attention,” Void said. He stared at the palace not with wonder or awe, but grim determination.

Alan nodded. He glanced at Lambda and Eve. Lambda’s dark skin was a stark contrast to the light all around, but Eve was an angel that fit the heaven-like aesthetic. All that was missing were a few clouds.

The party stepped off the platform onto a glossy marble surface. As Alan walked forwards he felt like he was gliding along, every step felt smooth. They approached the main gate, Void in the lead.

Two Predecessors stood as guards. They wore armor of bright light, literal knights in shining armor. Each also held a weapon of soulsteel, one a massive halberd, the other a greatsword.

Alan focused on the doorway. A massive gate, it looked solid, unbreakable. With just a glance Alan felt like even if he unleashed all his power, tried to delete the smallest part of the door, he’d barely scrape at the beginnings of the defense. These gates were designed to bar stronger powers than a single player.

A small hole appeared in the bottom of the doorway, just large enough for everyone to walk inside, single file.

Inside the light—

***

Alan woke up. He opened his status log. It said Alan entered then exited the capsule in Enigma’s quarters in the Black Rose Guild.

What happened? Alan asked.

Prometheus said we were not ready, or worthy, Lambda sent. He banished us with the wave of his hand.

I don’t remember that, Alan sent.

It may be a side effect from the dismissal, Eve sent.

Alan looked over at the capsules Phantom and Void were in. They were still active.

Enigma appeared from behind a closed door. The door blended in with the wall to such a degree that even Alan hadn’t seen it.

“Negotiations are underway, your assistance is no longer required,” Enigma said. “Please return to your quarters.”

“Wait, what happened?” Alan asked.

“Nothing that concerns a Squire,” Enigma said.

“But, I have a quest with the Archivists—”

“I will inform you when one of the capsules is available. Return to your quarters,” Enigma said.

Do it, Lambda sent.

“Okay, I’m going already,” Alan said. He walked over to the elevator that connected the Black Rose base. The doors closed automatically and took Alan back to his quarters.

Well, that was weird, Alan thought to himself.

Eve, what did Omega offer you? Lambda interjected.

Omega offered to turn me from an AI into a player, Eve said. I declined.

Wait, Omega was making you guys offers? To leave me? Alan sent.

Yes, Lambda sent. I too declined his offer.

At least, that’s what they tell me, Alan thought. He realized his AI could likely listen in on to those thoughts.

Have faith, Lambda sent. We’re still here. Grant us a bit of trust. Omega should not be capable of such a feat, though I’m of half a mind to report him to the Administrators. But that would require me giving myself up, and I don’t think times are that dire yet. 

Alan felt tired. Whatever had happened, it had drained him, but before he could fall asleep Eve reminded him to exercise. Working out in his quarter’s personal gym, Alan gained a single point in strength and endurance. It seemed like too little for an hour of sweat and labor.

Alan drifted off to sleep.

***

Alan awoke to a message from Phantom telling him to report for assignment. He proceeded to Phantom’s workshop. The disorganized clutter that had filled the workshop was gone. In its stead were orderly rows of tools and parts surrounding an operating table with one of the so-called android specialists.

Phantom closed a display screen. “Good morning, Alan. Or perhaps I should say good night.”

Alan checked the time: it was late in the evening. “Hello, Phantom. I was wondering, when might I be able to access the Exchange again. Perhaps a Revenant capsule could be installed in my chambers?”

“Maybe when you are a Knight,” Phantom said. “I was recently reminded how… new you are to the Game. You’ve barely been with the guild a few months, and the only real missions you’ve completed were a bit, let’s say, unconventional. Prove yourself capable, and then we’ll see about future visits to the Exchange. There are dangerous forces there that I should not have exposed you to.”

He’s right, Lambda sent. I can see that you still think of the Exchange as part of the Game, but remember in Cyberspace any danger you face is real. Let us develop our capabilities within Cyberspace before we venture to such places again.

I concur, Eve sent.

“Alright, I won’t visit the Exchange anytime soon. Now that I’m a Revenant, can the kill switch in my implant be  removed?” Alan asked.

“The implant will be removed when I’m sure I can really trust you, in other words, never,” Phantom said. “Never trust anyone in the Game. Take that advice to heart, Alan. Besides, you’re still clearly hiding something.”

“Clearly hiding something? What can I hide from you, you see everything!” Alan said.

“See everything?” Phantom scoffed. “I can’t see any of your in-game messages and status screens, even when you’re looking at them. Anything with a screen is blurry, and I can’t see what you’re up to in Cyberspace. I don’t even know when you acquired another AI. You’re my Squire, but I seem to be in the dark about you, your AI, and their relation to Omega! Will you let me run a full scan of this Lambda?”

I’m sorry, but I can’t allow that, Lambda sent. Such a scan might alert the Administrators, and I possess certain idiosyncrasies that might upset Phantom.

I find that slightly concerning, Alan sent.

Don’t worry, I’m right as rain, Lambda sent. Eve will back me up. We practically share a brain, or at least a storage device.

Lambda’s assistance is helpful for now, Eve sent. I agree that a scan would have negative consequences for everyone involved. I will update you if Lambda exhibits erratic or problematic behavior.

“Wait, you were supposed to see all that in-game information? Sorry, but I can’t let you scan Lambda,” Alan said, “and to tell you the truth I didn’t know anything about my AI’s relation to Omega. Apparently Omega even tried to recruit them and join his cause.”

“Well, that’s not worrying at all,” Phantom said deadpan. “You weren’t aware? I thought it was your doing.”

Phantom began pacing around the workshop. “The complications I had installing the cybernetic eye… I thought you had installed the safeguard into the Machine Lord Implant. If it wasn’t you, then never mind. That’s why I bought the data on the Abyss Labyrinth—the maps were all blurry in the recording.”

“Huh,” Alan said.

“For now, monitor the area around the Abyss Labyrinth entrance in the Undercity,” Phantom said. “I’ll send you a dossier on the factions and notable players active there. What we are concerned about are the comings and goings of anyone entering the Abyss Labyrinth as we increase activity in the area. This is a non-combat operation. You are only to watch and report. You are not to take any action without my or another superior’s permission.”

“What about my quest, the one to repair the Abyss Labyrinth and restore its power?” Alan asked.

“We aren’t willing to fix a system without discovering what we are fixing,” Phantom said. “I will be going with the next expedition with a crew of engineers to figure out exactly what we are doing by helping this ‘Warden.’

“Additionally, this endeavor requires greater man power than the Black Rose guild possesses. We generally are involved with clandestine affairs, not holding massive control points beneath all of Khersath. We are finalizing deals to either recruit other guilds into a joint venture or possibly sell the quest.”

“Wasn’t that the point of going to the Exchange?” Alan asked.

“The Archivists are making excessive demands,” Phantom said. “We are still reserving judgment on whether to trust Omega, but are leaning against it. Other groups are making moves too, which is why you are being tasked with monitoring one of the main entrances to the Abyss Labyrinth.”

A message appeared:

[New quest: Monitoring the Abyss

You have been tasked with watching the entrance to the Abyss Labyrinth in the Undercity. You are to record everyone and everything that comes in and out. You will be accompanied by one Specialist on this mission, who will forward on anything of note and relay orders from the Knights Phantom and Enigma.

Reward: 1,000 credits per day or the equivalent guild points.

Failure: Guild Penalties]

“This seems pretty simple,” Alan said.

“It is, so don’t mess up,” Phantom said. “Such a simple task does not count as one of the tasks you need to complete to reach the Knight rank within the guild. Your cover while performing surveillance will be a small time arms-dealer, we own a small property close enough to the Abyss Labyrinth’s entrance that you should have a decent view from the rooftop. The expedition may take upwards of a month, so you may be spending a while there. Details can be found in these files.” Phantom handed over a data cube to Alan.

Alan connected to the cube with his Machine Lord implant and downloaded the data. He disregarded Lambda’s complaints that they were out of room already and this required files to be shuffled around.

***

A few hours later Alan found himself on the rooftop of a small store in the Undercity, one of Enigma’s Specialists standing guard outside. The store sent a message to turn anyone without proper authorization away. As only Alan had permission, there would be no customers.

The entrance to the Abyss Labyrinth was across the street from the store, and Alan noted there were even more guards around the old building ruins. In addition to the guards that wore purple tabards with a silver crown on them, there were guards that had gold crowns. These guards tended to carry bigger guns and had more advanced power armor. Eve estimated their shields to have at least 10,000 energy.

There was a marked increase in activity surrounding the entrance, with a steady number of players entering the dungeon. A few merchant stands had popped up as well, offering various supplies and buying whatever players managed to retrieve out of the dungeon—after the guards had searched any emerging players and taken their cut.

Consulting the information provided by Phantom, Alan learned the gang members in charge of the entrance were called the Royals. The gang followed an almost feudal system, under the control of a single family rumored to possess the bloodline of a Predecessor. While direct bloodline descendants within the gang did display impressive physical strength, the Black Rose guild classified them as rank A threats. The gang’s territory encompassed roughly half the Undercity, with the guild members known to be fiercely loyal to the family.

The other major gang in the Undercity was the Crystals, but there wasn’t as much information on them. The Crystals operated on a cell-by-cell basis like a terrorist organization, thus gathering data on the gang as a whole was difficult. Each team within the Crystals seemed to operate independently, but just as often teams could appear together, demonstrating a wide network full of players of different species and abilities.

Alan scanned the Abyss Labyrinth entrance again with his enhanced vision, switching quickly between different electromagnetic spectrums, not wanting to waste too much computational energy. There wasn’t anything of interest, but he downloaded the data into one of the many data cubes provided to him by Phantom.

This is boring, Alan sent.

Now would be a good time to discuss plans for future growth, Lambda sent. You have need of training, and I know a number of skills you can train in and unlock.

And you didn’t tell me this sooner? I thought all the data you had was historical facts, Alan sent.

I needed to get a feel for things, Lambda sent. Obviously I encrypt some personal data so Eve can’t see it, and she does likewise. Let’s say meeting up with Omega stirred up my competitive spirit. We need to come up with a comprehensive plan for future development so that your abilities synchronize well. Don’t worry, Eve and I can organize the training plan, you’ll just need to follow it.

Just increasing Alan’s skills won’t be enough, Eve sent. His body and items must be upgraded as well.

Yes, I wouldn’t mind more space and faster processing power, but for now I’d recommend trying to train up major class skills, they tend to stack the best, Lambda sent. For instance, having two AI’s will let you more quickly upgrade and train Machine Lord skills. But this all depends on where you want to go, Alan. As the player you are in charge.

Well I’m obviously not going for a warrior build, Alan sent. But I don’t want to be useless in a fight, either. I like the idea of an assassin stealth hacker.

Then you should abandon the idea of being a berserker and Predecessor blood fueled drugs, Lambda sent. I’d recommend abandoning the idea anyways, because even if you managed to get Predecessor bone marrow you’d need a stronger heart to pump the blood through your body, and then that heart would need more oxygen, which would necessitate other upgrades and so on and so forth.

Lambda continued, To upgrade to the point that you were as strong as a Predecessor or only half as strong would not only be impossibly expensive, but it wouldn’t work with your current Machine Lord implants. Better to go through the withdrawal symptoms, otherwise even if you manage another dosage, even a synthetic one, you’d just go into withdrawal again. We’ll have to time it well though, can’t have you exhibiting symptoms while in the middle of an important fight.

But the Soulsteel knives… Alan thought.

The chances of recovering either are slim, Eve sent. Neither the Chief Administrator nor the Warden is likely to return the weapon they took without significant return.  

So our plan if we run into a Predecessor is try to hide? Alan asked.

Pretty much, Lambda sent. I don’t think you have realistic expectations for your place in the Game, Alan. You are a human: a new, weak, humanoid species. You aren’t expected to fight Predecessors, not alone.

Then why was I given a quest to challenge and defeat one in the tutorial? Alan asked.

To give you something to reach for, Lambda sent. To push yourself. That’s all the Game wants you to do, to push the limits again and again. But I don’t think that’s the smart move here. Sure, you might succeed this time, or the next, but each time you fail will set you disastrously far behind. How many deaths have you had since entering the Game? You’re taking too many risks, pushing the boundaries too far too fast. Slow down; focus on a few key skills and improve yourself safely.

I concur, Eve sent.

You seem to forget the only reason you’re even here, Lambda, is the gamble I made that paid off, Alan sent.

Taking risks is also the main reason you are now a wanted criminal on your homeworld, Alan, Lambda sent.

Alan paused. He looked out over the city skyline, all the players moving about. He’d witnessed half a dozen crimes occur in the past hour alone; one so brutal he’d almost intervened. Eve had stopped him—he had to follow guild orders, after all.

It just seems too slow, Alan sent. I feel the need to grow stronger now, not some time in the distant future. Without a significant power boost, I feel helpless. Every day is another day closer to when Earth’s protection wears off.

Yes, and you can’t do anything about that now, Lambda sent. Let your government worry about it, rushing towards your death will only make things worse. Forget about all the excessive, impossible quests, the world aflame. Trust me, it’ll always be there. The universe hasn’t ended yet. Right now, it’s time to safely grind, Alan. Slow and steady wins the race.

Another Update

As people might guess, it is unlikely that Earth’s Gambit will be published this January. I am however able to share the cover with you, which I think matches up quite nicely with the first:

earths-gambit-medium

Now, the one question everyone has is when exactly Earth’s Gambit will be published. If you can figure that out, I’d like to know too. Like I mentioned in the previous update I don’t want to publish the book until it’s ready, and well… I don’t think it’s ready yet. We’ll just all have to wait and see. Soon, I hope.

The audio book has been doing well, thank you to everyone that listened to it, reviewed it, and shared it! Though it seems rather cliche, it really makes the difference.

I’ve made a number of changes to the draft I published on this site, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to communicate them. Perhaps a spoiler post on its own. But I want to keep this update short, I have work to do. Good luck, have fun.

An Update and an Audiobook

Hi everyone, sorry about the long hiatus. Unfortunately it will probably be another few weeks before I get a new chapter up. I don’t want The Gam3 to be just another litrpg series, I want it to be the best litrpg series. Or best sci-fi series. Or maybe one of the best series period. It might not ever reach that point, but I want to do the best I can.

To get there takes time, and focus. So I’m working on the second book, Earth’s Gambit. I tried to both edit and write new chapters, but I ended up mostly working on new chapters. I understand that people want more chapters, but the majority of my income has come from Opening Move’s sales, and I want Earth’s Gambit to do just as well or better. Also, there will be plenty of new content in the second book. Hopefully it’s good.

I feel like I posted the first book too soon, but at the same time the trend is to try to get books out as soon as possible, especially in this genre. I also feel like I’m continuing to develop and learn more as a writer as time goes on. Perhaps I should stop writing about what I feel and just write… I don’t know.

Anyways, I’m trying to do a lot more revision/editing than I did for the first book, we’ll see how it turns out. I now estimate the release for the second book to be around January. (But I’ve tended to underestimate things in the past, so we’ll see.)

In other news, the first book, Opening Moves, is available to preorder on Audible ! The official audiobook release is scheduled to be November 29th, less than two weeks away! I’ve worked with Podium Publishing to produce this audiobook and I’ve been nothing but impressed. If audiobooks are your thing, check it out, or recommend it to friends!

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I will continue to keep the Patreon campaign paused, and will until I catch back up with the chapters I owe.

TL;DR Still working on the second book, Earth’s Gambit, and the audiobook for Opening Moves is available for pre-order!

The Abyss 5.9

[Phase unknown. Error.]

They arrived in a library. No, Alan decided, they arrived in an archive. Libraries were used. Archives were checked. Many of the books here looked as if they hadn’t been touched in centuries, if not millennia or eons. But then, a second was no longer a second. The Game, digital time, changed all that. Time was now but another frame of reference. It was all relative.

One real life second became four in-game seconds and in-game seconds could become hypercognition minutes. Alan glanced at Eve, and wondered what her perception of time was like. But no, now was the time to focus.

The guards let everyone off of the platform, then phased out, leaving the party alone.

They were in an archive.

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