Alan woke up lying in a field of yellow, dried out grass. Looking around, he briefly panicked, wondering where he was, but then he remember he was in the Game. It was amazing how lifelike everything was. The touch, the sight, the smell… everything seemed so… real to him. In fact, everything seemed somehow more real than in real life, if that made any sense.
Alan had always had a few allergies, a bad sense of smell, and his vision wasn’t perfect, but not bad enough to warrant glasses. Yet now, he could see everything around him impossibly clearly. He could see an individual blade of grass and the tiny drop of water on it nearly 20 feet away. He also smelled… everything, from the faint dewy grass to some sort of animal scat to the lemon trees that were planted somewhere.
Trying to get a grasp on where he was, Alan looked around him. He was on top of a small hill in some rural part of what he assumed to be California. There were two small homes, one with a small garden in front, and another that looked to be a barn turned into a home. They both looked to be what he’d expect to see, quaint 1-floor farmhouses, although he could see a few solar panels on one of the house’s roof.
A dirt road in-between the houses that lead both up and down, but where the road lead he had no idea. There was nothing else but forest and brush as far as he could see, both up and down the hill or mountain or whatever it was he was on.
Standing up, clenching his fist, taking a few steps around, Alan looked down at his body in surprise. Amazingly, Alan felt more fit, more in-shape than he ever had in his life.
It was like he was at the peak of his fitness level back when he had ran cross-country, although he’d quit his sophomore year of high school as it was just too painful. He felt like he could run a 6-minute mile easily.
Jogging up and down the hill, testing his movements, Alan realized he also felt somehow more balanced, as he rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. Alan felt, if anything, almost super human. He half-wanted to try a front flip, but then reconsidered.
He definitely felt a bit different, better, stronger, faster, more perceptive than he’d ever been, but it still felt like him, his body. He remembered the small icons that were in his vision, and he stopped jogging. They were faintly outlined at the moment, but when he concentrated on them they became more transparent. These icons were ones that you would find in any game, mostly aggregated in the bottom right hand corner of his vision.
There was the character button, where he could look at his status, the friends button, where you could send friend’s messages as well as add friends or people you wanted to block, although he wasn’t yet sure that was part of the Game. There was an inventory button, showing what items he had, as well as an achievements button that would list achievements, a guild button for stuff relating to a group of people that formed a group to play together, a guild, and an options menu. There was also a map, and a clock, in the top right corner of his vision.
Alan momentarily panicked once he realized there was no log out button, but then he remembered that he was told he’d need to stay in the Game for a week in real life time, or about a month in Game time, thus the whole changed living location. This would probably be explained with time.
Wondering what each button would do, Alan reached out in front of him, pressing in the air where he saw the character button. Nothing happened. He waved his arms in front of him, trying to press the buttons he could see so clearly.
“What the hell is happening? How am I supposed to open these menus?” Alan said aloud, thankful no one was around to see his frantic flailing.
Simply think the command. A voice in his mind said.
“What? Who’s there?”
No one detected is here.
“Wait, no, I mean who are you?”
I am Eve, the AI you constructed and chose to bring into the Game.
“Wait, are you inside my mind?”
Uncertain. I am connected to the Game, which is connected to you. I detect everything your senses do, as well as your thoughts. Thus, there is no reason to voice your questions and commands aloud, simply think them.
Half sure he was going crazy, Alan thought in rapid succession, Shit, Eve can read my mind… Whatever, she’s just a computer… So, what? You’re like my personal search engine, I can ask you what to do. Like, do you know where I am?
Eve responded, I am much more than a search engine, although I do have almost 200 terabytes of data. I am capable of anything you would have commanded me to do in a game. Additionally, based upon our surroundings, the temperature, the position of the Sun at this time, and the local wildlife, I believe we are in Sonoma county in California.
Cool. Can you show me these things too? Like can you highlight all the living creatures in my sight?
Immediately Alan regretted his decision. Suddenly, hundreds if not thousands of bugs all around him were highlighted with a bright red. Alan did not want to know about all these bugs around him.
Shutting his eyes, Alan thought, Stop. Just, highlight living things larger than a mouse, alright? Actually, also anything that could be potentially dangerous like a small poisonous spider should be highlighted too… Actually, highlight everything in red, or tell me, if anything you notice that could potentially be deadly appears.
Alan opened his eyes. Everything was red, from the trees to the grass to the Sun, to the leaves. Although he had no idea how leaves could be deadly, they probably were if he ate them or used them to cut his wrists or something.
Ok, just highlight things that could kill me in an hour, not just someday somehow.
The trees, everything on the ground, a few sharp sticks, and the houses remained highlighted. Groaning aloud Alan sat back down and thought for a few minutes.
Ok, how about this. Highlight and tell me about things that you believe if made aware of would be likely to increase my chance of survival or decrease my risk of injury. Additionally, once I am aware of things, you don’t need to constantly highlight them unless they split from my awareness somehow.
For example, if a car was coming at me, you would tell me to dive to the left or right, along with an indication of how soon I should move, with a more frantic voice if I should so something right the hell now or die otherwise. Can you change your voice in my mind?
Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Another example, if there was a deadly creature fitting this description I should be made aware of, you would let me know where it was and how best to avoid or kill it, got it?
Also, it’s going to get boring if you just keep saying affirmative, so try to switch up your vocabulary when confirming stuff, okay?
Alright, if there are any significant resources, alert me to those too, and display the location on my minimap. Actually, do the same thing for enemies.
What is the definition of significant?
Sighing, Alan thought some more…
An hour or so later, Alan hoped he had worked everything out. Oh well, if he missed something, it’d become apparent, and then he could change it later. Actually, the thought occurred to him…
Backup my commands and settings, so I can restore old settings, alright?
Redundant command. A backup is constantly being updated.
Wait, you’re recording my thoughts?
I am recording everything you experience and see.
Great… stop recording everything I think.
Rolling his eyes, more amused than freaked out like maybe he should have been, Alan looked back around him. Everything was back to normal, there weren’t any glaringly red things in his vision or thousands of creepy crawlies.
He looked up at the clock by his minimap, it was 4:44 p.m. in the afternoon Pacific Standard Time. There was also a countdown, for some reason, counting down from 00:15:43.
What’s the countdown for?
You wished for any significant event to have a countdown displayed next to the clock. That is the remaining time until the Tutorial begins.
Wait? I only have 15 minutes left? Icewolf said I’d have almost a day to get used to this virtual world!
Based upon my data, you woke up with 2 hours, 17 minutes, 23 seconds, 34 milliseconds, 20 microseconds, 8 nanoseconds…
Stop. You don’t need to tell me that with precision to the nanosecond. If it won’t make any obvious change to my decisions or help me in some way, you don’t need to tell me observations or facts with that sort of detail.
Alan had figured out that Eve was, unfortunately and fortunately, a computer, which meant he had to think commands precisely, defining things in such a way that she understood. It was like making macros in other MMO’s he’d played.
Wondering what had happened to all his time, Alan asked Eve, Okay, so what should I expect when the countdown goes to zero?
Based upon the games I have played, you will be either teleported to a starting zone or a series of challenges will begin.
Challenges, right… which mean I should try to get supplies.
Running over to the larger farmhouse, Alan tried opening the door.
Locked, no luck.
Alan sprinted over to the other house. The entrance was only a sliding glass screen door. Picking up a large rock from the garden, Alan threw it at the door with all his might.
The rock bounced off the door, creating a dent, but not shattering like Alan had hoped. He looked at the clock, there were 10 minutes left.
Then, Eve pointed out, The door isn’t locked.
Alan was almost sure he could hear some derision in her voice, but that was impossible, she was just a machine. Although, exactly what a machine was capable of was quickly becoming unclear.
He ran up to the door, and it slid open.
Almost face palming, Alan entered, looking around. To his right was a small kitchen, while there were an open living room and dining table to his left. He could see a few closed doors down a short corridor down the middle then to the right.
Hoping to find a few weapons, Alan ran into the other rooms, opening closets and wardrobes. The only thing he found however other than clothes, books and board games as well as various house supplies, were a dark green compound bow and arrows. He had no idea how to use the bow but figured it might come in handy.
As there was a minute left, Alan ran into the kitchen, picking up the largest knife he saw, a medium sized 6” cutting knife.
When Alan tried opening the inventory button, there wasn’t a bag or slots where he could deposit items. Instead, there was simply a list of everything he was wearing and carrying.
Figuring that there wasn’t an built in inventory system to store things, Alan also picked up a green backpack in one of the closets, putting the arrows he’d found in it, gripping the bow in one hand and the kitchen knife in the other.
Alan watched as the countdown counted down,