The Guild 2.6

Alan awoke on a cold, metal surface. Groaning, he rolled over, feeling nothing but the floor. He opened his eyes and glanced around him, surprised to find himself still in the same training room. He slowly sat up, wincing at the soreness spread throughout his body.

Damn, Eve, why do I feel so sore now? I wasn’t sore after that chase in the Undercity.

Most likely due to the adrenaline coursing through your system, you were able to ignore the soreness. Also you died before the next day, resetting the state of your body. I also suppressed some of your pain using the light power armor.

Alright, great, so just do that now.

That is unadvised. I am currently downloading and analyzing data available to us in the Black Rose database. The resources that I would devote to easing your pain are better spent elsewhere.

In other words, suck it up?

Affirmative. If it becomes an issue during an assessment I will try to help you.

Smiling, Alan sat up, making his way to the sort of locker room he had seen earlier, glancing at the time. It was around 6:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the guild assessments began, but Alan could see a number of other recruits in the weight room warming up with light workouts.

Alan walked through the doors of the changing/cleaning area. He then stopped, stared, and hurriedly turned right around, walking back outside.

What is the issue? Eve asked.

Um, did you not see the naked chick right there?

Most in-game standards of decency are much different than you might expect. Accordingly, all facilities are gender-neutral unless there are differences for actual physical reasons.

Wait, everything is coed, even the bathrooms?

Affirmative. There are individual facilities for those that have qualms with these standards or feel uncomfortable around others. A few doors at the end of the room were highlighted.

Alan briefly considered walking back into the room, but decided to use the individual facilities instead. Although he wouldn’t mind examining some of the other recruits more closely, especially since some things he saw with the brief glance didn’t quite align like he was used to. He resolved to research this later. If he was caught staring at someone else in any sort of sexual way that was probably an insult, and he didn’t want to accidentally create some sort of incident or be labeled a pervert.

I have detected heightened senses and a modicum of fear. This is likely another deficiency and clear area for improvement for you. Lessons have been added.

Wait, what? What deficiency?

Your virginity-

WAIT. STOP. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

I am simply saying your nervousness around those of the opposite gender and focus on the sexual may be a weakness enemies may exploit in the future. You must remedy all such weaknesses.

Um… alright, fine, but not until a lot later.

Very well, lessons moved to the back of the queue.

Groaning, Alan entered the smaller room, wondering what sort of sexual education lesson Eve had planned. Still, they were in a game after all, which meant that such activity likely wouldn’t result in any offspring.

Actually- Eve began, but Alan cut her off.

Enough. Show me how to use this facility.

Alan felt a brief sense of almost exasperation from Eve, but it quickly disappeared. Within the door, he had emerged into a small bathing area the size that appeared to be a hot tub and a sort of enclosed space surrounded by glass walls, that sort of looked like a sauna. Eve instructed Alan tor remove his armor and clothing, then enter the glass chamber. Alan poked his foot in, only to find it freezing cold.

What-

It is a an adjustable chamber, currently I have it set to a cryogenic setting to help relieve you of your soreness. Get in. This should work.

Shivering, Alan stood in the chamber for a few minutes. He felt like he would freeze to death, but he supposed this wasn’t anything new. It was definitely better than the pain induced when he was forced to run until he collapsed. He’d never put much thought into all the pain and suffering most heroes had to endure, figuring that it would be easy in such life and death situations to simply ignore it. Now, though, he knew better, and was even beginning to second guess his choice to become a combat specialist of some sort.

The pain will become more manageable as you will likely gain abilities that lessen the pain. Now, step out of the chamber and into the water.

Alan nearly jumped out of the chamber, and slowly sank into the warm bath. The floor was lifted such that Alan could comfortably lie down, resting against the side. The water was at a perfect temperature as well, Eve slowly adjusting it to his body.

Relaxing as the heat soaked through him, Alan brought up his message history. To no surprise, he regained his Ignore Pain, Programming a Path and Transcendent Will abilities, in addition to a number of endurance and willpower points. However, he had also gained another ability as well as an additional level, bringing him up to level 80!

Managing to dodge 100 consecutive shots, you have gained a new ability, Dodge!
+5 Agility
Managing to dodge 500 consecutive shots, Dodge has been upgraded to Evasive Movements!
+10 Agility
Managing to efficiently evade 1000 consecutive shots, Evasive Movements has been reclassified as Enhanced Movements, an ability under the Enhanced Control ability tree, increasing its effectiveness. Using amazing perception and precisely controlled movements with a minimum use of energy you have managed to evade a surprising number of attacks.
+25 Agility    +10 Perception

Alan brought up the new ability.

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Enhanced Movements B* ??? B
Gives the player enhanced control over their movements, allowing them to make precise movements with ease.

Alan stared at the messages, thinking. It seemed like if he managed to dodge 5000 consecutive shots in the training-treadmill-laser-death-room he’d gain the next level of the ability. Unfortunately, according to Eve, he barely managed to dodge over 2000 shots before collapsing. That meant he had a ways to go. He still had no real grasp of power levels though, and supposed it had many upgrades. From his lessons with Eve, Alan knew he had gained the XP to level from exercising. Surprisingly, the Game handed out experience to players for tasks other than just completing quests or eliminating enemies. Players that chose professions like engineers, pilots, traders and even politicians gained levels through practicing their own crafts, although battling and quests were generally agreed to give the most experience, unless someone was a master in their field. Normally, most games would just give abilities or attributes for such feats, and unless you were of a class related to the field you worked in, the XP you received would be negligible. However, the Jack of All Trades ability would allow Alan to gain a bit more XP than normal from such actions. Still, this further explained the need for a workout room and why Academies, schools for new players, were so prevalent.

After Eve told him to get out of the bath, Alan emerged, and was thoroughly dried by warm gusts of air in the glass chamber. After he had put all of his clothing and equipment back on, Alan proceeded to the capsule room, making sure to save his progress and spending the additional ability point in Agility. At Eve’s insistence, he continued to save the rest of his 114 ability points.

Fine with arriving early, Alan made his way to his designated simulation room, which was found in the tunnels beneath the main keep. Alan had no idea how many floors there were underneath, as the lift had no buttons. As soon as he stepped into the elevator, it would simply begin moving to his desired floor, as though it knew his destination, which Alan supposed it did.

He emerged from the elevator into a brightly lit metal hallway lined with doors on either side, spaced about 10 feet apart. Alan walked down the hallway, past a few closed doors, until he finally found his room. Like all the others, it was simply a pure white chamber in the shape of a cube, sort of like a miniature version of his Home when he had first arrived. Two messages popped up.

You have entered a simulated zone! All damage will be simulated and not actually affect the player. No death penalties. Severe XP penalties while in the zone.

Permissions: Recruit Level, unable to call into being or change the simulation. Basic interaction with simulated environment.

Welcome! The combat test will first assess your overall capability and then test your specialized abilities. Additional examinations may be needed. Data from your fights in the guild assessment duels and of your stay in the Black Rose facilities will be analyzed. Are you  ready to begin the guild assessments?
Yes No

Alan selected yes.

Analyzing character…

 

A minute later, another set of messages appeared.

General assessment complete…
Preparing tests…
Initializing Basic Combat Test…
Testing specialized skills…
Sniping Test Initialized

The virtual space shifted, creating a shooting range. Alan found himself in front of a long, brightly lit metal hallway with a reddish square dot about a dozen football fields away, a length of over 1000 yards. A row of sniper rifles appeared before Alan in a in-game menu, ranging from standard mechanical rifles with their telescopic sights to the alien laser and plasma based weaponry with digital scopes. A few of them were highlighted green, showing Eve’s preference for these weapons, all of which were alien in design. Alan quickly examined the weapons Eve highlighted, and settled on what Eve labeled as an Advanced Revenant Scout Rifle. Its frame was made out of the same dark almost light-absorbing metal as Alan’s Revenant Power Armor, with a sleek long barrel in the shape of a rectangular prism, rather than the standard cylindrical barrel most human weapons had. More interestingly, as far as Alan could tell the weapon had no trigger, and while it did have a grip, it appeared it could also be attached to the arm of Alan’s armor, and thus the act of aiming would simply require Alan to move his arm about.

You are able to fire it with a digital command, a thought rather than a push of a button, which makes the lag time between when the trigger is squeezed and the weapon is fired irrelevant. Additionally, while you are able to bring up on the side a digital scope, I am also able to interface this scope with the helmet of your Revenant Power Armor as long as you are in direct contact with the grip of the rifle, showing you exactly where your shot will fire. While most players usually assign some physical command to the firing of their weapon, I will assign a simple fire command to whenever you think shoot and the shot according to my calculations will hit the target.

Um, alright, so I just think fire, and it’ll fire?

Affirmative.

Ok, and so as soon as you highlight the target in the scope screen green, I should think fire?

Yes.

That seems too easy… Also, couldn’t you just fire the weapon yourself?

I am prevented from such actions as firing the weapon myself by the in-game rules governing AI. This is a simple and efficient method that should prove effective. Follow it as directed.

Um, OK.

Alan selected the rifle, and it appeared in his hands, a sturdy weapon of about 30 pounds, surprisingly heavy despite its sleek look. A new message appeared.

The Sniping Examination will begin when you select ready. You will be tasked with simply hitting all the red targets that appear in front of you. You are to avoid hitting any target of a different color. You will be graded on accuracy and timing. Attempt to hit as close as possible to the black dot found on each red target.
Ready Cancel

Alan hid the message, and tested out the new weapon. It was eerily effective, as Alan managed to hit the small black dot on the target consistently even a thousand yards away. The dot couldn’t have been larger than a small pea. This Revenant rifle was far more accurate than any military sniper rifle he’d ever heard of, not that he knew much about that sort of thing. Of course, the Revenant technology had a number of additional advantages, as the laser rifle didn’t cause any recoil and didn’t need to be reloaded. Additionally, the lasers didn’t have to account for bullet drop, at least not at these distances according to Eve. Eventually though, if the length was significant enough, things like the curvature of the planet would be needed to be taken into account, but Alan would let Eve handle those calculations.

Still, at the range the target was at, the slightest movement would shift where the rifle was aimed an extraordinary amount, and it took a bit of practice for Alan to finally develop a sort of steady breathing and rhythm. He would simply allow the barrel of the rifle to sweep along the target until his target flashed green, at which point he’d order Eve to fire the weapon. Still, it was apparent that Alan would need to put more points into strength or at least train the stat more, as he was unable to get the precise movements he wanted with the heavy rifle. The slight trembling in his hands and body would prove to be problems as well eventually.

Alan brought up the earlier message and selected ready.

[Round 1, Targets Remaining: 50]

50 red targets suddenly sprung up along the shooting range at various distances, the farthest perhaps 1000 yards. Alan summarily took them all out with quick and cold efficiency, shooting out targets along a path that Eve plotted out in an instant. Every one of his shots hit in the direct center of the black dot, which he managed to spot easily with Eve’s assistance. A minute later, and all the targets were gone.

[Round 2, Targets Remaining: 50]

This time, 100 targets appeared, 50 of them an assortment of colors that weren’t red. Once again, Eve simply plotted out a path for Alan to take as he fired time after time, finishing in under a minute. More rounds followed afterward, featuring stacked targets with black dots in different places, targets that hung in midair and finally moving targets. All were struck down with ease by Alan. The length of the shooting range increased, then increased again. Alan still managed to hit the targets, though he noted he missed a few of the black dots, which were growing increasingly smaller and more difficult to spot.

Then, the rounds began to mix and match themselves, culminating in a final test of 500 color shifting targets that blinked red for a fraction of a second every second in a dimly lit room. Each target moved about randomly in every direction, flying in the air, going through walls only to appear on the other side of the hallway or ceiling, moving in front of and behind each other in a chaotic frenzy of color. Each target was shaped differently as well, and spun about in such a way that the black dot, which was only found on one side of a target, was only seen perhaps once every few seconds. As far as Alan could tell, each target was no closer than 1000 yards, while some were upwards of 5000 yards away, a distance of almost 3 miles. A screen popped up showing various data like the curvature of the planet the shooting range was on, the levels of gravity, the outside temperature and wind speeds. Alan waited for about 10 seconds, as Eve had given him no path, no target to go for first.

Activate hypercognition mode.

As soon as Alan did so, a targeting path was set by Eve. He began to methodically fire, slowly ordering the command as he shifted from target to target. Alan felt surprisingly calm as he watched shot after shot hit, his hands steadily moving the weapon about with ease. Alan additionally began weaving back and forth, moving from one side of the room to the other at Eve’s command, all so he could find a better shot. He didn’t flinch when a target split into two with a bright burst of light after it was hit. He simply followed Eve’s adjusted sequence and continued to fire meticulously. Targets began firing back, but Alan simply dodged the lasers they shot. When the final target was hit, a spinning red disk that moved about at the speed of a diving hawk, a message appeared.

[Sniping Test Complete.]

[Results being gathered…]

Then there was a short pause, followed by a slew of messages that appeared before Alan.

[Managing to hit 100 consecutive shots with amazing accuracy, you have gained a new Sniper sub-ability, Aim!]

[Managing to hit 500 consecutive shots with amazing accuracy, you have gained a new Sniper sub-ability, Steady Hands!]

[Managing to hit 1000 consecutive shots with amazing accuracy, Sniping (Basic) has been upgraded to Sniping (Intermediate). With amazing accuracy you have managed to accurately hit a number of targets.]

[+15 Agility +20 Perception]

[You have performed a feat of strength by managing to hit every one of the 5000 targets of the Sniping Examination with amazing accuracy! Sniping (Intermediate) has been upgraded to Sniping (Advanced). Steady Hands has been merged with Enhanced Movements, further increasing the ability. Aim has been reclassified as Enhanced Accuracy, an ability under the Enhanced Control ability tree, increasing its effectiveness. Enhanced Control (Basic) has been upgraded to Enhanced Control (Intermediate). Should you wish, you may change your class from Machine Lord Rogue to Machine Lord Sniper. You may also choose to change Talent (Undeveloped) into Talent (Sniping), which will unlock new Sniping abilities and allow you to train your ability more easily.]

[+25 Agility +30 Perception +10 Ability Points]

[x3 Level Up!]

Alan brought up his new ability and his upgraded sniping ability, which now had a rank associated with it as a result of the examination.

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Enhanced Accuracy B* ??? C
Gives the player enhanced accuracy when aiming, allowing them to precisely calculate where and when to attack to hit their target.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Sniping (Advanced) A* A3422 B
The ability to fire weapons with deadly precision, no matter the obstacle.

Alan grinned as he read through all the upgrades. These examinations would be very helpful, as the Game it seemed required you to demonstrate your ability before it would give you an actual ability or upgraded previous ones. Once Alan closed all the messages, another appeared.

[Stealth Test Initialized]

The shooting range faded from existence and Alan found himself in a small dark room with a metal door in front of him. The Advanced Revenant Scout Rifle vanished in his hands. Alan glanced about warily, but as far as he could tell, there was nothing in the room. A message popped up.

[The Stealth Examination will begin when you exit the room. You will be tasked with making it to the designated checkpoints while avoiding detection. You are allowed to eliminate obstacles, but be warned that evidence may be left behind for patrols to find. If your presence is revealed but you are able to evade any pursuit, you will be able to continue the exam, but will be penalized. You will be graded on your technique and how far you make it. Timing is not an issue, so take as long as you want. Bonus objectives and items may be taken for additional points. The only gear you are allowed is what you have on you or find within.]

Alan was silently thankful he didn’t have to do the exam without his power armor, but at the same time a bit disappointed he wouldn’t get to test out specialized items. Since absorbing the Black Rose Guild’s information, Eve had reclassified the Revenant Power Armor as Revenant Scout Power Armor (Basic). Apparently, while the basic power armor did have the invisibility field, which would hide Alan from passive scans and visual detection, there were more advanced versions that allowed the user to mimic things like temperature, smell, digital signals, and the like, allowing the player to even avoid detection when faced with scanners like the ones that had revealed Alan in the Undercity.

Slowly opening the door, Alan emerged into another dimly lit hallway, his power armor’s invisibility field activated. These dull, metal hallways were starting to get a bit old, but Alan supposed he should just get used to them already. With Eve’s help, Alan easily avoided the hidden cameras and couple of floor-plate traps, making it to the end of the hallway, the first checkpoint. Alan noticed that he was able to move with much more ease and there was a sort of smoothness to his actions that he never noticed before. Acts of balance felt simple, while steps felt more sure. He also noticed small details like an uneven place in the floor even without Eve’s help, demonstrating that the increase to his agility and perception attributes were having definite effects.

Alan was able to quickly move past and through a series of obstacle courses involving guards, hidden traps and walls. There were so many walls. Walls he had to scale, walls he had to crawl under, walls he had to hide next to, walls he had to avoid, walls he had to open up because of the hidden compartments inside, walls that weren’t walls at all but actually doors, walls that were just walls, blocking his way. Still despite all the walls, Alan made good time, continually making his way deeper and deeper into this maze at a light jog, hitting about 10 checkpoints. After half an hour Eve had Alan find a safe spot, rest, and recharge the power armor’s energy. Then they resumed their journey through this labyrinth of walls. Alan proceeded with a smile on his face, sweat on his brow, leaping across ledges, vaulting over walls and dodging laser scans like a parkour artist. Still, many of these movements Alan had never practiced before, and it wasn’t before long that he accidentally tripped, misreading a move than Eve had instructed, positioning his foot in just the wrong way, landing off balance.

Before he could catch himself, Alan was falling backwards, and he landed on his back, moving through a line of lasers Eve had marked as something he shouldn’t touch. He winced when he landed, more at the blaring horns that started playing in the background than the pain of the fall. Two spherical robot sentries emerged from hatches in the wall, actively scanning the entire room Alan was in.

In a desperate dash, Alan tried to reach the nearest exit, but the sentries were simply moving too quickly, flying through the air above all the obstacles. Not even Eve could find a path out, but Alan still tried to make it to the exit. When it was obvious that the sentry would reach the exit before he would, Alan pulled out his laser blasters, and shot at both of the sentries simultaneously, but the moment the shots hit the examination ended.

[Stealth Test Complete.]

[Results being gathered…]

[ Managing to weave your way through multiple hallways and obstacles, you have gained a new ability, Acrobatics (Basic)!]

[+5 Agility +5 Strength]

[Ability Synchronization! The Enhanced Movements and Acrobatics (Basic) abilities form a combination that increase both respective abilities. Another ability may encompass the two.]

[Sneak (Basic) has been reclassified as Sneak (Intermediate) based upon the results of your examination, and you have been ranked according to your performance. You have gained the Stealth (Basic) Ability under the Rogue ability tree. Sneak has been reclassified as a sub-ability of the Stealth ability.]

Alan brought up the Sneak and Acrobatics abilities as well as the updated Stealth ability.

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Stealth (Basic) E D134566322 F
The art of moving about undetected.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Acrobatics (Basic) F* ??? G
The ability to perform miraculous feats of agility and balance.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Sneak (Intermediate) E F1559189361 G
An intermediate stealth ability.

Alan frowned slightly, unhappily looking at the mediocre results before him. He closed the windows resolutely, sure that he would do better on the next test.

[A.I. Interaction Examination Initialized]

The labyrinth of walls and traps slowly vanished, replaced by the original white chamber Alan had originally found himself in. A wall of chat windows appeared before him, and then suddenly without hesitation streams of numbers and symbols started appearing on all of them. Eve frantically began to analyze them all, trying to interpret them for Alan. Line after line of text appeared in each of the windows as Eve slowly began translating all of the different lines to English, or at least computer code that was in English. Protocols, syntax, everything from letters used to indentation was all over the place, and Alan couldn’t make heads or tails of anything any of the windows were showing him. He imagined the complexity of the hundreds of different computer languages that existed, and then he thought about the thousands or maybe millions of languages that must exist in the Game, shuddering at the thought. While the windows, each of which Alan assumed represented an AI of some sort, might be trying to communicate useful information to him, Alan certainly wasn’t getting the message, and Eve couldn’t help him due to the strange rules governing AI interaction in the Game.

As a headache slowly developed, Alan stopped trying to interpret the lines of code. Instead, he closed his eyes, reaching out with his mind, searching for a mental connection. To his surprise, Alan detected hundreds of “minds” or AI, but most seemed distant, foreign. If he really strained, he might be able to forge a connection with these “minds,” but Alan chose to initially ignore those that seemed too far away. He re-imagined each possible AI as a sort of mote of light, a star in the sky, and a map slowly began to form in his mind, tenuous connections swirling about as each star seemed to move and react to others. Alan first concentrated on the nearest, brightest star, easily within reach. A strong connection was established. Hesitatingly, Alan sent out a thought.

Hello?

Immediately, the connection was broken, and the star in Alan’s mind disappeared. Unperturbed, Alan continued to make connections, sending out the same initial Hello. Most responded similarly to the first, simply breaking the connection and vanishing. A few he was able to have a basic conversation with, introducing himself, but they were all uninteresting, and soon broke off their connections. As Alan started to strain to connect to the distant stars in his mind, he felt his headache slowly increase in intensity. Unlike the knife-like pain that he had experienced when he was pushing his physical limits however, it was a more sort of dull, throbbing pain underlying his every thought.

Talking to these distant AI was like trying to converse with a madman. They raved in different languages, talking in unknown symbols that Alan had never heard of. One just repeatedly yelled the thought TWO with such intensity that Alan had to be the one to break off the connection with the fear permanent damage might be done. Another simply responded with a thought that almost tore Alan apart. It simply returned infinity, or at least a representation of it. An endless black sea of nothingness, an never-ending field, a mind numbing black hole that Alan felt himself get lost in as he slowly let his mind try to wrap its head around the concept. Eve had to be the one that forcibly ended the connection, concerned after Alan had simply stopped all active mental processes for a period of 10 minutes. Alan dazedly blinked out of the reverie, the thought, and had to take a few minutes to gather himself before trying to make the next connection. The thought of infinity hadn’t scared Alan. Instead, it enraptured him. He wanted more, to go beyond, to see further, to perhaps try to begin to understand the most infinitesimal part of the message the AI had sent, but it was gone.

Alan proceeded on, emboldened by the experience, hopeful of the knowledge the distant stars might impart on him. Alan felt reality began to lose its grips on him as his mind, his imagined field of stars became all that he was aware of. He connected to each, they responded, or didn’t, and the connection was ended, until but one star was left. It was the most distant of all, a dim silhouette of a shadow compared to the bright sun of the first star, yet as Alan slowly tried to connect to it, he was amazed by the size of the construct. This star dwarfed all the others he had attempted to connect to, it was a behemoth among ants, a galaxy rather than a simple star. Beyond it, behind it, perhaps through it there was something else, another universe, another plane of existence, yet Alan could only get the briefest of glimpses before the connection formed.

Hello?

Before Alan could react, before his next thought even began to form in his head, the galaxy responded.

Who are you? No, wait… Through the connection a wave of black specks that Alan’s mind interpreted as starships the size of stars moved towards him at the speed of light, coursing through Alan’s mind. Alan could somehow physically feel the presence as it made its way through the entirety of his brain in the blink of an eye. He had the faint sense that it had analyzed all the electrical signals there, the storage of memories, even the entirety of Eve, but that was impossible, as only a moment had passed, a thousandth of a nanosecond.

Hmm, interesting. Since you managed to catch my attention and alert me to something, have a gift. I also warn you that if you detect any of my brethren, try to avoid them at all costs. Few are as kind as I.

The mental starships once more coursed through Alan’s mind, but this time instead of simply scanning he felt something as they began rearranging and constructing unknown objects using the planet that was his own mind as the base. There was a sharp pain, and Alan lost consciousness…

Alan opened his eyes to flashing red messages.

¿¡WARNING!? TERMINATE CONNECTION ¿¡WARNING!?  
ERROR 304: UNABLE TO TERMINATE CONNECTION
Warning Dismissed… Test resumed
Scoping out the Competition Updated:

4/10 Major players met

Bonus: 0/10 Objectives found

Calculating results…
A mysterious entity has done… something! Unsure of the changes to your mind, you can feel the ability to tap into a mysterious force you were unaware of before. Additionally, your mind seems stronger than ever and you have gained a new ability, Mind Defense!
+50 Intelligence +10 Willpower
Psionic Energy has been removed and replaced with Computational Energy! Active abilities such as Hypercognition drain Computational Energy. Computational Energy and regeneration rates may be improved by increasing the intelligence attribute. Due to the loss of Psionic Energy, psionic abilities and equipment are no longer usable by the player. Items and abilities may have special effects that can be unlocked with the use of Computational Energy.
For managing to forge connections with unknown, online entities, you have gained anew ability, Connect!
+5 Intelligence
Your mental resistance has vastly improved!
+5 Intelligence +10% Mental Resistance
Through observation, you have managed to gain a new ability, Mental Hack! Though you don’t understand how it works or its full uses, you feel as though you might be able to replicate such an attack against those who you are connected to mentally. Note that any attempt to hack an Administrator will be severely punished, and that mental attacks are considered just as harshly as physical attacks in the court of law!
By managing to communicate with every entity in the examination, including an unknown, unseen force A.I. Interaction has been reclassified as Data Interaction (???), a Hidden Ability. Hidden Abilities are unable to be shown to or shared with other players.  Unable to rank proficiency in ability.
+25 Intelligence

Alan calmly read the windows. He knew he should still be feeling disoriented from the experiences, yet instead felt oddly detached and calm, analyzing everything clearly. He opened up windows for the new and updated information with a simple thought.

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Mind Defense B* ??? A
Your mind has been organized in such a way that it is only with much difficulty that a foreign host will be able to begin to comprehend it.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Connect C ??? B
The ability to mentally forge connections with machines. Somehow, your mind is able to comprehend and send digital signals.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Mental Hack D* ??? C
The ability to seek and exploit weakness in connected minds.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Data Interaction (???) S* ??? S
Error.

Alan quickly came to the conclusion that there was something more to the Game than just the simple battle for control of the universe. There were hidden forces moving about, playing with the players. He was more certain than ever before that this was not a simple game, and he would need to become stronger. He quickly came to the decision to continue along his intended path, to become strong and help ensure the Earth’s safety. Afterwards, however, it seemed there were mysteries within the Game to explore. Alan waited as he sensed an incoming transmission, now oddly aware of a number of entities surrounding him, his thoughts clearer, more precise. The moment they detected that he was aware of them however, they slowly disappeared. Alan hypothesized these were Administrators within the Game, as they had the same feel to them, a sense of a bright yellow star. A message appeared.

Basic Combat Test concluded. You have been awarded a Combat Ranking of B318271931, and Potential Combat Ranking of S+.
+30 Levels (+5 Levels for each Combat Ranking increase) +30 ability points for gaining 30 levels with one action
Congratulations! You have reached level 100, and have been awarded 100 ability points. Bounty quests, raids and general warfare have been unlocked. For further information, consult your nearest Administrator. Please note that from now on you only gain 1 ability point per level.

Shortly thereafter, Alan felt and saw a new message appear.

[Congratulations, you have passed the combat assessment doing well beyond expectations! You have been awarded 5000 guild points, and qualified for a squire position under Knight Phantom. Report to him after the guild assessment is complete. Please proceed to the designated spaceship simulator.]

A new icon appeared on Alan’s map, but before he left the simulation room Alan once again calmly analyzed his character window.

Status Window
Name: Alan Alignment: Neutral
Level: 113 Class: Rogue Machine Lord
Species: Human (Earth) Gender: Male
Titles
Black Rose Recruit
Renown: Rank G (50) Notoriety: Unranked (15*)
Health: 512 / 512 Health Regen: 0.06 / Sec
Computational Energy: 400/ 400 Regen: 0.05 / Sec
Shield Energy: 500 / 500 Shield Regen: 1.04 / Min
Stamina: 357 / 357 Stamina Regen: 1.32 / Sec
Strength: 39 + 20 Agility: 174+ 20
Intelligence: 142 + 20 Willpower: 72 + 20
Charisma: 24 + 20 Perception: 121 + 20
Endurance: 49 + 20 Luck: 72 + 20
Resistances
Physical: 23.5% Mental: 65.1%
Psionic: 4.2%
Faction Standings
United World Government: Neutral* Predecessors: Neutral*
Legion of Man: Neutral* Lords of Life: Neutral
Haxlards: Neutral Administrators: Friendly
Revenants: Neutral Black Rose Guild: Friendly
Debt: 1M Credits Current Quest: Black Rose Guild Assessments
General Ability Window
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Acrobatics (Basic) F* ??? G
The ability to perform miraculous feats of agility and balance.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Data Interaction (???) S* ??? S
Error.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Gifted N/A N/A F
Grants an additional ability point every five levels to spend on attributes.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Skilled N/A N/A F
Grants an additional ability point every five levels to spend on abilities.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Talented (Undeveloped) ??? ??? D
Enhances your talent in various areas.
Combat Ability Window
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Energy Efficiency(Basic) E ??? D
The ability to use technology more efficiently, wasting less energy on extraneous actions.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Energy Ranged Weapons (Basic) D ??? E
The ability to use energy based ranged weapons effectively.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Sniping (Advanced) A* A3422 B
The ability to fire weapons with deadly precision, no matter the obstacle.
Machine Lord Ability Window
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Connect C ??? B
The ability to mentally forge connections with machines. Somehow, your mind is able to comprehend and send digital signals.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Enhanced Accuracy B* ??? C
Gives the player enhanced accuracy when aiming, allowing them to precisely calculate where and when to attack to hit their target.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Enhanced Control (Intermediate) D ??? B
An ability that gives you greater control over your own body and mind, allowing you to surpass normal limits and make precise movements.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Enhanced Movements B* ??? B
Gives the player enhanced control over their movements, allowing them to make precise movements with ease.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Ignore Pain E* ??? F
The ability to suppress pain with one’s mind.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Hypercognition B* ??? A
Allows the user to enter a state of accelerated perception, able to perform mental operations at an accelerated rate.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Machine Communication C* ??? F
The ability to communicate with synthetic beings.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Mental Hack D* ??? C
The ability to seek and exploit weakness in connected minds.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Mind Defense B* ??? A
Your mind has been organized in such a way that it is only with much difficulty that a foreign host will be able to begin to comprehend it.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Programming a Path C* ??? D
Programming a Path allows the player’s thought out actions to become almost second nature, allowing inhuman feats of precise movement.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Transcendent Will C ??? C
Gives unimaginable willpower in extreme situations, allowing the user to accomplish feats of will otherwise thought impossible.
Rogue Ability Window
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Jack of All Trades N/A N/A E
Gives a basic understanding of many elementary skills. Allows player to acquire new skills more easily.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Sneak (Intermediate) E F1559189361 G
An intermediate stealth ability.
Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Stealth (Basic) E D134566322 F
The art of moving about undetected.

He took a deep breath, then proceeded to the flight simulator.

3 comments on “The Guild 2.6

  1. Gauntlet-KI says:

    Could something be added into the story in Arc 3 that discusses the result to the more than Doubling of Intelligence? to go from (57 + 20) increased by 85 points to (142 + 20) is quite the increase.

    Like

    • Dagebar says:

      As the author stated somewhere, the stat-system in the Game has a logarithmic approach, meaning a beeing of a sad race (e.g. human) with 100 Intelligence has approximately twice the mental abilities as one with 10.

      That beeing sad, if the intelligence is doubled, the mental capabilities would increase by a factor of log10(2)=0,301… =30%

      Still something one should notice but as his own awareness is always “amplified” by his AI, maybe he just doesn’t get the change…

      Like

  2. Alex Pineda says:

    Without a doubt, this is my favorite chapter in the whole story, and I’ve read everything up to the most recent post 4.10. It certainly features all the things I love about MMORPGs and the whole LitRPG genre, which is adventure, character development, and learning new skills/abilities. But it also, for me, took the book to a whole new level in terms of its overall story arc and the narrative that is being crafted with these stories.

    In particular I’m talking about the AI interaction assessment where Alan was able to remotely connect with all the artificial intelligences, the last AI mind he connected with which showed a universe must larger, more complex, and awe-inspiring than a simple story of a single human in a game world. This behemoth intelligence, which I assume are the Lords of Life, or the Architects, becoming aware of Alan, and interacting with him, was just awesome. It shows that Cosimo is thinking in grand terms, and these initial steps we are taking with Alan will lead to something truly epic, on a universal scale. Bravo!

    Like

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