Chapter One


Jason’s eyes flitted open and tapped the desk impatiently. His eyes scoped the room as the last chime shook the walls of the room, announcing the end of his daily hell.  Jason stood up from the molded seat he had been provided with. This school is just a wasted effort on their time and responsibilities. He thought to himself as he stood next to the humanoid.

His world was quite different than those they studied about in this class.  He was reminded sharply of that as the teacher turned to meet his gaze, her metallic arm extended to hold out an envelope that contained his issued chore for the week.  Jason took it with a respective bow at the waist, studying his teacher’s features whilst he walked away.

She was of the average height. Five foot eight, barely a fist shorter than his five foot eleven.  But, of course, they all were. The humanoid was modern, only a mere 15 year old invention, and The Unified Government of the United Earth Confederation seemed to think that they were handy to have around.  Every humanoid was selected at birth.  Selected by defects of the brain or body.  The hospital used their detectors to find them, and then they took them away from those poor, defenseless mothers.  They took them where they could teach them and manipulate them.

A buzzing made Jason snap back in an instant.  Jason had lingered in front of the teacher, her face had suddenly turned stern and she continued to issue a warning buzz in his mind.  Jason’s face flushed suddenly as he realized how his thoughts must be offending the young womanoid and he rushed himself from the room.  Outside the schoolroom, Jason was greeted by the forest.

Years of neglect since the fall of the 21st century met him in a wall and Jason tipped his head back as he walked into that neglected sea.  Safe.  He had momentarily forgotten that the newer ‘oids had wave abilities.  That was, nanotechnology that acted on both a magnetic and brain-electric waves that measure your responses and the occasional subject that the human is thinking of.  Jason kicked his booted feet into the dirt below him and headed off home.

The school was put into the wood for two main reasons. One, it kept the ‘oids from the distraction of the glamorous city that ruled most lives.  And two, it kept the common kids away from the rich kids.  After all, the separation of the classes was essential.  The rich did not need the commoners to contaminate them with their vile, ruthless lives when they could peacefully live in luxury.

Behind him was the sound of other released commoner children.  He picked up his pace, his shoes now slapping on the compacted earth below that merged into a path he followed alongside the great city to the commoner’s village.  Jason was not popular with most others, and he had no intention of being beaten to a pulp before he got home.  Bedside the fact, it was always in one’s interest to be early to places.  Jason looked down and the envelope in his hand.  It was made of paper, as all the school’s items were.  Although paper had long since been out graded, the Unified Government thought it best to use up all the surplus wasted from the 21st century, and when that supply went out, they had have the surplus from our century, so all in all, it was a win win situation.

Jason ripped open the envelope and let the now curled tendril that had been on the top fall to the ground, as he had so many times before.  That was a benefit of being so excluded, no one care if you followed the law or not.  Inside the envelope was another piece of paper, the one with his instructional assignment chore of the day.  He pulled the paper out of its package and stuffed the empty envelop in the pocket of his trousers.  He did this all while running, and by the time he had read the first, and only, line of his assignment, the ripped off piece of the envelope was far behind him.

The letter plain and simply read, “Go to the Commoner’s meeting place immediately after schooling and read the announcements from the message board, noting is required to turn in on the next day.”  Jason rolled his eyes as he folded the letter then stashed it next to the envelope in his pocket.  Why did they always insist on these stupid, formal, letters?  He already went to the meeting place after school every day, simply because it is good to know the news.  Those idiots in charge did not know what they were doing.

Jason stopped abruptly as he realized he was not alone in the woods.  Behind him came the sharp, tangent sound of running feet.  Feet that slapped across the moldy, nearly forgotten path in the forest of neglect.  Jason tipped his head up slightly, his ears catching the sound in the movement.  Nearly after a second he registered the sound, he recognized that rhythm.  The way the third slap was louder, and the fifth one out of ten was always quicker.  It was Skylar.

Jason relaxed the tenseness in his shoulders, and his hand let go it is firm grip on the sleek metal handle that had been nestled deep within his pocket.  It was his knife, he never left anywhere without it.  Many of the commoners never got along, money was scarce between them, and plus, the more commoners around there were, the less of the good paying jobs there were.  So that left them in the mobs and gangs.  Fight to survive; stick with your buds like magnets and molten metal, because without them you were vulnerable.

In the near distance, Jason saw Skylar approach through the trees.  Skylar Harrison was bulk, tanned, and very intimidating guy.  His skin was stretched taught over the meaty muscles up on his arms, shoulders, chest, and legs.  Almost like the opposite poles of magnets, the two men were brought together, and for a variety of reasons.  The first one was that Skylar was the tallest and strongest commoner that Jason ever met.  He was firmly stuck on his beliefs, which were that the law was meant for breaking, and Jason agreed with him in nearly every way.

The second main reason was because they had both lived similar lives.  Jason and Skylar were both part of the wealthier commoner families, which meant nothing except that they were strong, large families that followed the laws dutifully.  Jason’s mom was a widow.  His father is actually one of the elite.  One of the snotty, pampered, rich, and presiding people that lived in the great city and got everything they wanted.  Skylar’s father was not quite so falsely accused of a crime involving a humanoid, an elite, and death.  So he was killed.  This made the two alike in the sense that they never knew their fathers.  But, unlike each other, Skylar admired his father and Jason hated his father, though he did not even know his name.

The two had met each other in their first year of Schooling, some of the older boys were picking on seven year old Jason about him not having a father, and Skylar heard.  At age eight, Skylar was rather stupid, but huge and meaty.  After he challenged the older boys, and gave them a nice whooping, Jason and Skylar stuck together ever since.

Thank the holy shit that Skylar is on my side.  Jason thought as he waited for his friend to get closer.  He had seen many of times what Skylar could do to human and humanoid alike.  It was not pretty.  Jason lifted a hand in hello, his metal knife tucked safely in his left pocket, since he was one of those rare left handed people, it provided not only a surprise to his victim, but a handy place of storage for Jason.

“Jay-sen!” Skylar huffed, his voice rumbling out of his chest as he bellowed to his partner.  The noise was so loud it nearly shook the trees and the scarlet color was lit ablaze on  his face at the meaty man slowed down to a trot, only to stop next to Jason and lean over his knees as to breath more easily. “Slooow dooown, ‘kay man?”

Jason stifled a smile and bent over to help Skylar up.  “Hey, relax Sky, no need to rush.”

Skylar raised an eyebrow at Jason. “Oh?” he stated calmly, with a deep breath.  Gradually, Jason observed, his friend’s lungs filled with the air and he straightened up, his eyes studying his much smaller friend’s.

“Someone got into a fight with the female ‘oid that teaches you.  It upset her pretty bad back at the school.  It was obviously a new one because it started to run around the school screeching at everyone.” He raised an eyebrow and slapped Jason merrily on the shoulder with a hearty laugh. “Man I wish it were me, that was such a great idea!  A little bit of me must have rubbed off on the world, ‘eh?”

Jason simply smiled and nodded. “’Guess so.” He murmured and started to walk again down the nearly hidden path.  This time, though, Skylar took pace with him.  In not too long there was a curve and Jason almost fell over with the force of motion as he stopped himself from running over a little grey tabby kitten that had suddenly and surprisingly appeared in front of him.

“What the Shi-“ Skylar hissed as he bumped into Jason with enough force to knock them both tumbling to the ground.  Grunting with pain and surprise, Skylar glared at the poor kitten in front of him and pushed himself up slowly, his dark eyes locked onto it.  Cats were sacred in their society.  They were the mark of power and invincibility, the mark of grace and of the ultimate predator, lean with weapons and marked with the senses of abnormal nature.  The commoners were consistently told that were to always respect and love and protect a cat should they ever see one.  The rich people loved the rare creature, and some believed them to be the mark of good fortune and good luck.  Jason knew otherwise.  Especially when the cat’s mewling turned into a yowl of pain and surprise as Skylar swiped a kicked at it.  A moment later, there was a deadweight thud in the brush near his right.

“What the hell?” Jason spat as he pushed himself up.  His hands worked furiously as they brushed the dirt and grime away from his shirt.  This was his only decent shirt; he had to wear it to school all week, since his mother could not afford to pay for the extra water to clean it. “I stop to not trample the cat, and you turn around and kill it with your damned foot!”  Jason began to seethe as he gave up and glared at Skylar.

Skylar snarled as he began to walk at his normal pace.  Jason had to move into a jog to keep up with him.  “I hate those damned things.  They are a waste of time and room and only the rich bastards like them.”  Jason rolled his eyes.

“Yeah I know that, but you do not have to kill it.  They could kill you for that,” Jason raised up a hand as Skylar opened his mouth to defend his side of the argument. “How would I fend for myself without you around?  We are a team, you know.  We work together.  If we do not, and we stay alone, we will both die.  The gangs outside this forest have been waiting for our every move, for the one slipup that will put theirs in charge, and they will not stop until we fall.  Got it?  We have to work as a team. Because without us then no one would protest them.”

Them.  He did not mean the gangs.  The gangs that threatened their every second breathing, the gangs that stalked their every move, plotting to strike like the viper hidden in the floor.  No, he meant the guys in charge.  The Unified Government of the Civil Earth Confederation.  Most of them just called them the “Unified Government” or even simply “Them.”  It made it harder for the mind probes to detect what we meant when they did not use the full name.  The Unified government themselves ruled over the earth.  They made the laws, and it was in the late 21st century that they decided that the world was weak when it was divided, and life would be so much simpler if the world powers just united and then they got to equally boss everyone around.  Everyone wins, right? 

He and Skylar were rebels.  They worked on the side, fighting their way to survive.  Schooling was not their choice to attend, they were forced to, but it just gave them an advantage because it gave them an opportunity to see what The Unified Government could churn out at the present.  The different probes, the different ‘oids, and it also gave them a good and accepted name.  Made them seem like the good guys, the ones that could cause no trouble and could be trusted with the high paying chores.  What they did not know did not hurt them right?

Skylar nodded, finally, after Jason finished.  “Sorry.” He grumbled, his head hanging slightly in shame.  Skylar may be pure bruteness, force, and testosterone, but he was loud and more intimidated others than actually caused any harm without being pushed.  Of course he caused plenty of harm, often without meaning to, but he would not be a public nuisance without Jason.  He, after all, was the mastermind of their little duo.  Without Jason, they would both crumble and become nothing but the newest ash in the wind, the newest target practice for the training humanoid.

With a satisfied nod, Jason started off the path and charged through the raw forest, Skylar lumbering after him.  Shortly after, the two arrive on a asphalt road.  One of the only surviving creations from the 21st century.  The road followed along the great city, The lights of the computerized nation lit up the sky in a blaze of neon, giving artificial light to the dank world that the rich had not time nor will to just stop and look at.

As their feet slapped on the pavement, they had to watch their feet to walk, the cracks, bumps, and crumbling edges of the road reminded them of their place.  Ever on the outside of the life that just radiated from the city, bright and beautiful, beckoning to them to come.  But they could not.  “We will go to the Commoner’s meeting house.” Jason decided, speaking aloud as to distract both himself and his obviously struggling and loudly panting friend from the pull, almost magnetic in its intensity, to the city.

Skylar grunted in agreement, personally himself wanting to punch something in frustration. Why did he have to be poor?  Why a pauper? A Commoner?  Of no significant importance.  He paused to look down a gaping alley that opened on their right.  Jason stopped also, and they got a glimpse of one of the royal messenger probes.

It was a giant computer screen.  Nearly a hologram, it was so thin, it floated in the air, powered by the hover vehicle under it.  On the monitor was an ad for the one thing that sent both Jason and Skylar into an awe of admiration and envy.  Colors swept across the screen, the fading swirls of black mixed with maroon sparks and bright, electrifying green nets that skittered on the screen, weaving an intricate matrix that formed around the luminescent words. “Genesis Alpha” both the common boys sucked in their breath, mouthing the words that flew in after that.  They had seen the ad nearly a million time, but the colors, the music, the action, and the sheer knowledge they had of the game put them on the edge every time and they found themselves leaning forward to read the rest of the add  “Let the world fade around you and enter the realm where you can make the quest to the top be real.”

As the screen blinked twice and faded around a corner, Jason sighed wistfully.  He muttered lowly to himself, but clearly loud enough for Skylar to hear. “Damn I wish I had that game.”  Skylar nodded to himself in agreement.  He closed his eyes and envisioned what it would be like to play with the rich folk.  The game where you were actually put INSIDE of it, powerful and racing to the top.  There was the place that everyone was equal; everyone had the chance to win or lose.  It was not decided for you, you found out for yourself.

Skylar opened his eyes as Jason sighed and started along the road again.  Before too long, the two left the city behind, and the grand buildings that seemed to reach up into the sky above them, reach up and scrape marks into the heavens that they defied, receded with each step they took.  Now the buildings were smaller.

Some nearly a hundred years old, and they showed it with the cracks and chipped bricks they were made of.  The road had led them into a modest town.  The streets filled with a crowd of moving people.

Jason raised his eyebrows and looked at Skylar as he realized that the line led strait to the Commoner’s Meeting House.  “What is this?”

Skylar shrugged in response, and the two boys pushed their way to see what the commotion was all about.

{Personal Log Quota: #19, User: Wings-of-Eagles –deleted-}

It is always fun in the beginning.  And surprising.  At first you always feel like the little man, insignificant, and in some it inspires competition, and to some it just destroys them.  I was not the latter.

Nothing had ever seemed wrong with it to me.  Of course I was always surprised with lapsing time differences, the constant hunger and energy deprivation, and the shock of pain that seemed almost real.  Even after I lost my first life I always thought it was normal, then about after a week I had started playing it, I noticed a difference in my friends.  At Schooling, chores, or leisure time it was all they talked about.  They constantly had their head in the game, and they themselves had begun to change.

I know that specifically my closest boyfriend ever had enjoyed playing a dark character, and was doing anything he could to become one hundred percent evil.  It took one week, then in the real world he started to act like it in real life.  We use to share nice, tender, and intimate moments together.  But then, he became violent, aggressive, and greedy.  I was shocked with the way he treated others, and myself in the end.

It was after that that he found me in the game and started hunting me obsessively.

Just that one thing made me open my eyes and realize that everyone, not just Regan, had become who they were in the game, and I began to see the things that game itself was doing to me.  Then I found the resistance.  And they told me of what had happened, and that the game was not designed to do that.

And that the trouble was only beginning.

{end of entry}


The End

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