The city was really huge, compared to the town Zack had grown up in all the way in Canada. In fact, it was definitely three-times as big, according to the GPS.
Redwall probably expanded itself by several inches in new buildings every year.
Now, he was sitting right outside a store selling IT products, which seem usual all over the city, and going over his GPS again to look for the Synchron Organization.
"Damn, I really got lost," he grumbled. At the same time, his stomach rumbled. "And I'm hungry."
He got up. Might as well head around to find a place to grab a bite.
He soon found one on the corner of a street: a store that sold a number of sandwiches, drinks, and doughnuts. He bought two doughnuts and was about to move on when he caught sight of a building across the road right beside a tall skyscraper - which were just as common as IT stores all over the city - and stared.
The building was a dome. What went on inside was what made Zack pause in interest: it was filled with capsules built of glass and he could see teenagers and kids alike, plenty of them his age, entering and then vanishing into thin air.
The portals to the virtual reality dimension of Gladiators!
“Awesome!” he gasped, and ran in. Sky might not mind him killing time for a while. Maybe. Hopefully. Perhaps.
The portal dome was buzzing with excitement, as the world of Synchron was always in. No biggie; even Zack was excited whenever he got into something related to Synchron. It wasn't popular for nothing; even Gladiators were able to hang out with each other instead of Gladiating.
That would be a great place to start with making friends in his new life in Redwall!
He was about to head towards an open portal – until a hand grabbed his shoulder.
Zack whirled around, surprised.
“People who aren't known in these areas are not allowed to enter,” said a guy taller than him. “You are not known here. Nor are you signed up in one of the domes here. Leave now.”
“Why not? It's a game, right?” Zack asked.
“Intruders don't have a place in domes,” said the guy. “You are an outcast. I'll save you the embarrassment of facing other Gladiators who would kick you out.”
Zack sighed. “Man, and I wanted to Gladiate here for the first time. I mean – why, anyway? Other domes in other countries aren't like this. You could Gladiate anywhere.”
The guy raised an eyebrow, startled at something – whatever it was – but then frowned. “You're not from around here? Or a smaller sector of Redwall?”
“Nope. I'm Canadian. I just arrived an hour ago – and got lost.”
“Yeah. At least that's where I grew up.” Zack grinned. “What used to be the country of Canada.”
With a grunt, and a slight hint of suspicion, the stranger said, “In Redwall's main city, there are gamers who regularly disrupt a game and take over the entire arena. Until Synchron came in with aids, there was almost nowhere for Gladiators to Gladiate. That's why we Dome Keepers are assigned to catch any unfamiliar faces, and kick them out. Namely, foreign people like you. Unless you've proven yourself safe.”
“Oh, I see,” said Zack, feeling slightly despondent. But if that was it, there was no reason to pick a fight over just entry to Gladiators. He was already a Gladiator anyway, he could enter when he wanted to. “Then – you mind telling me where the Synchron Organization is?”
That statement nearly caused the stranger to have his eyes bug out. “Where the hell were your eyes when you were outside there?”
“I was looking in here! I'm a Gladiator, anyway!” Zack frowned indignantly.
“The Synchron Organization – next door,” said the guy. “Leave!”
“Yes!” Zack fired out of the building. He supposed that people of Redwall don't like weirdos like him.
Next door? Was it really next door? If it was, he should have seen it!
He turned down the path and looked the skyscraper beside the arena. Now that he noticed: there were three skyscrapers in a triangular formation, all with a different symbol and connected via a bridge and then a suspended dome in the center. The afternoon sunlight glanced off the glass windows of the building, making it seem like it was glowing. On top of one of the skyscrapers was a hologram that had the symbol of Synchron.
"Oh, there it is," he mumbled. What a coincidence he ran into a place just nearby.