Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, June 25, 2010

Game: New Players (Draft 1 of Chapter 2)

Chapter 2: New Players

A brown ponytail dangled as a woman walked upside down along the bottom of a brick skyscrapers ledge. She was enjoying the cool breeze of night and eying her prey. She zeroed in on two thieves through the scope of her crossbow.


The woman looked up to the moon. “Not now,” she said as she released a bolt.
Before it could hit its target she fell from the ledge. Landing on her feet she ran to the dregs. Kicking up rain water, her foot made contact with the chin of one of her marks.

“I’m sorry Silvia but Circe keeps bugging me”

“Just give me five minutes,” the ponytailed woman says as she twirled two knives in her hands. One of the gangsters tries to shoot her. The bullet bounces off a metal crimson bracer she is wearing.

A face identical to the girl’s appeared in the moon. “Look I can’t get any peace until you talk to these guys.”

“Alright” The muggers disappeared into blue pixels and man and two woman replaced them. “You know I was really having a great time.”

“Yeah”, a man with sunglasses said. “Artemis gave both me and Circe an earful.” He points to a woman who looks like the ponytailed girl except with her hair untied. “Uh anyway I got a friend and I was wondering if he can join our game on Saturday.”

“How much of a newb is he?”

“Okay. So he’s new. We let you bring in Alley.”

“Fine fine. He can play but if we lose because of him Forge--”

“I’ll take responsibility. Don’t worry I’ll tell him what he needs to know.”

Water spouted from a large round concrete fountain. While drinking coffee, Alexandria sat on its rim while reading a book for her philosophy class.


She looks up to see a fedora. “Hey Mal”

“Studying for your next class. I have philosophy 120 too. I think we might be in the same section.”

“There you are” an out of breath Seamus said has he ran to the fountain. “You might as well hear this too Alley. You know that TA you guys met. Well back when he was a student he formed a game club. Well he left after he graduated but he occasionally plays with us still. This Saturday Silvia, Alley’s sister and some friends of ours are going to battle it out with the old bastard. Are you two in?”

“Sure I got nothing going Seamus.”

“Hey I love an opportunity to show up sis.”

“Wo there Calamity Jane. Aim your guns the right way. You’re on our team. Okay I’ll give you guys the details on the game later but right now you need to learn how to use your seeds. Alley has a little experience but you Mal. You’re running in the dark ages. I loaded a tutorial on your seed to help you out. Custom made it you’re welcome. By the way this is the only free software you’re getting out of me.

“Thanks but I should be headed for class now anyway,” Mal says.

“Oh by the way Silvia’s teaching that philosophy class you guys are headed for.”


“Yeah it’s her major and her prof was so impressed with her that he gave her a chance to TA as a senior. Figured she probably wouldn’t tell you till you got there. I just didn’t want you to wig out.”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

Sixteen desks in a circle surrounded a brown haired girl in a wool mesh trench coat.

“Alright let's get started. It’s the first day in an intro class so I won’t get to heavy on ya. By the way I’m Silvia Katrina, and this is Phl120 Philosophy in a digital age. Okay so I don’t expect you guys to have a bunch of knowledge about stuff if you understood the world you wouldn’t need to be here, but this is mainly a discussion course. Say what you think, make good arguments, and write a couple of essays and you should be fine. You can grab the syllabus on the net. Nothing too unexpected on it. Through out the semester you guys have to write 3 papers. I’ll tell you guys more about that later and the detail are on the syllabus anyway. If you have any questions just message me and I’ll get back to you. So I guess I’ll just put out a few questions. Why are you here? I don’t mean in that deep why do we exist sense. I just mean why you are taking the class.”
A red haired guy in the back row stands up and says, “Because I have to for my major.”


“Anyone else,” no one raises their hand “Okay zombies well here’s why I decided to TA it. We’re living in interesting times. The lines between illusion and reality are being blurred, where an intangible idea can become caporal. Its disorienting and I know I can’t make sense out of it all. I’m hoping what you guys say may shed some light on it . I want to hear what you guys think. Anyway here’s the gist of the class. Well talk normally about some topic. I’m hoping that the conversations will naturally flow but if they don’t I have a list of topics. Based on the previous class I’ll e-mail you guys reading material. I’ll try to do it no less than two hour after class. Okay, so lets get started. Most of you guys are only able to use seeds just now why.”

“The law says we have to be 17 before we can use them,” the redhead said

“And why would that be the law,” Katrina said.

A girl with pink hair and a pink hoodie said, “ because in order to use the seed you have to use the ID chip in your head and people don’t like the idea of kids brains doing the unnatural”

“Mind if I ask you your name”

“Joanne but my friends call me Jo”

“Cool. Well, this is a good time to cover some history, originally the chip was a voluntary identification system to aid in fighting identity theft. At first people weren’t crazy about the idea but it was voluntary so no body gave a fuck. Eventually 75 percent of the population had the chips. The government then decided that the cost of maintaining older identification systems and the chip were expensive and made it mandatory for everyone.

“At this point people were sort of freaked out that their brains could be hacked so a bunch of patchwork laws and government organizations were created to ensure the safety and security of people with chips which at this point was everyone. One of the goals of these organizations was to research the chips and make it harder for people to crack them. Well this lead to the development of the mui, mental user interface, that we use today. Anyway one of the mental safeguard laws is that you can’t use the mui until age 17.

“It might not sound weird to you guys but there was a time when having government chip in your head would be considered the start of fascism. What do you guys feel about it.”

“Never really thought about it like that. I always knew the chip could identify me but I never had a problem with it. I never really noticed. By the way name’s Malcom my friends call me Mal.”

“ Well according to the law the chip’s government identifier can only be used in government buildings such as the police station, and the secretary of states office, but after activating your seeds you can add other identifiers to the seed. I have.You guys will probably get one soon for the university. Up until now you guys probably just used a paper trail for all the docs you had to put in to get here. Well, when you start using seeds you’ll see things are a lot faster. Anyway, other than identification the only thing the chip can be used for is interfacing with your seeds. All the processing for the mui is handled by the seed. Yeah Alley”

“Well, the 61st through 68th amendments are often called the second bill of rights. They list the things the government can’t do in regards to digital and mental technologies. I always had faith that the government would follow its own rules.”

“But how do you know. There could be a secret database with all our thoughts recorded on it,” Silvia responded

“True I guess but if the government ever wanted to do anything with that information they would have to follow due process and a judge would never allow that info as evidence or even probable cause I mean hell that is one of our a oldest laws,” said Alex
“There are ways to bend the law even the law of those who make it. Anyway I didn’t want things to get that heavy on the first day so I’ll leave that conversation here until next class. By the way Alley, Mal could you guys stick around for a while.”

“Sure,” Mal said.

“You guys are in the game. At least that’s what Seamus says. It’s been a while since everyone played together so we’re having a meeting at the diner on Park Street and Babbage Ave on Friday afternoon be there at 3 got it.

“Yeah,” Alley said.

“ I’ve got some stuff to take care of back at my apartment so I probably won’t see you guys ‘till then.

Mal, was lying in bed watching Kiss Me Deadly on the ceiling screen. He had started the movie as a room hologram, but he eventually got tired and decided to watch the story while lying down. The sun had set hours ago, but with all of the light and sound he hadn’t realized. The only sign he had of the passing hours was the weariness of his muscles. He had thought of his new seed, but he had not tried it. Things just kept coming up that he would rather do. After class he spent half the day at the park. Although everyone called it a park it was more of a mall. To a newcomer like Mal it looked like a city. Hallways as wide as roads with railways and motorized walkways along their centers. Mal had grown up in a small town. He had never dreamed that places like that existed.

Mal had decided that before he went to sleep he wanted to try his seed, if only for a few minutes. He closed his eyes and then opened them. He was not where he was a moment ago. Miniscule moving blue numbers surrounded him. He realized two things immediately. The first was that while his mind was still half asleep his muscles were no longer fatigued. The second was that he was not alone.

“Hey it took you long enough”


“Sorry bro. I’m not Seamus I’m just a tutorial programmed by him.”


“Hey I’m well he’s a techno genius. Anyway while he doesn’t doubt Henri’s teaching ability we need you set in days not months so I’m going to help you get up to scruff.”

“Okay I guess but where is this place”

“This is the default construct. You can change it however you want.


“Just think of a place you would like to be. Most of the ones programmed that way are pretty simple though but simple might be best for now. Also you could always go back to the store and get the brilliant guy who programmed me to program you a more complex one.”

Mal thought of a black and white office with an old typewriter and black analogue rotary phone. He thought of bookcases that had been obsolete for a good century. Blue turned to gray and the numbers shifted forming a desk and a lamp.

“You thought up a gray box. A bit boring but at least you have the idea. Alright next thing and this is important. In this place your body is irrelevant. Do me a favor. Think about the old track at Adam’s Park.

The tiles on the floor shifted to gravel and the gray turned to green. Trees sprang from nowhere and a streaming river could be seen from iron guard rails. Orange leaves floated down the stream.

“No way”

“Yeah shocking aint it. Anyway run the track.”

“Come on man you know I was always the slowest guy in gym”

“Just run the damn track Mal.”

Mal ran the track while mentally ranting. He hated running track, especially with someone watching. Even if it was just a program Mal couldn’t help but confuse it with Seamus. Just as Seamus would, the program chided Mal about his speed.

“ Four minutes for the quarter mile you are slow check this out”

Mal watched Seamus’ tutorial run the quarter mile in 9 seconds. “

“Now here is the question. Do you think my creator’s physical counterpart could do that back at the park?”

“No. You .. I mean Seamus was always faster than me but not by much. But you aren’t him.”

“Good point but for the time being lets assume that Seamus can do everything I can do and vice-versa. That’s not exactly the case but I’m trying to make a point. Here a body’s form and function is nearly completely based on its user’s or designer’s mental intention and projection.”

“In other words you’re fast because you want to be fast?”

“Exactly, that’s something simple, but let’s do something more complex. What’s your favorite animal.”

“Dude you should know this. I always liked wolves”

Seamus shimmered blue for a moment and where he was standing a wolf took his place. Then he returned to human form.

“Okay that was just to show off. The point is that in your construct you control pretty much everything, your environment and yourself. The problem is that the game isn’t happening in a construct or any personal cyber space. That world will have rules. Seamus will tell you those rules later. My job is to get you used to the weirdness of having a body other than your physical one. In the game your body is going to be limited to your usual physical form, or at least an avatar similar to your usual physical form, but your strength, speed, and agility can be augmented by your mental state. Before the game starts Seamus wants you to have an avatar and a handle that you’re comfortable with. You can have more than one and you can change them but at least for this game your avatar has to be recognizable as human. Two arms two legs. One head walking upright Between 4 and 7.5 feet tall and weighing 95 to 300 pounds. In short you can’t be anything ridicules."

“So my avatar can totally compensate for my normal scrawniness? I can be a 200 pound
football player?”

“Sure but keep in mind that how your body interacts with the world will be based on its form. Let’s say you want to hide behind a rock, for cover. What’s better, that 200 pound 7 football guy or something smaller?” On the other hand though your physical capabilities can be augmented by your mind, the physics engine of the game is based on the physics of our world. So that 200 pound guy will be able to punch a lot harder than a smaller person. Another thing is familiarity of the avatar. For stuff that’s highly physical like the games most people use avs that are close to their physical selves. Seamus knows how to control his body fairly well, but if you add or take away too much weight or height things get weird. You probably haven’t really thought about it.”


“Okay you and Seamus used to play baseball right?”

“All the time.”

“You more or less know how to throw the ball to get it to go where you want?

“I’ve got a curve you wouldn’t believe”

“But what happens when your arm is heavier, or faster, or stronger than you’re expecting?”

“ I guess the ball would move differently.”

“Exactly. Well that’s all I can say unprompted if you have any questions just ask.”

“What avatar are.. is Seamus using for the game.”

“He guessed you would ask that”
The hologram shimmered and a short man who appeared not to fit into his own skin walked into him. Long blond hair was tied behind a leather jacket with one sleeve cut off.

“And I told him err programmed it to IM me when you did.”

“Look at you all road warrior like”

“ I prefer to think of it as more of a terminator look. Anyway this is how I roll not exactly original but it has a certain appeal in the games. By the way I only use this AV in the games. But I’ll leave that other stuff to Henri.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook Comments

Note: These Comments are from all across this blog.