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    Thread: Worlds Beyond the Known

    1. #11
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Chapter 21: Adjusting to Reality...Again


      The Original Cyberdiver, Frank Jackson was back. Now he got paid and took some time off. Having a family then dying right in front of them is hard on anyone, and he needed some time to rest and do regular things.

      At first he just spent his money but as his reputation went up so did his income and he decided he would save it for something special. He didn’t need a fancy vehicle or big apartment or house. His entire life had been testing and playing games. So he owned a small apartment with the best in wide screen and a good computer hookup. It left him see the World every day and watch as countries fought for domination, or wrote Treaties they all knew were bogus from the beginning.

      ‘Hmm two more Senators were being evicted because of espionage’. He thought as he shook his head and looked sad. This world was balanced on a razors edge. Little wars were a daily thing and spies and sabotage were everywhere.Is it any wonder people look for a more stable world, maybe one a little less technical and more old fashioned? The World has 9 billion people in it now, and has had for some time. Food is expensive, the best meats are all but solid Gold, and the average working person eats junk,processed food in ready to eat meal packs that can be eaten cold or heated.

      It’s not great, but it keeps people alive, and thats all that counts in a World ready to explode.

      Frank had a project he started for fun and a special place to live later on. He got a ride and stopped at a small inlet in the sea and saw a little building and dock and 3 men just laying around smoking and drinking. He got out and walked over as one young man jumped up... obviously surprised... and did his best to smile, and Frank looked quickly around and didn’t see anything getting done.

      “Hey Boss.” The young man said as Frank asked where all the building materials were and why nothing had been done since he hired them months ago.
      “Its been 3 months and there’s no materials here and no framework even started, what have you guys been doing?” He demanded as the kid did his best to try and settle him down saying marine lumber was on order and hadn’t come yet and they’d get the work started when it did, and he saw a scam right in front of him and snuck a hand into his pocket and activated an emergency link on his phone, and ignored the voice asking for details in the implant in his ear.

      “I bought this land and set up the work station with tools and a 5000 dollar down payment 3 months ago.” Frank said as the young man agreed.” I went back to work thinking I’d see some work done when I got back and theres no materials here or anything started, so what am I paying you for?” he asked as the men in the background started looking angry and the young talker went on about waiting for materials, and Frank knew he was being scammed.

      “ Oakwood Docks are not easy to buy, and my setup of the Jackson Depot here was all to give you some place to do the job without bothering others.” Frank added as everyone nodded.”Now I see you took the 5000 I gave you and did what? Drank it all away and got high?” he demanded as the young man finally grabbed him by the front of his shirt and demanded everything he had, as his friends rushed to help him. But it was a little late by now for that, since the location had been sent and their conversation heard and a minute later a silent vehicle dropped down not 50 feet away as one man screamed and they turned to run.

      One man took the easy way out and surrendered, and one ran, and got a fine flying tackle from a young woman cop, and then handcuffed, and when it was over all three got loaded as a second vehicle dropped down and landed nearby.

      “So what are the official charges?” An older officer asked as Frank waved him to follow. They went inside the building and checked everything there. The computer showed that the 5000 he gave them for a start was gone and nothing ever ordered for work. It also showed that the blueprint he gave them was copied and they were selling copies of it online for 50 bucks each and had a decent account going from that too.

      “I see...” he said taking notes and after a while he turned to go and Frank ask him about the account they started and he laughed and said it looked like Frank owned a business, since they used his land, blueprints and property to start it, and he agreed and they left with enough charges to keep these three under glass for a long time to come, and Frank needed to hire some better workers next time.

      The blueprint was for a floating home, big enough to travel up and down the coast when he wanted, and the print itself cost him 10,000 to get custom made, and so they were selling it at a fraction of what the company that made it charged, so it was selling pretty well. He gave those fools 5000 to start ordering materials, and they stole that and did this instead, but now he had just over 6000 in this account too, and that meant he was slowly getting his money back either way. But to be honest he raised the price, saying the original cost thousands more, and if anything the sales went up after that proclamation.

      Then he got some decent help and made sure the work got started, and before his next job the frame was getting laid out and the sounds of tools and talk was heard everyday on site as construction got started. That was better, and the income from sales helped cover it and though he could have ordered one made for nearly the same price, he wanted it customized a bit and this way he could do as he pleased.

      And when he got the message another job was waiting he dropped another 10,000 on the foreman and gave him access to the online account and then went back to work.

      Chapter 22: New Life to Live

      Now to pay for it all...and Frank was in a meeting the next day with the company CEO, his research team and a man wearing a 30,000 dollar suit, telling them all that his company needed the very best, because thats what they were making.

      “A galactic Space Simulation so advanced, so detailed that even some of our company personal started getting hooked on it...in Alpha..” he admitted as people around the room looked a little shocked he might admit that so soon. “ When we get the bugs worked out we’ll have a new Galaxy, accurate down to the trees, grass and bugs, which DO bite by the way.” He said, waving his finger in the air, as a few looked impressed.

      “That’s a lot of details, you sure your people can make it work?” Frank asked as the man looked insulted.

      “You’ll walk along ship hangers so detailed that you’ll smell the heat off the engines from the ship you just shut off. So detailed that if some worker took a leak in the corner somewhere you’ll smell and see the stain.” he went on as even Frank looked surprised.” Food there is real food, and you need food and rest just like a normal life. And instead of giving it a rushed life span we plan on making it only 2x normal life’s speed, so yes, people can spent years in there during whatever they want. Like doing mechanical things,become a ship maintenence man. Like flying then be a pilot. Want a nice slow business to set back and relax in? Mine asteroids and sell your wares. Anything can be done there, legal and illegal, so there’s even military jobs,police work, you name it.” he mentioned as even the company CEO looked a little impressed.

      “Wait...” One researcher said suddenly.” we have the best Divers in any company, but you’re saying that 2 weeks in game is 1 week in reality? It takes months to live a life in a normal game, so it cant be done at that speed. They’d have to live the rest of his natural life in there to finish the testing.” he declared as even the company President said that was asking too much.

      “Same contract as always ...” the man went on” 100,000 dollars a month and full medical including rehab or in game existence forever. So long as the job gets done its worth it to us, and we take care of our people well, just check our reputation.” he added as everyone looked odd for a second, it was like he never heard a word they said.

      “But,” The CEO mentioned as the man waited to hear,” you’re saying he’ll live a LIFE in there then, at 100k a month? Hows that worth it to you?” he asked softly as the man brought out videos and tech manuals and everywhere it went and they looked there were options to work in game, for real money. Millions a month was possible and they looked shocked.

      “There are special items in game that can not be bought outside or in any shop.” he went on” either you need to build it yourself, and thats takes months just to gather the materials or parts, or they are one of a kind things that cant be bought OR made but only appears in game once a year..one item..once a year...” he repeated as the head researcher said right out loud that they were building a economy based on rare objects that many would positively have to have, and he agreed. “And they can be destroyed.” He added as a few sat back to think.

      “Millions a month in real cash running through the economy, bought and sold items on our own auction online, and game cash interchanged for real currency just like other games have done for years.” He added as many saw that if he got it balanced then you really could make a living online in his game.

      “People have earned a living, or partial living online for ages now, usually some exchange of game money for real cash, sold to other players to use in game for huge purchases. But our game will tie DIRECTLY into the outside economy. Things you see in game CAN be ordered for your own home in Reality, and we have companies ready to produce them any time the price is right.” he went on and finally everyone had heard enough.

      “So if I spend years in the game and win or make a Billion dollars in game money, I can take it all out and use it in real life?” Frank asked, almost laughing out loud as a few others smiled pretty wide at that.

      “Of course not..” he got told and he was on the cusp of yelling ‘AHA!’ when the man admitted that a Billion in game was only worth 10million in Reality...and Frank nearly choked on his coffee.

      “How is that even possible?” he got asked as he just smiled and said that was their problem not to worry about it, and the meeting came to an end with Frank saying that anyone going inside for years on end would need time off back in Reality, and it was agreed to, and he would go in for a month then come out for a weekend then go in again. Every bug or cheat he found would be paid for as a bonus, and even now many people on his Team was wondering what the catch was but just didn’t say.

      “There’s something fishy going on here, no company can pay like this over the long haul.” Frank got told and he agreed, but for 100k a month he’d get some work done until they saw what was really happening, and his bed and game set up got checked and was ready as he stepped into another game world again.


    2. #12
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      Chapter 23: Life in an Economic Hell


      Frank used the character creator and made a VERY close approximation of himself and named him...you guessed it...James Goodman. He used the same name for all his characters so he’d never forget it when in game. He was all ready to see this new Universe and when he opened his eyes he was standing at a door, and he walked through it into a long hallway with people walking everywhere.
      He was told that he’d be given a ID card, a pocket computer really, and it was his entire ID, from his scholastic history to work history to bank account, all in one. He pulled it out to check things, they usually give you a car or plane or ship... something... and a small amount of cash to start you off. His said he owned...nothing...no apartment no nothing but the card had 250k on it so he figured as part of his training he would have to gather whatever he needed.

      He also knew once he made the first deal somewhere then his memories of the outside world would fade until he went out again..no cheating using your schooling or skills from outside in here, and he smiled knowing he’d be in and out pretty often in this game and so he wouldn’t worry about it.

      He walked along testing the sights and sounds and he was impressed, even the tiniest smells were present, and the sunlight felt great on his face and after walking around a bit he decided he wanted a snack and he stopped at a little diner looking place and ordered a cup of coffee and a glazed donut and the waiter dropped in front of him and he handed her his card and she swiped it and handed it back and dropped a receipt and left.

      The donut was good, fresh and tasty and he wondered if all the food was this good, and the coffee was too. He looked at the receipt without thinking and nearly choked. A cup of coffee cost 20 bucks and a donut 5 dollars and he nearly spit it out on the table. He called her over and asked about it and she declared if he didn’t like their prices he could get the Hell out...and with some booing from other patrons he did... and his first lesson in living on this world got handed to him on a platter. The people here don’t take squat from anyone. They are grumpy most times and very few even smiled when he smiled at them. It was like they were all waiting on a war or gang fight any second, and if this was the price of food...he decided he needed a lesson in the local economy.

      By now James was checking around looking in windows of shops and at prices on the screens of things on sale. His card told him he had a education and a pilots license for Class 1 ships. That would include small and heavy shuttles, and small fighters. And he knew when things got better he’d want to get the lessons for bigger ships and study for that test too, living on a planet surface was tough and they could take advantage of anyone who came and went every day. But out in space there were hundreds of worlds and thousands of stations,and out there was his real Life not living here, like the rest of his Family had for generations.

      His meager savings wouldn’t last long, and so he went to the local Labor Office looking for work and after a few tests he got a temporary job with the local Police Force, as a partner for a more experienced officer. It seems they are always short handed, and even sitting there in the vehicle talking or helping chase some criminal down some ally was better than not having any help at all.

      And for 100k a month as a temp officer it would help him while he looked for something else.

      He got assigned to Officer George Comings, and they shook hands and got into his patrol car. He left James know that petty crime was on the rise but that drugs were the biggest problem, and he asked if James could use a gun.

      “Yep...I used to shoot with my dad, he’s a retired police officer too.” James added as the man smiled wide and agreed, and they stopped at a big black van where a skinny little guy looked happy to see them.

      “Hey George what can I do for you today?” he asked as George mentioned that James needed a handgun, and he pulled out a wooden sheet with a cover on it and he had dozens of smaller guns for sale.

      “My new partner needs a gun, something small and cheap.” George mentioned as the man looked James over and looked at his stock for a minute.

      “How about this one?” he said and turned with a tiny semi-auto in his hand and George growled at him and asked if he wanted punched. His next choice was a little heavier but used, real used, but George looked it over and said they could use this...if the price was right.

      “1200 credits and theres no warranty.” They got told as George turned around and fired a shot into a garbage can across the street and people screamed that were walking by.

      “So call a cop!” George screamed back and then laughed and handed the gun to James. “ Charger?” he asked as the man handed him a small coiled wire and said it was standard for all power outlets, and George asked about the price.

      “I said 1200...” The man repeated as George reminded him that he could operate right out in the open like this because HE allowed it. “ 1000...” was the next try and George laughed and slammed him against the wall of his van.

      “ 750 and I swear I got that much in it!” he screamed and George agreed and James paid the man.

      “Now we can go to work.” George added as they both got into his car and disappeared down the street and James saw the black van disappear the other way just as fast.


      Chapter 24: Police Work... in a Tyranny


      They rode around for a couple hours. Stopped once to stop a street fight and one guy got hauled away. Then stopped for lunch at a drive through place, and back out again.

      “Get yourself some cheap little velcro holster for that later.” George mentioned as James agreed he’d need one. ” And since you’re working and volunteering to help the Police, your permit to carry is automatic, so don’t worry about it. Once you work for us you’re covered, because we need the help THAT bad.” he added sadly, and James nodded agreement.

      Just then a call came in, one car found a drug deal going down while checking the warehouse district and they needed all the help they could get. George flipped a switch and sirens came on and away they went, as James called and said they were on the way.

      “How do you know its a big deal of some kind?” James asked as George got a chuckle and the guy listening in said that a broken down old warehouse surrounded by men and women with guns usually means something... as James apologized for asking something weird.

      “New guy?” the coms unit asked, as George said it was his first day, and the other man laughed saying maybe he was good luck then, and James didn’t understand why.

      They slid in beside another car that was now on fire. And George swore saying these guys had some serious firepower this time. They jumped out and got behind their car as bullets and laser charges went flying by and George fired a few shots back and one man told a shoulder hit and went down.

      “One down and only a dozen to go..” they heard as the man behind the other car chipped in.

      “Oh ya...how many did you get?” George asked as the man admitted he hit one and that he had never popped up to fire again. “ Hey kid...even if you dont hit anything fire a few shots to help keep their heads down, and we can get a few good shots in.” James heard and he agreed and after watching the patterns for a bit he popped up and fired as one man turned towards the other car with a machine gun, and the dumpster he was hiding behind took the hit, but it was really close, and so he turned and ran, and both George and his other friend jumped up and dropped him together.

      “That’s the stuff right there...hey George this new kid might not be a waste after all!” James heard and he smiled and waited to get another shot in between shots going flying by.

      They kept at it and when the radio came on asking if they needed help they refused saying they were doing ok. But James saw the men from the first car were dead now, and so it was just 4 of them, and he wondered why they didn’t take the extra help. But half an hour later and they kicked in the side door to be met with more gunfire and one officer tossed in a gas grenade and after a few minutes of choking and coughing they rushed in and finished them off.

      Now they reported the fight over and a few minutes later a photographer with the police department arrived with their local Captain and they got pics of the whole place and checked the goods and found two small suitcases full of drugs, and one half full of cash.

      “Not the haul I thought we’d get for all that shooting.” George mentioned, and even the Captain agreed. “looks like only about a quarter of a mil in cash and maybe triple that in drugs.” he mentioned and the Captain nodded and put one suitcase under his arm and waved for the photographer to follow him out, and George and the other officer divided up the second case of drugs and threw the other one to James, as he looked surprised.

      “The Captain got his, we got ours so thats yours. Your month is officially paid for the first day, so your going to make a nice profit the way things are going.” George mentioned and they all laughed.” Besides you wouldn’t know where to sell this junk anyways, so your still doing pretty well so far.” He added, as the other officer said that James could ride with him anytime...if they kept having good luck like this.

      “I can pay my house payment this month!” The officer proclaimed as George laughed along, and James knew a lot of people that wished they could say that.

      “Oh no, he was assigned to me, so you keep your hands off. If anything good goes down we’ll let you know.” George said, and they got into their cars and left and James saw that what he had heard about city Police was certainly true.


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      Chapter 25: Week Two and Onward

      James was in pretty good shape for now but he tried to save every cent, because he wanted off this planet one day and a ship of his own, and they cost an arm and a leg even for junk.

      Light shuttles, only good for trips from the surface to stations went for over a Million, and Heavy Shuttles,(light freighters really) with jump capability were twice that. Then light fighters, some so small they barely qualified as fighters at all, were at least 2 million and more. And anyone wishing for a capital ship of any kind should just keep on wishing...because only Moguls could consider such a thing.

      He took the time, and some of his new cash, and bought the book he’d need to study to get a better license someday, and after a few days studying he felt that he’d have a chance at least, when he decided to give it a try. But his little beginners license was enough for now because owning the license doesn’t mean you can fly, you need something to fly IN first. And many people had licenses that they would never use because they either never got the cash for a ship, or slid into the trap of rushing into sex and causing themselves trouble, and then everything had to be enough for two or three after that.

      Sex was nice and all, but to think of settling down before you ever lived wasn’t for him, and he kept a close eye on his bank amount and soon had enough for a used light shuttle if nothing else.
      But that wasn’t good enough, and when his month with the Police ran out he volunteered to stay a while more and they were thrilled to see it.

      They were sitting by the fence to the Space Port drinking coffee when George laughed and handed James his digital glasses. There, about 200 yards out was a man looking very pleased with himself as he crawled into one of the smallest ships James had ever seen. Dark Blue with white trim and small wedge shaped wings it looked pretty good to him.

      “You wish that was you huh? You got a license right?” George asked, as James smiled and said yes he had, as the little ship took off straight up and turned and started their way.

      “Looks like a Hemming Personal Fighter, one of the smallest there is. One seat for the pilot, no cargo space at all and no missile racks. So yes for a new pilot just starting out that would do just fine.” James added as the little ship came flying by and right over their heads as George whistled at the speed of it.

      But as they sat there talking about how long doing this job James would have to stay to get one, something odd happened. The little ship went out of sight and as they talked on, waiting for a call, the back window blew out and bullets flew through the front seat and into the instruments on the dash, as they both baled out before it caught fire.

      “What the Hell??” George screamed as the little ship slowed to a hover over the field and racked the car with machine gun fire, and both James and George opened fire on it hoping to hit something vital.

      It took everything they had but it started smoking and was forced to land, and when it did it was barely 50 yards away, and when the pilot crawled out George put him down quickly as they ran through the old gate nearby and out onto the field, as Port Security ran out to see what was going on.

      “That’s what was going on!” Screamed George pointing to his car, now on fire.” We were sitting there drinking some coffee when this jerk lifted off, turned and opened fire on us.” he said as the security men nodded they understood. They walked over and rolled the man over to see his face and instantly George screamed ‘**** !’ and the older guard smiled and asked if he was one of his fans.

      “We arrested him and his boss about a month ago for pushing drugs, I guess the old man wasn’t too happy about it huh?” He added as everyone agreed.

      “We’ll have a crew come check this out. It might be fixable.” The man said pointing to the little ship sitting there.

      “Give the bill and codes to him...it’s his now...” George said with a wink and James thought he was nuts. Even the smallest, cheapest fighter made was worth a mil and a half, used, and this model wasn’t that old. But if he had learned anything since he got to big city it was to keep his mouth shut.

      “Just the basics...” James hinted as the team agreed and they gave them a ride to the main Port where they could call all this in, since the car was just ashes by now.

      An hour later and George and James had a new car, and James had a bill for 500k, not what he hoped but then an electrical fire can do terrible things. They took the time to look the little thing over, and the Captain agreed that James was a good officer and they left him have it, for service rendered.

      He still had to stay for another month to cover it, but things had been pretty busy lately and they knew it would get paid for quickly enough. James was told to park it there at the Port and he flew it over to spot 34, and parked it there, and one security guard told him they’d keep a good eye on it for him, since they were slow to respond and he and George almost died that day. James thanked them and he and George rode away in their new car...and the guard called someone else... to report the assassination failed, and an older richer man was on a shuttle off world that afternoon.

      Chapter 26: Spaceman

      James rode around and did his best for the next month and just as he felt like taking his ship out...he woke up back in the labs.

      “Hows it going?” The company rep asked as Frank rolled his eyes at their question.

      “I know why our friend said not to worry about withdrawals...” he offered as everyone waited.” In game currency was not worth the credit to transfer it. One cup of coffee at a mom and pop store was 20 bucks, a full meal 300, and a donut 5 dollars. It costs thousands a WEEK to survive there, so game currency is worth less than 5% of the price you get paid for missions in other games. I took a job as a temp fill in policeman, and the economy is such that cops take whatever they find doing the job...just to pay their house payments.” he admitted as everyone nodded they understood. It was a cutthroat world... maybe even Universe... and Frank admitted he got his first ship, and told the tale and the head of the lab looked pretty upset that he didn’t get a better start, and he made sure to call the game company to report that too, hoping it was a bug.

      And when Frank was ready to go back in the test lab got the results, yes...he reported two bugs. One saying that he should have gotten a light shuttle to start and another that said that police should NOT steal cash and drugs they find. Police work was a hard life and was meant to be, but they admitted that they might not be paying them enough to survive in game, so that got checked as Frank disappeared and James walked out of the Police station with a high recommendation from his boss, a lifetime carry permit for weapons, a Law License good within their National Borders, and a Port Permit allowing him to park there anytime he wanted..for free.

      It was quite the nice list of bonuses , and James thought he made some pretty good friends, and he’d return to help them some other time, as he fired up the little ship and lifted off for the second part of his adventure. Now on his way out to the nearest orbiting station.

      Alpha Station was just that, the first station ever build in orbit, and the first one you see when you leave the planet.Its old but still bustling and getting work there wasn’t a problem at all. James’s little ship was small and fast, one thing he had to go with. So he took a mission to deliver important documents that had to be hand delivered to another station further out, and got 150k for doing it.

      Then he signed on to escort a shuttle back to the planet and got paid pretty well again. There were lots of little jobs like this, but he always looked for something new to try and slowly he found the maximum he could do with the little ship, and jobs became boring but steady for a little while.

      But he knew there were thousands of jobs he just couldn’t do in this, and so after a month of steady work he reported to the offices of the Station Manager and paid his tuition and sat down in front of a computer for a long and difficult test.

      It was worse than he thought but after a couple hours he handed it in and a second later the computer congratulated him for passing. 82 points, just over the 80 point minimum, but he got a class 2 license now and his choices went up a bit.

      This opened up things like freighter captain, or miner, or medium fighter, like he could afford one of those. He checked a few things and found that further out was a station called Artemis Station and it was right at the edge of one of the asteroid belts, and they took any and all minerals being mined there and paid a decent price.

      A freighter job hauling from out there back to the stations closer to the planet was a sure thing and mining too would make good money each day and a small mining ship was 2 million, and with his ship as a trade he could just make it. but then he’d be roped into a certain job for a long period of time, and he wasn’t sure he liked that idea. But Life is like that and he made his decision, and after some haggling he got a 1 year old used miner capable of hauling a thousands mineral units, and made sure it was ready and jumped to the next station out, Artemis.

      He reported in to the Station Manager and said he was here to work and they welcomed him with open arms. Prices for most minerals was well up since a few miners had retired not long ago, and it is a boring if not monotonous job for anyone. But James left them know he’d hang around for a while anyways and he started checking daily to see what minerals were worth the most, and started bringing in a few loads of those.

      But he was surprised that considering the high cost of materials, manufacturing was locked up, and even buying small blueprints was frowned on as messing with the local economy. He felt they were being a little greedy but he agreed not to rock the boat, and after that his first few loads coming in seemed worth a bit more than usual, and he appreciated their understanding...and him theirs.

      And with things going pretty well for him here his account was right back to where it had started, and he slowly started gaining a little as a few miners mentioned there were bigger ships with more than one mining beam on board, and he started looking at those and saw that they handled 3x the amount of ore that his could, so maybe it might be good to try this later.

      And during one long mining session he fell asleep and dreamed he was talking to some people in a brightly lit room, and he complained that stations had monopolies on manufacturing things and then he woke up again and got a meal and went back to work.

      “I don’t think he fully came out of it this time.” Got reported and they agreed that maybe he needed a rest in Reality, and they woke him up again and made him stay a while and his ship and life froze in place and after a day to really wake up they got a better report, and he went to see how his new home was coming.

      “He’s been doing this longer than almost anyone, and this is a really long term job.” Got reported, and even the company CEO agreed that they better keep a close eye on him after this, and even the Game Company agreed that his insurance policy was updated to show his willingness to put in the extra effort, and they changed the restrictions on manufacturing in stations to allow miners and others to start jobs doing that as well as make parts for their own vessels.


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      Chapter 27: Reputation Grows, and it Shows

      Frank went to see his new home and was surprised to see the main frame was complete and the solar panels were being added. He looked the blueprints over as the foreman showed him what they had gotten done already and Frank was pretty happy with it too and said so. He dropped another 30k on them to help out, but the foreman mentioned that they got 5k from the web site and it was still running and selling the print online.

      Frank could have bought a similar vessel for maybe a million or so, but doing it this way was slower and got it done perfectly according to his own desires, and in the long run it would be about 50% the cost of ready built. He had around 150k in it now and it was coming along well and he thanked them for their hard work and returned to his job, and was surprised that he too got a raise, or bonus as it were, for turning in obvious flaws in the game and his account barely moved even with his big project underway.

      He was outside for a week solid this time, as his boss demanded, but now he was ready and went back in, and James woke up as his miner’s alarm was going off saying the asteroid was gone, and he checked his cargo and flew to the station to get unloaded and a hot meal.

      It was boring work but it paid well, and James’s account never looked better. He even bought a better grade mining beam and got loaded faster than before. He was on his way up through the ranks now and got a message from the Miners Guild saying he had passed a milestone, his one hundredth load for sale, and he got awarded a new Traders Rank and discounts anywhere they operated.

      And he felt pretty good about it too, and called home to his Family to let them know he was doing well, and they were proud of him and said so. Of course this had him stuck doing a single type of job. But he knew before he decided to do something else again he’d need cash, lots and lots of cash, and he worked steadily for a while and watched the job boards for bonus missions he could do and everyone knew this was just a step on his way out into the Galaxy, and friends he spoke to often wished him well, and he knew it.

      And with his upgrade in both Traders Rank and the Miners Guild new missions became available, and he saw looking for rare minerals and even isotopes of rare items was a high paying job.

      New maps were available too, and he got one and it showed areas that had not yet been explored or mapped. The guild paid good money for people to take the time to map these, so that everyone could mine what was there,and so to break the monotony of everyday life, James flew into an area far from the main asteroid fields and scanned there for a day. He found really good mining there, and brought back a load of rare ores that got him a huge bonus, and his addition to the maps got him another bonus too, and he saw that exploring was a high paying job indeed.

      And as he flew out and started scanning for another day he found something strange. Far,far from any station he found a ship. Nothing he had ever seen before, but it was as big as his and seemed more heavily armed too. It showed signs of weapons damage, and the single docking port was open to space, so the crew probably escaped in pods or something.

      His curiosity was peaked now so he had his ships computer try and identify it, and after over and hour it did, and James was surprised indeed.

      It was called a Minstrel Class, a heavy military transport that belonged to a civilization they saw and occasionally did trading with, the Alliance of Gulf. A group of three planets that kept pretty much to themselves but came by once in a while looking for rare items they couldn’t find in their own space. So trading with them was possible, but didn’t happen often.

      Its specs surprised James badly, military crafts seem to get the best of everything, two guns up front, medium sized, and a turret in the back with 2 light machine guns in it. More than enough to fight off light and medium fighters, so the reason it was sitting here was because it found something bigger than that. The fire marks showed some good firepower, and one or two penetrated the hull and holes were seen right into the interior.

      It was worth a million at least even in this sad shape, so he asked his computer to take control of it and see if it could be flown, and she all but laughed in his face saying she was a mining ship, not covert ops. And he laughed too but she said that if he entered the craft and tried himself maybe she could help since he would have first hand information she couldn’t get from here.

      And so James’s little exploration mission became even more exciting, as the door opened along the side and he flew across in his space suit and after a few tries got the air lock along the side of the alien ship to open, and he went inside.

      There was junk floating everywhere, and he worked his way to the bridge and looked the system over. The main computer wasn’t even online now and he managed to get a screen up showing the damages, and one conduit along the left side of the ship was severed, and that shut off nearly everything in the rear of the ship. It appeared it still had fuel and power but only up front, and so he got the computer online again after a reset, and this new one and his talked back and forth and soon he got control of the ship and his ID showed as the new owner.

      “Is there any way to do repairs remotely?” James asked as the computer told him that system was offline too, but back in engineering there were sprays that did repairs. They were slow but steady and since only one set of wires was cut they might just help. So she helped him get back there and found storage locker 3 and opened it to find cans of various things for maintenence and he took one large can marked Nano Repairs and found the severed wiring and gave it a good healthy spray.

      “Now we wait.” She told him and he got some of the bulkheads sealed to keep in the oxygen and life support came back on as he sat in the Command chair and waited for a small miracle.

      He actually dozed off waiting but he got awakened by the computer buzzing him to say that some systems were coming online again.

      “Rear maneuvering thrusters are back up, and out of the three main engines one is now working,but not at full power.” She said and he asked if they needed to spray the area again and she agreed it couldn’t hurt, and she found another spot that needed help too and so he went and did that, and tossed the empty can out through the hole in the hull and went back to the control room again.

      Now he could scan the whole rear section and slowly the repairs were getting done. James was pretty happy that being a military craft they had these things on board because they were expensive as hell, but this time it didn’t cost him anything but time, and he felt like things were turning around for him now.


      Chapter 28: Fleet Owner


      James was gone for a week solid but when he returned to the station he had two ships instead of one. The station manager cheered for him saying that he found a good one, and the transfer into his name was official, and he got the time to get the hull repaired and to really go over the ship seeing what it could do.

      It had nearly the same cargo capacity as his miner and guns forward and aft. The rear turret had two light machine guns for missile defense, and light fighters wouldn’t want to get too close to those either.

      The front guns were a little bigger, the rear guns were 30 caliber machine guns using armor piercing rounds, pretty much standard for light turrets. But the 3 front guns were light pulse lasers, and even light armor wasn’t getting away from those unscathed.

      His miner had no guns except for the mining beam so defense alone was triple what it had. Also miners have a generic 25 mega-joule shield, mostly for bumping into rocks while mining, but this new ship had room for 4 of those, more than many fighters.It was also faster, about 1/3 faster than his miner, and James saw some nice times ahead and he started to think about hiring someone to mine for him so he could go do other things.

      It got mentioned that he really did have more firepower than many fighters, and a missile launcher too, made for light missiles and rockets. Of course rockets are dirt cheap compared to missiles, but homing missiles are another thing altogether. Depending on what you bought they could go from 3200 a missile for short range generic types to 50k a missile for more payload and longer range. But James wasn’t looking to own a battleship, just something to do more missions with, and so after paying for the repairs he got a couple cases of ammo for the rear turret and removed one pulse laser up front and mounted a mining beam. It was made for 4 guns but he needed the money now and the mining beam would help pay for the rest, and two pulsars are nothing to laugh at, so that was it.Now he could do anything, and with the new speed he could go places he hadn’t been before too, and if he found something truly rare he wanted the option to bring it back with him.

      James hired a young kid to run his old miner, and they made a deal for a percentage of the haul. Now he had money coming in and his own personal ship to work with. He took it out and flew around a while and got used to the way it handled. It wasn’t much different from the little miner, but with the new weapons he had a lot more options.

      So for something different he hired on as a escort for a large convoy of materials going to another station. There had been some trouble lately, and so they wanted a little protection, and he agreed. So he fell in beside them as they flew along, and about 2/3 of the way there they got attacked by a wing of light fighters, and he chased them away easily. They obviously weren’t expecting an escort, and at first glance it wasn’t clear what type of ship his was, so it might have passed for a corvette class star ship, but either way they left pretty fast when his guns came on, and he got paid big time for saving the convoy when it finally docked.

      His account came up nicely after that and he made sure both of his ships had the best of everything and by that time he went to sleep one night...and woke up as Frank again... and for a second looked around a bit scared, then slowly things came back to him and he could finally breath again after the scare.

      “Welcome back..” One researcher said as Frank just nodded and they got him up and around again. It had been another month and once he was fully awake they had a meeting and he told them everything that had been going on. “Doesn’t sound like any malfunctions this time.” he heard and he agreed things seemed pretty normal, and that was the report sent back to the main offices.

      Again he got walking around and went out and went to see his project, and the foreman told him they needed more cash because some of the furnishings he asked for weren’t cheap, and Frank dropped another 25k on him and they shook on it. His floating home was nearing completion, and it was nice. But as he walked around the little garden that ringed the house itself he felt that it was smaller than he had hoped, and he mentioned it. So the blue prints got altered and became a MK II version, and the construction crew was told to add another 10 feet down the length, and they agreed. With this change it would have enough room for a jogging path around the edge of the platform. Not big you understand, but walking or running around a 100 foot x 50 foot platform was better exercise than nothing. And Frank saw some nice days coming, sitting out here fishing and watching other boats going by, and that was a relaxing thought.

      According to the specs the solar farm on the roof of the house and the roof of the pavilion over the picnic area had enough power to run everything, and a little extra. So that was one thing he didn’t need to pay for again, power. And he added a small rotating windmill on top of the pavilion, the type that lays down and spins, not like a big propeller blade, and it was smaller and less dangerous than the others he saw and that added another 1 kw of power for days and nights when solar wouldn’t be working well.

      So another couple months and it would be done, and Frank thanked them for doing such a good job, and added the new blueprints to the web site too and it started looking like a real business now. He even added a small section called ‘tips and tricks’ where he mentioned things like the walking path and solar power and the windmill, and the people coming to his site went up nicely and he sold even more stuff. And because he mentioned their products and left links to their stores, he got cash for everything someone from his site bought, and that added a little more to his retirement account.


    5. #15
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      Chapter 29: New Discoveries


      Now back in game, he had done a few jobs and everyday some cash came in from his miner too. So today he was out exploring, and he ran full out into a new system where he had never been before.

      It had a planet with colonists on it that had started a new civilization around a hundred years ago. Separatists from a planet where they felt unwanted. But they were the grumpy type, and though he could dock at their orbital station and get supplies, they wouldn’t allow him onto the surface, because his faction rating wasn’t high enough.

      So he checked around and every station in the system was short on things, it seemed being hard to get along with kept some people away, and he checked prices and smiled wide and went out into the edge of the system and mined a full load of bauxite, and returned and sold it for a big profit, even better than back home by a good bit.

      This gave him a tiny bit better faction, and prices he needed to pay for things went down a little, so he stayed for a few days and made a small fortune here and soon he was able to buy anything, and at good prices too.

      But he still wasn’t allowed on the surface, and he decided that maybe they were xenophobes, and just left it go.

      But out here people knew the type of ship he was flying on sight, and one old man left him know that they were seen from time to time in their system, and James saw that maybe this one came from out here when it entered his home system, and that the local security team there hadn’t taken it well.

      Meanwhile in a totally different research lab, a man was smiling really wide at the progress James was making in their new universe.

      “Do you think this is right? I mean after all he’s a professional who has successfully found more than a few bugs for us, and here we are using him as advertisement for how successful regular people can be in our Universe?” he got asked as he just laughed it off.

      “Our plan has always been to have the most players, and the best insurance to cover them, after all our company is building a special hospital for player cases and the more we get the more our corporation makes in the long haul. If they think everyone can be just as great as him then they will do anything, buy anything, spend anything, to catch up...we don’t need to tell anyone he’s a trained professional, we just need to let the in game news make a big deal out of everything he does.” He added as eyes dropped all around the room. “ And when he becomes a Mogul and rich beyond reckoning here others will kill themselves to be like him, hundreds, thousands of dollars a month in income each, and if he...accidentally...becomes hooked here, he’ll be our poster boy for life, and our insurance will pay for everything for him...so no cost to him at all." They heard and a few weren’t too happy this was the way the corporation was planning on becoming even more rich.

      But orders are orders, and James got even luckier, finding new ores he hadn’t even seen before and his account shot up again, and when it came time for his next break...the system was mysteriously off line for the day.

      “Don’t worry we think we have it figured out. It’ll be back online by the end of the day.” They got told and so they waited, and Frank got more days in a row without a break, and his friends started to worry about him.

      When he did come out he was more shocked than ever before, taking a whole day to adjust himself to being out again, and his company ordered him to rest, and told their employers he was off line until further notice, and that didn’t please the man in charge of this project at all. He called and complained saying their first public test group was getting ready even now and they needed him back online, but Franks boss was serious about this, and both men started to see that things were not going the way they thought they would in the beginning.

      “If they wont cooperate then we need a few others that will. Start the Open Alpha and lets see who we can find there.” The company CEO demanded and within a week hundreds ran into the game and the company watched to see if any of them were really serious about it, and might want to stay forever.

      And Frank got better and waved their concerns away saying he was doing great there, and he was ready to return, and even his research team had no choice, and after a weeks break he went back in and right back to work making big money and working towards owning his own company, something he mentioned when they asked him how things were going.

      But while his new home was now completed, he was more worried about getting back...and that worried them even more. If they weren’t careful he might like this job too much, the signs were already there, and he just kept bragging about how well he was doing now, and that the hard start gave way to great opportunities later on almost like a switch had been thrown. And some researchers there started to wonder if that wasn’t the case, and started monitoring different parts of the game after that.

      And with the addition of hundreds of new players the game company watched diligently for someone who loved it here more than others, and within a month saw Stan Hackle, a young man who loved space games and went out of his way to try everything they held, and he started getting a little help too, and his name got mentioned on the in game news as a successful businessman, and God knows people like being bragged about, and he was no exception, as he tried even harder to get mentioned, and James saw that he had some competition now, and he too worked even harder to keep ahead of him, as the company Ceo laughed silently that their plan was working, as dozens of others started screaming for better ships and faster guns...for a price of course...and before the end of the first Alpha stage the company was well on its way to recouping the cash they spent making it.

      “A little friendly competition doesn’t hurt anyone...especially US.” got mentioned and many agreed and thousands in cash started pouring in, more than enough to cover the cost of the servers and power, and so some working capital was gathered even before the game went into Beta testing, and when it did there would be thousands of others willing to throw money at them to catch up...just as planned.


      Chapter 30: Incorporating Success


      By now James was ready...he bought another miner and sent it into the new area to mine there. Then he made an official claim to the area for his new Corporation, Goodman Incorporated,and that made the news as the first corporation to own land in game. He had employees now too and they started making good money from it all and bragged to everyone about it.

      Stanley saw this and went nuts that James got such a big head start, and when he realized he couldn’t catch up doing mining or trade, he started a mercenary group and took missions to escort convoys and protect stations, and got mentioned as a savior a few times for his good work, and his group got bigger and did a few little jobs that might not make his reputation look much better, but it made them a lot of cash quickly.

      He too incorporated his new group and Mercs Incorporated became a common name in the Universe and others saw that fighting was profitable, and so they tried hard to do the same and new ships came off the assembly lines, new things never before seen and they were beautiful and fast and powerful...but certainly not cheap. But people didn’t care, and a few started collecting ships of all kinds for bragging rights, and others bought the every best to try and get ahead, and the company smiled wider than ever before because this month was their best one yet.

      In the old days hundreds of people worked for years to make a game. Now with the advent of AI it was a different matter. You tell the AI what type of game you want. It makes a raw game that you check over and then change to suit you. It can be done by a few dozen people in a year, and without millions and millions in capital. Sure these new AI programs were expensive, but you only pay for that once, and then updates are all you need to stay on top of things, so making a profit from it all doesn’t take the long term commitment that it used to, and profits come in quickly after operating costs are met.

      So even in the first stages of Beta testing the Ultimate Game Corporation was in the black on this one and profits were streaming in. The CEO was smiling at that and the numbers of players bragging about the game was steadily going up. If they were lucky then they could build a new server section, and upgrade to the very best equipment, and again build a new game to run there, for next to nothing. And if they found a lot of people willing to actually live inside their Universe, then everything they made became the Corporations...wither they realized it or not. No matter how much you make it means nothing if it never leaves the game and withdrawals were possible, but why think like that if your life was here? So making them happy within the game universe was essential, because they didn’t want anyone thinking about that deposit thing if at all possible.

      Of course they needed a few to do it...just for publicity purposes... but nothing big. A few hundred dollars here and there, maybe a thousand, and it made the news with their names saying people were making a living inside the game...an exaggeration for sure...but it made people go insane thinking it was possible, and it was...but only a very few were going to do it because the game was made to draw you in to stay, not let you go home and spend the companies money.

      And the first time it got advertised that a young woman made 500 dollars cash and took it home new high class equipment in game sold at an incredible pace, and it tripled what they left her take without a single chance many of these new people would ever do it themselves, and thats the way Corporate Gaming is run.

      By now James had a great reputation, and his mining was helping many people get resources they couldn’t get on their own. New armor was made from it making ships better protected, and new engines making them faster than before. Now his name meant so much that many wouldn’t even consider chasing him...he was a legend now compared to new players, and they saw him as such. And James felt secure and happy in a game for the first time ever, and he smiled a lot and built a trading station of his own near his asteroid holdings, and that too got a huge push in the media, and many rushed there just to see what a player base might look like, and company profits soared for the next month, and some got diverted to their new hospital, making finishing it a sure thing.

      And the test group was having a meeting, and the leader was pretty happy the way things were going.

      “James is doing great and becoming a huge success, just a little more... one more push... and I’m sure he’ll join us.” he declared as many there agreed.” How is that research coming?” he asked as the research got shown and he smiled and agreed to run it immediately, and James got a message from a new player asking for work, and she was really nice to look at, and seemed a bit shy talking to him on the open links but he admitted there might be something for her here, and she moved into his station in her little shuttle and started working in the trading area as a salesman, and there was something about her he couldn’t put his finger on...but he watched her as she got better at what she did daily and he decided hiring her was a good decision.

      “Its working...” he got told as he smiled wider than before.” She’s a collection of the best traits of all the women he married and lived with in all the games he’s done so far. He cant help but be attracted to her.” he got told, as his plan went into Stage 2...a reason never to leave the game... and he sat back feeling especially proud of himself today. While a few of his employees weren’t at all sure they liked the way this was going.

      And because of that a call got sent, a silent little message explaining what was happening, and the CEO of Atlas Testing went through the roof reading it, and he saw that the bad feelings Frank’s Test team were having were real after all.

      “They’ve been lying to us the whole time. They intend to indoctrinate him into their game permanently and use him for advertising.” They got told and many there demanded they pull him out immediately but they had a contract, and the Corporation was well within their rights to hit them with enormous fines for pulling out too soon.

      “How soon until he comes out for a rest again?” He asked and they told him 2 weeks..if they allowed it...and he nodded and said that Frank deserved to know the truth, and they’d tell him the next day he was outside, and everyone agreed.
      And silently the word started getting out that the new game was a player trap...and that was a name no game company wanted to admit to... and a few testers stepped back to see and some players started asking a lot of questions, and Ultimate Gaming went on the defensive, wondering why this got started so quickly, and who was to blame.


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      Chapter 31: More Than a Game


      Ultimate Gaming had more backers than anyone knew, and they too were getting upset that this new attack on them was getting so much attention.They had real reasons to want it to succeed, and so they too stood up for them saying that they knew for a fact the CEO was a man of honor and would never do such a thing, and with that reassurance attacks did start to slow down a bit.

      And while this played out in the real world, James was now a real life CEO in the game, and his corporation was the top in business anywhere. His reputation made him the man to beat, and many were trying, but every time someone stepped forward, they got pushed back,one way or another. And that made them upset and they tried even harder, and by now the game had dozens of corporations in it, each trying to outdo the others, and millions in profits coming in everyday and getting taxed and spent to keep the Universe expanding into infinity.

      By the time the Full Open Beta was announced more than 2 dozen corporations already existed, and their names got placed on advertisements saying this was only the beginning, and many more were welcome to come and join and make huge profits.And with the huge influx of new members came new cash, and another section of the Universe got opened as the first big update, and the Rebel Alliance was formed and attacks on ships and convoys stepped up as many cheered for new challenges, and the CEO smiled thinking they didn’t realize that this would slow them considerably, and they’d need to work even harder...and longer hours...to keep ahead.

      And the word came back that the new hospital had one wing ready, with the best of everything, and the Corporation announced that it was so, and that their new insurance was the best available and no one had a reason to hold back, and many cheered and ran full force into the game and left the real world behind, and within a month two beds got filled. And it got mentioned that with the insurance and some work in game to pay for it you could live here forever in great luxury, and many more smiled to think it and the CEO smiled too, because once they agreed then he owned them... and slaves, no matter how rich... are just that.

      Now James needed someone to be seen with, for publicity if nothing else, and so he asked Sara , his new employee to go out with him, and she agreed.They were seen many places together, and it got mentioned they might be a couple. And while that had never happened she did mention that she wasn’t completely against the idea...and James smiled and agreed.

      And with that admission, his new life in this Universe was all but solidified, and when his next break came he didn’t know why they bothered, and after hours getting him back to himself he openly told them he wasn’t happy they dragged him away from his business, and they were forced to remind him that time stopped when he was out here and his business was waiting for him inside, and with that he decided it wasn’t too bad then.

      But it took a whole day again for him to realize this was the real world and he was only doing a job...and that realization made him sad... and it was easy to see. They also told him how he was being manipulated and that his new business was a gift to give the company something to brag about, and trap others into joining them full time to try and catch up.

      “Sounds like business as usual to me..” he added and try as they might they couldn’t disagree, but this time it was one of their own getting targeted, and he said he could take care of himself, but by now no one was really sure of that. “I almost have my first Billion in game, something I never had before.” he admitted as many there just nodded they understood.

      “No matter what happens I’m finishing that job...and becoming a Legend for ages after I leave. Then I might just retire and live off my reputation.” he said with a wink and for a moment the old Frank was back and they all agreed that might not be too bad.

      But Ultimate Gaming knew something was up, and so they moved their plans ahead. The Rebel Alliance got friends, powerful friends, and they started to move across known space towards the civilization now known as the Corporate Entities...and James and his friends.

      Immediately the Mercenary Guilds got into the defense of their systems, and new ships came out to help them. Then new armor and weapons and soon the war was in full swing. James had his own small fleet, and he added ships to it for his own safety, and skirmishes started all along their boarders and for the first time an official Navy was started and ships rolled off the assembly line to meet the new threat, funded by taxes on the major corporations.

      Now the Leaders of the Corporate Entity asked everyone for assistance, and James agreed to add more ships to his mining fleet to help with the shortage of resources. Soon it was an economic war as well as a shooting one, and the combat players were in their glory, and they called into the real world and told people about the war, and thousands of friends rushed to join.

      And on Stardate 3245 at 11:00 hours the Game known as Corporate Galaxy, went online full time, and he hype they spread in advance, and the stories of great conflicts and greater rewards drew in a whole new generation of players, and the Universe doubled in size within a month, and many had so much fun there that they offered to stay voluntarily, and become the next generation of Moguls and Admirals, and the company agreed to everything, as a second wing in their hospital opened to rave reviews, and everyone bought the newest and best insurance, and settled in to win this massive war.

      But while they won big battles and even captured and added enemy ships to their fleets they kept on coming...sometimes overrunning them by shear numbers, and even with the new generation of players it didn’t look good for holding out against them.

      The new Navy was kept busy and the Mercenaries right along side them, every day. From one end of the galaxy to the other battles rages and some that had started corporations of their own failed and went under and had to get loans from others to get a good start again, knowing they could repay them later.

      One captured frigate was worth 50 million credits, one small corvette 22 million. Even fighters, especially heavies, were worth several million each, and some custom fighters called ultra heavies were almost as expensive as corvettes. So it was worth it to try and capture ships during battles, especially smaller skirmishes where not as many heavy ships were around. And the docks started selling a wide range of things to help with that, from missiles that disabled engines and weapons systems, to hacking software and custom computer setups made just for the job.

      Of course they weren’t cheap... but then the rewards were high if they succeeded... and every major ship ever captured was mentioned on the news with a picture of the new owner, and it became a sort of club, the Capture Club, and many rushed to get into it, and lost everything trying. As Ultimate Gaming went in to high gear and new challenges were sent out to force them to try even harder...and spend more.

      Chapter 32: Corporate War Ends... on and off the Game

      Now James was the biggest hero of the entire game. A billionaire that started out as a normal citizen and now ruled an entire sector, and a Corporation besides. He was who everyone wanted to be, and his accomplishments were hyped to make him larger than life, and he knew it well.

      So everyday he looked for new investments, and a deal was made with another man and a second station went up within sight if his. Now the ores could be refined right here...no need to share the wealth with anyone else, just sell finished parts at high prices. Another big success to brag about and money came rolling in again.

      Ultimate Gaming made sure he never failed, and that anyone associated with him did well too, and because of that he soon had control over a big part of the local economy, and through that armor production and ship construction.He was THE business man, and hundreds of new people worked around the clock to even approach his greatness...but they never would no matter how much they threw at the game. That was the plan...and it was working magnificently.

      And when his next break came he made sure they knew he wasn’t happy with it...just as planned...and he finally went home for a while to his new houseboat and soon a member of his team got a call saying to drop by, and so she did, with her assistant alongside as always.

      They parked nearby and walked out the dock to the boat. it was more than nice it was like his own floating island, only smaller. The plants were growing well and he had tomatoes and other vegetables there in sight, and when they walked inside the house they heard someone rattling around in the room next door and opened the door to see what he wanted.

      But what they saw wasn’t Frank at all, but a young woman, dirty blond with a nice figure, and she turned and smiled...and Hanna, the Head Researcher nearly fainted, and her assistant wasn’t much better.

      “Sara??” She whispered as the lady turned around and asked if they had ever met somewhere before, and Hanna admitted they hadn’t. “But...this is impossible!” Hanna added as the young lady of 20 looked impressed she thought so.

      “Oh there you are...” they heard as Frank walked in fresh from the shower, and Hanna nodded towards the living room and he nodded agreement. “Sara can you get my diving suit ready? I’m going back in game for about half an hour soon.” he added and she nodded and went into the room next door, and when she stepped inside and turned on the light, it was a one man diving set up..with the very best of everything.

      “OK before you go nuts on me...” Frank started as he guided Hanna into the living area and pushed her down into a seat there.” This can all be explained if you’ll just listen.” he announced as she looked not at all convinced of that.

      “Thats Sara...right? But how?” She asked as he took a long breath and smiled wider still.

      “What does Ultimate Gaming brag about more than me?” he asked as she thought and said ‘absolute Reality in gaming’ and he agreed. “So what would happen if someone had a DNA sample run in game and got a full, detailed report on it? Would it be less accurate than a test run out here? Knowing that Absolute Reality was their entire plan from the beginning?” he asked, as she had to think about that one.

      “You tested Sara’s DNA in game...but how did you do this...” The assistant asked waving towards the other room.

      “Ultimate Gaming was so sure of themselves that they actually had a set of working DNA created OUT HERE and then added it to the game for me, to make me stay there indefinitely.” Frank added as Hanna looked shocked.” So when I had it tested in game, the result was a real DNA scan and file. Her exact DNA set from top to bottom for everyone to see. You told me weeks ago what they were doing,but you knew that when I went inside I’d forget everything after the first deal or conversation...so...I hired a traveling assistant that does my research for me and puts it all into a file on my desk. I hired...ME.” he added looking very sure of himself while Hanna looked faint.

      “I show up for a minute or two, send a file to my other desk and leave. I never forget I’m in a game because I never deal with anyone but me, and then only over the computer.Ultimate Gaming made a game they could control from top to bottom every second, and wring every person dry of every cent they have. Well after this experiment turned out so well I hired Sara who I had made for me at Hudson Labs....to be my research assistant when I dive from here...and she’s very well trained, believe me, it cost me almost every cent I made to do it but thats about to change...drastically.” Frank added and asked them to stay a while and he went inside and after a little bit he walked back out all smiles and Hanna asked what he did.

      “Nothing big...just teaching Ultimate Gaming a lesson..what else do they brag about that people can do...occasionally?” he hinted as Hanna just shrugged and he laughed out loud.” I ask for a withdrawal..they brag that they have a Real Cash Economy... of course you can only withdraw a fraction of your money into the Real World ...about 10%. So I just sent in my withdrawal slip...for 2 billion dollars.” he said and then gave her a deep bow and she burst out laughing so hard she almost fell off the sofa.

      “And since you’re their Poster Boy for success..” the assistant added softly.
      “They don’t dare refuse him, it would be all over the world of gaming in an instant!” Hanna added as Frank smiled and agreed.

      “Unless my math is WAY off thats about 20 Million dollars in Real World cash. The CEO is probably on his way to the hospital right now...but fear not I hear they built a brand new one just for such emergencies.” Frank added and everyone laughed, and the Board of Directors of Ultimate Gaming fired the raining CEO, and gave Frank his job...as the largest stock holder in the company. And a few things changed really quickly, like players got told the truth, that cash CAN be made and taken home and they set up a system where 1/4 of all cash made in game could be withdrawn, but only once a month. They needed to keep the thing going after all.

      And Frank got an award for his experimenting in Cyber Technology coming into the Real World, and other research groups found out that...if properly detailed...even plants and animals could be created in a game environment...and then brought out into the Real World. Of course there were a ton of rules about that too, and Frank helped write them, as he and his Research Team made news almost every year, and Ultimate Gaming was the biggest success in Gaming History, all because one man wouldn’t be turned into a slave, and found a way to stop it while becoming the success...out here..that they made him in game.

      sorry I almost forgot about this, got a new interesting game myself..lol


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