"Welcome, Marcus." My vision slowly started to focus, and a groggy moan escaped from my throat. Where was I? The last thing I remember was lying on my bed, falling asleep. Eventually, my vision slowly unblurred, and I saw a well-dressed man sitting before me in an otherwise barren room. He had jet black hair that was swept back, and his eyes were tinted with a storm grey hue that had a faint glimmer within them.
His face was flawless and was chiseled to perfection. His flesh was snow white and his lips were the softest shade of pink. After a moment of me staring at him, I saw the corners of his lips turned upwards into a small smirk. He reached up to adjust his shimmering golden tie that stood at stark contrast to his black suit. He then cleared his throat and shifted slightly in his seat before speaking, "My name is Malek. I am the Chief Overseer of Earth and countless other planets."
With each word he spoke, I felt the fiber of my being strum, and my eyes widen slightly at this new bit of information. "So you are God?" I managed to stutter out as I felt utterly overwhelmed. I only received an eye roll in response as he sat back into his chair.
"Not in the sense that you are thinking of. That God is me, but I'm not exactly what you humans paint me as." I sat for a moment pondering his words only to have a small spark of anger start to grow in my chest.
"So, my whole life and religion have been a lie?" The anger coated my voice making it more profound, but it still paled in comparison to his voice.
He raised an eyebrow and leaned forward, "Firstly, do not take that tone with me. Secondly, everything you have read in that book-" he trailed off for a moment and closed his eyes slowly moving his hand in a circular motion as if he was trying to coax something from memory, "What do you call it? The bible or something? That's all true and did happen. So no, it's not a lie, just simply not the entire story." He sat back and crossed his legs, his black dress pants remaining smooth and unwrinkled with his shoes dark and polished to a bright shine.
Upon hearing his words I relaxed in the chair, feeling somewhat more comforted, and I was relieved yet intrigued at the reveal of this new information "So I'm guessing me being here means I'm about to learn more about this and that I'm also either dead or taken from my world."
"That would be correct. You died peacefully in your sleep due to natural causes, and you just so happened to be marked by Alpha, the being that runs this galaxy." I stared at him with what I was sure was a blank face.
He gazed at me for a moment before letting out a soft chuckle, his voice changing to more of a light-hearted tone. "Oh, right, I still need to bring you up to date on a few things. I haven't had a candidate in any of my worlds in a very long time." He snapped his fingers, and the room started to shift and blur as it faded out of existence. The walls crumbled to ash and blew away, revealing an even larger room underneath us.
We sat just above it, hovering in the air. As I gazed down, I could see a large number of what looked to be holograms of planets decorating the room. A multitude of beings was moving to and fro from what I assumed were computers talking animatedly amongst themselves. I tore my gaze from the scenery back to Malek as he looked down at the room quite happily. "This is my Administration Room; all the planets that I run are found here, and much like yours will soon be, it exists outside of the normal dimension." He explained to me quite excitedly, as he stood up and beckoned me to follow him. I stared down at the space he was walking on, and I tentatively touched the air with my naked foot, and to my surprise, I found a solid surface that felt like cold metal. I shivered slightly at that, as I stood up and looked down to take the view in once more, and a flash of embarrassment coursed through me as I realized I was naked. Then shock, as I realized I was missing a few key things that made me male. My tan flesh was pulled tightly across my chest and stomach. Where there was once a ball of fat in my stomach was a tightly toned abdominal area. I reached down tentatively and patted my flat stomach.
"Are you sure this isn't a dream? That at any moment I would wake up and laugh at this in the morning?" I asked Malek as sadness crept into my voice, and denial started to grow within my chest.
Malek stopped walking and turned to me and with a sad expression, replied, "No, I'm afraid not. This is all very real, and the sooner you can accept that the sooner we can continue and get you on your merry way." He turned and continued walking, and I had no choice but to follow him.
We plodded along quietly on the air for a moment. It was almost as if I was being allowed to process what was happening, before he broke the silence and spoke again, "Now allow me to explain everything to you. You were selected by Alpha, who most of the others refer to as the System, to become an Administrator. You have been allowed to become a being akin to a god, and your only job is to create life, and help civilizations flourish."
As he spoke, we approached a single door that floated in the air. He stopped just before it and gazed at me with concern filling his eyes. "Trust me. I know what's going through your mind. You were thrust into this suddenly and you have no clue what’s going on. Why you and what is even happening."
I flushed quickly at his words. He was right. Why me, what about my family? I let out a small sigh and nodded my head in agreement to his words, "You're right. I can't believe any of this is happening. Me? Something close to a god? It just seems too good to be true. What about my life, my family?" As I spoke, I felt the start of tears appear at the corner of my eyes as the sadness grew in my chest.
Malek gazed at me for a moment longer before speaking again, and his words had a comforting tone as he spoke. "When I was first chosen to become an Administrator, I faced the same dilemma. My life, my future, or this." His eyes lost focus for a moment as if he was lost in memory before he came back, "And you do have a choice in the matter. You can accept this position, or I can remove the mark on your existence, and you lose the right to become an Administrator. You will wake up in your bed in the morning, and you will not remember any of this and go back to living your life, before eventually passing."
I stood there quietly, pondering his words for a few moments. "What about my parents? And my girlfriend? What will happen to them if I take this role?"
He closed his eyes for a few seconds before speaking, "Your parents will be devastated but eventually move on. Your girlfriend was never much of a girlfriend. She has been with your best friend Dominique for a long time, and she's just never had the heart to tell you. She will move on with him and make something of herself."
I frowned and felt my heartbreak at his words. My girlfriend Elana and I had been together for three years since we graduated high school and four before that. We had been through so much together, and she got with my best friend? "And if I stay?" I asked him as I felt the dread spreading in my heart at potentially knowing my future, while heartbreak sat deep within my core with tears threatening to pour down my face.
He stood there for a time, his eyes still closed. He eventually opened his eyes and gazed at me with a faraway expression. "You will wake up in your bed without a single memory of this talk ever happening. You will return to your same boring routine, before finding out Elana has been sleeping with Dominique. You will lose her, and a few years later, you will take your own life and die alone."
His eyes eventually focused, and his expression went back to being apathetic. "The choice is yours, now that the future is known to you." He reached for the handle of the door and gripped it tightly, "Make your choice. Once you decide, there is no going back."
I sniffled and felt devastated at the news. On the one hand, I'd lose everything, and on the other, I would still lose everything. I quickly wiped away my tears as my mind raced, coming to the only logical conclusion. I nodded my head slowly while trying to suppress the well of emotions growing in my chest, "Alright, I've made my choice."
Malek raised an eyebrow, "And what choice would that be?" He asked curiously.
I let out a heavy sigh, "If it means I have to let my family be happy, then I will become an Administrator."
Malek nodded his head, and a faint smile appeared on the corner of his lips, "Good choice, now let's get you set up." He pushed the door open, and it swung silently on its hinges, revealing a swirling violet vortex.
Malek and I both stepped through the portal. I felt as if a bucket of cold water forced its way into my veins while a bucket of boiling water emptied itself over my flesh. I dropped to the floor in agony as I lost control. Pain rolled through my very core in waves as I spasmed. Through blurry and teary eyes, I could see Malek reach down, and I felt a cold hand on my forehead, "There, there, the first time is the only time it hurts like this." His voice was soft and comforting as his hand rested on my forehead. I screamed and cried as I felt my bones start to break, and my body melt. My mind felt as if it was cracking and tearing itself asunder, and I felt my sanity fracture. My pained cries echoed across the small room we were in, and each breath was like a sharp knife in my chest. After what felt like an eon, the pain faded, and I managed to suck in a deep breath. The air did a lot to help calm my nerves, as I lay on the floor there, panting for breath, sweat pooled underneath me, and my whole body felt warm. Malek stood and extended a hand that I gladly took.
"What the hell was that!" I asked Malek as I rose to my feet. My entire body felt off, and it felt lighter and stronger than before.
"That, my friend, was your body accepting the mark Alpha left on you. This was your first step to your awakening." Malek smiled and gestured to the Pod sitting across the room from us. "This is where you will go to change your body to suit your needs for your future uses." I forced my eyes away from Malek's flawless face and took stock of the pod.
The pod, which looked like a cryo pod from an old FPS game I rather enjoyed in my younger years, sat in the middle of the room with a hologram in front of it. The holograms were hovering in front of what seemed to be a rather comfy gaming chair. A small smirk crept across my face and I let out a chuckle as I saw it causing Malek to give me a curious look. "What's so funny?" He raised an eyebrow at me as we neared the pod.
"For an all-powerful being, you sure seem to be using a lot of our technology."
He shrugged as he took a seat and expanded the hologram. "You humans have a rather different use of technology. Stuff grounded in logic is rare in this galaxy, and it is fascinating. This pod is merely a conduit, and I do not need it, I just prefer it."
His voice took on a scholarly tone as he pointed towards the pod. "Now, if you please, Marcus." I nodded my head and walked towards the pod. My fingers gently traced the smooth silver plating that lined the outside of the metal tube. The metal was cold to the touch and slowly curved into a thick glass plane that only reflected the outside room. I rested my hand gently on the glass and took stock of my reflection. My once short-cropped brown hair faded into a deep white while my eyes blazed with bright gold, almost as if the sun took residence in them. I gingerly touched my face tracing the now defined cheekbones marveling at the lack of fat on my face.
"Malek, why do I look so different," I asked him as my hands traced my face marveling at the bright face and flawless skin in the reflection of the pod.
That's your very being changing to accommodate the power flowing through you. However, this form is only temporary. You can keep it, or you can have a full reset and take another form. It's your choice." I froze at his words and pondered about how it would be cool to do that. I stepped back and nodded my head, "I'm ready, Malek."
A small hiss sounded, and the pod slowly opened like the maw of a monster, and I felt my heart pound heavily in my chest. With each passing millisecond, the reality of my situation pressed on my psyche. I reached a tentative hand and touched the pod softly, tracing the lid as I turned back to look at Malek. "Are you sure this is not a dream?" I saw him give me a soft smile through the mirage of holograms.
"This is as real as you and I. Once you get through this phase, we can further discuss everything, so you understand exactly what is going on. Sadly, time is a luxury that we do not have at the moment." I nodded my head and slid into the pod. The cushion on the back wrapped around my flesh, and I took a deep breath as I watched the lid slowly start close. With each passing second, my heartbeat even heavier in my chest as I tried to reassure myself that everything is alright. The pod clicked close, and then once fully glass lid darkened, replacing my vision with all-consuming darkness.
"Marcus, can you hear me?" Malek's voice rang through an intercom to my right and sounded so close that I thought he was right behind me for a moment.
"Yes, I can hear you. What's the next step?" I ask him as I shifted uncomfortably in the seat, trying to fight the paranoia growing in my chest.
"Well, the next step is that you are creating your status as an Admin. Think of it as simply making a character like you would in one of those MMOs or whatever you humans call them now." I shifted in the pod, trying to find a comfortable position to fight off the growing sense of claustrophobia.
"And why does that require me to be in this pod?" I ask him as I let out a gruff of irritation and press my hands against the lid.
"This I thought it would be cool." He let out a small chuckle that sounded like thunder rolling in the distance before continuing. "Well, anyway, I digress. Essentially I'm about to set up your connection to the System, and once that occurs, you are going to have free reign to design yourself as you please. However, please be aware that once you are in, we will not be able to talk to each other until the process is up." I nodded my head and took a deep breath.
"Okay, Malek, any parting words of advice before I do this?" The intercom sat silent for a moment before I heard a heavy sigh.
"Whatever sense of morals you may have had before this, drop them. Whatever constrained you to the life you lived before this, forget them. They will only serve to bog you down. This is a new chance at life, so take it and live it to the fullest you can. Allow yourself to be fully redefined and accept these changes." I struggled to nod my head as I felt my eyelids grow heavy, and I fell into the all-consuming darkness.