There was only blue, a light airy blue for as far as the eye could see, no discernable floor, no discernable walls either. I still couldn’t feel anything, but I at least could look around. Or at least I think I could.
“Hello Player” a voice says. It doesn’t sound projected from anywhere. It sounded like it was inside my head. This was all sorts of fucked. I must be...in the game somehow? I already thought these sorts of things happened with more modern machinery than this in fiction…
“Hello?” I called out, something was wrong with my voice. It sounded wrong. Like it had no tone to it at all.
“Ah this works! Great!” The voice in my head says again, light music starts playing. “I wasn’t sure this entire thing would. Welcome to the Revnation games” The Revnation games? Oh yeah thats what the game was called wasn’t it, Revnation.
“Can we like, not do this? I want to quit” I say out loud, trying to speak to it in my mind was probably possible, but that felt weird.
“No the games will not be delayed any further. You and your friends have been selected as our newest participants. Admittedly I didn’t think there would be this many of you”
“Sounds like you fucked up”
“Listen child, you’re in no position to bargain. I’m just here to deliver you the necessary exposition before I dump you in your character” Shit, probably shouldn’t piss them off. Wait, how am I interacting with them like this? Surely an old game like this would be much more rigid in its interactions and cutscenes right?
“I am one of the Game Masters, and we host the Revnation Games. You will be placed into a character and begin your journey across the dimensions to participate in them. Each event will be different and you will be able to travel to them when you are signalled. You will start in your hub world which will be full of colourful character's which you can interact with, and depending on how well you do in the games. You will be able to purchase vehicle upgrades from some of them”
So its still mechanically like some of these old hub-world based racing games, okay then. I can do those. “What are the games?”
“Some are tests of speed and courage, others are tests of bravery and combat strength” I left it unsaid that courage and bravery are pretty much the same thing.
“How do I get out then? If I can’t quit?”
“Win the games and we will grant you whatever wish you desire” Okay that seems...straightforward.
“That is all, Good luck James” They give out an eerie chuckle. “Or should I say...4L1-C3…”
“Four L One whatnow-” The blue cut out into black without warning, leaving only a rotating blue spiral for me to watch. I still couldn’t believe it. I was inside a video game, but that last bit. Four L One C Three. What could that mean? And how did they know my actual name? I had never inputted any sort of name when we were selecting the cars...did I?
The pulsating spiral sits there in the centre of my vision, taunting me. I was being thrown in at the deep end, they expect us to win at a game we haven’t a clue yet how to play? This is an older game, they don’t tend to have permadeath right? I hope not. After a couple more moments the spiral disappears and feeling starts to return to my hands, I could feel something cold, metallic underneath my fingers. I tried moving my wrist but I couldn’t. I was secured where I was. I wanted to see but my vision was still black. I don’t like this, I definitely don’t. This was not good.
Then..my vision cleared.
I was in some kind of..container pod. I could see rows and rows of other ones outside of the window that existed at the front of it. In them I could see all sorts of...people. They looked like people. Young people, of all sorts of shapes, genders and everything. My head seemed to also be restrained back so I couldn’t look down or side to side. All I could see was directly ahead of me. A green light seems to begin flashing above my pod, I assume it means that I’m ready? I try to move out of my restraints but they remain locked down tight.
“Hey?! Can some…” I stop myself, my voice. That was not my voice. My voice was deeper, not airy and light and...synthesized? It didn’t sound human, the intonations were all wrong. “Can someone let me out?”
After a few minutes I hear a set of footsteps coming from the right, down what I can assume is a long hallway of pods just like mine. This is fucked up, why have they kept people in pods? A face looms into view looking into my pod, it was a man with a grey moustache and different coloured eyes, one normal and human and the other glowing orange, with a X shaped pupil. That part of his face was surrounded in a metal looking shroud too. He looks away at what I can assume is another person and his mouth moves.
I guess the pod must be sound deadened. I can hear huge locks detaching and slowly but surely the front of the pod opens up. “Assistant! We’re going to need the motorised chair!” The man uses an odd shaped tool to release my restraints and I collapsed to the ground with a metallic clang. I expected to fall right onto my legs. I instead found that I couldn’t stand at all.
“Where am I?” I ask, in my soft monotone voice. The scientist pays me no mind.
“We’ll need to train you how to use your new attachments” He sighs and rubs his wrinkled forehead with a gloved hand. “The biggest double edged Caronette with flesh based creatures is their ability to learn” the assistant, who was a younger man with a bald head, returns wheeling a seat with glowing blue wheels. I take a moment to look around as the scientist picks me up and places me in the chair, the ceiling was incredibly tall, with racks on racks of pods exactly like the one I just emerged from. Almost as far as the eye could see. “Right girl, follow me” the scientist man said to me once he had me situated in my chair.
“Yes girl, come on. He is waiting for us” I had been so entranced by the environment that I hadn’t looked at myself yet. I had...breasts, and they looked sizable to me. But any breast looks sizable to you if you ten minutes ago didn’t have any. One of my arms was made completely out of some sort of cybernetic material that flowed smoothly with no visible hinge. The metal turns into flesh smoothly, with no visible scarring. Certainly something well beyond the technology of earth, but then again so was the scientist’s weird mechanical eye.
“Could I get some clothes?”
“We will make you presentable for the Xeraphim leader, now come on!” He growls angrily, I take control of the metal joystick and push it forwards, the seat moving forwards with a futuristic whirr.
I was led down the long corridor down to a side room. “Here are some female formal clothing for you to get dressed in. My assistant will help you whilst I go back to my important work” The assistant opens the door with the keypad and I drive the wheelchair inside, putting my trust in the fact that it is a video game of some kind and they won’t do anything icky to me. The room was small and was lit with whirring moving blue lights. The door closes behind me with a hydraulic sounding hiss.
“Please don’t exert yourself. You will be able to drive something proper soon. But first we must make you presentable. Lord D3R will have it no other way, he is a man of impeccable aesthetics, the assistant laughs nervously.
“What's your name?” I ask, this guy actually seems to be sort of nice. Not like that scientist, what he said to me scared me.
“My name? I don’t have one. I’m not important enough to get a designation yet. One day though maybe” he ruffles through the clothes racks. Seeming perfectly happy enough, not quite understanding how sad that sounded. “Ah here! This will look good on you” he pulls out a dress made of a grey fabric, it has a zagging line running diagonally along it where the material changes from grey to blue. It just then dawns on me that they want me to wear a dress. But why is my body and brain not freaking out? Everything feels so real, especially the weight on my chest and the...lack of my old downstairs arrangement. And yet...nothing? I feel no sense of panic whatsoever.
Are they dulling my emotions or something?
The nameless assistant’s metal hand morphs and changes shape into some sort of blunt gun looking thing and he raises it up to the hanger. A blue laser light beam emits from his gun-hand-thing and the dress pulses with energy for a few seconds. He then puts it back on the rack and walks over to me. “Can you lean over Alice?”
“Well 4L1C3 if you want to be referred to like that. Most of his Lordship’s new champions do prefer their numerical designations”
“No please Alice is fine I guess” Four L one C three, that is a mouthful and a half. Is that what the game has decided to call me?
“You’re more talkative than the last one..” he notes as he presses his tool to my neck. I felt a slight pinch of pain that caused me to shut my eyes and then it was over. I opened my eyes and the dress had just finished appearing on my body, along with a set of boots with a short heel that matched the design. “What you’re wearing is a type of nano-technology, eons ago we moved away from the types of primitive materials you find in the natural world. Our clothes are flexible, stain resistant and strong. Plus!” he says with a smile on his face, clearly proud of the concept. “Our bodies can now produce the bots as part of what makes us so much better!”
I don’t like how he says that, something...wrong about that. “Can I see myself?” I ask, still trying to get used to my voice.
“Certainly! I’m sure you want to look wonderful for the Lord” This place is weird man, super sophisticated technology but they still bow down to a Lord? A concept which is..ancient? I guess no-ones ever told them how antiquated the concept was.
The Assistant moves over to a control panel on one of the ends of the rack and presses a few buttons, causing a silver mass to emerge from the wall. There wasn’t even a gap there before. The floating metallic blob snakes across the room before settling in front of me as a flat singular mass. It took a moment but it solidified and gained a reflective tone, which allowed me to take a glimpse of my appearance for the first time.
“Is that me?”