"Now." Titor smiled and said, "As I'm sure you're aware, there has been quite a disappointing number of AR games in these past years. Especially when it comes to action games. But worry not! We have the solution!" He reached into his lab coat and then pulled out a visor and a pair of silver gloves. "The Full-Dive immersion kit, complete with haptic gloves! The future is now!" After saying that, he walked over to Meggie and handed them over. "For you, my cute niece."
Meggie gave Titor a blank look and then muttered, "And I thought Dad was cringe..."
The crowd laughed.
John sighed and shook his head.
As he did, Amadeus walked up to him with a visor and pair of gloves as well. Handing both over to John, she sighed and said, "Ignore him. He's been like that all day."
John grabbed the equipment and slipped on the gloves. "Has he really?"
Amadeus shook her head. "He never gives up the act. Even when we're alone."
John winced. "...Sorry."
"It's fine. I've gotten used to it. And..." Amadeus blushed and looked to the side. "It's kind of cute. B-But just a little."
John laughed. "Well, if that's what makes you happy, Zhuzhu."
Amadeus flinched. "You...?"
John winked and then put on his visor. When he did, the stage and surroundings vanished, replaced by a wireframe of the room. But then it changed, fading into a wide and empty grassy plain.
Well, empty except for his daughter standing across from him.
The crowd roared in the background.
John couldn't see them anymore, but from their reaction, it seemed like they were seeing what he was seeing too. And considering how real to life everything looked, he couldn't blame them.
A clear blue sky. Vivid green grass, slowly swaying with the wind.
John couldn't feel the wind with his face, but he *could* feel it blowing across his hands. And as he lifted them up, he could feel the breeze drifting through his fingers.
"Huh." John turned his hand over and said, "Looks like you've really outdone yourself."
The space flickered in front of John and then Titor appeared in a flash of light.
Titor smirked and said, "Yes. Praise me more, my other half."
Amadeus appeared in a flash of light right next to Titor and then smacked him in the head. "Stop doing that!"
"Owowow! Fine, fine! Geez."
Amadeus sighed and then turned to John. "Anyway... the gloves are special and respond to stimuli in the virtual environment. For example..." She held out her hand and grabbed the air. When she did, a sword materialized. "...You can grab objects and receive feedback as if they were physically there." She tossed the sword over to John.
John grabbed it. And when he did, he whistled and said, "Interesting..."
It wasn't there. While he could feel resistance from his hands by squeezing down as if it was, that was all fake. Even though it bounced back when he tapped it against things, John could sense that he didn't actually have anything in his hands. And when he raised his visor up, his hand was empty. But it felt like there was something there.
The reason was a real interesting bit of trickery in the gloves. While it looked like it was made of fabric, the entire thing was actually a woven set of multidirectional motors that reacted in real time with what was going on in the virtual environment.
"Hey." John put his visor back on and turned to Titor. "You do realize that this is technically VR and not AR, right?"
Titor coughed and said, "Y-Yes. This particular application of it is technically virtual reality. However! Imagine the possibilities!" Titor spread out his hands and said, "Sports training! Surgery! And-"
A loud *crack* echoed through the air. With it, Titor shattered, turning into floating pixels.
Amadeus laughed and turned to the side. "Well... It looks like our other volunteer got impatient, Titor."
Meggie lowered a sniper rifle and then discharged a bullet. "Yeah, yeah. Cool tech and whatever. Just let us play already!"
Titor reformed and then huffed. "Fine. Since you're so impatient... I'll just leave you two to figure it out." He paused and said, "...Please don't run too fast. I'll turn on the movable stage, but if you go too fast it'll break."
John chuckled. "Don't worry. I won't ruin your pet project. Though since it's like this..." He looked around and then glanced up at the sky. When he did, he saw a faint silhouette of a floating castle. "...I'm guessing it's like *that*?"
Titor started to sweat. "...Copyright doesn't extend to ideas, so we're fine."
"You'd better hope so. But alright. In that case..." John pinched his right index finger and thumb together and swiped down. When he did, a status window popped up, along with an inventory screen.
The crowd cheered and started making some noise. At the same time, Titor started an explanation... something about a special 3D tracking floor that moved with people to simulate movement.
But John didn't care about that. Equipping himself with a sword, he turned to look at Meggie. The moment he did, a window popped up in front of him.
[Player <OMEGA> challenges you to a duel!]
John tapped accept and said, "You picked this up pretty fast, Meggie."
"It's just another VR game." Meggie raised her sniper rifle and then aimed it at John. "...So don't get mad at me, Dad."
A countdown started. At the same time, a life bar popped up over both Meggie and John.
...Yeah. Titor was totally ripping off a certain VRMMORPG.
But that was fine. This should be fun. And he *did* promise to spar with Meggie a while back. This would be a good way to do it.
John stepped back to his left and pointed the sword at Meggie. "Don't hold back on me now, Meggie. Show your Dad what you learned- Wait." John paused and tilted his head. "How do you know how to use a-"
The moment those words appeared, six gunshots fired. Head, heart, kidneys, and lungs. All fatal wounds.
But they never hit.
Meggie lowered her sniper rifle and groaned. "That is complete BS!"
John lowered his sword, watching as pixels dispersed into the air around him. "What?"
The crowd cheered.
At the same time...
"Oi! John!" Titor called out and said, "Stop showing off! You're breaking the physics engine!"
Meggie reloaded her gun and said, "Yeah, Dad! Stop cheating!"
John raised his sword and shrugged. "Hey. Not my fault that the system can't handle my leet real life sword skills."
Meggie responded with another gunshot to John's head.
But he saw it coming, so he moved out of the way before she pulled the trigger.
"HOW?!" Meggie reloaded and then aimed at John again.
"It's pretty easy..."
John swung his sword.
A gunshot echoed, followed by a pure chime. The sound of the bullet being split apart by John's sword.
"...If you know how to time things."
Another burst of cheers and applause from the crowd.
Meggie clicked her tongue and then tossed her sniper rifle to the side. After that, she swept her hand down and then materialized an SMG. "Time this!" She immediately raised it and then held down the trigger. But...
"You know." John stepped to the side, dodging the first wave.
Meggie narrowed her eyes and then moved her gun to try and track him.
John kept moving, slowly advancing towards Meggie, easily avoiding her attacks. "When a gun fires that fast, it's basically just a slower long range sword?"
"Tch. Fine then!" Meggie dropped her SMG and changed it for a pistol. After that, she ran forward, firing at John as she advanced.
The sound of breaking glass echoed as John swung his sword to intercept the bullets.
But then Meggie suddenly blurred, her pixels breaking apart.
"OI!" Titor's voice echoed. "You're moving too fast!"
"Shut up, Uncle Titor!"
A silver flash.
John tilted his sword to the side.
The sound of clashing steel echoed, and then Meggie appeared in front of him, glaring.
She gnashed her teeth and said, "Why are you so good at this, Dad?!"
John flicked his wrist, sending Meggie back. After that, he laughed and lowered his sword. "Well... I might be a bit rusty in games, but in real combat-"
John's vision suddenly turned dark. The scenery faded away and turned back to the stage.
Laughter echoed from all around, along with cheers.
John blinked, confused at what happened. And then he saw a small window floating in the center of his vision.
You were killed by <OMEGA> with a headshot.
"Yes!" Meggie jumped up and down and said, "I did it! I beat Dad!"
John took off his visor and said, "Who's the one cheating now? I was in the middle of an explanation."
Meggie grinned and said, "All's fair in love and war. Right Dad? And it looks like you might be getting rusty in real life too." She laughed.
Considering that he would definitely have tanked that gunshot in real life, John didn't think so. But seeing Meggie so happy, he didn't want to rain on her parade. Instead of correcting her, he held out his hands and sighed. "Looks like I'm getting too old for these sorts of things now, huh?"
Meggie walked over to John and then hugged him. "Don't worry Dad. I'll take care of you when you start getting senile."
John rolled his eyes. "A bit too soon to be saying that stuff, Meggie. I might be old, but I'm not that old."
"Says the guy who almost forgot to wake up this morning and made us miss the start of the expo today."
"Hey now, that's different."
Meggie laughed and then stepped back.
And then a muffled explosion echoed from the back.
"A-Ahem." Titor waved from the back of the stage and said, "Technical difficulties! We'll be taking a short intermission before the next demonstration! If everyone would please exit right..."
Disappointed sighs. Grumbles. But eventually, the crowd dispersed, leaving just John, Meggie, Titor, and Amadeus.
Titor walked over and crossed his arms. "Honestly. Did you guys have to show off so much?"
Meggie ducked behind John and said, "I blame Dad."
Titor turned his attention on John and said, "I do too. Seriously. You're a grown adult. Did you have to go so hard against a kid?"
Meggie huffed. "I am *not* a kid!"
Titor waved his hand and said, "You know what I mean." He glanced back and sighed. "Now I have to get my lab coat dirty cleaning out all the smoke and debris..."
Amadeus walked over from the back, rubbing her hands clean with a towel cloth. "Stop complaining, you big baby. It's only a busted capacitor. The motors are still fine and nothing got fried. Though..." She looked at Meggie and said, "Did you have to go all out, Meggie? Now you're going to be even more famous online than you already are."
Meggie froze. And then she crouched on the ground, covering her head. "I forgot about thaaaaat. Uuu..."
John laughed and patted her head. "It's fine, Meggie. Maybe people will focus on me this time?"
"M-Maybe?" Meggie paused and slowly stood up. "Right. Dad's cool. And you were super cool when you were showing off, so-"
"Ah." Titor pulled out his phone and then swiped his thumb across the screen, scrolling through something. Then he turned it around, showing an animated gif of Meggie.
In the game, it looked like her swinging an SMG around at rapid speeds. But in reality...
In reality, it looked like Meggie was spazzing out with a seizure.
Titor let out a sympathetic smile and said, "Sorry. But I think it's too late for that."
Meggie blinked. And then she reached back and pulled up her hood. After that, she slowly crouched down and hugged her knees. "...Just kill me."
John knelt down beside Meggie and patted her head. "There, there. You get used to it."
"...I hate you."