8. Welcome to the Metaworld
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Piercing screams, music from multiple loudspeakers, blinking lights, limelights, and holograms assaulted Flora's senses.

The welcome square was chaos! The difference between the monotonous environment of the character creation and the lively plaza couldn't be more pronounced. Flora needed dozens of seconds before she could distinguish the sources, or better the perpetrators, of all that noise.

She stood on a diamond-shaped plaza gaping at the spectacle. To the left and right vehicles flowed beside it. Cars and motorcycles, both driving and flying, a chariot towed by flaming flamingos, a rhino with a tent on top and a tricycle with jet propulsion were racing each other. The tricycle seemed to be winning.

On the plaza mimes, fire-breathers and acrobats competed for the attention of the crowd. Vendors hawked their wares, and announcers attempted to outscream each other.

Flora's vision zeroed in on an hot-dog stall. She was still starving, which puzzled her. 'Should the hunger have gone away when switching to the avatar? Maybe it wasn't a switch but more a merge?'

Those thoughts went away when she reached the stand.

"Hello! I'm new, and I don't know if I have money, but I would love to have something to eat!" Flora said, smiling to the vendor.

The sales lady was used to newbies and guided Flora to her inventory, which was empty except for a blow torch, a hair clip, and the fusion box. Only then she remembered that she had an inventory in the CAD-System aswell.

"That's unusual; normally everybody gets 100 VirDos as a welcoming gift. I'm sorry dear, no money, no hot-dog."

'I guess my inventory didn't get changed. I have to ask Robby what else I haven't received.'

Flora sighed and walked to a bench to wait for Robby.

 

It took Flora a while to realize that the furiously blinking circle in her lower vision was the notification icon and not from an external source.

In the CAD system, she had set the notifications so that only those with the highest priority were immediately displayed, such as error messages. It seemed that her old settings were still working. She didn't notice it when the Admin threw blue windows at her, but they had been in the transparency setting she preferred. Who liked a blue wall in front of their face? If she remembered right, setting the transparency to 33% was one of her first actions in the CAD System.

'Long time no see, button. What's up?'

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You gained an Achievement: 'Supreme Magic': Your talent for magic reigns supreme.

- the highest talent factor in the training efficiency modifier for all magical stats

- the highest talent factor in the training efficiency modifier for all mana skills

- title 'Magical prodigy': + 50% reputation gain with all beings and factions who value magic

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You gained an Achievement: 'Frontrunner': the first person to reach a specific success.

- + 1000 fame

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You gained an Achievement: 'Founding Mother of Psychokinesis': the first person to use psychokinesis.

- SSS rating for psychokinesis

- + 5 OV to affinity/resistance psychokinesis

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You gained an Achievement: 'Founding Mother of Transformation': the first person to use transformation.

- SSS rating for transformation

- + 5 OV to affinity/resistance transformation

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Those were the achievements of the Admin's offer. But the icon was still blinking so there had to be more.

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You gained an Achievement: 'Body modification: Bones': Your skeleton was improved.

- + 1 OV to physical resistance

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You gained an Achievement: 'Magical body modification: Bones': Your skeleton was improved.

- + 1 OV to magical resistance

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You gained a Trait: 'Thorough digestion' - The satiation meter will drop 50% slower.

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You gained an Achievement: 'Blood cleaning': Your blood was cleaned.

- + 1 OV to affinity/resistance blood magic

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You gained an Achievement: 'Body modification: Eye': Your eye was improved.

- + 1 OV to physical perception regarding sight

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You gained an Achievement: 'Body modification: Ear': Your ear was improved.

- + 1 OV to physical perception regarding hearing

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You gained an Achievement: 'Body modification: Skin': Your skin was improved.

- + 1 OV to physical resistance

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You gained an Achievement: 'Magical body modification: Skin': Your skin was improved.

- + 1 OV to magical resistance

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You gained an Achievement: 'Superb Body': Your body is made exceptionally well.

- the highest talent factor in the training efficiency modifier for all physical stats

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You gained an Achievement: 'Magical Body': Your body is reinforced by magic.

- unarmed combat attacks count as spiritual attacks

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You gained an Achievement: 'Born into a new world doesn't mean it should take nine months': You spend an ungodly amount of time in character creation.

- Training gains of your avatars are added to your stats

----------

Flora laughed at the last one. 'Alrighty, what do my attributes now look like?'

 

Physical Attributes Level Value Mods Modded LV Operative Value Mods Modded OV
Power 36 0 39,6 18,9 0 19
Macro control 56 0 61,6 23,5 0 24
Micro control 49 0 53,9 22 0 22
Vigor 11 0 11 9,9 1 11
Regeneration 78 0 85,8 27,8 0 28
Defense 12 0 12 10,4 2 12
Perception 39 0 42,9 19,6 0 20
Magical Attributes Level Value Mods Modded LV Operative Value Mods Modded OV
Power 18 0 18 12,7 0 13
Macro control 21 0 21 13,7 0 14
Micro control 25 0 27,5 15,7 0 16
Vigor 28 0 30,8 16,6 0 17
Regeneration 28 0 30,8 16,6 0 17
Defense 12 0 12 10,4 2 12
Perception 12 0 12 10,4 0 10
             
Pool OV Mods Modded OV      
Health 110 0 110      
Stamina 460 0 460      
Mana-Pool 170 0 170      
Concentration 300 0 300      

 

'Wow, physical reg exploded to a level value of 78! No wonder with all the avatars jumping!

Both defenses are still low, but I did not lose health often, so no wonder. Magical power rose slower than the controls, maybe because I did no heavy lifting?

And where is the 10% increase from LV to modded LV coming from at some of the attributes?'

The notification icon was still blinking, so Flora continued viewing the messages.

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You gained the Affinity/Resistance: 'Psychokinesis' + 27 Levels

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You gained the Affinity/Resistance: 'Transformation' + 27 Levels

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You gained the Affinity/Resistance: 'Bloodmagic'

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You gained the Skill: 'Telekinesis' + 52 Levels

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You gained the Skill: 'Magical Push' + 28 Levels

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You gained the Skill: 'Magical Pull' + 27 Levels

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You gained the Skill: 'Transform organics' + 53 Levels

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You gained the Skill: 'Transform inorganics' + 13 Levels

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You gained the Ability: 'Mechanics' + 20 Levels

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You gained the Ability: 'Athletics' + 47 Levels

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You gained the Ability: 'Modelling and Design' + 39 Levels

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You gained the Ability: 'Medical Science' + 31 Levels

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You gained the Ability: 'Negotiation' + 2 Levels

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Finally, Flora's HUD was free of icons.

Flora opened a browser window.

'Time to research! What is an affinity/resistance?'

An affinity is an indicator of how much the player is in tune with the subject. The resistance has the same value as the affinity and represents how much the player is protected from this force. The value effects skill variations.

'Got half of it, if someone wants to throw me out of a window using telekinesis, they will have a harder time. Let's ignore the variation stuff.

What is a skill?'

A skill is an ability which costs mana. Skills are classified by their category (example: magic skills are called spells) or by their type of mana cost (example: whirlwind is a mana-channeled skill ).

'So the faster learning achievement I got, counts for all skills? Or are mana skills special skills?'

She skimmed through the information and concluded that it counted for all skills.

'What are abilities?'

An ability is a skill that costs no mana.

Flora continued clicking through the linked information, but already she felt more confident.

 

"Hey, you look like a classy lady." A green-skinned guy wearing trenchcoat approached Flora. "C'mere."

"Who, me?" Flora looked around.

"Right."

Flora grinned. She loved classic scams, and this guys appearance screamed "Swindler!".

"What do you sell?" she asked curiously.

"Ssh!" He checked their surroundings. "There are ways to get something, you know what, into the VR. And I know them all."

"I can't conceive what you are telling me. Is this about money?"

"Ssh!" He whispered. "Right. You want it?"

"Sure, but I prefer some food at the moment," Flora smirked. "What about you buy me an hot-dog, and we can talk business afterward."

"With my method, you can buy all the hot-dogs in the world, lady."

They argued back and forth, but Flora insisted that she was too hungry to make business decisions. Finally, the salesman gave in and bought her falafels at a nearby food stall.

When Flora happily started munching, Robby found her.

"Ma! What are you doing with this sleazy gold seller?" he exclaimed.

"Yes, I know, don't take food from strangers. But it was an emergency."

"Hey, bud! I'm doing business with this lady."

Robby pointed his finger at the guy and said: "Ignore player Lefty Salesman4591! Ma, do the same!"

Flora was amused but repeated the sentence dutifully. Lefty vanished!

"Burned toast and stale marmalade! That's amazing! Is he now invisible? What if he robs me of my falafels? He paid for them, you know."

"He isn't able to interact with you in blue zones. Please don't speak with hoodlums anymore! We talked about this when you fell for the Nigerian Prince scam!"

A month ago she gave a Nigerian prince 1000 Euros. He desperately needed to fly to Switzerland to access his massive inheritance. Flora rewarded him for using that old fraud in 2051. 'Know your history, and you may surpass it.'

Of course, Robby wasn't a fan of her giving money to swindlers.

Flora nodded like the well-behaved senior citizen she aspired to be but was distracted by Robby's attire.

"Why are you wearing harem pants? Are you role-playing?"

Apart from the pants, he wore only a cape and gold trim. Admittedly, the gold looked cute with his bare brown chest.

"I'm a monk."

"That explains so much. Like my lack of grandchildren!" She would have guessed eunuch and was quite happy with a monk. At least a profession was reversible!

"So, did you get the imba 400 stats?" Robby changed the subject wisely.

"No, I went for the growth option."

"Nooooo! Ma! How could you?" Robby groaned. "Did you invest your ten free points into physical reg or perception?"

"Yes, into regeneration!" Flora perked up. "So that was a good choice, right?"

"No! Ma! I listed the worst stats!" Robby shook his head, and Flora futilely hoped that he had used irony again.

"You could have warned me ..."

"Alright, let me warn you about a few things. There are a lot of scammers in Cetviwos! VirDos and Credits are incredibly sought after commodities." Robby started to explain but was interrupted by Flora's laughter.

"Really, weirdos are valuable? I'm going to be rich!" she exclaimed.

"VirDos, Ma! Virtual Dollars!" He sighed. "German ears ..."

"Oh, now the comment of the hot-dog vendor makes more sense! So where do I get those?"

"At the bank. Do you know how to beam?"

"Like 'Beam me up, Scotty'?"

"Yes. It's a fast way of traveling in the Metaworld." Robby made his 'this is serious' face. "It's easy to *bleep* this up. So I will explain it slowly. First, you say a start phrase, then tell the destination, then you finish the command with an end phrase. Like GOTO Central Bank TOGO, then you will be whisked away."

Flora nodded, and Robby wrote down on a paper: "BLEAMTO Central Bank TOBLEAM."

Flora repeated it a few times in her head. 'I got this. BLEAMTO Central Bank TOBLEAM. BLEAMTO Central Bank TOBLEAM. BLEAMTO Central Bank TOBLEAM.'

"I'm going for it now! BLEAMTO Central Bank ... " just at this instant a piano fell from the sky on Robby. "Robby!" The piano vanished, and Flora knew she botched it up, but her mouth finished on auto-pilot: "TOBLEAM."

Robby turned to the hysterically laughing paladin who activated the visual effect. "Are proud of what you have done, Hub? I quarter you if anything happens to my mother!"

"Relax, Bro! Just a little prank, what's the worst that can happen?"

"And now you even jinxed it! Let's go after her!"

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