The taverns gigantic wooden doors creaked open and we were greeted with the most mismatched clientele you could ever imagine. It was a massive room. The fine oak walls reminded me of a wooden log cabin that I have only seen on documentaries. The graphics within the game were programmed to clearly give the look of an old, run down building. The wood was stained, with small wear-and-tear chips could be seen along the floor and walls. There were candles that lit the dim interior and the glow caused a slight haze, making you feel like it was definitely late at night. Tables and chairs were scattered around in various positions with a clear walkway to the bar. Numerous stuffed heads of various creatures were displayed on the walls, as either decoration or intimidation; I wasn’t quite sure at that point. I didn’t even know what some of the species were, but I thought they must have been pretty high level, looking at the various head sizes. I remember not knowing where to look, as each direction gave me a whole array of interesting items and people. If I was in the room for real in the RL, I knew I wouldn’t have been able to breathe, as the smoke from different avatars pipes filled the room and formed a fog above us that made the ceiling hardly visible. A lot of the things in this tavern were for decorative purposes but some of the items, like the tobacco pipe and drinks, gave various buffs for a limited time increasing characters various stats. Small plus numbers jumped into the air as avatars consumed different drinks at the bar, increasing their health and stamina by small percentages. This was my first outing to an intergalactic tavern. A place where avatars could meet, swap items and buy or sell equipment. I watched as a blue Goblin lady danced on a nearby table, hoping that someone would start a conversation with her. From what I could see, there were no friendly conversations initiated towards her, only disrespectful and sexist comments. Other avatars of various shapes and sizes sat in dark corners, planning their next raid with other party members. Vikings, Elves, Gladiators, Pirates, Demons, Princesses, Space Captains, Army officials, SWAT Team members, Cowboys and modern-day average Joes all filled the tavern like a vomit of different colours and timelines merged into one. It looked like a portal into a dream. I could see a giant, muscular man giving a thin werewolf an arm wrestle, while other avatars cheered slurs of support. They banged on the tabletops and clinked ales while they barracked and wagered over who the victor would be. There were patrons buying various items from the merchant at the bar and trying to barter for the best price. No one seemed to agree over anything and arguments seemed to be rising up all over the place. I watched as a cowboy started arguing the wage he should be paid to help escort a princess back to her hometown. A robot cop was yelling at the top of its robotic lungs, trying to sell a teleportation scroll. Chaos was the simplest way to describe the atmosphere of the tavern. I could tell right away that if this wasn’t a non-combat zone there would be fights breaking out all over the place. However, thankfully both Jett and I would be safe here, as anyone who tried attacking or casting a spell in this tavern would be met with the words “Command Not Available”. Jett told me that we are only a quadrant sector away from Fest and if we wanted to recruit any more members into our party, this was the best place to do it. According to the mystery quest, we needed a party of four so that meant we had to find two more members before attempting to rescue the prisoner on Fest, wherever he was on that planet. Jett walked into the far left corner and sat at an unoccupied table. This time, without the auto follow command, I walked my avatar over and sat down beside her. The sound of a ukulele being strummed could be heard softly in the background, just barely audible over the mumbles and cries of the tavern. The musician was an NPC Bard, who played a whimsical tune in order to make the tavern feel more realistic. As beautiful as the music was, it got little to no attention, as patrons continued their own tunes, in the form of abuse and loud juvenile remarks. The tavern was programmed to be a non typing chat zone. Unfortunately, that meant the only option was proximity chat. Proximity chat tried to mimic talking in the RL by replicating the distance and volume settings on your avatar. The closer you got to another avatar, the louder you could be heard and if you whisper, it would only be heard by the person closest to you. I suddenly realised that this would be the first time I heard Jett’s actual voice. That thought was immediately followed by wondering if she was a male or female. You see, in the character selection menu that appears when you first load up the game, you can choose your race and gender. The majority of users would choose the gender that they were in RL, but there were still lots of users that wanted to become someone completely different in One Life. I scanned the bar and realised that there were a few females avatars yelling at the top of their lungs, but only manly voices would project out. I turned and looked at Jett, who was still looking around the tavern. I wanted my first comment to be slightly more sophisticated than what got blurted out of my mouth.
“Are you a female?” I asked, embarrassed. Hearing the question out loud made me realise it was such a stupid thing to ask. Jett turned and looked at me unimpressed.
“Last time I checked…” She sassed me. She was definitely a female. Her voice was soft, yet direct. I could already tell she was a straight shooter “Now, help me scope this place out.” She requested.
“Sure” I replied, while looking around. I wanted to ask what I was supposed to be looking for. I decided to look only at the most unsavoury of characters, because at the end of the day, I would prefer to have them on my side than try to fight against them. After a few moments of scanning the hard criminal types in the room, my eyes met with a red skinned Demon playing a game called ‘T’laka’ a couple of tables away from us. His bone horns sprouted out of his head like sharp swords, yet they were cracked from what I imagine were numerous battles. His gold-plated armour sat strong on his chest, with small colourful gems embossed in the corners, which made the demon possess an air of menacing royalty. Even though he was sitting, his posture was stiff and muscular, like an old bronzed statue on show for the town. His stare was piercing. His ruby-red pupils slithered behind his snake pit eyes, and the only break you would get from the fierce intimidation was when the monster blinked sharply.
T’laka was a game played by a lot of avatars in One Life. It was a game within the game. I tried playing it a couple of times but I didn’t like gambling my Luva away, so stayed away from playing anything for high stakes. It was kind of like dominos, but played on a square grid. The object was to place all your circle tiles down onto the board before your opponent. Whilst that sounds simple enough, there were still rules involved as each player took their turn. You could only place a tile down that had the same value as your opponents or lower. So, a majority of avatars wanted to play their higher tiles first to rid them from their hand, to leave only the good tiles consisting of lower values. Then, your opponent had to place an equal or lower value onto the grid. If you couldn’t place a tile, your opponent would pick up two more tiles at random from the draw pile and the winner restarts the next round, once again starting with a higher number and working down. If it wasn’t that the game was played face down hiding your tiles, it would be quite simple, but this game is all about bluffing your opponent. T’laka was a game designed to take risks and learn how to read a players voice. So, you can place any tile down and yell out any number, but if your opponent calls T’laka you have to flip your tile upright, revealing the number and if you were caught bluffing then you have to pick up all the tiles that have been placed on the grid that round. It has been used in One Life to settle debts and high loot items and was around from the 1st generation. At the start of any game you can place the amount of Luva or inventory item you wanted to gamble and as long as your opponent agrees to it, then it was game on. It became a game mainly played in PvE zones, so the loser couldn’t attack the winner after the game. The game that I was watching seemed intense and it was being played for a lot of Luva.
The Demon pounded another tile down without even looking away from his opponent.
“Four” He bellowed, in a deep German accent. His opponent just sat there quietly. I couldn’t make out the poor guy sitting across from the Demon, but I felt for him, as clearly the Demon was already winning with only a few tiles left in his hand. I hovered my mouse cursor over the Red Skinned Monster to get his user name. Brettski754. It wasn’t the most intimidating of usernames and it broke the illusion briefly, reminding me that we were in an online world. Sometimes it was so easy to forget. Brettski won the round and got to start the next, as his opponent just sat there quietly. “12” He snarled at his opponent. I decided to check his opponents username also, so I can see who was about to be cleaned out. Jambo. Another weird name. It’s like when everyone signed in and created their avatar, they took their time until it came to the naming section and then just clicked randomize. The world was filled with all sorts of weird names from Azzarus to Zendikar. Some avatars even using numbers instead of letters if their ideal name was taken. All names were allowed in One Life apart from anything consisting of swear words as the system didn’t allow it. Jambo effortlessly threw down a tile onto the T’laka board and whispered his number.
“Ten” He exhaled. Still clutching a small pile of tiles tightly in his hand.
“Six” Belched Brettski immediately after Jambo finished his move. I quickly glanced at Jett who was also fixated on the game. She nudged me, pointing to the table.
“He’s our guy” She said, pointing to Brettski who was sitting a stones throw away from us. I agreed and wanted to point out that even though I was a lower level than she was, I could quite easily still pick out the best warrior in the room.
“Three” Jambo countered and slid his tile in a blasé manner. Brettski looked down at his hand and gave a laugh.
“Win” He stated, as his second last tile was slapped against the table making the entire T’laka board shake. “One” He continued to laugh as he looked approvingly around the room, encouraging everyone to laugh with him. The majority did. The tavern exploded in cheers of celebration, as Brettski raised one arm victoriously into the air. He knew that he could play his last tile at the start of the next round to win the whole game. It felt like minutes before the tavern settled back down.
“One” Jambo said as he pushed his tile, sliding it to the exact square he wanted. The Tavern went quiet and for a brief moment the Bard’s music wasn’t in competition with anyone in the tavern. Brettski looked down at his single tile again and lowered his victory salute from the air. “One should never celebrate until the game is actually over” Jambo stated as he waited for Brettski to clear the board of tiles and picked up two more from the draw pile before placing anything else down. After Brettski picked up his new hand, both him and Jambo now had three tiles each. As long as Brettski had a tile that was a low number he should still easily win. “Four” Jambo committed and played his tile overly confident staring straight into those demons eyes.
“Three” Brettski belched trying to intimidate Jambo.
“Three” Jambo reacted quickly.
“Two” Brettski pounded the table with his second to last tile aggressively once again, erupting the tavern into laughter. Jambo sat there and waited for the laughter to die down.
“T’laka” Jambo grinned, looking at the two tiles on the table. I personally hadn’t seen a game come down to a T’laka call before. If Brettski was bluffing, he would have to pick up the tiles on the board and let Jambo play his last piece and ultimately win the game. It was a tense scene and to say I wasn’t invested in the outcome would have been a lie. Brettski started to move his hand toward the table to flip his piece when something happened that I can’t fully explain. Writing appeared across my screen.
THIS AREA WILL BECOME A PVP ZONE IN 30 SECONDS
What the hell is going on? How can a safe zone suddenly turn into a battle arena? I shifted my gaze from the table and looked at Jett hoping she had some kind of answer. Her face examining all the corners of the tavern.
“They must know we’re here” She guessed. The clientele became completely restless. The majority of the patrons started to prepare their weapons and items whilst others quickly ran out the main entrance hoping that they could run to a safe zone. In fact, everyone began scattering around like ants on food.
“How could they find us?” I threw the question to Jett, whilst I quickly equipped my newly acquired Fire Dagger from the Ogre. It was a tense situation and I had no idea if I was going to survive.
“Maybe a scroll of identify or something” Jett hastily answered, whilst pulling out her golden bow and readying it at anyone that dared approach us. I glanced over at Brettski who was now standing ready with two giant skull axes focused on Jambo. Jambo however seemed to be just sitting at the table, ready to accept defeat.
Screams from other avatars continuously rang, drowning out the acoustic soulfulness of the Ukulele. Whatever was going on was not part of the proper rules of One Life. My mind quickly raced, trying to put the events in some kind of order. The Shadow Prophets must have located us and hacked the game. More and more weapons were drawn and potions were quickly downed so that any advantage could be acquired.
I watched as the Robot cop vanished from the bar, using the teleportation scroll that he was trying to sell moments earlier. The bar became quiet and for the first time that night the Bard could finally be heard. His music was soulfully expressive and beautifully haunting as we waited for the mayhem to begin.
“Whatever happens, stay close to me” Jett stepped in front of my avatar, knowing that her experience in combat could be more useful in this situation.
2……1……THIS AREA IS NOW A PVP ZONE.
A huge explosion erupted from above us, causing most avatars to bring their attention to the smoke hazed roofing above. Another explosion in the far corner produced holes where, just moments before there were tables and chairs, filled with avatars drinking and laughing. Of the remaining patrons, some began swinging their weapons and casting spells furiously into the chaos filled room, as other avatars began hastily exiting through the new openings. It was the Shadow Prophets. I immediately knew they had come for us. Jett let her arrows fly at her targets as soon as she had a good view. She struck down 3 in a single shot, whilst I stayed frozen behind her. Life points dwindled down like a broken calculator as avatars would drop to the floor and more black suited Shadow Prophets entered.
Protons sub-woofer rumbled as the wall behind us exploded. My ears rang as if I was actually there. Jett twisted her avatar around and started rapidly firing her bow. Enemies were dropping and disintegrating right before my eyes. My health bar showed me that my avatar had taken damage from the explosion and I quickly brought up my inventory screen and double clicked on my health potion. My red health bar regenerated to full, but it didn’t make me feel any more at ease. There was no safe direction to run. The Shadow Prophets had filled the room that used to be the tavern.
That’s when I noticed Jambo standing up for the first time in the skirmish. How did he survive the chaos? He turned around and I finally got to see what his avatar looked like. His face was dark under the shadow from his hood and his Green robes clearly showed me he was a Ranger. His attire seemed light and he must have been from a different sector, as a lot of the equipment strapped to him seemed very space age and technological . He threw a glowing red dagger towards the corner where Jett and I were standing. By the trajectory of his throw, he didn’t intend to harm us and it locked itself into the wooden floorboards a metre in front of me. Mechanical sounds could instantly be heard and metal objects grew from all sides of the dagger turning it into a futuristic turret. The turret wasted no time exploding into life and ripping glitches into the enemies, whilst not directing a single shot towards myself or Jett. Either Jambo had encountered the Shadow Prophets before or he was just interested in saving us. More and more bodies met their digital end and from behind Jambo, I could see Brettski launch into an attack, his double axes swinging with fury. Jett unleashed a single arrow that flew past Jambo in a blur, striking Brettski’s right arm. The demon, slightly dazed from the attack, let out a roar. Jambo didn’t even turn to see what was hit and continued walking through the tornado of chaos as if he was from an old action movie. I couldn’t do much and I knew attacking any of the higher level avatars was just sheer stupidity.
Another wall fell to the ground and some of the buildings ceiling crumbled in sympathy, opening up the night sky above. If it wasn’t a life or death situation, it would have been an awe-inspiring sight.
Now, normally if you left the tavern you would be loaded to another sector or planet. So when the outside of this tavern was originally developed by Shergord, he only coded the environment that could be seen through the windows or cracks in the tavern. The rest was empty. A vast nothing. When the walls around the tavern were brought down, all that could be seen was an unfinished zone. Vast areas of blackness filled up the screen, whilst the night sky was still filled with flickering stars. Dancing across the bleak blackness was an injection of colours from lasers and explosions. It was the first time I had ever seen One Life from this viewpoint. A fake world where everything only existed to give the perception of a living breathing world. It was beautifully sad.
Another explosion brought me back to the current situation. The turret faded from view, as it must have only been on a 30 second timer before it needed to recharge.
“Another wave is incoming.” Jett screamed as she noticed more Shadow Prophets running through the ever-increasing holes in the tavern. Jambo rolled a marble sized ball towards us as he continued to walk in our direction. Brettski was still raging behind him. Just as I could see Brettski swing his final blow, a large clear bubble appeared from the marble ball and filled out around all three of us. It was a protective force shield and was a considerably high level one at that. The axe slapped the side and threw Brettski back to the floor.
“Don’t exit the shield” Jambo encouraged. “It will protect us from them.” Laser rounds bounced off the shield and danced into the sky like a disco party. We just watched securely from behind our safe zone. The shots stopped soon after as the Shadow Prophets realised that they were of no use. Instead of firing, they just surrounded us. Eight Suited men stood guarding us and waiting for the shield to wear off.
“How long is this gonna stay up?” I nervously asked Jambo.
“A couple of minutes if we are lucky” Jambo replied calmly. I looked over at Jett, hoping she had something in her inventory she could use to get us out of this situation.
“When the shields drop, try to stay near me” By the concern in Jett’s voice, I knew she didn’t have a plan. That’s when another avatar entered from an unnoticed hole in the back of the building. By the way the other guards reacted to his presence, I knew straight away that he was someone of authority. He walked slowly around our bubble just staring in. His large black boots stomping down making the wood creak each time another weighted foot hovered over it. It was like even the ground feared him. He stopped directly in front of us. His appearance was something straight out of an old sci-fi movie. His avatar reminded me of a futuristic astronaut. His dark black trousers disguised under a series of tubes that ran around the outside of his pants. His dark body suit was tight, revealing his heavy, muscular body underneath. His black gloves seemed to have been worn for many years as the knuckles were discoloured from countless battles. More tubing ran around his body and it seemed to be connected to some kind of oxygen system on his back. The pack glowed red and seemed to be giving off a slight static noise as he stood in front of us. His face was hidden behind a dark mask. A mask that slightly resembled the Dark Knight of Gotham City, however no bat ears stood on top. Just a dark featureless cowl that seemed to let him blend into the night. This man was pure nightmare.
“We meet again” His voice, clicking and distorted due to a voice changer that he clearly wore in the RL. It was the first time I saw Jett vulnerable, as she moved slightly away from the black abyss of a man.
“Yeah yeah yeah” Jambo sat on the ground as he spoke. “But it was all worth it” Jambo clearly knew the avatar from previous encounters. Whilst taking the newly acquired info in I quickly decided to move my mouse over the nightmare man and find out more about him. Everything about him seemed to be blocked. I had never seen anything like it before. His level and xp was hidden and only gave me a question mark, not revealing anything. The unnamed man moved his glance to me.
“And you have made some new friends I see.” He snarled at Jambo. “If you had returned my Luva as we had agreed, then none of this would have happened” It suddenly occurred to me that we were now caught up in something entirely different. One of the Shadow Prophets on the perimeter of the tavern took two steps forward.
“Sir.” He whimpered, scared of interrupting the nightmare from his speech. “That’s the girl from Sector 3” The unnamed man turned and looked at Jett. “She’s wanted on five accounts and is now an A grade priority.”
“It seems we have a two for the price of one deal here” He chuckled. Jambo, still sitting on the ground, didn’t seeming overly worried about his shield running out in a minute or two.
“Ok, boom box. First of all, if I’m still good at reading people then your money should be on the T’laka table over there.” Jambo pointed to the table still standing in one piece, although the rest of the tavern was completely destroyed. “Secondly…” He turned and looked at Jett. “Hey, the names Jambo.” He stretched out his hand to shake hers, but Jett just stood there. “Wow, tough crowd” Jambo flashed his overly white teeth, in an effort to be charming. This guy clearly didn’t understand that we were going to be backspaced from existence in mere minutes. “Ok ok ok ok ok.” Jambo stood to his feet and walked closer to the shields edge. “I need to tell you something about these two.” He flicked his fingers at Jett and I. “I don’t know them. I was just here winning the money for your debt back and from what it seems…” Jambo glanced around at the dregs of the tavern, a mere shell of what once stood “You wanted it back quicker than I thought.” The man in authority turned to his men, clearly not listening to Jambo’s bargaining.
“Once they are dead, collect all the items in their inventory and send it to Reaper.” He clicked. “I want this finished before Server respawn tonight.” He directed. Both Jett and I knew that as soon as server respawn happened, they would kill the ogre in Grendale and move on with the quest. Jett whispered so that both Jambo and I could hear it.
“We can’t let the Shadow Prophets complete the quest first.” She rambled quickly, not knowing what else to do. “If the quest has anything to do with what people are saying it does on the forums, we need to stop them.” Jett’s vulnerability grew.
“What are the forums saying?” I enquired.
“Take a look for yourself” Jett hinted for me to quickly look, whilst still logged in to the game. This is something that most gamers wouldn’t do, as it puts your avatar at great risk. It means that whilst the game was still in session, I had to switch screens on my monitor in RL and bring up a new web page. I wouldn’t be able to see or hear anything that was happening in One Life. I decided i had to take a quick glance. I hit the menu button on my keyboard and scrolled down to multi screen. Once clicking this option, the One Life game blacked out on-screen. My avatar was still standing in the tavern along with Jett and Jambo, but I had no idea what was happening there right now. I was met with a command prompt, a small flashing underscore prompting me to type a location into the directory. I quickly entered the forum command.
A scroll of text jumped down my page, indicating that Proton was about to load it up. Seconds later, a new internet web page jumped up on the screen. I only glanced at the headlines quickly to see if anything caught my eye. The headlines were as follows.
OneLifes secrets revealed
Shergord missing in RL
Membership details hidden in-game.
Prophets after IP Addresses
I quickly moved my mouse over the fourth headline as it seemed most relevant in my current situation. More news jumped up to my feed and I quickly skimmed over it. It was heavy stuff. Shergord was so worried about identity theft that instead of having the user names and account information on a server in the RL, he hid them secretly in the game. He thought that it would be the most secure way of doing it, considering the fact that anyone that wanted access to One Life had to have their own DNA on file. It went on to say that a hidden quest will lead you to the second Instance in-game and once completed you would gain access to the core of One Life, a beautiful oasis of freedom and peace. However, it also happened to be the sole hiding place to the Data Room. The forum was signed off by R L Newton, a lead programmer for Shergord. If the Prophets hacked into the data room, they would gain entry to all the account details of users. With that information, they would be able to obtain individual IP addresses which meant they would have the exact RL coordinates of anyone who had ever logged into One Life. They could delete or transfer their funds. They would gain control of the game and the distribution of Luva, causing a second economy crisis, this one in the virtual world. It would cause mass panic as majority of the population now played One Life to earn Luva. I flicked through the replies.
B.T.: Why the heck would Shergord risk having our info in-game? Idiot!!
>HHHitman: Can’t be true.
Puffington: ☹ this for real?!!
Gelvon645: Subscribe to my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCeCqkE7CuySfe82Kj4u1FA
R Newts: Shergord designed it as a safety precaution. In case something happened to him.
WheresWally: Shergord has been abducted???!!!!
Filby: Wtf? Someone ate my coco pops??!!
R Newts: The quest activated as a last resort. Shergord is in danger.
UnarmedTomato: I’m an achievement hunter. The quest is realz. Waiting for server respawn to kill Ogre.
I was left confused and pondering why. Why had this quest taken so long to be found? Had it always been there? Newton replied to a user on the forums saying the quest was activated as a last resort. Was Shergord taken hostage by the Shadow Prophets in the RL? Every question I tried to answer gave me many more. I wanted to find out more about Shergord. Why he was so paranoid? But, I also knew that there was a time and a place and this wasn’t it. I needed to get back to my avatar. I exited the forums and quickly clicked on the multi screen functions in the menu, reverting my screen back to the tavern. I was gobsmacked by what I saw. My avatar was still standing in the same spot I had left it, but there was no shield around me anymore. Fire raged around the wooden room, spreading quickly. Bodies of Shadow Prophets covered the ground, completely burned to a crisp. My speakers crackled and popped as the flame sound blared through Proton. What the hell happened? I stood alone in a smoke hazed room.
“Help” I screamed into my microphone, hoping Jett or Jambo was still close by. Nothing. Then, as seconds passed, I could make out a shadow through the smoke. Was it friend or foe? I could hear the sound of wings slapping against scaly skin. I instantly knew it was a Drogal Dragon and by the sounds of it just a baby. The dragon appeared and although it was a baby, it could easily wreak havoc on any avatar. I swung at it with my fire dagger but completely missed. The Dragon screeched in a high pitch wailing noise and that’s when another avatar jumped through the smoke and landed right next to me. Her appearance could be summed up in one word. Badass. Her long, dark hair was unkempt and swung down in front of her light green singlet, now bloodied from the onslaught that I just missed. Her shorts seemed completely inappropriate for battle and she sported two hand cannons. She stood inches away from me.
“This is my jam.” She grinned. The dragon glided down and perched on her left shoulder. She outstretched a hand to me and put on a thick Austrian accent. “Come with me if you want to live.” For some reason, the Arnie reference made me instantly trust her. She must have been a fan of the old action hero movies. I had no other choices and I grabbed her hand. “Chicken ain’t nothing but a bird” She smiled, and jumped back through the flames, pulling me with her. I felt disorientated and the flickering fire tongues licked at me, causing me to take minor damage. We appeared just outside one of the gaping holes in the tavern, on the corner to the bleak nothingness. Jambo and Jett were waiting in the clearing for us to group up with them. Jambo once again flicked his white pearls at us as he made the introductions.
“Guys, this is Chaotika.” The dragon snarled being left out of the introduction. “Oh, and this is Ruby, she’s Chaotika’s familiar.” I hadn’t seen many avatars that could afford the cost of a familiar before. Familiars were in-game pets that could level up alongside your avatar. They could fight or heal, depending on how you level them and are very helpful when you’re trying to solo a lot of quests. I had always dreamed of having a familiar one day, but as you needed to reach level twenty to equip one, I was never eligible. That, and they were really expensive. Familiars ranged from small companions like rats and birds, up to tigers and bears and obviously dragons. The higher the ability of the familiar, the higher the costs. A bird could range anywhere from 2000 Luva to 8000 so I would hate to know the cost of a Drogal Dragon. All I kept thinking was that Chaotika must be filthy rich. Jambo continued to chat. “As fun as that was, we shouldn’t stick around….”
“We need your help” Jett quickly interrupted. “Sacul and I are in way too deep and unfortunately it’s going to become dangerous.”
“It’s true” I added in support of Jett. “The Shadow Prophets are trying to obtain everyone’s IP addresses in the RL. If they do that… Well, I don’t have to tell you what they could control.”
“There’s no way they could get that kind of sensitive information.” Jambo smiled condescendingly. “The system simply wouldn’t allow it.” Just as Jambo was finishing off his sentence, Jett’s avatar showed a small hovering icon above her head. It was a symbol of a glowing red face. It was the games way of telling other avatars that you are away from your keyboard and only normally appeared if you multi screened in the menu. My own avatar would have appeared with that exact symbol moments earlier, when I was reading the forums. Seconds later, the icon disappeared and her motionless body became reanimated. Jett looked at Jambo.
“Your real name is Regan Forrester and you reside in South Sector of quadrant 4. You are behind in your rent and have a rather large collection of…”
“Wow.” Jambo exclaimed. “That’s private. How the hell do you know all that?”
“Simple.” Jett responded. “All I had to do was enter your username into the account settings of One Life and decipher your email address from your limited online profile.” We all looked at Jett, stunned. “Once obtaining your email address I could view your recent rental history and found out the basic location of your residence. We all have an online trail of bread crumbs and unfortunately, if you know how, you can follow those crumbs back to a static point. It can take some time but the more you look, the more you can narrow the margin. With an IP Address the information is there instantly. They would have complete control.”
“Seems as though Jett is a key puncher in RL” Chaotika chimed in. I quietly pondered if Jett already found out who I was offline?
“Look, we can’t hang around here and discuss it, as more Prophets will be on their way and something tells me they are gonna be a much higher level than those guys were” Jett pointed into the tavern. “They are hacking into the game somehow and changing sectors from PvE to PvP. These guys are A Grade Hackers. We need to find a place that they can’t touch. A place where we can talk and explain more in a safe environment.”
“How secure is a Chat Room?” Jambo asked.
“Not very.” Jett exhaled. “With what happened here, I think One Life isn’t going to be very secure at all.” Jett paused. “Do you guys have Dos Chat as a program?” Dos Chat was an old program that ran on ancient IBM Computers. It was a simple chat program that ran text-based software. The joy of Dos Chat was it was so old that it linked players directly and didn’t have to mainframe up to any server. Jett was smart and she knew that if we linked up directly, there was no way to for prying eyes to piggyback our link and the only way to join would be to accept the invite. She was smart. I still had a copy of it lying around somewhere as I had always loved the retro feel of Dos Programs. It was also a great place to start learning to code.
“I absolutely do” I pronounced to the group.
“Yeah” Jambo replied. “Somewhere in this mess I call a room.”
“And how about you Chaotika?” Jett asked.
“I Dos” Chaotika’ quipped. I had a feeling i was going to like her, as one liners never failed to bring a smile to my face. Jett continued quickly.
“Start heading to Fest. I’ll take Sacul with me in my ship and once we are there, we will log off One Life. We need to be quick. We have a head start but that won’t last long. Remember to be careful and watch your back.” Jett continued. “I’ll send out the Chat invites in about an hour, so grab a bite to eat in RL because we may not get another chance for a while. Just be ready in Dos Chat and I’ll send the request. Chaotika and Jambo, remember to send me your details so I can contact you.” Without hesitation, Jett pulled out her Ship in the shape of a small coin and threw it down to the charred surface. The Tardis once again magically appeared where the black burnt ground once was. We had already been through so much these last couple of hours in-game, but I knew our adventure had just begun. An adventure that could impact the future of One Life and the fate of the RL forever. I started realising how unprepared I was for the events that were about to unfold. I started realising the odds that were stacking up against us. I started realising my avatar probably wouldn’t make it out alive. The realisation shattered me to my core.