A moment later a man in a business suit appeared beside her. He looked around and frowned. The little brown bird immediately began chirping, and hopping around dragging its wing pitifully. The man turned his frown toward Danika after a moment.
She swallowed nervously and then introduced herself, "Hello, I'm applicant Danika Belova."
He nodded, and then seemed to realize that some reply was expected. "Chen Zing, HR. Well," he glanced around again and said, "let's move on to the next phase."
The bird edged a little closer and chirped more piercingly. Chen Zing frowned down at it, and said, "I don't care about your nest. Hush up." The bird chirped again and Chen Zing waved casually and destroyed it.
Danika stared at the feather that floated alone for a moment where the little NPC had stood. Even though she had prepared for the bird to be attacked or killed, its sudden destruction shocked her.
Her scenario triggered, and the bird's mate flew into the scene with harsh cries of protest. She flew toward the tall berry bush and snatched the golden berry. As she flew away the vegetation shriveled behind her, as though she'd taken away the vitality of the world in revenge for her loss. Chen Zing gazed after the bird in surprise and then turned a startled expression back toward the stone gates which had swung open with a groan and revealed the golems.
The heavy stone golems stepped out to attack the interviewer who had destroyed the bird, and Chen Zing destroyed them one after another with the same casual motion. A few moments later only he and Danika remained in the dessicated landscape. The expression on his face when he turned back to her was rather neutral, and Danika couldn't guess if her scenario had been good, bad, or insignificant.
Chen Zing brushed an imaginary fleck of dust from his spotless suit, and said, "As I was saying, the next phase." He snapped his fingers and vanished.
A worried looking elf took his place and asked anxiously, "Why is this game so broken? What kind of support system is this?"
Danika took a long moment before realizing that she was expected to reply. She asked, "What seems to be the trouble?" At the same time she quickly brought her menus back up to see if they had any new information for her.
The elf said, "Obviously there's no save, no double jump, and I can't even attach a screenshot to my bug report!"
Danika's menus had completely changed. She was now looking at a form full of multiple choices and input fields. She chose game interface as the primary problem while replying, "What system are you accessing the game through? And are you still in the beginner's vale?"
The elf replied angrily, "Of course not, and what business is it of yours?"
Danika winced and flicked frantically through the new options while trying to reply calmly, "There's no save because the game is running in real time, and you won't lose the progress you've made. The mentors available at the beginning can assist people in learning the basic movement skills available to them, and explain which path's skills would give you access to an ability similar to the double jump you were looking for. If you already have that information and are simply having difficulty executing the motions, knowing which system you're using would allow me to look up exactly what controls you'd need to be using."
"@$!& that," the elf cursed. "So you think it's my fault?"
"I have no idea," Danika replied honestly. She couldn't find an option in the menu for dissatisfied with lack of familiar game configuration. "Can you tell me more about the trouble you're having?"
"This game is for the birds, and you suck at this," the elf snapped and vanished.
Danika stood alone on the shriveled grass. She tapped an input field and began describing the player's complaints and behavior.
A moment later Chen Zing reappeared. Danika finished the note she was entering before closing her menu and meeting his eyes. She was fairly sure that the elf had been an NPC version of a player, but if it had been a player, she would have wanted to have the information she'd just entered if she were the next person to have to deal with them.
Chen Zing asked her a string of familiar questions, they were the same questions that had been on the application form, so Danika was mostly able to simply repeat her answers. And then all of a sudden he asked, "How do you think this interview is going?"
Danika replied, "I'm not sure… If you've been giving me feedback on each phase I've either missed it or have not understood it."
Chen Zing looked a little exasperated to her, but he replied calmly, "I think we've gathered enough information, someone will contact you about the result in a few days."
That didn't sound very promising, but Danika wasn't sure how to react. After a moment, she said politely, "Then I thank you for the time you spent, and I'll look forward to the response."
Chen Zing raised an eyebrow, but nodded and made a dismissive gesture. A moment later Danika was back at the blank black notification screen, reading: "Thank you for your application with Starcraft Technologies, Living Jade Empire Technical Division. You will receive a reply within two weeks."
Danika sat there staring at the notification for awhile before disconnecting. She was disappointed that only the combat version of her little bird scenario had been displayed, but she supposed that asking the interviewer to replay it several times while making different choices wouldn't be very representative of what a player would have experienced.
She wasn't really sure what the angry elf player had been testing, but at least she felt that she'd done ok in navigating the support menus and she had remained pretty calm. She thought that if she'd been expected to resolve the issue, she'd probably failed. She gazed up at the cute dragon and kitten sticker in front of her nose.
After a minute she checked the time. She was a little surprised to discover that the interview had actually used up the entire block of time that it had been scheduled for. It hadn't felt that long. She didn't feel sleepy at all though, so she stretched a little and then settled back into place and logged into "Living Jade Empire."
A message from Aishin was waiting: "Hope it went well. What's the entrance word for your garden? I hadn't realized, but I've only teleported to you since you got it."
Danika replied swiftly: "Dragonheart. I guess I forgot that I only told your dad, not you. Sorry. I am not sure how it went, but I don't feel very hopeful. I was told I'll find out within two weeks."
She checked, but he wasn't online, Shrubbery was though. Danika exited her garden, scooped up her pebble from the roof she stood on, then activated her wings and flew swiftly over the rooftops toward Shrubbery's garden at the edge of the city. The party compass indicated that the dryad was in that direction, so she didn't bother sending a message to ask.
Support "Data Dragon Danika"
I'm not actually a frog... but frogs are cool! They have tiny little hands! And some frogs can even fly (glide)! ...and my name isn't actually Gus, but I've been wearing it long enough that it is?
Since beginning to lose my vision, I've been writing to replace the creating I used to do as drawing and painting.