I have for the past 15 years done everything I could to elevate this company to the top. Every decision I made was meticulously calculated. With my help, Elecur became one of the overlords in Garius Online. The profit they made would make any normal person go insane with greed.
Despite all I have done they still threw me out. Giving no reason, no compensation and no hope. My character in Garius Online was cleaned of all its gear, reset to level 0 and kicked out of Elecur Guild. 15 years of work completely gone overnight.
Seven directors sat in a conference room at the highest floor in Elecur Headquarters.
“Are you sure this is the right decision?” Said an old man.
“I agree, given his achievements why throw him out?”
They all directed their questions and concern over the decision towards Karlos. Karlos looked at each of them before responding to their criticism.
“I understand your concern, but this had to be done. With the Saints Trials starting soon we can not afford to have him interfere with our plan. I will not take the risk.”
The directors looked at each other solemnly. They knew what Karlos said was reasonable and understood that it had to be done. In their hearts however, they still could not fully accept it.
Leo sat in front of his computer after walking home. No matter how hard he thought about it, he still could not understand why he was fired. He could only assume it had something to do with the Saints Trials. The timing was simply too conspicuous.
“System, open file #331-Trials.”
ERROR! Credentials denied.
“Too late huh?”
“I guess I can only blame myself for signing such a stupid contract.”
Leo thought back to when he first started working at Elecur. He had just finished his master’s degree in Analytical Science when he was approached by Elecur’s upper management. At the time he was ecstatic that his achievements were recognized, blinded by money and prestige.
Although he found it unusual that they would offer such luxurious benefits just to analyze a game and administrate in their Guild, he still chose to work for them. How could he possibly know that Garius Online was far from a normal game? That this “game” would forever change the life of everyone in the Alliance of Nations.
When he read through the contract he knew that if he ever left the company he would never be able to play the game normally again. Although the contract was a death sentence for his future character in the game, he still signed without any hesitation.
Why wouldn’t he? He never had any interest in playing the game in the first place. His character would just be a way for him to perform his job and nothing more. If he could go back in time he would kick himself in the face for being so stupid.
Leo started searching for any information he could about the Saints Trials. There had to be something he missed. Something important enough that the company was willing to kick him out.
Unbeknownst to Leo, his insistence on pursuing the Saints Trials left Karlos with no other choice. To protect Elecur he could not allow Leo to live any longer.
Outside Leo’s house were four masked men in black outfits, killing intent radiating from their bodies. They were elite assassins sent by Karlos to ensure Leo never found out the truth.
“Viper in position.”
“Cobra in position.”
“Security system disabled. Proceed with the operation.”
The men walked straight through the front door, quickly searching for their target. While the assassins closed in on Leo’s location, the man himself was none the wiser.
With no suspense at all, a cold dagger found its way to his neck killing him instantly. Without ever seeing his killer, Leo died without knowing the reason why.
Far away from Earth four lifeforms more advanced than any on Earth discussed his very death.
“Are you sure you wish to do this?”
“If you go through with it, we will no longer be able to try again.”
“If this fails we will all die.”
The lifeforms voiced their concern to their leader. They could not understand what their leader was thinking.
“We have fought long enough. The decision has been made. Either he saves us or we all die. I am tired of trying and failing over and over again.”
The lifeforms looked at each other, doubt still in their hearts. Although they did not agree with their leader, they could not change his mind. They could only sit back and hope for the best. Tied down and unable to directly help their people had exhausted them for far too long. Maybe finishing this seemingly never-ending battle, whatever the outcome, would not be so bad after all.
Leo opened his eyes with a jolt. His hands instantly moved to his neck in response to the dagger. No matter how much he tried, he could not find any blood. His neck was completely fine as if his death was just a dream. A voice reached his ears before he could think about it.
“Is there something wrong?” A woman in business attire asked confusedly.
“Ah, n-no.” Leo answered, unsure of what was happening.
“In that case I will continue explaining the contract. Your character in Ekalius Online will belong to Elecur and be bound indefinitely. Should you, for whatever reason, leave Elecur, you will have to give up any items and gear on your character. Your character will also be forced back to level 0. Although this sounds extreme, as your job will be administrative in nature we believe there should be no problems with the arrangement.”
Leo looked at the woman, still in confusion. He remembered this exact moment. 15 years ago he sat in this very chair, this woman in the other and the contract in front of him.
“I’m terribly sorry, but did you just say Ekalius Online? Not Garius Online?” Leo asked timidly.
The woman looked at him like he had just asked if the grass was green or purple. She had spent the last hour talking about Ekalius Online, yet it seemed like this was his first time hearing about it. How could she not be annoyed?
She answered his question in a clearly fake polite voice after calming down.
“I do not know what Garius Online is, but I can assure you that there is no such game currently in existence, nor planned for the near future. Ekalius Online however, will open its servers worldwide in three months. As we discussed earlier, your job will be to research everything about the game before launch and continuously after in order to give Elecur a solid foundation in the game. We feel confident in your ability to perform this task. Although we acknowledge that you are not a professional gamer, we believe that you will be able to display your talent to its fullest extent in Ekalius Online.
Leo listened to her words dumbfounded. He could not make sense of the situation at all. Even with the immense advancement in technology for the past 200 years, there still had not been any definite proof that time travel was possible, yet here he was. Seemingly 15 years back in time.
He could only hypothesize that he somehow entered a parallel universe or that his original universe somehow changed. The fact that Garius was replaced with Ekalius was the only difference he could find.
Leo thought back to the Saints Trials and his death. He could only conclude that they were somehow related. Garius was the first ever VRMMORPG incorporating close to 100% immersion. The technology appeared out of the blue five years before Garius Online’s official launch and was never fully disclosed to the public.
Leo almost made his brain explode trying to wrap his mind around this sudden realization. The dots in his mind abruptly connecting together was difficult to comprehend. Bits and pieces suddenly came together to form a bigger picture, bigger, yet not complete.
He suddenly remembered his own vow. If he could somehow come back to this very moment in time, he would kick himself in the face. He immediately stood up from his chair.
“I thank you for the offer, but I have decided to decline.”
He walked straight out the door and rushed home. With his prayers answered he would not waste this heaven given opportunity.