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A note from TheFirstDefier

EDIT If you've arrived here from TopWebFiction/WebFictionGuide, be aware that there is a prologue chapter before this one.

 

So this is the story of Zac I've started to put together, tentatively named Defiance of the Fall. The main setting is the arrival of the system and the subsequent fall of civilization.

I will upload the first 5 chapters shortly which is most of what I have prepared. As English isn't my native language I'm sure I have linguistic blind-spots, and I gratefully take feedback on errors or other things in general. 

Please be adviced that this is an early version, and some things might change even though I have somewhat bullet-pointed out the story for at least the next 100 chapters. I will mention it in comments if I do some changes. I started the story in 1st person present but changed it after a few chapters, if you find some leftover verbs in wrong tense please let me know.

One thing that I have not decided about is whether to use tables/boxes or plain text when interfacing with the system. I tried boxes here but might just switch to pure text in the future.

[Initiating System...]

[Welcome to the Multi-Verse.]

A cold, detached voice echoed in Zac’s ears. ‘Or in my head?’ he thought while looking around confused. Nothing in his life had prepared him for his current circumstances, and he for a second thought there was an extreme solar eclipse happening. All that greeted his eyes was complete and utter darkness. The only thing visible was himself, as if there was an invisible source of light shining just on him, leaving the rest of the world in black.

“Heatstroke..?” he muttered hesitantly even though this didn’t feel like some heat-induced delirium. But before he could further analyze these baffling events the monotone voice interrupted his train of thought.

[Planet ‘Earth’ scanning complete. Class F mass, class F energy.]

[Adjusting…]

[Due to insufficient energy and size planet ‘Earth’ will be merged with additional planets drafted for initiation. New values: Class D mass, Class D energy. Topography readjusted. Spawn points randomized based by cohorts. Wildlife upgraded due to insufficient challenge. Link to the Multi-verse system activated]

“What?? Hello?” he shouted, or at least he thought he did, as the utter blackness seemed like a natural dampener, quenching all sound. But the voice seemed unaware or uncaring of his calls.

This was starting to feel less like some extremely elaborate practical joke, or a heatstroke, as everything felt just too real. Zac pinched himself and the sting told him he hadn’t passed out either.

Trying to glean any meaning from the ramblings from the odd voice only made him more confused as well. It spoke about Earth, but also used some terms that felt like it came out of a sci-fi movie or a video game. However, the voice gave Zac no opportunity to figure the situation out, as it heedlessly droned on.

[Initiating Incursions. Spawning Heral-]

[ERROR! Herald occupying same space as you! Adjusting...]

A more blaring version of the same mechanical voice interrupted itself.

The ominous voice and the message quickly accelerated Zac’s heartbeat, and he got a sinking feeling. This was all too real in its craziness, and if this was real he was in deep shit. He was told he occupied the same space as some herald, and no matter how he looked at it, it couldn’t be anything good.

Erring on the side of caution, he jumped to the side to avoid whatever would happen, but it was as though he was in space. He made the motions of movement but still was stationary at his spot.

 [Merge unfeasible. Protocol SL-34572 initiated.]

“Phew.” At least he wouldn’t be turned into a half-human half herald, whatever that was. But the fact that the voice seemed to be ready to mash him together with another being was extremely unsettling, and unease was quickly turning into panic.

Zac mentally tried to force himself to awaken, and when that didn’t work he even slapped himself hard in the face. But nothing worked as he was still stuck in the darkness.

[Roll for survival. Due to massive power-gap between Herald Ur’Khaz and you, odds heavily in his favor.]

“SHIT!” Zac screamed, or rather squeaked. The panic was now full-blown, and adrenaline as coursing through his veins. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??”

But again the only thing greeting his inquiries was utter silence until there was a break in the darkness. Seemingly from nowhere, a screen popped up in front of him, hovering silently.

The window looked like something taken out of an old video game, blue with white edges and text. The surreal situation made him blank out a few second before registering what the screen actually said.

Ur’Khaz

1-100 000

ROLL

Zachary Atwood

1-100

ROLL

 

It looked just like a prompt from a video game, and the familiarity actually calmed him down for a second until he read what it said and realized the implications. At that point the panic came back in full swing, threatening on evolving into hysteria.

It looked like the window was a prompt for rolls between him and this Herald, but instead of loot, they rolled for their survival. And the roll ranges were clearly skewed in his opponent's favor, giving Zac abysmal odds for actually surviving.

“Hello? This isn’t funny anymore, let me out!” He screamed, grasping at some last straws that this was all some insane experiment. But the reality of the situation was starting to set in. Zac just stared numbly at the screen in front of him for a few seconds as if to comprehend what he was seeing.

“This is crazy. Wanting me to gamble with these odds? Why the hell would I roll?" Zac muttered. But the second he said ‘roll’ the screen changed, and the numbers next to his name started to rapidly change.

[Protocol SL-34572 accepted by participant. Rolling…]

“No no no wait wait, stop, let’s figure out a different solution!” he shouted, waving his arms in a panicked attempt to stop the proceedings. But no matter what he did, the numbers kept spinning. It was as though they were rapidly counting down his remainder of time on earth.

Panic was slowly turning into rage in Zac’s mind over the messed up situation he was in. Rage over the complete and utter lack of answers. Rage over the obviously paltry assessment of him by the voice, seeing the obvious disparity in treatment between him and this Ur’Khaz guy. Rage over the scammy way the voice started the roll, as though it looked for a loophole to proceed. 

With a red tint that suffused his otherwise blue eyes, Zac roared and smashed the hovering screen in an effort to vent his fraying emotions. The screen, however, did not acquiesce to his feelings and shatter in a million pieces, but rather only flickered slightly.

Unheeding of any attempts at a physical catharsis, the numbers once again flickered slightly, and the spinning started to slow down until it stopped at a final number. Almost as an afterthought it also added an infuriating line instead of the roll-button.

Ur’Khaz

1-100 000

ROLL

Zachary Atwood

98

Re-Rolls unavailable

Something about the re-roll message just sucked the energy out of him. It really wasn’t a bad roll, if it was in a game he’d definitely have won the loot he thought with a morbid sense of humor. But he was quite aware that this was no game by this point.

He still held out some hope that he was still lying in the woods with a massive heatstroke. But if that was true he most likely was a goner as well. So either he was about to be killed by the sun, or by a video-game god. Neither was an ending he had expected nor hoped for. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so his face settled on a sickly grin as he blankly stared ahead.

Of course, all hope wasn’t lost as the other individual hadn’t rolled yet. But it didn’t really feel like it mattered when the game was rigged. He once again took a glance at the screen, and his eyes lingered for a second on the roll range of the other entity.

The smile slowly shrank away from his face. A sigh escaped his mouth like a deflating balloon, and he closed his eyes and slumped down to a sitting position. All of Zac's strength and energy were wrung out by the situation and the rollercoaster of emotions. Left was only a bleak sense of despair, realizing that this was it. Dead alone in the woods, never being able to say goodbye to his family loved ones.

Zac had no epiphanies or huge regrets at the end of his life, except that he wished he had been closer and better to his family. His mind drifted to memories of his past as a solace and escape from the insanity he was experiencing.

Hazy memories of his mother hugging him, her long brown locks cascading around him in her embrace. His dad giving him a quiet smile as he opens the door of their apartment to head to work, his eyes sad and tired but full of love. Spending most of his youth plastered in front of the computer, largely ignoring his smaller sibling. College years drowned in alcohol and partying. First day at his job, and the humbling realization how ill-prepared for adult life he was even after 17 years of school and university.

[Protocol SL-34572 accepted by Herald. Rolling…]

The monotone voice one again droned, like an executioner giving final rites.

[Congratulations!]

Zac didn’t bother with the voice anymore, and memories flashed past in his mind one by one. Friends, family, and events both happy and sad. Not the most exciting of lives, but it was his…

Wait, what, congratulations? His eyes snapped open and refocused on the monitor.

Ur’Khaz

91

Rerolls Unavailible

Zachary Atwood

98

Rerolls Unavailible

 Stunned, he stared blankly at the screen until the voice interrupted his lack of thought.

[Protocol results in the continued existence of Zachary Atwood. Ur’Khaz vanquished. Resuming standard protocols.]

A nauseating explosion of light, color, and sound took over, disorienting him and turned his insides to mush. His body suddenly felt like it was on fire, tearing and scorching him all over. The last things he saw before passing out was the small clearing he disappeared from, and a huge red pillar reaching toward the sky.

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A note from TheFirstDefier

7/7-19 Edit: Rewritten large parts of the chapter. System-messages left untouched. Word count 1154 -> 1555

In the old version, he was a bit overly manic, borderline bi-polar. Of course, it is a stressful situation but I rewrote it to contain a larger sense of confusion and disbelief, rather than immediately accepting the situation and turning to hysteria. So Zac's emotions kind of goes through the stages of grief now rather than ping-ponging between different extreme states.


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TheFirstDefier

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