I’m wheeled into a room.
Yes, the mighty Eryk Solbourne, C-Rank [Adventurer] and a man who has lost essentially no fights since he was reincarnated on Earth, is strapped to a wheeled chair covered in countless bindings and restraints that both dampen my power and keep my body snugly in place no matter how much I thrash about.
Unable to move. Unable to think, really. Unable to take in my surroundings because I cannot even move my neck around. My eyes are the only vision I am afforded. Everything around me, though, is so white and featureless that I am not sure it quite matters any significant amount.
The Agent Miles man who met me in my, um, prison room, if that is what we are to call it, walks beside me, still sporting his sunglasses but no longer giving me any information. He is silent except for those moments where he taps against his wrist. Surely he is communicating with someone, but I cannot understand how if not through magic.
Finally, I am pushed against a table, pure white, with mirrors surrounding the room on three sides. It is clear to me and anyone with rationality that there are many others watching on the other sides of those mirrors, taking notes to every observation they make about me. That is the power of the United States government.
Agent Miles takes his place on the other side of the table, across from me, and smiles. He does not remove the sunglasses, though.
“Let’s get started.”
I shake my head, or rather make a feeble attempt to do so. “I would much rather do anything but that.”
“Well then, I guess I can read from your file,” he says, taking out a manila folder from some compartment in the table. “Let’s start here. ‘Eryk Solbourne, threat level: Unknown. Currently the King of Santa Barbara. From another world called Mystix. System abilities demonstrated to be significant. Usefulness to the U.S. government: Significant.”
“I see you have much data on me.”
“Less than we’d like.”
“Then I can tell you you’re correct,” I say. “I’m a Destiny Deck System user from Mystix, where I perished and was reincarnated in this strange world. If you wish to dissect my remains, it will verify that I am not the same human that I might look on the outside. I am a North Spiran, and my body likely differs in several significant ways.”
“You’re being a little more cooperative. I like that.”
I would roll my eyes in that signature Delta way if I didn’t think I’d receive some sort of painful punishment for it. “You’ve given me the best truth potion imaginable: The threat of death if I do not comply.”
“Now you get it,” he says.
“What do you wish to know?” I ask.
“You know what? First, you ask a question. Then I’ll ask mine. Shoot me with anything.”
“I see. If truly any question is acceptable, then I must ask the most obvious one. How did you find me? When did you become aware of my existence?”
“Good question, with a good answer,” Agent Miles says. “The cosplay convention. That first day you arrived, you came with a significant energy spike. Then we caught a video of your little energy sword shooting lighting out in the field, and we verified it wasn’t fake. So we started keeping tabs, waiting to see if you’d do anything, and boy did you deliver. The South African Secret Service must have thought they had the upper hand on you, but no. Nobody messes with the Bureau of System Affairs. We’re part of the same government that’s been covering up the Martians for the past seventy years, and nobody’s beating us.”
“What are Martians?” I ask.
“Nope, not your question time. It’s my turn, remember?” He looks extremely smug, like he planned for this exact exchange to occur. “My question is pretty simple, too. What’s the reincarnation process like? How do you get from Mystix to Earth?”
“Ah, indeed it is fairly simple. I was hit by a carriage of unknown origin and killed, of course. But then I appeared in The Goddess’s domain. Most are reincarnated unceremoniously without the care of anything beyond algorithms. Due to my North Spiran heritage, however, I was given a personal treatment and an offer to work as one of her helpers, but I refused. Due to an error, I retained my memories, my system, and came here to this world.”
“Great,” he says. “There’s a deity and she makes drastic mistakes frequently. You’re the first system user we’ve ever known to keep their memories, so this is just... Wow. Eryk, you’re wonderful. I could kiss you right now if that wasn’t a severe violation of workplace harassment policy.”
“May I ask my question, now?”
“Why are you so interested in The Goddess, or the system? Earth does not have many magical effects like other worlds.”
“Wouldn’t you be curious in our shoes?” he answers, doing the classic question-with-a-question conversational dodge. “We have unidentified, unknown people showing up on Earth with otherworldly powers. It sure sounds like something worth investigating.”
“I would do the same, I will admit.”
“We know a little bit about the class system, and the Destiny Points, and all of that, but what we don’t know is what it’s all really FOR. Care to explain?”
“I do not wish to, but I will. Destiny Points are gained by performing one’s class actions, the valid progression paths for your own life. For example, I am an [Adventurer.] My class actions consist of exploring new areas, trying new foods, and defeating foes in combat. A [Bard] or [Tactician] or [Supreme] will have different class actions, but it will still be done in a very similar way. Destiny Points, and leveling up, are the only thing that keep us alive as our Life Points drain out of us, minute by minute.”
Agent Miles pauses for a second. No longer does he tap on his wrist, but he does peer deeply at the manila folder containing my file.
“Shall I continue?” I ask.
He shakes his head, slowly, and shifts the topic somewhat. “So it says here that your main interest is Destiny Points because you want to become S-Rank, or something of that nature?”
“Of course,” I say. “I want to be the very first S-Rank Hero in thousands of years. Mystix has not had one in so long that memory has all but forgotten it. They are so legendary they can start or stop entire eras. I’m only C-Rank, but if I can fight over the decades to my limit, I may someday reach it.”
“Interesting... Extremely interesting.”
That’s all he says.
A knot forms in my stomach, and I do not know what it means.
The lights in the room dim and everything turns from white to gray.
“Say, Eryk,” Agent Miles begins, finally, “How would you like to become an S-Rank Hero? How would you like to help the U.S. government in the process?”
With this question, I realize the rest of my life has completely changed.
This is going to be... bad.
I reach out with the greatest extent of my powers, searching for Francis in the void of space, and I can no longer feel him at all. I am completely alone emotionally. Because I made some very terrible mistakes. Perhaps I deserve it, but I most certainly do not want it.
Please, someone, help me...