I put down the controller.
My daily forced video game session is complete, with over 40 Destiny Points gained, but part of my spirit permanently erased by the agony I face. I will never play a video game ever again, once this is all over...
I’m marched into a training room, forced to draw and then trade about 20 cards to other C-Rank and B-Rank soldiers, and then taken into the mess hall for my daily dinner.
It’s nothing special now. It used to be, but now it’s not.
Today’s dinner is... a protein bar. Water. A block of processed seaweed.
Same as almost every dinner, these days. Almost every meal, in fact.
In the past, when I was the only system user in the facility, they would find the most delectable and occasionally the most disgusting foods, specially cooked or sourced, and serve them to me with increasing variety. But now that others have nearly caught up to me in all sorts of classes, and my B-Rank [Adventurer] status is no longer particularly helpful, they have shifted me to a periphery status. I train new recruits, and I give extra Destiny Cards away, and that is about it.
Even Agent Miles stopped doing his weekly consultations with me some months back. Aside from the occasional angry response from Francis from one of the few messages my [Empathetic Link] can send past the psychic barrier, I am alone. And lonely, I might add.
But today turns out differently. Unexpectedly, once my meal is finished, I’m strapped up into a cart, which hasn’t been done in some time, and wheeled over to the consultation room. Along the way, I notice a large guard presence, with sunglass-wearing agents and military men in great numbers.
But then we don’t stop at the consultation room, like I thought. We go past it, then through a secret door in a certain wall, and down a series of hallways I have never even seen before. When we emerge on the other side, we stand in front of a much larger door, with even more guards standing by.
What is going on here, and why does it involve me?
Well, that becomes quite apparent once I and the person wheeling me enter the room. Across from two layers of glass wall I find the person who wishes to talk to me today.
It is not Agent Miles, though he stands silently on my side of the barrier. It is not the group of scientists who were incredibly rude and annoying the few times I met them.
Instead, it is a wrinkled old man in a well-tailored suit, an American flag pin on his jacket, and a dissatisfied, stern glare, sitting on a chair with one leg crossed over the other.
“King Solbourne,” the man says. “Pleasure to meet you.”
“And you are?” I ask.
He leans his head up and sighs. “Listen, jack. This isn’t the time for games.”
“I apologize. I do not know who you are. I am honest in my words.”
He looks around at everyone for a reaction, but nobody else makes any kind of movement. “Then let me introduce myself,” he says. “Name’s Joe. Joeseph R. Biden. Ring any bells?”
“The 46th President of the United States.”
“Ah, I see. You’re the head of state around here. Well then, it is nice to finally meet the leader. And I am glad you have addressed me with my proper title, since I am indeed royalty.”
Biden gives the faintest of shrugs. “It’s a sign of respect. Frankly, we could crush Santa Barbara at any moment we please, but the public outcry’d be too much. No point in doing that ‘till after election year.”
“You choose not to destroy the kingdom, but you do kidnap and enslave its king.”
“Ah, enough of that malarkey. You’re as Santa Barbaran as my Aunt Gertrude. You’re from Mystix.”
“That much is true, I will admit.”
“What’s it like?” Biden asks. “A whole ‘nother world with dragons and elves and all that. Kinda like Lord of the Rings?”
“I do not know what rings you refer to or the lords who oversee them, but yes, Mystix has elves and dragons, dwarves and elementals, and even beavers.”
“Indeed. Beavers are quite known for making them.”
“I’m gonna ask you something important, then: How much do you wanna go back and see your old friends and family again? That something you’re keen on?”
“I couldn’t say,” I say. I have not told the scientists or anyone at the facility about my dreams. Surely if they are monitoring me at all times, they see some sort of energy spike or drain while I am asleep, but they likely do not have enough evidence to pinpoint the fact that I actually return to Mystix every single time I go to bed. I am very much inclined to keep it that way.
“Well, I’m just gonna assume you’re saying yes.” Biden stands up and straightens his tie before snapping a few times. The glass barrier between us rises up into the ceiling, and he walks over onto my side. “You’ve been helping us out so much with the system stuff, but frankly we don’t need you much anymore. Our armies are getting real powerful real fast.”
“So is it time for my termination?” I ask.
“No! Jack, I’ve got a proposition for you.”
“A big old favor.”
“Tell it to me, then,” I say.
“Alright. King Solbourne, let’s move you to a new project. Help us... Help me traverse the multiverse.”