I flew at an incredible speed using the easiest and most powerful flight settings to push me in the direction that I wanted to go. Once I reached the 95% marker on my map I decided to turn the realism settings up a little bit to see how it would be to fall through the air towards my destination from such an insane height. There was just a tiny little blip in my vision, designating the bookstore building, with which I chose the sole point of gravity to be for me.
At 100% earth realism within the atmosphere, I quickly learned how truly insane skydivers were.
I must have done something wrong the very first moment that I changed the settings because from that moment on I was in a spinning and gut-wrenching free fall. I tried everything I could think of to try to arrest my crazy head over heels tumble towards the ground.
“What…. hurrggg…. the….. heck… am… I doing wrong!?!?!” I screamed as I tried to windmill my arms to slow my spin. I think that just made it worse. I won't tell you that I threw up on myself and had to reset everything, cleaning my face and shoulder off while hovering before I tried it again. This time making sure that I did not have any of my lunch left inside my stomach. Some poor souls might have had a rude surprise land on them a while later because at the time that it happened I was a little too sick to will all the delicious lunch surprises into oblivion before they rapidly fell out of view.
I might even have gotten some IO from that since I hadn’t seen a pigeon here yet. I am quite sure that human lunch would count as something interesting to observe falling on your neighbors head.
Anyways, the next attempt went a little bit better. I decided to try to lay flat and to let myself accelerate at a slower more controlled rate, leaving some training wheels on so that I didn’t start spinning like a top again.
It worked! I learned really fast that the faster you are falling, the smaller movements with your hands, like little paddles in the air, is all that it would take to make you rotate or move in different directions in the air.
This thrill was addicting! This feeling of control while death is speeding ever closer towards you. Well, it would have been death if I was falling at this terminal velocity back on earth. I think even deploying a parachute would have killed me at this speed. I started to see things, like ripples in the air directly in front of my outstretched hands and all along my body. Vibrations coursed throughout my body and I was forced to lower the realism of all sensations and to increase my strength. The air had become a weapon against my existence. The faster I went the less I was able to focus. I glanced down and noticed that I had just ticked over to 99%.
A bolt of unrealistic fear ripped through my heart and seized my chest in a vice. I had horrible visions of my body making a crater on the roof of a building. I fought to take control of my mind and to do something.
I forced myself into the fastest Prime Speed that I could manage, all my painful practice with Tutor had made it my go-to defense mechanism. Everything around me froze in place, letting me finally focus and see just how close I was to the ground. The distance was deceptive when you couldn’t tell how big or small the structures, plants, and rivers were off in the distance. I needed a point of reference so I looked down at my map, seeking out the smaller digits of my remaining percentage. 99.99116% remaining. I didn’t bother to do the math, instead, I simply focused on digging myself out of this trench of fear I had fallen into. It seemed that System was no longer able to self-regulate me. Was that another result of what happened in my dream? Did that mean that the System’s influence was gone from my mind?
It didn’t matter though because I was safe. I closed my eyes and just simply breathed, in and out, over and over again.
When I calmed down enough I oriented myself to stand and willed my feet to be on the ground below me. Instantly I was on the ground, just standing, finally just standing.
I sat down for a little bit after that, my legs and arms shaking, just slowly letting my mind come back to me. I could feel the hard textured surface of the walkway under the tips of my fingers, such a solid reassuring feeling. I felt good, really good as if I had just ridden the scariest ride at the amusement park and faced my fears. “Yup, that was awesome,” I said to myself as I looked up at the building I was sitting next to.
It wasn’t really all that impressive. It looked like a concrete shoebox. Did the owner not want business? - I thought as I decided to feel the information around me. This building was the bookstore that I was looking to visit, it was just that it was a lot darker in information than even its neighbors surrounding it. Those buildings were decorative, ornate, and expensive-looking and positively blasting with advertisement information.
I was a bit disappointed until a little common phrase trickled across my consciousness as I stood up and walked towards the one large entrance on the side of the building. “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
As I stepped inside the building I found that this place was a place of great age. It didn’t look old, everything was clean and dust-free, it was just the feeling that I read from the data surrounding everything around me. The shelves were made of stone or some form of molded rock-like composite. There were pedestals with bricks on display, perhaps for special editions for all I knew. I was positive that this was a bookstore, I just didn’t see any books… at least not anything that I would associate with as a book.
I heard a shuffling from behind some shelves so I decided to browse in that direction. Bricks, bricks, and more bricks lay everywhere on display. Out of curiosity, I decided to pick one up at random to see if it did anything. Oh… that is how it works. - I thought as my touch activated its hidden function.
In front of me, just within my eyesight chapters and pictures appeared. This book appeared to be a history of the discovery and use of cr. It started with how the Tela race had worked for generations to harvest materials from all surrounding star systems with great space-dwelling creatures called the Leva. Taming the Leva had been the greatest modern achievement in the great past. The creation of basic dyson spheres was the next greatest achievement. A whole race living in habitats around an englobed star.
As time progressed the Tela scientists delved into the secrets of the star until they discovered something incredible. They managed to harvest the tiniest of substances that couldn’t be damaged by any known means. Using ever more advanced and intelligent computer systems they devised a way to attach a small robot to one side of the substance, using the invulnerable side as a shield to help them harvest more of this substance from the star. Time passed and they eventually harvested enough of the substance to create their first memory core, a computer that couldn’t be damaged by any known means. This brought the next age, the age of Immortality through VR. Everyone wanted to live forever in the Tela race so they all worked tirelessly to harvest enough so that they, their families, and friends could become esteemed Immortal Citizens. The first System AI discovered how to “flip” the robots through the wall of the material, making what was known as cr today.
The Leva left during this age, their tamers had let them free to roam back into the depths of the center of the galaxy. This new age that came was the current age. An age of continual expansion across the cosmos.
The book was written by one of the last living engineers of the Tela race. His study had been to write about the history of cr and the applications of controlling it with a mind infused with cr.
The final 21 chapters were lessons he had learned in how to control the cr with just his mind and how he had developed tools to mine and harvest for the development of new Cores. I flipped to the end of the book to see what his final thoughts were.
What I saw raised the hair on my arms and sent a chill through my scalp. It was a short recording of the engineer at work. He was too tiny to see in the video, the main frame was taken up by a massive asteroid. An asteroid that was getting chewed apart by the tiny Tela engineer in real-time. Ever chewing and grinding blades as long as a school bus were being spun on a circular path of cr. It was a crazy and seemingly effortless scene to watch as he ground down the entire rock into siftable resources.

He was a one-man machine of destruction.

"I have a customer?" I heard an old voice say as shuffling feet moved towards me.


About the author

Ken Raven

  • Texas

Bio: I write stories that I would like to read. They may not be for everyone, which is perfectly okay. There yet are other books out there that you might enjoy. For those that stick around and do enjoy what I write I just wanted to say thank you!

Random thought for the day:

Looking up how to write is not writing.
Watching videos on writing is not writing.
Making plans to write is not writing.

Just write.
Get the story out of your brain.
There will be plenty of time to add more details, intrigue, and dialog later.
Or to get another story out of your brain... yeah, that would be fun ;)

(Also would like to give a shoutout profile:
Photo by Sergio Ibannez on Unsplash)

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