Tunnel Rat


The Walrus King

Chapter 3: How about a nice game of chess?


A note from The Walrus King

Sorry, less done than expected today. There will be another chapter tomorrow, and then either a long one the next day or several short ones. A whole day off to write!

Setting up the Mark VII medical pod took Milo a week. It was a much more difficult project than he had first imagined. First of all, it had been modified for Kaminski’s project. Milo didn't know what they had done, so the first chore was restoring the pod to its original configuration. Every circuit had to be checked and tested, and the programming re-installed.

Documentation and software were simple to acquire. It seemed that most of the large corporations were sponsoring this new game and running installations that supplied the pods to users. Breaking into ACME or AlexaCorp was something he had done when he was an 8-year-old. It was literally child's play. Armed with the documentation he restored the pod and pre-pared it for his own use.

What would have taken a normal technician a few months, Milo did in a week. His ability to access information from the data-net was 20 times faster than a normal person. He essentially had close to a perfect photographic memory. And he only slept two hours a day. Someone had done a good job designing Milo and his siblings.

But not a perfect job. Milo had problems at times. Vitamin or minerals that his body needed but weren't in the food he had access to in the hab. He had to be careful of infections, especially around his implants. Crawling through miles of dirty duct-work every day meant any small cut or scrape could be a problem. The Mark VII pod could solve all of that.

Some modifications were done. He added manual controls to the door of the pod, and an additional socket that would let him access the pods GUI with his tail, or a cable from one of his ports. He also welded a hook to the outside of the door and ran that to powered cable that could pull the door loose in an emergency. With no one else to rely on for any part of his life, Milo took as few chances as he could. Being locked in a defective pod for some reason was not something he wanted to experience.

When he had triple checked everything once again, he nervously entered the pod and laid down. It was comfortable at least. The cushions inflated to cradle his body. For long term care they would move slightly, relieving pressure to prevent bedsores. If this worked out, Milo considered just sleeping in the pod at night.

Normally a technician would insert IV tubes. Milo didn't need them. He had shunts in several places on his arms, legs and torso for administering drugs. They'd been installed at the same time his sockets had been put in place. This was handy now. He hooked up the nutrient and drug IV tubes easily, and brought up the GUI for the pod. There was a slight vibration for a minute, and then a screen came up that he saw on the lid of the pod.

Initialization of MkVII:8945621A

Welcome back, Mr. Kaminski, would you like to play a game?

No, Milo did not want to play a game. He went into the registration file, erased all the entered data, and replaced it with just his name.

Re-Initialization of MkVII:8945621A

Greetings, Milo.

You have not used this pod, MkVII:8945621A. To make sure this medical pod will meet your needs, we will have to do a complete scan of your body to determine your medical condition. This will take roughly two hours since this pod is not connected to the data-net and we do not show current medical records for you.

Begin scanning? You will have to remain in the pod for the entire time of the scan.

Milo gave permission for the scan. But two hours? Without something to focus on, Milo grew bored after 10 minutes. Two hours seemed like forever.

"Games. I'd like to play a game."

Certainly, Milo

Games that have been loaded into this device:
Tic Tac Toe
Global Thermo Nuclear War....just kidding. We only play that with Joshua.
Genesis Engine

Milo grew bored with Tic Tac Toe in less than a minute. Chess in half hour. The AI running the chess game was too predictable. He was disappointed in not being able to try Global Thermal Nuclear War, it sounded interesting. That left the last one. He clicked on the final option and immediately felt himself fading away...

...and waking up a split second later. He felt that he was simultaneously laying in the pod, and standing in a featureless room with a large screen in front of him.

              Welcome to the world of Genesis Engine!

The hyper-real Virtual Reality of the game may cause slight disorientation at first. While you are in a game, and your body is resting comfortably in your MKVII pod, your mind and senses are being fed information that duplicates your experience in the real world. We just added orcs and magic.

Milo looked down at his body, and it was all wrong. Or maybe, right? He had two legs. Longer legs than he was used to. He took a step and immediately fell forward. His balance was off, and controlling the new leg was different from his prosthetic somehow. And he was wearing odd clothes, tight fitting grey pants and shirt with soft grey boots.

If you are having trouble adjusting to moving in VR, please take some time to walk around before we start the tutorial. Gameplay experience will be greatly increased by connecting to the data-net.

Connecting the machine to the data-net was the last thing Milo wanted to do right now. It wasn't even possible. The machine had no physical connection to a communication line. While he was sure it also had the ability to tap into the wireless grid in the hab, no signal would get through the walls of Milo's home. He had added several layers of aluminum-iron oxide laced paint to the interior to block all signals. He didn't need someone wondering why they were getting a signal from an old water tank.

He spent a few minutes trying to walk around the room, getting his balance. It still felt odd. He was also used to compensating for the weight of his tail, and more than once as he fell, he tried to catch himself with the non-existent limb instead of his hands.

Please signal when ready to begin a tutorial. Do you prefer a screen, or a personal trainer?

Images appeared on the screen: A man in shorts and a tank top, a woman dressed in metal armor, a friendly old man with a long beard leaning on a cane, and an insect in a top hat. They all waved and the creepy bug tipped his hat.

"Let’s go with the elderly gentleman." The others faded and the old man stepped forward and out of the screen, which disappeared."

Milo was impressed, that had actually looked real. But he immediately took two steps back. He hadn't been this close to a person in years. It bothered him a bit.

The old man looked at him. "Well, young one, ready to see what you can do?"

As soon as Milo said "yes", there was another of the odd fading away feelings and he was somewhere else.


About the author

The Walrus King

  • Pennsyltucky
  • The Walrus King


Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In