I walked into the front room of Francine’s penthouse and sighed. Her house was still empty, except for a new top of the line virtual reality pod the size of a car. It had been quite the to do to get that in here.
Oh well, she doesn’t need any more sad. I resolved to do my best to bring the light.
I put on my best smile and bounced into her first living room. “I have your coffee, egg white organic omelet and organic wheat grass shot and additional research materials! It’s a beautiful day in Chicago, are you sure you won’t join me for a morning walk?!” I stopped my bounce in surprise.
Francine had stacks of papers spread in front of her in a wide semicircle. She sat Indian style, on the floor, in front of her white leather couch. That was the first time I’d seen her off the couch since she got home from the hospital after the accident.
I suppressed a little shiver as she smoothly rotated her head towards me, and blinked, studying me. I felt like a mouse right before the owl strikes. She was only five feet tall, with a ballerina’s body and greying hair but when she looked at you, fight or flight was all that crossed your mind.
“Not today Dan. Not for some time. I have the plan together. You will enter Incrementum today.” I startled but couldn’t suppress my smile. Darnit, I could practically hear her voice admonishing my ‘unnecessary exuberance.’ I was excited I got to play the hottest new game while Francine paid me to be her personal assistant. What a fabulous job. Almost as fun as when I got to update her wardrobe.
“Focus on progressing your character for the next two weeks. Then enter the tutorial program once you reach level twenty. You must be a healer.” Works for me, I thought, not that I had much of a choice.
“Once the tutorial program begins, select this area, Brighthollow forest, as your tutorial space. It is a kilometer inland from the eastern coast of the main continent, as close to the unexplored land as possible.”
She pointed towards a map I had found on the net and brought to her days before.
It was crudely drawn. No one really knew the full extent of the world in Incrementum. Just the starter areas the company had dropped the first million players into, roughly pieced together through online guesswork.
“There are no towns established in its proximity to date. Even though there is a strategically perfect location a half kilometer to the southeast at Brightcove. That is where I will establish our capital. You can go now, please begin.”
I swore the moon shone through the ceiling; reflecting off her wide staring eyes and bouncing off the bare tan walls and shiny oak floors. I clasped my arms behind my back and bowed slightly, knowing I may have misstepped.
“That will be all Dan, thank you.”