Thursday, April 29, 2004

More of the VR story:

They stopped and Thomas replied to absolutely nothing, “This is a friend. I want to show her around, nothing more. I think she would be useful.”

Doodlehopper shot him a look that managed to combine worry and annoyance, but he grinned and waved it away. The air was still, but Thomas didn’t move forward and Doodlehopper was following his lead.

“No,” the voice intoned. “You are still new to this world. You may stay, but she must go.”

Thomas worked his jaw for a moment. He hadn’t thought about this. They were a clannish bunch. His mind sought desperately for alternatives, but he could think of nothing.

“Please?” he said, finally settling on simple honesty. “I really, really need her along with me.”

They heard a sonorous, rather impressive, but melodramatic sigh. “Oh come on,” the voice said, losing some of its depth and gaining a nasal tone. “These are the rules. This isn’t a democracy, you know. We make the rules, you abide by them. Do you want to get in, or not?”

“Look!” Thomas exclaimed, desperation creeping into his voice. “I’m in a lot of trouble, and I need you—”

He felt something tug at his temples, and suddenly he was looking at Doodlehopper, who was giving him the most outraged look he’d ever seen as she held the VR goggles she’d torn from his head. They were back in the hotel, disconnected from the VR world.

They then had a fight which was too ugly to record here. She could hardly believe that he would blab to a group of strangers that he was in trouble, and he couldn’t see why she was so dead-set against getting help from a group of strangers.

Their fight was mercifully interrupted by an impatient blue light that flashed on the wall, next to the VR jack. They glanced at each other, then Thomas slipped his goggles back on to see that they had a message.

Sorry about that. We’ll help.

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