Wednesday, July 7, 2004

More VR story:

“Done,” the boy murmured, his eyes still fixed on the screen. “Put on your eyes, man, and go.”

Thomas flipped over the goggles in his hand and saw that there was indeed a picture on the inside. Doodlehopper hid a smirk by sipping from her mug. Thomas chuckled at himself, then slid on the goggles. He twiddled his fingers, and….

He stood in the battered, dingy pilot’s mess on the I.S.S. space carrier Tiger’s Fang. It was a large grey chamber, evenly punctuated with metal tables and benches, and occupied by about twenty young, clean-cut men and women. The only ways to tell them apart in their grey flight uniforms were their skin color, hair color, and height, as well as the most important: the trim of their uniforms, in auburn, royal blue, and hunter green. There were only three uniforms with hunter green in the room, and their owners were all being treated like great samurai. Which, in this world’s way, they were.

One whole wall was taken up by a vidscreen, on which was a list of about fifty names, with statistics for each. As he glanced, one name blinked out from a dirty green to a dim grey; a pilot had just died. He was the only one who’d noticed.

A couple of people turned when he arrived, and one attractive young woman surrounded by other pilots lifted an arm and yelled to him, “Oy, Deathie! C’mon over here! Haven’t seen you in awhile.”

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