Turning the key with a click, Zack opened the door to his Studio Apartment, the chill air contrasting to the humid air he had endured throughout the day. With a sigh of relief, he locked the door behind him and took off his hair tie, combing through the scrunched up hair to get it flowing as it usually would.
He then took off his shoes, putting pressure down on the rubbery bottom with one foot as he slipped out of one, and then doing the same for the other. Slipping into his pair of worn out slippers, Zack waved his hand back and forth as the smell of his feet reached his nostrils.
'Ugh, maybe I should take my uncle's advice and spray alcohol inside of them.' Luckily though, the smell soon dissipated, and he walked over to his sofa, placing his food on the table, which was situated between the couch and the television.
Afterwards, he slid his satchel off his arm and took out the cartridge for his game, what people in the past might have called a ten terabyte hard drive. Haphazardly tossing the satchel onto the corner of his sofa, Zack walked over to his IVR Kit in the corner of his living room. He set the cartridge down next to the helmet on the seat and went to go wash his hands in the bathroom.
He then walked back to the sofa and got ready to eat his food while watching his favorite series. And as he ate, he saw a particular stance that the main character Rotag used. He had squatted, and his shield was tucked under his right arm, which was holding the intense energy of his signature finishing move, powerful punch.
"You crafty bastard, Nick!" Zack exclaimed as a tiny piece of steak flew out of his mouth. He then watched as the main character's rival, Philan, shot a large beam of violet energy, only to have it deflected into the distance, the bright explosion causing the ground to shake as Rotag jumped into the air to meet his rival.
With a thunderous boom, Philan was sent into the ground as Rotag's finishing move connected. The two then had a touching heart to heart, as Rotag pulled Philan back up onto his feet.
After the episode concluded and his drink had been emptied, Zack turned his TV off. He then went to the bathroom to wash his hands again, getting rid of the grease the tacos left behind. Wiping his hands dry with a towel, Zack left the bathroom and closed the door behind him.
Zack then walked a few paces to his IVR Kit, and pressed a button on the armrest, opening the cartridge slot. Taking the cartridge and carefully putting in, he pressed the button again to lock it into place. He was now almost ready to play the game he'd been dying to play the past year
Picking up and putting the helmet on his head, Zack sat down and slipped the heart rate monitor band onto his arm. He then got nice and comfortable, reclining the chair ever so slightly.
Now in the perfect position, he pressed the power button, and the intricate machine whirred to life. With the three second startup complete, he closed his eyes and then activated the machine with his custom voice command.
And with that, his vision returned to him, and he found himself sitting in a room that resembled the real one, the walls smooth with colored lines of light going through them, the window peering out into a void of ones, zeroes, and various letters flying about randomly. The floor felt warm to his bare feet as he got up, and a ripple effect would occur whenever he took a step.
He then stretched, moving his arms about and jumping every now and again, getting a feel for his virtual body for the first time in a week. "Ah, how I've missed this place. I can't move my real body like this without giving the folks downstairs a headache."
"Then again, my yelling probably isn't that great either. . ."
He then moved to the virtual counterpart of his sofa, one that felt even more comfy than even the IVR Kit's seat. In place of his TV was a poster he got from defeating a super boss in one of his favorite games. On his table were three platinum tier trophies for getting every trophy for the three games he had enjoyed the most so far.
Lying down comfortably, he checked the time.
"Kai, establish the link portal to Conquest Carnival." In response to the command, a bright orb of white light appeared and responded with a male robotic voice. "The link is already being established, it will take around ten minutes before you can open the portal."
The orb remained in place as Zack got up from the couch. "Notify me when the link is established, I'm heading to the practice field." He then got up and walked to what would have lead to the apartment hallway, opening the door and walking through a vortex that obscured his destination.
He appeared in a field of vibrant green grass, the sky a stunning blue with clouds beautifully passing by at a pace he would only notice standing still. Taking in the view, he walked forward a few paces, and held out his hand, closing his eyes.
His vision was then occupied by a menu, a handful of options available.
[Invite] [Summon] [Landscape]
He then summoned a weapons rack, and changed the landscape to match a courtyard of medieval times. Opening his eyes, he watched as buildings rose from the ground, the quakes caused by their appearance making Zack fall.
The sky shifted, and the fluffy clouds dissipated, making the Sun's radiance harsher, the gentle climate becoming that of an arid summer day. After getting back up, Zack grabbed an intricate blade off the weapons rack, one he had received for completing a practice challenge. He then summoned a doppelganger, and practiced his skills with the blade.
It was a program he bought for around sixty bills, and it included several advanced forms among other perks. He had a few programs similar to this one, but he found himself enjoying practicing with a longsword the most. Though, dual wielding sabers would be a close second.
After a while of practice, Kai appeared with a flash of light exclaiming that Conquest Carnival could now be accessed. With a smile, Zack wiped the sweat off his forehead and walked through the vortex leading to his room.
Upon walking into his room, he could see that the portal was open beside the virtual representation of the IVR Kit, a one to one recreation, albeit with a texture that matched the wall. He walked to the portal, eager to start his journey in the world of Conquest Carnival. Before he entered though, Kai appeared again and recited the game's disclaimer.
"Warning, Conquest Carnival has a one to one pain scale, and is rated Adults Only due to acts of extreme violence, strong language, alcohol, nudity, sexual mechanics, and gambling with real currency. Do you agree to act by the game's terms of service and enter?"
Kai finished its query, and Zack skimmed over the terms of service briefly, taking note of the fact that attempted **** would be punished by banning the account in question and adding the IVR Kit's user to a list of potential criminals.
'I wonder how many scumbags got booted already. . .'
After finishing his skim, he loudly exclaimed his declaration of acceptance to Kai, before walking into the portal. The weight his feet carried disappeared, and his vision was encompassed by a screen that requested the IVR Kit's identification and password, his nose becoming noticeably absent.
[Kit Identification: DTD13/7]
The screen then faded, leaving Zack's vision encompassed by an uncanny white that spoke nothing of detail. Soon though, vague shapes came into view as the character creation room materialized around him.
"Third-person," Zack said, using a command to see what he looked like currently. He took on a similar appearance to Kai, a white orb that shone radiantly, pulsing every now and again. He then returned to first person and saw that another inquiry appeared, headed by a brief description of what checking each box meant.
[Are you comfortable with your physical proportions? Checking no will allow you full customization of your in game avatar. If you are comfortable with your physical proportions, you will be transferred to an avatar with limited customizability.]
Zack checked yes and watched as a bare bones model appeared in front of him with a dazzling pillar of golden light. It matched his height, and had about as much chub as he did in real life, though its skin was a pale gray, and it lacked any hair on its head.
'Yeesh, maybe I should pick up running again, those extra ten pounds aren't looking too great.' He then selected the skin tone and changed it to match his skin as it would appear during summer, a vibrant tan. Afterwards, he continued working on the model using the interactive menu to fine tune it to look like himself, giving himself longer hair than he had in real life, along with an X shaped scar on his right cheek, one line longer than the other.
He then turned to the nether regions of the model, and chuckled.
"I guess making it realistic wouldn't hurt."