Here, try this headset, son.
Have a seat.
The cord goes there,
In the jack in the back
Of your skull, you know,
The standard issue Stim-Jack
You were given free of charge,
Courtesy of the Federation.

Don't worry, boy.
It won't deliver you to the Borg-creature,
That hive-monster of that worn
Medieval tale.
With some training,
You can unjack at will.
Input is sense-stim only,
Just the sensory cortical regions,
And all pain-signals are attenuated to sub-Abgeld levels
Per regulations.
You got it.
Just give it a twist clockwise.
You're good to go, kid.
We'll start you on the Basic Module 1...




Yeah. He's a bright kid, though. Skip the canned intro. I'll avatar in and brief him myself.


Jack in.


     Woah! Where am I?
     Who are you?

It's me, kid.

     Doesn't look like you. It looks like...

Jim Hanaghen? Ha ha ha ha ha!
Who am I now, boy?

     Grace Petrovka?!
     You can be anyone, Mr. Johnson?

Lesson one, kid.
In V-Space, the senses can tell lies.
I might not even be Mr. Johnson.

Well are you?

I'll let you decide, boy.
You have to learn to call things on your own.
But let's take a little trip.
I have a good story for you:
One of the proudest stories in history,
The story of how art has triumphed over brute-nature.
Look and listen...

     Oh God! Stop it! It's horrible!

Alright, kid.
You've probably seen enough.
The worst thing is that this kind of shit
Really happened to people.
That's how wars used to work.
People were killed for real,
Bodies shot with holes or blown apart on red, sopping fields.
Bodies crushed in the blasted wreckage of wood, brick, and metal,
And you can't imagine the pain.
And worse things were done to people still alive,
And why?
Usually because a few mean bastards wanted badly to be in charge?

You know, kid,
I can remember when I was your age
People were still playing games
With goggles and gloves,
Running and fighting
Through mazes of rendered polygons
Painstakingly coded by the gamewrights of the day
While in some dark alley,
(Look there, boy)
Some poor kid put drugs in his veins,
Drugs that made him need more
Drugs that kept him poor,
Made him rob people to pay for a
Diminishing high,
And elsewhere in some Third-World Hell-hole
People were hacking each other up over some
Tribal thing or another
Or maybe they were hungry
Because some fat shithead elite-class
Kept all the food for themselves.
But the gamewrights fixed all of that.

You know, you're a pretty smart kid
For your age,
So I'll explain a little something to you.
It's about something the Medieval philosopher
Niezsche called "Will-to-Power".
What is this "Will-to-Power"?

Everything is hungry.
Everything wants something. Everything acts
To get what it wants, and it can't help
Animals want to eat.
Why? Because they're animals.
Plants want to grow.
Why? Because they're plants.
And I know it sounds goofy,
But rocks want to fall
Because they're rocks
And gravity pulls on them.
The pull is the desire. Get it?
Everything is pulled.

Now, boy,
There are things human beings want:
Things they can't help wanting
Like food or water or air or shelter,
Things they would die without;
Or things life tends to make them want
Well, sex for one,
Feelings of importance,
Stuff that you can live without,
But you wouldn't want to.

Well, now there are a lot of humans
Running around, aren't there,
A lot of wants and needs out there,
And everybody's trying to get what they want.
Sometimes, people can get what they want
By helping each other.
That's what makes civilization work, boy.
But sometimes things don't work out so well.
You and I might want the same thing
And only one of us can have it.
Like victory in a V-Space death-match.
Only one man can be the winner.

So that's why people fight,
And that's why such ugly wars were fought.
Power is about getting what you want
Even when it means taking it away from someone else.
But that's not quite it.
Do want to know something really weird, kid?
It would be boring as Hell if we could always
Get what we wanted without a fight.
Think about it.
Would a game be fun if you always
Won without a struggle?
So Power is about getting what you want
After the world says, "No!"
And the Will-to-Power,
That just means that it's human nature
To want a good fight,
To want victory over a world that says, "No!"

This is why there are so
Many people it history who wanted to be king
And why they killed and tortured thousands to pull it off.
Kid, do you see now why the gamewrights are heroes?

In a few years, you'll be old enough
To be an Enforcer.
With the Gloombringers and Legion around,
It's getting hard to maintain our dominance of Myth-Net.
We must understand our enemies,
The better to defeat them,
And the nature of our enemies
Is criminality,
And criminality stems from the Will-to-Power.
The members of Legion take their criminal urges into V-Space.
They lie, they steal, they bribe, they kill avatars,
But no-one,
I mean, no-one,
Dares kill anyone in real-space.
Federation Article Number 6 says:
A person who is convicted of murder outside the confines of V-Space shall be sentenced to death by torture.
Of course, you knew that, already.

Now then,
Let's start with combat training.
It'll be you and me against some bot-avatars.
Here we are in an airport.
The bot-enemies are terrorists,
Dressed all black and with bad shaves.
Try not to shoot the other bot-avatars;
The idea is to save them from the terrorists.
Here's your P35 Blaster.
Let's go.

George Chadderdon © 2000

[Yeah, this is in dire need of revision, but I couldn't resist sharing it.

G.C. February 2005]