HAM0101052019-04-19T04:43:31+00:00

01.01.05

Main Statistics and Skills.

Host Customization and Status.

Class Selection.

Objectives.

Reward Allocation Currency Store.

Map.

After that, there were just three menus that were blank save for a dull orange padlock icon.

Anya sat on the bed beside Tori and the two of them studied the menus together. The amount of information in some of them was overwhelming. The Class Selection menu featured an almost endless list of jobs, professions, titles, whatever. Some of them were pretty simple to grasp: Doctor, Soldier, Explorer, and so on. She wasn’t surprised by the addition of more esoteric classes like Barbarian, Demon Summoner, Mecha Pilot, and the like. She’d come to expect such things from the menu by now, but some of the classes were just plain odd or unrecognizable. Tori snorted with laughter when they both saw a class labeled “FISTER.”

“Uh, is that what I think it is?” Tori asked.

“I’m not clicking on it,” Anya shook her head and looked at another unfamiliar class. “What the hell is a ‘Void Strider’?”

“A master of walking across the voids between dimensional planes, and the summoning, control, or manipulation of creatures and powers that originate from the negative space therein,” the AI said. It was a verbatim recitation of what the menu displayed when Anya clicked on it.

“Hey, I didn’t select this as my class, did I?” Anya asked, panicked that she had made a mistake.

“No, you’ll have to hit the confirm button in the corner there,” the AI pointed at a very obvious button in the corner of the current nested menu Anya was looking at for Void Strider.

“Before I do anything that’s going to affect me or make it so I can’t cancel a decision, I want you to tell me. Got it?” she asked. She didn’t want to accidentally get any bigger or turn into a monster or something.

“Yes ma’am!” the AI saluted.

Now that she didn’t have to worry about accidentally becoming a Void Strider or anything else, she studied the screen. There was a list of numbers at intervals of ten (up to 100) to one side, and a list of stat and skill bonuses on the other. Choosing Void Strider as her class would immediately raise her intelligence, awareness, and dexterity by fifteen points each. “Holy shit,” Anya breathed.

“What?” Tori asked and leaned forward.

“This would raise those stats by fifteen points. This,” Anya gestured at herself, “Is a nine. Wait a sec…AI, how high do stats and skills go?”

“Each can be raised to a maximum of one hundred,” the AI said.

“My brawn can go up 91 more points?” Anya asked and her voice went up an octave in surprise. She had just assumed ten was the max, given how strong she looked. Granted, she knew female body builders could get a lot bigger, but she just figured this was her at her personal (almost) maximum.

“Well, not now, since you only have 22 points to allocate to your core statistics, but hypothetically, yes,” the AI confirmed.

“Whoa,” Tori said. “Would that even be possible? I mean if this is a nine…”

“I can’t begin to imagine,” Anya shook her head. “Not to mention the other stats. Just with the points I have now I guess I could make myself into a super strong genius with amazing charisma. Not even counting my skill points or…” Anya paused and looked at all the classes available. “Whatever the hell all of this is.”

“You’d be like a superhero,” Tori said, and added, “or a god.” There was no awe in her voice, however, only disbelief and a quaver of fear as she stared at the menu.

“But, c’mon,” Anya said. “Getting stronger is one thing, but some of this stuff? It’s straight up magic. It’s not real.”

“Anya, you had your whole body transformed in less time than it takes me to put my socks on. That is basically magic already. I dunno if it’s actual magic or just tech so advanced that it might as well be, but it’s real. At least, I wouldn’t doubt it.”

“True,” Anya said and flicked away from the “CLASS,” menu. Too many choices. Too much information. The next menu, “OBJECTIVES,” was much simpler. It was split into only two sections: the main “OBJECTIVES” area at the top and a narrower “SIDE OBJECTIVES” portion at the bottom. The top section was empty. The bottom section was full of one-sentence goals that she could scroll through and arrange by difficulty, alphabetically, and other metrics.

She saw that she had already completed many side-objectives, as indicated by a bright orange check mark next to them. There was one for every five levels she had gained (the most recent being level 25), and dozens upon dozens of objectives for things she had done in life well before receiving the menu system last night. There was one for losing her virginity, graduating college, winning a fight in high school, drinking five shots in less than a minute, successfully making and eating chocolate cake, learning to tie her shoes, lying to her parents, and more, more, more.

“How does it know all this?” Anya asked.

“The menu system took a scan of your brain along with your entire body the moment integration happened,” the AI piped up. “This included your memories.”
“Jesus it knows all that?” Tori asked. “Can it read her mind?”

“It isn’t telepathic, no,” the AI said. “But it updates itself in real time by conducting regular scans and taking in information the same way you do: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.”

“I dunno if I like that,” Anya said as she continued to scroll through the side objectives. Many of them were normal, though she hadn’t completed them: give birth, get married, buy a house, work at the same job for more than ten years, and so on. Others ranged from esoteric to disturbing: sky dive naked, pilot a submarine, kill a human, control a country, try cannibalism, and others that were just as strange.

“Why are these side objectives? You have to do these?” Tori asked.

“I don’t think I have to,” Anya said. “Just that I can. I’m not going to do the really weird ones, obviously.”

“What happens if you do them? You get a check?”

“If you click on a completed objective or side-objective, you get bonus points and RAC!” the AI said and pointed at the “Graduate College” side objective. Anya tapped on it and the side objective flashed orange and disappeared, replaced by a notification that said “COMPLETED!” and then “4% PROGRESS HAS BEEN ADDED TO OVERALL LEVEL PROGRESSION! 4,000 RAC HAS BEEN ADDED TO YOUR STORE!”

Anya flicked back to the main menu and saw that the bar showing her current level had grown by a tiny fraction. She swiped back to the objectives menu and scrolled through her completed side objectives. She had a lot of things to claim. “I’ll do that later,” she said, then swiped the menu to the side again. The notification had said she had been given more of that “RAC” stuff, or menu money.

The next menu was identified as the, “REWARD ALLOCATION CURRENCY STORE.” 284,000 RAC glowed just below the title, and several sub-menus were nestled into their own tabs below that.

“Whoa,” Tori said.

“Yeah whoa,” Anya agreed.

Cosmetics, weapons, armor, food, power-ups, tokens, materials, companions, vehicles, structures, and tools were all listed as sub-menus. Anya clicked on “FOOD” and was presented with a sprawling menu of familiar, exotic, and alien foods and drinks.

A packet of plain, dry crackers was 1 RAC while a bottle of 2008 Dom Perignon was 75 RAC. Sushi, grape juice, pizza, caviar, soda and more. There were also grilled elephant trunks, dewdrop seltzer, roasted peacock in tangerine glaze, and more.

“So I just pick something, and the cost gets deducted from my total RAC at the top there?” Anya asked.

“You got it!” the AI said.

“What the hell is ‘dragon steak’?” Tori asked. “Is that some huge cut of beef?”

“’A prime cut of meat from the flank of draconis majoris. Cooked to medium-rare by default. 2,000 RAC,’” Anya read. “Draconis majoris? Like an actual dragon?”

“Correct!” the AI said. “You can see the scales in the picture!” Sure enough, as Anya examined the picture of a reddish-brown cut of meat, she saw some attached skin on the side with dark green scales.

“Dragons aren’t real,” Tori said. The AI shrugged. “Can you uh, order it?”

Draconis majoris is Latin. So maybe they were real at some point. You wanna try it? The steak, I mean,” Anya asked.

“Kinda. You?”

“Yeah. It’s a little expensive, though,” Anya said, then sighed. “Fuck it. Might as well figure out how this shit works.”

“Yes!” Tori cheered. Anya pressed the “BUY” button and then was asked to confirm. She paused before she did and looked at the AI.

“How does this work?” she asked and pointed at the picture of the dragon steak.

“You eat it!” the AI said. Anya rolled her eyes.

“No, how is this going to get here? Do we have to wait five-to-ten working days or what? And is there an actual dragon that’s going to lose a hunk of meat off its body somewhere?”

“Nope! Upon selection of a physical item, it is assembled off-site from base materials based on scans and data, and transported here instantly!”

“Assembled off-site? Like in that other galaxy?” Tori asked.

“I don’t have access to that data,” the AI said with a shrug and a furrow of its holographic brow. “But I can tell you that no actual, existing items are being removed from space somewhere. They are created from separate, base components, assembled, and transported as needed.”

“That sounds like magic,” Anya said.

“Yeah I’m going with magic too,” Tori added.

“Incorrect, but magic sounds more fun!” the AI said.

“Well, here goes,” Anya muttered and confirmed her order.

There was a sucking sound and a flash of orange light in front of Anya that made her wince. It only lasted for a second and then a slab of meat the size and thickness of a sofa cushion splatted onto the floor as steam wafted up around it.

“Holy sh——oooooh my god,” Anya said as she inhaled what was perhaps the most tantalizing aroma she had ever had the pleasure to smell. Tori jumped away from the monstrous steak as it landed and whistled.

“That sure is…wow,” she said. “That is the most amazing smell in existence.”

Anya had to agree. Its aroma was thick in the air, savory enough almost to be a meal in itself. It had a smoky undertone to it like it was fresh off a grill, and there was a sharp tang that stung her nostrils.

“I haven’t had breakfast yet,” Tori said as she stared down at the steak. Dark scales gleamed on one side of it, just above a pale layer of fat that glistened and sizzled. The smallest of the scales was bigger than Anya’s thumbnail, while the largest was as big as her palm. She tapped one and found it as hard as iron.
“Me either,” Anya replied. “How do we eat this thing? It just kinda…landed on my floor.”

“Just hack off a piece?”

“I’m gonna put it on the kitchen counter first,” Anya said. She bent down to pick the steak up and had to use both hands. She grunted as she hoisted it up, trying to keep it away from her, but it was slick with juice. “Can you get the other end of this thing?”

“Sure,” Tori bent and grunted as she lifted her end of the steak and the two of them walked it into the kitchen. It only partially fit on the counter, with almost half of it hanging over the side. Anya shook her head as she studied it, then got a large knife out of the drawer nearby. She cut off to large slabs of the meat, just big enough to fit on a plate.

“Dig in,” Anya said and cut off a bite-sized piece from her slab and popped it into her mouth.

It wasn’t exactly tender, but what it lacked in texture, it made up in flavor. Juices gushed out of the meat as she bit down on it, flooding her mouth with a savory kind of spiciness that she’d never tasted before. It reminded her of smoked paprika and chipotle and bacon and prime rib, but better than all of those.

“Uhmmuhgoff,” Anya groaned.

“Horryshiff,” Tori covered her mouth as some juice ran down her chin.

“We need something to drink with this,” Anya said once she had swallowed. Without too much convincing, she managed to talk Tori into sharing mimosas with her and got a bottle of the Dom Perignon and freshly squeezed orange juice from the menu.

She managed to catch the bottle of champagne when it appeared and set it aside. However, the orange juice did not appear in any sort of container, and the orange liquid just appeared in the air and then immediately splashed onto the floor of her kitchen. While the listing for the champagne said it was a “bottle of 2009 Dom Perignon,” the orange juice was listed as just “freshly squeezed,” and made no mention of a container of any sort. She found a listing for a “carton of freshly squeezed orange juice,” and caught it when it appeared after cleaning her kitchen.

“The aliens that made this thing are weird,” Tori said. “But definitely not bad.”

“Agreed,” Anya said as she took another bite of steak and a sip of mimosa.

“What about these other categories?” Tori gestured at the menu. “If they got weird stuff like dragon steak in the food menu, there’s probably other crazy things in the others, right?”

“Probably,” Anya said and selected the “WEAPONS,” sub-menu.

There was a katana that the menu claimed was an exact model of a legendary blade and cost 3,500 RAC. A snub-nosed revolver was 50 RAC and a big machine gun was 500. A magic wand was 1,750 RAC and a laser whip was 825. Magical, technological, and mundane weapons were all mixed together and all very affordable for her.

Anya paused in her scrolling when she saw some kind of missile appear in the menu for 150,000 RAC. It was the most expensive thing she’d seen by far. The only other thing she’d seen that had come close was some kind of rifle that shot pure bolts of energy for 25,000 RAC.

“Why the hell is one missile so expensive?” she muttered and then a chill went up her back as she read the description. Tori gasped beside her as she saw it too.

50 kiloton nuclear missile. Launching, targeting, and guidance systems included.

Last Chapter
Contents
Next Chapter