How can tomorrow even exist for us if you won't fight for yourself today?

Tempest Crossing

The Grand Challenge - Chapter 2 (Window to What is Not)

Even the one place where I can be free, will never become real.


As someone with asychrnous nature such as I, having friends was a hassle to schedule around and an even bigger hassle to maintain. As such, the only types of friends I could have were of the asynchrous sorts: literature. As my domain of knowledge for studying for the best possible future, it was also the warm and cozy home to all sorts of tales from the beyond. Where most people saw a large and expanse room of quiet and still covers and pages, what I saw were the voices and tales of people who have existed, will exist, and will never exist. When I had down time in my studies, I would grace up and down the aisles of the hearty oak bookcases, running my hand along the spine of each and every book in my march. The various widths, texts, and calligrarphy imprinted among the bindings gave very distint sensations to the touch, like you had a faint idea of the world you would travel to when you finally pulled out that book. And in these worlds is where the real journey would begin.

In these books is where imaginartion and freedom lied. In the window to what is not, there is a glimmer to somewhere else that exists between here and no where, the stage is your mind and the book words are all the actors. The words that flowed from books cascaded effortleslly from the page to my mind, and there were admiteddly a few night in which I would read a book into the wee tidings of the night and somethins into the breakign dawn of the next morning, and through sleep deprived and actively beyrayed the best interests of my body, my mind was voriacious and wanted to know the answer, tie the final string, lay all outstanding problems to rest, and have tenure and conclusion to whatever tale I was embarking on. All these emotions and more would flood into me during my excusrion into the written word, and almost like a flashing memory of yesterday manifiefsting and quickly being forgettn, the pages of the book would end and the cover would finally turn, the end. All beautififul things must start and end, and the ending of these books would create an intenste craving for me, desperateley looking for more to fulfill its incessry desire. But the sensation almost felt fleeting, like getting the chance to sample something sweet and delicious, but having it melt away instantly in your mouth. I loved books, but there had to be something more to make this real. Somewhere that would make this mindscape close to where I want to be in reality.

Somewhere along the line, I found myself in the possession of virtual reality. I tried to not be in possesion of two many friviousl goods as the spaces I caved out for myself in what I called “home” were always small and compact - and usually shared among many others. It was the price I payed for being ahead for myself in the future - another typical sacrifice for I believe to be the correct choice. Moving was also a huge pain in the behind, so the less stuff I owned, the less stress I would have when the oncoming day would finally come upon me. Despite all these ridiculous contraints, somethings I would go out of my way to purchase one thing or another, and a VR headset become one of them. As the storybooks of my youth made my mind the stage and the words the actors, VR went on the next level of that. With VR, my eyes would be the stage and by body and motions the actors. It was a level of agency I could never dream of - to be PART fo the story instead of simply a spectator, and I enjoyed it. To be the heroes I had always admired, instead of staying in my own monotous world. But novelty is a cruel reality, and VR’s new staying power found itself weaker and weaker per day. The immersion could be broken by any number of sorts - audio bugs that weren’t realistic, being unable to grab items or cast magic or swing swords because of gamplay restraints, bumping into things ni the small world in which I practiced VR-tery, and worse of all, the dreaded “low battery” signal (there was always the option to charge and play, but the wire typically go int the way of gamplay, and charging while playing made the headset incessatnyly hot, as if my face were the next thing to burn off). Despite all its flaws, it was closer to the reality I had forever wished in my books, but not quite as realistic as some of the worlds ahd characters and motives and tales of the books I had read as of yesterday. There was just too much of a gap between the potential of VR reality and reading, and in this gap laid me in my monotous world.

On a day just like any other, a strange invitiation made its way to my smartphone.

“Dear Hero, are you squandering your potential, highly skilled but dreading everyday as you toil away your time and expertise into a void with no reward or return? What if there was a way for your actions to have meaning, to even save the future yet to be? This world needs heroes, and you fill the bill to a T. Do you accept the Grand Challenge?”

The invivation came as an email to a new beta test for a VR game I have never head of. “Grand Challenge”? And the way the iniviation was written seems more like a personal attack and lifestyle change then a simple game…

But my interest was pipqued. Half a loaf was better than none, and if anything the marketing and invitaition for this game was stranger than anything I had everr come across.

Invite Accepted*

“Excellent! Thank you for coming to your calling in the Grand Challenge. The VR Experience should be downloaded to your headset momentarily.”

Clearing space in my cluttered room for the new experience, a slight tinge of excitement found itself in the corners of my mouth as a smirk. There is nothing quite like trying something out new for the first time, and maybe this would finally be the game to take me away from these boring yesterdays.


Dialogue & Discussion