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

Tempest Crossing

The Grand Challenge - Chapter 5 (Us)

This may be a game, but it's not something you play.


When the particles stopped spinning, the crumbling room flashed into another existence. Once the particles dissapated, all that remained was a large and sprawling area that can only be desribed as an abadadoned junkyard. Garbage and other forgotten items stacked as high as the eye can see, it almost looked like man-made hills literred the landscape. Trying to ignore the hyper-releastic smell, I press my foot into the ground to test its stability. years if not decades of neglect made some of the ground loose and diffcult to traverse on, but a good chunk of the junk had cake into solid material. the seconds that were looser and fresher seemed to have footprints embedded in them, how strange….

Another wave of anxiety flowed through my body, but it wasn’t my anxiety.

What was going on here?

Realizing upon it now, I have never actually realized WHAT I looked like. Most VR games I had played prior only gave the first person hands and made no effort to design an avatar if it wasn’t a social experience, but pressing and feeling around my body made me think this avatar was of the special design. Glancing around the junkyard, I focused my vision to look for something shiny and reflective in the distance-


I strolled over to a smaller pile of junk nearby, and managed to retrive a hand mirror that was still (mostly) in tact. Lucky! I pulled it from its lodging in the ground and began to observe myself. Despite it’s trashed status, the hand mirror itself was quite beautiful despite it’s simplicity, and just a single cracked split its surface. The crack was circular and refined, almost like a half moon. But what caugh my attention was not the suprising condition of the hand mirror, but what I saw inside of it.



A young girl barely in their late teens met my gaze. What I expected to see was a happy-go-lucky avatar with a generic face ( though some VR games were starting to add facial experison based on player actions) , but the detail in this person was exquisite as well. The way the eyes looked uncertain, how the mouth was biting into it’s lip in the corner, and just a general aura of uneasiness was reflected onto my visage.

Wow, what a realistic game! I wonder how realistic the hair physics were too!

As I started to reach and start feeling through my hair, my hand stopped. Huh, that’s weird, maybe the batteries in my controller died. I opened the menu on my working controller and with quick glance confirmed that was both my hand controllers were still full of juice.

Maybe the game is lagging or froze? A lot of newer games are taking advantage of cloud to render the games on their servers and you only pass inputs in over the internet, which could explain the hyper realistic graphics I was experiencing. I press the menu buttton once again to leave the overlay and start waving my hand around frantically, but all it did was make the hand heading towards my head waver with a struggle. Oh geez, and this experiencing was going great albeit a weird intro. Maybe I’ll just restart the game, hopefully it has autosave…

Just as I was about to restart the game via the overlay menu, my avatar started to speak.

“Who… are you?”

I froze.

Me? I am me, the player. In terms of being someone, I was just like any other player. What… is this game asking me?

“…Game? … Player? What are these words you are saying? I thought you were someone else, the person I was looking for. But the things you are saying and the way you are moving… are you really the hero?”

The hero? Of course I am. That’s what the goddess said, right? That I’m the one who will save this world?

“You don’t sound like a hero, you don’t even sound like you know what’s going on-“

Just then, the ground beneath me (us?) began to rumble. I turned around in real life, and my avatar followed in suite without hesitation. On the horizon of our vision was a moving pile of… junk? Focusing my vision, the piles of trash that were lazily heaped in the landfill began to tumble and dissipate in the wake of this walking monstronsity, and a chill ran down my spine. The fear of the unknown washed over me quickly as another familiar feeling began to crest into my heart.

So you think I’m not a hero, huh? Well watch this, I’ll show you who I really am?

With absolute conviction in my course of action, I forced my avatar to start sprinting towards the monstrosity. This was standard in role playing games, a lone monster lumbering around it’s stomping grounds meant as a tutorial for new players to overcome. The hardest starting area I recalled was from a game I used to love called Umbral Spirits, and the dark and gloomy aestic of this game reminded me a lot of that OG game too. In terms of fighting a behemoth several muliples of the player’s size, a typical trope is to get beat up a little until a cutscene activates and grant you the REAL game, so I was going to do just that. “The power is inside of me huh?” I whispered to no one in particular, being reminded of those sketechy goddess final words, and arrived in no time at all in front of the trash monster. Finally noticing me standaing before it, it roared a loud and bloodthirsty howl, and began to wind up one of its fists to try and hit me. I lazly blocked with both my arms in front of me, and then felt its fist collide with my forearms, and then my stomach, and then connect with the rest of my body-


This hurts… a lot… and feels like the wind was just punched out of my small body. Is this.. blood I’m starting to taste in my mouth? Just as I was starting to realize that this was more than just a game, I was sent sailing across the junkyard and forcefully imprinted into a pile of junk.

#### [US - LOG START]

Dialogue & Discussion