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

Tempest Crossing

The Grand Challenge - Interlude 1

What is your call to action?


Hi there! My name is Ousikai and I’m the writer for the ongoing series, the Grand Challenge!

Since I’ve never introduced myself, I figured now would be a great time to start!

I am:

  • an American writer born in the early 1990s 🇺🇸
  • with an El Salvadoran heritage from my immigrated parents 🇸🇻
  • who is fascinated with Eastern Storytelling, most notably Japanese Anime 🇯🇵

Being at the intersection of three very distinct cultures, I’ve struggled most of my life identifying where I should belong, and thus have been continually walking at the fringe of all these ideals.

What especially intrigues me is the now prevalent digital identities that stem from our physical selves. Through the power of near-instant internet connection and pseudonymous avatars, we can now become heroes, villains, and everything in between in digital worlds that have no basis in reality, but could never feel more real to us.

Why is that?

From my personal ancedotes with the older generation, the stories they tell seem so foreign and alien to the reality many of us live in today. They came from a simpler time where you would marry the nice boy or girl next door, take on a humbling blue-collar job and still be able to afford a decent car, beautiful house, and raise several children with income to spare.

That once achievable dream seems like the stuff of legends only the lucky few can obtain as the world continues to crumble around us.

What is happening?

I’m not an economist, but stories from the streets now echo the despair my current generation is feeling. The jobs work you harder, pay you less, and it is becoming more and more difficult to just get by each day.

Thus, we turn to the digital world.

And for just a brief moment, we can envision ourselves in a life not our own.

We can pretend for just one moment that we are someone noteworthy, that the work we do is meaningful, and the future before us is something positive to look forward to.

Yet, time comes for us all.

The clock strikes twelve, the screens and monitors shut off, and all that’s left is the blurred reflection of our visage, trapped in the physical entity we inhabit. The world we we live in is more interconnected than ever, yet we could not feel more alone.

It’s awful.

My age group suffers from a lack of direction for their personal lives, a lack of certainty for the future, and a lack of unity for a place to belong.

Thus, I have dubbed the 20s and 30s aged audience, the Lost Generation.

This setting I have placed before you is where we are now, and were the Grand Challenge begins.

The Grand Challenge begins in the near future as various characters from all walks of life in the Lost Generation receive a mysterious invitation to a VR Game they have never heard of. In the near future, affordable VR Headsets overtake phones and computers as the all-in-one tool for work, social media, and recreation. Once the characters of the Grand Challenge enter the VR Experience, they find themselves in a world too realistic to be a normal VR game, and are challenged to overcome their own personal obstacles as they face who they currently are and the individuals they want to become.

Here are a look at some of the characters that you will meet…

  • A software engineer desparing at the isolation and insignificance of their work
  • A retail employee struggling to make ends meet as they painstakingly juggle their time and their degree at community college
  • A teacher who becomes increasingly pessimistic at the cohorts of children they receive and begins questioning their own ability as a mentor
  • A construction worker who is a jack-of-all-trades but cannot find a career they can commit themselves too
  • A young teenager neglected by their single mom and turns to the digital world for comfort and affirmation
  • A recent college graduate struggling to find a job in their field, and continues to work as a barista in their small-town coffee shop
  • An artist who dreams of their works becoming a full-time pursuit, but takes a mind-numbing government job to ensure they can get by in life
  • An elderly widower who just lost their children to a pandemic, and begins doubting their reason to live on.

These archetypes are all fascinating for me to write and iterate upon because average working-class adults and their supporting cast are unpopular characters to include in a story: it hits too close to home and many in my generation find themselves in eerily similar situations.

My hope in writing the Grand Challenge is discovering that the agency in controlling the direction and purpose of your own life has always been before you, and especially when you have a solid group of peers that support and challenge you to ever strive towards the better version of yourself.

Admittedly, I’ve been putting off this story as I have been trying to get obtain my own agency and direction in life, and am happy to share that change is not something that happens overnight. Change is a gradual climb over what seemed like an unseeable mountain top, but once you take the time to breathe, be okay with exploring uncertanity, and really asking yourself the hard question of who you want to become, an amazing relevation occurs. The misty road ahead begins to clear, and all you have to do is take the first step that’s always been awaiting.

The remainder of this month I will flesh a lot of the story direction, character templates, and world building elements I think will be intriguing to write the for Grand Challenge, and next month I will enter the Camp NaNoWriMo July 2022 Challenge and finish with 50,000 words for the story. I’m crossing my fingers that it will be enough to finish the first major arc of the Grand Challenge, and then I will start sharing the epic with wider groups as the story continues to evolve.

Wow, that was a lot of writing! I hope you’ve been engaged with what’s to come, and as always thank you for taking the time to read through these posts!

Now, are you ready to dive back into the story?


Dialogue & Discussion