Chapter 1 – A Special Commission
A city in South China…
In an old warehouse in the suburbs.
Scattered beams of light peeked into the warehouse through the blades of an exhaust fan, barely giving it light. The beams of light revealed not piled up goods as one would expect, but cables and cables of red and green, attached to several radiators and large-screen displays.
“This holographic virtual helmet… is wholly seamless! It’s obviously made of metal but its weight is less than that of plastic. How the hell was this made? This must be some black sorcery born of technology.”
Chen Mo looked at the glowing helmet in his hands. It had a faint metallic lustre. It’s practically a work of art! A sigh escaped his lips.
“The website on the holographic virtual network is running fine and has no loopholes – looks like the only way to complete the job is to enter the game and look for vulnerabilities myself.”
Chen Mo’s gaze fell upon the monitor at his side. On the top of the screen, in large letters, was a name.
= GENESIS =
The holographic virtual network era, once considered a mere fantasy, suddenly descended under inconceivable circumstances. A month ago, nearly all the countries in the world collectively announced the emergence of holographic virtual networks, which would soon replace traditional networks.
To test and determine the stability of the holographic virtual networks, GENESIS, a holographic virtual online game, was created and will run on a global scale.
As the first holographic virtual game, GENESIS would certainly attract countless players. Even with such staggering numbers, GENESIS can still operate flawlessly. Dubbed the virtual network that has “security with no loopholes” and “absolute stability”, it is inevitable that it would rapidly replace the traditional networks.
With the advent of the era of holographic virtual networks, the people rejoiced, jumped for joy and buzzed in excitement. Everyone but Chen Mo.
As a hacker, the holographic virtual network was something that upset his livelihood. The content of the network may be wonderful, but it left Chen Mo with no means to make a living. It was not enjoyable for him at all.
Apparently, there were quite a few people with similar thoughts. Chen Mo received a special commission just recently.
The commission was straightforward – look for vulnerabilities in the holographic virtual network and stop the move to replace traditional networks.
The deposit for the commission was only USD3000 but if he could find exploitable loopholes within three months, he would get at least USD 1,000,000 as remuneration!
If someone was going to pay Chen Mo to do what he wanted, how could he refuse? However, for days, Chen Mo had exhausted his capabilities and gotten nowhere. His last option was to place his hopes on this game – GENESIS.
He couldn’t find any loopholes on the regular website because a website was too simple. GENESIS, on the other hand, is a massive game with too many things involved. Even if the programming language itself was flawless, the computer program’s logic could be made to fall into an endless loop.
As long as such a loophole could be found in the game, the widely advertised “security with no loopholes” and “absolute stability” would just be empty talk and the move to replace traditional networks would definitely be blocked.
Several others in his line of work had also received the commission but Chen Mo had an edge over them.
For the past few days, Chen Mo had kept a close watch online on news of GENESIS. There, on several forums, were users bragging that they had first-hand information on GENESIS.
Chen Mo unceremoniously hacked into their computers and searched their files. One of the users really did have information on the game! Where did that bugger get this nugget of information from?
There wasn’t much. Chen Mo scanned the file. There were only bits of uncertain information, but, with his hacker’s intuition, Chen Mo knew that one of the bits he found could surely be a lead.
After stealing the information, Chen Mo very kindly helped the bugger delete it so that he would not be disturbed by other hackers.
Ah, where else can you find a hacker as kind-hearted as Chen Mo?
GENESIS’s official launch is at 6pm tonight. Chen Mo looked at the time and put on the helmet.
Once connected to the game, Chen Mo appeared right away in a room aged by time. There was no need to even login to an account.
Chen Mo was speechless. You don’t even need to login to an account! Traditional network security definitely could not compare.
“The game will soon officially begin. In the meantime, Player, please create your character and choose your preferred character class.”
There was a soft sound and character creation options appeared before Chen Mo’s eyes.
“Please choose a character class”
A series of character class figures popped up. Chen Mo looked at his options and quickly narrowed his choices to two.
He was here to sabotage the game, so he can’t count on others to help him. His character class, therefore, should naturally be the Lone Ranger type.
Assassins and hunters were the best suited to be Lone Rangers.
They both have concealment abilities. Assassins can learn stealth and in stealth mode, assassins can not only conceal themselves, they could also, in the moment of exposing themselves to attack, gain a powerful attack bonus. Hunters can learn camouflage, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings. The camouflage skill was better than the sneak skill but there was a downside. When in stealth mode, the assassin’s movement speed would increase but when the hunter is camouflaged, his movement speed will be severely restricted.
Of course, concealment was just one of many skills needed by Lone Rangers. High personal combat capability is most essential.
Needless to say, an assassin’s combat capability is high. As long as you have the gear and right skill set, your assassin will be a killing machine. If one learned a strong skill in the assassin skill class in-game, the assassin could become an existence to be feared.
However, the hunter class is not to be underestimated either. In terms of long-term combat power, the hunter ranks higher than the assassin.
Traps and poison arrows are the two most prominent skills for hunters. More importantly, hunters can contract beasts to fight for them.
“Assassin and hunter… assassins are more suitable for PKs while hunters are perhaps more suitable for going up against powerful monsters.”
Although he had not yet seen the combat capabilities of the two character classes himself, Chen Mo had already drawn some conclusions based on the class information the system displayed.
He was here to look for loopholes in the game so he should have more interaction with monsters and NPCs than with players. The hunter would suit him very much but Chen Mo did not choose it.
Hunters have few skills early in the game and Chen Mo wasn’t sure if he could do what he needed to in-game with the hunter class. He’ll think about it later after getting used to the game as an assassin.
If it wasn’t for the commission, Chen Mo could possibly have chosen to be a hunter.
In the game, the player’s character would level up and have several class promotion stages. At each promotion, the character can learn class specific skills and, according to skills learnt, have its class title change.
According to the system introduction, in late-game, hunters can be promoted to Bounty Hunters and Fortune Hunters. Ha, a fortune hunter! It’s like what he’s doing in real life!
Assassins, naturally, were not bad either. In the late-game, assassins can be promoted to Eternal Night Lord, Lord of the Night and other profession titles.
Too bad he wasn’t here to play but to destroy. For the sake of completing his commission, Chen Mo chose the character class with a higher chance – Assassin.
“Please create a character”
After Chen Mo confirmed his choice as assassin, a game character appeared out of thin air. Chen Mo looked it up and down and was surprised to find that the character had almost the same look as himself. He had to do some basic modifications to his character. Simple things, not too complicated.
Chen Mo was not considered a very handsome man but by modifying his features just a bit, he was still decent. He had never been dissatisfied with his looks but he was entering the game with bad intentions so of course he couldn’t just enter with his original face.
After modification, the character still had a trace of his real appearance but unless it was someone close to him, most people wouldn’t be able to recognise him.
“Character creation successful!”
“The game will begin shortly. Before you begin, we have a survey for you. Would Player Silence participate in the survey? Depending on your answer, you will earn useful equipment and items when starting at the beginner village. The system strongly recommends that you participate in this survey.”
“Nope” Though the system strongly recommended it, Chen Mo rejected it without a second thought.
It is very easy to analyse the answers of human character and behaviour in surveys like this. People in his line of work never participate in such surveys.
Time passed quickly and it was soon 6pm. A faint white light enveloped Chen Mo, and he disappeared from the room.
The scenery before his eyes soon came into focus. He looked about at his surroundings and hesitated.
What’s going on? When players first enter the game, don’t they appear in the beginner village?
Chen Mo found that he had appeared in a red-soiled valley with a radius of tens of metres. Behind him was a cliff and in front of him in the valley were dozens of Black Goblins, scouting the area with fierce eyes.
He would have to get past the goblins to get out of the valley.
Chen Mo was a man who had been through many things. He found it odd that he had appeared in the wilderness instead of in the beginner village but he managed to stay calm and not rush forward.
Though he did not know why he appeared here, it wasn’t important. What he should do is think of a way to leave this place and get back to the beginner village. Killing monsters will not help him complete the job.
Looking at his character stats, Chen Mo discovered that level one characters was as described online. Strength, Stamina, Agility, Intelligence and Spirit all have three points for each attribute. Chen Mo chose the assassin class so for every Stamina point he adds, he gains 20 HP. His current HP was 60HP.
Chen Mo looked in his backpack and found a “Rusty Dagger” with basic physical attack 1~3. He also found a skill book with the “Stab” skill.
System Prompt: You have learnt the skill “Stab”!
Stab (Novice level): When using a dagger to hit the enemy, the damage is increased by 120%! Skill cooldown time is 10 seconds.
“Damn it, having this weapon and skill hardly makes any difference!”
Looking at the attributes of the Rusty Dagger and Stab, Chen Mo could not help but grumble.
The Black Goblins in the valley before him were level 4. Chen Mo knew that his reaction speed was higher than regular people as an assassin but with pitiful level 1 stats, facing off with level 4 goblins was a huge problem. Could he even take on one goblin?
However, if he wanted to leave this place, he had to try. He heard that low-level monsters will not initiate attack. Maybe he could just stroll out this place.
Turned out Chen Mo was daydreaming. When he crept close to two Black Goblins in front of him, hoping to bypass them, the two goblins suddenly turned their heads in his direction and started to wave the clubs in their hands menacingly. They rushed towards Chen Mo in a fury.
“Damn it! No warning of attack and two of them too!”
Chen Mo hurriedly retreated. Having to fight one goblin was bad enough but two! He’d definitely die!
Chen Mo tried to flee, but to his dismay, the Black Goblins were just too quick. There were a few rocks around him but they posed no obstacle to the Black Goblins’ advance.
After just a few metres, the Black Goblins caught up with Chen Mo and a pitted club smashed heavily down toward him!
Chen Mo was quick to react and ducked, escaping the Black Goblin’s attack by a hair’s breadth.
As luck would have it, the other Black Goblin’s attack descended and Chen Mo, with no escape this time, took a direct hit.
A big damage number floated up. Chen Mo was unable to take even one attack from a Black Goblin and was instantly killed.
System Prompt: You have been killed by a Black Goblin!
System Prompt: You are the first player in the game to die. You have unlocked achievement “Lightspeed Death”!
System Prompt: You have gained achievement title “Lightspeed Death”!