Chapter 1 – A Close Encounter
“Begin System Scan on player’s identity……Can’t find a match for the current brainwaves, WARNING! Unidentified Identity, target information cannot be retrieved, WARNING!”
Within the virtual space, the white fog changed to pitch-black in an instant, followed by a shrilling alarm being sounded, warning the ignorant player of his current situation.
In the center of the pitch black area, stood an abnormally thin youth panicking, he waved his virtual hands, leaving dazzling arc of light, and doing his best to explain: “wait a minute, I am not……”
The alarm stopped immediately, the surrounding started to quiet down, and in the next instance right above his head, a tremendous will enough to warp all living beings slowly descended, the pressure powerful as hell, forced the youth to his knees, the surrounding fog spiral upwards in succession from a force only supreme gods possess – the whole situation seems as if doomsday have descended.
“Illegal trespasser~Identified, verifying crime now, according to [Anti-hacker Convention], fourth commandment, mainframe will now mete out the appropriate punishment : removing citizens privilege, preparing a strong wave to destroy the source physically and spiritually, executing immediately.”
The moment the indisputable judgment from the executioner ended, a dark lightning ball separated from the dark void above, dropped with the fastest speed possible, and with a whoosh curved right in front of the dazed youth, and by~manipulation flew straight at the luminous door behind him that connects the physical body with the spiritual body.
“NO!” the enormous pressure that shackled the youth dissipated following his reaction, he turned his head, and watched the destructive ball of light entered beyond the door… He immediately turned and chased for a few steps unwilling to give up, then jumped in right after it without giving it a second thought, hoping to save his own body.
Execution completed, the tremendous will that descended pulled away in a flash, leaving behind a burst of machine electronic voice echoing in the waiting area, “Execution of the 728th offender completed, resistance was not encountered, target brainwave frequency is labelled No. 0728, End Of Log”
When it finally quieten down, from within the surrounding fog faintly came a few voices discussing, “Ah, another fearless one, still dares to provoke mainframe at such a severe timing.”
“This is still my first time witnessing punishment of the highest level being meted out, what will happen to that kid?” The other one curiously asked.
“About this……the physical body that was devastated by the powerful magnetic orb, will be decimated to ashes definitely, and in most cases, the soul will be destroyed along with the body, but if he’s lucky and survived, what’s left of him will wandered around the network as foreign data! He may then get captured by the mainframe, and made a NPC of the game.”
“That is too awful!”
On the other side, the destructive lightning ball nearing the tunnel entrance, disappeared in a blink of an eye, the youth’s soul from behind soon followed in a daze.
District’s No.1 hospital, in a hospital room with dimmed light, a youth as skinny as a matchstick sat up abruptly, breathing rapidly, which sounded like a broken old bellow.
“Are you okay, had a bad dream?” Another patient in this hospital room for two put down the lighted phone in his hands, from the bed ~ supported up his upper body and inquired.
Li Jianye looked in the direction of the voice, took a while before realizing the person identity, “Big brother Tang, I’m… … fine!”
His words were slurred, making it seems like he got tongue-tied from lack of use for a long period of time.
He lowered his head and stretched both his hands to the front of his eyes to take a close look… morbid pale skin… fingers as dried and skinny like a twig, but otherwise undamaged. He then took a look at his other parts of the body, finding no scar from the frightening lightning ball, then only did he briefly settled down his panicking mind.
After smiling at the patient opposite him with a pale face, Li Jianye gradually lowered himself down on the bed.
“Lad, It is not easy for people in vegetative state to regain consciousness, even the doctor says what happen to you is a miracle! Don’t stress yourself by overthinking stuff, find some novel or music to loosen up.” Big brother Tang from the opposite bed endlessly prattled on.
The advice with good intentions from the other party did not really enter the youth’s head… novels, music? How can one still have interest in these usually favourite pastime when their very life was being threatened? Others cannot imagine the bizarre things he experienced during this time.
Li Jianye, a graduating university student from the 21st century, entered into a coma for a long period of time because of an accident, and with GCS score at 3 points, was judged to be in a vegetative state after being diagnosed by various levels of state and city hospitals.
In reality, however, his soul was pulled into a online game of the distant future —— Genesis.
He spent a total of three years trapped inside the game, and only woke up just ten days ago but only eight months has passed in his present life.
Any normal human would not accept this identity change reasonably, Li Jianye is no exception and took a very long time to accept and adapt to his predicament.
“There were neither swords nor magic… which means everything that happened on that continent must all be a dream!” He pulled the blanket over his head and kept repeating to himself, till he gradually start to believe in his own words.
Knowing that their son has woken up, both his pleasantly surprised parents had tears streaking down their old faces.
Looking at his parents that have aged quite a bit from all the worrying, Li Jianye in spite of his extremely weak body from being bedridden, struggled to cry his heart out.
It was very very difficult to make up for the scars of his present life, to the point that he quickly became mentally exhausted, causing him to not have anymore energy to entangle with that vivid dream.
However, the worst situation that can happen happened!
Not long after, just a while after he finished his nighttime recovery exercise and was preparing to lie down on the bed, within his brain blared a cold but familiar electronic voice: “Registration for Genesis will soon be opened, all citizens in the time zone please prepare for your first log in.”
“Hallucination?” the youth shut his eyes, and bit lightly onto his lower lips.
The announcement repeated for another two more times, completely destroying the doubt in Li Jianye heart.
“Everything that happens is not a dream!”
Faced with the mysterious phenomenon, he was half skeptical half emotional, decided to enter early after a moment of hesitation. At the same time he made the decision, Li Jianye’s soul got suck into a luminous door deep in his consciousness, then appeared in the other world within the thick fog in his virtual avatar and what followed after was the scene that has just happened.
Coming back to the present, the youth that was played by fate was experiencing an incomparable pain.
“What intruders! Illegal~ Identity! Even tried to destroy me! ” Li Jianye lie on his bed, firmly clenching his withered fists, unable to quench his rage, and an even more vexing problem was that he couldn’t understand the what is actually happening and what is he going to face in the days to come?
The time slowly ticked by, the patient on the opposite bed turned off his phone screen, turned his head towards me and starts to snore rhythmically.
“Attention all players, 5 mins till registration opens!” the cold voice once again sounded in his head, extinguishing the youth thought of escaping.
Stop hesitating, I have to do something!
Li Jianye looked at the patient on the opposite bed, and gave up right away, then stretched his hand to take the phone on the bedside cabinet, “Call the police? No one will believe me!”
“Attention! Starting the 3-minutes countdown.”
Randomly flipping through his phone’s contact list… Parents? Friends? Who can even provide help at such short notice?
No one at all!
Even Li Jianye himself don’t believe in his wishful thinking of acquiring help from others immediately.
Do I give up just like that?
He holds the phone with his trembling hands, because of his sweating fingers, tried three times to open up the messaging app, and at the last minute of the countdown typed in his last thought into the app slowly.
“Dad, Mom, stop waiting if I fall into a coma again, waste of money! You must take good care of yourself, and if possible, just donate all the usable organs in my body!”
After several hesitations, he finally built up enough courage to add in the last line not because he has a noble personality, but because he found out unintentionally through conversation that the hospital and Red Cross Society has taken the initiative to contact his parents to persuade them to donate his organs. For a young vegetative person like him, if he is willing to donate his organs, it can not only save many people, but also receive a sum of money from a dedicated funding which can be used to pay off his large amount of hospitalization fees.
This can more or less help my not well-off family to relive some of its money problems. During the time of darkness, for the strand of hope than I will wake up, my parents has definitely borrowed money somewhere and as to the exact amount, they even refused to tell their own son.
“Counting down 3, 2, 1… …”
Following the cold voice counting down to zero, Li Jianye’s soul got forcefully drawn out from the tunnel in a flash. His physical body in his present life like eight months ago, head facing upward and falling back, heavily dropped onto the hospital bed, and only the sound of rhythmic snoring remains.
The sky spun. He, who had awakened once more, was already inside a white colored fog. There were even strange black human silhouettes that were barely visible outside the fog, it was just that they were not distinct.
“Welcome to Genesis, due to the increasing influx of player entering at this time, will the player please proceed to the waiting area… …Detecting matching brain waves from system record, No.0728, will be forcefully brought to administrative area according to the law.”
Not waiting for a reaction from Li Jianye, the surrounding scenery changed right after the warning, the white fog was replaced with colorful data streams, making the science fiction fanatic Li Jianye think of the scene in The Matrix immediately apart from his feelings of fear.
“Downloading basic service data of MK – 1 model”
Along with the voice, a string of complicated character from the vast data streams flowed out, shooting straight at the distracted youth.
He originally wanted to block using his hands, following which he realized that he no longer has a physical body, but exist only as a cluster of light.
The string of characters entered into the cluster of light with an extremely fast speed, and stopped when nearing the center of it, vaguely forming small group of something that constantly emits out black rays.
In the course of this procedure, Li Jianye has the feeling of his innards exploding, his silent screams cannot relief even one percent of the pain. The tearing, clashing, exploding, seems as if everything was reverting back to chaos.
At the last second of the download, his drained mind finally relaxed, but the color of the cluster of light already had a weird change.
The black colored data structure near the center of the cluster of light unceasingly spread outward, a weird undercurrent radially probing about, but a lot of them soon shrink back.
“Begin installation… …no missing data, installation complete, begin operating procedure.”
A moment later, Li Jianye regained his consciousness, and at the same time felt that something has changed within him.
“Load Database!” The bright area got covered by an expanding darkness in a flash, turning the surface into a greyish color.
With a thud sound, the world in front of him totally changed, large amount of knowledge was known instantaneously through some kind of method, and from this instant, his existing consciousness broke away from the default model.
Some stuff automatically appeared inside his head, allowing him to understand some bit and pieces of what had just happened.
“This…is Genesis’s internal system, I was labelled an intruder by the mainframe not long before, received the punishment, and according to the law, if there are remains of the soul lingering on the net, they will be brought into the administrative area, to become a…NPC?”
Following the progress of his thought, the cluster of light flickered outward with a tempo, alternating between black and white.
“No, I currently still have my own consciousness, my own thoughts, in no way am I the lifeless program from the mainframe database.” The human part of me tried to resist with a great amount of effort.
“The lightning ball from the punishment disappeared, because I came from a different world and the connecting tunnel is not in the world the mainframe is in, so the punishment he metes out can have no effect, I still have my full personality! It must be like this!”
With the final establishment of self-awareness and unity, the black spot on the soul rapidly shrink smaller and smaller, finally shrinking back to a small region inside the core, and the soul as a whole recovered to it’s original pure white color.
“I am still me! Li Jianye, a 21st century earthling, and absolutely not a NPC inside Genesis!” He proudly announced, yet no one can share this incomparable joy of reviving after tribulation with him.
“Ding! System has released a global task, all idle program must accept and complete the guidance task, to help new player enters the Genesis’s continent. Completing the task will give you a reward of one contribution point.”
Accompanying the powerful voice, Li Jianye white with black soul was trapped in between the message that swept past right under his eyes and charged towards a distant location.
In the midst of experiencing the process of transmission, part of the surrounding data had also been sucked in by the black core of transmitting data, adding on to it. From within, Li Jianye found out the details of the current task.
Because Genesis was a compulsory virtual reality most citizens must enter, many players has already logged on in the short period of time it came online. Hence, under the arrangement of the mainframe, many idle program have no choice but to take the role of guiding the players temporarily, and Li Jianye or No.0728 was of course, one of them
Completing similar system task will also be rewarded with contribution points. According to the performance and efficiency of the individual, contribution points also varied and these points represent the importance of the program to the mainframe.
Every once in awhile, mainframe will clean up the ineffective program, freeing up resource space, and those with not enough contribution points will inevitably be destroyed.
Damn it, I knew it wasn’t so simple that I survived, shitty mainframe, don’t even think about enslaving me, just you wait and see how I am going to wreck havoc in your world.