Zero Luck

“At last!” A gruff voice shouted. Stephen stepped out of his house to head to the store when the voice yelled. He turned to find the owner of the deep voice and saw his doppelganger striding towards him. The angry, shirtless man looked almost exactly like Stephen with minor differences. Stephen’s black crew cut was replaced with a shaved head on the stranger. The bald ‘him’ also sported bigger muscles and a thick black beard. He reached the edge of Stephen’s porch and held his sword up to acknowledge Stephen.

“I challenge you to combat for leadership of the guild!” Stephen checked the time on his node, then shrugged.

“Yeah okay. I got time.” He turned around to go back into the house. “Let me log in,” he shouted over his shoulder.

“NO!” the bald one shouted. “We do it here,” he gestured at Stephen’s lawn. “outside the AlterNet.”

“Oh,” Stephen stared at the man’s bulging muscles, then shook his head. “Nah, no thanks.” The stranger shoved his sword into the ground.

“COWARD! The Council of Steves deserves a brave, fierce leader. It deserves the best of us at the head.” The bald warrior stood tall behind his sword and glared. Stephen smiled.

“It deserves the best of us?” Stephen leaned against the doorjamb while laughter wracked his body. “DUDE. I started the guild as a joke,” he walked to the wooden railing and continued to laugh at the stranger in the yard. “I thought it’d be funny to have a guild of my Zeroes,” he shrugged. “You’re over-thinking it. I just thought, ‘The Council of Steves’ sounded like a good name.” The stranger’s posture deflated.

“That’s it? The strongest guild on the Bozo server …,” his voice dropped to a pained whisper. “started off as a joke?” Stephen chuckled.

“Hah, yeah,” he shrugged. “I never would’ve guessed us Steves are so good at video games.” He waited for a moment, then waved at the stranger. “Well, good luck! See you in game,” he took a step inside the house.

“Wait!” Uh.. can you call me a taxi??” The bald man looked down at the ground in embarrassment. “I expected to kill you and call one myself,” he mumbled. Stephen sighed.

“Yeah, okay.”

“And can you pay?” he mumbled. ” I was going to pay with your belongings.”

“Fine, but you’re paying me back in-game,” Stephen said. The man nodded and Stephen went into his house. Ten minutes later he stepped out of his house as a black portal appeared on his porch. A dark-haired young woman stepped out of the portal and smiled.

“Taxi?” she asked. Stephen nodded and pointed at his bald counterpart on the lawn. “Cool.” She hopped over the wooden railing and approached the bald man. “Where to?” She stretched her hand out as if expecting a handshake. The bald man touched her hand, then she nodded. “Got it, let’s go.” She wiggled her fingers at the air and opened another black portal in front of them. The muscled stranger walked into the portal first, followed by the woman. Before it closed both of them ran back out of the portal. The woman frantically dismissed the portal. Stephen hopped off the porch and ran to them.

“What happened?”

“Bye guys,” the woman said quickly, then jumped into a new portal and disappeared.

“Uh, so,” the bald man looked embarrassed again. “I hate to ask, but, can I stay with you for a bit? Ballisea conquered my Earth while I was gone.”

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