Cactus Needle

“Okay, I think I mostly understand all the ‘Unique’ stuff,” Lucas said. He gestured at the wide open wheat field that surrounded him and the white, featureless mannequin that was explaining things. “But how can this be a prison? There are no walls.” Despite the mannequin’s lack of face, she tilted her head upward. Lucas got the distinct impression that she rolled her eyes at him, not that she had any.

“As I said before I began the explanation, you must first create your character to enter the general population. This is only a tutorial area,” The mannequin said. Lucas nodded.

‘Oh yeah. Well now that I know what I am; what do you recommend for #39 El Nopal,” Lucas asked.

“Recommended classes for #39 El Nopal include Craftsman, Clown, or Librarian.”

“That’s it? Those are my only choices?” The mannequin nodded.

“The Courtyard is designated as a prison server. Combat classes are not allowed by the inmates.” Lucas sighed.

“Tell me about the classes I can choose from.”

“Craftsmen can specialize in one of 12 trade skills including blacksmith, chef, engineer, programmer, scribe or tailor. Clowns are handicapped on the Courtyard server. They have access to enough of their skills to be entertaining without being dangerous. Librarians specialize in different types of knowledge, though only two specializations are allowed in the Courtyard. Cartographer or Anthropologist.”

“Anthropologist? That’s a class specializations?” The mannequin’s white head tilted forward to nod.

“Librarian Anthropologists study Unique history.” Lucas’ eyes widened.

“If I’m a librarian can I find out about the Queen?”

“The Queen?” She asked. Lucas nodded.

“Yeah, the lady that sent me here.” The mannequin changed shape. In an instant, the white feature-less figure became a dark-haired woman in a black flowing dress.

“This Queen?” the woman asked, still voiced by the mannequin. Lucas nodded and the woman reverted to a mannequin again.

“You cannot learn anything about the Queen as a librarian,” she answered Lucas’ question.

“What? Why not?” He pointed at the figure. “Do you know who she is? Can you tell me anything about her?”

“Yes, I know who she is. The only information I can tell you is that she is #47- La Corona.”

“Thanks,” Lucas nodded with a chuckle. “That doesn’t help me at all, but I guess I should pick a class.” He paused, then looked at the mannequin.

“What happens if I don’t pick a class?”

“You are stuck here until you do.” Lucas stared at the picked-over boxes of fast food on the table. “Well, I know I won’t go hungry. Maybe I’ll hang around, this doesn’t seem so bad for five years.”

“Your sentence does not begin until you enter the general population.”

“Oh. Fine, Craftsman, I guess. A tailor,” Lucas told her his choice and the mannequin nodded. Lucas blinked.

He opened his eyes to see a stone wall in front of him. He looked around the small prison cell and sighed.
Well, I wanted walls,” he chuckled to himself.

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