AlterNet Prize

“It looks like everyone’s here,” Jill glanced around at her crowded kitchen. All six seats of her dining table were filled and several other guests ended up standing against the counter. The dozen visitors were the friends and family Jill trusted most. “I’m going to start by thanking everyone for showing up. I know this get together was short-notice, but it’s important. You guys won’t regret showing up at all,…” Jill paused and took a moment to smile at everyone present. “…your lives just got so much easier,” she said.

“You won the lottery!” Davis, Jill’s favorite uncle shouted. The group burst into laughter but Jill shook her head.

“Better,” she said. “I won an AlterNet server. A whole server,” she emphasized. The kitchen was filled with cheers from Jill’s friends and siblings in her age-group as well as confusion from the older family members. 

“What does that mean?” Jill’s silver-haired mom asked from across the table. Jill started to answer but her first word was interrupted.

“When do we leave!?” Jill’s sister, Kate, asked while bouncing in place. She realized she interrupted Jill’s answer to their mother, then apologized with a shake of her head. “Forget it. I’m gonna go pack already! Bye! Love you!” She practically ran out of the kitchen.

“The AlterNet is a game that takes place on alternate Earths,” Jill said to her mother. “Each ‘server’ is a real, living Earth. The company that created the AlterNet, Sharp Development, gave away an AlterNet server as a top-prize in a contest. I won the contest, so now I have a server we can all move to at any time.” Jill’s mother sat quietly for a moment while she processed the information. The rest of the group whispered excitedly around her.

“You own an Earth?” she asked Jill. “The whole Earth? What about the people there?”

“There aren’t any. The Earth is just for me and the people I want to share it with. I can add NPCs if I want, but I don’t have to,” Jill said.

“And I can live there, anywhere I want?” Jill nodded and grinned.

“You get the very first pick, mom. So, what do you think?” Her mom turned in her seat and looked at the full kitchen; she took a moment to meet everyone’s eyes with a smile.

“I think it’ll be a nice change. I’m looking forward to living in a world where everyone knows each other. “

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