“Bradley Nielson?” A young woman in white asked. She stood on Brad’s porch and questioned him as soon as he opened his door. Her mostly colorless outfit was reminiscent of a postal uniform with a single red pair of scissors on her breast pocket.
“Yeah!” he grinned eagerly.
“Sign here,” she handed him a clipboard and pen. He signed the document, then exchanged the clipboard for a small white box.
“Thank you!” he said. The woman nodded, lifted her hand to wiggle her fingers in the air, then stepped into the black portal she created. The hole disappeared behind her leaving Brad alone on Earth again. He rushed back inside and sat at his kitchen table to open the box. After opening the first flap he found a small card.[Welcome to the AlterNet!] was written on the top followed by a short thank you note signed by Dana Sharp. He tossed the card on the table then grabbed the node under it. It was a thin glassy rectangle the size of a playing card; the display came to life as soon as he touched it. It repeated the same greeting atop the card with even more information. [Welcome to the AlterNet!]
[Server Name: Brad’s]
[Server template: Last Man on Earth]
[Server Access: Uniques Only]
[Server Owner: Bradley Nielson]
[Would you like to install a new template?]
“Finally!” Brad breathed a sigh of relief as he hit the [No] option. He loved being the last man on Earth. When he first came across a node he was thrilled he could live out his fantasy of an empty Earth. He was so committed to his spending the rest of his days in solitude that he destroyed his original node so that he wouldn’t be tempted to change his mind. Not long after that, the trouble started and his regret grew a little more each day. While he tapped and swiped at the node in search of the option he did want to change, a solid knock came from his front door.
“Damnit!” he grumbled as he looked up at the door. He debated not answering it, but when his eyes wandered back to the node, the knock came again. He stood from the table with a heavy sigh and walked to the door. “This is the last time,” he told himself to try and calm down. He opened the door without checking the peephole and was unsurprised to find a stout dwarf with a red bushy beard that nearly touched the floor. The dwarf wore heavy iron armor and he had an axe strapped to his back.
“Hi! Are you the last-,” the dwarf began asking the question that Brad heard every day for the month it took to get a replacement node. Brad interrupted.
“I am the last man on Earth,” he said curtly and held his hand out. “I appreciate your care package adventurer. Your quest is over, thank you, and have a good day.”
The dwarf gave him a puzzled look, but nodded and handed Brad a basket with a loaf of bread, a full skin of water, and half a dozen eggs.
“Good luck!” the dwarf said. He wiggled his fingers at the air, then stepped through the black portal that appeared. Brad sighed and dropped the basket on the floor. He resumed swiping at the node until he found the list of server options. He scrolled down, then cleared one of the checkboxes.[Disconnect Server: Brad’s from AlterNet quest generation?]
He tapped [Yes], then scrolled down to clear another checkbox.
[Do you wish to block Unique access to Sever: Brad’s?]
He tapped [Yes], then breathed a sigh of relief.
“Now, finally, I can be alone,” he smiled to himself.