“You didn’t know?” Francine asked. Her head was tilted and her auburn curls hung un-appetizingly close to her sweet and sour sauce. The corners of her mouth curled up in a curious half-smile that Frank was starting to enjoy quite a bit. They were only about half an hour into the date and he managed to see that smile several times already.
“How would I know? I didn’t see any text anywhere that said, ‘Warning: All your matches are actually your doppelgangers from another Earth’,” he laughed. He didn’t believe that she was him at first, until she proved it. Frank was enjoying her company so much that it didn’t seem to matter.
“The app is called Zero + Zero,” she giggled. “It’s kind of in the name.” Frank tilted his head to give her his version of the confused look.
“How so?” he asked. Francine giggled again.
“Sorry. I guess it’s not as obvious if you don’t know about the Multi-verse. We say ‘Zero’ instead of doppelgangers. I’m your Zero. You’re my Zero.”
“Wait.. so everyone on there is dating themselves?” Frank asked. Francine nodded.
“It’s a good way to get to know yourself,” she smiled.
“What’s your Earth like?” Frank asked. He asked about her family and relationships while she was proving her origin. Those questions were just to find the truth; this question was more sincere. He genuinely wanted to know about her.
“It’s a lot like yours,” she said. “Standard contemporary server. We have AlterNet access, though I suppose you’ll be getting that soon too.”
“Oh yeah, you mentioned that game earlier too.” Frank’s mind glossed over the things he didn’t understand. “What’s the AlterNet?”
“It’s exactly like life, but better. You can customize your own body and be whatever you want to be and experience everything as that person.”
“If it’s so great… why are you here?” Frank asked. It sounded like a harsh question, but Frank knew himself. He would spend every waking moment in a game like that. And he felt comfortable enough with her to let the question come out. Francine smiled.
“Humans are funny sometimes,” she said. “If we’re given too many choices, we often default to whatever’s most comfortable. In my case, I was comfortable in this body. I kept it; but, I did get my soul upgraded.”
“When you make a character you pick a body and soul, but they don’t have to match. I picked my human body with a dragon soul,” Francine winked at Frank and pursed her lips together like a whistle; a small orange stream of flame spurted out. Frank’s eyes widened.
“You’re in the game right now!?” he asked. Francine nodded.
“Like I said, your server is a lot like mine.”