Black and Bluster

“Help you?” DarkBlack asked. The villain turned away from the entrance to the police station to face General Stronguy. “With what, exactly?” The green-caped hero stood at the bottom of the steps with watery eyes.

“I’m scared… What happens to me when you go in there?” he asked.

“You’re scared?” DarkBlack took several steps down toward General Stronguy, but stopped halfway between him and the entrance. “NPCs don’t get scared unless it’s in the script. What do you think you’re scared of?”

“You said it resets me when you enter the police station,” General Stronguy sighed. “I know I’m conscious… I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to die.”  DarkBlack took a few more steps closer.

“You really mean that…,” he said with some surprise. “This isn’t a new quest, is it?”

“Please,” General Stronguy asked.

“Alright,” DarkBlack nodded. “I don’t know if it’ll work, but I have an idea.” DarkBlack flicked his wrist upward and a smokey, translucent pane of glass appeared between the two men. He used his hand to tap and swipe on the surface of the glass several times, then dismissed it with another quick flick.  A black portal opened next to him.

“Let’s try a different server first,” he said. “Go ahead,” he encouraged General Stronguy. Having no choice but to trust the villain, the General stepped into the portal; DarkBlack followed.

General Stronguy stepped out of the portal and found an endless amber field under a dark violet sky.

“Welcome to the AlterNet!” a woman’s voice said. General Stronguy watched as black particles coalesced from the air to form a mannequin. Its face only consisted of slight indentations to evoke eye sockets and a small bump that was meant to be a nose. The mannequin appeared to be General Stronguy’s height; but, he noticed it hovered above the ground. “Would you like to create your character?”

“Yes,” DarkBlack said from behind the General. The mannequin hovered closer and tilted its head up and down as if appraising the hero.

“Partial template recognized. NPC_Zero, Generic Superhero template; incomplete character. Would you like to resume character creation or start from the beginning?” the mannequin asked. General Stronguy faced DarkBlack with questioning eyes. DarkBlack shrugged.

“That’s all on you,” he said. General Stronguy thought for a moment. He was still afraid of dying and had no idea what starting from the beginning would entail. He did not want to risk losing any part of his current self.

“Resume,” he said. The mannequin nodded.

“Human body selected. Please select a soul,” the mannequin said.

“Uhhh..” He turned back to DarkBlack. The villain sighed.

“Do you trust me?” he asked. General Stronguy nodded after a moment.

“Great,” he walked closer to the mannequin. “Mist soul,” he said.

“Confirmed. Please select a Class.”

“Elementalist,” he answered.

“Confirmed. Please select a starting specialization.”

“Wind Jammer.”

“Confirmed. Would you like to save your changes?”

“Ye-,” DarkBlack’s answer was interrupted.

“WAIT!” General Stronguy said. “Can I change my name?” The mannequin nodded.

“Affirmative.”

“I don’t know what you did, but that Wind Jammer thing sounded kind of neat. Am I going to get wind powers now?”

“Kind of, yeah,” DarkBlack answered.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” General Stronguy said. “I want to change my name to Mr. Bluster.”

“Confirmed. Would you like to save your changes?” DarkBlack did not answer this time.

“Yes,” Mr. Bluster said.

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