Working at Fun

“…of the Black Hole Dominion, our receptionist.” Louise briefly introduced the other three employees currently in the break room. Chuck and Cindy sat together at one of the small round tables; Kalgo sat alone at his table. They all waved politely at Louise and the new hire, Tina.

“Everyone, this is Tina, Follower of the Sunblessed Path, and Guardian of the Glade.” The three employees offered half-hearted waves, then returned to their business. Chuck and Cindy returned to whispering and Kalgo returned to his breakfast taco.

“So,” Louise turned to Tina. “Take a break if you like, introduce yourself to Kalgor, just be back at my office in 20 minutes to finish up the orientation.” Louise nodded, then walked out of the small break room. Technically, the break room was pretty big; Tina guessed it to be almost 3 bedrooms wide. However, the problem was only a handful of tables and chairs were clustered near the corner counter. Two microwaves sat on the counter next to a stall, white, shiny fridge. A red star logo sat on the right door. It was the newest thing Tina had seen in the building so far. After a moment, Tina approached Kalgor’s table and sat down across from him.

“What do you think?” He asked, then took another bite of taco.

“It’s everything you said in the ad,” Tina replied. Kalgor nodded while he chewed; a broad smile formed over his bulging cheeks.

“I have to ask, why so cheap?” Tina added. Kalgor shrugged, but tilted his head at Tina.

“Are you a Zero?” he asked. She nodded. “I’m Unique. #35, la Estrella,” he said. “Once you get to a certain point, it’s all the same. Every universe is just a big game with different rules. You start looking for new ways to have fun; this is that for me.”

“You have fun selling level-one servers with O.P. gear for cheap?” she asked. “Or, scamming people out of money for counterfeits?” Kalgor chuckled, but shook his head.

“I have fun grinding for that high-level gear,” he said. “Once I’m bored, I move on. The money is just an afterthought. And, nanos don’t allow counterfeits to even exist in the AlterNet. It’s the real deal, go ahead and try it out.” Tina narrowed her eyes at Kalgor. He responded by shoving the last taco bite in his mouth.

“Okay,” Tina nodded and stood from her seat. She walked to the fridge and placed her right hand on the red star. She formed a clear picture in her mind of crispy gold; “Fish ‘n chips,” she said. Then, she opened the fridge to find it barren. The interior glowed with soft white light. All the drawers and most of the shelves were empty. On the middle glass shelf sat a white plate with a steaming hot serving of fish ‘n chips.

Tina pulled the plate out, and let the door close. She held the plate with her left hand, then she leaned on the red star with her right. “Sharp Cola,” she said. She opened the door once more to get the white can of soda from the empty fridge, then returned to Kalgor’s table.

“I’ll take it,” she said as she sat.

“Just to avoid misunderstandings; the whole server, right?” Kalgor asked for confirmation.

“If you’re willing to let it go at that price,…” she said with a smile. Tina pulled her node out and Kalgor did likewise, but Tina paused. She glanced at Chuck and Cindy still deep in their own whispered conversation.

“Have you spent any talent points on them?” she asked. Kalgor shook his head.

“I couldn’t help leveling them up, but I didn’t spend any points. I’ve actually got enough materials and perks stored up to get you to up to middle-management. That’s why I’m still just the receptionist,” he grinned.

“I’m so in,” Tina said. Their deal popped up on their nodes and they each agreed. Once Tina saw the transaction go through, a new ‘Mod’ icon appeared on her node screen. “Thank you!” she cheered as Kalgor stood from the table.

“You’re welcome and good luck. I’m going to go start a new game again.” He gave her a wave with his left hand while he wiggled the fingers on his right hand at the air. A black portal opened up, but Tina interrupted him.

“Wait! Where did you get the Conqueror of Stars title?” she asked.

“At the Star Academy,” he said, but shook his head. “Sorry, only Estrellas qualify.”

“Oh,” she sighed. “Okay. Thanks!” She waved. He waved in return, then stepped into the portal.

“Good luck,” she heard him say before the portal disappeared.

“Hey Tina!” Louise yelled from outside the breakroom. “Phones are waiting!” Tina giggled and focused on her node. As far as the system was concerned, she was the receptionist now; but, not for long.

“I’m not ready yet,” Tina said. She tapped the ‘Mod’ button on her node then ‘Pause’ on the next menu that came up. Time froze, and Tina took a moment to relax and wonder how she wanted to play this game.