Hell's Glitch (LitRPG): Into a Dark Adventure, p.1Belart Wright
Hell’s Glitch: Into a Dark Adventure
By: Belart Wright
Copyright 2015 © Belart Wright
Written by Belart Wright
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review.
Trademarked names appear throughout this book. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every occurrence of a trademarked name, names are used in an editorial fashion, with no intention of infringement of the respective owner’s trademark.
The information in this book is distributed on an “as is” basis, without warranty. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this work, neither the author nor the publisher shall have any liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
1 We’re Here
3 Opening Cutscene
4 Hard Ass
6 An Unreal Fight
7 A Beacon in Dark Times
8 The Merchant
9 Assassin’s Forest
11 The Mad King of the Forest
12 The King’s Justice
13 The Gift of Sinning
14 The Sinner vs The Immortal
15 Not a Madman
16 Sample Data
17 Sedwin the Silver
18 Stumpy and Grumpy
19 Cheap Cheap Cheap
20 Big Mid-Boss
21 Royal Cooperation
22 The Will of the Forest
24 Sin and Punishment
25 Phase 2
27 Deadly Cooperation
28 End of the King’s Quest
29 Special Announcements
30 Rest And Reflection
About the Author
Sam Nagai rose out of bed and counted himself lucky today. He felt so good about what was ahead of him that he got up, showered, and dressed without hitting the snooze even once. Sam was a games tester which normally meant getting paid low wages doing mundane work on shitty mobile hologram games. Tap here, tap there, fill out a report, cash check. That was the normal way of things, but today would be a little different. Instead of having to test another Holo-Birds rip-off for mobile, he would get to instead immerse himself into a full on virtual reality simulation and it was a fantasy game at that, a dark fantasy. Sam was a huge fan of anything considered dark, from bloody horror movies to strange eldritch tales and gothic fantasy eBooks.
All morning and afternoon his thoughts were focused on just what kind of game he would get to play this time. He thought about it as he ate breakfast. It couldn’t be helped as all sorts of thoughts about it came to his mind. His boss hadn’t given much information about it, not even a title. The secrecy of it all was maddening.
Sam left his apartment at two twenty on the dot and drove through the streets of sunny San Fran. After a short trip, he arrived at his friend Robert’s house in no time. Robert only stayed a mile away from Sam’s own studio apartment. Sam honked his horn and Robert came out of his house after giving a sendoff kiss to his girlfriend Chelsea. Robert was tall and lanky and walked kind of like Shaggy from that classic cartoon with the dog. He looked like him too with his short brown hair, stubble, and long arms. He carried a book satchel over his left shoulder and tossed it into the back seat once he got into the car.
“You know, you probably won’t need your laptop, if this is really a VR (virtual reality) game,” said Sam.
Robert buckled his seat belt and shrugged.
“Probably not, but you know, just in case. We might need notes or something when we’re done,” Robert said nonchalantly. He looked over at Chelsea and she waved then blew him a kiss. Oh, to be in love! Robert was lucky that he had an angel like Chelsea, someone who truly loved him for who he was. Sam was not so lucky and as of yesterday, he was currently girlfriend-less. Sam gave Chelsea a wave then drove off. They needed to get to the testing center by two forty-five. It was downtown. Sam figured they had enough time to get there a little bit early, which was actually time he allotted for any disruptions, such as slow traffic, or a random traffic stop by the police. As he drove, his thoughts inevitably went back to the mysterious game. Robert beat him to the punch with his question.
“What do you think this game is about?”
It was a conversation they’d had before, but even now it was fun to speculate.
“I have no clue, man. You?” Sam asked.
“I don’t know. I’m thinking it’s going to be something like those old Death Planes games. Remember those? They haven’t made anything like that in like twenty years. Everything now is just bubblegum bullshit. That game was so metal!”
“I don’t think so, man. That would be way too awesome,” Sam said while laughing. “We can’t get our hopes up like that.”
“But, what if it is?” Robert said, barely containing his own excitement. “Can you imagine actually slashing demons and throwing fireballs and shit in real time? Imagine how badass that would be!”
“Come on, man, don’t get my hopes up. I’m trying to keep my expectations low.”
“Okay, so it probably won’t be that awesome. I’d be satisfied with a realistic sword and sorcery as long as I could axe a few questions to my opponents. I’d take that over another Holo-Birds any day.”
“Amen to that. I’m with you there, but I denounce that horrible axe pun,” Sam said laughing.
“Fuuuuck youuuu,” Robert replied, also laughing. “My axe pun is the cutting edge of humor.”
“Gross dude, gross. Anyways, I hope the game isn’t too realistic. Can you imagine my five foot nothing, three hundred pound ass swinging swords against goblins and orcs?”
“I can, but I really don’t want to,” Robert replied. “And way to exaggerate. You sound like my sister. You’re not even remotely close to three hundred.”
“I’m one bad week away from it, and now with the breakup, I know I’m just going to put the weight on.”
“Whatever man, forget all that. This gig is going to be a good fucking gig. I can feel it. We’re going to have a lot of fun and we’re going to get paid for it, then after that you’ll do your art thing, make some more loot, and charm the panties off of some sweet little princess. You are the bear, are you not?”
Sam sighed and answered, “I am the bear.” On days like this, Sam was especially glad to have Robert around. The man was an expert on calling him on his bullshit. They continued talking about the game while Sam drove around the downtown area looking for the testing facility. He stopped and parked in front of an empty lot. The car’s GPS was telling Sam that there was a building in front of him, but his eyes could not agree. The lot was fenced off and seemed to have been home to a recently demolished building.
“What the hell?” Robert asked, expressing Sam’s own confusion.
“GPS says it’s here, but it’s not. Let me check my messages again.”
“They gave us the wrong address!” Sam yelled. “I actually wanted to get there on time.”
“Hold up, some guy from the car wash is walking up. Maybe he saw some other testers as confused as we are.”
A tall man with a heavy tan walked up wearing a baseball cap, tank top, and cargo shorts and called out to them.
“Hey! You guys looking for a building?”
Sam leaned out of his car window and replied, “Yeah. Have you seen any other cars come over here looking for a place?”
“Yeah,” the man said as he neared Sam’s car door. Naturally, Sam tensed up a little at the proximity of the muscular man. He wasn’t full on scared, as the man was being helpful, but he was on alert. “People have been coming over here all afternoon. I guess someone gave you all the wrong directions. Anyway that guy over there in the red car has been coming back and forth leading people to the right place. He wanted me to tell you to follow him.”
“Wow, that’s really nice of you,” said Sam, earnestly surprised by the man’s generosity.
The man laughed and added, “I’m nice, but getting paid to tell people to follow a guy makes me nicer.” He turned around and walked back to the car wash across the street. The red car that the man mentioned pulled up to the curb from the side of the building and the short-haired blond man with glasses inside looked over at Sam. Once he saw that Sam had seen him, he pulled out into traffic and headed north. Sam quickly turned his car around and followed the man for a mile before pulling up next to him at a stop light. The man looked much younger than Sam initially thought, like he might have still been in high school. Sam leaned over and called out to him.
“You going to the testing facility?”
“Yeah. I’m leading people there since there was some sort of mix-up,” the blond man said.
“You a tester too?” Sam asked.
“Yeah. We got a pretty cool game this time, eh?”
“You know anything about it?”
“Probably as much as you do. Dark fantasy VR sim (simulation), right?” he asked.
“That’s exactly how much I know,” Sam replied.
“Well, I think we’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. That’s my hunch.”
“See dude, even he knows it,” Robert said, nudging Sam.
The light turned green and the blond haired man said, “Alright, see you when we get there,” before driving off.
He led them a mile down, to an underground parking garage. He pulled in, and then did a U-turn when he saw that Sam had driven down into the structure. He drove next to Sam’s car, so that their driver’s side windows were facing. This close, Sam could see that the man was definitely high school to early college age with light brown eyes and barely-there freckles.
“I’m going to go back to the car wash one more time to get anyone else who might get lost. They’ve extended the grace period because of their error, so you guys will still be technically early. The building you need to go to is right across the street once you get off the elevator at the first floor,” the boy explained.
Sam nodded his head and the boy pulled off without so much as an introduction. Sam found an empty parking spot on the third underground level and parked his car. He and Robert made their way to the elevator and waited for it.
“What a fustercluck already,” said Robert. “Geez, this is way too complicated and we aren’t even in the building yet.”
“I know right. You know what’s weird though? I’m still psyched about all this,” explained Sam.
The elevator arrived and they walked into it.
“Yeah, me too.”
Robert pushed the button for the first floor and sent them up. They walked off the elevator, out of the parking garage, and crossed the busy street into the modest sized office building and were immediately greeted by a large, wide white man in a security uniform.
“Hello, gentleman. Welcome to the virtual testing facility. I’ll need you to check in all items in your possession that are not absolutely vital. Any pens, pencils, markers, or whatever other writing utensils you may have. Leave all paper, notebooks, scrap paper, and electronic devices here also. There will be no mobile phones, handheld computers, or anything else that can connect to the internet allowed past this point.”
“What do you mean?” asked Robert. “I have a wife and family that may need to get in touch with me. I would call that vital.”
Sam had a laugh at Robert’s hypocrisy, exaggerating his and Chelsea’s relationship status, when he had admonished Sam for his earlier exaggeration.
“There will be no cell phones or anything else that I have listed to you allowed past this point. If you don’t agree then you will not be allowed to participate in the test,” replied the guard.
“What if my family really has an emergency?” asked Robert.
“Your contacts will be added to our database, with your permission, and if one of them calls with an emergency, you will be informed. Make sense?”
Robert sighed, knowing he was defeated. “Yeah, it does,” he said, and then turned over his phone, watch, and backpack. It seemed at tad bit much for the sake of secrecy, especially for a videogame. Sam followed suit anyway and then the two of them proceeded down the hall to where others were standing, a roughly even mixture of men and women.
Sam whispered over to Robert.
“Hey, look at that. For the first time in our lives, it’s not a complete sausage fest.”
“That benefits you more than me,” Robert replied.
“Nah, I’m not even looking at it like that. After everything Michelle put me through, I don’t even want to think about getting a girlfriend right now. I’m just glad to have some chicks around, ya know. I like the vibes they give off.”
“Yeah, I understand. You like their vibes, then you end up liking another V word of theirs.”
“Ah, screw you, man. I’m trying to think beyond the normal binary of male/female relationships.”
“And you’re failing miserably if you let me talk you out of it. Wait! Look at that.”
There looked to be a line of people signing a piece of paper on a pedestal. A short haired brunette woman dressed in a professional gray skirt, navy blazer, and black heels noticed Sam and Robert approaching the line and addressed them.
“Hello, gentlemen! My name is Anna and I’ll be guiding you throughout this whole process. Right now we are signing the confidentiality waiver. While you are waiting to sign, I recommend reading over the terms. Here, take these.”
She walked over and handed them a thin sheet of paper with a very simple agreement on it. Sam and Robert handed them right back.
“It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it?” she asked rhetorically.
Sam couldn’t help but to nod his head like a goober. He was a sucker for trying to please beautiful women. It was why Michelle was able to take advantage of him so easily before. Anna went back to where she stood before and greeted the next group of people to come in after Sam and Robert. Eventually the two of them signed the waiver, followed by the last of the testers. There were at least a few hundred people standing in the packed hall and all of them were here to test the game.
Once everyone was gathered, Anna stood up on a small platform so that everyone could see her and her wonderfully toned legs and gave an announcement.
“Attention, testers. Again, my name is Anna and I’d like to welcome you to our company. We are Full Core Studios and today you will be the first to get your hands on our newest triple-A title, a cutting edge Dark Fantasy VRRPG (virtual reality role playing game). I can say that this game is truly in a league of its own, folks, and I can’t wait to show it to you.”
She paused and took a moment to look around the room. Sam could feel the excitement building all around him. Everyone was buzzing. It was mostly her gigantic reveal of the studio name. Sam knew, from his own games collecti
“We’ve taken great steps to ensure the secrecy of our game, as you can tell, and now we have just one more step before you are ready to play. You see, our testing workshop is not actually in this building—no— Surveillance software and hacking programs are just too advanced to even give that much sensitive information out to the companies you all work for. It’s too big of a risk, so we will instead shuttle you to our real testing facilities, not far from this building. Now, I want you all to follow me to the shuttles out back.”
She starting walking and the group quickly followed. Sam looked at Robert with a confused look painted on his face.
“Is it me, or are these guys crazy?” he asked.
“Yeah, but for all this trouble you know the game is going to be good! And did you hear who’s making the game?” asked Robert.
“Of course I did! It’s why I’m still following this lady to what’s bound to be the adult equivalent of a school bus.”
They all gathered out back and left the building in small groups to board the bus. Seemed like Full Core didn’t want to raise too much attention by having a large group of people outside at once. Sam and Robert seated themselves on the mid-sized white bus and soon the buses pulled off, one at a time every few minutes. Their bus drove a few miles east before driving into another underground parking lot. Sam’s group exited the bus and was led down a cool tunnel into a rather lavish building brimming with all sorts of gaudy technology. There were huge screens just about everywhere with scrolling scenes of rainforests filled with colorful exotic animals, oceans with sparkling clean blue water and massive sea life, and dank dark caves with slithering creatures. They were ushered forward before Sam got to see the rest. He wondered if the images were real or virtual.
1 We’re Here
The room that Anna led them to looked to be some kind of standing theater. There was a single large screen hanging over the group which wrapped halfway around the circular room. The screen was blank, so Sam instead focused on the lovely Anna as she made her way up to a small stage.
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