"Who dares to disturb Malgoth, the One and Only? The Overlord shall not suffer such insolence...!"
"It is time.""... My Master."
"I've spoken to you before, my friend... There will never come a day when you must kneel before me. After all... we are friends first and foremost, are we not?""... After everything you have done for me, I have no right to stand on equal ground with you."
"Spouting such nonsense again. I'm only returning the merit of our long friendship. Did you forget the times when you were the one who were always by my side no matter how dark the times got?""But this is different."
"Perhaps. Yet I feel not a single shred of regret for what is about to happen.""Murder and death. By your calculations we'll end up killing thousands."
"Years of effort is finally coming to fruition. We've expected this a hundred times, tell me not you are faltering now.""Of course not, I just... nevermind. Today we will create history."
"Right indeed my friend. Move according to plan, like we have practiced. I'm uploading the initiating configurations now. The program is going through the booting cycle and the server will open soon. As soon as I'm done inputting the commands I'm going to go and get ready.""You know you don't have to do this."
"And what? Let you have all the fun? Very funny my friend, very funny... Alright, I'm done with the upload, I'll join you back here soon. Now... go put on a good show.""....... Thank you. And... Good bye."
Wave Gear System log in.
Character Creation Complete.
Welcome to Talrae.
Game of the century. That's what everyone - critics, developers, publishers and fans - was calling it before it even came out. The first real VRMMORPG for humanity. The dream of having a virtual world, realistic enough to match reality and surreal enough to be a game has finally been solidified into a physical product. And needless to say, the world has changed. They say it is the biggest breakthrough in history of gaming software and hardware, a pure masterpiece of fusion between high-end programming and neuroscience technology. 10,000 copies were sold for pre-purchase which ran out in the matter of minutes. Only 10,000 lucky players will be joining the Talrae servers for opening day. You are one of those 10,000.
Opening day is nothing short of grand. Flowers, parades, and excited and ecstatic players fill the streets of Genesis City. Everyone is talking about how real everything is. Everything feels as if the player is physically there. The feeling of touch, smell, taste, hearing and vision; every neuron in the players' bodies are telling the them that the world of Talrae is very real. The food they eat tastes real. The flowers they smell, smells real. Their weapons and armor feels as if they are real warriors of the old. And Genesis is beautiful. Graceful rolling hills of green, gleaming lakes filled with coral blue water that looks more appetizing than any soda from reality. Majestic mountains near the horizon beckons the players to actions of grandiose while the deep blue sky dotted with splendid white clouds cleanse the players minds from any pain and sufferings of reality. As you take all this in, you begin the realize that this isn't the game of the century but rather, one of the greatest moments of your life. Wherever you came from and whatever you have done before, it doesn't matter. At least not in this moment. You never knew such beautiful world can exist and can think of nothing but spending your time adventuring in this fantastic world. A new life awaits for you. Life of action, friendship, joy and meaning.
You spend the first few hours exploring and admiring. You feel as if you can spend endless hours, days weeks and months in this game. Hell, even years is not out of the question considering the amount of content in this game. It truly is a real world, filled with everything and more than what the world of flesh and blood had to offer. It's a world where nobody is unhappy. Nobody is sick or suffering, everyone is having a good time and making their dream come true. They call the genre Fantasy. The term is more than suiting. Living in such a fantastic world... as who you want, doing whatever you want. Uncaring about responsibilities, work, jobs or anything else that can bother a man is nonexistent here. Here, you truly are your own master, free of the shackles of reality, in this very "real" world.
Suddenly something flashes before your eyes. It takes a second for you to realize that its your menu screen, glitching slightly to reveal the Log-Off button. Thinking it's just a minor glitch in the system, you move your hand to press the red X button when it disappears before you could do so. And without warning, the world turns into a flash of light and you lose all sense of space and direction. For a few seconds it feels as if you are floating in a pool of light, no feeling of up or down, left and right. All you can see is bright light bathing every inch of you. And then you emerge. In the central square of Genesis City, infront of the Royal Palace. You realize that you have been forcibly teleported. Thinking it's some sort of glitch or procedure for Opening Day events, you look around and see that the square is packed with others who are in a similar situation as you. And more are being teleported into the square by the second. Soon, the last player is teleported in and the crowd falls silent as the sky darkens with a thunderous noise.
A rip in the very fabric of space tears open an arcane portal in the sky, its edges shooting out arcs of lightening through the once-blue sky. Before anything else, a ring of deep and condescending laughter rings throughout the the entire city. "Good... good..."
The voice was deep and vibrating, it's sheer volume shaking the glass in the windows of buildings and disturbing the calm lake waters. It sounded elegant, evil, flowing, terrifying, intimidating and above all, powerful. You wonder what sort of being is even capable of displaying so much power through simply speaking a few words. And it hits you; it must be Malgoth, the Great Demon Overlord and the final boss of this game. No other being is capable of displaying such strength through such meager means. Contrary to the terrible scene before you, you are excited. The goal of this game, the end boss, the meaning of the game's existence has shown itself. As if on cue, Malgoth steps out from the infernal portal, making his appearance in the sky above all the players. A legion of his most powerful demonic apprentices follow him, forming a rank of royal guards ready to protect their master should any insignificant insects try to disturb him. "Welcome to Talrae!!!"
Malgoth speaks once again. You look around and see the excited look on everyone else's faces. This must be the Opening Day Grand Ceremonies, showing the players their ultimate goal from day one. Letting them know where they are headed and what they can expect. People start cheering and clapping, their excitement exploding into joyous outbursts of energy. "May you be successful in beating this game!"
The cheers continue. Only a few notice the sneering, condescending tone in Malgoth's voice. "Or die trying."
The cheers stop. Malgoth's voice no longer sounded welcoming nor even condescending. It sounded like a death sentence; an ominous sound of pure dread. You and others think to yourself how strange the wording is in the Opening Day Grand Ceremony. Before you can finish your thought, Malgoth stretches out his hand and a player is teleported into his hand. Malgoth grasps his hand around the player's throat, crushing her neck slowly. And then he starts explaining. "The Wave Gear you are currently wearing has an ability to burst out microwave powerful enough to destroy the brain function of any man or woman. In short, should anyone with access to the programming of Talrae wishes so, you are capable of dying instantly on the spot."
The crowd has gone completely silent now. All eyes are fixed on Malgoth as he continues to choke the poor girl in his hand. He waves his free hand in the air and all players' skins shatter, destroying their game avatars. There are screams and shrieks of confusion. You are also confused and look around you and see... people. In place of game avatars, players' real appearances take place. You touch yourself in the face to see if the same has happened for you and you notice without doubt that you are wearing your very own skin as the game avatar. Malgoth waves his hand once more and giant screens appear in the sky, showing news channels from worldwide. "When the last player had logged in, the appropriate authorities were notified of the lethal ability of the Wave Gear. And..."
Malgoth grip his hand harder and the girl kick and writhe in agony, her throat unable to make a sound. Her hands are outstretched to the players below her, as if asking for help that was impossible to give. With as much effort as crushing a mosquito, Malgoth snaps the neck of the girl and drops her to the ground. Her body falls to the ground but never reaches it, shattering into a million pieces of light-pixel in mid-air. Within minutes you see news articles popping out on the screens in the sky.
"First Casualty of Wave Gear..."
"Young Girl, Killed By Microwave..."
"Murder Most Foul, Wave Gear Deadly..."
"Talrae: Death Game, Authorities Cannot Trace Server..."
"CIA, FBI, NSA, Issues Worldwide Manhunt for NEX-FUTURE CEO. Russia and China Cooperates..."
"All NEX-FUTURE, Developer Of Talrae, Employees Under Arrest..." "You will die for real if you die in-game. You will die if your connection to Talrae is broken. You will die if the power is cut to your Wave Gear. You will die if anyone attempts to tamper with Talrae game or Wave Gear. There is but one way for you to return alive..."
Malgoth outstretches his hands wide open, as if being inviting. "Defeat me! Defeat Talrae! I shall be waiting for you on the 100th Floor. Defeat the final boss on the 100th Floor, and you will have cleared the last hurdle."
Malgoth pauses for a second, letting the players take everything in. "Whether you live or die is in your hands. 9,999 of you remain now. Will you all perish in your futile attempts to regain your real life? Or will you succeed and rise triumphant against this death game? It is all up to you now!!!!!!!"
Malgoth laughs harshly once again, this time more amused and retreats back into his portal, followed by his royal guards. The portal closes itself after the last of the guards have passed and after another thunderous crack, the sky is returned back to its normal colors. Everything turns back the way it was. Screams and cries erupt from across the square. There is a mass panic as people realize that the Log-Off button does not work for good. Some press the button again and again while being covered in cold sweat. Others just fall to the ground weeping.
The panic dies down after a few hours. Players have once again spread throughout Genesis City. However, it is not the same. There are cries and weeps of despair and fear everywhere. Pockets of Players are still attempting to somehow get the Menu feature working properly so they can log themselves off. Some roam the streets endlessly, without thought or purpose, fear having gotten to them and taken their souls. Some choose to go eat or nap, hoping that this is some practical joke by the Admin and they'll be back to normal in no time. You notice suddenly that you have gotten a message from the Admin of Talrae:
everything you have heard from Malgoth is true, there is no malfunction in our game. The news channels you saw were real and this is not just some practical joke from us. This is no longer a simple game but a fight for survival. But nonetheless, we hope you enjoy your gaming experience and find whatever you are looking for in the world of Talrae. One more thing...