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Flash Fiction | Another Day at the…

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Gerald turned on his laptop. While the Windows XX icon (for some reason Microsoft had skipped from 15 to XX) did its little dance he sipped at his coffee, hot and bitter and acrid, just how he liked it. After a small eternity (Microsoft could promise faster load times all they wanted but it was total bull) the welcome screen popped up. In another moment Gerald was logged in by the facial recognition component.

“Good morning Gerald.” Gerald had replaced the stock voice, a warm caramel that was simulated to be the perfect female voice, with a 2013 era badly simulated voice he had found on the web named Cortana. “You have 1 message from the IGF.”

Gerald cursed under his breath. He had been hoping for a quiet day of R&R.

“Open and read.”

The computer dutifully opened the message and read it.

Gerald Jimenez you have been selected for a mission today. There are three available missions for you to choose from:
1. Java trench
2. Urban Chicago
3. Mare Tranquillitatis (See of Tranquility)
You must login to simulator no later than 0800 local.

Gerald glanced at the clock on his laptop. 0755. Cutting it close as always, he really needed to stay off the sims and get to bed earlier.

“IGF. Login. ID:G Jimenez. Mission…” He hesitated for a moment. Java trench was out. He hated the underwater missions. Low grav missions were a pain too but he didn’t really want to deal with an urban mission either. Finally he made his decision. “…Mare Tranquillitatis.” The odds of dying were too high…and that would cost him credits he needed for the sims. He really needed to get off the sims.

“Welcome G Jimenez to Mare Tranquillitatis. Your mission…” at this point Gerald quit listening. As soon as he started the mission he would see a HUD with all of the relevant info for the mission. Enemies, targets, etc. For him the biggest goal was always the same. Don’t get fragged. Every time you re-spawned you were docked the cost for another Spartan. Die too many times and he might not make anything, or even worse might end up owing credits to the IGF.

Gerald leaned his head back and waited. As soon as the voice stopped talking there was a brief stab of pain as the neural link at the base of his skull was linked up to the system. This was accompanied by an intense sense of vertigo as the HUD came up.

Gerald quickly scanned the display, looking for objectives and enemies. Satisfied that he was safe for the moment he pulled his sniper rifle from his back and loaded it up. He loved being a sniper for a mission. Not only was he one of the best but it meant the odds of him being killed and losing a Spartan were very small.

Once he was satisfied with his weapon he tabbed through the objectives and then moved off to his primary location.

Gerald gasped as his neural link was severed. He felt the momentary emptiness that he always did when the link was removed and he lost the feeling of his Spartan’s body.

The mission had gone very well. He had recorded 24 kills..a new record! And he had managed to stay alive. His position had been overrun by the Chinese at one point-it looked like they had hacked his own teams communications-but Gerald had managed to get off an incendiary grenade and then retreated before they could take him out.

Gerald blinked to adjust his eyes. He then used his mouth switch to turn off the computer and turn his wheelchair around. It had only been six months since he had the procedure to insert his neural link, paralyzing him from the chest down, but he hardly even thought about what it was like to have working arms and legs any more.

His parents had told him he was crazy but he hadn’t even thought twice about joining the IGF. The IGF paid well. That meant more money for the sims which, with the neural link, were so real that he didn’t even miss real life any more…

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