writing chapter 12.3
When the testing first started, the team had plenty of time, and it was okay that the alpha testers only had placeholder technical displays around their visual screens. Which means that where in a normal videogame, played with a normal consciousness and viewed on a normal video screen, the technical stuff is visually displayed around the edges of the screen. But in the game, players became so entrained that they never noticed a screen, or retained all but the most basic awareness of their real body playing a videogame. Like a dream. It was real.
So the alphas didn’t have access to a lot of the information the betas had, and the beta’s more functional displays were full of glitches. The team expected this would cause trouble, but not that much.
The alphas had a big hand in finishing the game, really, with the kernel using their input to make instant changes. Anomia and Josh were too busy making sure the lessons worked, so the alphas were free to rig the game to be faster and more risky, and easier to take advantage of the betas when they came along.
They learned the lessons, the ones that worked anyway; they at least knew about the importance of the lessons, that they were supposed to be like idealized high school kids running around discovering the wonders of science like mister wizard. But they used their testing time to carve out territory for themselves, to run things.
The betas never even knew about the lessons, all they wanted to do was play, just like a bunch of kinds. They came in and ignored all the hard work of the alphas to crowd everything up and cheapen it further. There was naturally war between the two groups.
The team didn’t really expect it to cause trouble. They were testing, after all, with clear procedures and goals, and the kernal could handle it. The team didn’t pay attention to the bug reports or review the kernel’s progress because it was all happening between the game and the kernel, too fast for anyone to keep track of it. Plus they didn’t really know how to stop the kernel, or redirect it. They’d pressed play (not) and it ran by itself.
Their quantum abilities had grown during testing, now that they were in the game all the time. They could use their abilities more and more in realworld situations – materializing cups of coffee. They felt themselves to be connected to the game, like its fingers and toes. They felt their connection as if the electricity moving down the wires was part of their neuron’s system, as if their blood moved between connections in tiny chips in billions of computers. (In xkurt’s case, his existence did indeed flow thru all the electrical wires and computer connections in the world. And not.)
Everyone who tested had this feeling to a certain extent. It was a side effect of playing. Some reported it, some didn’t. The testers that didn’t take any tutorials had difficulty picking up any quantum abilities – they couldn’t materialize shit. But most of them picked up a certain strength of intention just using the gamegear to move around.
If they’d had time to think about it, they would have despaired of ever teaching the quantum essence. The two of them had it, and it was getting stronger. People who spent time around them had it, but really had to practice the exercises. But the gamegear did a lot of the work for them, so they didn’t try as hard, and didn’t learn as much. The betas, with their technical displays working, could go back to the old regular way of playing videogames and refuse to learn anything.
If they’d thought about it. Once Josh and Anomia stopped using the gamegear it became apparent, and they realized they were going to have to get everybody off their reliance on it. Someday. But they didn’t think it would cause much trouble.
They saw enough testers being serious about the exercises to satisfy them, and the testers found enough quantum shit happening to them to build up the superpower buzz among the fans. They began, some of them, to find themselves using the gamegear to move in realife. It sped them up a little bit, walking down the street, gave the act of reaching for something a little more oomph.
xkurt’s fiddling with the efficiency of the cyber universe was a bit more apparent in the realworld, when everyday events became quantized (and not).
“Sir, gravity’s different.” “Sir, DOT is reporting that the stoplights in Atlanta have synchronized over the last 24 hours.” “Sir, there’s been more unexplained activity in the Marriott. Car crashes, sir. In the lobby. And not.”
The effects were fleeting, but they were real, and they had repercussions. Occupancy was at a new low at the Marriott and they had traffic cops stationed on the surrounding blocks.
Moe freaked out. “We need a current copy of the bug database.”
“We’re trying to get it from one of our testers, sir.” From Caroline, in fact, but good luck with that.
Moe was busy covering his ass with his boss, warning that they needed to be prepared for an outburst of quantum, which were known to have unknown effects (and not).
The media got hold of the reports of the shit happening downtown, and pundits started in ridiculing the immaturity and hooliganism of Dragoncon fans for causing damage and major inconvenience to commuters and scaring tourists away, blah.
Dad saw the news and gave Nuthin hell about those idiots tearing up the city like that.