Instead of the usual short stories that I post on Sundays, I thought I would post an excerpt to my Camp NaNo novel. Here is a past post with a brief synopsis of the story currently titled, “NPC.” Basically, it’s a video game/MMORPG world where the players are paired up with dragons. I hope you enjoy it and have had/are having a wonderful Easter and weekend!
An Excerpt from NPC
“It’s not often we find a Water around these parts,” were Brent’s first words as he hopped off of Foxtail’s back and sauntered toward Kurt and Noodles. “I’m a bit surprised that you contacted me.”
“I figured that Fire dragons and their masters would be the more knowledgeable pairs to ask about this region,” Kurt said with a nod and a gesture toward Mount Cataclysm.
“You’d figure right.” Brent glanced at the mountain range. “So, then, what do you want to know about the mountains?”
“It’s about the players that were caught in the summit earlier today,” Kurt said. “They mentioned that it was a rockslide that had caused them to get stuck. When I spoke to Animus about it—”
Brent scoffed. “Ah, the mod that knows everything about our world, eh?”
“She helped create it, Brent,” Kurt said. “I’d be concerned if she didn’t know enough about the realm.
“Anyway,” he continued, “Animus said that the servers and programming should have withstood the attacks and not have caused a landslide large enough to trap a couple of players. I wanted back-up to check it out.”
Brent raised an eyebrow. “And you called me?”
“You were the first one I thought of,” Kurt admitted. “If you don’t want to help, I can contact someone else. Maybe Josephine—”
“No, I’ll help.” Brent ran his hand through his hair and glanced back up at the mountain. “Foxtail and I aren’t doing anything exciting right now. I just don’t think that there’s really anything you need help with, ya know? I don’t think a landslide is all that uncommon.”
“It isn’t?” Kurt said, glancing over his shoulder at Brent before leading the way into the cavern. Noodles clung to her master’s shoulders. “You have landslides often, then? You should inform Gears or Animus—”
“We don’t have landslides every day or anything.” Brent followed with a shrunken Foxtail gliding along behind him. The Fire dragon gave off a natural glow that lit the cave just enough for the group to see by. “With the extra monsters and the enthusiastic, to put it nicely, players that take care of them to help their dragons grow… Well, landslides happen more often than the administrators care to know.”
“Gears and Animus would care to know, I’m sure,” Kurt said. “If you’re having more landslides that are not supposed to happen in the program, then the code must be—”
“Do you hear yourself?” Brent looked down at Kurt from the crag that they had been climbing. He hauled Kurt up to the top when Kurt had been close enough to reach. “Who do you think you are?”
“I’m Kurt,” Kurt said, taking a step back from Brent and brushing off the dirt and dust that his shirt snagged from the rock face. “I’m a non-playable character moderator for Dragon Tamer—”
“You’re an NPC,” Brent said. “That’s it. No more. That’s all that we’ve been created for. There is nothing else. The administrators are nice, sure, but they have to be in order for us to do our jobs. They don’t care that much about us or our world so long as we do what we’re supposed to.”
“That’s not true,” Kurt said. “They do care about us. Why else would they spend so much time in this world when they have their own? Why would they trust us, help us grow if they didn’t care?”
“It’s their job,” Brent said. “If they don’t act nice to let us do our jobs, then they don’t have their jobs. It’s all one big cycle.”
“They don’t get paid to create and maintain this world,” Kurt said. He brushed past Brent, wishing now that he had called Josephine and her Fire dragon. Josephine was the type to light trees on fire to watch the “pretty flames burn,” but at least she had her zest for exploring.
“They don’t get paid yet, you mean,” Brent said. Kurt gave him a backwards glance, prompting Brent to continue. “Say this game on their world becomes popular. So popular that they need a little donation money to buy a more powerful second server to keep the game going. Because it’s so popular, players are going to pay. They get enough players, they get enough money. They get enough money, one of the big corporations in their world are going to take some interest in Dragon Tamer. If the administrators are smart, they’ll take whatever monetary offer they get.
“If they’re really smart,” Brent continued, “which they seem to be considering they created an entire world and a population of people and creatures to go with it, they may be able to create their own corporation. You get where this is going, Kurt?”
“If their hard work comes to that,” Kurt said, finally looking back at Brent, “then they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.”
Brent’s snort swiftly turned to laughter. “And then what, Kurt? They get all the money, they get a corporation to take care of our world, of this game… Then where do we end up?”
“We’ll still be here,” Kurt said, “helping to care for it—”
“Yeah, sure.” Brent shook his head. “They get enough money they’ll get live moderators to crack down on the players here. They get a big enough corporation and everything in this world, including us, will get strict scripts to live by. Hey, who knows.” Brent shrugged and cut ahead of Kurt again. “With moderators from the real world, our mod codes could be erased. Our self-awareness, something that Gears and Animus thought would be nice to give us, will be gone. They wouldn’t want us to, you know, rebel or anything.”
Kurt paused a moment. “Would you?” he asked. “Would you rebel, Brent?”
Brent didn’t answer as he and Foxtail continued through the cavern, leaving Kurt and Noodles behind in the shadows.