Les-Tar Nar is out for revenge. After watching his brother compete and die in the Intergalactic Virtual Reality Games, he’s ready to kick ass and take names—as the humans would say. Armed with his military training, the Venusian doesn’t want or need a team. But, all is not what it seems.
Auven, Cyborg from the planet Kapor 9, is aware of how the game is played and ready to bend it to his will. Anything a human made can be destroyed. So, when he is paired up with a Venusian and a human, he knows his chance of winning grows exponentially. With Les-Tar’s muscle, even a human who has no skills won’t hold them back.
Hacker Lyna Hiat isn’t even interested in the games. As a small time video game de-constructer, she spends her days finding flaws in the systems and improving games—almost lifting the veil of sorts and showing gamers just how inferior their products really are.
When the IGVRG begin, a glitch in the system transfers the game and gamers from the virtual level to reality, leaving them on the run with no true winners or losers. The only way to survive: get off the planet. Where they’ll end up, no one knows. All that’s important right now is survival.
“Welcome to the two-hundredth annual Intergalactic Virtual Reality Games.” A melodic dance of chimes followed the robotic greeting as Les-Tar Nar walked through the doors of the Earth headquarters for IVRG. The building, more industrial than professional, sat in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The dry, barren wasteland spread out as far as the eye could see.
California had long since became a ghost state, due to insufficient rains, and a culture of “take, take, take” had seen the state’s natural resources vanish. The idea of a delicate ecosystem being destroyed by the human condition disturbed Les, if not disgusted him. The bountiful lakes and rivers of Venus trumped the small oceans and waterways he’d seen so far on Earth, and a lot of it had to do with Venusians respecting the world around them. They cultivated the land. Helped to make it flourish, and didn’t use more than necessary. Most would call him or his people arrogant; he called them natural born conservationists.
As he stepped farther into the lobby, beings from different planets signed in at their designated areas, then scurried about. The cacophony of noise surrounding him made his ears ring. Vibrant colors and glorious clothing designs dotted the foyer. To see so many cultures together in one space filled him with a sense of pride. Content to walk about, Les sized up his competition. In his estimate, none of the present species compared to him. At one time, he’d been part of the warrior class of Venusians, sworn to defend his home planet and others until to his dying breath.
Five Earth years ago, his brother left the battlefield and joined the IVRG games, hoping to showcase the warrior prowess of the Venusian people.
Les watched the games via the holodeck of his battleship. With each level Kreus passed with his team, Les knew they were one step closer to winning. But, as the game opened on the very last day, and the instructions were given, a large explosion ripped through the playing field.
In the beginning, he thought what they were seeing had been part of the level—even with the guttural screams of those who were injured. Yet, it took seeing his brother being struck by a projectile—blue blood pouring from his chest—to realize it wasn’t part of the level, and something terrible had happened.
The minute Kreus hit the ground, Les knew he had to avenge his brother’s death. None of the competitors were supposed to die. In fact, new rules were put into place after the 2060 games to prevent such from happening.
A year after those first fateful games, an initial investigation had begun. By 2062, a trickle of arrests were made. However, it did nothing to bring back those who were killed. The transcripts from the Intergalactic Judicial Committee showed a diabolical plan to systematically kill anyone who might have a penchant to overthrow any of the galactic governments.
Instead of cultivating the gamers’ skills and intelligence, they sought to destroy it. Unfortunately, their scheme had been cut short when those players’ family members became increasingly suspicious when communication with the winners had been shut off. When the trials were over, a mass grave had been found on an uninhabited planet. Nothing, due to the soil content and instability of the atmosphere, could be retrieved. Each family, including his, were given a small vile of sand, kept in a hermetically sealed container. One they were instructed to never open.
“Welcome, Les-Tar Nar.” A small Kreotien stood before him. The adolescent female gazed up at him with bright iridescent eyes. She blinked, the thin inner membrane, almost like an Earth bird’s, closed first then the outer lid. Her purple and blue hair had been cut into a short bob, and she wore a shimmery silk multicolored dress. “Have you signed in yet?”
Contestants upon arrival on Earth had a small dermal translator patch placed behind their ear, translating each language into one primary form, English. It made communication easier with one universal language, but it didn’t mean it was easy to master. “Not yet,” he answered, “I arrived a half hour ago.”
“Then I shall assist you. My name is Ka’lecka Nor. This way,” she said, motioning him to follow.
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