Stoni felt that she'd learned to compensate for Nina's shorter frame. She felt that she was making better time than when she'd started this quest. She felt that she had adjusted somewhat to her trouble with balance and depth perception. And now, she felt accomplished. She felt good. For a moment her problems seemed insignificant.
"I get to choose? This is great!" Nina said aloud. Even amidst the rush of enthusiasm for plotting her progression, Stoni tasted a sour note: she didn't like her voice as Nina. It had a thin, reedy quality that seemed wrong to her.
Is my voice reminding me of someone I didn't like?
There was no way to know and nothing to do about it now, so she put the complaint aside. She couldn't think about that and consider skill specialisations and continue walking upright at the same time.
"Hey, you, Ares computing cluster voice with the coloured boxes! What areas of specialisation does the footwork skill have?"
Players may simply request the skill tree, from which they may view the specialisations for any skill.
"Just show me what I asked for. I can't search a 'skill tree' while I'm walking."
"Thanks, thanks," Nina muttered as she read through the list. It wasn't narrated to her, since she specifically requested 'just show me'. Some of the options had obvious immediate benefits, while others might be better in the longer time. She needed more information.
"How many skill specialisations do I have? And how big an effect do they have?"
So if I took my shoes off while running... or while going up and down hills... that would be almost a fifty percent boost! Or I could keep my shoes on and focus on both reaching and maintaining high speed. That would probably be smarter right now. Running barefoot seems like it would be a really dumb move.
Stoni considered checking whether any other skills could be specialised, but since she didn't plan to do much beyond move as quickly towards Star Town as possible, there wasn't any point.
"Give me the Minor Skill Specialisation in Swiftfoot and the Lesser in Freefoot."
The primary account holder has not authorised hirelings to assign skill specialisations.
Stoni's morning was beyond repair, and her disappointment was without measure. Not only was she missing out on bonuses, she'd had a choice ripped away. But there was nothing she could do about it, so she continued moving as quickly as she could.
I'm still upset, but it does make sense. The person who plays Nina has their own priorities. Maybe they don't care about footwork at all. I wonder what other skills I have.
Stoni was tempted to check out Nina's full skill tree, but stopped herself. That way lay only more disappointment. She would only be this character for a short time, and nothing mattered beyond reaching Star Town. None of those skills would be of any use to her.
Unless there's a way to make figs palatable...
Nina Hanner reached Star Town hungry and hot, but intact. The intact part was all that really mattered. The town was not especially impressive. Only the main road was cobbled while the rest were well-worn dirt. The buildings were a mixture of stone and wood, and none were more than two storeys tall. But it was a functioning pieces of civilisation with stores, taverns, hotels, and a variety of crafters and traders.
So much to see, and so little time! I could really do with a decent meal. Do they have virtual real meat, or only virtual artificial meat? And I need to see what fashions are popular. I wonder whether there's a connection between the real and virtual fashion scenes? Does real world fashion even matter?
It was strange being Nina while also being Stoni. She could grasp some of Nina's backstory and recent history, but whatever facts Nina's regular player knew about the outside world were stubbornly unreachable. She couldn't even remember what specific plans that anonymous human might have formed for Nina's future. It was like taking over playing a character for one scene in the middle of a stage play and only getting some brief notes on who the character was meant to be.
But stage plays aren't improvised, I think. Have I been in a stage play? Or watched one, perhaps? Surely someone I once knew has been in one.
Stoni's inner questions went unanswered.
Shrugging one shoulder, she passed between the guards who stood on either side of the town's gate. The gate was wooden and was set in a wall made of stones about the size of her head. It would keep wild animals out, but would not stand up to a serious attack. The guards held iron-tipped spears but their badly scuffed leather armour was distinctly unimpressive. They would be effective bouncers against small groups of undesirables, but would be overwhelmed by any organised force.
*I don't even know who controls this town. Or who controls anywhere, for that matter. I'll need to get a handle on the geopolitics of this place before too long. Assuming I get to do more than walk characters back to safety that is. But how safe is this place, really?
Great, I did it! And that answers my question about safety. Now, where's the nearest...