"Hey! Which option are you saying yes to?" Stoni yelled across the dark ocean. After sucking in another lungful of cold air she tried to pull her blanket tighter. It was a struggle with only a single functional arm.
Players can log out of VIVID at any time.
Stoni made a sound that was half groan, half wild yell from deep in her body. "Why didn't you tell me that before a pack of timberwolves... No, don't answer that. I get it, you don't offer advice. Argh! She kicked at the dirt with the toe of a brown leather shoe. Her right shoe, or rather Granny V's right shoe. "Is that all players? Can hirees be restricted from logging out?"
Hirees cannot be restricted from logging out.
The VIVID system does not recognise any such distinct category.
"Oh. That's good to know. But are there any penalties for logging out?" Stoni asked, realising that ability to perform an action was not the only consideration."
VIVID does not specifically penalise players for logging out, though negative consequences may eventuate.
A character will remain present and therefore vulnerable if they log out during combat.
"Oh. To prevent people from trivially fleeing combat. But if someone can't avoid leaving at a bad time... that would be a good reason to hire a ghost. There must have been something about that in Kanda's instructions. Come to think of it, I think there was something about a penalty for abandoning missions. Am I right about that?"
Such information falls outside the purview of VIVID operations.
"Oh, of course. The Cube Farm is operated by different people to VIVID. VIVID belongs to the Nojus family, right?"
The Nojus family are primarily responsible for the technology that enables humans to interact with VIVID. The world of VIVID is created and maintained by the Ares cluster, which is property of the Goodminton family.
"Right, I remember you mentioning that." Growing increasingly cold, Stoni wrapped another blanket around herself and began jogging on the spot. "So these families are pretty important?"
"Then I ought to learn about them. Please tell me about each family."
Gantt are the main providers of regular healthcare. Vina are a major producer and supplier of non-meat foods. Oji find, use and sell ancient artifacts. Gurazlon are a major energy supplier. Carna provide body modifications and virtual assistants. Nojus developed the brain/dream interface, which is used both for therapeutic and entertainment purposes. Goodminton own and operate the Ares clusters. Turahala are the biggest employer of teleoperators. Soong have the largest construction conglomerate. Marin have the biggest fishing concern and thus are a significant food provider. Urtiga are most well known for supplying vital pesticides. Holt provide policing and detective services.
"Wow, that's a lot. Um..." Stoni considered what important context she might be missing. "So, in what areas do these famillies operate? Geographically, I mean."
"Do you mean they're each global? They all have operations in every country?"
They all operate in every city.
"Uh... that's an odd way of putting it, but alright. How many cities is that?"
"Really? That many? That's all? How many people live in the cities? On average. And how many people live outside the cities?"
Approximately one million each. At present, two-hundred and sixteen people reside outside the cities, though thousands are in transit between cities.
"Wow, that's a lot. I mean, not very many. I mean... oh I don't know what I mean!" Her mind was spinning in opposite directions. "I'm sure this isn't how it should be but I'm confused about which way it's wrong. Does that make sense?"
That was not an answer she'd expected. "It does? Are you confused too, ALI?"
The Ares computing cluster remains coherent and logical at all times while accounting for measurable levels of uncertainty. While the cluster performs the highest volume of computations of any known device, it does not experience or simulate feeling such as confusion. The Ares computing cluster has access to stored data regarding the Ares computing cluster and does not undergo any sort of experiences or possess identity or awareness.
"Sure, if you say so. Um... what else should I... Oh! Explain what ghosts are."
Ghosts are an Oji family service that provides low cost hirelings to VIVID players.
"But are ghosts humans?"
The VIVID caps provided by Nojus are only known to function on humans.
"And are all of Oji's ghosts using Nojus VIVID caps?"
Only players using authenticated official Nojus VIVID caps are able to interface with VIVID.
"I'll take that as a yes. So I'm definitely a human. But somehow I exist as a vague blur and still don't know what that means. Great, just great. So... how long do I have left in this mission?"
Time remaining: 5:32:17
"That long? What am I supposed to do with all that time?"
No active quests.
"So I can do whatever I want. Until Granny V comes back. Which I'm fairly sure she won't. Hmm, I might as well do something with all that time. There's got to be some form of civilisation nearby. Maybe I can remember where Granny V came from. Think, Stoni... new character... Ah, she picked a new character and chose a respawn anchor as her starting location instead of a starter town. The respawn anchor belonging to a... Raphael Whitebuckle? So that's my son's name. Or rather his character's name. And I'm Salianda Climmett. I think I like 'Granny V' better. Um..."
Granny V turned away from the ocean. Under the minimal starlight she could see the edge of a thick forest with a path cleared through it. "Yeah, we all came through the forest from Raphael's house. I might as well head back that way. And I should stop talking out loud."
She picked up a third blanket and tried draping it over her shoulders. It slid off the first two attempts but stayed up awkwardly on the third. Considering the journey ahead of her, she felt around for pockets.
No pockets and I didn't bring a bag. And least I've got warm leggings on under this dress. Did anyone bring a light? My son might have, but it's gone with him. Looks like I'll be walking in the near-dark. Might as well bring what I can.
After some fumbling she found a wicker basket of assorted food items. It was only half full, so she loaded it up with assorted bottles that weren't yet empty and half a loaf of bread she found on a plate.
That should do. But is there anything else I should take? Doesn't seem to be anything here but food and the blankets. Oh, here's a shawl someone left behind.
It took Granny V a few minutes to add the shawl to her outfit and replace the blankets, but she felt more confident of avoiding an icy death after.
"Hey ALI, do you have a character spreadsheet for me? If I have any useful skills it would be worth knowing about them before I need them."
|Footwork||General use of feet.||Dreadful||65||
|Observe||General use of senses.||Poor||13||
|Silvertongue||General use of speech.||Dreadful||35||
|Did you expect this to be filled out?|
|This is the basics not an exhaustive character sheet.|
|Unruffled||Resist attempts to confuse.||Poor||8|
"That's it? Three dreadful skills and no classes? My character's 78 years old, wouldn't she get some skills in that time?"
Characters can retain skills from their lives prior to being chosen by a player. This is a premium option.
"Ah." Granny V started walking. It was slower than Stoni was used to, due to the darkness and all the blankets. The poor footwork skill rank didn't help either. "How do I get classes?"
A player's first class can be selected at any time. Earning additional classes requires the completion of specific challenges.
"May I pick a class now? Or are there hireling restrictions preventing me?"
Yes. You are under no hireling restrictions for this character, other than the compulsory restrictions of character deletion and hireling configuration.
Yes! That was surprisingly helpful. I could have some fun with this.
As she followed the rough path into the forest, Granny V grinned.
Her grin grew sharper.
"So tell me, ALI, what classes are available?"