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by stop | Score: 4850

Everyone was excited, so who was I to ruin the fun? I trailed through spaceships parked on the sand, noting colors and logos wherever I saw them. Everything was fully customizable in Hex, from your space shuttle to your shoes.

Around me, spacemen, spacepersons, aliens, captains, robots all milled and mingled around a bulletin board. It was here, in the so-called town square, that players could determine their next steps.

I looked up and saw contrails of jetpacks in the sky. The harbor was a hub of nervous activity and excitement. Some were already taking off towards the massive mountain in the sky. The sound of whirring machinery surrounded me. Some groups had paid for a gear package allowing them to start off at a higher level. Others were meandering around, grinding, setting themselves up for a long weekend ahead.

A line of ensigns trailed around the corner, along the tall square white walls of the Careers Center. This was the absolutely bare-minimum place most people started. You came here if you had never been in VR before, you came here if you were with someone new. I noticed a few high-level players standing with their friends, shepherding them along.

The career advisor lifted safety goggles from his head, peering at the naive and new  faces before him. He had answered the same, let's call it, eighteen questions in the last four years since Hex had released. Around him were floating info bubbles that players in line could swipe through. Guides, equipment that would snap to you and show you the way. However, there was always and would always be a need for someone to sit down and show you how the universe worked.

I didn't want to be here. But I had to see what they were telling new people who started the game. I kept my secrets under wraps, ducked under the sprawling claws of someone who had made their avatar an enormous spider with 1-story tall mechanical legs.

Some newcomers were peeling off the line, seeing what awaited them. I looked down the narrow street. Hex had, once more, missed the mark. Here was an entire world to play in, and already people were trying to get drunk. I looked at my badge pass. Four days left of this before it would all be over.

I looked around at everyone surrounding me. They were unwitting participants in my abuse. They would also help me prove a point. They were also the future. Soon, I would be able to let it all go.

Far off in the distance, I heard cries of amazement, and saw some bodies turning. That would be the demo crew, right on time.  Before I turned away from the line, I pressed a token into the palm of a family.

"You don't really need to wait in this line," I said. "Nothing in this game is going to hurt you. You can explore. Here, take this."

They looked at me with confusion, but free loot is free loot. They pocketed it. I flipped my visor back up and went to meet the team.

At the center of the hub, was a massive docking station where Tom had erected a monument to his manhood. The spaceship stood taller than any other building in the area, and the light reflected everything around it. It was an impressive sight -- you couldn't help but be drawn to it. Just like you couldn't help but be drawn to Tom.

I kept my shadow on and hovered near the edge. I saw tall enforcers at the edge of the crowd. Now, why were those folks here? They should be heading to the mountain with the rest of the PVP crazies. I saw hub guardians moving as well. This could either be very bad, or very good.

One such enforcer wore an aggressive avatar with black, red, spikes, and other familiar gear in t

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Letter Use the letter P
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Event Your character travels into the future
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Prop Include a pair of safety goggles
Character A zealous careers advisor
Letter Use the letter F
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words

This story was written using Taleforge, the free writing exercise app powered by The Story Shack. Curious? Try it yourself.

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