Hand of God
1 The Dawn of a New Age
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Hand of God
Author :H34DSN1PES
© WuxiaWorld

1 The Dawn of a New Age

A bright light soon filled the sky as the sun started rising across the horizon. This light was only amplified by the millions of reflective glass planes and metals that comprised the towering mega-buildings that extended as far as the eye could see. It was 6:25 AM December 10, 2278, on this day it seemed as if the entire planet had come alive. Nearly 200 billion people crowded the streets of every mega city on the planet awaiting the launch of the new virtual reality game Slate, as well as the game's new managing system called T.E.R.R.A.

Ever since the rise of the age of technology in the 21st century, mankind has experienced a rise in consumerism on a scale that dwarfed the entire previous 20 centuries combined. As technology advanced and population grew, this mass consumerism only increased. In addition to these factors the United Nations of Earth formed in 2175 after the brink of World War III. After a decade of logistical management and agreements, the United Nations of Earth paved the way towards a golden age of peace and prosperity. With a complacent populace, unbridled population growth, and no more world conflict it was only natural for mankind to look towards the entertainment industry to provide excitement in their daily lives. All of these factors led to the explosive rise of virtual reality games and entertainment, and Slate was the largest most anticipated game of the century. Slate featured a magical fantasy world a hundred times the size of Earth. It's name was derived from its design philosophy of a blank slate. Players had no levels and started without any classes. However the players could choose from dozens of base races and any starting city location in the enormous fantasy world. Players would then be able to forge their own identities as they completed quests and explored the vast world. While there were no levels, players could discover and earn classes and skills. In addition to this a player could evolve and improve those classes, skills, and even their race as time went on. This pure freedom, coupled with meaningful player skill instead of levels excited billions of people to no end. On top of this Slate was releasing the T.E.R.R.A system which was an A.I. like no other. T.E.R.R.A ensured the stability of Slate's single ever evolving mega server. It made sure the entire world of Slate was connected and that the entire game was one single interactive ever changing world.

With the Sun shining down the entire world exploded into action. The billions upon billions of waiting people flooded the millions of electronics shops and entertainment stores around the globe. The scene looked like that of a zombie apocalypse, but instead of hordes of zombies swarming human survivors, it was hordes of humans swarming poor store employees to purchase Slate's neural game chip. Of course these were the billions of people who wanted to purchase the game in person, billions more awaited the delivery of their game chips from their local regions delivery companies. However with so many orders the delivery services would be swamped for the next month and no one would know when their gaming chip would arrive. Hence almost 200 billion people waited for the opening day of Slate at their local retailers.

Watching one such apocalyptic scene from a rundown apartment in an old housing district, was a young woman gazing out her apartment's window. This young woman seemed about 22 years of age and covered in filth. Wearing old sweatpants and a grey hoodie to keep warm, this young woman was the complete opposite of a young energetic college graduate. Stains riddled her cheap clothes and trash littered the apartment. Her long black hair was greasy and disheveled as though it hadn't been washed for weeks. Her face might have been considered above average if it wasn't grease smeared and sunken. On top of this her figure was almost anorexic and starved making her look like a skin covered skeleton. This woman was none other than Alexandria Ziv.

Originally a young and budding college student, Alexandria attended United Nations North American Institute of Technology and Design, otherwise known as NA Technical Institute. Having come from a lower class family in the slums of the mega city Los Angeles. Alexandria fought tooth and nail to obtain a full ride scholarship to the most prestigious university in the North American region. Having obtained the scholarship she began living the dream life of any young adult. She worked on campus after classes to earn spending money and pay rent, while her school expenses were completely covered by her scholarship. Alexandria had a stable group of friends whom she met at work, and a loving family completely supportive of her hard work and attendance of college. However all good things come to an end and some endings are worse than others. In her fourth year of college her father suddenly died in a factory accident when an assembly line went haywire and exploded after a mechanical error and chemical buildup. Alexandria's family, poor as is had no life insurance and barely any savings to begin with. Her father's death impacted the family and in her grief, Alexandria's mother looked towards her. Alexandria however only worked part time and her income could in no way sustain her mother and younger siblings. At the same time Alexandria was still in college and had no way to feasibly work full time. Eventually stress and grief provoked argument after argument and Alexandria's relationship with her mother rotted. Her mother wanted her to drop out of college and work full time to sustain the family, when Alexandria suggested her mother get a job things escalated. Despite being poor, Alexandria's mother had always been an entitled person and spendthrift. Her spending habits being one of the reasons the family could barely save money to begin with. Alexandria's father was what kept the family together and happy. When he died, the lock that kept Alexandria's mother in check and happy broke. All of this led to Alexandria being cutoff from her mother and by extension her two younger brothers. On top of all of this not even a month later, Alexandria lost her scholarship, friends, and job all in one single terrible day.

That day started like any other. Alex (as her friends liked to call her) went to class from 9 to 5, and then went to the student store on campus to work part time from 5:30 to 8. When Alex arrived for work she was accosted by campus security and brought to a police interrogation room before she could so much as protest. Stunned she had no idea what she had down to warrant this interrogation. When the investigator arrived he brought three hand written testimonies by her fellow employees that she was skimming the cash registers tills causing the discrepancy between items sold and daily income in the stores computer system. When Alex read the names of the three employees she felt surreal as if reality had been turned on its head. Those three names where her three best friends Josephine, Christine, and Mark. Soon that sense of surrealism turned to hate as her memories flashed by her. She remembered asking where Mark had gotten his new pair of sunglasses and watch from, as they were clearly brands a part time college student could never afford. Mark had laughed it off and claimed he ran into some good luck and she had left it at that. Only now did Alex realize he was skimming the registers at their workplace. On top of this the other two people she thought were her best friends, sold her out in favor of protecting Mark. However she had no physical evidence of any kind and camera evidence could not be used, as transactions were digital meaning a cashier would have had to have bugged a cash register in order to steal from the store. All of this only left testimony and accusations. Alexandria being a scholarship student enrolled as a computer engineering major meant she certainly had the ability to bug the cash registers. Alex was also from an extremely poor family in an area notorious for crime. All of these things made her the perfect scapegoat for her "friends" to pin the petty crime on. Despite Alexandria's protests and appeals the school authorities revoked her scholarship and expelled her from the school. On top of this local police forced her to serve a month of mandatory community service to make up for her misdemeanor. This entire chain of events left Alexandria broken.

It was already hard enough to find a job as is, especially in a world where almost everything has been automated and improved upon. Having a record didn't make things any easier for Alex as well. With no job and income. Alex only had enough savings to pay for for 3 months of rent and maybe junk food that was on sale at the local market. If Alex couldn't find source of income after three months she would be homeless. However there was a glimmer of hope and that was the game set to release during the last month of her rent, the game called Slate.
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    《Hand of God》