1 The Pre-Order


The latch to my gaming pod opens, and I lean up and take a deep breath. I just logged the last of my hours on Gaia's Awakening, and now I'm going to take some time before The Aeternus Universe Pre-Order is available. I look towards my desk as I get out of my gaming pod and see my laptop. It displays the time and day. It's January 20th and just under 2 days before the game's release. I walk over to the laptop and thank my in-game alarm for notifying me perfectly. The pre-order placement should be coming online in just a few minutes. I sit down and roll my shoulders a little bit. I made a nice-sized fortune from items I got in Gaia's Awakening. So I don't work a day job, and I spend my days living the life I want to live.

I unlock the desktop after inserting my password and open my internet browser. I type in The Aeternus Universes website name and click on the dropdown link. I'm taken to their official website, and I see some developer posts on their forums. I see screenshots that the devs have posted as well. There were no beta testers for this game. The Ultra-Intelligent A.I. running The Aeternus Universe is in charge of that. They never disclosed the name of the A.I. I can only wonder what type of workload it's had. Running an entire universe like that wouldn't be easy. I see some of the forum posts, and almost all of them are excited about the pre-order almost being available. I go to the pre-order tab and click on it.


There is a little over three minutes before people can place their pre-orders. I look at the pre-order button, and it's strangely not grayed out for me. I click on it to make sure my eyes aren't tricking me. It loads a new screen and allows me to place it now. It must be a bug. I'm going to exploit it to my fullest advantage. I see the pre-order option, and there are 4 tiers. The highest tier, which is 4, only has a limited amount. That's what it's saying. It's not giving an amount number, though. I click on tier 4 pre-order option and see all the things it comes with. I only have about two and a half minutes left. It comes with all the expansions and any future ones. After that, it's just a bunch of question marks. I don't waste any time, and I buy it. It cost me a hot 3,000 UWD's.

I feel the slight burn after that, but it's minuscule to the amount I have in my account. My ZSR-10k lights up and starts to pre-download the game. It's the best gaming pod available right now. I check the forums, and no one else has posted that they have gotten a chance to pre-order yet. I go back to the pre-order tab, which loads like last time. The timer is around 30 seconds now, and many will start to buy tiers. I look at the tier selection, and all of them are glowing except for the tier 4 pre-order. It's already grayed out saying... "ONE AND ONLY COPY SOLD?!" That doesn't make sense... I don't know what to make of this. Was I the one that got the only tier 4 pre-order? The other tiers below it have different limitations on them.

The timer is reaching 0 in 10 seconds, and that's when I look at the other things that come with the three tiers below the fourth. Tier 3 only has 500 million slots available, and tier 2 has 1 billion. Tier 1 has unlimited and comes with the bare bones of things. The majority of people play games nowadays. The earth's population is around 20 billion now, but thanks to the advancement in technology, clean energy run's our world. Pollution no longer happens. All pollutant-causing things were shut down in the year 2200. Our world has recovered greatly since then. The timer for the pre-order unlock hits zero, and tier 3 sales quickly reach zero and greys out. Tier 2 follows suit, and I watch the billion shrink.

I go back to the forum page, and many posts are about tier 4 and what it means. Many are speculating who the lucky bastards were. It's just me that got it, so that makes it a lucky bastard. Many people are talking about what they will do first once they load in a couple of days from now. The knowledge on The Aeternus Universe has been kept a well-guarded secret. Virtually nothing is known about the game, and it's the player's job to find out how everything works. I get a beep on my phone, and I pull it out of my pocket. It says I got one new email on my personal one. Most things go to my spam. My personal email doesn't get messages except from actual people I know. I open my email on my computer and start to read it.


[We write to congratulate you on getting the only tier 4 pre-order available! We went through many players, and their history's in the gaming world. In comparison, many are higher ranked and more famous than you. It was in the company's best interest to select someone who wasn't a standout from other games. Many players at the top of leaderboards jump game to game, never losing their thrones. Their experience added to the cut and paste of DDVR and VRMMORPG's makes it impossible to overcome them. The Aeternus Universe is different regarding the cut and paste of many games in this genre. Have fun adventures and make a legacy that no one can overcome. The Aeternus Universe is going to be a wild ride! Read below for information regarding your pre-order pack.]

[Things included in your pre-order are only two features that set you apart from others. The first being a quest that will be very difficult to complete, but we urge you to get it done with the highest grade possible. The second being access to a unique race that only you'll get, you don't have to choose it, but we strongly suggest you do.]

I blink a few times and reread everything. I go back to the tab with the website and see people posting about their emails informing them of their purchase and the things that come with it. I stand up from my chair, walk downstairs to my kitchen, and holo-call my mom. She stays at home while dad works. I moved out a year ago, so they don't have to work as hard. "Hey, sweetie. It's nice to hear from you. I'm making spaghetti and meatballs. Do you want to come over and join us for dinner?" That actually sounds really good. It's been about a month since I visited them in person. "I can see that look on your face. Invite your sister for me, would you? She isn't returning my calls." Leave it to Lily Autumn to ask me to get my sister.

She is so busy working at that dead-end job I don't know if Jessica will even answer. "I'll give her a call. I'll be there in a couple of hours. Do you have a good hiding spot for dad's gift?" My dad's birthday is tomorrow, and I have something that he'll love. James Autumn is a man of culture, and what's more cultural than a bag of Columbian roasted coffee beans. I walk over to my fridge and pull out a snack before heading over. I live in a two-bedroom and three-bathroom house that I completely own. I bought it outright after selling my first rare item on Gaia's awakening. It has been the best decision I ever made. The only things I have to pay for are the utilities and property tax. I had solar panels installed, so I don't have to worry about electricity.

I turn back to mom and wait for her answer. "I have a good spot for it, Scott. When you bring it over, I'll show you where it is. Until then, I have some errands to run." She smiles and hangs up the holo-call. I immediately try to call Jessica, but she doesn't answer. For an older sister, she sure is a bad role model. I ring her a couple more times, but she doesn't answer. She is working her ass off in a place that barely pays her bills. When she needs something or has to have something repaired, I usually have to pay for it. She is trying hard, but she refuses to move back in with our parents or stay with me for a while. She has determination, and I hope she can eventually accept someone's help with more than just some money. Mistaking independence and isolation is dangerous.

I quit trying to call her and walk over to my couch in my spacious living room and look at the T.V. "Go to the game channel." I say the channel's name that reports on everything the gaming world offers and look at the report that is happening. To say it's interesting is an understatement.

The female reporter that handles the daytime segments speaks on what's going on. "After the pre-ordering boom for The Aeternus Universe, the top 3 major games have taken a stock hit for the first time in decades. Gaia's Awakening, Lost World, and Genesis Rebirth have lost a small percentage to their player bases before The Aeternus Universe has even been played. Once reviews for The Aeternus Universe come out, who knows how many they will truly lose." She starts to talk about things I already know and no longer stays on the topic of the stock hit these three games suffered—time to watch something else.

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