Chapter 3 The Player's Chat Room
Rayleigh didn't remember setting that as his username, but he was fine with it overall. He was a laser sword using Class and he already had a few ideas for his build based on Samurai Jack, Ichigo Kurosaki, and Rurouni Kenshin. Although it gave him the option to change his Username, he'd likely use a Sword in the future, so it was as good a Username as any and he could always change it later.
[Select a Chat Room.
General: 19 Users
MCU: 2 Users
Warrior: 4 Users
Wizard: 8 Users
Ninja: 7 Users
Hunter: 3 Users
Pirate: 5 Users
Jedi: 4 Users]
With that, at least, Rayleigh knew the names of the other Classes. He wondered how so many people had already had their Orientation, but then realized that it must've been a few hours already. While on Autopilot, he had likely gone back to sleep, so when he got up just now, it was after sleeping for a while.
He could only choose the Chat for the World he was in or General Chat, so he selected the General Chat.
[Swordsman has signed in.]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: Ah, hopefully, we don't have another Lurker. Hurry up and say something.]
[Wonder_Woman: No one was asking for your opinion.]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: Pot, meet Kettle.]
[Lord_of_Madness: Yes, keep arguing. Entertain me. Where can I find some popcorn?]
[Ninja_Lord: Paul's got a point. More than half the Players are silent Lurkers.]
[Demon_Hunter has signed in.]
[Demon_Hunter: Hi guys. Where are you at? I'm in the Hunter World, but the Hunter Chat is dead.]
[Ninja_Lord: Do you know anything about the Hunter Class? Do you use a Bow or something?]
[Demon_Hunter: Doubt it. My Parents here are both Hunters but they won't tell me anything. The city I live in is very modern though, so it's not like I'm in a forest or something.]
Rayleigh read the dialogue boxes as they appeared and rolled upwards like an online Chat Room. He could not see the dialogue of the room before he entered it, but he could just leave the Chat Room dialogue box open in his field of vision.
[Ninja_Lord: I'm in the Ninja World's Leaf Village. Any other Ninjas out there?]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: Would a proper Ninja admit to being a Ninja?]
[Lord_of_Madness: Ninja spotted!]
[Wonder_Woman: I bet his name is not even Paul.]
[Bone_Wizard: I'm also in the Leaf Village, though I'm in the orphanage.]
[Ninja_Lord: I'm an Uchiha. Any other Uchihas out there?]
[Alchemist: Oh? More Uchihas? I'm an Uchiha.]
[Doctor: Any other Hyūga Players in the Leaf?]
Ray decided to participate. There was a flashing dialogue box, and if he concentrated while thinking aloud, the box would fill out. Then he could edit the message or send it into the Chat Room.
[Swordsman: How's the technology of that village?]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: Why do you ask? You in the stone age or something, Mr. Swordsman?]
[Swordsman: Not really. I'm on an alien planet.]
[Wonder_Woman: You're in space?]
[Lord_of_Madness: We're all in space. Duh.]
[Ninja_Lord: Seen any Space ships yet?]
[Swordsman: A few in my new memories. Nothing cool though like from Star Trek.]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: If we gave you our coordinates, could you pick us up in a spaceship?]
[Swordsman: Why? Do you need a lift? Are you on a stone age planet or something Mr. Paul?]
[Lord_of_Madness: You're gonna need a Burn Heal for that one.]
[Dark_Lord_Skullcrusher has signed in.]
[Dark_Lord_Skullcrusher: Hahaha! After ten thousand years, I'm free! It's time to conquer the Earth! Bow before me and tremble puny mortals!]
[Lord_of_Madness: Kill it with Fire! It has Eighth Grader Syndrome! Kill it before it lays eggs and spreads!]
[Dark_Lord_Skullcrusher: Fools! Nothing can stop the Dark Lord Skullcrusher! All who oppose me will have their broken skulls added to my collection!]
[Wonder_Woman: The Cringe! It hurts!]
[Bone_Wizard: Make it stop!]
Rayleigh had to cover his mouth to stop his laughter from waking his father in the other room. These guys were great.
[Miracle: So are any of you on Earth?]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: Are you?]
[Miracle: Yep. I'm in Britain, and it's 1984. Does anyone know anything about stock trading?]
[Book_worm: Are you in the MCU World?]
[Miracle: No, I'm in the Wizard World.]
[Bone_Wizard: The Wizard World is in Britain? I need to go there! This orphanage sucks!]
[Swordsman: I heard during Orientation if you moved to another world without spending Mission Points, it would be terrible. So get stronger, do missions, and get points first.]
Although Rayleigh didn't remember the Metaknowledge parts of his conversation with Red, the fact that he needed Mission Points to get a good transfer stuck with him.
[Ninja_Lord: I heard something similar. We're both in the Leaf, so I'll see if I can help. The Uchihas are the strongest clan in the Leaf Village.]
[Swordsman: I'm still on an alien planet. You guys are lucky to be in the same village.]
[Lord_of_Madness: Don't worry, Swordsman. I'm sure you'll encounter a creepy old alien who will smile at you before he kidnaps you and takes you away from your family any day now.]
[Swordsman: haha. I was already told a Jedi would show up today.]
[Ninja_Lord: What kind of class is Jedi?]
[Lord_of_Madness: It is a mental class where you drive your opponents crazy and then steal their souls. Right, swordsman?]
[Swordsman: sure. what he said.]
Rayleigh couldn't help but shake his head. Beneath the bridge that is social media, there are always trolls.
[Hercules has signed in.]
[Hercules: So is the Warrior World the only one with dinosaurs?]
[Demon_Hunter: I haven't seen any yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Hunter World has them too.]
[Ninja_Lord: Any Pirates out there?]
[Immortal_Beauty: Trying to learn our secrets ninja boy?]
[Wonder_Woman: Well, he is a ninja.]
From what Rayleigh could tell, the Players were trying to figure out the details of other worlds through the Chat Room but weren't learning anything super useful. The Chat Room itself, though, was a crazy thing to give a hundred Players. The Class Chat Rooms could only be accessed by Players in that World, so if Rayleigh went to the Jedi Chat Room, he was communicating with Players across the stars. And for that Ninja village, this was a massive help as well. Ninjas were all about espionage, right? Being able to communicate with each other even if captured was too powerful of an ability.
[Ninja_Lord: No point in hiding your class. In the Tavern you wear whatever is the default uniform of your Primary class.]
[Book_worm: Not if you started in the MCU.]
[Demon_Hunter: I wasn't wearing anything special either.]
Rayleigh then recalled that he was wearing robes at the Tavern. He wondered if that was what Jedi wore and figured that the Ninja probably wore some kind of distinct Ninja uniform in the Tavern.
[Hi_I'm_Paul: What is the MCU anyways? Is it a normal Earth?]
[Book_worm: Not completely. Seems comic book-y.]
[Wonder_Woman: OH! Like DC?!]
[Book_worm: Not DC, but something else. Probably DC's rival or something. It doesn't make sense that I can only remember one major brand of comics. So maybe this is something as big as DC, but different. Can't remember.]
[Ninja_Lord: Oh damn. That's big. MCU = Major Comic Universe?]
[Lord_of_Madness: That sounds like SO. MUCH. FUN!]
[Dark_Lord_Skullcrusher: A New World to Conquer! All shall bow before me!]
[Wonder_Woman: What makes the MCU seem like a comic book?]
[Book_worm: The shield-wielding American superhero called "Captain America" and the red-faced Nazi supervillain called "Red Skull" in the history textbooks were a dead giveaway.]
Time passed quickly with more Players joining the General Chat and making noise. Some other Jedi said the Jedi in the General Chat should go to the Jedi Chat for private discussions, but Rayleigh ignored them. Though his Metaknowledge was sealed, he had a vague impression that it would not be wise to closely converse with the other Jedi, at least for now. You could only keep one Chat Room open at a time, and he preferred the General Chat.
Plenty of Players tried to goad others into revealing their chosen Talents, Easy Masteries, and Items, but not a single Player was dumb enough to reveal any of those at the moment.
Even without revealing too much, plenty of information was still given and obtained. Though mentally adults, each player was still biologically a small child, and a child's brain chemistry would drive them to seek connections with others. The Chat Room gave them all a quick and simple way to connect to others with whom they could share their problems and possibly obtain help in the future. Even knowing that they might be giving away information that could be used against them in the future, most Players would eventually do so anyway, because to their four-year-old brains, making friends now was more important than protecting themselves decades in the future.
Morning came, and Ray's father woke up. Ray moved the see-through screen of the General Chat to the side of his field of vision, and within his mind, he stopped accessing his past life's memories. Doing so made his conscious mind ignore the existence of the Chat Room Box in the corner of his vision.
Ray was already dressed and left his room to grab a breakfast bar. Though unloved, at least he wasn't malnourished or physically harmed. Mallaray used Ray to make himself seem like a family man when picking up women and looking legitimate, so it would not work to have the child look anything but healthy. On an alien planet where the non-native species were the minority, most races were more serious about commitment, and Rayleigh was Mallaray's evidence of how committed he could be. To Mallaray, how something looked on the outside was what mattered the most.
As Ray finished his breakfast bar, he saw his father meander almost drunkenly into the living room in his half-awakened state. Mallaray's gut extended sloppily from his pants, and his upper body had more hair than the top of his head. Though barely conscious, Mallaray's seedy eyes darted back and forth every time he entered a room, and he'd glare at anyone who dared to make eye contact rather than lower their heads in his presence.
"Boy. Move everything from the purple rack into a box. It's time to take it to the office."
Though Ray could have heard him if the man whispered, Mallaray didn't feel his presence was strong enough unless he spoke as loudly as he could any time he could get away with it. To him, the louder he could shout at you, the greater the difference in status between you and him. It wasn't an exaggeration to say the walls shuddered when he ordered Ray around.
Ray didn't argue or talk back. He just returned to his room and slid out a box and started carefully emptying the contents of the purple shelf of garbage into the box. Once it was full, he carefully lifted it and returned to the couch. To prevent Mallaray from giving him more orders, Ray just kept the heavy load on his lap and seemed to patiently wait until Mallaray was ready to leave.
Seeing all of this, Mallaray didn't even nod to acknowledge it. It was natural for his words to be divine law in his home. Anything less and there would be hell to pay.
Ray hid his backpack under the box, gripping it by the strap with his fingers hidden beneath the box instead of wearing it on his back. He didn't quite remember why, but he needed to get rid of it so he couldn't be seen having it when they left and then not having it later. That would raise questions. After a few minutes, Mallaray was dressed in his imposing security attire that expertly hid his gut while prominently showing off the blaster at his side.
Ray was already standing next to the door, so when Mallaray opened it, Ray walked out first to the garage where Mallaray kept his speeder. Even though this was a planet where it occasionally rained acid, the speeder didn't have a top, and Mallaray thought it a status symbol that he didn't fear the planet's weather. As long as he didn't actually drive it when it rained, there wasn't much of a difference to him.
Ray got in the back and held the box of junk like it was more valuable than his life. Mallaray got in the driver's seat and started the speeder before pulling out of the garage and into the sky. The speeder craft was basically a flying car.
The city was built around the spaceport, which was some distance from the mines. Most buildings were not excessively tall since every inch had to be plated in corrosion-resistant minerals or metals. Even then, there were still numerous towering structures used as status symbols by the wealthy, and due to the lack of tall buildings around them, those few structures stood out as monoliths no matter where you were in the city.
The Spaceport had a massive dome parking structure that closed when it rained, along with independent parking units with their own retractable roofs. There were some corrosion-resistant spaceships used when it rained for days on end, but most ships that came and went were not as durable. The high value of the metals and minerals excavated from this planet was the main reason the city was even built in such a hostile world. There were two other ports built on other parts of the planet and used for storage. Even if it rained for a while at the main port, it was unlikely to be raining at all the ports, so when it rained for too long, the arriving ships would be redirected to the other ports so incoming cargo could be delivered without holding up the arriving ships.
Mallaray was not taking Rayleigh to school. The company he worked for had a free daycare for the children of upper-level employees. Since Mallaray was using Ray's existence to justify a raise, he had to do as other parents did and drop him off at the company daycare every workday.
As usual, upon arrival at the layered parking structure, Mallaray looked around for those weaker than himself, and one employee who had just arrived accidentally met his gaze before realizing who it was. Ray saw the man visibly gulp as Mallaray decided to park his speeder right next to the unlucky human.
"Hey, Cornwall." Mallaray got out of his speeder and said loudly enough for the entire parking lot to hear, "How's life among the bugs?"
The man didn't dare meet Malaray's eyes again, so he answered meekly with his head down, "It's fine, Sir. Just fine."
Mallaray audibly sniffed the air before wafting his hand against his nose. "You should shower more, you stinky little prick. Hanging around those bugs all day has you smelling just like them."
The man tried to get out of his own speeder and get as far from Mallaray as possible. He didn't even remember to lock his door.
Mallaray followed him, and Ray used the chance to quietly open the poor man's speeder door and toss his backpack filled with stolen valuables inside before closing it. He originally intended to just drop it and kick it under a nearby vehicle, but this was so much better.
Rayleigh doubted he'd need any of the stolen goods after he was found by a Jedi and greatly doubted a Jedi would approve of him possessing such goods, so this was as good a place as any to toss them. Ray then grabbed Mallaray's box of junk and followed his father quietly to the employee entrance.
Mallaray kept on the poor man's heels and said, "You'll remember to shower more, right? Wouldn't want to confuse you for one of those disgusting insects and shoot you by accident, right?"
Mallaray loudly tapped on the blaster at his side to remind the man that he could shoot him whenever he wanted to.
Not having a better option, the man fought to not grit his teeth and nodded, "Yes, Sir, I'll shower as often as I can."
Mallaray smiled cruelly and said, "See that you do," before heading inside and down a few halls.
Once they neared the daycare's receptionist, Mallaray took the box of junk so that the beautiful young blue-skinned Twi'lek woman wouldn't directly see him as a scumbag so he could pretend not to be one. The fact that her desk had security cameras in the hallway and she'd already seen Rayleigh carrying the box didn't matter to him.
"Hello there, Rayleigh." As always, she greeted him first with a smile before begrudgingly acknowledging Mallaray's presence. Ray didn't know how she could get away with showing the Head of Security such disrespect but didn't think too much about it. Everyone had their own secrets.
Mallaray set the box of junk down and said, with a smile, "Good morning, Ledana." She'd seen him do numerous terrible acts, but he always tried to act charming in front of her, as if he thought she was blind to everything he was.
The Twi'lek narrowed her eyes and gave a thin smile before passing over a sign-in sheet he could use to sign-in Rayleigh to her care. The moment he took it, she motioned for Ray to head on inside.
Not wanting to be around Mallaray for another moment, Ray ran over to the play area filled with children. Most were human, some were other races, but there were no young Scorpions, or as his father called them, 'stinking grubs.' The upper management had no intention of allowing their offspring to mix with the lower lifeforms. Generational racism was normal here, and if Rayleigh had been Mallaray's biological son, he would have made sure Ray properly inherited this mindset as well.
Despite it being the thing to do, Ray wasn't going to play with any of the kids. Most were raised to be as bad as their parents, and none could provide a conversation worth having. Instead, he went over to a bookshelf and made it look like he was reading while he instead went back to paying attention to the Chat Room.
[Miracle: I need TV. Does anyone in the Wizard World's Britain have a TV?]
[Ninja_Lord: Shouldn't you be asking that in the Wizard Chat?]
[Immortal_Beauty: Be happy with what you got magical girl. I'm on a wooden ship in the ocean without any skin-care products, make-up, or shampoo!]
[Alchemist: Are you some age besides four? Why are you complaining about any of that now?]
[Bone_Wizard: If I transfer to the Wizard World, does anyone have a place I can crash? Preferably with a TV.]
[Ninja_Lord: Actually, I found some TVs. There are even laptop computers in Ninja World.]
[Miracle: WTF? You said earlier there were no cars or vehicles! You said that the merchants used horse-drawn Wagons! How do you also have Laptop Computers?!]
[Lord_of_Madness: Lazy writing.]
[Book_worm: Agreed. It is 1984 in the MCU World. It's the same year as the Wizard World. I think technology here is advancing faster than normal, but we still won't have laptop computers for a while.]
[Demon_Hunter: The Hunter World has cars, cities, cellphones, the internet, and monsters. So far, it is pretty awesome.]
[Alchemist: So Ninja World, Jedi World, and Hunter World are more advanced than the two worlds with Earth's approximation.]
[Hercules: Should probably count Warrior World in that as well. We got dinosaurs, but we also have flying cars and a lot of fancy technologies you wouldn't believe if I told you.]
Rayleigh decided to add his two cents.
[Swordsman: Who has internet? The Planet I'm on does not have anything like the internet as far as I can tell.]
[Ninja_Lord: That's true. I don't think there is any internet. The only place I saw computers was in the hospital while visiting an injured ninja with my uncle. High-end tech might be regulated here.]
[Lord_of_Madness: All work and no internet makes Jack a Crazy Boy.]
[Hi_I'm_Paul: hehe. During Orientation, I asked why they gave us a Chat Room. That skinny bastard said it was because our generation was addicted to Social Media and giving us our fix was cheaper than using their resources to heal our souls of the damage internet dependence has caused us.]
[Swordsman: Skinny? I got my Orientation from a lumberjack named Red.]
[Wonder_Woman: I too, spoke with this red-bearded lumberjack.]
[Ninja_Lord: Mine was with a woman.]
[Demon_Hunter: I got the skinny guy too. He wore a really expensive-looking suit.]
[Bone_Wizard: I guess they all work for the Tavern.]
[Ninja_Lord: So any theories on what the Tavern is?]
From there, the discussion devolved into random theories and convoluted plots. Several lurkers jumped out with glee to add their two cents to the snowballing conspiracy theory on the origin and purpose of the Tavern. Plenty with shallow religious views made up all sorts of absurd claims, but they were just trying to rile up the more naïve Players.
Over the next few hours, Rayleigh and other Players exchanged tidbits of personal info to learn more about the worlds everyone lived in. The Warriors lived either in futuristic cities or in rural farmlands. They had easy access to many temples and martial arts dojos due to their various backstories. Their world had two main features which stood out more than anything else. The first was a technology called Capsules. It is basically an egg-sized pill with a button. Press and toss and the capsule turned into something much bigger. Capsules included vehicles, furniture, and even entire houses.
The second feature of the Warrior World was the presence of Furries. There were multiple races that were basically four or five-foot-tall bipedal animals walking around, speaking the same language as everyone else while wearing human clothes. The presence of the furries brought the wrong kind of attention to the Chat Room for some time when it was revealed.
The Wizard World was similar to Earth in 1984. Some Players were in the U.K. Some were in the U.S. or other countries. All of them had wizards for parents, either one or both, and they learned stuff from them that they shared over the Chat. The Wizards completely hid from the rest of the world, and some Wizard houses didn't even have electricity. What was interesting was that most Wizards didn't learn magic until they were at least 11. Many of the Ninjas decided to move to the Wizard World right before they turned 11. That way, they would train as a Ninja for the next six years, move, and then train as a Wizard. Wizard education takes seven years.
The Ninja World was a single continent. None of the adults had any ideas about the presence of other continents, though they knew that they did exist. Ninjas were constantly at war, so things that made their countries easier to invade, like paved roads, were not as common as they should have been. There was plenty of tech, but most of the rules around the village were made to keep secrets, so tech that could transmit data and record data mainly seemed restricted. For example, TV and News Studios have cameras to record programs, but good luck finding a personal video camera for sale in any store. Only high-ranking ninjas were authorized to own small, handheld personal cameras. If one was found on someone lacking authorization, they were probably a spy.
The Hunter World was confusing, according to the Players who found a map. The Hunter World map actually had all the same continents as Earth, but they were all moved and rearranged differently on the Hunter World map. What was unusual was that Players from different continents were all in the same time zone no matter where they were. So either the Hunter world was flat, or it was somehow very, very, very large. Larger even than the Gourmet World of Toriko, since the Human Continents there still take up 30% of the planet, which would include more than a single Time Zone. The cities of the Hunter World were very advanced, with all the amenities you'd want from a modern city. The Hunter Players all claimed they had no idea what the Hunter Power System was, but many didn't believe them.
The Pirate World was, by far, the least advanced. It seemed to be around the tech level of the Industrial Revolution, and according to one of the Players, all long-distance transmissions were done via Snail, even TV. Everyone thought that Player was trolling them until a few other Players confirmed it. The only modem convenience the world had was a newspaper delivered by sea birds. Though primitive, the world has some of the strangest stories. No one knew what the Pirate Power System was yet, but plenty of Pirates knew about famous individuals with strange powers. Players thought these powers might have come from the Power System, but every power for every individual was completely different and had the Players who were trying to work it out scratching their heads.
And of course, the Jedi World was the most massive of them all since it encompassed a major Galaxy and several surrounding dwarf Galaxies. Most of the Jedi Players found themselves starting in Coruscant, a massive planet-sized city. They were raised in daycare after being taken from their parents when they were even younger and had been told their Jedi training would begin soon.
One advantage the Jedi had over the other players was access to early training. None of the Hunters, Warriors, Pirates, or Wizards were offered early training. And the Ninjas who asked were only offered physical and weapons training. None were offered training in the Ninja's Power System as of yet. Or so they claimed.
The Hunter Parents of Hunter Players refused to teach them the Hunter's Power System until they obtained something called a Hunter's License. Apparently, the likelihood of death when getting one was very high.
The Warrior Players started with either Martial Artist parents or were raised at a Martial Arts temple. No one there would teach them anything advanced until they fully mastered the basics and elevated their foundation. That would take years and years, of course.
Some of the Pirate Players had strong parents who were either Pirates or Marines. When they asked about superpowers, the parents who knew told them they were too weak for the training.
And Wizards were told they could not start practicing magic without a wand, which they would not get until they were eleven.
Rayleigh figured that a number of those Players who claimed they couldn't train were lying. Rayleigh got a lightsaber, so the Wizards may have already gotten a wand. That meant they could start practicing on their own.
While he continued to browse through the various interactions of the crazy and crafty Players, Rayleigh felt something odd. On instinct, Rayleigh stopped interacting with the memories of his past life and returned to a normal~ish four-year-old and even started reading the book in earnest.
One benefit given to Players was that every aspect of reading and writing in the common language was freely gifted to everyone when they entered a World. The language they spoke in the Ninja Village was certainly different from Galactic Basic, but everyone in every world perfectly knew the local common dialect as if they were born to it.
A few moments later, a male alien Ray had never seen before entered the daycare from the hall. He wore loose brown robes and honestly looked like a devil, but his curved horns pointed down and forward rather than up, and he had tanned skin. There were thousands of alien species, and a four-year-old certainly could not be expected to remember them all.
Rayleigh felt the man's presence and didn't pretend to ignore it. He looked up from the book and met the alien's interested gaze for a few moments. The man then gave a kind smile and left. A few seconds later, he brought back the Twi'lek receptionist and pointed out Ray. They spoke in hushed words for a few moments before the Twi'lek left and the robe-wearing alien walked over.
In the deeper parts of his mind, Ray knew what was coming and put back the book. It was time to get off this planet. It was time to join the Jedi.