Sam smiled at the feeling of fresh dirt sliding between his fingers. He was in the greenhouse planting more chamomile flowers for Ms. Dasher. His employer loved to drink the foul-smelling tea he made with the daisy-like flowers. The tea did wonders for a person’s health, which was why he made it for her so often. She couldn’t move around as much anymore but that hadn’t diminished her love of gardening. Evaleen had “hired” him to help her maintain her greenhouse. The only problem was that he didn’t know anything about gardening. However, her husband, Edgar had been his mentor for years until he passed away recently. He felt like he owned it to the old man to keep an eye on Evaleen which was why he took the job. It had been a year since then and to his surprise he found he liked the work. It gave him a weird sense of peace. Once he finished planting he got up and left the greenhouse. The bag of chamomile seeds was resting against the metal storage locker where the rest of the seeds were kept. Inside there were multiple bags of garlic, ginger, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens. He had just made a trip to the local market and had bought in bulk so that they would have enough seeds to last a while. After he put the bag away he made his way to the house. When he got there he saw the large RV that belonged to Alfred parked in the driveway. As he walked through the door he heard Alfred, her son, speaking.
“….normally I wouldn’t ask again so soon but we really need this break.” Alfred and Ms. Dasher were in the living room. Despite being bent by age and leaning heavily on her mahogany cane Evaleen seemed to loom over her son.
“Don’t you think I need a break too? Especially since I just had them last month and I’m still buying new furniture for my dining room,” Ms. Dasher said.
“I know and I made sure to reimburse you for the damage.”-His shoulders slumped-“it’s just that our last vacation was canceled due to an emergency at the office and we had to spend the whole time fixing it. And the kids promised not to do any of their science experiments inside the house” Alfred said. The man was pretty much begging at this point. They were so focused on each other they didn’t even notice Sam come in. He smiled to himself as he quietly closed the door and made for the stairs. Both of them knew Ms. Dasher would watch the kids. She loved spending time with her grandkids; she just liked to make her son beg a little. Alfred was so busy that he often forgot to visit. Evaleen often used these moments to ring promises of future visitations out of him. As Sam climbed up the stairs he could still hear her speaking.
“You know my canasta group loved it when you visited last time.” Sam smiled as he heard the grin in the old ladies voice. Upstairs he found Dara and the kids unpacking. It was sometimes weird seeing them. Since his wife had left him last year, he felt more a part of their family than his own. Dara stood there looking as tired as usual; the bags under her eyes usually hidden by makeup were visible today. Her face softened and her long dark hair was put into a ponytail. She wore baggy pants and a comfy looking green sweater. Right now she looked more like the stereotypical girl next door than the intimidating business woman she was. There was no doubt that Alfred was a smart and ambitious man. The money and connections his father possessed also played a role in his success. However, Dara was the one who took Alfred’s vision and boiled it down into the step by step plan that he followed. Together not only had their business succeeded, they also had built themselves up as a power in town. When Dara saw him she greeted him with a nod and smiled.
“Hey guys look who’s here,” she said. Both kids turned around and beamed at him.
“Hey Sam,” they shouted as they ran up to him. Both Brian and Niki were in their last year of middle school. They were already tall enough to reach his shoulder. They were born only a year apart. Along with the fact that both of them had black hair and brown eyes, many mistook them for twins. They hugged and he was soon caught up on everything that had happened to them since last month. When they finished talking they went back to unpacking. And Sam made his way towards Dara to catch up with her when the house began to violently shake. He knew an earthquake was happening but was shocked. There had been earthquakes before but nothing this intense. He heard the sound of glass shattering everywhere. The house itself seemed to creek as if it were being torn apart by two opposing forces. He joined Dara and the kids who were crouching in the corner of the room with their hands over their heads. Just as things seemed to end he heard the thunderous crash of what sounded like a mix glass breaking and wood splintering. Sam was pretty sure it was the sound of the greenhouse collapsing though for Evaleen’s sake he hoped it wasn’t. Minutes after the earthquake finally stopped he double checked that Dara and the kids were fine. Alfred yelled up stairs to check on everyone but couldn’t come up stairs. Evaleen had fallen badly and needed help. He quickly started downstairs to help Alfred with Evaleen. Halfway down his body suddenly seized in pain and he fell. His head probably hit every last wooden step on the way down but he failed to notice with the extreme amount of pain he was in. The pain was replaced after his fall by a different sensation. A debilitating cold surrounded him. His whole body seemed to freeze as ice somehow flowed into his veins. He lay there at the bottom of the stairs curled into a frozen ball. When the cold left him he groaned as he tried to pick himself up from the floor. His body was shaking so badly he thought another earthquake was happening. Yet his body felt stronger than before. His mind seemed somehow sharper despite the dull ache in his head. When he opened his eyes and saw what was before him he wondered just how many stairs he’d hit his head on. In front of his face was a blue box with text in it.
|Congratulations Species #372
Your world has been successfully seeded!
Your world has qualified as a Grade A Resource Planet!
Because of this high rating, your underdeveloped species has been given the chance to join the Galactic Federation. Normally any species not of sufficient development would be cleansed and the planet terraformed. However, your species has been allowed to attempt the trial of awakening. If a significant number of your species manages to survive the trial then you will be allowed into the Federation.
(Know this species #372 while undergoing the trial you are already considered a provisional member of the Federation. This entitles you to all the benefits and regulations that come with membership.)
It felt like thousands of syringes were being stabbed into her. She had been arguing with son when the earthquake hit. She had fallen and there was a sharp pain in her hip. When it ended she had thought the worst was over. Her son had checked on his family and Sam who were all alright. She had begun to dread the visit to her doctor when a new wave of pain hit her. The feeling of syringes piercing every available inch of body was horrifying. However the feeling quickly changed. It was if every syringe piercing her began to inject liquid fire into her. Her body rapidly began to heat up. Yet she stopped feeling uncomfortable. In fact, she felt just like she did when she visited the sauna in town. It was like she was sweating away all the impurities in her body but on a larger scale. The pain caused by her broken hip. All the old pains in her body were disappearing. No, they were being burnt up. Years of pain and the effects of old age were being devoured by the flames inside her. When it was over she stood and marveled at the fact that her back was straight. She saw her mahogany cane on the ground and simply stared at it. When she looked up a blue box was in front of her face. After she finished reading she was stunned. The earth had been taken over by aliens and humanity was somehow about to be tested. For a moment she was sure that this was some pot induced dream caused by her special brownies but she hadn’t made those in years. Plus it was also hard to explain what she had just experienced. At this point she heard a groaning come from the foot of the stairs. She couldn’t see though since the blue box was blocking her version. The moment she thought about it blocking her view it turned transparent. Then in an experiment she thought about making go away and to her surprise it did. Now she was able to see both Alfred and Sam who stood staring off into space. It looked like they must be seeing the same blue box as her. She could see her sons’ lips move as he read the text. By the time both men had read and figured out how to make the blue box go away Dara came down the stairs with the kids in tow. Alfred went over to his family while Sam was looking at her strangely. Before she could ask him why, another blue box appeared.
|Congratulations Trial Participate!(Evaleen Dasher)
You have met the requirements to establish a settlement!
Requirements:Structures: 1/1Residents: 6/4
Yes or No?
This new box confused her more than the last. She tried to make it go away like the last one but it refused. After a couple of tries she assumed it wouldn’t go away until she answered yes or no. and she didn’t want to do anything until she knew what was going on. The best she could do was to minimize it so it wasn’t blocking her vision any more.
“Please tell me I’m not going insane and that you guys saw the blue notification box as well,” Sam said looking at everyone.
“The one talking about how the aliens weren’t going to wipe us out. Yeah I saw that,” Alfred said
“What about the intense pain. Did you guys feel like you were being stabbed by thousands of tiny needles?” Dara asked. There were nods all around at the question.
“This is crazy so not only are there aliens but they’ve messed with our bodies and now expect us to participate in some godforsaken trial?” Alfred asked.
“Maybe this is all just some mass hallucination? I mean I’ve heard of it happening before.” Sam replied.
“I understand why you would think that. I thought I was high out of mind at first but there’s no way the earthquake let alone the pain wasn’t real,” Evaleen said. It also helped that she felt 50 years younger. Dara nodded in agreement then addressed the rest of the group.
“Has anyone else looked outside? Everything is a mess. I’m betting the town is worse off.”
“Shit,” Sam said and after that everyone was quiet for a while. Evaleen thought about her own home which was creaking ominously which brought her attention back to the blue screen blinking in the corner of her eye.
“Did anyone else see the second blue screen? The one asking you to create a settlement?” she asked. Everyone looked confused so she guessed not. She saw Sam and the kids perk up though.
“First the notification box and now this, this trial they spoke of must be some type of game,” Sam said.
“Yeah why else would there be some many RPG elements in this trial,” Brian said. She could hear the growing excitement in her grandson’s voice.
“The notification box and the settlement creation, I wonder what other elements there are?” Niki asked. Evaleen saw that her grandchildren were starting to look at this like some type of grand adventure which worried her. She recalled the part where the blue box talked about cleansing entire species. She doubted that anything good was going to come from this trial.
“Other game elements huh let me try something,” Sam closed his eyes for a moment. Everyone was looking at him when he opened his eyes so they saw the look of wonderment on his face. “Everybody quick, think about the words status page” he said.
“No way, we have status pages too,” Brian said. The kids were quick to follow Sam’s example and close their eyes. Her son and Dara copied their children which left her as the only person to try it. She was hesitated for a moment but decided that they had to figure out this new reality that they found themselves in. So, she thought about this status page thing and like everyone else the blue screen appeared.
|Trial Participant:(Evaleen Dasher)
Reputation Points: 0
Level:1 Mana 100/100 Exp 0/100
Strength:5 (base stat for all trial participants)
Constitution:5 (base stat for all trial participants)
Agility: 5 (base stat for all trial participants)
Wisdom:5 (base stat for all trial participants)
Intelligence:5 (base stat for all trial participants)
Charisma: 5 (base stat for all trial participants)
Evaleen stared at blue box or rather her status page for a while. It knew her age as well as her name. After talking for a moment, they agreed that the status page showed everyone the same thing. At this point an animated conversation broke out between everyone that she didn’t fully understand. Apparently status pages were somewhat common in the games that they had played. Even Dara seemed to nod along in understanding. The information under the stats section was supposed to be some sort of evaluation of their current abilities. It seemed like every human had been brought up to some standard of physical and mental fitness. The change was certainly noticeable by the others but not nearly as drastic as it had been for her. It was brought to her attention that her appearance had also changed. Her wrinkled skin had smoothed out. And her gray hair now had slight signs of red in it. The mood was light for a while as the kids explained things like experience points, min maxing characters, and what mana was in most games. The mood was broken though by the sound of coyotes howling in the distance. The coyote population had always been a serious problem for the town. However, they had never heard them so close to the house and it sounded like there were more than a few out there. What was worse was that howl seemed off somehow. The sound was deeper than it should have been. That’s when the idea that most games had monsters was brought up. After that revelation the question of protection became a priority in their discussion. At least on that point they had some good ideas. Edgar had dabbled in hunting for a few summers and had left some guns in the basement. Sam went down to grab them and came back with not only the guns but gardening equipment as well. Evaleen was confused until Sam explained that all but two of the fire arms were in any condition to be fired. It wasn’t much; two hunting rifles, a pickaxe and two metal shovels were all they had for weapons. It was at this point the house groaned again which brought up another discussion. The stability of the house after the earthquake was yet another concern. No one wanted to be inside the house if it might collapse but going outside might be worse. It was the kids who reminded everyone about her ability to create a settlement. In games settlements had the option to be improved or repaired when damaged. Dara surprised everyone when she agreed with the kids and revealed her penchant to play civilization building games in her spare time. After a few concerns were raised and dismissed they decided to give it a try. So Evaleen focused on the blue box in the corner of her eye and it immediately popped back into view. She thought the answer yes in her head and the box vanished only to be replaced by another one.
|Congratulations Trial Participants for being one of the first groups to attempt to create a settlement!
You have unlocked the special quest “Alpha Settlement” (Mandatory)Alpha Settlements are a step above normal settlements. They require fewer resources for upgrades, provide stronger defenses, and have the potential to become more depending on the choices your group makes.
Alpha Settlement Quest: All local wildlife within a 5 mile radius will be drawn to the site of your future settlement. Actual construction of settlement will be delayed until quest completion. Goal: Survive one wave
An upgradable safe zone
[Author’s note: Hey guys so I’m really new at this writing thing if you have any feedback, grammar corrections, or just suggestions for the story please let me know.]