WINGverse: GMC is the first WINGverse story I wrote. It's set in the year 2039.
This page contains the first five chapters.
Joseph was happy that day. He never really showed his feelings to other people, but that day he was happy.
Walking towards the bus stop, wearing his favourite black hoodie, he looked up to the sky. It was cloudy, that day. As he reached the bus stop, he sat on a bench, alone, and dropped his bag to the ground.
A loud rumble was heard. A girl nearby slightly jumped in place. Joseph smiled at the thunder, without raising his head. And it started to rain, just as the bus arrived.
People started pushing each other to enter the bus. But he didn't care. He likes rain.
The road was bumpy and curvy, as usual. Joseph stood up from his seat, as the bus stopped. «Goodbye» he said to the driver.
Walking back home, alone, under the rain. Probably one of Joseph's favourite things to do. The dark hood protected his hair from the water, but he didn't really care.
A turn to the right, one to the left, and all he had to do was go straight. The sixteenth house on the right was his. But as soon as he turned to the right, something catched his eye.
There was a small yellow bin outside. It was still full, so they threw away something that had to be in other bins. Even Joseph didn't really understand recycling yet.
Curious, he walked closer and took a look at the semi-open bin. What he saw made his heart skip a beat: there was a WING VRSet inside.
«Of course» - he thought - «of course they didn't take this... it's not glass.»
He smiled as he put the VRSet in his bag, and kept going. The old owner definitely didn't want it anymore, he thought.
When he was back home, he cleaned the WING VRSet from the few dust that was on it, and he looked at the device.
In the other room, Joseph's mom was doing the dishes, while his father watched the tenth episode of House of the Robots, a reality show where robots usually used to serve guests in public buildings were put to compete against each other in order to obtain a life-long supply of something Joseph didn't care about.
In his room, He was looking at the device. It was a WING VRSet 7.0. a rather old model, production had stopped in 2036. Now, in 2039, it was still supported, and it still received updates, but the newest model was the WING VRSet 12.4.
The dim light of a thunder bolt reflected on the writing at the left of where the wearer's nose is: «seven point oh.» said Joseph.
His family wasn't very rich. His father was a famous video game developer, but after the VRSets became a reality in 2026, and his company didn't want to join the "VR train", he lost his job.
Sure, they had still quite a few money, but they had to spend it well in order to survive the month. Joseph knew this, and he never asked for anything as expensive as a VRSet. Sure, it was one of his dreams, but he could do with his dad's old computer, and the average internet connection they had.
And now, he had a decent VRSet in his hands. He was ready to join the world, or better, the WINGverse, that universe that he was never able to see before.
He laid on his bed. He wore the set, that was plugged to his computer, and clicked on the button near the top-right corner, labeled "power".
The room went dark. Despite this, Joseph didn't react. He knew what was going on. Even if this was the first time he tried to use a VRSet, he had seen how they worked multiple times, on the internet.
Deep in this darkness, nothing happened. At first he thought the device was broken, then he remembered: it needs a first input in order to map the user's brain, the first time, or whenever a new user tried to wear it.
Joseph sloghtly moved his arm in order to feel as comfortable as possible in his bed. Because even if he couldn't feel his body when Immersion Mode kicked in, blocking non-vital movement signals from his brain to his body, he knew that Immersing in a bad position would have been bad anyway.
«Startup!» - he said. The visor immediately started showing text in front of the boy's eyes.
"Loading. Please wait."
A few seconds later, Joseph found himself in a black room, with a red bar slowly getting longer and longer, surrounding him. When the two ends touched in front of him, completing the circle, the bar faded to black.
A window popped up in front of Joseph. He was surprised, and he jumped. His heart skipped a beat, as he saw the window following his body and movements.
Then he realized that his body was there. He realized that he was now in the WINGverse. The little message window in front of him simply said "Welcome to the WINGverse. You are using WINGos 7.0."
Joseph remembered that WINGos is the Operating System used by the WING VRSets to communicate with other devices including computers, televisions, smartphones, and much more. Before the release of a few updates for WING VRSets of newer versions, there was a new WINGos version each new WING VRSet version.
There was only a circle, near the center of the message, on the bottom. It had a V in it. The boy tapped the circle with his finger, and the message disappeared.
For a few seconds, Joseph was in complete darkness, again. Then, other windows and messages started popping up around him. He couldn't believe it, he was in the WINGverse.
He immediately noticed a few windows on his left, talking about news. Each one had a two buttons, just like the previous message had one: one of the buttons had three dots in it, and it extended the window to show the rest of the text, images, and so on. The other button had a cross in it, and it just closed the window.
«Wow...» - he said, surprised by how well it felt to control a body that wasn't his own - «But now what do I do?»
He tapped on two or three windows. One was talking about something related to the closing of a WING game. Another one was talking about the upcoming release of the WING 13.0. One of the windows near the center, in the meantime, had updated, just as he finished reading about how the Game Masters Community had bought a WING game.
It showed some suggestions for Joseph. He looked at it, curious, and immediately tapped on the first link.
«Game Masters' Castle - the story of the hardest WING game ever, and how nobody has completed it yet.» - he read aloud, still surprised by how real everything felt.
For a second, he tried to remember how to join a game with a WING VRSet, then he immediately did, before he could even finish remembering.
«Join Game Masters' Castle» - he said. A window message popped in front of him, with a V and a cross in it. "You have to create an avatar first. The avatar is the representation of your body in the WINGverse, and it will be used whenever you join a WING game that requires it."
Joseph confirmed, and a new message appeared: "Do you want to create your avatar from the avatar manager? If you don't, an avatar will be created from a brain scan."
He didn't want to lose any time, he had entire worlds to explore. So he tapped on the crossed circle, and all the messages disappeared. The red loading bar reappeared, indicating how the VRSet was scanning his brain for memories and thoughts about his body.
In less than two minutes, his avatar was ready. It looked a lot like him. Joseph was happy and excited. He probably wouldn't have cared if the avatar was a girl, or if it was ugly, or it looked like a whale... He just wanted to join the WINGverse for real.
He confirmed that the avatar was fine. A message with a loading bar appeared, without any button. "Now joining GMC:GMC. Please wait."
The white light that had surrounded him started fading. All he could see around him were giant flower petals. It looked like a tunnel where the walls were made of soft, red petals.
Joseph walked towards what seemed to be the only way possible, until he saw a light in the distance. He started running towards it. When close enough, he jumped without fear, and he fell.
The boy was lying on the floor. He slowly stood up, seeing a big amount of red petals floating to the ground around him, calmly stopping when they reached the stone.
Behind him, there was a gate. Its frame was made of rocks, all differently shaped and irregular. There were no walls around it: it was just stone frame, in the middle of a square.
«What the...» - said Joseph, while another person was spawning right next to him. It was a white light that slowly morphed into a human shape. The petals bursted out of the figure as it acquired its human skin tone and dresses, in a fragment of a second.
He looked at the new person who had just joined GMC for the first time. He still couldn't believe this was a game, that this wasn't real.
«I hate flowers» - said the new player - «Don't you?»
Joseph had always been shy, but this was his time to shine. He could get real friends - well, "real".
«Some flowers are nice.» - he replied, walking towards the person who was still surrounded by falling petals.
«I'm not a flow-» - he couldn't finish his sentence. He stood in place, with his arm still in the middle of waving - «a flower...»
The petals were almost all gone now. He could see the slim shape of the other person. He could see her dark red hair flowing in the breeze. He could see her deep blue eyes staring at him, with a confused expression.
«You're not a flower?» - asked the girl. Joseph immediately blushed. He turned away and tried to stop the heart pounding in his chest. Just like his real one, the virtual heart didn't obey to his brain - «I- I'm not a flo- a flo- I'm not a flower lover.» - he said.
He slowly turned his head to his left, and saw the girl staring at him and smiling. She raised her arm to shake hands, but had to get closer to grab Joseph's.
«I am Karry. I am a fire archer.» - the boy was still blushing - «I am Jo- I am Joseph. I'm a wind rogue.»
«Oh, you're a rogue, huh?» - she said - «Are you a new player like me, or do you have experience?»
«I'm new. I spawned a few seconds before you and-» - «That's cool! Come with me, I have to meet someone.» - she interrupted. She was smiling, and slowly trying to pull Joseph towards a road nearby the square. He decided to follow her as she started running down the cobble road.
There were four big roads spreading from the Spawn Square. They were oriented towards the cardinal points in the game world, each road with its own letter written with darker stones. On each side of the roads, smaller streets were between different buildings, all filled with people.
But Joseph didn't care about the roads. He didn't care about the buildings, either. Even the people around him weren't interesting. He was not able to see anything other than the fire archer running and smiling in front of him.
For a second, he thought about how he could feel the breeze through his hair as he ran dodging people left and right, then he focused back on the girl's hair.
She had medium-long hair, but on the left side they were much shorter, and her ear was visible. But a strip of hair near her face kept the length of the rest. «The wind...» - he said.
A guy was waving his hand in front of his face. «Hello?» - he said - «Are you okay?»
Joseph slowly understood what was happening, and he looked at the other boy. He was slightly taller than him, medium brown hair, blue eyes. He was wearing green clothes.
«I am Nathan. I'm a warrior. My element is nature.» - he said, while Joseph stared blankly at him, with a serious expression - «And you are...»
Karry popped in the discussion - «He's Joseph. He's a wind rogue. He is not a flower lover. He's weird. That's all I know.»
Nathan looked confused - «A wind rogue? It's not a mix you see that much... Usually elements and classes in GMC are combined to increase two basic stats and keep the rest more or less equal, not to bump up a single one of the stats and leave the others behind.»
«What?» - replied the other two.
Nathan shook his head - «I'll try to explain as simply as I can: wind is the fastest element. Rogues are the fastest class. You have the fastest base stats. But rogues like smaller weapons, and wind characters have low health. You'll need some help for the begin-» - but Karry interrupted him - «Oh, that's not bad!»
Joseph was almost scared by how she kept interrupting and suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Nathan, on the other hand, seemed okay with it. «You can dodge, right?» - she said.
«I guess so...» - replied the rogue. Nathan quickly pulled out his sword and tried to attack him, but he quickly dodged to the side - «WOAH! Calm down man!»
The warrior smiled - «Good. You can dodge. But don't get your hopes up. I'm just a warrior with a big sword. I definitely am not the fastest nor the best player around here.» - He started walking on the opposite direction.
Karry grabbed Joseph's hand and pulled him again - «Wait for us, onii-chan!» - he tried to remember what that meant, searching deeply through his old Japanese memories, as they ran to reach Nathan. He didn't need to think too much though.
«I'm your brother, not your ori-whatever-that-is-chan.» - replied the other boy, now much closer - «You know I don't like anime.»
Joseph was surprised. He was talking about his RPG character with another enthusiast, and while he usually was like this on internet forums, he had never had the same situation with another real person.
«See, I suggested Karry to be a fire archer. While fire is usally slower and has powerful piercing attacks, archers tend to be focused on range attacks and faster. So her attacks are both powerful and precise, and her speed is neutral, like other base elements.»
They looked at her. She was at the counter, asking the innkeeper for the price to stay. When you log-out in GMC, your character enters sleep mode, and their body stays there. So, logging out in non-safe zones equals certain death, with mobs and other players attacking you.
«But focusing on some statuses usually works better than staying neutral, in RPGs» - «Not in GMC» - answered Nathan - «GMC has always been a bit better for casual players, who like to try out new stuff all the time. But all the things that made the game easier for newcomers, made it harder for us, hardcore players.»
«I guess the title of hardest WING game isn't something they'd give to every game ever.» - said Joseph.
«You're right. An example is how later enemies and bosses are almost impossible if you focused on just a few stats. So, right now, you won't really have any difficulty, but it'll be hard later, unless you try to work on your stats to average them out.»
«but I don't want to» - interrupted Joseph - «I chose these stats because I like being fast, and I chose this class because I want access to stealth elements.»
Karry came back: «guys, we might have a problem.» - «What now?» - asked Nathan - «We already have mister fast-and-stealthy here that doesn't want to cooperate, we don't need more problems!»
«Hey hey hey! You have no right to say I am a problem for you! I didn't even ask to follow you, I can survive on my own!» - «No you can't! There's no way you can keep going without changing your point of view on stats.»
«Guys» - tried to interrupt Karry, failing - «Shut up, you and your damn statistics!» - «It's not statistics, it's average gameplay.» - «It's not average gameplay, Nathan. It's dumb! Most other games allow you to play like any other user, no matter the stats!» - «Most other games aren't WING games!»
The boys immediately shut their mouths as an arrow broke the porcelain decoration on the wall. Karry was standing there, with her bow out - «Alright. I was saying, there is a problem.»
The boys didn't move. They knew they couldn't get damaged while in a safe zone, but they didn't feel like getting an arrow in their knees.
«We can't stay here.» - continued Karry - «The innkeeper is angry at me.»
«What?!?» - screamed Nathan, jumping on top of his seat. Joseph almost fell from his, and he was holding his heart in with his hand. He could swear it would have jumped out if he didn't keep it in.
«Hey, calm down, this guy's a thief» - said the girl - «He wants 200 koniz for a single night.»
The angry boy sat down and facepalmed. Joseph started chuckling - «What now?» - she asked.
«You do realize 200 koniz are one of the lowest, best prices out there, right?» - «But 200 euros...» - «Euros are not the currency in GMC, Karry.» - said Nathan - «That's more or less five euros.»
Joseph was still laughing, but the bow quickly moving towards his face made him stop. A message box appeared in front of him. It was a party request: "Join party: Karry Woodred, Nathan Woodred." - it said.
He looked at Nathan, who was still facepalming. He was afraid to look at the girl, but when he did, she was smiling. There was no arrow in the bow.
Joseph tapped the circle with a V in it, silently accepting the request.
«Now you two can't argue. We're on the same team.» - she said, lowering her bow - «Shut up.» - replied Nathan, smiling.
Chapter 5 Edit