To go with my last post where I outlined a system of classes and abilities, I’ve now written a scene where people from normal our every day world find themselves in the world where these abilities exist. I used some characters from a little thing I’ve been working on (but haven’t posted yet) where there is a team of techies who work in the basement of a store and repair shop called Computer World. These techies at Computer World are somehow expected to single-handedly support all of computer technology and operating systems. This is because people who buy computers from here (many of them custom built or fixed by the team) also buy a tech support contract with them. In addition, the sales people in the store above know nothing about computers (like something out of The Website is Down: Sales Guy VS Web Dude) and have little care or respect for the basement dwellers who struggle to keep the customers after the sales people sell them what they don’t want or need. A post with some of their antics, trials, and all will follow at some point.
I wondered what would happen to them when thrust into this other world that is likely in the books they read and video games they play, and here’s what came out of it.
“So, people come to this school and… what chose a class like a job?” Ben asked.
“It’s not so much people chose a class as it chooses you… Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that it’s already part of who you are, you just don’t know it yet. The Test just lets you know what your abilities are and what your focuses should be to develop yourselves into skilled soldiers.”
“If we have any abilities at all. You said there were some people who came out of the test with nothing,” Craig pointed out.
“Correct…. and then there are those who come out with less than nothing. The Test is not something people take lightly. It can scar or even kill you. Even if you come out on grid, you may be a different person after. But really, the test brings out who you really were before and shows your potential for success and failure. Some face that better than others… and some cannot face that at all.”
“That explains why not everyone does this. The abilities people have here are amazing…” Angus had earlier watched a class they had passed in absolute awe and more than a little bit of longing.
“So there’s more to it than getting a focus, and getting abilities. People see things and learn things about themselves… How exactly does that work?” Ben asked.
The teacher smiled lightly, as if addressing a novice pupil, “People don’t generally discuss their own test. It’s very personal. And, we’re not entirely sure how or why it works. It’s a ritual handed down that takes twelve of us, a representative of each focus, to perform.”
“So, it’s magic?” Bill asked.
“Not exactly magic, as that only covers the powers of one school. It’s all the powers combined, drawing to the surface the aptitudes of a person. It also draws forth truth and weaknesses as well. People may face their demons. Or… there are people who have claimed remembering nothing at all after wards.”
“…and we have to do this?” Bill asked with a bit more urgency than he meant to.
“If you want to stand a chance of survival, then yes, you do. Even if you reject your role, it won’t stop The Others from finding and killing you. They know you’re in this world now, and that very fact is a threat to them. As it is… you won’t have much time to train. I dare say, the test is the least of your worries, and the greatest of your chances.”
It hung in the air, the unsaid. It was unlikely we’d all survive to see home: our own world again. We were brought here for a common cause tied to the fate of this world and had to follow it whether to help or just to get back to where we belonged. Each of us knew we were more than a little overwhelmed, and by looking at each others’ faces we knew we weren’t alone in that sentiment. We were all plagued by a combination of worry, doubt, and amazement. I doubt we’d all handle it well, thought Sarah, if handled at all any time soon.
“So we should all take the test as soon as possible,” Sarah announced.
“Won’t we be safe here, though? All of these skilled people here… and you and the other teacher pwned them Others, or whatever, pretty good,” Bill was grasping at straws.
“Them?” he chuckled lightly as he pounded his staff on the packed earth, “That was but one of their Masters. They have their own schools, their own soldiers, and many more to send after you. If you stay here too long… we’ll all die. We sent some Masters ahead to prepare the way for when you do get sent off. We sent messages to those we trust to create more than a few red herrings, but I’m afraid even the most optimistic we can be is that you’ll get a few weeks here to prepare.”
“Well, I don’t get it. Why us? What’s so different or special about us? I mean you have to understand, we come from a world where we’re a bunch of lazy asses,” Craig was trying to explain away reality like Bill was, but with a little more confusion than urgency, “We go to work every day and sit in cubes and work on computers. What the hell do we have that these guys, some of who have been training since they were in diapers, don’t?”
“I don’t know,” admitted the Master, “and I know little of your world. All we have are the prophecies. These prophecies were left by the same people who left us the ritual of The Test, so I expect they have some powerful truth to them.”
“There’s a lot of room in these prophecies for us to be offed,” Sarah sighed, “If nothing else, we are smart and we do work well as a team, guys. Don’t be so quick to give up.”
“Another thing I don’t get is why only half of us are here, and why this half,” Craig said as if trying to argue that this was a dream he was waiting to wake from.
“Good point. With the other five of our team here, we might have had a better chance,” Bill paused, “This is not good.”
“I don’t know, would you rather be dealing with customers?” Ben asked, when no one answered, “It was meant to be a joke.”
“How soon can we do the test?” Sarah wanted to see what kind of chance they all had as soon as possible, but without getting that bit out of the way, there was no way to know.
“Wow, you’re in a hurry,” Angus smiled as if this was part of some cosmic joke, “Can’t wait to cast Magic Missile, can you?”
That gave the group a bit of a laugh, except for the Master who furrowed his brow in confusion, but didn’t say anything.
“I want to cast… magic missile,” quoted Ben in a geeky voice. There was a pause and a bit of tension release before the group turned serious again.
“We need to know what our own as well as each others’ strengths and weaknesses are as soon as possible, to work as a team in this,” Sarah pointed out, “Like right now we know to go to Angus for a Linux question or Craig for anything to do with daisy chaining crap together…”
“It’s a good point, we need all the time we can get to train,” admitted Angus, “It’s not like ya’ll are like me, doing martial arts in your spare time.”
Sarah didn’t continue the point as she was mentally beating herself up for not exercising more.
“No, we can’t all be as awesome as you, Angus,” Bill said in his sarcastic, good-natured way, “Some of us were stupid and played sports in our spare time instead. If only we knew our life would turn into a freaking Narnia book.”
“Word,” Angus said with a short chuckle like a hiccup.
The Master continued leading them down a path in what the rest didn’t realize was confused silence. They all seemed to speak a common language, and yet it was times like these the Master had no idea what flowers had to do with chains or what sort of animal a Linux was. He chalked it up to cultural differences and figured that in spite what Craig had said, they were knowledgeable, skilled people who would all have strong focus once they had done The Test. If people were lazy in their world, he figured these people who were brought over were an exception.
It was probably better that he didn’t know a IT tech support team for a computer repair and reseller was their one hope for winning the war and continuing existence as he knew it.