“How dare Simon try to take credit for my work!” the director of the Alenkas Project yelled out in fury. “Two weeks until the three month test, and then he goes and pulls something like this!?” he continued, throwing papers around his desk. They fluttered everywhere as they slowly fell to the ground.
His name was Trevor Hill, and he was the Director for the Alenkas Project, a project in which a new virtual reality world would be created for the sake of a new start, for everyone. The possibilities were endless; if anybody wanted to escape their real world, they can escapse to Alenkas, where anything is possible and anything is possible.
Escapism. A second chance for everyone. If a criminal wanted time to focus on rebuilding and rebranding themselves, they could go to Alenkas, where they’d be equal with everyone else. A true second chance. As his original elevator pitch put it, “Second Life, but with touch, sight, smells, sounds…a true Second Life.”
NuVO picked it up with surprising alacrity. The ‘New Virtual Observation Group’, shortened down to their acronym, NuVO. It’d taken him only a few weeks for them to start to pick up the project, and with it, all five of them. The original five on the Alenkas Group. Simon O’Neil, Trevor Hill, Revan Kurt, Kason Lordle, and Kara Tyson.
The five of them had hacked into one of NuVO’s headsets to offer up as a prototype. Simon and Revan had done most of the hacking, Kara putting together some of the more basic functions, with Kason and Trevor acting as social media references, testing, and whatever other programming was needed.
NuVO absolutely loved it, once they got a meeting with the Board of Directors themselves. Immediately they grabbed onto the project, hiring all five to act as a similar ‘board’ for Alenkas. Kara quit, three years previous, seven years after being hired. Too much pressure, Trevor had thought.
Kason had become the premier public relations manager for the Alenkas Project. It was due to him that they’d even have a longer-lasting test at all, despite both Simon and Revan demanding it. He’d been asked, early on, to take the reins when it came to handling all four of them, and soon to be three. He’d agreed, and had been made Director.
So when he had heard Simon, in the break room one day -for once, the small mousey guy almost never came out of his little hidey-hole- brag about how ‘it was his brain child’, and how ‘it never would’ve happened if it wasn’t for me’, Trevor had seen red.
It didn’t help that he was talking to that tart, Lyla Bannon, while playing a game of chess. Chess, of all things! Oh, how he hated that game, ever since Revan and Kason had tag-teamed him in a match one day.
Just remembering it almost sent him into another active frenzy. His desk was clear though, and his office was full of nothing but scattered papers. He hadn’t touched his computer, despite the hundreds of notifications and emails badgering him. It wasn’t a big office, barely more than a small room, but it was the only thing he needed.
Like a impetulant child, he raged internally for a few more minutes, before turning back to his computer. He had ignored most of them, as he usually did. He had a reputation to maintain, a reputation that said he was notoriously difficult to contact. Despite the many different leads on the project, he really only bothered himself with a few.
He saw a few posts from Simon, saying that theoretically, the code base had been finished and all that they had to do now was load everything in. “That bastard…taking credit for all of our hard work. Has he no shame?” Trevor muttered angrily. He forced himself to calm down, and straightened up his suit. It was too close to going Gold for behavior like that. But now…he could plan.
And he could use his own project to do it.
He closed his eyes, and focused on what he needed to do. What were the requirements? What were the tools he had to meet those requirements? For one, he needed to show Simon that it was a team effort. The man was a genius, so he’d have to be just as much of one in order to teach him. He’d have to enlist everyone close to them.
One; Simon needed to be put into the Alenkas test. Easy enough, they still had a week to go before they finalized the testers. Originally he’d put himself into the test, easy enough to substitute himself out. It would make sense to, which would put the Board of Directors at NuVO at ease.
But…who else should be put in there? They had a randomizer and had spat twenty nine other names, most of which he didn’t recognize, and the ones that he did were of no major importance. He could fudge things a bit, get everyone he didn’t like into the test for three months. Three months without having to actually communicate with any of them…ah, that’d be heaven.
He smiled and quickly messaged Kason Lordle, the head of PR and one of the other main brains. ‘Simon is taking credit for Alenkas. I want to teach him, and anybody else who thinks they’re too good a lesson.’ he typed.
‘That bastard. Good, what do you have planned,’ came the immediate reply. Normally it wouldn’t have been safe to have this type of conversation planned out via messaging service, which traditionally saved all types of discussions.
One of the first things the Alenkas Five had done was turn that off, and make sure that IT knew that there was nothing they could do about it. They were messing with brain technology, things that were technically only partially legal at the time.
In the years since, the thoughts of Alenkas had sparked a virtual revolution, and NuVO had skyrocketed to the top of the food chain in the virtual space. The anticipation was great enough that NuVO had already seeded the headsets to anyone with enough money for one. There were a few minor games and such that they could use, and they were compatible with all of the other virtual reality sets, but they weren’t the true brain-scanners that Alenkas could use.
‘Anybody you want to not have to talk with at all for three months?’ Trevor typed back.
‘Putting them in the test? I can think of a few. I’ll meet you in your office to talk about the details.’
Trevor smirked. It was time to put the uppance in ‘comeuppance’. And Simon was about to get a full head of nothing but comeuppance. Kason appeared in the glass across the hall. He made a quick knock, and Trevor nodded to him. He was a quirky fellow, but had a type of personable genius look to him. “Details?” Trevor smirked at him.
“Modifying the test randomization? Naughty naughty Mr. Hill,” Kason smirked back. Trevor gave him a light chuckle, knowing that he was in no danger of getting caught. “I want Lyla in there. That bitch blocked me the other day. She goes in.”
He made a note of it. “Anyone else you have a problem with? I can think of a good ten others that need to be put in their place.”
“Good. I can think of others still, off the top of my head. Lucas and Aiden Vera, the two gay guys for Sound. They had a PDA the other day,” Kason muttered. Trevor had to stop his laugh from breaking out. Kason was notoriously close-minded when it came to that kind of thing. It had gotten to the point where one of the pranks that the original Alenkas group had pulled on him was a male stripper for his birthday. He had hated them for years after that.
Personally Trevor didn’t have a problem with them. They were quick-witted, and Aiden had a dry humor to him that probably wouldn’t survive Alenkas for long. Three years was a long time.
“Anyone else?” Trevor asked. “Here’s the current list,” he said, printing out a quick sheet and passing it over. Kason looked over the list, his dark hair portraiting his face, leaving it in shadow.
“I’ll make some alterations, and let you know. What’re we going to do with them once they’re in? Any plans?” Kason asked. Trevor shook his head. “What’s the worst absolute thing…we can embarrass them. Force them against their will.”
“I’m doing it to teach a lesson, not to enact revenge. Leave your revenge fantasies out of this,” Trevor muttered.
Kason smirked. “Alright, alright. Just the lesson then. They’ll be driven out of their mind by boredom anyways,” he said, leaving the office. His shoes crunched on the paper on the floor that Hill still hadn’t picked up. ‘Oh well. That’s what janitors are for…’ Trevor thought, going back to Kason’s last words.
The words echoed through his mind throughout the day. He took more notice of the people, took notice of the small annoyances that bothered him. He was constantly updating his ‘list’, and for even the smallest details a name would get shuffled on and off. Even just rumors made him want to put them away.
It was as he was on his way out of the building, late at night as he usually did, that his car was almost T-boned as he left. He identified the driver, and honked furiously. Mia Atwell. That name was definitely going on the list now.
For the following few days, he and Kason never talked about his plan of modifying the Alenkas testers, but he knew that Kason, too, was taking quick notice of everyone just as he was. It wasn’t until one of the interns spilled coffee on his suit that her name was put on the list too. He had to take it up with HR to get her name…and ended up getting the info from one of Payroll’s people.
They were both overseeing the final assembly of the servers. There was one final scheduled shutdown before the actual test, although it wasn’t as if Alenkas couldn’t be patched. The engine was capable of being patched at runtime, something that many other software couldn’t do.
“Got the finalized list?” Kason asked him nonchalantly. “And have you thought about it? I saw you almost get killed a few nights ago in the parking lot.”
“Could have said something. And yes, the finalized list is here. Come on, we’ll talk about how we’re going to notify everyone,” Trevor said in the same businesslike tone. They marched their way back to his office in silence, and Trevor said nothing as Kason perused over the list. There were several names on there from Kason’s hit list, and many more from Trevor’s.
“I see the bitch that spilled coffee over you is on here. Heard she’s a good lay, but the bitch won’t open up, even for me. And is that Emma Star, from Payroll? I think I like your list better than mine,” Kason mentioned. Trevor smirked; it appeared he had Kason’s stamp of approval. Once the thirty were out of their way, they could swoop in and change Alenkas around, teaching them lesson after lesson.
Alenkas was, after all, the land of second chances. What better way to show this than to give the perfect second chance to the first team that used it?
The first of four parts. This special series is intended to show the events at the company of NuVO, before, during, and after Alenkas ‘Season One’. It was written after episode 26 of the Great Hunt. It has no sex during the series, but I think it’s kind of pivotal knowledge that adds a few reasons to Alenkas besides ‘just cause’. I hope you all enjoy.