“A free name change has been provided, and your account has been cloned to a new one.” stated Mila after escorting Maxine into the ballroom.
“I see.” replied Maxine with a frown.
“Apparently so. The new glasses look lovely.” commented Alma.
Maxine glanced at her before saying, “Thank you. As for the name, Theophany.”
“A bit pretentious, isn’t it?” inquired Alma.
“That was the name of her primary exosuit.” explained Mila. “Name change complete. Would you like the full chair tutorial before I start the game?”
Alma used her ability to send a picture into my mind, showing the scene from Avengers where Hulk smashed Loki, but replacing Loki with the Maxine’s exosuit. I nearly laughed aloud but managed not to.
“Your chairs have tutorials?” asked Maxine, obviously surprised.
“Aaliyah designed them. She writes a tutorial for everything in such excruciating detail that most would find using it to be torturous.” I told her.
“I’ll be fine without it then.” replied Maxine as she took a seat.
Maxine probably wouldn’t bother playing in here with us after tonight anyway, since the new model of her glasses could be given a direct feed ― or deactivated ― by Mila. Of course, she could come to enjoy the sensitivity of the digital keyboard and mouse, but we could always provide those wherever she wished.
“Are the glasses working on par with your old model? Jarod seemed enthusiastic about the technology you developed.” I commented.
I had been keeping Dani busy as Maxine and Jarod discussed how the glasses emitted low frequency radiation to stimulate areas of her brain associated with vision. Most people would be at risk of cancer with the design, but that wasn’t a possibility for Maxine. Jarod, of course, had ideas of his own when they discussed it. I wanted to keep Dani away from them in case she had already studied similar technology on her own planet, since she might well slip in her enthusiasm. Luckily, Dani was off practicing with her new band for now.
“Marginally better, actually. Jarod is every bit as intelligent as I imagined. His suggestions were useful, and I admit that I’m envious of the resources here. The various technologies for fabrication are incredible.” she admitted.
“As I’m sure Jarod mentioned, Aaliyah designed most of the equipment he uses, though Mila’s done some software work.” I told her. “Would you like to join my guild, since getting you back into whichever one you had before is probably inadvisable?”
“I’ll take you up on the offer.” she stated, a hint of annoyance coming through. She knew she’d be monitored in the game as well. Once she accepted the invitation, she said, “This is ridiculous.”
I smirked after glancing over at her screen. The unfiltered guild chat was probably far too fast for her, but I was certain she knew how to use the game’s chat features. “Which officer would you like to serve under?”
Alma quickly suggested “You should pick me. We have always enjoyed one another’s company immensely.”
“No. James, can I serve under you?’ she asked.
“Sure.” I told her as I reassigned her character. “You’re free to join Alma’s group when they do formation practice if you prefer a properly militarized group. Mine’s a bit more…”
“Absurd.” teased Alma.
“Fun.” insisted Cosette, who was playing with us.
“Well, we do get our objectives accomplished quickly enough.” I replied.
“What do you like to do on here?” inquired Cosette as she leaned over toward Maxine.
“I’m specialized in armor crafting, so I spend a great deal of time hunting down rare ores.” she replied.
“Really!?” exclaimed Raine, seeming to appear out of nowhere in front and to the side of Maxine.
Maxine jumped clear out of her chair. Then she was caught midair and placed in her chair by Raine.
“James told you that she’s fast.” casually commented Alma as Maxine continued to stare.
Smiling, I said, “Raine’s the guild’s best crafter, so she’s an expert at getting every type of resource you might want. She arranges many resource missions for other players when stocks get low. We even got her a meteorite a few months ago. She’s the one to ask if you’d like a nice house in the guild’s town.”
“Y-you really l-like… t-to craft?” asked Raine as she stared intently at Maxine.
“Obviously. I craft things in real life as well. I thought you considered me dangerous.” stated Maxine.
“N-not to m-me.” replied Raine.
“If something’s dangerous to Raine, you probably wouldn’t enjoy meeting it either. Even in Ancient Tribes of Earth she single-handedly held off one of the demon lords for quite a while, using only crafting skills I might add.” I told her.
“You’re joking.” stated Maxine. When I shook my head, she said, “I had heard a rumor about that but there are many crazy rumors about your guild.”
“Our guild.” corrected Alma.
“I guess I’ll be seeing the truth of them firsthand now.” agreed Maxine.
I heard footsteps running through the halls of my home and saw Portentia round the corner a moment later.
“What’s Maxine doing in here?” asked Portentia. Nearly in the same breath, she inquired “Why does she have glasses again!?”
Raine was suddenly holding Portentia’s hands in hers as she said, “S-she crafts armor!”
“Yeah. She tried blowing me up using some of it.” replied Portentia.
“Maxine wanted to get back to playing Ancient Tribes of Earth and has agreed to help Jarod with some of his work in real life. Raine’s excited to have a crafting buddy in the game.” I explained.
“Oh. What if she tries to escape now that she can see the exits?” asked Portentia.
“She won’t. She made an agreement and will happily be assisting Best Friend For Hire. Besides, Mila will remain as vigilant as ever.” I assured her.
Portentia shrugged and said, “I suppose… but shouldn’t she be paying for her crimes?”
“Other than helping my company, what would you like her to do? We could get her a costume to help you fight crime.” I suggested.
“What? But she’s a criminal! She’d probably turn on me.” stated Portentia.
“How would that make any sense, you imbecile? You’re more than capable of capturing me again if I tried, and I’m not even equipped for a fight, not that I want to go gallivanting around the city looking for trouble with you.” snapped Maxine.
“B-be nice.” warned Raine, suddenly standing in front of Maxine.
“And imagine trying to escape from her!” exclaimed Maxine as she pointed at Raine and stared at Portentia. Turning to Raine, she asked “Did you really do fifty laps around the city at James request when I arrived here?”
“N-no. H-he was c-concentrating… I d-did… extra.” she replied.
I laughed, not really surprised. Raine could have easily checked in on me between each lap without me noticing. I had seen a great many wonders in my travels while on my honeymoon, but very few of them could match Raine in any fashion.