The dust kicked up by the blast had just begun to settle when he sensed another wave of assailants rushing him. Falling to one knee, he let out a long, slow breath, focusing inward, dimly aware of the dust particles slowing in midair as they fell. He pushed up to his feet again and turned, noting the position of each new attacker, and what they were equppied with.

He turned his attention outward again, springing upwards as time resumed its normal flow. Half a dozen variously-armed melee fighters found themselves striking at empty air. In the moment before they could recover, he slapped the heels of his hands together, palms down, and threw his chi downward in a blast of raw power, reducing them to little more than scorch marks on the rock.

A high-pitched whine drew his attention, and he shot backwards several yards to dodge the blast of plasma that shot past him, the burnt-metal smell washing over him. He teleported down behind the shooter, creating a sword of pure energy and slicing through not only the armored soldier, but his comrades on either side of him as well.

Silence fell around him. The bodies faded away, leaving him alone on the open plains. He checked his heads-up display, sending a few quick replies to the messages he had waiting for him. As he prepared to teleport back to the man who had asked him to put on this little show, he felt a burning pain slam into his chest, knocking him hard to the ground. He threw his consciousness along the path of the bullet, looking across the landscape, finding the sniper and memorizing his identity just before the second bullet struck between his eyes.

He let out a shuddering gasp as his body jerked in his pod. His heart raced as he recovered from that sudden feeling of falling. The touch of a button opened the door, and he removed the tubes from his arms as he stepped out onto the hardwood floors. He tapped out a status update on the laptop on his desk: Completed challenge, but got sniped. Taking a break. Then he jotted down a note with the name of his assassin, so he could take his revenge when he went back online.

With a heavy sigh, he flopped onto his couch, flipping through his contacts and calling his favorite pizza joint. The virtual world simulated food and the IV tubes provided nutrition, but the very fact that food companies still existed confirmed his suspicion that people would always prefer the real thing. As the phone rang, he murmured to himself, “Just another day in paradise.”


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Filed under Cyberpunk, Fantasy, My Stories, Sci-Fi

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