Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
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Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
Author :Seshata
© Webnovel

2 Suspicious AF Email

The nightmare that is mediocrity fills me with a dread far deeper than any Red Zone.

At least in death, I always had a chance to go out with a bang. Sacrifice myself for something worthwhile.

An ordinary life might not be so bad, if I hadn't experienced the extraordinary—a life of success, of genius, of meaning.
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But the fact is, I know what could be.

So I know just how far removed I am from that ideal, now.

---

You know how you never really appreciate nostrils until you catch a cold?

Most of the time, it's like, Ugh, nostrils, who needs em? But when you can't breathe through your nose and you're hunched in a blanket that is somehow too warm and yet incapable of keeping your toes from becoming icicles, and you're miserable and gross, surrounded by crumpled tissues, it's like, How did I never appreciate the delicate beauty of functioning nostrils before this moment?

Turns out radial nerves are a lot like nostrils.

Or, well. It turns out that like nostrils, a radial nerve is one of those body parts no one really cares about until the day it stops doing its job.

Neurotmesis. That's what the surgeon calls the source of my living nightmare. It's when both the protective nerve sheath and the fragile nerve inside are completely severed.

The weird thing is I didn't feel a thing when the nerve was destroyed. One second, I was a perfectly functioning, whole human being, and the next, a chunk of my upper arm was gone, and I was left wondering what the hell happened in the middle.

The pain came later.

It seemed to regret slacking while I was numb in shock because it showed up ready to give 110% like an entry-level salaryman with a promotion on the line and something to prove to his father-in-law.

It still flares up now and then. Not when it's about to rain or anything, like old guys say happens to them, because shit, that would be useful.

No, my pain's a fickle lover, always returning when it's least convenient.

When I pour cereal, when I walk my dog, when I jerk off in the shower.

When I try to grip my mouse.

Seems pretty stupid to me that some nerve I'd never even heard of could be so damned important.

Bet you didn't know the radial nerve was in charge of wrist movement and sensory input for every finger but the pinky.


Hell, maybe you did. Maybe you didn't spend hours every night gaming, so maybe you didn't sleep through half your classes, so maybe you were awake for that anatomy lesson and you understand exactly what that…accident…took from me.

Everything.

---

The thing about a catastrophic event that takes away your purpose for living but not your actual life, is that you still have to, you know, live.

Talk about a kick in the ol' nutsack.

One thing I've learned during the last couple years of barely getting by is that "acceptance" is bonafide bullshit.

It's not like I'm in denial about being a worthless POS or anything. I get it. I'm not delusional.

But I'm incapable of stemming the stupid glimmers of hope that rise every time a new medical article pops up touting advances in nerve regeneration techniques, or another "miraculous recovery" scam makes waves online.

So I guess that might explain why I opened that suspicious af email.

{SUBJECT: LEAVE MUNDANITY BEHIND. ENTER A WORLD WHERE DREAMS ARE REALITY}

Who tf would click on that?

This guy, that's who.

And screw you, guy out there thinking "Poor, stupid bastard, that was definitely insidious malware and some random dude in Moldova is totally using your stolen identity to buy high-end holo tvs and higher-end strippers."

Wrong.

That email was a personal invitation from Vir-Tech R&D.

You heard me. Eccentric genius inventor and programmer Zhao Jianyu's private virtual reality company, Vir-Tech.

--

{Dear Mr. Eric Lieu,

I am writing to share exciting news about reality-defying new technology launching soon from Vir-Tech!

The world's first full-immersion VRMMORPG Viren's Refuge is slated for a New Year's release!

Prepare to enter a world unlike any you've ever experienced. Myths and legends come to life in this game of Gods and Monsters. Through grueling quests and raging battles, who will rise up as the Hero of Ages to save the Nine Mythic Realms from falling to chaos?

V-Havens, Vir-Tech's proprietary deep-dive VR technology, will be available for purchase in advance of the Viren's Refuge release.

We at Vir-Tech have always valued quality, talent, and passion. Mr. Lieu, your impressive career has illustrated how you embody all three. We invite you to once again put all your notable gifts on the line and help us raise Viren's Refuge—and the future of virtual reality—to even greater heights.

Because of your unique circumstances, you have been selected as the perfect candidate for our closed beta. Please click on the secure link below to register and learn more.

Respectfully Yours,

Chen Ai Lun

Head of Vir-Tech Research & Development

"In the heart of a gamer can the potential of mankind be found. To nurture this potential, Games must belong to the Gamers." – Zhao Jianyu, CEO and Founder of Vir-Tech}

--

I read the email a dozen times before my dazed brain finally remembered how words work. Then I read it all over again, just to make sure I hadn't hallucinated the entire thing. Then I furiously searched online for any mention of Vir-Tech and Viren's Refuge.

Wasn't hard to find. Every corner of the internet buzzed with the same news: One hour ago, Vir-Tech's enigmatic CEO suddenly held a press conference to confirm that his company had been secretly developing the world's most cutting-edge virtual reality technology. And then he unveiled the V-Haven immersion pod and a teaser trailer for Viren's Refuge.

Finally succumbing to a solid freak out, I reopened my email tab. This time, I didn't hesitate to follow the link.

It led to a secure page on the official Vir-Tech website. My good hand shook so much I could barely scroll through the contract.

At the end, I finally understood what the R&D woman had meant by "unique circumstances." How many pro-level players still in their mental prime had the time to participate in a beta like this?

The first VRMMORPG had the promise to be incredible, but being the first came with certain challenges. It seemed Vir-Tech was already all too aware of this; the contract stipulated that beta testers were required to devote twenty hours a week to assigned in-game tasks and at least another twenty hours to free play. And the beta was scheduled to run three months, minimum.

I probably should have taken some time to think it over. Walked my dog while I weighed pros and cons. Called my agent to look over the complex contract and strict NDA.

Instead I signed the contracts and registered my account faster than I'd managed to type anything since the accident.

I like to pretend it was my fragile, still flickering hope that led me to open that email, or even that it was fate or some grand ineffable plan. But the real reason I chose to log in to Viren's Refuge was much simpler.

I missed games.

I missed immersing myself in new worlds, honing skills, spending too many hours hunting for an Easter egg that may not even exist.

I missed being the best.

I missed training to become even better.

Nothing in this world could have stopped me from grabbing any chance to get all of that back.

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