Loading... Chapter Thirty Six
The annoying buzz of a phone against the nightstand was the first thing that had roused Owen from sleep. He rolled over and checked the time. Two in the afternoon. Finally, he checked what number was calling. Maybe it was a job, but who would call on a Saturday afternoon? He had his times listed as only weekdays. Either way, he answered by the last ring. "Hello?"
The person on the other line took a moment, probably because of the groggy sound of Owen's voice. "Hello, is this Alexander Owen?" He gave the peppy girl a small 'mhm' in reply. "Well, this is a representative for functionVR, creators of Age of Shadow. We came across your account and there seems to be some suspicious activity for the past few months. We were wondering if you could come to our offices on 3rd Avenue so we could nail down a record of what occurred."
"Suspicious activity?" Owen repeated, and found amusement in hearing it again. "What type of 'suspicious activity?" Every time he said it, it just sounded funnier than the first. Did they mean the dual NPCs, the bone digging, or the situations he kept glitching into?
"We don't think it's a problem anymore, and you're certainly not in trouble. We did, however, lock your account just to make sure the issue is cleared up. If there's any information you can give us, I'm sure we can get your account up and running again soon. Would today work for you?"
Owen let out a long sigh. Why couldn't they do their job without forcing him to travel across town just to get his account back? He rolled off the bed and onto his feet. "Yeah, sure. I can be there in an hour."
He expected the New York fnVR headquarters to be full of people. Especially if it was routine to call people down to their office every time someone had an account issue. When he got off the elevator on the right floor, a receptionist covered the mouthpiece of her mic and greeted him. Owen nodded a hello and glanced around to an empty lobby.
Well, empty besides a stupid cut-out of a professional player.
There wasn't much to hold this attention, so he stared at the cardboard version of the riotously bright player who took advantage of modern hair colors. Curious of who it was, he moved closer, and noticed the back had an Age of Shadow character. Rather clever actually. Adding to Owen's mild amusement was how decked out the avatar was in unnecessary items.
His train of thought was interrupted as a guy who looked around his age came out of one of the glass doors holding a tablet. "Alexander?"
"Owen. But yeah."
"Hello, I am Chris." He offered his hand, which Owen shook. "It's nice to meet you, and thank you for taking the time. If you'll follow me."
If given a second before Chris had started walking, Owen would have commented that he was more blackmailed than invited. He seemed to be the no-nonsense type, so Owen just followed silently behind.
He was led into a small conference room, and sat down before a couple others came into the room. A blonde girl with thick-rimmed glasses smiled pleasantly as she passed. She didn't introduce herself as she went to sit at the furthest edge of the table. Two men sat across from Owen, and the entire situation started to make him feel uneasy.
"This is my partner, Jorge. Sorry to keep you waiting, but we may as well get rolling into things right away." Owen didn't object, so Chris went on. "We noticed a few hiccups in your story data. First off, we noticed you recently found an area that was still under development. Could you tell us if you, or anyone on your team perhaps, used any scripts, or brute force into that area of the game?"
Owen blinked, glancing from Jorge to Chris before shaking his head. "No, we just picked up on some hints that there was an artifact in that area, and tried to find it."
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Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...