They both nodded, eerily, and at the same time as if taking mental notes. Jorge was the one to speak this time. "Did you come across any glitches before or after that?"
"No, not really," Owen said, matter-of-fact despite the lie. There had been several things that shouldn't have happened, like
"Hm. Well, you see, we've backtracked the trouble to the start of your companion, Amilia. That is where the code starts to have issues, and after some key choices, you seemed to trigger her endgame rather quick."
Owen could smell the bullshit, but he didn't say anything about it. He'd let them believe what they wanted, at least until he knew what they wanted. The tone of blame skewed his expression to one of little patience. "And?"
"Well, we were hoping we could compensate for the problem our system caused by rewriting some of Amilia's story. And since this would be an all new, original story for just you, we were hoping you could return the favor."
"You want to retcon Amilia?" Owen glanced at the developers like he misheard. Jorge leaned forward in his chair as if ready to further explain, but Chris seemed silently amused by Owen's word choice. "And pay me for it?"
Owen didn't know a single person who wouldn't want to bring their favorite character back from the dead. But, the writers didn't just find fans on their own and offer to make the trouble up to them. What should have been a miracle, felt like a crossroads deal.
"In turn," Jorge said, "We'd like to contract to stream your gameplay. We're hoping your style of play will further promote the roleplaying aspect of Age of Shadows. We even assigned a brand new writer to Amilia to handle the conversion, and should help minimize any further glitches."
"Since when do NPCs, or any characters, have writers?" Jorge was ready to answer, but Owen kept talking, not allowing for any excuses. "I'm going to politely ask you to cut the crap. Because you aren't really making sense unless you are trying to give me a weird Make-A-Wish, or frankly have never played your own game."
The room settled for a moment, as if silently testing who would answer that dare. "Who'd even 'write' Amilia, anyways?"
Jorge placed his hands against the glass table, palms down as if to try and level with him. "This is something that—"
"Seriously?" Chris cut his co-worker off before Owen could roll his eyes. "Just be real with him."
They exchanged a glance, silently debating something before Jorge sighed. "We like Daniel. From what we can tell, we'd like you. We want to buy the story so far, and have you officially continue it for us. Months ago, when you first picked up your second companion it caused a stir. People realized that maybe they were ignoring some of the game's features."
"Why is Amilia part of this?" Owen didn't mean to sound ungrateful, but he really didn't understand.
The woman on the end pushed her glasses up. "We noticed your play style is different without her. Your login time and perceived enjoyment is all over the place now. We thought it would fix the problem."
Owen narrowed his eyes, not because she was full of crap, but because it seemed like she was the only one here that understood. Money was nice, but if he had wanted it, or the fame, he could have cashed that news story in already.
"Was I wrong?"
If they could ignore questions, then Owen figured he could too. "Who would 'write' Amilia?" he repeated, letting the weight of his glare sit with Jorge. He almost spilled the beans before, but he didn't have to in the end. "You mean play. I play as Daniel, and you want someone to play as Amilia."
YOU ARE READING
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...