Part 4

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Sian strode purposely from her office chair in her spacious modern apartment with a bemused look on her face.  "I'm not a fan of cryptic messages." She said checking the street outside through the bay windows then returned to her immaculately organised mahogany desk and took a swig from a coffee travel mug. She was dressed in black jeans, a black turtleneck jumper, her auburn hair was swept up in a business style bun and she kept herself in good shape.  "I set up this company three and a half years ago and hired the brightest and most curious minds to work alongside me.  We've got a tight specialist team here responsible for delivering complex artificial intelligence projects within non-negotiable timeframes.  I've always had complete confidence in you guys based on your combined knowledge and expertise, but unfortunately, as Edward pointed out earlier I do believe that some seriously crazy shit may have just hit the fan.  But it's not a disaster. Yet. The Senti-2 program invokes an extremely realistic simulated world that users are invited to take part in as players. Only myself and Edward have read the full specification of this project, but one thing you all need to know is that without our safety parameters running means the program could be buggy."

A silent, nervous energy hung over them as the team digested what had just been said. Sian walked over to her window and peered outside again. After a short while, she turned to the others. "Well, apart from us, hopefully, no one else will even know this has happened..."

Tobias had a nervous grin as he flicked through the logs displayed on the conference call.

"Listen, everyone," Sian continued, her tone had changed from serious to light-hearted. "We've all known each other how long now, eight months?"  Sian said walking back from her window. "And we're all gamers, right? We've been running our own Peril Quest game nights for the past few months and we've become pretty good at anything that's been thrown at us, agreed?" 

Carly stood with her hands on her computer desk as though anticipating what Sian was going to say next. "Are you saying we accept Zlaab's offer to play this game?"  Carly asked.

"Well, we may not have a choice,"  Sian said.  "Maybe that's the only way we can restore some normality around here!"

Edward raised his eyebrows with interest.  "Well, I'm up for it if everyone else is."

They all shifted in their chairs and tried to consider what would be expected of them.

"Bring it on Zlaab,"  Sian shouted, not quite believing what she had just said and looked up at a new message displaying on the screen.

In order to play Zlaab Against Humanity, all players will need to be equipped and upgraded to characters with the following vital skills.

A learned professor with a deep understanding of A.I and phenomenal teaching skills.

A quantum physicist with deep knowledge of the rules of the quantum world as well as sublime ninja combat skills.

An incredibly proficient software developer with chameleon abilities capable of blending into any environment with supreme powers of nature.

The final character will have a mix of randomly selected skills and abilities to compliment your team.

Sian.  "Are you fuckin kidding me?  The quantum physicist with ninja skills has my name written all over it."  She stared at her team who were all staring back at her.  "Unless anyone else wants it?"  She finished.

"It's yours,"  Edward said stifling a snigger.

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