The house originally belonged Matthew Leblanc Senior’s parents, but it went to their son when they died. Then he lost it to Anaishe Kwaramba, Matt’s mother, in the divorce. It was a standard two-story townhouse in Baltimore, that was renovated when they first moved into the building.
“No, don’t be ridiculous! This is our home! So what if it’ll be hard… We can’t just throw everything away and start somewhere new!”
Matt sighed, grumbling “Mom, you’re always complaining about how you hate the city and want to move. Why’re you being so stubborn all of a sudden? You find a boyfriend in the neighborhood or something?”
She stopped crying and started laughing, then shook her head. After a few seconds, she said “I do want to move but… I finally have a job that I love. I know the neighbors and oh Lord, I’m supposed to sing at Mass this weekend!”
“Mom, calm down. You can’t move around right now.” He grabbed her hand when she was wincing in pain, then he murmured “I get it… But you can always keep in contact on Facenovel. It’s already Friday night Mom, you’ll be lucky if you can even get outta here in only a week. You got shot, three times, in the gut. You almost died. We both almost died. I don’t wanna live here anymore Mom. I don’t wanna work at that stupid convenience store anymore… I don’t have to either.”
“Aww~, Baby~, if you hate working there so much, then just quit. You’re still young. If you really wanna leave so bad, then go… Go out and live your life. Why don’t you go to Japan and go see your father for once? You always said that you wanted to marry a cute Asian girl when you were younger. I’m not forcing you to stay here and live with me the rest of your life… Lord, you’re only gonna be twenty-six this year! When I was your age, I was married to your father, taking care of a baby and living thousands of miles away from where I grew up! Look at you! Still living with your Mom at twenty-five!”
Matthew frowned, “I know Mom. I get it… But Baltimore isn’t safe. Especially not for a single woman, living on her own. How could I possibly abandon you right now? We should go somewhere down south. Out in the country. A small town somewhere with a lot lower murder-rate.”
“Alright, enough about this. We can’t do anything right this instant, so there’s no use arguing. All this negative energy isn’t good for the healing process. What we need right now is prayer…” She closed her eyes, held his hand tightly, then started softly praying for various blessings.
Meanwhile, Matt smiled wryly and shuffled the deck in his mind. Then four cards were drawn, Iris, Steel Katana Collection, Angry Pigeons and the one that he was actually hoping for the most… The card appeared in his free left hand and then it suddenly transformed into a mystical current of warmth. It passed through his left arm, across his chest, then through his right hand and into his mother’s body.
She had just finished praying and suddenly exclaimed “Oh thank you Jesus! I can feel the Lord’s warmth shining down on me, even through this darkness!”
Matthew snickered, but didn’t say anything to the contrary. Although her voice was certainly loud, even with the door to the room closed, there were always people shouting, babies crying and all sorts of noises in the hospital. Especially around that time of year, when the cold weather was starting and more people would get sick or injured.
“Anyway, my head is killing me…” He stood up and started walking to the door, “I’m gonna go back to my room and ask the nurses to bring me something to eat, and some painkillers.”
“Okay, go get some sleep honey. I love you. Hope you feel better soon.” She smiled at her son and didn’t keep him from leaving, since she was also hungry and thirsty. Although the Minor Qi Infusion card had a significant effect on her rate of healing, it wasn’t instant. The only thing she noticed was that she was in a lot less pain than before and she felt more comfortable.
[I find it intriguing that you refrained from revealing the truth to your mother.]
After Matt had something to eat and drink, he took some ibuprofen and went back to sleep. Thus, returning to the small white room of the Private Server.
[Summoner: Matthew Leblanc
ID Code: Trashmob-707
Description: A pathetic loser who did absolutely nothing to earn his place as a Summoner.]
He stared at his card and asked “Would she even believe me? She’d just think I was crazy or possessed by demons. Better that she just remains clueless for now… But what I wanna know is, what would happen if I made her into a card?”
[Assuming that she is in fact, an NPC, then her ID Code would be saved onto your Private Server. Effectively, allowing you to preserve her in her current state indefinitely. She would retain all the memories that she has accumulated thus far and still accrue more, each time you play her card.]
“In other words, I’d be imprisoning her and she’d be totally at my mercy. But the alternative is that she’ll live, grow old and eventually die… Then reincarnate, forever, or at least until that Server shuts down. Right?” Matthew stared at the computer screen, which showed his own sleeping body in the darkened room.
[What exactly were you expecting? What fate do you wish to bestow upon your mother?]
“I don’t know. I guess, whatever she wants. Heaven and all that nonsense would be fine. I just don’t like the idea of her being trapped on Earth for eternity. I just don’t know what I can do, or what I should do for her…” He sighed, murmuring “It’d be selfish of me to trap her in a card, just so that I can see her whenever it suits me in the future. Stuck the way I remember her, never aging, never changing. I think she’d resent me for it eventually.”
[That is possible. There are quite a few different types of Heaven. Many of which exist as Public Servers. However, many of them are similar to Hell. Only the aesthetics change, but the rules and nature are the same. From what I understand of the idealistic Heaven concept, people wish to be with the ones that they love and care about, forever. How is that different from sealing your loved ones within your Private Server and allowing them to explore other worlds at your side?]
Matthew clicked on the Server list for Old Earth Online and scrolled through it a few times, then he closed his eyes. After a few minutes of silence, he asked “Why is the Millennial Age the latest era on here? What happens when it ends?”
[That depends on the actions and decisions of the Players. There are innumerable ways for the world to end after all.]
“When? How long do we have? It’s already 2018… How many years are left?” He felt like he was going to have a panic attack for a moment, but then the System answered his question.
[Old Earth Online is based on the original history of Earth. Thus, there are certain events that will occur regardless of what humanity does. Some natural disasters can be mitigated or avoided by the Players, if they have the foresight or understand to change history. However, considering that Generic Earth Server-1927 is a low-population Server, history has not been altered much. The current Millennial Age is very similar to the historical version. It began in the 1990’s and will likely end during 2051. Although humanity did survive the original disasters and even thrived because of the adversity, Old Earth Online is supposed to simulate Old Earth. It would be rather meaningless to replicate the events exactly, since that would take away the ability for Players to change history.]
“Thank God… You scared the shit outta me for a moment there. So you’re saying I’ve got thirty-three years left?” Matthew smiled, but his expression suddenly changed into a grimace.
[That is highly unlikely. Between the epidemics, riots, earthquakes, hurricanes, nuclear wars, terrorist attacks and other various widespread disasters that will occur, it is likely that you, your mother, your father and everyone else you’ve ever known… Will die within 10 years. Perhaps less, depending on who wins the next US election. Considering that both potential candidates are famous high-ranked Players who have explicitly stated that they wish to incite a civil war before the game ends, it is highly probable that Maryland will become a warzone. Especially Baltimore City.]
Volume 1: Unranked