A MAGE:THE ASCENSION VIRTUAL ADEPT PRELUDE
Pandora "Panda" Tran is a queen among the White Hats based out of the Washington DC area. When a government agency hires her to hack into a "suspect" forum, she is confronted by wizards that use computers in their magic. When the Government agents that hired her show their true colors, Panda has no choice but to also learn this form of magic in order to stay alive.
Cass Voit (aka Sako Tumi) is a self-published author based out of Northern Virginia. She has breached three hundred subscribers on Authortube after eleven years of honing her writing craft. She is also a professional Photographer, Illustrator, Bellydancer and Flow Artist. At the end of the day, she enjoys curling up with her husband and her black cat, Nobukatsu, a stupid show and a horror book. She can be found on most social media as either Sako Tumi or Psychosako.
The first thing I like to do when I enter my basement is get into my pajamas. I am a human furnace, so the ensemble usually involves a tank top and shorts. Sometimes I wear fuzzy slippers, but I have to watch for static regarding the amount of electronics in the finished room.
The basement in which I worked and resided was all one large room with no windows that was partitioned off into smaller rooms with screens. One screen hid my servers. I hosted a gaming server, a Ventrilo server, and a bit of web space. Another screen hid my render machines. I knew a lot of digital media production guys that didn’t have the power to render their movies / animations / whatever in a timely manner, but I had machines that could, did it in a fraction of the time, for a small fee. This paid for my high end energy drinks and fancy blends of coffee. I rather liked walking by my farms, as I found the gentle white noise hum of each fan rather calming. Lighting, however, has always been tricky in a subterranean setting. While I didn’t see much in the line of daylight, I did what I could to make up the difference. I used to take vitamin D in pill form and use candles to set a nice, chill mood. This way, I didn’t feel like killing myself after a day and a half straight of coding with no actual contact with the sun.
Another "room" was my office proper, where I spent most of my time, so it had the fanciest googas and the nicest furniture in the house. The decor was laughable, and consisted mostly of being covered in empty fast food wrappers (god bless Taco Bell) and empty Mountain Dew and Vault cans of varying flavors. I didn’t trust a maid or my mother to come in and throw stuff away out of fear she would have bumped or touched or screwed some precarious setting up. I only cleaned once a month, so the place was in a perpetual state of mess. A kitchenette was technically attached to my office area. While I did eat a lot of Taco Bell at one in the morning, I did try to eat actual food on a regular basis and tended to eat healthy for most of that time. I guess in my rotting brain, I somehow thought that organic meat and veggies easily countered the poison pretend food that is carbonated high fructose corn syrup. BAWLS and the Dew were all that kept me going for seventy two plus hours. Speaking of BAWLS, I grabbed one from the fridge on the way back to my chair.
Of the things I was proud of investing in when I furnished my office, I had bought myself the king of all fancy schmancy orthopedic office chairs. Plopping down in this chair and doing a couple rotations while I open my morning drink ensured that no matter how crappy my day may have ended up, at least I had that brief moment of childhood glee first thing in the morning.
The first thing that I did after booting up my system was log in to my current multiplayer online role playing game to check on guild news and auctions and what not. I shall not state the name of this game due to copyright issues, but I can tell you that the nature of the plot essentially revolves around orcs fighting elves. I tended to lean towards orcs. The reason I was addicted to this game was because of my guild, the Blood Moon Clan. Blood Moon was basically a group of about one hundred people that had all worked with each other at some point or another. It was a friend of friends, invite only sort of group consisting mostly of code monkeys, technicians, sales guys and the occasional graphic designer or administrator. I was one of the moderators, and as soon as I logged in, I had a lot of good friends that like to accost me. If I was going to find a reliable job lead, Blood Moon Clan was probably how I found it.
Since we were predominantly seen as bad guys, most of my cohorts had names like "Vomitrule", "MadHunger" and "HauntFang". I went a different route with my naming convention, and tended to use some kind of variant of "HopesChest" for most of my log in names. Yes, let the giggle inducing boob jokes commence.
H0P35CH357 has joined the game.
Vomitrule: hey hope.
Yilaulogl: Hope! I’m surprised you’re conscious!
HauntFang: greetings, hope
Nsomaz: Mornin m’Lady.
Vomitrule: wait. Hope’s a girl??
Vomitrule: With a name like “hope’s chest”? Oh come on. That’s an obvious tit joke. What girl would pick that?
Yilaulogl: Uh. Yeah, dude. Haven’t you ever been on Vent?
Vomitrule: We have a vent?
HauntFang: And you’ve been raiding with us!? Dear god, no wonder you don’t follow orders…
H0P35CH357 whispers to Vomitrule: server: V10.PANDABOXLLC.COM / port: 11274 / PW: hopeisaho
Vomitrule whispers to H0P35CH357: lol thx. nice pw. u piss the vent host off or something?
H0P35CH357 whispers to Vomitrule: I AM the vent host.
Vomitrule: Oh. My bad. lol
H0P35CH357: Gender confusion and lack of Vent info has been remedied. How you guys doin’ this fine afternoon?
Yilaulogl: Not shabby. A bunch of those blues you gave me sold for a pretty penny. I sent you the cut.
H0P35CH357: Rad. You didn’t have to do that: I’ve got more gold than I can spend, but thanks. I’ll donate it to the guild bank, if you guys are cool with that.
Nsomaz: What the fuck are we gonna say, no?? lol
Yilaulogl whispers to H0P35CH357: OH. Btw, this DOD guy popped up on my freelance mail asking for some hacking work, but you’re way better at that shit than I am, so I forwarded him your contact info.
H0P35CH357 whispers to Yilaulogl: Oh, thanks man. It’s much appreciated. I had a guy try to commission me for a commerce website yesterday, if you’d like to take it. You’d make it look better anyway.
Yilaulogl whispers to H0P35CH357: Yeah, I’d love to. Thanks, Panda. I’ve worked with this guy before, so be careful. I’ve got confidence you have a thicker skin than I do… but he can put your head on the chopping block if he doesn’t get what he wants.
H0P35CH357whispers to Yilaulogl: I’m not worried, but thanks for the heads up.
Yilaulogl whispers to H0P35CH357: If I find any other gigs like that, I’ll be sure to send them your way.
H0P35CH357whispers to Yilaulogl: Likewise, Yil. Brb, I’m gonna go check my email. I wanna see if your guy dropped me a line.
Yilaulogl whispers to H0P35CH357: Haha, chomping on the bit for new work, huh? Rgr. Raid tonight?
H0P35CH357 whispers to Yilaulogl: Heh. Better busy than bored. And raid depends on state of DOD guy if it pans out. I suspect he’ll work me hard.
Yilaulogl whispers to H0P35CH357: That’s what she said.
H0P35CH357 whispers to Yilaulogl: Witty.
Yilaulogl: my lolerskates were getting a little dusty. Felt like I had to break them out for just a minute.
Nsomaz: is this the lolocaust?
HauntFang: GET ON THE ROFLCOPTER
Vomitrule: oh come on, guys. rly? You always laugh around me or at me, but never with me…
Yilaulogl: I hear something in the distance… is it… it is! It’s the WAAAAHHHHMBULANCE
Gamer girl meets the matrix meets witch/werewolf/vampire vibe. This Cyber Punk thriller is a wild ride from beginning to end. The characters are vibrant and wonderfully showcased as unique individuals throughout the whole story. I can't wait to read more by Cass Voit.