“Jeb, there isn’t anything else we do for revivals. Are you ready to begin?”

“Actually, if it’s possible, I would like a chance to get used to piloting my avatar. I would like to do that here, or somewhere ‘safe,’ before I need to start worrying about other people.”

“Sure, you will find a little exercise room with enough space to run and jump and such through that door. Once comfortable, walk through the door again to be transported to Horn Point and begin your adventure. I wish you luck, Jeb.”

“Thank you, Bob. You are just like what I expected AIs to be. It’s been a pleasure meeting you, and I hope to see you sometime in the future!”

It was just as Bob said, maybe 30′ square with a track along the wall. There were a few free weights in the middle, but it was mostly open with mats on the floor.

I never really liked running. I just figured if I was going to have to fend for myself, I was going to end up running. After all, I didn’t really know how to use the ranseur I took; for me, it was just going to be a fancy spear. The only advantage it would have is that I could get an attacker caught on the three prongs and keep them from advancing. Like the arms on a boar spear, but more stabby.

I started walking around the room and soon began to jog in spurts. Eventually, I moved up to sprinting, dropping back down to jogging and walking. This wasn’t rocket science, and my mind started wandering. I realized that Bob and I never really talked about anything outside of Nirvana. He totally skipped over whatever digital valium they gave me to, ‘reduce my shock’. Since I can’t contact the physical world, I guess they won’t be notifying my Great-Great Grandson. After all, what would be the point when we can’t contact each other.

This is actually worse than after my divorce. At least then, I had the people I worked with for human interaction. Right now, I have nothing. What do I even have to offer this world? Sure, I played games so I can learn how to play this one too. But I wasn’t a hunter or a survivalist. I don’t have in-depth knowledge of engineering, chemistry, or physics. I doubt my networking and computer programming skills will be useful. I can ride a horse badly, ok, maybe not with this body.

I do know some woodworking, carpentry, plumbing, and basic wiring. I could operate a printing press or similar machinery. I also taught Boy Scouts, so I know how to camp and some outdoor basics. I know my knots from Boy Scouts and my Bluejackets manual, and I can make snares and simple traps. I can sew, weave and make twine, braids, and nets. I can fish with a net, pole, and spear. I can sing and play a mouth harp. I’m good at logic and problem solving and have read thousands of books, so I have plenty of reference material in my head.

If I want to stay in town, becoming a craftsman or a merchant are the primary options, and knowing accounting and finance pushes me towards merchant more than my hobby-level skills do towards craftsman – and I’ll probably have to become an apprentice and work my way up. Somehow I doubt there’s an open position for a librarian.

If I want to explore, I will have to expose myself to some danger and pain, but luckily not actual death. Losing all my stuff will be challenging, but it’s just stuff, and I’ve been broke before. The obvious options would be sailor, guard, soldier, mercenary, or adventurer. It’s a port town, and since I know my knots and have a little experience, I’m sure I could sign on to be a sailor. Being a sailor isn’t likely to expose me to a lot of magic, and I like the idea of magic. I’m not too fond of spending hours and days meditating as they did in Wuxia novels, but if sects are set up the same way, I am sure there are missions that have to be completed. If that’s not an option, perhaps I could be a bounty hunter after I get some training in physical tracking? That would let me make money and travel.

“What the hell am I doing?!? I’m procrastinating. John, no that’s part of the problem. I’m Jeb now. JEB GET YOUR ASS THROUGH THAT DOOR AND LEARN WHAT THIS PLACE IS LIKE INSTEAD OF MAKING A BUNCH OF ASSUMPTIONS BASED ON NOTHING!

Whoa, that actually felt good.” Grinning, “Guess I’ll do what I’m told,” and walking over to the door, I opened it.

The doorway is filled with a soft opaque white light. I reached out to touch it and felt nothing. My hand passed through, and nothing happened. So I walked through it.

There’s a flash, and after a moment, my vision clears. I’m standing in a gothic chapel. There’s stained glass but no immediate iconography. Before me is an altar and behind me is an archway pattern in the brickwork, no actual opening. There’s a young man, human from what I can see, standing on the other side of the altar – and he’s smiling at me.

“My name is Frank, and I usually am! You have plenty of time, so go ahead and look around. When you are comfortable, come sit with me, and I’ll tell you a bit more than the AI did. I’ll be over there on that bench.” He then stage whispered to me, “It’s a bench and not a pew because we don’t do any services here.” He then turned and started walking towards the bench, and as he did so, he called over his shoulder, “Of course, you don’t have to, and if you just want to run around right away, it’s a straight shot through those doors to the main street.” His hand waved at a wide-open set of double doors opposite where I stood.

“Can I take a look and then come back?”

“Sure, sure – I don’t have anything to do until somebody dies. It’s unlikely they will send another newbie through here today.”

I started walking towards the double doors. Other hallways join off the sides of this room, but they don’t go very far before turning. At the double doors, I find a grand hall perhaps seventy feet long before you reach another set of open doors and a bustling street. The hall is lined with stalls and merchants selling clothing, weapons, armor, camping supplies, shoes and boots, and so much more. It’s busier than Walmart on Black Friday after they open the doors; frankly, it’s intimidating. The strange part is that it’s completely silent; I don’t hear anything from beyond the doorway. I assume that’s magic; turn around and walk back to Frank.

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