Jules looked around, and tried to use his view data ability on other people. What he came up with were a lot of screens that looked like this:
|Name: (About half of the people had names he could see, the rest had ???)|
|Class: Adventurer (A small number of people had ???)|
|Secondary Class: ???|
Presumably, those with questions marks for their class had changed to something other than adventurer. Since each secondary class was unique, he wouldn’t have knowledge of it yet. As for names… Jules had overheard some of them, but as for the rest he wasn’t sure where he got the information. As he was scanning the crowd, he suddenly came across someone with a secondary class that he could actually see.
|Name: Mary Shelly|
|Secondary Class: Samurai|
Oh, it was Mary. He looked at her and slightly tilted his head. Why did he know that information? Maybe because they were friends? She saw him looking towards her and waved, then walked up to him. Jules couldn’t help but blurt out, “Soldier? Samurai?” He looked at her, and she seemed to have gotten a sword. A straight, long sword type weapon, and not a katana as would be expected of a samurai. Though, Jules wouldn’t really expect a samurai in a science fiction game either.
Mary looked at him in surprise. “What? How did you know? I was just going to brag about it too.” That lead to another option for how he got the information. If it was something people would freely tell him, he might be able to gain it beforehand. Though, it may also have been because they were friends- Jules planned to experiment later.
“It’s my secret information network… also known as my class. So… is a sword actually more useful than a gun?”
Mary shrugged. “I kind of got thrust on this path because of my secondary class. I enjoy it… and in certain situations it could be better. I’ve heard there are some beasts here that are quite resistant to bullets, but swords work better… Well, good swords, with mono-edges. Plus, you can use a melee weapon in an energy shield, but not a gun. Not that I have a good sword or an energy shield.” She paused for a few moments. “You seem… better, today.”
Jules nodded. “Yeah, I’ve basically gotten over my existential crisis.” That was mostly true, or at least he had stopped worrying about what was actually real.
Mary smiled. “That’s good, but I was actually hoping you’d give me the ‘red pill’. I’m interested in what it was that upset you so much. You seem like you would be pretty stable, normally. I was thinking of calling you later, but I ran into you here.”
“Well…” Jules hesitated, “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure.” Mary nodded.
Jules shrugged. “Well, it’s your decision. We should probably go somewhere there aren’t as many people around.” They did so, moving out of the city. “Well, which wrist is your bracelet on?”
Mary looked down at her wrists. “Umm, I don’t have a bracelet.”
Jules held up his right arm and raised an eyebrow. “Really? I meant the one like this.”
Mary looked at it for a second, and then stammered, “Y-you, how did you get one of those in game?”
Jules just smiled. “Which arm do you keep yours on?”
Mary paused for half a second. “My left arm.”
Jules used his View Data ability, and as expected it showed one of the wristbands. He brought up the menu to disable invisibility mode, but surprisingly it popped up facing Mary, though Jules could still see it, unlike any windows normally conjured by players to view their own status. Mary looked at Jules oddly. “Well, you should probably hit yes,” he said. Mary pressed yes, then looked in surprise at the wristband that had suddenly “appeared”. Then, Jules triggered the option for disabling “restricted mode”. She looked at him again, then pressed yes. Unlike with Jules, there wasn’t any more to that interaction, just the single window.
Mary looked around. “So… what did that do?”
Jules pondered for a few moments. “Well, I could tell you, but I think it might be more interesting to figure it out on your own. If you haven’t figured it out in a couple days, just call me.”
Mary looked around. “Seriously, nothing feels any different.”
“It won’t, until you figure it out. Just… do whatever you were already going to do. It should eventually become apparent. I really do think it will be better if I don’t just tell you.”
Mary sighed. “Alright, fine. Well, I’ve got a hunting party to go join. Wanna come?”
Jules thought about it for a few moments. “I… don’t really fight, yet. Maybe next time.”
Jules was staring at a rock, pondering. He’d discovered that he could show people the data on items. However, he was bothered since he didn’t know if it was really accurate. If he was showing false values, well, it would be good for scamming people, but Jules wasn’t interested in that. Thus, he looked at a rock.
The only data point that would be relevant to manipulate would be the mass. Thus, Jules focused on trying to change that, in the same way he added more categories and got the kinds of descriptions he wanted. Then…
|You have unlocked a new ability! Manipulate Data|
The data shown for the rock changed.
Fascinating. Jules tried to change it more, but the number wouldn’t get any bigger. He concentrated hard enough that his head actually hurt a little bit. Then, he decided to make the number smaller. It changed again.
Jules was satisfied with this result, but slightly disappointed that he could only change the values within a small range. For some reason, it also left him mentally drained. Then, he frowned. Why would it take so much energy to change a number? There was something else odd, too. He hefted the rock. It felt… lighter? He changed the number back to its highest value. He felt even more tired… but the rock was definitely heavier. He thought the 1 kg was just a number he had made up, an approximation. However, when the number changed… the rock changed. Had he really picked up a rock that was exactly 1 kg? Jules changed his mental setting, displaying more digits. Ah, it was just close enough for him to consider it to be exactly 1 kg. Thus, the number displayed was his best approximation. This also meant that, somehow, he could actually change the mass of something. Wouldn’t that take far more energy than just some mental tiredness?
As he sat there viewing the data on the rock, pondering, he noticed that the extra, insignificant digits started changing. They were slowly counting down, and then more digits started changing, faster and faster, until the rock was back to its normal value. So then, instead of creating mass, perhaps he was creating… a temporary effect of different mass? Jules wasn’t sure how it really worked… but he would certainly experiment with it.