Jules couldn’t say that he didn’t enjoy his time with Mary and her group, but he still felt that something was missing. It truly felt like they were “her group” and not something Jules really belonged to. Instead, Jules belonged to a group composed of him and his friends, Isaac, Douglass, and Robert. They’d been together at college, where Jules had gotten a physics degree he didn’t use. He wasn’t even sure what he could do with such a degree… at least before he’d had telekinesis. The group had met there, at an actual physical campus, a rarity, and become friends because of their similar interests in games as well as their views on life. Then, they had returned to the places they grew up, keeping in touch through the internet, including video communication. However, they rarely met in person, since long distance transportation was costly. Ironically, it was cheaper on Uesmeth, which meant they were going to meet there, soon. Not that Jules’ friends were yet aware of the fact that Many Worlds was real. It wasn’t something he just wanted to tell them, he wanted to show them, and for that they had to meet up. They would, within a week.
In practical use, Jules experienced the exact problems he had considered with telekinesis. The group sought out spined horrors, not because they were fun to fight against, but because they were a known enemy. The death penalties, and the experience of “virtual” death itself were deterrent enough that nobody wanted to try anything too risky, and some of the monsters had been found to be extremely perilous. At least the spined horrors didn’t have any poison, unlike what some other groups had experienced.
The spines were always shot out. Deflecting them to the sides might let them hit the next person over. Deflecting them up was more tiring, and if he wasn’t careful they could still hit the people in the back lines as they fell back down, which included himself. He could deflect them down, but that generally just targeted them toward the legs of Mary and Ray, and then there were spines they could step on, disrupting their movements. Jules didn’t have the power to push directly against the trajectory of the spines and stop them, so a head-on approach didn’t help. Finally, he settled on deflecting them at an angle, to the side and upwards. As long as the back row remained somewhat in line with the front row, this method worked fairly well. However, the back row couldn’t be directly behind those in front, since they had to be able to take shots.
It was eventually determined that the most practical method involved a much more spread out formation. Maybe it was obvious, but nobody in the group really had any experience with battle tactics, so they had taken time to develop the proper formation. It was quite simple, but effective. It would also likely work against many other monsters, but it was not without flaws. Mary and Ray would flank the spined horror from either side, or more likely the front and back. The ranged members of the party would stand off to their sides, so that the front line wasn’t in the line of fire. Jules took a position somewhat closer, since proximity was important for his telekinesis to work.
This formation reduced or negated the chance to deflect any spines into another person, and left the lines of fire open. It even gave those in melee combat some good opportunities to attack. The main flaw, however, was that if the monster decided to charge Jules and the rest of the ranged members, there was nobody between them and it. To deal with this, they had to take advantage of the terrain. Trees, boulders, and small cliffs were always very useful. Though, if they had a decently sized cliff, there was no need to Mary and Ray to risk themselves in melee. They could snipe at any monsters they saw, and would sometimes kill them, and sometimes scare them off. There were also a few monsters that the group had encountered that could easily and rapidly climb almost any cliff face, in which case they treated the cliff as if it were just a larger distance to overcome.
The group tried to only fight multiple monsters when they were up against those with softer hides, which they could kill more quickly. It was hard to say that anything was not dangerous, because everything was capable of possibly killing at a moment’s notice. It was also a rare battle where the entire group came out unscathed, in particular Ray and Mary had wounds and patches all over. Jules didn’t envy their position. Since there wasn’t anything like a miraculous healing medicine, the group took frequent days off to at least partly recover. Recovery from certain wounds could be shortened with some of the machinery available at the local hospitals, but such treatments were expensive, and situational. The time taken to heal wasn’t terrible, thanks to some feature of the “game”, so adventurers didn’t frequent the hospitals or medical clinics as much as might have been thought. This further cemented the view of adventurers as strange in the eyes of the natives. It wasn’t an incorrect view, either.
Jules sat and looked at the wristband on his arm. It was an amazing piece of technology, though the outside wasn’t particularly remarkable. Inside, there were some very interesting pieces of gadgetry, though Jules couldn’t have begun to describe what they did. He couldn’t even have opened the wristband, but he could “look” inside. There were so many small, microscopic things, yet they weren’t delicate pieces of machinery either. Jules thought about the technology that was available elsewhere, and couldn’t think of anything that matched. Even with the entire planet (well, mostly just the land and a portion of the ocean) covered in technological conveniences, Jules couldn’t think of anything quite like this. If he wanted food, he could even have anything he wanted printed up at his “food replicator”. That said, it wasn’t particularly good, only meeting the technical requirements to be various foods. It wasn’t like it could magically generate a perfect cheeseburger, but instead threw together various components into something very much like one. There was a reason Jules still bought food at a store.
If he wanted to travel… he could take a hyperloop, rushing along in a tube at something like the speed of sound, though it wasn’t cheap. Airplanes were almost a thing of the past, since they took up so much space, and it needed to be open to the sky. There were even virtual reality simulations of almost anything he could want, though they didn’t quite feel real.
However, none of this was like the technology in these wristbands, and in the “respawn points”. His consciousness instantly went across the galaxy, and bodies could be created relatively easily. Yet, this technology had appeared from nowhere. Most people didn’t even know that it was actually doing those things. Jules was waiting to talk to his friends about it. They would certainly have some interesting theories, even if they probably wouldn’t be right.