Many Worlds Chapter 30
Douglas considered what it had been like to die. The words “not pleasant” were an extreme under exaggeration. It was even more unfortunate for him, because he had been forced into an immediate payoff of his “debt”. For reasons unknown to him, whenever he used his ability to create black flames, he seemed to draw power from some sort of extradimensional beings. At least, as far as he could tell. After he used his abilities, he seemed to owe them some kind of debt, the repayment of which felt like bits of his souls were being ripped off. If he were to compare it to dying, Douglas would say dying was rather pleasant.
The most unfortunate circumstance, however, was that he was now aware that Many Worlds was not a game. This meant that these beings might, no, did exist. Douglas felt it was strange that such an ability would be chosen to exist in the game system, even if it was possible. Douglas could only speculate on the nature of the extradimensional beings. In fact, he wasn’t quite sure if he was correct, or he was hallucinating. The pain settings from the game seemed to do nothing to the feeling of repaying his “debt”, either. Probably because it wasn’t related to his physical body, he supposed. The thoughts of extradimensional beings could just be his imagination, and the pain could just be because his ability pushed beyond what his body or mind was capable of performing. Douglas wished he believed that.
However, even though it was painful to die, and excruciating to pay back all of his “debt” at once, Douglas was still practicing with his ability. This was simply because the thought of his friends dying was even worse. This was something he could not escape, even though he knew the system would bring them back. However, thoughts were inescapable. Douglas briefly considered why he would continue to play this game, even though it was so unpleasant. However, he knew why. He was curious. What was it that caused Many Worlds to exist in the first place? It couldn’t be making a profit, not with the significant expense that must have gone into producing the bracelets. Therefore, there must be some important reason, and it likely involved aliens, and the government. That wasn’t just a conspiracy theory, since Douglas had now seen aliens (though ones not too different from humans, except for their animals), and the government… didn’t particularly try to hide that there were things going on. Douglas was going to find out what this reason was. Though, Douglas also thought that the ability to learn telekinesis was almost worth it on its own.
So, Douglas sat, and black flame covered his hand. It was curious how, dangerous as this flame was, and with the debt he would have to pay for using it later, it didn’t hurt him in the slightest. Douglas controlled it into different shapes, just simple things like circles, triangles, and squares. Practicing in this manner actually accrued very little debt. It was only when the black fire consumed something that the price significantly built up. Plus, if he was smart, he could pay off just a little at a time, in which case the pain wasn’t so terrible. Just like being stabbed with a sword, but it quickly wore off.
If he converted something else, say a laser from his weapon, into the black fire, he could get significantly more range, and control exactly the same as the laser itself. However, it also contributed an amount of debt proportionate to its usefulness, though not so much as if he had somehow managed to create that amount of black fire without using a laser weapon. However, Douglas also felt that the price he was required to pay was less after practicing. It wasn’t particularly easy to measure. It was possible that he was getting used to the pain, instead of it becoming less, but he didn’t think that was the case.
Douglas started compiling information as well as he could about Many Worlds, and the mysteries behind it. First, the lore for the game included the wristbands, which were then hidden inside the game. This was likely because they could reveal that it really wasn’t a game at all. These wristbands were distributed by a company that was almost certainly a government front, using technology that was unknown on Earth, and not even the craziest conspiracy theorists would have thought they were hiding technology at that level. Well, at least not the second-craziest ones.
Why, though, would they hide its nature as reality? Certainly, they could more easily get people to volunteer, and be used as test subjects if this was some big experiment. However, the public backlash would be significant when it was inevitably found out. It already had been, and Douglas’ group of friends probably hadn’t been the only ones. While he wouldn’t put it past the government to use millions of people as unknowing participants in an experiment, he didn’t think it would be worth their time to do it this way. For all its faults, nobody, including Douglas, would accuse the government of lack of foresight and planning. There would have to be some foreseeable benefit to them, and the benefit would have to outweigh the negative aspects.
It wouldn’t even have been particularly hard for them to get an equal number of people into an experiment, but sworn to secrecy. The only issue would be if they intended to further increase the numbers, in which case this system was better. There would be another batch of wristbands released soon, in fact. However, there was one problem with the idea that it was a grand experiment. Experiments like to have controlled factors. Sending humans to a real, alien planet wouldn’t have anything close to the kind of control necessary to provide useful data. If the government were just interested in recording the data on people’s lives, the wristbands themselves would have sufficed. Thus, there must be a good reason for their actions that Douglas just hadn’t discovered yet. He was confident of that, both that it existed, and that he would discover it eventually.