The Battle Ground
Arena created by LITTLE LOCUS
On a closer look, one could also see a shoulder bag with a VM
logo emblazoned on it. She walked into the mall and asked the
security guard to please gide her to the VM arcade. Once she entered
the arcade, she queued up, much to everyone else's surprise.
When her turn for playing came, she tested the area with her cane until she found the pod's door, then she started folding the cane and unshouldered her bag.
"Uh... excuse me, are you actually wanting to play?", asked the person following her on the queue. "Sure", she answered, "are you my rival?"
Several people started smiling. One of them was actually rude enough to laugh, but a killer stare from one of his fellows silenced him instantly. It took several minutes for the girl to assure the people behind her that she was actually going to play, and then she had even more persuading to do to get a rival. Finally, one of them stepped forward. "I'll play with you, girl."
There were hard looks directed at him. The guy who was going to play was the local bully. One of the kids at the arcade, the same lean, black- clad boy that had silenced the laughter, seemed like he was on the verge of saying something very uncomplimentary about that guy who wanted to increase his kills score with such an easy game, but then he saw what was inside the bag.
It was a Deluxe VR Kit with integral image magnification.
The kid smiled. "After all, if I'm wrong I can always kill him afterwards", muttered Chiisai.
Isami stepped into the cockpit. She placed the VR helmet snugly around her head. When she turned the power on, the helmet screen lit up. Computer-enhanced images replaced what previously was a fuzzy smudge of lights and shadows. She sealed the pod, then produced a game disk with a stencilled Spanish word:
She slotted in the disk.
Braddock was sitting on his cockpit, finishing the adjustment of his Taiwan-made VR set. He'd already slotted in the Mega Smasher. "Poor girl", he thought. "Maybe I should let her think that she's doing well for a time."
The screens lit up. It was the Battle Grounds. Open space with little in the way of cover. A stand-up figth, with both VMs standing one in front of the other at 500m. The zebra-stripped referee raised his flag.
Braddock's screens were filled with burning, white light.
Less than 0.3 seconds after the start, Isa started removing her VR helmet, her VM pod hissing softly as it oppened. "Next one?", she asked. Clamorous laughters and cheers were filling the arcade, so she didn't hear any inmediate answer, but Isa smiled broadly regardless.
She couldn't see the faces of the other kids, but at least one of them was seeing hers. Chiisai couldn't see anything else right now.