By Cory Doctorow
Public Domain Books
She didn’t touch the PC the first day, nor the second. The kids in the game – she didn’t know what to do about them. On the third day, after hockey, she showered and changed and sat down and slipped the headset on.
Lucy had known the minute she entered the game, which meant that she was still on Lucy’s buddy-list. Well, that was a hopeful sign.
“You don’t have to call me that. We’re the same rank now, after all.”
Anda pulled down a menu and confirmed it: she’d been promoted to Sergeant during her absence. She smiled.
“Gosh,” she said.
“Yes, well, you earned it,” Lucy said. “I’ve been talking to Raymond a lot about the working conditions in the factory, and, well –” She broke off. “I’m sorry, Anda.”
“Me too, Lucy.”
“You don’t have anything to be sorry about,” she said.
They went adventuring, running some of the game’s standard missions together. It was fun, but after the kind of campaigning they’d done before, it was also kind of pale and flat.
“It’s horrible, I know,” Anda said. “But I miss it.”
“Oh thank God,” Lucy said. “I thought I was the only one. It was fun, wasn’t it? Big fights, big stakes.”
“Well, poo,” Anda said. “I don’t wanna be bored for the rest of my life. What’re we gonna do?”
“I was hoping you knew.”
She thought about it. The part she’d loved had been going up against grownups who were not playing the game, but gaming it, breaking it for money. They’d been worthy adversaries, and there was no guilt in beating them, either.
“We’ll ask Raymond how we can help,” she said.