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Authors: Terry Schott

Digital Heretic

BOOK: Digital Heretic
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Books By TERRY SCHOTT

 

The Game is Life Series

The Game

Digital Heretic

Interlude - Brandon

Virtual Prophet

 

Also available at Amazon.com

The Gold Apples

Harvest *

Flight *

Timeless *

 

*short stories at the moment... well worth the 0.99!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Heretic

 

 

Terry Schott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner.

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

 

Copyright ©2012 by  Terry Schott

 

 

 

Editing by Alan Seeger

 

 

 

All rights reserved.

 

This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in

 

 

 

 
Heretics do not share the common beliefs of the masses; they think bigger.

They are scorned and mocked and laughed at for their strange beliefs
.

  Yet
still they believe.

 
People challenge them, scoff at them, dismiss them as absurd.

  Yet still they believe.

  Time passes and sometimes, others join the heretic, one or two at first, and then even more begin to tag along.

  When enough time has passed, if the Heretic has been particularly persistent in their beliefs and persuasive in their ability to share the message they believe in, the Heretic disappears. Where once a lonely believer of strange ideas had stood, now stands a visionary thinker, a remarkable person who had the strength and wisdom to look at the world differently. A person who leads us to a better understanding of the universe, and a deeper view of ourselves.

 

  Our limits increase, we advance and prosper.

 

  Thanks to the Heretic.

 

Trew Radfield “The Game

 

Chapter 1

 
“At this moment everywhere on Tygon, Game fans are experiencing both joy and sorrow. Joy that one of their favourite players of all time has done it! Zack has finished his last play in the number one ranked position! Not since Angelica four years ago has anyone managed to accomplish such a feat.  And what a show he put on for us all. In the Game as avatar Trew Radfield, he did something that has never happened before. He created a religion with thousands of followers who all believed that they are living in a computer simulation.  

 
Game fans are also sad that he left the Game at such a young age. Cut down in the prime of his youth by an assassin at the age of 40, leaving behind his beautiful wife Danielle to grieve and decide how to carry on. What could he accomplished if only he had lived on? What will happen to his young religion now that he is gone? Will Danielle and her team continue to spread the message, or will it fade as a memory of what might have been?

 
And the sorrow that we all feel for the lovely Danielle…as beloved to fans as Trew, perhaps more in many circles; how will she continue on? Will this tragedy strengthen her, or will it destroy her?

 
We look forward to talking with Zack when he is brought out of Game stasis. Brandon Strayne reports that we should expect this to happen within the next few hours to no more than a day.  I’m certain we all hope it is sooner rather than later.

 
In the meantime, while we wait to talk with Zack, all eyes are on Danielle and her Eternal companions to see what happens next…”

Lisa Rohansen - Trew Channel
42

 

Stephanie

 

 
“She has
a
death wish,” I say.

 
Raphael and I are sitting on a rock patio elevated about 80 feet above the beach. We were told to wait up here, so here we sit, sipping fruit punch and coffee, looking down at Danielle as she comes out of the water and towels herself off. She’s just spent the morning diving off different cliffs along the beach into the roaring waves of the ocean. It’s not a good day to be diving… yet she is. Raphael thought he saw sharks a few minutes ago.

 
Raphael sets his drink down, standing up to look over the edge, doing his best to keep his ward in sight. “She says it’s a wish to experience life more fully,” he says. He looks like a caged tiger walking back and forth along the edge of the cliff, looking for a way to jump down to her side.

 
I sigh and stand up to join him. I look down and see Danni towelling her hair off. Even from up here, I can feel her energy; it’s deeply sad and lonely. “He’s been gone for five months now, and she just keeps getting more reckless.

 
Raphael shakes his head. We’ve had this talk before, and he doesn’t like what I’m going to ask. “We can’t tell her the truth. She needs to believe Trew left the Game and is fine; that he’s watching her now and living his life, waiting until she is done playing.”

 
I shake my head. “The problem with that is she will continue to become more and more reckless, until she dies. Her belief is strong, Raphael. She won’t dare take her own life — that’s quitting the Game. But she is pushing the envelope more each day. The danger she exposes herself to is not healthy. She keeps this up…”

 
“Yes, she’s going to die in some accident doing crazy thrill seeking activities,” Raphael says. “I agree, Steph. It’s time to say something.”

 
I nod encouragingly. 

 
“But I’m not telling her Trew is gone forever. I’m not going to break her heart like that.”

 
I shake my head. “I’ve told you before, we don’t have to. I think we use the other angle.”

 
He looks at me and slowly nods.

 

****

Danielle - 40

  I don’t know if you can see me or hear me yet. 

 
Raph and Steph say it takes a few days for you to come out of your stasis, which is years here for me. They also say you likely won’t be allowed to watch me, anyway. They give me all sorts of reasons why you can’t, or won’t — but I know you will. 

 
They’ve told me quite a few things about the Game. Stephanie said they shouldn’t, but Raphael was so mad that you died… he feels he really let us all down. And he did. I’m strong, and I know that this is just a Game, and soon we will be together again. It might seem like a long time to me, but it won’t be. 

 
I’m more like the girl I used to be. Not afraid to try things. Always ready to push the envelope. If we’re all here just to experience things, then I am going to experience more than anyone ever has. And if I die in the process? Big deal. I’ll see you sooner rather than later.

 
Just got done swimming with some sharks in the ocean. It was incredible! They didn’t come near me, though. The more I tried to get to them, the farther they swam away. I’ve done all sorts of things since you’ve been gone, babe. 

 
And I’m just getting started.

 
I walk up the stairs to the townhouse I’ve rented for the month. Money isn’t an issue. You remember how you won money for being born at just the right time? We never really touched it, and both of us made excellent money when we worked. Then there’s

the
income that still comes in from the movement. All those people gathering to follow you, Trew. It sure was something. You should have seen the crowds show up for your funeral. That was something, too.

  Okay, babe.
I know I can’t talk to you in my head all day. There’s Stephanie and Raphael. They look concerned; maybe they know what I’m doing. All right, I’d better stop.

 
“Morning, you two,” I say.

 
“Morning, hun,” Stephanie says. She’s so sad. I know she misses you too.

 
Raphael gives me a stern look. “Did I see sharks in the water?” he asks.

 
I nod enthusiastically. “Likely I saw them from a lot closer than you. They were incredible, right?”

 
“You can’t die so young, Danni,” Raphael says.

 
“I’m not trying to,” I reply.

 
“Maybe,” Stephanie says, “But you’re not going out of your way to avoid it, either.”

 
I shrug. “So?”

 
“Look, Danni,” Stephanie continues, “We know how painful this is for you. We know how much you miss him.” I look out over the ocean, quickly blinking away tears. “But Trew wouldn’t want you to throw your life away in a hurry just to get to him. This Game we play in is important. Each of us is here for as long as we can be.”

 
“I understand that,” I say.

 
“Yes, well there’s something special about you. I’m sorry to have to share this with you, but it’s important that you live as long as you possibly can in this Game,” Raphael says.

 
“Why’s that?” I ask.

 

****

 

  “Then they must have turned the scrambler on, because the channel went all snowy and the sound kicked out. No clue what they told her. Damn, it’s frustrating to just be a viewer sometimes. Glad I was just taking a little break away from the command centre to eat, watching it on the local viewer in the restaurant. Then I came back after lunch and found out what they said to her and I was surprised. That’s a lot of stress to put on the girl, all things considering.”

 
Michelle sits beside Zack’s bed, talking to him as if he’s conscious. There is no sign of brain function, but Brandon said not to unplug him and the team hopes that he will come out of it eventually. More miraculous things have happened from time to time, Michelle thinks to herself.

 
“I’m not going to tell you what they said to her, Zack. If you want to hear that, then you’re going to have to wake up for me.” Michelle brushes his hair back gently; tears form in her eyes as she looks down at him. He looks so peaceful, like he’s resting and will wake up any second.

 
“Come on, pal. Wake up and see how cool it is to finish your last play in the number one spot. It’s just not fair that you did so well and can’t celebrate.” Michelle waits silently for a response, but there isn’t one.

 
“Well let me tell you, it’s sure been busy since you came out…”

 

 

Chapter 2

 
“What will become of the movement created by Trew Radfield? Fans expected Danielle to step in and take over the growing organization, to be its leader and continue to grow it at a phenomenal rate. With the assassination of Trew, things looked perfect for gaining even more momentum; nothing brings new followers like a fallen founder.

 
Formally called ‘The Game Is Life Movement,’ everyone has shortened it to ‘The Gamers.’ Danielle might step forward to lead them, but we have received no formal notification of who is in charge at this time. As the months pass by without clear direction, the Gamers sit in a holding pattern, uncertain what to do, but strong in their belief that we are all living in an elaborate computer simulation.”

 

Danielle - 40

 

 
“Why was he killed?

I ask.

 
Raphael shakes his head. “We have no idea, Danni.”

  “
Have the Infernals come forward to claim responsibility? It was Carl that killed him, right?”

  “
Our best guess is that it was an Infernal, yes,” Stephanie says. “For a mortal to pull that hit off, with the short amount of time

they took, and the getaway in a crowded secure area
… it had to have been an Infernal. We don’t know if it was Carl for sure, hun.”

  She’s
lying. I can see it and feel it, but I’m not sure if she’s lying about part of her answer, or all of it. “I’m tired of playing this verbal chess match with you two,” I say.

  “We’re
not playing any games, Danni,”  Raphael says.

  “
Stop it,” I snap at him. “You know for certain who did it. Just tell me. I’ve been asking you for months now and I’m tired of this. I can’t move on until I know, and we have to move on.”

 
They look at each other and it’s almost like they’re speaking telepathically. I wonder if they can actually do that. I’ll ask them some other time, I’m not going to let them sidetrack me at the moment. Finally Raphael nods and meets my gaze. “It was Carl.”

 
My face flushes with intense heat. I clench my fists and stumble forward, grabbing the edge of the table to steady myself. Dizzy with rage, I count to ten slowly and take deep breaths, silently willing the wave of hatred to wash over me. Finally it passes and I begin to see normally again.  Looking up at Raphael, I do my best to smile. “There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?”

  “
Danni…” Raphael moves towards me, but I put up my hand to stop him. I don’t want to be hugged right now, especially not by him. He was an Infernal for a thousand years; he likely did much worse to people. Raph is an Eternal at the moment, but I look at him and I can’t help but see the man

who let the love of my life die.
I’m glad it was Carl; if it had been anyone less I might not have been able to forgive Raphael, but I think I can try now.

  “You’ve
convinced me to live; that’s fine. You’ve allowed me time to grieve; thank you. Trew will be watching me soon. Maybe he already is. It’s time to take this movement and make it into what he and I envisioned it becoming. I need to know if I’m going to be a target, and if I am, then we need to know who the biggest threats

are. Infernals are the biggest threats that I know of
;  if there's something worse out there, then let me know.”

  “
You are safe from Infernals,” Rafael says confidently. “You were given what’s called a Clean Mark. When you were little I stopped a few assassins from killing you.” He pauses to see if I have any questions. I say nothing. He nods and continues, “We set up a meeting and they agreed to Clean Mark you. There are worse things out there, but we can’t control them.”

 
I sigh. “Are there always two questions raised for every single answer you give me? What’s a Clean Mark, and what could be worse than Infernals?” 

  “
A Clean Mark means you are untouchable,” Raphael says. “You have a mark on you that tells all Eternals and Infernals to leave you alone. It’s an invisible mark, but we can all see it. If we harm you while that mark is present, then we die, regardless of what side we’re working for. And since we all know there’s no afterlife for us when we die, we avoid death as best we can.”

  “
To answer your question, ‘What could be worse than Infernals?’” Stephanie says, “There are a few things. Most of them we can’t tell you about, but the majority aren’t likely to get involved with this little issue and take an interest in us. If they do, we’ll know it and inform you quickly. The biggest threat to you will be other humans — crazies or zealots from other religions. We can protect you, and we will, but individuals with nothing to lose and enough numbers can always get through and achieve their purpose, if properly motivated.”

 
I nod. “Okay, then. Who’s in charge here?”

  “
You are,” they reply instantly and in unison. 

  “
Yes, I am.” I hope you’re watching this, Trew. I’m going to make you proud of me. I’ll share the message with the world and wake them up to the truth like we both dreamed of doing. It’s just going to take a bit of time, from your end of things. It’s going to take a lot

of years on my part, but
that’s okay; I’ve decided to live for another hundred years like we agreed on your birthday.

 
I walk over to the desk and sit down. “Here’s what we do, then. In order to become the biggest movement the world has ever seen… we’re going to disband and disappear.”

 

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