Cheaters Never Prosper

When the new Full-Dive MMO Quest Online was announced and then released to the public, Kurt felt like he simply had to play it. The ability to enter a gaming world and be able to feel everything like it was real sounded like a dream come true, but there was one problem: He was practically broke, and would never be able to afford the subscription fees.

However, Kurt was fairly clever, so he came up with a slightly unorthodox solution. Purchasing the Full-Dive helmet was simple enough, and then Kurt was able to slowly hack a backdoor into the Servers by utilizing a trial account. Once his door was made, Kurt discarded the old account and made a new one, bypassing the usual gates in the character creation and log-in process that would have had the security to stop him.

At last, the time had come, and Kurt put on the helmet and turned it on, entering the game world. The transition had been a little rough to Kurt in his opinion, with his nerves briefly burning and tingling as the device connected to them rapidly. Because of how he entered the game, it came without all of the usual safeguards that would have applied if he had entered the game legitimately, but now he was here!

The player briefly looked over himself and felt his body. Due to skipping the character creation screen, he seemed to have ended up with a more or less with a "default" body and the first available class, a rogue it looked like. Not his first choice to be sure, but he would make due since this was all free anyway.

Kurt looked around, and felt his positive feelings rapidly begin to drain. By all appearances, he was in a fairly normal starting town for this kind of fantasy game, with the expected medieval architecture, helpful generic NPCs, and even a few players of various classes and races walking or running around. The problem, however, was that while all of that was normal, Kurt himself was not. In point of fact, compared to everything else, Kurt and his avatar was a mere half-inch in height.

The miniscule player just stood there in shock as he tried to figure out what had happened, and his best guess was that due to skipping the usual character creation screen, his avatar had been created with the first available parameters, and as a result of lacking the usual checks the game would do, his height was set as close to 0'0 as it could get. The man let out an annoyed sigh as he realized that this whole thing was currently a wash, and so he would have to log out to fix things and try again.

Raising his hand up, Kurt tried to call up the menu screen... only for it to fail to pop up. Feeling a new thrill of terror, the man tried the motion again and again, only to receive the same results of the screen failing to appear.

It then occurred to him that he could not see any of his user interface details, not his health bar or name, no chat log or dialogue box, not even a map. Coldly, Kurt realized that his bypassing of the usual login channels had locked him out of far more functions than he had thought, and right now, chief among them was that he could not log out!

As the player began to panic about that, he became aware of a series of tremors in the ground, and as a shadow fell over him, he looked back behind himself only to be forced to jump to the side. Narrowly, he avoided being stomped on by the high heels of what appeared to be a female human player, who did not so much as glance downwards as she walked past him.

As Kurt lay prone on the ground, he could only look up in fear and wonder, realizing just how close that had been. He had felt the air displaced from the step, heard the clack of heel on stone that was still echoing in his ears, and his knees and hands were sore from where they had hit the ground, when he dived for safety. A dark feeling of dread filled him, as he also realized that at his size he was much more fragile than usual compared to his surroundings, and it was unlikely anyone would be able to easily spot him. Even if they did, if he lacked a player icon/name. How could they know that he was not part of the game? More importantly, with so many normal features unavailable to him, would he even respawn if he died?

A week later, Kurt still did not know the answer to that last question, but only due to a mixture of great effort on his part, motivational fear, and luck. It had been far from easy, and Kurt had been forced out of the town and into the nearby fields of grass to avoid the various oblivious NPCs. This did not spare him from the other players however, and the number of near misses with spells, weapons, and monsters did not inspire confidence in him, to say nothing of the boots, sandals, heels, flats, and even bare feet he had to dodge. The closest he had gotten to "help" had been when a halfling mage woman had spotted him, and that had involved her mistaking him for a rare mob and launching a firebolt.

He was dirty, tired, sore, and running low on plans. Right now, it seemed like his best shot was to wait until his Full-Dive helmet ran out of power and hopefully force logged him out, but thanks to it possibly still being plugged in when he started this foolish venture, that might not be for another two months....

Story by Chaosbrain
Artwork by Octo

High resolution (2038x3150)

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