”This is a warning to all CJP civilians. Please continue to quarantine indoors and await further orders from the government. I repeat this is a wa- ”
The apartments built-in announcement system played the voice message on a loop. Shin, worn out from his session on Mythos Online, opens the refrigerator once again. He wasn much of a cook. Only capable of making simple meals for himself like rice and eggs, omelets, and various forms of pasta, he wouldn last very long in this apartment on his own. Not to mention the insetting lack of ingredients and canned foods to work with. Soon, his supplies will run out and hell have to order food and raw ingredients. Shin was never keen on ordering delivery from restaurants due to his limited budget, but he may have no option at this rate.
”Ill have to cook consistently if I want to save every last bit of money. ” Shin strategized while rummaging through his refrigerator and pantry. He took stock of his food and water; noting down the servings and amount left on his phone.
”This will last me about a week. ”
With the last of his pasta, Shin made a carbonara with pre-prepared bacon bits. As usual, he turned on the TV as he ate.
”As world economists have predicted, the world economy has already begun collapsing. Global mega-corporation Pentrafil purchased hundreds of small-scale companies across all sectors as business owners are not able to conduct any business under the current world situation. ”
”In other news, major reporting coming from South Korea as scientists confirmed the symptoms of Hemoxythra. Scientists have confirmed the rumors that Hemoxythra causes multiple organ failures within days. It starts with fatigue and ends with death. Sometimes within hours. The World Safety Organization has stated that the ongoing efforts to create a vaccine have yet to produce any results. Furthermore, non-governmental organizations have begun to push the hypothesis that the virus is man-made. ”
Shin was undisturbed by the news as he has come grown numb to the accumulating bad news. The only thing he can hope for is the survival of his mother and friends. The partly cloudy grey skies allowed for small beams of sunlight to shine into the apartment from the balcony creating a dreary atmosphere.
”Ports remain closed as global logistic routes completely shut down alongside tourism. ” the TV anchor continued.
e expecting things to only get worse. Government agencies will be taking over agricultural responsibilities from private farms to decontaminate food and ensure the safety of all citizens. The CJP have alerted all civilians not to worry about electricity and communications. The statement from the head of the Virus and Disease Control Center reads ”we are aware of the potential of power outages and rolling blackouts as we struggle to ensure the safety of our staff in power plants. ” Our station has reached out to Virus and Disease Control Center for further questions regarding the increasing death toll but they declined to answer. ”
The colorful skies of Mythos Online were in direct contrast to the skies above CJP. When the sky was not covered by the sea of buildings, the constant grey overcast loomed over the entire city. Pollutants from Pentrafil and their affiliated companies blanketed the atmosphere with smog. Clear skies were a rare sight only visible after a storm.
A chime rang coming from Shins phone. Picking it up, he found a message from his mother.
”Shin? Are you okay? They just settled us into our quarantine rooms inside the train station. Im doing fine but they
e rationing power in the facility to Pentrafil to fund research for the vaccine. Well, thats what they told us anyway. ”
Shin replied promptly.
”Im doing fine. I just took note of the supplies in the apartment and ate breakfast. I think I have about a weeks worth of food for now but obviously, Ill have to get more. My only chance right now is to continue working with RMT in my online games. I know you didn support me before on this decision but please trust me. ”
Shins mother, Julie, sat in her quarantine room clutching her phone before laying down on the mattress. The room was more or less solitary confinement. The walls were made of a grey metal sheet that stretches from top to bottom. To the left of the mattress was a small pane of glass that would be a window. The glass was covered by stone as the quarantine rooms were packed tightly together underground.
A muffled crack breaks the silence in the room as Julie sits up on the mattress.
”Quarantined citizens, this is Captain Chao of the Hemoxythra Containment Department. We will continue to house you for the duration of the recommended quarantine time of 2 weeks with the agreed-upon of $300 per week. You may leave after 2 weeks back to your residence. We will not be providing any masks or personal protection equipment if you decide to leave the quarantine. If you wish to stay within our care in the quarantine room, youll be charged $3000 per week. ”
”Even in this situation, these dirtbags siphon money out of us – putting a price tag on life. ”Julie laid back down in disbelief.
”How do they expect us to make it back to our apartment without bringing the virus?! ” Julie argued into the air as no one hears her complaints.
e already strangling me here by not providing me a computer for work. Im probably fired at by now. ”
The truth was that her office was already dissolved and had been purchased by Pentrafil. Julie looked back at her phone and read Shins reply. She let out a deep sigh and threw her arms back and laid back down on the mattress.
”Shin… ” she spoke quietly to herself as she put her hand over her face. Julie was often worried about Shin as she mostly raised him on his own. Her cheating and ever-absent father left her to do all the work. She reflected on the simpler times long ago when Shin and his father were seen laughing and playing video games together on the living room TV.
Shin was never a phenomenal student in school. His grades were only slightly above average. He participated in track and field in middle school but quit the club in his sophomore year of high school after getting kicked off the varsity team. His mother urged him to continue but he believed his time was better well spent earning additional income for the household through RMT online. Ironically, Shins father cultivating his sons love for gaming was the only thing that will help him survive in this situation.
Finishing his meal, Shin tossed the rinsed dishes in the dishwasher.
Shin sat back down in his computer chair. He opened his social media timeline and found a trending headline.
”Worldwide phenomenon of a video game Mythos Online developer Suzuha Miyamura confirms rumors that the game was developed in part by an advanced artificial intelligence ”
Hundreds of comments trailed behind the headline from speculative players and social media personalities alike.
”I mean this isn anything new for games these days. ”
”These lazy ass developers LMAO! ”
”What do you expect from a world as massive and complex as Mythos? ”
”Cope harder, this game isn even good. A super advanced AI couldn save this even if it tried. ”
”These NPCs can even hold a proper conversation sometimes. So much for being advanced… ”
Netizens were arguing amongst themselves as usual. Shin didn pay it much mind as these posts were about par for the course of the online gaming community. He closed the tab and spun around in his chair to distract himself from how surreal it is that this is what everyone is talking about when billions of peoples lives are at stake. Quickly stopping himself from spinning with a foot on the ground, Shin composed himself. This was his opportunity to take advantage of one of the few things that he was talented at.
Shins room grew dark as the brief respite of sunlight peering through his balcony window faded into the thick smog-covered skies. The only light in the room now was the screen of his PC.
Shin was determined to do whatever it takes to bring his mother back; escape from the clutches of the CJP, and to survive. There wasn anything else on his mind.
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