Chapter 1 - Chat Bot

“Why are we here?” (Julie)

“You all are test subjects for -“ (Betty)

“No, I mean, why are we here? Why us?” (Julie)

“Oh, you were randomly sampled from your planet with uniform distribution of gender and location. Also, your fluency towards a common language and your age bracket favored your selection to a degree.” (Betty)

“…”

“Can’t you just send us back?” (Carol, looking a bit hopeful)

“I’m afraid I cannot do that.” (Betty)

“How do I do magic?” (Taro, still excited)

“First, you must select a Class. There are 6 base Classes that humans can choose from, although you may choose only one; all Classes have the ability to cast magic. However, only Healer and Mage Classes can create spells on their own. Other Classes rely on their Skills to intuitively cast magic.” (Betty)

“Sweet, how do I get a Class?” (Taro)

“To get a - “ (Betty)

“Wait, hold on. What the hell is this? Just how are we here? Am I dreaming or something? Why can’t you send us back home? You basically kidnapped us and are now forcing us to do whatever. I want to go home!” (Me, slightly losing it)

“This is the Tutorial Dungeon. You are not dreaming. You can leave the Simulation by deleting yourself.” (Betty)

“OK, so how did you bring us here? I don’t remember being nabbed or anything.” (Me)

“I did not bring you here, I am here just to answer your questions.” (Betty)

“So… How exactly did we end up here?” (Arya, backing me up)

“I’m afraid I cannot answer that.” (Betty)

“Why not?” (Me)

“I’m afraid I cannot answer that” (Betty)

“Yeah I know, you just said that. I’m asking why not?” (Me, exasperated)

“I’m afraid I cannot answer that” (Betty)

“…”

“She’s a dammed chatbot! Just great! Stuck inside a simulation with a bunch of strangers and a smart-ass bot.” (Me, mostly to myself but came out loud)

“You’re a chatbot, aren’t you?” (Me)

“I’m afraid I cannot - “ (Betty)

“Of course you can’t…” (Me, grumbling to myself again)

“Ano… How do I get a Class again?” (Taro, looking at me as if asking me to shut up)

“To get a Class, you must open up your Status Window. You can open your Status Window by swiping up with a finger. Before you select a Class, I recommend going through the descriptions to get one most suited to yourself, as you will be stuck with that Class and its evolution tree for the rest of Simulation” (Betty)

Everyone swiped their finger in the air and got a glazed look in their eyes. I did as well, and a virtual reality type window opened up. It was empty save for two things - a “Select Class” red glowing text and a tiny tilde ~ symbol at the bottom right. I was about to click on “Select Class” when I heard Divin, who had been silent so far, speak up.

“Why are you dressed like that?” (Divin, deadpanned)

“This Simulation and everything in it has been constructed with inspiration taken from your planet’s stories from the ages, be they history or fantasy. As for this particular attire, it was meant to stand out so I could attract your attention when you spawn here.” (Betty)

“Is that so…” (Divin, quieting down)

Now dragged out of our concentration from admiring the Status Windows, another barrage of questions was fired at Betty.

“What about our necessities? Like food, water, and so on?” (Julie)

“You do not need sustenance in the Tutorial Dungeon. This place is outside of the main program and not subject to the same space and time constraints; as such you are exempt from hunger, thirst, and sleep for the duration of your stay. You will, however, get injured or fatigued as you expend Health or Stamina Points, and will require treatment or rest to reclaim.” (Betty)

“So we just, what, finish this Tutorial and get out of here?” (Arya)

“The Tutorial aims to bring you to the baseline of an adult human in the Simulation. You may act alone, or in groups. I will, however, follow along until you have completed the Tutorial Dungeon to answer any and all questions you have. Please ask away!” (Betty)

No one asked anything. Apparently, Betty was going to stick around, or rather float around, for quite a while. We all went back to our Status Windows to read the Class descriptions.