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[AWT-04] BT-06 A New Balance

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    [AWT-04] BT-06 A New Balance

    When Bert Thomas and his father Ricky move into an Quadraen community on King Kazma's Live Anime World, Bert must learn to associate with the local Quadraen society as he participates in the local game of choice S'taurrior where he learns to work with a Quadraen S'taurrior partner.
    S'taur View - Anime World

    [AWT-04] BT-06 A New Balance
    By Darrel Vanwinkle (Lord Pouchlaw)

    Chapter 01

    As most people were being booted out of the game for the update, Bert logged back in and resumed his administration work on the game.

    Within the 'Help Menu', he went down to the 'Debug Menu' and he look for the listing called 'Host Universe'. Opening that, he scrolled down to 'ServerName' and typed in 'PVP'. Then under the 'Staff' link, he copied the regular staff list from the regular game. He then clicked 'SetDifficulty' and set it to 'Extreme'. He then found 'PreventOverride' and clicked 'Yes'. Under 'SoloUniverse', he clicked 'No'. Under 'LaunchGame', he clicked 'Wait_5_Minutes'. Then he clicked 'Save' before he exited that section.

    Within the 'Debug Menu', he again went to the listing called 'Host Universe'. Opening that, he scrolled down to 'ServerName' and typed in 'Sandbox'. Then under 'NewStaff', he clicked 'Yes'. Then he clicked the 'Staff' link and typed in 'Bert Thomas' and 'Orion Foxtaur' under 'GameMaster'. Under 'Admins', he typed, 'Linus Ligrotaur', 'Dalos Dalmatiantaur', and 'Epsilon Foxtaur'. Then, he found 'PreventOverride' and he clicked 'Yes'. Under 'SoloUniverse', he clicked 'Yes'. Under 'LaunchGame', he clicked 'Wait_2_Minutes'. Now he exited out to the general settings of 'Host Universe' and he scrolled down to 'LoadStaffCharacters' and clicked it. Under the listing of 'CopyCharacterData', he typed in '10_min'. Now he opened 'CharacterAdvisor' and he typed in 'Arnie Roo'. He then clicked 'Save' and exited all menus.

    At the Welcome screen, under the drop-down menu, the selection of 'ChooseUniverse' was displayed. Those listed therein were 'S'taurrior I', 'S'taurrior II', 'S'taurrior III', 'RedBadge' and 'Sandbox'. Except for Sandbox, clicking on each choice now brought up a sub-menu which read as 'Standard' or 'PVP'. For now, Bert selected 'Sandbox' before clicking 'enter game'. It then asked if he had a former character and he clicked 'Yes' and then he filled in the information necessary for proving that he owned the account. Once he got past the welcome screen, He clicked on 'GameCreator-PVID' and waited for Orion to answer the call.

    Since Orion was still waiting for the game to reload, he noted the PVID alert on his handheld app and he clicked on it to answer it. "Orion here." And in the video picture he saw Bert smiling. "Hey Bert! What did you do to the game?"

    Bert replied, "Orion, I am currently in the new S'taurrior universe called Sandbox. When you log into the game, click on 'ChooseUniverse'. Under that listing are the choices of 'S'taurrior I', 'S'taurrior II', 'S'taurrior III', 'RedBadge' and 'Sandbox'. When you select one of the normal ones there will be two choices. 'Standard' and 'PVP'. I am sending the other staff members a copy of what I am telling you. For now, when you log in, choose Sandbox. Sandbox is a tutorial universe where new game ideas can be tested before they go live in the main games. Thus, if something doesn't meet your standards, no harm done since it was tested fairly in Sandbox mode. As for the other worlds, selecting PVP will send the players into a player-versus-player universe of the game they selected where the difficulty rank of the NPCs is set to 'Extreme'. Players can fight each other at the normal rank for their levels; but if they attack an NPC, they are no longer the pushovers they would have been in the Standard game. Any questions?"

    Orion didn't look upset since Bert's idea seemed like a good one. "Is Sandbox live right now?"

    Bert smiled. "It sure is, sexy. Hope to see you soon." And he ended the PVID call and sent copies of the news to Linus, Dal, and Epsilon.

    Soon, all staff members were in Sandbox where Bert was explaining the rest of the deal. "Staff members can moderate the other worlds from Sandbox. You can also receive and send messages from Sandbox. The Global Chat will still display what players in other worlds are typing. The format now is 'Game_Code', 'CharacterName', and then 'Message'. Our characters here in Sandbox are copies of our characters from the other worlds. Also, since their are now seven factions, all players can get up to their first seven character slots for free. Additional character slots can be purchased for creds or earned by reaching certain levels. To prevent in-game cheating between copycat characters, if a character by a certain name in any faction already exists, when a player names their new character, they will get a warning that the username is already in use and then, they will get a list of possible name suggestions based off of what they had typed. Fred might suggest Fred II, Freddy, Frederick, or any other variation of the name as long as it doesn't duplicate what already exists. This way we don't end up with twenty million CockSuxYou FuxFighter characters. I apologize for the foul language, but that was an example."

    Epsilon giggled. "It isn't that dirty. Back when I attended Underworld University, I had heard of some really vulgar character names in popular games at the time."

    Bert then said, "Orion, Epsilon... you two have told the rest of us a conflicting story. Since we are by ourselves at the moment... Orion, you once said that Epsilon was your identical twin; Epsilon, you stated that you were twins with your brother but you never used the word identical. When Io restored you to your original colors, you ended up with a yellow belly and the overcoat with two white stripes of a black furred skunktaur appearance. Orion's original appearance we met on the first day was a natural brown fox's coloration. Later when Epsilon was seen masquerading as Orion, his appearance was a red fox on top with a yellow underbelly. We learned that the Hell Dragon changed the skunk look to a red fox appearance, while the yellowish gold under coat stayed the same. Could you guys please explain it to me how the two of you are identical twins?"

    Orion and Epsilon looked at each other and then Orion sat down on his rump and hung his head. "Back in trade school, I was involved in a lab experiment gone wrong and after the explosion, the chemicals had burned all of my fur off all over my entire body. I almost died. Professor Mylanus Oki'Prowlus applied a fur tonic all over my aching body and overnight, my fur had grown back into place but the coloration was Mobian Light Brown, like the brown version of Tails. I was originally the same identical coloration as my younger brother, Epsilon. After my restoration, mom and dad disowned me since I no longer looked like their son. As far as they were concerned, Nebulan Foxtaur had died. I gave myself a new name and started my life all over again. When Epsilon learned what had happened, he sent me a letter stating that no matter what, he would always be my brother."

    Bert felt like utter shit once again for having the balls to force the truth out in the open albeit to the staff only. "I am so sorry, Orion. I'm a heel for making you remember that pain. I thought it was something else."

    Orion got up and he want over to Bert and hugged him. "Maybe it is for the best that everyone on Staff know about my past. It wasn't easy starting over. Losing my original fur colors also meant losing the friends I once had. Since I was disowned, I migrated to what would become S'taur View and with Kazma's blessing I was permitted to set up an observatory. At first, I was all alone. I would cry myself to sleep on most nights. Then Epsilon came and found me in his new colors. When he saw how miserable I was, he promised me that he would look into populating the valley with Taurs. At first, no one wanted to live close to the brothers in exile. But then I crafted S'taurrior and after making my first character, I would log in and chat with my new best friend. I had to make a friend just to have one. I sucked worse than you ever thought you did, Bert."

    Epsilon then said, "Once I had to make him log out of the game when I thought he had found an electronic way to commit suicide. I loved my brother, but seeing him immobile like that, smelling bad from not bathing, and thinning out from not eating in real life; he scared me, Bert. That's when I decided to get Taurs into the valley any way possible."
    End of Chapter 01

    Chapter 02

    Bert gave Orion a deep kiss on his muzzle before saying, "Okay... we have a game world to run and improve. And I have a few characters to remake. Lukas is just fine but my advisers had a bit of an accident when a minion of the Hell Dragon tried to get at me again and the advisers defended me to their own oblivion. Thankfully, I can remake them within the new parameters of the changes I initiated earlier. Chin up, Orion, and I will spend an evening with you later at your place. Back to the game, folks!" And he logged out of Sandbox and proceeded to log into S'taurrior I Standard game interface. Upon his character screen, he selected Princess Zeia Quadwalker and shifted the character off into non-playable NPC status which other characters could encounter and Rebels could receive missions from her later.

    Within the now empty number two slot, Bert selected 'Create New Character'. For species and gender, he chose Kangataur Male. Then he applied the colors that he recalled Arnie Roo looked like and applied these to the new male pouched and miniature horned Kangataur. A virtual Devi-Roo-Taur. Then the faction selection came up and he chose 'Performer'. Within the name box, he typed 'Arnie Skyruroo'. In the basic skills area, he was permitted to choose three; Bert chose 'Baker: Chocolatier', 'Musician: Drummer', and 'Courtesan: Masseuse'. Then he chose the 'Randomize For Remaining Skills' selection. The Kangataur ended up with 'Resource Gathering', 'Electronic Repairs', and 'Pilot: Small Craft'. At that point, he was given twenty points to spend on his five character stats. He placed three points each on Power, Dodging, Health, and Smarts. Then he dumped the remaining eight points into Charisma. This made his statistics read as follows: P15, D15, H15, S15, and C20. This meant that Sky would be an above average fighter with an enormous attraction and/or leadership score. When he finished the character, he clicked on 'UploadMemoryDisk' and installed the former knowledge that Sky had before his demise into the new version of himself. Next up, the new world of choice for the Kangataur to originate from. A new sector without population was selected pretty close to Goldilocks Three. A red star was selected as the star of choice for the system. Then the home world was placed in the third orbital ring from their sun. Swampy, Forested, and Farming Continents were placed throughout the vast ocean on the planet itself. The natural air on their world smelled like both Rut and Heat at the same time. Outsiders visiting without a safety suit were infected by a raging hard on or the abject desire to get fucked by any locals living on the planet. Since Bert was allowed to choose three species originate from the new world, he chose DevilKangataurs, Hellhoundtaurs, and DevilMousetaurs as the base species. The three main factions on world were Merchants, Crafters, and Performers. Bert installed a visitation warning to all players whom sought to visit this world that would inform them of the sexual contamination that existed on this planet. Safety suits were required for visitors to retain their sanities. He then named the planet, Demowood. When Bert was done, he rotated the character disc that 'Arnie Skyruroo' was standing on to look at him all around. "What a stud. I owe him some private time in game. I hope he appreciates what I am doing for him."

    Within the third character slot, he selected 'Create New Character'. For species and gender, he chose Skunktaur Male. Then he applied the colors that Timesy had shown him for Scentheart Skunk whom was also a Skunktaur and Bert applied these to the new male mincy and prancy Skunktaur. Then the faction selection came up and he chose 'Crafter'. Within the name box, he typed 'Bryan Scentaur'. In the basic skills area, he chose his allotted three; Bert chose 'Programmer', 'Armsmith', and 'Shipwright'. Then he chose the 'Randomize For Remaining Skills' selection. The Skunktaur ended up with 'Automaton Builder', 'Light Mastery', and 'Luck'. At that point, he was given twenty points to spend on his five character stats. He placed three points each on Power, Dodging, Health, and Charisma. Then he dumped the remaining eight points into Smarts. This made his statistics read as follows: P15, D15, H15, S20, and C15. This meant that Bryan would be an above average fighter with an enormous skill bonuses and/or success rate. When he finished the character, he clicked on 'UploadMemoryDisk' and installed the former knowledge that Bryan had before his demise into the new version of himself. Next up, the new world of choice for the Skunktaur to originate from. A new sector without population was selected on the other side of Adminos. A green star was selected as the star of choice for the system. Then the home world was placed in the sixth orbital ring from their sun. Mountainous, Forested, and River strewn landscapes were placed throughout the wilderness of a world that didn't seem to have any oceans. The natural air on this world was fresh and crisp as the smell of plants and trees overwhelmed the senses on a given day. The star port as well as any clan cities were positioned on the green mountains since landing in the forests would cause the ships in question to get stuck in the thick woodlands and former ruins of ancient civilizations. Since Bert was allowed to choose three species originate from the new world, he chose Skunktaurs, Equitaurs, and Jaguartaurs as the base species. The three main factions on world were Rebels, Crafters, and Smugglers. Bert installed a welcome message to players visiting the world that the market would be open to all. He then named the planet, Druidon VI. When Bert was done, he rotated the character disc that 'Bryan Scentaur' was standing on to look at him all around. "Your skills will come to good use, Bryan. I hope you will be happy on your new world. I will play you soon."

    Within the fourth character slot, he selected 'Create New Character'. For species and gender, he chose Jackaltaur Male. Then he applied the colors that Taru Twintaur once had and Bert applied these to the new male honest and alert Jackaltaur. Then the faction selection came up and he chose 'Red Badge'. Within the name box, he typed 'Taru Moonstrider'. In the basic skills area, he chose his allotted three; Bert chose 'Combat Mastery', 'Locksmith', and 'Mysticism'. Then he chose the 'Randomize For Remaining Skills' selection. The Jackaltaur ended up with 'Psionic Mastery', 'Jack-of-all-Trades', and 'Teleportation'. At that point, he was given twenty points to spend on his five character stats. He placed five points each on Dodging, Health, Smarts, and Charisma. This made his statistics read as follows: P12, D17, H17, S17, and C17. This meant that Taru would be an excellent fighter with adequate skill bonuses and success rates. When he finished the character, he clicked on 'UploadMemoryDisk' and installed the former knowledge that Taru had before his demise into the new version of himself. Next up, the new world of choice for the Jackaltaur to originate from. A new sector without population was selected on the third side of the triangle that Bert was constructing around Dezerdine. A tan star was selected as the star of choice for the system. Then the home world was placed in the second orbital ring from their sun. Sandy Deserts, Swindswept Plains, and Rich Oceans were placed throughout the world, althouh a few small islands dotted the huge oceans. The main star port was coastal although the local Red Badge Academy was placed some leagues from the star port. This academy trained both Quadi Knights as well as Freedom Fighters and Port Defenders. Since Bert was allowed to choose three species originating from the new world, he chose German Shepardtaurs, Jackaltaurs, and Wolftaurs as the base species. The three main factions on world were Rebels, Imperials, and the Red Badge. Bert installed a warning message to players visiting the world that the red badge had an academy on this world. He then named the planet, Heartstone. When Bert was done, he rotated the character disc that 'Taru Moonstrider' was standing on to look at him all around. "A fine honest freedom fighter you will make, old friend. I hope you will be happy on your new world as well. I will play you soon."

    Within the fifth character slot, he selected 'Create New Character'. For species and gender, he chose Donkeytaur Male. Then he applied colors that he remembered from Pinnochio in which Lampwick ended up as and Bert applied these to the new male hardworking Donkeytaur. Then the faction selection came up and he chose 'Smuggler'. Within the name box, he typed 'Action Jack'. In the basic skills area, he chose his allotted three; Bert chose 'Piloting: Maneuvers', 'Ships Weapons', and 'Emergency repair'. Then he chose the remaining skills. The Donkeytaur was given 'Luck', 'Guesswork', and 'Haggling'. At that point, he was given thirty points to spend on his five character stats. He placed six points each on Power, Dodging, Health, Smarts, and Charisma. This made his statistics read as follows: P18, D18, H18, S18, and C18. This meant that Action would be an above average fighter with an nice skill bonuses and success rates. Next up, the new world of choice for the Donkeytaur to originate from. A new sector without population was selected near the Void Nebula. A purple star was selected as the star of choice for the system. Then the home world was placed in the fourth orbital ring from their sun. Rubber Swamps, Clay Mud Flats, Tar Pits, and Amusement Parks were placed throughout the only continent on the planet. The ocean was a source of excellent fishing. The air had a polluted smell from the swamps and pools spread around the swamps. The only safe place to live and work was at the amusement parks and star port. Since Bert was allowed to choose three species originating from the new world, he chose Donkeytaurs, Tigertaurs, and Ottertaurs as the base species. The three main factions on world were Merchants, Smugglers, and Performers.
    End of Chapter 02


      Chapter 03

      Bert then installed a message to visiting players that the world was a good R&R zone and it had minor resources whereupon if a player wanted to acquire a resource, they were welcome to mine it themselves at their own risk. He then named the planet, Pleasure II. When Bert was done, he rotated the character disc that 'Action Jack' was standing on to look at him all around. "You might be a lot of fun to play with, Jack. I will see you soon."

      Bert now activated the Admin character edit for Lukas Quadwalker. A Retrievertaur Male of a Honey Mustard coloration. He didn't have to mess with Faction since Lukas was an Imperial under duress. In the basic skills area, he chose his allotted three; Bert chose 'Piloting: All Crafts', 'Quadi Blades', and 'Teleportation'. Then for his remaining skills, he chose for Lukas 'Luck', 'Acrobatics', and 'Persuasion'. Lukas' statistics read as follows: P22, D22, H22, S22, and C22. This meant that Lukas would be a superb fighter with an excellent skill bonuses and higher success rates. Then Bert began the edit on Dezerdine. Since Bert was allowed to choose three species originating from Dezerdine, he chose Retrievertaurs, Leotaurs, and Dragotaurs as the base species. The three main factions on world were Imperials, Merchants, and Performers. Then Bert clicked 'Save Edit' as he rotated the character disc that 'Lukas Quadwalker' was standing on to look at him all around. "I just improved your world and skills, Lukas. I hope you appreciate this gift. I know you want to play this game without bonuses. Make no mistake, you are my number one character."

      Selecting 'Arnie Skyruroo', Bert logged into the game. Then he played the tutorial and did the required quests. He then selected an ex-harem ship and installed an advanced engine into the power core. Then he did a mission off planet and returned making an adequate landing. As he gained rank two, the game announced that the tutorial had ended and the player was free to do as he liked. Bert activated the 'Player-to-Character' chat box and he said, "So Sky? 'ow did Ah do for my first time playing yas?" Sky replied, "Yas were awesome and Ah love this ship! Yas seem to read my mind, mate! Ah loves yas!" Bert typed into Global Chat, "Look out, S'taurrior! Skyruroo is loose!"

      There was no reply right away, but eventually, a player typed, "Why is Skyruroo being loose a bad thing? Wasn't he that really nice fuel manager back on Dezerdine?"

      Bert typed, "Ah 'ad to reinvent the character due to an issue with my account. Sky is no longer on Dezerdine. And for safety warning, Sky's 'ome world is called Demowood. Ah am curious... why does the game server seem so empty at the moment? Ah don't recall this place ever being this quiet before."

      The player seemed to grin as he typed the question, "Bert, is that you in Sky's Kangataur character?"

      Bert smild as he typed, "Kudos to yas, mate. Yas nailed me. So where is everyone?"

      The player typed, "All of the war gaming players are all trying out the PVP server. With them gone from the main game, you can see how peaceful it is around here. I am actually getting quests done without the prick's threats hammering me when I get too close to something they claim is theirs. By the way, I am Aaron Graypony of Taurheel Junction. The town is pretty quiet since the rescue and partial restorations. It used to be that you could see thirty to forty neighbors a day on main street. Now the place seems to be drying up and blowing away. My family won't move and most of our former neighbors chose to get the restorations before leaving. If it weren't for this game, Bert, I'd lay myself across the railway tracks. I am so bored when I am not in game."

      Bert typed, "Are yas old enough to live away from yer parents, Aaron? If yas were, Ah could let yas stay 'ere with me at the Two Rivers base. I need to take the rest of this to PVID, Aaron." And he then opened up the private messaging portion of the chat and he clicked 'PVID-Aaron Graypony'. When the video window came on, Bert saw that Aaron was a gray colored Skunktaur that was the size of a My Little Pony. "Hi Aaron. I couldn't tell you this next part in Global Chat and I would advise that you don't either. I added in a new feature during the downtime earlier that will help lonely players retain an ounce of sanity." He then explained the 'safe visitation to a character' feature in the player personal profile section of his client and how it worked. "You will never have to be alone again. I recall back when a player asked me how I could have my characters in the real world; well, we aren't ready to authorize that as yet. But we have opened up 'Safe Visitation to Character' in his world or ship. The standard visit limit is the same as a standard gaming session in S'taurrior. I hope this helps you, Aaron. No one deserves to be all alone."

      Aaron was smiling after getting the explanation. "Dal was right about you, Bert. I'd have to ask my parents for permission to go live with you, but if you have the room for someone like me, I'd love to come join you in your home. My Imperial Skunktaur, an Arms Merchant named General Wilscent Taurkin is nearly rank Fifty. Since Imperial collars were the only game collars available for Taurheel Junction, I am sorta screwed with being forced to play an Imperial although Taurkin has sympathized with me since he knows how lonely I am locally."

      Bert said, "As a game admin, Aaron, I can authorize a one-time edit to help your character. The next time, you would have to ask Orion and you know what his life is currently like. Anyway, Ask Taurkin (other than Imperial,) which of the following Factions he might be interested in switching over to. The list is as follows: 'Rebels', 'Imperials', 'Merchants', 'Smugglers', 'Crafters', 'Red Badges', and 'Performers'. Rebels and Imperials is obvious. Of course, he could choose to do as I did with Lukas, an Imperial gone rogue. The next three are self explanatory. The Red Badges are like the Marines and police forces of the individual star ports and market places. Performers can even hire them for protection. Performers are the R&R specialists. This could include acting, singing, playing musical instruments, and even 'ahem' services... if you know what I mean, and I think you do..." He winked at the end as he said, "Twenty three skiddoo."

      Aaron said, "Let me ask Taurkin what he thinks." And he paused as the other Imperial Skunktaur was seen in the PVID screen. Taurkin replied, "I am an arms merchant, therefore it makes sense to join the Merchant faction. I would never do harm to my player. I care too much about him. His getting to visit me soon will make us both happy. Switch me over to the Merchant faction, Bert Thomas. I assume that will open up new quests for me, yes?"

      Bert replied, "General Taurkin, a pleasure to meet you. Yes, although each Faction have their own quests to take advantage of. If you were teamed up with a player from another faction, they could share the quest they are working on with you and then you could try out the faction quest from their list. And you could share one of yours with another player. However, in the old days, quest sharing was in place and no one bothered to use it. But the choice has always been there. This will take a few minutes. The only thing that will publicly change around your character will be the faction listing. Give me a moment." And Bert opened up the debug menu and searched for player faction edits, he soon found it and then he typed in Wilscent Taurkin and hit enter, the profile sheet for Aaron's character appeared for Bert to look over. He clicked on the faction edit and he removed Imperial and selected Merchant from the drop-down list. Then he clicked save and as a gift to Taurkin for being reasonable, he gave the Skunktaur free fueling for a month and a ship repair/upgrade token to be added to Aaron's Taurkin account. Then Bert returned to the PVID call and said, "It is done. Please enjoy the gifts I gave you, sir. And now I need to talk to Aaron again."
      End of Chapter 03


        Chapter 04

        Taurkin moved away from the piloting station in game to return to the star port where he had been. Aaron was seen again as he said, "What else is on your mind, Bert?"

        Bert said, "All players were given seven free character slots. And when you make a new character from now on, you can choose a faction from the list during character creation."

        Aaron smiled again. "You really are too good for us. I need to get going. My dad just pulled on my ear to get my attention. I'll talk to him about my moving in with you at Two Rivers. Thanks again, Bert." And the PVID call ended and Aaron logged out of the game.

        Bert then logged Sky out and then he clicked on Bryan's character. "Your turn now, Bryan." Bert logged into the game. Then he played the tutorial and did the required quests. He then selected a blacksmithing delivery ship and installed an advanced engine into the power core. Then he did a mission off planet and returned making an adequate landing. As he gained rank two, the game announced that the tutorial had ended and the player was free to do as he liked. Bert activated the 'Player-to-Character' chat box and he said, "Bryan? You are now official. How was it?" Bryan replied, "Thank you for making me yourself this time. I don't feel that romantic desire to trick you anymore. I will try my best to do good in your eyes, Bert." Bert typed into Global Chat, "Heads up, Bryan Scentaur crafted his way out of the tutorial!"

        Bert then logged Bryan out and then he clicked on Taru's character. "Your turn now, Taru." Bert logged into the game. Then he played the tutorial and did the required quests. He then selected a red badge ship and installed an advanced engine into the power core. Then he did a mission off planet and returned making an adequate landing. As he gained rank two, the game announced that the tutorial had ended and the player was free to do as he liked. Bert activated the 'Player-to-Character' chat box and he said, "Taru? I remade you into my official account. How do you feel?" Taru replied, "I'm not a Foxtaur anymore. But that's okay. Just do your best when you are playing me, Bert." Bert typed into Global Chat, "Taru Moonstrider defended his way through the tutorial!" Then he typed back to Taru. "I wasn't comfortable with the Foxtaur, Taru. Not with the Game Masters yanking me around. I can edit your species, if you want me to." Taru quickly replied, "No, no, Bert! I'm willing to give this a try! If it doesn't work out then you can edit me back into a Foxtaur! I do love my new skills and powers!"

        Bert then logged Taru out and then he clicked on Action's character. "Your turn now, Action." Bert logged into the game. Then he played the tutorial and did the required quests. He then selected a carnival styled fighter ship and installed an advanced engine into the power core as well as an advanced weapon system into the gunnery. Then he did a mission off planet and returned making an adequate landing. As he gained rank two, the game announced that the tutorial had ended and the player was free to do as he liked. Bert activated the 'Player-to-Character' chat box and he said, "Action? How did it feel to be teamed up with a human?" Action grinned as he replied, "I'll let you know once I get to sleep with you, Bert. Everyone says that you are cute." Bert typed into Global Chat, "The Carnival is coming to town! Action Jack is ready for adventure!"

        Bert then logged Action out and then he clicked on Lukas' character. "Your turn now, Lukas." Bert logged into the game and he opened up a PVID to Orion. When Orion's muzzle appeared in the video window, Bert said, "Orion... is no one using the Global Chat in PVP? I am in the Standard game over here and Global Chat is dead silent and there are few players in game over here. Aaron Graypony told me that the others are all trying the PVP server."

        Orion replied, "I altered Global Chat for the PVP servers, Bert. The players quickly started getting vulgar. so instead of their flooding the standard servers with that smut, I changed Global Chat to Guild Chat I am assuming they haven't even noticed that only their guild mates can hear their complaints. One of the most pompous prickish players attacked an NPC and as you warned me, we got to see that player get his ass handed to him. I had just answered an inquiry as to why the NPCs are that powerful. I told them that in PVP, NPCs had extra training in order to defend themselves from hateful players and their characters. And that's when the player started getting vulgar. Now you know why the Global Chat has been silenced."

        Bert then said, "If a player or a group of players do manage to defeat or kill a neutral NPC, they are going to be greatly disappointed. Neutral NPCs are only worth one experience point. Evil NPCs are worth the normal amount. The fighting abilities and defenses may be greater, but their worth has not increased at all. In PVP, all players are automatically set as killable. And worse, the character stays dead until the player logs out and six real hours pass. I set it that way to prevent cheating."

        Orion said, "I was wondering about that. I think you did the right thing, Bert. As long as these players are careful, they won't die."

        Bert then said, "One more thing, Orion... Dead in that world's PVP also means dead in the Standard universe until the timer ends. As you said, they should be more careful."

        Orion said, "I don't know how you set the experience for killing other players, but I am thinking that a character five or more levels lower than you should yield only one experience point. Twenty XP for four levels lower, Forty XP for three levels lower, Sixty for two levels lower, Eighty for one level lower, One hundred for same level characters, One Twenty for one level higher, One Forty for two levels higher, One Sixty for three levels higher, One Eighty for four levels higher, Two hundred for five levels higher, and finally, anything above that level of difference could yield a lucky player with a Thousand XP. By the way, Bert, may I spend the night with you at your place?"

        Bert replied, "You will need to tell your brother your plans. But you can shack up with me if you really need to. I need to get a quest started for Lukas, but later, I need to get out of game and see about making dinner here at the base. Talk to you later, Orion." and he ended the PVID call and proceeded to take a quest with Lukas.

        After the quest ended, Lukas said to Bert, "No offense to the PVP players, but I think PVP sessions should only occur once a night; say from nine P.M. to Midnight. And then not even accessible until the next evening. I really don't want to adventure in a ghost town type of game. Are we still going to go camping this weekend?"

        Bert replied, "I'll send Orion your opinion on PVP sessions. As for the camping trip, we have not cancelled it. We are still going. Time to log out and see about making dinner. Are you hungry, Lukas?"

        Lukas nodded his muzzle as his stomach growled. "Who asked you? I guess that's a yes."

        Bert asked, "Would you be willing to accept a Shared Existence offer with me so I can have you in the real world with me?"

        Lukas said, "I would be willing as long as we didn't get in trouble for doing this." And when Lukas received the offer, he clicked 'Accept Offer'.
        End of Chapter 04


          Chapter 05

          That night, Bert had Linus, Dal, and Orion as well as Lukas (an Imperial gone rogue,) Clan (a filthy Rebel smuggler,) Spots (a Rebel Dalmatiantaur,) Nebulan (an Imperial Typhoon Trooper Foxtaur,) Skyruroo (a Performer Kangataur,) Bryan (a Crafter Skunktaur,) Taru (a Red Badge Jackaltaur,) and Action (a Smuggler Donkeytaur) in the Two Rivers base for a shared dinner between the group of them. Bert stood up and announced, "Tonight's dinner is under a truce of non-aggression. I know that several of you characters might have been at each other's throats in the game, but tonight... everyone gets a good meal. Normally, characters cannot be in the real world, but tonight is an exception being governed over by Orion and the rest of us. King Kazma is monitoring distantly to see how this truce goes between players and characters. A new feature I opened up without Orion's permission in the game recently allows a player to safely visit their characters in game for a reasonable time. If the character tries to do bodily harm to the player, the player is auto-rescued and sent back to their point of safe arrival, meaning where you started from, in the real world, before the visit. If Orion wishes to revoke this at a later date, I will not be offended; I was just listening to the words of many of the Taur Players whom are lonely in their lives back at their homes and having another Taur around to talk to would cheer them up something fierce. This new feature which only players can use can be found in their Personal Player Profile. There is an agreement form that has to be agreed to that states that Staff will not be held accountable for any problems that the Players have with their characters during said visits. Your being here tonight does not utilize this feature. I simply used a S'taurrion ability that I have access to that opens a personal star gate between myself and the target I wish to access."

          Bert then sat back down to enjoy his meal, while Lukas and Sky nuzzled on him from both sides. Bryan sat next to Sky, while Taru and Action were seated next to Lukas.

          Sky said, "I provided the meal tonight since one of my skills is cooking."

          Bert then said, "Thank you for not getting yourselves killed in PVP earlier tonight. As I told Orion in private, dying in PVP also puts that character out of action in the Standard server for up to six hours. You might call it a side mission."

          After a few bites of food in apparent silence, Bert broke the quiet by saying, "Another reason for having you guys together tonight is in regards toward improving the game. Sometimes a character has some pretty good ideas for improving a game that has seen some difficulty. I would like for the characters to speak up on anything in game that has bothered any of you, as long as it isn't the actions of another player's character. Furthermore, most Rebels are not always good and most Imperials are not always evil despite what the prick players were enforcing on nearly all of the other players and characters in game. Now will you people please speak up?"

          Nebulan then used a napkin to clean his lips as he spoke up, "Since you want to discuss game balance, there are a few things I can bring up that might make Rebels wish I had kept my trap shut. First of all, the beginning tutorials in game are too short and do not award the correct amount of ranks and experience that if you redid the tutorial in normal game would actually offer better rewards. Players have to get out of bed and follow the in-game instructions to learn how to do all the basic things Taurs take for granted in their real lives. This is followed up by a guided sparring match with a practice dummy. The next part of the tutorial involves going after an NPC felon, fight the person, bring them in, and turn them in for the bounty. At the end of this part, a rank or two should have been awarded but instead, the player is asked to purchase a space worthy fighting ship for the partner character to use to get off of the planet. And after a brief flight tutorial as well as a ship to ship NPC space battle, the player is instructed to fly the ship back to the star port and make a landing following the last of the instructions. At this point, the Tutorial ends, and the last earned rank should be awarded. As from my example, the ending rank should be Rank Three or Four at the minimum. Instead, the player is penalized to Rank Two and then the player gets to choose a new skill and spend advancement points to improve his stats and his skill ranks. I hardly call this balanced. It is like it was put together and not even tested." Then he noticed Orion looking abashed. "Oh... I forgot that you made this game, partner. But Bert did ask, and I simply responded. But I have more to say."

          Orion quietly said, "Oh, do go on. I made you to be very opinionated."

          Nebulan then said to the group at large. "This Tutorial complaint only covered playing a male Taur. If you create and play a female Taur, that is when you get to see how chauvinistic the game truly is. It takes several unnecessary pop shots at a female's femininity. Bert tried this once and he saw for himself how the game treats females. Gender should not be a factor in how the game's difficulty is doled out to the players. Factions do make a difference. Forcing a faction just because you have black fur is racist. As Bert stated earlier, having black fur does not make you evil, nor should it make you only be an Imperial simply because of color. Now back to the original complaint..."

          The Typhoon Trooper said, "Once you are outside the Tutorial, if you go to check the normal prices of a ship in the exact model that you chose during the tutorial and I have done this... You will find that the prices are jacked up out of this galaxy. But if you try to sell your ship expecting to get a percentage of the full price, the player is told that they cannot sell their ship until they own at least two ships. I futzed around during times when Epsilon was playing my account and I acquired a one-Taur fighter and then I tried to sell the Tutorial ship once again and I got the same message: you must own two ships before you can sell one. Eventually, I got an armada of ships and then I entered the ship sales portion of the game. And that's when I learned that the Tutorial Ship is unable to be sold. You can only get rid of it if it gets destroyed in battle or you abandon it. Had I been able to sell the cheap weak thing early on, I could have gotten a better ship to use in game. This just screamed highly unfair and I am an Imperial. Staying on the topic of ship unfairness... When an Imperial is chasing a Rebel in a ship versus ship chase, even if your ship is upgraded with better engines and maneuverability, the Rebels' ships (even though they might be using the Tutorial ship or another model that is not even upgraded,) can out fly and out maneuver the Imperial ship effectively getting away as if they had better hardware. I see no game balance in this. And that is why the Imperial Pricks were doing what they had been doing in game. And then you came along, Bert, and asked to balance out the game involving things you thought were unfair. Every time you tried to introduce an idea that would have improved the game immensely, either Orion or Epsilon would shoot you down giving off some sort of prefabricated poppycock excuse that does not hold water in other games. That was when you started your own universe and even then, Orion and Epsilon would not allow you full access to make your universe balanced. Finally, you had to resort to building a version of the game without Orion's direct knowledge. S'taurrior III was originally supposed to be based off of the first game but ironed out with real world physics and a completely balanced universe. When Orion found out about S'taurrior III, you had to change your plans and cancelled the balanced project because you knew that there was no way in hell the black foxtaur brothers were going to let an outsider change their CONTROL-FREAK 'RECRUITER'S PARADISE' HELL HOLE OF A GAME!" Nebulan had stood up at the end and had gotten unintentionally loud. He was panting hard as he looked apologetic as he sat himself back down.

          Then he quietly said, "I'm sorry; but this has been bothering me for quite some time."

          Spots then said, "Now that the ice has been broken, and as odd as this might sound coming from me, I have to agree with everything that Nebulon just said. I have been on the run from Imperials whom piloted older ships and gotten away, but if I were to fly into an ambush, my player's thoughts were always, we're as good as caught. But then a weird programmed 'save the good guys' type of protocol would activate and we Rebels would get away."
          End of Chapter 05


            Chapter 06

            Spots then continued, "Even though we knew we were caught, we would manage to escape which made no sense at all. As Nebulon stated, this hardly seems fair. If we are honestly caught, there should be no instant escape. I mean, where is the game balance if the Rebels always escape? It removes decent role playing capability and just says, all parts of this game is loaded with enough unfair cheats to keep the player so addicted that they want to live in this trap rather than to make something of their real lives."

            Lukas now spoke up. "When Bert first made me and we teamed up with Linus' character Clan... there is a rather silly override in the game's programming making it so if your player sends a 'Friend Request' to another player and they accept it even if they are not in the same faction; all of a sudden, the character can no longer act in the manner for which their faction might say they have to act in. As all of you know, before Bert had me go rogue, I was an Imperial with Imperial thoughts. Initially, my reaction to a filthy rebel smuggler named Clan Single would have been to get him caught in an ambush or to double-cross him just so I could either win in the end or rob his ass blind. After the friend request was accepted, my stance on Clan Single changed to: 'This bastard owes me Creds and he did something with a ring I used to own. He is going to pay me back or else I will have to hurt him. Even though we are friends; he simply joined the wrong side.' An accepted friend request shouldn't change your stance in the Faction you belong to."

            Bert added, "As Nebulan and Spots mentioned earlier, this is what good role playing is supposed to be. There should be a suggested faction replies list for players to choose from when they are talking to people in other fations. Rather than just popping up double cross offers to get Linus' character captured, it might have been better if the two of us sparred inside the ship and the winner of the sparring match got to decide where to go afterward."

            Linus said, "Even though I am more experienced in the game, Bert could have gotten lucky with an action through Lukas, getting Clan defeated. It happens in other games, so it is a possibility."

            Clan then remarked, "You may not recall this, Linus, but way back when we first started playing the game, we got captured a lot. After a whole group of Rebels, Linus and his friends, had sat in Imperial prison for several game days with no chance of escape, they threatened to quit the game. After they registered this complaint, all of their characters were moved back to their rebel base. Meaning an instant escape."

            Orion said, "Linus was the leader of one of the most powerful non-guild rebel groups at the time. If he and his friends had quit the game, then the whole concept of the game would have been defeated. So I had to treat their imprisonment as a game glitch just so they wouldn't quit."

            Nebulon said, "Not to mention... Linus is one of the best advertisers for this game that exists; if he quit, then he wouldn't speak so highly of the game anymore and the whole thing would slide into obscurity. Before he told you about S'taurrior, Bert, what would your normal game playing activities had covered? Be honest since you want that from us."

            Bert sighed. "I wasn't really into the whole Sci-Fi thing, originally. My usual forte in gaming would have been Lord of the Rings, Ultima, Dungeons and Dragons, and even an obscure game I found out too late about called Unigaea Adventures. By the time I had learned about the last game, the company had already shelfed it due to a lack of popularity. But after Linus rewarded me with a S'taurrior game collar for acing the village basics, I quikly was immersed into the Quadreaen game world. In fact, if Linus had not told me that I had been in game for four hours, I likely would have done as Orion originally did that Epsilon told us about... needing to be rescued from the game as our outward bodies died without our knowledge. After that close call with evading the addiction, another instance came up later when I was working on trying to balance the game and Orion told me that I was neglecting Lukas whom wanted me to play him in the game. This so-called 'neglect' had two purposes; one, I was trying to avoid getting stuck in the game, and two, I was working on the very thing that Orion had originally asked for my help with. All of a sudden, balancing the game was no longer important; my spending time with Lukas was. And as was already brought up, the original S'taurrior III concept was to be a balanced game as a rewrite to how Orion had envisioned the original game to be. But when the cat was let out of the bag, we shelfed the balanced rewrite and I worked on the alternate S'taurrior for kids game that occurred all on one world."

            Suddenly Orion said, "I don't recall telling you to spend time with Lukas, Bert. That was likely Epsilon during that time when he masqueraded as me using my game collar. Our voices do sound the same and if a person is distracted, your mind isn't paying attention to colors when you are speaking to someone. I wanted you to work on the balanced game universe. As for Unigaea Adventures... I have heard of it. The main two reasons the game fell on the way side is because, one, the in-game humor was over the top. It was based off of a pre-release stand-alone product called Damsels and Dragons; a parody of Dungeons and Dragons; and two, by the time this game came out, the player public wass tired of games where you had to play a human-based species. There was no variety. So if we were to acquire the rights to Unigaea Adventures and rename it to Unigaea Chronicles, remove the comedy element, and change all human-based species into Taurs, it could become the medieval version of S'taurrior that you once mentioned being interested in."

            Bert said, "If you would do that for me, you Taurs would have a friend for life in me even if only Taurs played the rewrote game."

            Nebulon said, "As long as you resume work on the balanced S'taurrior MMO universe, I can agree with this plan. But I just thought about something else; the Dream Team for Card Launcher games are already doing what I am about to suggest. The Taur Star Games game collar could be used to access multiple game platforms hosted by Orion's company. Taur Sci-Fi is already covered, Taur Medieval is what Bert had just suggested. Other formats could include, Taur Superhero; Taur Soldier Combat; Taur Terror; as well as Taur Swashbuckling on the High Seas. All of these formats could be released over the Taur Star Network of games through one game collar. Orion could even make it so some games could only be accessed it given as a reward or even direct purchase access; players pay a one-time fee for permanent access to the game and then in-game purchases could be made within the game itself. Since S'taurrior is already free, the S'taurrior MMO could be one of the pay to join games. If a free-loading prick saw that you had to pay to get in, they might give the game a pass since they wouldn't want to pay to get in; they would want free access. I would suggest that Soldier Combat and Swashbuckling be pay to play."

            Orion suggested, "Sci-Fi equals S'taurrior; Medieval/Terror equals Quadrugaia; Superhero/Soldier Combat equals Protectaurs; Swashbuckling equals Privataurs. How does that sound for a list of basics?" Four formats to give players a choice of first person gaming in Taur Star Games. S'taurrior MMO would be the only premium version of the game. Protectaurs would have two sub-formats, one would be the free to play superhero/supervillain role playing format; the second would be the premium World of War soldier combat version of the game. Privataurs would be premium from the word go. Staff could get in for free, but staff would not be able to grant other players free access to a premium game."

            Bert decided to be funny at that moment, as he said, "One collar to rule them all, One collar to find them, One collar to bring them all, And in the Taur games bind them." The result was not what Bert was expecting as every Taur at the table applauded the boy's altered statement. What he thought was going to be comedy, turned out to be serious to his Taur friends. "Guys, I altered a quote from Lord of the Rings; One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."
            End of Chapter 06


              Chapter 07

              Orion then said, "I can contact The Saul Zaentz Company back on Earth and ask them for permission to use this altered quote in our advertising of Taur Star Games. We could even pay a licensing fee for the rights to use a variation of their quote. All I would have to do is place a disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the game world choices log-in screen, the statement that the altered quote has the proper permissions from The Saul Zaentz Company."

              Orion took a breath before continuing. "How does this sound, when a gamer activates the collar, the first thing they see is the choices window. At the top would be the phrase: Welcome to Taur Star Games. Just below that in slide show carousel format would be the game choice windows; a game not yet open would have a placeholder that would be greyed out with the game name in the box so players know what is coming soon to the game company. Beneath the slide show carousel would be the words: One collar to rule them all, One collar to find them, One collar to bring them all, And in the Taur games bind them. In smaller print below that would be the smaller disclaimer in white on shadowed print to make it legible. Clicking on an available game choice window would lead to the next selection of windows. In S'taurrior, this would equal out to the four windows of: S'taurrior I, the Adventure Begins; S'taurrior II, Rise of the Quadi Knights; S'taurrior III, S'taurrion 500, an Ancestoral Adventure; and in the greyed out fourth window, S'taurrior MMO, which would also be marked as Premium. Maybe a fifth window marked as PVP Play. Clicking on that one would take you to a duplicate of the window choices you just saw only these would be PVP only. The MMO in all formats would always stay premium. If you have never played the game before, clicking on a game choice window would play the introductory movie for the game with the option to skip the movie next time, although a user could view the movie at any time. Clicking on the premium window would allow a user to watch the movie but then it would ask you for payment to gain access to the game. You cannot skip the movie in premium unless you have legally acquired access to that game. I think that sums up my idea for the multi-game collars. Comments?"

              Dal said, "Maybe on the welcome screen when you guys do complete a game for release, there could be a fade away pop-up window one time only to advertise that the new game is available. That way players don't just zoom straight in to their favorite game. They get an alert that a new game is available."

              Linus then said, "If this is to be the plan for the game company, then the old game collars need to be replaced; currently, the format they operate in can barely handle the three games that you squeezed into the log-in screen. If Bert hadn't made use of drop-down windows on that screen then the PVP modes would not be available either."

              Bert then said, "Continuing this line of thought... on the log-in screen of the old collars would be a 'Request New Game Collar' link. Clicking this could magically replace their old collar with the new collar, or they would be express shipped the new collar. Logging into the new collar with a former player account, would automatically make it so you cannot log into the old collar with the same account. No one is required to upgrade to the new collars; give the players the choice. Just make mention that no more upgrades would be made available to the old collars. The old collars would only grant access to the original games and they would have no access to the MMO unless they upgraded the collar. Does that sound fair, Orion?"

              Orion looked to the others at the table. "Let's take a vote... All in favor of this upgrade, raise your hand; if you are against it, don't move and simply state why you are abstaining. No one will be upset with your vote. At least they better not be. I just want my games to work safely and be balanced. We will go down the line; when it is your turn, either raise your hand or explain why you don't think it is a good idea."

              Without warning, standing on the tabletop wearing his gamer jacket was one member of the Dream Team; Big Z of ZecCorp. "King Kazma was letting me watch your meeting with him. As long as you get the proper licensing rights and other permissions, I can help to further advertise your games. I can even make the game collars available in some of our premium game shops around the country. Most players are battle card crazy currently; but a game accessed through a stylish collar would certainly turn a few heads, for sure. Furthermore, we can establish a MeTube account for your game company where you could upload the game introductory videos to entice future gamers to your offered games. MeTube would also permit people to make comments on your games and leave votes for approval or disapproval fairly. At current, when a player has a problem with your game, there is no format to make suggestions or even to vote on the game itself. Fix this, and you could get a flood of users interested in your worlds of gaming. I also can make introductory movies for games; I have access to symphony orchestras. With the proper music in a video, the opening movie can make the game more enjoyable. Without the music, it is a hit or miss process. I tinkered with the opening movie of S'taurrior I recently to add in music and to improve your opening graphics. If you would like, I can show you the completed result. I am not looking to steal nor purchase your game away from you."

              Orion maturely said, "Show it."

              Big Z set up a movie screen and then everyone got to hear and see the improved movie.

              "Some time ago in an alternate universe... the Imperial majesty established a great peace following a massive war that shattered alliances throughout Frontier. But when a new Emperor arose after assassinating the former one, the Imperial forces launched their conquest for control of the entire galaxy. A lone band of Rebels have vowed to put an end to the tyrannical rule of the jaded emperor. Forge alliances, experience drama and romance, fight in epic battles for freedom and glory as you emerse yourself in... S'taurrior! Your Quadraen destiny relies on forging alliances! - Coming soon from Taur Star Games."

              Orion said, "Change the word S'taurrior! to S'taurrior MMO! and it will be the new opening movie to the balanced MMO version of the game we are planning. I like the surround sound inclusion of the movie you have edited. Are we ready to vote, my friends?"

              Linus spoke up at this point. "One more thing to make available for inclusion in the MMO. Copies of an existing character can be uploaded into the MMO, but doing so removes all earned experience in the MMO version of the game. A player gets to keep their character but otherwise, they are starting all over again from scratch. This way, no one enters the new game with their old ranks and power structures. It becomes more fair to all players. Original Players should be told this in advance so no one is tricked into buying a game only to find that their former characters have been reduced to Rank One. Originally, I said I would be upset if I had to start all over again, but upon reflection in wanting a balanced game, I can see the need to have this done. Also, PVP should not be available for the original versions of the game; only for the MMO since it sort of already suggests that it would be more common place in the MMO itself. And we don't need a separate server for PVP either; just make it known that PVP will turn on at a certain hour and at a certain place in the main game and then if players want to participate in that zone, then they are given instant transport to the PVP combat zone. When Three hours passes, the event ends and all players are instantly returned to where they had been before joining the PVP session. Have the system wait thirty minutes while PVP tallies are calculated. Only then send out the rewards for those who participated. Maybe make it so a player has to perform a certain amount of good deeds in any PVP play to gain free access to a premium game. Since most players in PVP wouldn't figure that out, the secret reward would remain secret for a long time."
              End of Chapter 07


                Chapter 08

                Linus then concluded his line of thought. "During the heat of an attack, even if you knew about the secret reward, most players would be in survival mode rather than working toward a secret reward in game."

                Orion asked, "What would constitute as a good deed during PVP?"

                Linus thought about it before replying, "How about saving an opponent after you destroy their fighter ship? The opponent arrives in your ship's brig and is released when the PVP session ends."

                Orion then asked, "How many saves would be fair in this case?"

                Linus then countered with, "How many total players play S'taurrior in any format right now?"

                Orion brought out his handheld administration device which he showed to Big Z and then he typed into the search box, 'How many actual players exist in S'taurrior *?' He placed a wild card at the end to include all versions of the game. It didn't take long to reveal that the real number of players equalled out to... '9,629'. He then said, "We can round up to make it equal and fair. If Big Z advertises the game for us, we could easily go over this total number of players. So the new rounded fair total of good deeds becomes Ten Thousand even. There are currently 9,629 actual players in the game and only a fraction of them play in the PVP arena."

                Big Z then mentioned, "A standard full production MMO has a normal release cost of $59.99 in American dollars. As a game falls out of favor, the price is usually reduced by half the first time ($29.99,) and reduced by one fourth the final time ($14.99,) as it ends up in the bargain bin. Just because a game ends up in the bargain bin is no reason to discontinue a game that a lot of players may still play. Keep updates fresh and you will always have loyal players in the game."

                Bert then seemed to figure something out as he leaned forward and inquired, "Zecma, did you come here tonight to see about getting permission to convert S'taurrior into a battle card game? I mean your company has a lot of these types of games as well as some discontinued MMOs. You said early on that you were not here to buy out Orion of his hard work and dreams; so why the sudden interest? Or is Taur Star Games about to put your company in second place in the player market?"

                All eyes pivoted toward the Devil Mouse; apparently they respected Bert and when the boy figured something out, it meant serious business.

                Big Z folded his arms over his chest. "Mylanus told me about Orion's accident and how the parents reacted to a color change in their son. I felt sorry for Orion. Also, Kazma told me about the players request to have a game partner visit them in the real world. The only safe way to make that happen would be if the partner was rendered into a partner card in which the player could bring out of their game collars for a limited amount of time. This way we avoid the fiasco that occurred recently when the evil Imperials escaped from the game and tried to purge off the adults in S'taur View, including your father Ricky. I was going to offer Orion membership in the Dream Team, nothing more."

                The Devil Mouse now focused directly on Bert. "However, my main purpose for being here tonight is to deliver a message to you and your father, Ricky. The FBI is about to hold the court case regarding your mother, and she stated to the supreme court justice that if Ricky and Bert did not attend then the whole case was simply a kangaroo court act to prevent a man from paying alimony by running away and hiding in the amusement worlds. So you see, Bert, you and your father are going to have to go to the court trial back on Earth... or else, they have to release your mother despite the evidence which you have no Space Master Video evidence to back up whether she did these things or not. She has requested her own video files from Space Master and I have view them, Bert... she never hired anyone to kill Ricky. The video shows definitively that she is falsely accused. However, it does show that she wanted out of the marriage to Ricky and was dating other men. Did you know that your mother has a twin sister with the same name as she had. The video even shows that she never annulled the marriage to your father. She is still your mother depsite her actions."

                Bert then pointedly asked, "Which sister do the FBI have in custody, Zecma? This is important and if Kazma is still watching and listening, then he knows that this is serious business as well. My father would never give in to mom's sister, whom he never trusted at all."

                Big Z replied, "That, I do not know. I was going to check up on this turn of information, but the FBI told me to go inform Kazma and you boys of what was going down."

                Bert said, "I will inform my father of this development. But in the meantime, I want you to investigate this whole video shit and..." Then he paused as he remembered something else. No... I have a better idea." He grinned point blank with Big Z as the boy pulled out a Justice Patrol comm unit in the tiger's colors and he activated it. "Come in Time Shaman! This is Bert Thomas! I need you to investigate some conflicting time events!"

                To one side everyone was surprised when the Rainbow Rescue beam deposited a loveable undressed Caring Cousin tiger into their midst as he struck his pose and transformed.

                Timesheart Tiger exclaimed, "Heroic Rhyme! Caring Time!" His open furred body then lit up with the energies of the time stream itself which was like a rainbow ribbon enveloping his entire body. When the light subsided, he was orange-brown with black stripes all over his body. His undercoat was a creamy off-white and in the center of his tummy was a belly badge that appeared to be an hourglass with a functioning digital clock in the top portion while animated sand slowly trickled down through the center endlessly. There was a large red heart in the background next to a Doctor Who styled Tardis phone booth. Otherwise the tiger was wearing a futuristic styled time agent's uniform that was open around his belly to permit his caring symbol to be seen publicly. Civilly, he wore nice uniform slacks with a tool apron in the front and a tabard cloak in the back that extended down to his ankles. "Justice Patrol Number 3! Time Shaman!"

                Timesy exclaimed, "Lay it on me, Bert, you nice boy you!" Bert then explained what Zecma had revealed about this case and how his mom had a twin sister. And how one of the two was in FBI custody while the whereabouts of the other was unknown. Then he explained the Space Master Video records that contradicted what Bert himself had recorded with Kazma as a witness. "Go find out who is whom and find out if the validity of the video is for real or if the end product has been altered even in the slightest way. One of the twins has been trying to have dad assassinated." Timesy gave the boy a kiss on his lips and said, "To yesteryear I go. This shouldn't take too long at all, as in, count to ten slowly." And he vanished. Bert said, "I hope he doesn't get into any trouble for doing this for us." He was counting the seconds on his fingers as he spoke and before he reached ten, the tiger reappeared with one of Lord Io's high priest judges and the ibis like Scribe, as well as the famous elfin Space Master himself.
                End of Chapter 08


                  Chapter 09
                  Timesy said, "Bert, please repeat for my mentors what you had just told me earlier."

                  Bert and Big Z were glad to repeat the information exactly as they had stated it from before.

                  The Scribe then said, "According to my written records and this is confirmed through Space Master's satellite base, your mother's twin sister's video records are no longer making recordings. She died in an automobile accident when some sort of paint bomb exploded within her front seat. Going back over her life scroll," and he unrolled it for the official record. "She was the one whom made the 'Contract for Hire' kill agreement on Ricky Thomas. She later called her sister whom was still in custody and pretended to be your grandmother on her side. This is the one time the FBI were not monitoring the call as they should have been doing. Your mother's sister made a joke about gaining custody over you to her sister. And she further joked that your father would never be able to fool around on her ever again once they got you back safely. She even went so far as to brag about how they would finally have your inheritance all for themselves. They really believed in that phony story."

                  Bert then said, "As Kazma knows, the FBI got a full confession out of my mother when she exploded upon hearing that I and my father had died from the assassin's bullet. If she didn't know about the assassin, then why perform a violent explosion like she did in that FBI office? She was never told that my father and I were still alive, so how did she learn of the deception? She cannot possibly expect the dead to come into court as she is demanding. If her twin's final recording is made public to the court, it will show that I was in the car with mom's twin before the car exploded and burned all within to ash. The only one whom could have gotten word to mom that we weren't really dead was the assassin for hire that she claimed she never hired. Perhaps his video records should be sequestered for the court case to include all conversations he had with both twins."

                  King Kazma then said, "My contacts have told me that General Michaels skipped the country just after the one whom hire him died in the car explosion. He is currently in South America in hiding. Christie Moore's lawyer received some sort of courier message that said that both Ricky and Bert had staged their deaths and were in fact hiding in the amusement world. Unless we can get a look at that courier message and learn whom sent it, then you are both going to have to deliver yourselves to that court."

                  Bert then growled, "If the courts award custody of me to that lying bitch, then I will kill her right in front of the entire courtroom! I disavow being her son!"

                  King Kazma then said, "I hope you didn't mean that, Bert; you are not making this case any easier."

                  Bert growled again, "What part of... the inheritance is FAKE... doesn't that stupid fucking cow understand! THERE IS NO MONEY!"

                  King Kazma then said, "You need to calm down, Bert."

                  Bert slyly grinned at Big Z. "My mother needs to be on the Truth or Dragon Slitting hot seat. As long as she was honest, she could win a lot of wealth far more valuable than my fake inheritance. Even if there was an inheritance, I would never share it with dishonest people like her and her crooked twin sister." He then looked over at Time Shaman. "Say Timesy...? Would it be against the rules for mom's twin to be yanked out of the car seconds before the explosion and dropped on her ass at the foot of the judge's podium in the court room when my father and I have to go there? I think that when the jury saw the identical twin, then mom's case would fall all to pieces. And get your horsy friend with the truth bracers to attend as well. Maybe have Trueheart Bear attend the hearing. That way when someone lies, it comes out gobbledygook."

                  Time Shaman then said, "Her power would effect the good guys as well, Bert. That means you cannot fib in court."

                  Bert went quiet for a moment as something stated before suddenly came back to him. "Say, Big Z? Did you state earlier that mom's statement for the trial was that dad still owed her alimony?" Big Z replied, "Yes, I said that. What of it?" Bert nodded his head. "And didn't you also state that her life video which you watched shows that she never annulled the marriage to my father and she was still my mother despite her actions?" Again Big Z replied, "Yes, I said that as well. What are you getting at?" Bert then said toward the monitor, "Kazma, correct me if I am about to wrong, but legally, an alimony claim can only be made if there is a verifiable divorce on the records. Or did I misunderstand this?" Everyone perked up as they realized that an alert Bert nailed it. The claim of alimony was as phony as the inheritance.

                  Big Z then vanished in a rapid blast of fiery smoke! He didn't like getting played by mortals. He wanted to have words with the judge at the court house about this alimony claim. And when the judge saw the devil mouse return directly in front of him. The judge was then informed of a flub that the court had overlooked. Since the wife was still married to the husband, then Ricky could not owe her alimony since she was only now requesting to receive it while apparently having no intention to get divorced from Mr. Thomas. Then he drove the point home by threatening to bring The Horse to the hearing.

                  The Judge then stated that unless the twin were in custody then this whole nonsense couldn't be derailed.

                  Big Z then called for a Bailiff and when one arrived, Zecma pulled an Imperial Decree scroll out of his jacket and he pointed it toward the floor at the bailiff's feet. "I DECREE FOR CHRISTIE MOORE'S TWIN SISTER TO BE RESCUED FROM DEATH'S DOOR AND DROPPED ON HER ASS, ALBEIT TIED UP, WITHIN THIS ROOM!" He then threw the scroll at the floor and with a loud explosion, the twin found herself all tied up sliding on her ass at seventy miles per hour toward a nearby wall!

                  When Christie II hit the wall and fell on her back, she was loudly cursing a string of obscenities that would make a sailor blush with shame. The bailiff picked up the obnoxious woman and escorted her down to lock-up. The Judge and Big Z then went to Christie Moore I's holding cell where they got her attention and when she stepped over to the cell door, the judge asked her if she planned on divorcing Ricky Thomas. He then revealed that they knew that she did not have a divorce case opened for annulling the marriage and therefore, since she was still married to Ricky, then she could not collect on a falsely claimed alimony since they were still married. Then the bombshell was dropped. They had her sister in custody and she was talking. After that, Christie I came clean and explained that her sister needed money badly and the twin coerced her to participate in the plot to milk Ricky out of alimony since even she knew that the inheritance was made up to fool kidnappers.

                  When Christie was asked for whom slapped Ricky three years ago when this plot was started.

                  Christie admitted that it was her twin wearing clever makeup to make Ricky make the statement to ask for a divorce. Because he didn't, Christie still loved him dearly.
                  End of Chapter 09