The door swung shut behind Benen as he threw his school bag into one of the many chairs that cluttered the small living room. This was his way of compensating for the lack of sofa. He continued down the short hall and into the adjacent kitchen. From the fridge he pulled a carton of milk and began to drink. "You really should use a glass, Benen," his cousin's voice rang out of the bedroom. He put the carton back in the fridge before replying. "And who are you to tell me what I should do in my own apartment, Paisley?" He walked into the room. "What are you doing here anyway?" "I'm here to wish you a happy belated birthday and watch you set up your New Life game. I know it's not set up yet because your parents dragged you out to dinner last night, so don't try to tell me it's already set up." "You do realise that you can't actually watch me set it up. It'll be all in my mind," he attempted to counter. "That's why I thought I'd get here early and hit a few reference points before you get going," she smiled. "Reference points?" "Yes, reference points. Now if you want to meet a cute girl in the game you need a cute avatar. I suggest you use a demon bard. Girls love bards, but they love demons even better. Kind of like a cute bad guy," she explained. "Whoa, who said anything about meeting girls? I'm perfectly fine without them. Besides, a demon bard is lame. I'm going to be an archer." "Oh Ben, you really should reconsider. A girl is just what this place needs. You're already in college and you've never been on a date!" "Please just leave. I don't need a little high schooler's advice about dating." He plopped himself down in the computer chair and peeled off the thin plastic lining on the New Life game box. It came with a set of complimentary headphones and the game card. Paisley slipped a piece of paper into her jean's pocket. "If you say so," she sighed and walked out of the bedroom and through the front door. It's a good thing I got the account number before he got home, if he doesn't follow my advice, I'll just have my GM friend make sure he doesn't have a choice in the matter, she smiled at the thought. Benen slipped the game card into the headset and put it on. Following the instructions on the box he flipped the little switch on the side of the headset. When he opened his eyes he was standing in a large grey room. At least he assumed he was standing because he had no physical body at all. A voice cut through the silence. "Please choose a form," it announced. It's voice was that of a young woman's. Very pleasing. A line of bodies popped up before him. One for each race that could be chosen. A human, elf, dwarf, beast-man, demon, and angel. "I would like to be a human," Benen said. "Human: Processing," the voice replied. Before his eyes a human form materialized beneath him wearing a pair of the starter clothes for the game. "Processing: Complete." "Please choose a profession," the woman said. Benen was no longer in the grey room, he now stood in an open grassy plain. Tents scattered the area. Above each tent read the profession you could choose. Thief, mage, warrior, barrier master, those were just a few. He looked around until he found archer's tent. There were a few people already in there, but not a huge crowd. He stepped inside and a man in the booth helped him understand the basic skills of the archer and the game. He would learn more as he went. Then the woman's voice rang out again, "Welcome to New Life." Before he had time to wonder if anyone else had heard her he was transported to a small town area. There was a weapons dealer, a pub, an armoury, and several more buildings scattered about selling an assortment of goods that might be needed throughout the game. A blue crystal was glowing at the corner of the of the pub, next to what Benen assumed was the missions board. He remembered the man at the tent saying that these were save crystals and that you could log out from there. A few people walked up, touched the crystal and disappeared. The thought of the homework he had been assigned that day became fresh in his mind. He had at least gotten the game set up and tomorrow was Friday so he would have plenty of time to figure out how it worked then. He walked up to the crystal and touched it. A window appeared asking if he would like to save, or save and logout. He poked the second option with his finger. He opened his eyes and was back in his bedroom. What a crazy device. It was so realistic. Benen grabbed his bag from the living room and started on that night's work. The memory of the game was so vivid in his mind. He couldn't wait to get back in there and explore the entire village.