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Lonely Divide

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Chapter 2

Chapter 1.2


You are with Jake, in his room

You are slightly behind a young man in a very messy room. He has blond hair, and is slightly shorter then average. He seems to be concentrating quite intently on the object he's levitating, and doesn't notice you are there. However, the people in the city you just left did not react to your presence either, so you are unsure if he should or not. The room is quite cluttered, with posters of mostly naked models papering the walls. The bed is unmade, and clothes are heaped about the floor. On the top of all the crap on the desk you see a very official looking envelope and a letter with a government seal on it, and lean over to take a look. Again, the boy takes no notice of you, but sighs and continues spinning his laptop in midair, moving his hands around as he does so. Odd.

The letter reads:

Dear Jake Beachamp,

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation from high school. As you know, it is compulsory to register your PC/NPC status no latter then one week after graduation. Provided is a list of centers you may visit, no appointment is necessary, walk in any time during business hours. The determination will consist of a confidential examination of your character sheet by a licensed CSR (Character Sheet Reviewer) and should take no more then ten minutes. Should you be found to be a PC, don't despair! You will be paired with other members of the PC community and given missions suited to your temperament and skill set. Death is very much unlikely, despite what you may have heard! If, on the other hand, you are found to be an NPC, you may continue your average life, with your average skills, and nothing interesting will ever happen to you. If you wish to join NPC-PC as an NPC yourself, we have a number of positions always available, from clerical work to backup for PC teams. We would welcome your involvement!

Should you decide to forgo this examination, rest assured that wizards will hunt you down no matter where on Earth you try to run to, and bring you back. You or your family will bear the cost of such services, so I would advise against it.

Your term of service will be five years, after which you are free to pursue your own interests and whatever further adventures the Narrator has for you, totally assured you have done your part for the greater good of the community. You may also stay on with NPC-PS if that is your wish. All this can be discussed at the proper time, PC or NPC, a future with NPC-PS is a bright one!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

NPC Protective Services

What a strange letter, you think to yourself. Was it really written by a government official? Probably not, you decide, but rather that Narrator character you spoke to earlier. Oh, it seems Jake has tried of spinning his laptop in mid-air, and carefully floats it to his bed, turning around.

"Yeeaaaa!" he shouts, finally realizing you're in the room with him. He swiftly looks around and points to his lacrosse stick, then at you, and it flings itself at you almost gleefully. Oh yes, with wild abandon it takes to the air, soaring up, up like a majestic bird, or a surface to surface missile of some kind. Oh sad for it that it harmlessly smacks off of you, and goes thumping dejectedly towards the floor.

"Oh, I'm really sorry!" says Jake, "You totally surprised me there, which I actually get a lot because of my oblivious weakness. Did I hurt you? If I did I can use Healing Acceleration and fix you right up."

You indicate to him that you are unhurt.

"Oh, thank the Narrator. He told me you were coming, that I should answer any of your questions, not that I should fling stuff at you. You must be impervious or something, I flung that pretty hard. Which I'm sorry about, really."

He does seem sorry, and offers his hand for you to shake, which you do.

"I'm Jake, nice to meet you."

You introduce yourself to him.

"So you're the observer, huh? I guess it's to be expected, once you become registered as a PC, you get an observer, and I guess you're it, huh?"

You wonder what all this PC/NPC stuff is about.

"Well, you must have that where you come from, right? I mean, some people go on to do great things, right, while others just sort of... live?"

You wonder if such a distinction can be said to be so black and white.

"Oh sure, it's easy to tell, look." Jake reaches behind you to get his letter. "The determination only takes a couple of minutes, I mean just looking at someone's character sheet, you can tell."

You wonder about this "character sheet" business and exactly how one could tell to look at one.

"Where exactly are you from? No, don't answer that, I don't think I'm supposed to know. Look, I'll just..." Jake seems to hesitate. "I've never really shown it to anyone before, you know? I guess I better get used to it."

You have a slight panic attack at exactly what he's talking about, but doesn't seem to be reaching for any zippers. He hands you a piece of paper, and you wonder where he pulled it from. You look it over.

"See, I have three stats that are above normal, ENDurance, RESolve and INSight. Because I'm an ESPer, of course, so the Narrator adjusted those because they're the most important to my powers."

Powers? Character Sheets? What?

"Okay, I guess you don't know about any of that. I have powers because I'm an ESPer. See," he points to the sheet where it says BACKGROUNDS and listed is:

Aptitude (ESPer) 3

Energy Siphon 1

Thoughtful 1

Talent (TK) 1

ESPer 4

Next to that seem be his WEAKNESSES which read:

No Direction Sense 1

Honorable 1

Oblivious 1

Youthful 1

Somatic Powers 1

"An ESPer is a person with psychic powers, you know, floating things, telling the future, leaving the body, all that kind of stuff."

You realize "ESPer" is just sort a shorthand term, made up to sound cool.

"I guess." Jake laughs. "That doesn't set me apart as a PC though, there can be NPC ESPers just like there can be NPC wizards."

You wonder, then, what does?

"All NPCs have stats of five, that's the easiest way to tell. Their skills are all fives as well. They're just average in every way. We PCs are above average in some way, that's why we get sent out on missions for the government."

You think that sounds a bit dangerous.

"Well, we always work with a team, there's always a couple of PCs discovered at the same time, that's how the government knows there's about to be some kind of crisis. And we're PCs, the Narrator tries to keep us alive harder then he tries to bump us off. Oh, there's some danger of course, but without us there's no story, so if we get killed, he's out of a job too."

You think he would then make everything go the character's way, and that wouldn't be much of a story either.

"No, he has to obey the rules just like we do. He rolls the dice to see if we can do something, and manages our energy to help us succeed at things. If we run out of energy, or there's a lucky roll by an NPC, we could still be hurt."

You hand back the character sheet, and Jake puts it away, but somehow you don't exactly catch what he does with it to do so.

"So like the letter says, tomorrow I go and tell the government I'm a PC, and they assign me a team and missions. Does that help clear things up?"

You suppose it does.

There's a knock on the door, and a slightly shorter boy with a mechanical leg peaks in. "Mom says to come down to dinner. Oh hi!"

You start to respond, but he's gone again.

"That's my little brother. He needed a cybernetic leg for some reason a couple of years ago, but I can't remember why. We both woke up in the hospital, and I was an ESPer and he needed a new leg. He doesn't seem to mind, but he won't tell me what happened either. My dad said he was given the choice of having a wizard repair the leg with magic or getting the cyber limb installed, and he said the cyber limb was cooler, so he chose that. I guess it is a little cool. Well, I've got to go, I hope I helped a little! Oh, and I'll forget I talked to you once the story starts, so if I think about things we talked about, just ignore it. Bye!"

Well he seemed like a nice young man, you think to yourself. But now how do you-

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