WarSpell: The Merge – Snippet 02
“I didn’t suggest you had, Captain. Bring the base to ready alert. Start calling them in, everyone. All leaves are canceled, as of this moment. Call General Watkins and the XO. Tell them to get here as soon as they can. After that, call the staff officers and tell them the same thing. Oh, and have Sergeant Walker report to my office.”
“Ah, sir, I don’t think Sergeant Walker will fit in the elevator.”
“Right. Use the freight elevator around back. It should be big enough. Now, Captain,” he continued, “you’re probably not going to understand this next order. Don’t worry about it, just pass it on. The people it applies to will understand. First, call the theater manager and have him open up the theater with the largest seating capacity. All personnel who have ever played a role playing game of any sort are to report to the base theater ASAP. Magic users are to refrain from using magic unless absolutely necessary. That especially goes for amulet and book wizards and others who will need amulets, spell books or other paraphernalia to craft spells. Have you got that, Captain? Read it back.”
“The base is to go to ready alert and all leaves are canceled. The Deputy Commander and XO are to report to you ASAP. All personnel who have played a role playing game are to report to the theater complex ASAP. Magic users are to refrain from using magic, especially if they need some kind of paraphernalia to create spells. The theater complex manager is to open it up. Sir, can you tell me what’s going on?”
“I don’t know all of it myself, Captain, and I don’t have time to explain. But, unless you want to end up looking like the centaur sergeant or worse, I suggest that you get busy. Call me at my office as soon as you get in touch with the deputy commander and the XO.”
For the last little while Josh had been dealing with an extra set of memories. Still himself, a forty-six year old general in the U.S. Army, but also a twenty-six year old adventurer. The two people were surprisingly similar. Both were dedicated to the defense of their nations and the honoring of their oaths.
Josh had conflicting memories. Two lives, but more. He remembered making the character Makkeer, warrior of Barkentown. Remembered rolling the dice, selecting the class, choosing the skills and talents. Makkeer had been real to him only in the sense that a character in a novel or a role in a play is real. Now it was different.
Now he remembered growing up as Makkeer, discovering his talents and practicing his skills. Makkeer’s life was a life without airplanes or indoor plumbing, but a life full of magic and derring-do.
The memories of Makkeer were as clear as those of Josh Everett.
Makkeer was his character in a game at his last post. He hadn’t joined a group here. There hadn’t been enough time, not yet. A new command was always a time consuming task right at first. The combination of the memories and the phone call from the duty officer came together and Josh jumped to a wild conclusion. Somehow, magic, game magic, worked.
Josh picked up the phone and dialed a familiar number. The voice that answered was just the person he needed to talk to. “Fred?”
“Josh here. I need something confirmed. Is Sorren the Bard there, I mean really there?”
“Josh, you’ll never know just how glad I am to hear you ask that question,” Fred answered, relief in his voice. “Come to think of it, though, if I’m not crazy, I guess you might feel the same way. No, Sorren isn’t here. Clevis, the wizard of Bornth is, complete with initiation tattoos. After you left, Sorren got killed and I rolled up Clevis. He’s an academy trained amulet wizard but of high enough level to have memorized a few book spells. Josh, it’s the strangest thing. I seem to have crafted spells ready to go. I can feel them. Is Makkeer there?”
“Yes. He is. Both of us are,” Josh admitted. “Fred, have you tried using a spell? Do you have one it’s safe to try?”
“No, I haven’t tried anything yet. I was still trying to get used to the memories. I have a couple of spells that would normally be safe to try, though. I’m not really sure, because experimental magic is very unsafe. A lot more unsafe than the books say. Also, I guess it’s a reaction from Clevis, but I really don’t want to waste a crafted spell, not when I don’t have my references to help rebuild it and especially since the lack of amulets has reduced me to a low level book wizard without books.”
“I think you’re going to have to, Colonel. We have to confirm this or debunk it quickly. We really do. What have you got on tap?”
“Yes, sir, I understand. I have Repair and Valet. Like I said, Clevis is academy trained.”
“It’s your choice, Fred. We just have to know if it works. I’ll do what I can to get you a copy of whichever spell you use.”
There was a short hesitation then. “It works sir, or I’m crazier than I thought I was. I used Valet and it’s neatening up my desk right now.”
“Well, Fred, I don’t know whether to be relieved or start filling my shorts, but at least we know. It’s real. Here’s the situation. I just got a call from the Duty Officer reporting that a Sergeant Walker is now a centaur. The reason I had you try the spell was I needed confirmation that WarSpell magic did work and could be the cause. Now we have our memories, a solid reported incident, and a confirming test. Crazy as it sounds, it’s true.” Josh thought for a moment, trying to decide what to do.
Finally, he said, “Look, Fred, just to be on the safe side, call everyone you know who plays the games. Try to get any magic users to hold off on using any spells of any sort until we get this worked out. Especially, call any gamers from the military. I’ve already risked my career by putting the base on ready alert and giving a bunch of orders of questionable legality. Now I’m about to do it again. I’ll talk to you later.”
Major General Joshua Everett took a moment to think. What the book said to do now was call in higher command, but was higher command a gamer? Would anyone in higher command have the memories that made it real for him or would they spent hours or days trying to convince themselves that it wasn’t really happening? What would happen in the meantime?
If magic worked, the U.S. military needed to control as much of it as possible, as fast as they possibly could. For all Josh knew there was a terrorist cell out there somewhere that played a role playing game. What would they do? Teleport into the President’s office and assassinate him, probably. Looking at it long term, it would be a stupid move or a crazy one. Both possibilities fit terrorists to a T, in Josh’s opinion.