She’d arrived. She was among the first to arrive on this alien world. Lucky for her, she was deployed near a forest, she didn’t want to start in a desert. There was plenty of wood, water and ore all around. She had lucked out.
When she got the acceptance letter from FICSIT Incorporated, she couldn’t believe her luck, and she still couldn’t. She was just about to graduate her University’s Engineering program when she saw the application to become an explorer, and pioneer. They needed people to go to strange new worlds, explore them, engineer, and build automated factories. To what end, she still didn’t know. When she interviewed for the job, all the interviewer would say was that it was for their Save The Day program, and the work was essential. There would be others, which, if she played her cards right could even help her, and she help them.
Now that she thought about it… well, it wasn’t the first time. She thought it the moment she opened her mouth, and many times since, but she was thinking it again now… she was lucky she got the job at all. Things were going good. They liked her CV well enough to call her in, and at one point in the interviewer told her that her job would be to “construct, automate, explore, and exploit…” Then she interrupted him like a damn fool. “So like, 4x.” It was the hardcore gamer nerd in her coming out, the one that sometimes spoke ahead of the brain’s more reasonable portion could come forward and say “What the hell? No, stop.” But it hadn’t caught up yet, so her mouth rambled on, especially as the guy looked a tad confused [truth be told, he was, confused as to why she was interrupting his speech, did this woman want the job, there were other candidates after all], “You know, like explore, expand, exploit, and extermate… except here it’s more 2x… with a C A… though one could argue that C and A are sort of expand…” It was now she noticed the look of confusion wasn’t because he didn’t know what 4X was [he did], but because she had interrupted his flow. It was here her reasonable brain said, “I tried to stop you, right after you after you said ‘exterminate’ and ‘2x’, when you get lost in your train of thought like that, listen, I’m trying to speak.” She apologized to the guy, what was his name? Snutt? Yeah, she thought that was it, because the naughty part of her brain nearly busted out, “Don’t busta snutt dude”, but that time the reasonable part of her brain stopped her before her mouth went stupid, besides he seemed like a really nice guy. Wouldn’t it be ironic, if her gaming skills, the very things she thought would help her with the job, would be the thing that cost her the job? The “Don’t busta snutt dude”, part of her brain just went “don’t you think? It’s like rain on your wedding day” She shut that part of her brain down. Focused on the interview, and nailed it [she hadn’t, she squeaked by].
In the distance she thought she saw a puppy like, dragon creature, and she wondered how friendly it would be. Could she tame it, make her pet? The FICSIT letter suggested they didn’t care if you domesticated the local life.
First thing’s first. She opened the crate next to her. She found the Scanner, which would help find the ore, and other material she needed in her efforts to build the factory. An essential tool for exploring strange new worlds. There was also instructions on how to build a rebar gun, just in case Mr Dragon Puppy, or some scary spider monster, wasn’t friendly, and didn’t take kindly to people, deforesting their land, and polluting the air with their factories [pollution isn’t in, at least as of August 2018], a Lorax, but hostile. Her computer, and a mysterious Internet connection on a planet, “down by the river”. She chuckled to herself. Exploring the odd and ends of eons past, and that was what she called a classic gem, but nobody from her time got it when she used it. She set-up her computer, because the Internet was a priority, and the factory could wait a few minutes. There was her reading pad, essential for manuals, and of course books, she was an avid reader, and it wasn’t work all the time. She was setting it down when she noticed there was a coffee stain on the back… some bumn in loading… she calmed herself. There was work to be done.
Then got out the Alpha Machine. She wasn’t fond of the AM moniker, not only because she hated mornings, but because of the Allied Mastercomputer in Harlan Elison’s short story, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, which despite its age, was one of her favorite stories, that and his Deathbird. Elison, King, Gaiman, Stephenson… Some of the writings of Brian A. Thomas struck her as brilliant on occasions as well [they weren’t], though he was lost to most in time [because he wasn’t brilliant]. Many of the modern authors lacked the flare of the authors from the early to late twenty otts… was that the term? She was getting distracted. She tried to start it up, but it needed a key, an alphanumeric key, before this big Epic thing would let her access the Alpha. She was already envisioning a totally Unreal factory, or at least one that would be Satisfactory.
She went to her computer, and checked her emails. They had her all hyped, ready to construct, automate, explore, and exploit, and they neglected the most important thing. The Alpha Key! How could she build a explore, build the factory, do any of that without the Alpha Key? This was madness! “This is Sparta!” she yelled at the sky, kicking the AM. Who was responsible for this? Jace? Simon? She wrote up a nasty email and DM, then calmed herself. She rewrote it as a polite note, reminding them she needed the Alpha Key to get to work, then thought better of it, she’d wait. There was testing to be done, feedback to be given, NDAs to sign.
For now, she couldn’t do the work. All she could do is play games, read, waste time watching things on the Internet, work her 8 to 5 job… but soon, that Alpha Key would be hers, and she’d get to work on the factory. She wondered if there would be pipes? She like laying pipe… that came out wrong. So she sat, and waited, perhaps they were on vacation, perhaps they’d get her next time they got the keys out, or before, before worked, though next time the keys got out worked to. She had time. Perhaps some fan fiction would help pass the time, and perhaps be amusing enough to get that what she wanted…
[EDIT: There were some other concepts in my head when I conceived of this story, like I wanted to work in a pun about goats, and some joke about store exclusivity, but those didn’t really seem to fit. The element I did want to touch on, but again, the story flow dictated otherwise, was about gender lock, as some people can’t play as a female for some reason.