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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

SifarCity

Recruit
Apr 8, 2020
7
1
This is a work of fiction written from the perspective of individuals inside a sandbox building simulation. It is a different kind of thread - with a lot of text and very little visuals.

Names, softwares, features, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.




PROLOGUE

No one heeded the warning signs until it was too late. Historians now call it The Black March - a swift and deadly month that saw a virus pandemic, an environmental disaster, an economic collapse, and a social upheaval all happening at the same time.

Grappling for hope in the darkest of times, a small team of programmers, researchers, and designers worked on exploring an idea which have so far only existed in science-fiction and their minds. They hacked their various projects together and deconstructed a sandbox simulation game engine, worked in a cryptocurrency mining mechanism, and fixed a neural link function. They saw no hope in the reality that they were living in, and creating an alternate one to escape to seemed like the best option. The Construct would give them something to live for, and with any luck, help others as well.

Life on the Old World is collapsing further each day and it has become more urgent to offer this realm as an alternative. Today, the first human trials begins with 10 individuals uploading their consciousness into The Construct and becoming digital beings called Proxies. In the name of science and humanity, they have chosen to leave their past lives behind and help shape the Constructed World. There is no way to reverse the process, so they must make something out of it with their skills, their dreams, and each other.
 

SifarCity

Recruit
Apr 8, 2020
7
1
01 - The Landing

The road ended abruptly, as if the construction company just decided to stop all work and pack up due to a lack of funds for the project. Prim was the first to step off the end of the tarmac and onto the sandy ground, making a crisp crunchy sound as her boots grinded on the surface. She scanned the horizon and took a moment to appreciate the expanse of unadulterated land - the plains, the mountains, the forest, and at the edges of her field of view, the beach and vast ocean that lay beyond. She had seen this on screen and through her VR headsets countless times but this felt different. This feels real.

"Run transition self-check", commanded Navin out loud to the arriving party before beginning to tap his various body parts from head to toe to ensure that they were all intact. The protocol states that the first order of business is to ensure that the neural upload ran as planned and everyone had full control of their Proxies. As the first humans to make the transition into the Construct, they cannot be more careful in following the rulebook and as the man in charge of Operations, he intends to make that the case.

"It feels just like the real thing but looks nothing like it," commented the soft voice of Luna in amazement as she puts her hands to the light and started examining both sides of it. Others could also be seen examining themselves and testing the range of motion in their Proxies.

Alif who had been quiet at the far side of the group suddenly exclaimed, “Hello you!”. It startled everyone who then turned to see him smiling while looking down into his pants. He seemed pleased at what was at his crotch. “Nice to meet you too!” Nouvelle responded by squeezing her ample breasts together and jiggling it to him before they both broke into a boisterous laugh that echoed through the lands. “We are literally in a new world, and it’s your genitals that you are pleased about. I guess humans will never change despite their form,” chided Dolunay.

This was the fresh start that the team had imagined and sought to create. It was so fundamental to the project that it was instituted right from the beginning that everyone who choose to enter the Construct shall start with a clean slate. They could choose what their Proxies in the Construct would look like, and they shall only be known by their new names. In this reboot of their life, only the skills that they choose to bring along with them would matter.

That was also how the first batch of ten human test subjects were selected. Nine were picked from the development team to make the transition with each one bringing their own special set of skills and knowledge ranging from software, urban design, engineering, geology, and others. This collective with their diverse abilities was entrusted to survey and study the Construct from within, while building up a city that would be able to welcome more Proxies in the future. To further aid the process, one volunteer subject was recruited via an open call to offer a fresh perspective to the Construct.

While the team completed their checks, Prim was already consulting her personal console for the tasks ahead of them. The faster she can send them out to work on their assigned tasks, the less time they would have to ponder on their own ideas on how the land should be developed. From working with them over the last months, Prim knew that there were a few schools of thought in this group. There were some who share her belief that the Construct is fundamentally an imperfect simulation and should be kept that way. There were others who saw a potential for the Construct to be free of limitations, logics, and laws of nature. However, as one of its core developers and leader of this pioneering group of Proxies, she holds some sway in how things will unfold.

“Navin, are we ready to go?”

“Yes Prim. All checks done and everything is good,” said Navin with a firm thumbs up.

“Alright team, lets get to our tasks. Team 1, follow me to establish and mark out our town’s layout. Team 2, head out to get our critical services up and running. Team 3, establish comms with Control and get our systems ready to welcome the next batch of Proxies,” Prim instructed.

“This is what we’ve dreamed about and this is where our dreams will be made. See you all soon in our new home,” said Prim as the team disperses to take their first steps to building what would hopefully turn out to be a great city in their new constructed reality.
 

SifarCity

Recruit
Apr 8, 2020
7
1
Thank you for reading strangers! Do share with me your thoughts about my attempt at this. I am also on twitter (@SifarCity) if you want to connect.

I've got another post ready but am having trouble posting it up. Hopefully it's resolved soon!
 

SifarCity

Recruit
Apr 8, 2020
7
1
02 – Laying Foundations

“Look, it’s not real! Who cares if we pollute the water? It has to make economic sense. And it’s not even real water!” argued Alif with his voice raised.

“Hey man, I’m on your side here. I know we’ve got to make money out of all these but this is not just a simulation either. If we get sick and die here, we die in real life too. That’s just how the Construct works! countered Nouvelle with equal gusto.

The decision on which model of sewage outlet to implement was proving to be more contentious than any of them had anticipated. The team had agreed that they will save the advanced waste-water processing facility for a future upgrade and use a simple sea-discharge system for now, but they did not discuss which outlet to use and it has become a sticky point for the three Creators put in charge of that decision.

“We’ve messed up Earth enough. Do we really want to make the same mistakes here?” asked Eva rhetorically to her two colleagues. “Enough. Let’s put this to a vote.”

Alif threw his hands up in the air, exasperated. There was no need to vote for it was clear that Eva was on Nouvelle’s side to install the eco-water outlet despite it costing more to install and maintain. “You win this one. And you, better make sure we get our ROI from the Proxies,” conceded Alif and then pointing his finger at Eva to make his point.

Eva knew exactly what he meant. Alif was in charge of overseeing the Construct’s cryptocurrency economy and taxation system, and the design of the city would play a key role in achieving his KPIs. The more compact and high density the city is, the more money can be extracted from the Proxies. The more attractive the city become, the more Proxies would want to move to the Construct, and hence more money can be extracted. As the Creator-in-charge of Urban Design, Eva was responsible to design and zone a city that would enable its economic goals but deep down, she also knew that she didn’t sign up for this to simply help others make money. This was a chance to redeem her mistakes, and those made by her fellow architects and urban designers.

With the argument out of the way, the trio worked together to get the sewage system, water supply, and power generators up with the help of Nouvelle’s Build Console. They then began laying down water pipes, sewage pipes, and power pylons through the 1.5 km stretch from the waters edge to the village grounds.

“You know, one would have thought that we would have designed teleportation systems for ourselves. Instead, here we are. Walking from one end to the other,” complained Alif as the three of them made their way to the last installation checkpoint before hitting their base camp.

“Maybe you should ask Prim to design that,” replied Eva who was showing some signs of irritation at Alif’s antics that have not stopped since they’ve arrived.

“You know what, maybe I will. She is the software master after all. It will be good for productivity.”

“I just think it’s unnatural. The Construct should be an approximation of our real world. That’s the beauty of this thing that we’ve created,” said Eva as she plopped down the last of the pylons according to Nouvelle’s instructions. She realised the irony of her words the moment she said it. Nothing was natural about this world but she hoped that her colleagues understood what she meant as she conjured up the huge structures out of thin air and then dropped them with a roaring thud on the ground.

“Well then maybe we keep that functionality just for us Creators then. Surely the nine of us should have some privileges. We created this thing. We shouldn’t have to walk like the other Proxies,” argued Alif.

“What about our Resident Zero then? Should he has similar privileges? He is part of this advance party after all,” asked Nouvelle, joining the conversation to fill the stillness in the barren air.

“Absolutely not. He’s not a Creator and he doesn’t bring anything to the table to deserve it. He’s just a dude who was lucky enough to get a golden ticket on the first transport out,” Alif replied and then sighing again at the physical labour of making their way through the final stretch to the village grounds.

Nouvelle stopped in her tracks, paused to think, and then asked, “Yeah, whats his deal anyway? Prim won’t tell me who this guy is and whats his purpose being part of the First 10. Do any of you know his history?”

“You know the deal Nouv. We leave everything behind when we become part of the Construct. I’m sure he has a purpose in all these,” replied Eva.

"I bet he had issues. Maybe he was a murderer on a death sentence and they just wanted to send someone other than us. You know, just to see if he would survive or if he would go mad,” suggested Alif.

“Ooh…or maybe he’s one of those venture capitalist dudes from Pandobox HQ to see that we don’t fuck this up! What do you think Eva?”

“I really don’t know. He’s been very quiet since Prim introduced him to us out from nowhere. Dolunay has been sticking close to him since we landed. So maybe he is one of her study subjects?” Eva hypothesised. No one had any real answers and the conversation just faded away as the three Creators continued their walk back to the village grounds. They could see their base camp in the distance and it had some semblance of a human settlement.

Nouvelle looked at her watch. T-minus two hours, and then a new dawn of human civilisation would begin.