Once out of the game and back home, you did your usual: shower, then set your alarm and slept.
When your alarm woke you up, you pulled your phone off the beside table and turned the alarm off then sent Hansu a message.
“Hey. Are we going in game tonight?” you asked.
“I’m sorry I have other commitments,” he replied and you made an audible ‘Tch’ noise then face planted back into the pillow, “I knew he’d do this. But that’s fine. I’m not going to let it get to me. I’ll catch up with Mirio if he is free and then later tonight when Hansu is at home and asleep I’ll go back in game again.”
You didn’t reply Hansu. Choosing instead to send Mirio a text.
“Hey,” you sent with a smiley face, “what are your plans tonight? Did you want to catch up?”
“Any opportunity to see that happy face!” he replied with a row of smiles then a thumbs up, “we don’t have long until the mission, right?”
Only 2 more days then we leave!” you sent back with a smile.
“Would you like me to come to your house or did you want to get something out?” he asked.
“Come to the house,” you invited, “we can get takeaway.”
“Ok! If I came by around 7:30pm?” he asked.
“Perfect,” you replied, putting your phone back down as you got out of bed.
Down at the lab, Hansu had multiple programs opened on the computer with the ear piece he had been working on, clipped into the portal via a myriad of wires.
Logging into the coding program that had created Goha, he looked over the multitude of binary lines, scrolling through each one and looking for ways to adjust them.
He had been in contact with the police and had put the pressure on for them to find Goha. Hawks was still searching with his feathers, having obtained a list of everyone who played RFO, he was looking for the units that seemed unusually quiet. Goha was basically living in game so if Hawks didn’t detect any movements after a certain amount of time he would mark the place to come back to.
It was a slow moving process.
It was while Hansu was on his 99th line of coding that he suddenly remembered the piece of paper that had ‘free’s’ details written down on it and he reached into his top drawer and pulled it out.
There was the computer IP address for the person who created Free.
He picked up his phone and rang Hawks.
“I’m putting you on speaker because I’m flying and you shouldn’t talk and fly,” Hawks said as he answered the phone.
“I have an IP address here,” Hansu said, jumping straight into it.
“Congratulations,” Hawks replied, “there’s not much I can do with an IP address. I need a physical address.”
“I’ll get it from the police,” Hansu said, “once I’ve gotten it, I’ll let you know.”
“Ok. I have a few places marked here for you. Players of RFO but no movement in their apartments for an extended period of time.”
“Ok good,” Hansu replied, “we’ll get this bastard yet.”
“I see,” Hawks said with a smirk, “I’ll keep looking then.”
Hansu said a short sign off then hung up and rang the police headquarters, informing them of an address that might be of interest.
The superintendent was happy to oblige but told Hansu it would take a day or two to decode the IP address.
“At your earliest convenience,” Hansu said, “this has been going on for too long already.”
“I understand,” the chief replied, “I’ll be in touch as soon as we have an address.”
“Thank you,” Hansu replied, pushing his glasses up onto his nose and hanging up before getting back to work with his USB ‘pokeball’.
“And then I jumped through the wall but there was a car on the other side so I quickly phased again and ended up in the back seat of the car. The driver freaked out and took off, trying to escape me but then ended up crashing straight into the warehouse ahead,” Mirio said with a laugh.
“Oh my god, that’s insane!” you chuckled, “that’s a crazy story! I knew hero work was dangerous but I didn’t know about these types of events.”
“I’m sure that most heroes have their favourite story. Mine are just a little different because of my quirk. I pop up in unexpected places,” he said with a grin.
You giggled again and reached for another slice of pizza.
“I don’t have any crazy stories like that but I’m looking forward to creating more in game with you. I’m actually getting really excited about the upcoming mission.”
“I am too! I always love exploring in game. You can travel to levels that haven’t been unlocked!” he said.
“Really?!” you asked with surprise, “I didn’t know you could do that?”
“Yes! I’ve been up onto level 100… it looks like the inside of a giant clock! But I didn’t step foot onto it because there’s no way I could take on a level 100 monster.”
“I see,” you mused, “hey… about your house that was in the snow?”
“Ah! Well… I was thinking that maybe after the mission we could get a place together?” he said bashfully with a scratch to the back of his head.
“Oh!” you exclaimed, “that… that’s sounds really nice.”
You both shared a smile then your spoke again.
“And I promise I won’t get this one ruined.”
“I know you won’t,” he said with a smile as he leaned in the kiss you.
That night… a minute past midnight.
A day before the mission.
You entered the game to have one more look around.
Summoning Ægir, you cantered your way towards the teleport pad on level 44 and hopped up onto it.
“You know what, Ægir? Let’s just go to a random level,” you said with a smile, “live a little dangerously… I know Mirio said to avoid monsters… as they could take you out, but if we just go to a nice level and have a run around then leave, that should be fine, right? I want to see what RFO has to offer.”
Ægir snorted uneasily and you smiled. “It’s fine, only for a few minutes…”
“Random level!” you called loudly into the teleport pad, the white beams shooting up all around you then whisking your form away.
When you opened your eyes next you were surrounded by darkness and you looked around in confusion.
“Where are we?” you whispered to Ægir.