EE X X CCEERRPPTT
When it came to overwhelming the senses, American Reality had their veneers down toa manipulative science. Their storefront was, in essence, just an extension of the virtualworlds contained within, so it fit that the displays gave people a taste of what they couldexpect if they had the guts to walk inside and slap down thirty bucks. A novice playercould lose their mind just standing on the sidewalk, staring at the screens and thereplays of explosions and aliens and grisly dismemberments that would rival the mostrealistic of snuff films. And even if they closed their eyes, the smells would still be there:fresh blood pooling around their feet, the acrid smoke from a signal flare, and even theoily aroma of a Signet, a half-lizard, half-infant concoction found in the later levels of Destined 4 Death. It was a devastating display of sensory overload, which wasencouragement enough for some to let go of the real world and embrace thenightmare.
“You don’t mind, do you?” asked Sebo, as he laced up his game boots. The
ready room in the bowels of American Reality smelled like disinfectant, a deliberatechoice to match its Spartan motif, complete with blank walls and a light overhead thatflickered like an old-style bulb. It was atmosphere, a bland cracker to clear the palettefor the feast to come.Deron shrugged in response and fiddled with the harness on his chest.He
mind. Sebo could usually read Deron’s true emotions, even if his veneer
suggested otherwise. All he had to do was watch his body language, examine the wayhis shoulders slumped, the way his hands moved slowly, lacking enthusiasm. Sebofrowned inwardly. He wanted to tell him that this was for his own good, but it felt toosoon to bring up the business of Russo Rivera.Sebo had made the decision while staring at a Destined 4 Death display in thelobby. It was a full-wall veneer that enumerated the new features and bug fixes. Theadvertising was characteristically slick, and every image that ran in high resolution onlymade Sebo want to play more. There were so many ways to die, so many ways to kill.The preview made it look like it could rival the military-grade simulations, those recruit-only games that had a reputation for being so visceral as to cause mental breakdowns inone out of every ten players.Though every inch of Sebo was dying to get in there and kill some Signets, he
knew that D4D wasn’t what Deron needed at the moment. The accounts of his
altercation varied, but anything that would put a person in the hospital for three weekshad to have been brutal. The line that sealed the deal came in the rules of the expansionpack, red text that said
hand-to-hand combat only
. Ultimately, Sebo chose the moredocile Swarm Survivor.