Read an Excerpt
Thick electrical cables snaked in every direction from the motherboard. Tiny checked his settings one more time. He didn't have to link up to the Station's power grid. The Emporium had its own private generator for that. The audience was getting restless and beginning to mill about behind the barrier grid. His computer screen showed a perfect interface between VR input panel and holographic display.
It should work. He had downloaded all the data from the Celtic history files Cait showed him this morning. Correlating that data into new graphics and storylines had taken up another eight hours of intensive and creative data crunching. But it was worth it. Now he had a truly fantastic game to debut.
He walked over to the control booth's window and peered out. Vu Sheng was waiting patiently in front of the VR terminal. Fiber optic filaments flowed from the scalp and spine of Vu Sheng's skinsuit giving him the appearance of a psychedelic hedgehog.
Tiny raised his fist and pumped it twice as a go-ahead signal. Vu Sheng grinned, then donned his VR masque and inserted his hands into the sensory gloves. The fiber optic filaments around Vu Sheng's skinsuit began to pulse and glow.
Tiny hurried back to the controls. His hands moved rapidly over the keyboard. He flipped the master switch on. A black matte turtle shell and helmet came down from the ceiling and clicked into place around Vu Sheng. Telemetry input flashed onto the motherboard's screens.
The holographic display grid in front of Vu Sheng's terminal blazed into life. Towering granite monoliths formed an irregular circle on the revolving stage. Some of the stones lay toppled in the grass. The center stone had a slight depressionworn into its surface, just the right size for a body to lie down upon it. The audience surged forward and pressed themselves against the Plexiglas barrier. Their faces transformed with delighted wonder.
He increased the data flow into the display another increment. Minuscule purplish pink flowers blossomed between the clumps of grass. The ceiling grid darkened into a midnight sky. A comet streaked past and scattered a multitude of stars in its wake.
The image of a young man wearing leather breeches and boots appeared on the holo-stage. The computer generated avatar had shoulder length black hair and deeply tanned skin. His left arm and hand were pure silver, linked to his elbow with no discernible gap between flesh and metal. A silver torc circled the avatar's neck. A fantastically detailed blue tattoo covered his chest back and arms with Celtic circles and knots coiled around with vines and leaves.
Tiny grinned. Of course, Vu Sheng had selected the Silverhand icon for his avatar's image. Wait 'til he had an opportunity to remove his avatar's clothing during a seduction scene and found out the tattoo also covered the image's legs...