Chapter 10 - Her Name means 'Valiance'

(Valerie's POV)

The glass shattered. I won't even bother to cry out for help. I didn't come here with the fear of dying, I came here to sabotage Perfect World… I can feel the heat of the flames beneath me… Of course, that's what shattered the glass.

I'm descending further away from the three above, they're panicking and shouting. Why are they calling for help? No human could save me in this situation…

Looks like I'm not escaping this place for a second time...

I'm nearing the floor already, the heat was unbearable at this level. With all the smoke from the burning computers and machines, I could hardly breathe. Surrounded by the screams of these dying workers and the screams of my friends above, but I could no longer understand what they were saying... I blacked out.

I found myself standing on a white platform within empty blackness, the edges were slowly cracking away. This looks like what Ryan told me about in the 'dreams', now it's been reduced to a crumbling floor… Pit .exe was standing in front of me, with a content smile.

"You really surprised me back there. Bending reality to shoot my former boss with his own bullet… But tell me. Is this your 'void', or have I fallen to my death?" I asked him.

"Shizuko, how could you assume I'd just watch you die!? You made my AI with only good intentions!... And we haven't actually met each other yet. So this is my first time talking to you, Creator!" He smiled cheerfully.

"Guess you're right, Artificial Intelligence systems are quite smart. I created yours with the hope of helping others, and you've done just that... By the way, Shizuko was my old name. I changed my identity to escape this organization, you can call me Valerie." I explained while the floor continued to crumble away.

"Ohh, so that's why I heard two names outside the computer… But I just knew it was you on the other end! I recognized your typing pattern on the keyboard!" Pit .exe sounded proud of himself.

I couldn't help but laugh at that last part.

"You're more like a living person than artificial intelligence, you know that?... I was hoping that AI would change someone's life. Though I never imagined it'd end up saving mine. I really must thank you for that." I said with gratuity.

"But because of you, I got to experience what 'life' was like.. Keeping you alive is just returning the favor!... Anyways, there isn't much time. I'm so happy to have met my Creator after all those years! Goodbye, Valerie!" The rest of the floor broke away and with a flash of blinding light, I woke to familiar voices...

(Protagonist's POV)

While Valerie was plummeting towards the fire and destruction below, there was absolutely nothing we could've done to save her. But before she reached the bottom, Pit .exe caught her in the nick of time. She was unconscious when he brought her back up. He said that we must leave as soon as we can, then he flew back into Perfect World. His wings weren't glowing either, so that means he was finally able to fly by himself!... A beautiful sight, but there's no time to stand there and watch.

"Can you hear us, Valerie?!" I asked.

"Oh my god! She's not dead, is she?!" My friend was still freaking out.

"Hey Val, you okay?" Ryan tapped her on the shoulder.

Valerie opened her eyes and eventually stood up. She glanced down to the organization, engulfed in rising flames. This room with a metal interior was heating up quickly.

"I'm fine, I just inhaled a lot of smoke... We need to leave, NOW!" Said Valerie.

We all ran up the staircase and reached the top, the air was visibly clearer up here. We headed towards Valerie's truck, but there was a sleepy and cranky looking man standing next to it.

"Hey you four! Is this your truck? What're you even doing here?!" He shouted at us, I assume he's the power plant's nightwatch.

"No time to explain but we gotta go, this place will burn like an unattended oven real soon. You'll die if you stay here." Ryan warned.

"He's right, you know! There's a secret underground organization who programs evil AI's in video games and everything's on fire now!" Said my friend.

"Are you high or somethin'? That's bullshit! And I'll get fired for leaving the place unattended!" He said in a sassy tone.

"Oh now that's ironic coming from you. But we're leaving anyways. Please excuse us." Valerie said.

"Lady, I don't know what you're talkin' about, but fine! Just skidattle so I can finish my night shift!" The guy said as he stepped away from the truck.

As soon as we got in and buckled our seat belts, Valerie drove back to the city at a very high speed. My friend and I sat in the back while Ryan was in the front seat.

"Poor guy, he's not gonna make it…" My friend said, while watching him walk back to the power plant.

"If we stayed there to convince him, we'll be in trouble ourselves…" Valerie replied.

"Would you look at that, they didn't search us!" Ryan pulled out a revolver from the inside of his leather jacket. Valerie just laughed.

"You had a gun?! Awesome!" Said my friend.

I was looking out the window to the power plant behind us. The underground staircase had flames coming out of it, and what appeared to be a Perfect World employee on a motorcycle was driving after us.

"There's someone chasing us!" I said loudly to get their attention. Valerie looked in the rear view mirror.

"Was there another way up? How'd he get out?..." Valerie said, looking through the rear view mirror.

"Sending GOONS, eh?" Ryan loaded his gun with a bullet and took aim at the guy out the window.

Ryan fired one shot and hit the front tire of the motorcycle, sending the vehicle spiraling out of control. In a split second, something blue and red zoomed out from the staircase to drag him back, all we heard was "You're too slow!" followed by the man's screams and the motorcycle skidding on the road.

"Holy shit! Was that Sonic the Hedgehog?!" My friend shouted.

"I think it was Sonic .exe!" I said.

Valerie continued driving her truck down the road leading straight to the city. When we got to the city streets, she slowed down to the speed limit and entered as any vehicle would.

All of a sudden, the whole power plant burst into flames and began to collapse into the ground! Burning pieces of the building and electricity sprung through the air like fireworks in the night. The people in the city were all chattering or panicking, some were just recording it on their phones.

"Hoooo boy, look at that!" Ryan said, turning around to look. Valerie also turned around even though she was driving.

"Oh shit that place went DOWN!" Said my friend.

Soon after that, all the electricity went out. All the cars were honking their horns and people were turning on their flashlights everywhere. Somewhere distant sounded like a few vehicles just crashed. And eventually there were sirens from fire trucks and helicopters heading over to extinguish the massive fire out in the middle of nowhere.

Tonight was probably the most dangerous and exciting night we've ever had, and most importantly the four of us survived! We've taken down the organization Perfect World, who wanted to infect games with .exe viruses on a global scale. Their intentions were to fix things like overpopulation, but ending the lives of that many people is a cruel method.

Now that they're gone, nobody should stumble upon any abnormal video games that could cause them trouble. We've put an end to the organization after all.