The Beginning

Episode 1「XANA」


Shingo Hiasa was at work.

A simple room with minimal furniture and interiors.

In front of Shingo, multiple windows were displayed in the air, and he was creating a single document using a translucent keyboard that floated in front of him.

A woman in a maid's outfit waiting by his side says, without showing any sign that she was working on some kind of task.

「Master, the material you requested is ready.」

「Thank you.」

Shingo looks over the text in the newly displayed window, and by moving his finger, he copies the necessary parts and pastes them into the created document.

Work is going well. If this is the case, it will be possible to finish it by the scheduled time.

In Shingo's field of vision, both hands are moving as a matter of course. Of course, it is his intention to move it, and he is familiar with it without any discomfort.

──But this is not a real-world scene.

Shingo had a certain physical sensation apart from the body he was moving now. His true physical sensation, sitting deep in his own chair.

The virtual world 『XANA』《Metaverse》. That was the name of the world spreading in front of the Shingo's eyes.

『XANA』 is the current mainstream Metaverse, and what he is currently moving is his alter ego "Avatar". Since it is for work, the actual name is displayed overhead.

Shingo's real body is equipped with a head-mounted display《HMD》, which has the function to read brain waves, allowing him to control his avatar with his thoughts.

It is common to work in the Metaverse in modern times. In the past, working at home with a real body was called telework, but now it is a more advanced form.

If it is a work using a PC called desk work, it is possible to do it without any problem in the metaverse, and it is rather an advantage that it is not necessary to be tied to the physical space.

I could also provide a supportive presence for myself here.

The avatar in the shape of a woman standing by Shingo is not operated by a real human being.

Her name is Yuri. In『XANA』, you can purchase an avatar like her as a non-fungible token《NFT》. Since it has its artificial intelligence《AI》engine, so you can adjust its behavior to your own style.

It's also useful as a normal dialogue partner, but it's especially useful at work. For example, summarizing the contents of a specified material or extracting parts related to necessary elements is a tricky task. Just because you don't have to spend time doing that kind of work yourself, the efficiency of your work is totally different.

「... Huh, it's over」

After finishing today's work, Shingo closed all the windows that had been opened in front of him.

「Thank you for your hard work, Master」

「Ah.」

He received words of exertion from Yuri, but they were not cheerful.

After all, work is just a way of life. Nor does my deed affect the world.

So to speak, gears. It's just enough to have as many alternatives as you can.

The world cannot be changed. Then it's best to focus on what you find fun and look away.

After a little rest, Shingo put up a window to move the area.

「Then I'll come out, as usual, so Yuri asks for an answering machine.」

「Understood」

In『XANA』, it is possible to purchase land called a land as an NFT, and this room was created on the land owned by Shingo.

Since there are no restrictions on enterance, it is possible for people other than Shingo to visit, and Yuri will take care of that, and Shingo will be contacted if necessary.

「Oops, I have to change my avatar before that.」

Shingo opened another window and touched it, as he remembered.

Until then, it looked like a real self, but it changed into a samurai-like figure.

It's important to know that your work avatar is "Shingo Hiasa", but not for playing privately. I was wearing it to match the game I'm addicted to lately.

The name displayed overhead has also changed from his real name to『SHINGO』

「Well」

Shingo selected an area that he frequents for public gatherings.

Instantly, the vision darkened, and after only a few moments, a plaza with a Japanese-style square appeared.

 The autumn leaves displayed around the area, shimmering in the wind, give it an atmospheric feel.

There were avatars of various shapes scattered around, some chatting and others playing some kind of game.

『XANA』allows users to play games using their avatars, and while the number of games available at the startup was quite limited, but now it is increasing day by day by individuals or companies.

Shingo also came to this area to play one game.

The name of the game is "SAMURAI". It is an action game that lets you experience the Samurai as foreigners imagine them.

「Oh, I'm here」

Players who are playing "SAMURAI" are free to apply for a match. Shingo immediately had a match request flying in for him, and he accepted without hesitation.

Immediately, the avatars in the square disappear all at once. Except for only one person.

Contrary to Shingo, a male avatar dressed in white, smooth and futuristic clothes stood, and "Joker" was displayed overhead.

 Since it is a one-on-one fight, other avatars will not be visible so as not to disturb them. Unless special settings are made, those present are free to watch the game, and only their voices will be heard by those who are competing.

「Hey, SHINGO and Joker will fight!」

「Which one will win this time?」

「SHINGO is moving so fast now, that Joker can't even take him on anymore.」

While listening to such a conversation, Shingo faces Joker. A Japanese sword was held in both hands, and their green health gauges were displayed above the field of view.

I've had several blades with Joker. Immediately after starting 『SAMURAI』, he was stronger than me, but I won several times. To be honest, I don't feel like losing anymore.

Now it's time to get back to normal... and win!

With the signal to start the game displayed in the center of the field of view, Joker suddenly thinned and swung his sword.

Perhaps even if you prevent it with a sword or hesitate to the side or back, the opponent will think about the subsequent movement.

Then how about this?

Shingo imagines one movement. Movements that you can never do with your own real body.

The more you deviate from the reality of yourself, the more difficult it becomes to operate the avatar.

Despite this, Shingo's high resolution output is smoothly transmitted to the avatar through brain waves.

「What ...!?」

Joker instinctively raises a startling voice.

At that moment, Shingo's view was upside down, looking down at Joker. He jumped high while making half a turn like a gymnast.

Shingo performed acrobatic movements and cut Joker's neck from directly above. The opponent's health gauge disappears with a single blow. In "SAMURAI", such a fatal injury is an immediate defeat.

『Winner, SHINGO』

When that was displayed, the other avatars that had disappeared were restored.

The audience is enthusiastic, and there is Joker on his knees in front of Shingo.

「Damn, random movements ... remember!」

Joker said that and disappeared somewhere. I think I moved the area.

Shingo continued to enjoy about ten battles before finishing『XANA』.

Of course, the result is a total victory. I've been in trouble lately because I'm feeling too good. I feel that the avatar can move more than the real body.

It is common for the real body to react slightly, even when moving with brain waves.

However, I don't remember feeling that Shingo is moving now. I think that the brain waves are transmitted to the avatar without waste.

Thanks to that, even with『SAMURAI』, it was possible to make movements that other players could not.

「…………」

Shingo, who removed the HMD, suddenly felt uncomfortable while looking at the wall of his room vaguely.

The feeling that your body is not yours. It seems that something like a thin film is sandwiched between the mind and body.

That wasn't the case before, but nowadays when I come back to reality from "XANA", it's always been like this.

It seems that this sometimes happens when you are immersed in the Metaverse. It seems that a disease called depersonalization is induced.

It will return to its original state in a little while, so there is no particular problem, but isn't it good to leave it alone?

「Maybe I should go to the hospital」

Thinking like that, I finished eating and taking a bath that day and went to sleep.

en_NZ