The terraforming ship Ipomoea is fifteen light years from Earth.
Everyone on board is dead with the exception of terraforming engineers
Lester Rizzo, Manford Cardy; Corporal Sabrina Rizzo, Lester’s sister;
and a service android named Robot-2.
Foregoing their scheduled mission, the remaining crew are heading back to Earth.
Communication is down except for sporadic transmissions.
The most recent transmission was for Cardy so we can start this plot.
His father has passed away unexpectedly and he is taking it very hard.
The crew decides to immerse themselves in a virtual reality game based on an old video game.
The game was one that Cardy would play with his father.
The Legend of Wenda.
Rizzo, Sabrina, and Cardy appeared in a field. There were three directions that they could go--north into the mountains, west to the river, and east to the forest. Almost directly in front of them was a cave.
“Which way do we go?” Sabrina asked.
“First you go in the cave,” Cardy said and began walking to it.
They all stepped into the cave where an old bearded man just sat there. Three swords were just laying in front of him. Two flames were on either side of the man. “It’s dangerous to go alone, take these.”
“What? Just like that?” Rizzo asked as he picked up a sword. “We don’t have to pay for them or fight for them?”
“No, you just take them,” Cardy said.
“Then why don’t we just start out the game with the sword? Why do we have to go into a cave?”
“I don’t know, you just do. Come on, we have to go through the forest and the narrows and get to the far side of the map to pick up cheap bombs and a letter from an old woman,” Cardy said.
The three of them wandered to the east through the forest and then the narrows arriving at the sea. They then went north along the coast and into a cave where they bought several bombs and then went further up the mountain to another cave where an old woman sat with a letter.
“Can we start actually playing the game now?” Rizzo whined.
“First we need to take the letter to a cave so we can get unlimited magic,” Cardy said.
“Why can’t we just start out with this stuff?” Rizzo argued again, louder this time.
“Half the fun is exploring this world. Come on, the other cave is quite a ways away.
The next couple of hours were filled with battling weird rock-shooting octopus/spider hybrids, warrior bulldogs, giant jumping spiders, and many other unnameable things. The gang went through six levels and six labyrinths and came to the last one.
“We’re at the last labyrinth?” Rizzo asked.
“The last one. Where the final boss is,” Cardy said, monotonically. “Ready to go in?”
“I guess. No sense in stopping now,” Sabrina sighed.
The three of them entered the labyrinth, the whoosh of air hitting their bodies as the heavy doors opened. The labyrinths were full of your typical cave dwelling creatures. Bats, mummies, skeletons, along with the assortment of snakes, warrior bulldogs, and ghosts that were throughout the game.
The labyrinth wasn’t much bigger than any of the others and to a point, it actually seemed easier. Rizzo just guessed it was because they had more powerful weapons and spells that they could use that made all the enemies die with one hit instead of the usual two or three. At the end of the labyrinth was another giant dragon. It took longer to defeat him and it was able to shoot more fire out of its mouth but after a few minutes, Rizzo, Cardy, and Sabrina were able to stop it. The dragon disappeared and a key appeared. The key to the door to the north where the final boss was.
“I remember when my Dad and I first defeated this dragon,” Cardy said. “We were so shocked and excited that we just stood, staring at the TV for what seemed like five minutes--our eyes wide and mouths hanging open. I wish I could have another chance of beating this game with him.”
“Well, you are in luck,” Rizzo smiled and clapped Cardy on the back. He pressed the small button on the comm link in his ear. “Robot, initiate Protocol 2.”
Within seconds, Rizzo disappeared and was replaced with a middle-aged man who looked like a heavier set Cardy. Cardy’s eyes glistened when he saw the figure. “Dad?” he croaked.
Cardy’s dad looked around at his surroundings and himself. “I’m just as confused as you are, son.”
“We extracted your memories of your father and when we gave the signal, Rizzo pulled himself out of the game and put in your father,” Sabrina explained. “So now you can beat the game with him again and relive that moment. At least one last time.”
“Oh, guys, this is amazing. Thank you,” Cardy quickly hugged his father.
“Well, let’s not just stand here, let’s beat this thing.”
Cardy grabbed the key from the floor where the dragon disappeared. Together, they shoved the key into the keyhole on the door to the north and they slid open, a whoosh of air hitting them. Leaving Sabrina behind, Cardy and his father went into the last room of the game to defeat the final boss.