Welcome Aboard: MIRAGE
Please enjoy your stay, and scream like your life depends on it.
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.
Which you'd know is complete bull if you've ever visited MIRAGE before, the home of everything and everyone, no matter who you are or what you are. Whether you're human or an orc, or a Gralien (grey aliens, people. We were super creative with naming species back in the day). Everybody is welcome. The freaks and geeks and everything from absolutely beautiful to outright fugly. Which is why - all three hundred and sixty five days of the year - you'll find me at MIRAGE.
And I bet you're wondering, Ang3l, what's it like being aboard MIRAGE? Is it somewhere I can go? Is it for someone like me? Of course it is. So, let me tell you. Let me tell you about the first day I boarded MIRAGE.
Picture Earth, 2089, the year the world finally collapsed. And it had been a long time coming. The Space Race had used up most of every country's resources and humans were no longer the priority, The cities that had not yet drowned were declared dangerous with a capital D. The rich had already migrated, to Mars or to the Moon or to the Train - they were long gone with their riches in their pockets and their bitches on their arms. And I, had had enough. I stole and I fought and I traded and finally, after what felt like a lifetime, I traded something for the one thing I needed the most: a forged ticket for MIRAGE.
And, I know what you're thinking, Ang3l surely you could have worked hard and done the right thing by the law. Well yes, I suppose I could have, but if there's one thing I know about life is that waiting is for losers. And I am not a loser. Plus, it's hard to obey the law when there isn't anybody around to enforce it.
MIRAGE had been running for two years by the time I had got my hands on a ticket, and my luck had come at the right time.
Circling the galaxy like a gigantic satellite, MIRAGE only came back to Earth for pick-ups once every two-hundred and twelve days - I know because I counted. And so, two days after I snagged the best ticket in the galaxy, I stepped aboard the galaxy's biggest ship.
It should be known that MIRAGE looks like one of those old cruise ships, just a thousand times bigger. It's said that to each species it replicates itself on the most popular vessel - how it does it I don't know, but it's pretty impressive tech.
"Ticket." A Humandroid held out it's metallic arm.
I passed it to him, with nothing but a rucksack on my back and a hope that my fake ticket had been forged well enough.
"Angel Elizabeth Credence." I tell no lies when I say my voice was shaken that day, as I stood waiting. I could hear the noise, practically smell the vigorous scent of sweat and alcohol and - was that Gralien blood?
"Clear." A green light lit up on the Humandroid's forehead, no doubt scanning my retinas and checking my body for weapons. A sound occurred, and a small plastic card protruded from the droid's stomach. He took it, and passed it to me.
I took the pink card, with the words Multi-Interspace-Ride-And-Galaxy-Entertainment printed on top. It contained a series of numbers, my account credentials, and one word that would change my life forever: Ang3l.
The Humandroid's face changed, perhaps the imitation of a smile and said, "Use your MIRAGE card well. Please enjoy your stay, and scream like your life depends on it."
The famous tagline nearly caught me off guard; hearing it in person was like all of my dreams coming true at once.
I climbed the stairs two at a time, and began to walk through the entrance hall. Lush red carpets lined the floor, with light's flickering beneath my feet like tiny stars. The walls were bright and covered with artwork from both humans and aliens alike. A chunk of the moon had been sculpted into the shape of the New York skyline and was showcased in a glass box. A chandelier made of glowing energy changed from blue to green and back again.
Following the hall, I reached an intersection. A vast information board covered the back wall, with arrows pointing left, right, up and down. The sight of it made my head spin - with over one hundred floors it was a shock that MIRAGE even managed to stay aloft - or y'know, afloat?? - in space.
And I understood, the place had to accommodate for all species. Imagine bunking with a eight foot Moon-Goon - you'd want some space, no pun intended! But, that wasn't the only reason MIRAGE was so extensive in size. It was a sanctuary, a home, a place to escape from the shitty world you used to live on. And not only that, MIRAGE was an entertainment ship which meant one thing: it was decked out with the most unimaginable and exhilarating attractions you could ever dream of exploring.
Raking my eyes across the information board I spotted a few that peaked my interest:
level 18: Soda-Swimming
level 34: the Mercury Mountains
level 80-90: The MIRAGE Casino
level 110: VR-MIRAGE
There was something for everybody - you could explore an entire level dedicated to another species home. You could trek through the forests of Venus. A Moon-Goon could go to level 12 and experience an old-fashioned American diner. A Gralien could take the lift to sub-level four and take part in their favourite pastime: killing other Graliens for fun.
"Some board, huh?" A deep voice spoke behind me, and I whirled around on my heels, clutching my backpack. A six foot man stood behind me, his skin blue and his eyes like a snake's. He wore denim shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. I tried not to stare.
"There's definitely a lot." My comment was an understatement; after dreaming of boarding MIRAGE for so many years, being aboard it suddenly seemed overwhelming.
"Have you screamed yet?" He asked, a forked tongue flickering out as he spoke. I shook my head in response.
"You should. Gives you more credit. Y'know, the more you scream, the more you get." He pulled his pink card from his back pocket and waved it around. A holographic display appeared instantly. The man was rated at an Obsidian level, with his credit score rocket-high. His username and ID photo glittered in front of me. His eyes followed mine as I stared, "The name's Biterman, but don't let it put you off. Let's look at yours."
I did as I was told. My card was still clutched in my hand and I tried to mimic the man's movement - my display materialised right in front of my eyes.
The man hissed, "You see, you're at Dirt level. We need to get out there, Ang3l. You need to have fun and boost you up. You're gonna love it here."
I smiled, knowing somehow he was right. I was going to love it here. MIRAGE was my saviour and I wasn't going to waste another day of my life just getting by - I was going to enjoy myself and scream like my life depended on it. I could almost picture myself amongst the other passengers, screaming as I zip wired across the Lenorian Lakes, or partying with DJ Chrysalis. There were an infinite amount of possibilities, and I was going to explore them all.
Biterman put his arm around me, "Where do you want to go?"
"Anywhere," I smiled up at him, "I just want to be screaming."
This is definitely giving me Ready Player One vibes and now I want to write this whole story lol.
If you enjoyed this piece then make sure to leave this article a little heart, and perhaps an insight or comment to show your love! Any tips, subscriptions, or even a pledge would absolutely make my day - but no pressure!
If you want to get to know the author behind the article then follow me @leighooper on Twitter and Instagram.
Thanks for reading, I hope to see you soon!
About the author
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content