The Oracle Paths

Chapter 19 Video-games and reality

ary of how he lived before meeting the Oracle.

Had he changed already? No, not really. Such profound personality changes took a considerable amount of time and awareness.

Nevertheless, the Oracle deserved some credit. A full-time program like his had the same effect on him as good behavioral therapy.

Of the many skills he had acquired, the majority were actually related to the various functional movements he had practiced during his training. Jumping, footwork, boxing, dodging, all kinds of acrobatics, and finally all kinds of survival skills.

They included lighting a campfire, recognizing medicinal herbs and using them properly, getting water or food, making basic traps, and making clothing or leather from fur and skin. In addition to this, he also learned first aid, sewing, and even how to identify all kinds of materials. Even with an IQ now close to 145, this was not a task that could be accomplished in such a short period of time.

After three weeks, the skills he had been practicing looked something like this:

[Knowledge and Skill Masteries:]

[Rational thinking and common sense: 100 points (Normal human: 10). Most people think they are always right or full of common sense, but how many of them actually act sensibly? Youve always been a logical person. No absurd beliefs or superstitions cloud your judgment, and you are open-minded. By overcoming your procrastinating instincts, you have brought the common sense you have neglected to the forefront. Note, however, that it was fear that led you to go against your true nature. Without it, or in the face of stronger stimulation, you could fall back into your old ways.

[Informatics: 76 points (Normal human: 8 points). Youre not at the Novice level anymore.]

[Cyber engineering: 51 points (Normal human: 1 point). You are not a Novice anymore.

[Communication: 5 points(+1 chap 16) (Normal human: 10 points). Being solitary for too long given birth to social anxiousness. You can barely talk with your workmates and clients. Your body language and word choices rarely convey your true intention. You also dont have the confidence nor the oral skills needed to perform a public speech or holding a conference.]

[Acrobatics: 68 points (normal human: 10 points). You could only do a backflip, but you added some new strings to your bow. With good coordination and balance, you can now quickly adapt your movements to most situations. Gymnastics competitions are a long way off, but at least you dont look like a potato when you roll.]

[Fighting: 16(+9) points (Normal people: 5 points). You have a ferocious side inside you. You dont play by the rules. Should a hypothetical fight break out; the groin, throat, and eyes would be your instinctive targets. Youre not courageous, but dont have any fleeing instinct. All those gestures youve been practicing recently have given you a good foundation. You still dont know anything about martial arts, but no one can say you cant throw a punch.

[Cooking: 21(+20) points (Normal human: 4 points). Cooking morning, noon and evening real gourmet meals worthy of the name have allowed your talent as a cook to shine through. Your understanding is still rudimentary, but at least youve stopped using your microwave. A small step for man, but a big step for you.

[Survival: 34 (Normal human: 0-2 points). It would be arrogant of you to think that you can survive a naked winter in Siberia, but at least you wont risk foolishly poisoning yourself by eating the wrong berry. If the environment is not too hostile and you have a solution, you will be able to grasp it.]

He had many other skills, but they were not significant enough to be mentioned or were included in the calculation of the level of mastery of the above skills.

Everything was going well. So why Jake had to face reality so hard? A simple truth. Contrary to video-games, in real life, you could lose your stats and skill levels. That is what happened to Jake.

One morning, he just decided to have a well-deserved day-off. On that day, he didnt train, didnt cook, didnt learn nor review anything as he should have. The day after, he discovered the appalling truth. His attributes and skills had regressed. Not much, but he had lost 0.1 point of intelligence and one or two points in most of his knowledge-dependent skills.

His procrastinating instincts then returned to full power. The common sense that had enabled him to stay on course collapsed, giving way to a deep despondency. After three weeks of relentless training, he had long since forgotten that mysterious mouse. The fear that was supposed to drive him into action, forgotten. He returned to his original lazy, indolent self.

What Jake didnt know, however, was that the rest of the world, which he had ignored throughout his ordeal, was no better off than he was.

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