“Hey, man. I'm entitled to my own beliefs. It's not like you can even disprove God, what makes you so sure of yourself?”
Uh-oh. Religion. This rarely ends well. I step in a little closer and point my wrist device at them so I can check their personal files. They're both not even half a year old. Babies. Moderation histories are clean, at least.
“Fuck off, sheep boy. The burden of proof is on you. It's almost funny how retarded you Christians are.”
Yup, that didn't take long. I should probably just let him off with a warning, but waking up this early has made me very grumpy. Besides, I'm feeling a bit disrespected because I'm now standing almost right next to him and he's still continuing his tirade.
“...or how did get Noah get all those animals on one fucking boat? Learn to think for yourself, idiot.”
Maybe he doesn't know who I am. Oh well. I set my wrist device to a two day ban and point it at his head. He stops talking mid-sentence and drops to the floor, like a man-sized puppet who suddenly had the invisible strings over his head cut loose. The Christian guy stares at the body for a few seconds and then turns his eyes towards me. He looks horrified.
“Is he... Is he dead?” he asks me with a trembling voice.
“No, just locked out of his own body, for 48 hours.” I reply. “I take it you've never seen anyone get banned before?”
He glances over at the body again and shakes his head.
“Well, this guy took it too far with the insults, so now he gets to take it easy for the next couple of days. That's what he gets for breaking the rules. You've read the Ten Commandments, right?”
He nods, while keeping his eyes fixated on me. He seems a bit intimidated. I can't blame him. I am pretty bad ass.
“Just stick to the Commandments and you'll probably be fine. Getting banned isn't the worst thing, either. His mind is still here, somewhere, floating around.” I make a vague gesture towards the sky and the surrounding buildings. “He can still hear and see things. He's probably listening to us right now. Just can't interact with anything until we let him back into his body. There are at least dozens like him around us as we speak. It's probably best not to think about it too much.”
He looks around the street, squinting, like he'd be able to see the ghostly visitors if he tried hard enough.
I feel a rumbling in my gut, alerting me to the task at hand. “Well, I need to get going. Have a nice day, kid.” He manages to mumble a befuddled “Guh-goodbye...” as I continue along my way.
Next stop: a well-earned breakfast. I've heard good things about a food place that's almost en route to TL HQ from here; I decide to check it out. The place is easy to find: it's almost impossible to miss the building-wide sign displaying a cartoon panda logo and the words 'FOOD PORN' in big, colorful letters. The storefront is almost completely plastered in pictures of the menus on offer. Not the classiest looking place, perhaps, but the food looks extremely tasty.
I walk in and order the eggs and hash browns, with tea. The blond-haired girl behind the counter gives me a warm smile and turns towards the kitchen.
“Eggs and hash brooowns!” she yells at the cook and then turns back to me. “That'll be ten ESPORTS dollars, please.”
Great deal. I should come here more often.
I pay her and seat myself at a small, two person table. The place is almost completely empty, with just a couple of other guys quietly eating. I grab a copy of today's Pony Tales that somebody left on my table. The front page headline immediately catches my attention:
MYSTERY TROLL CLAIMS 12TH VICTIM
With a slightly smaller headline right underneath reading:
TL MOD TEAM POWERLESS?
Well, shit. A troll. News to me. I should probably read the moderation reports more often. Counter Girl brings me my plate. I thank her and skim the article as I eat my breakfast. Twelve victims in a week, troll finding his way back into TL every time despite repeated permanent bans, citizens feeling unsafe, yadda yadda yadda. I have a feeling I'll be getting a more thorough explanation as soon as I get to TL HQ. Time to go. I finish my plate and leave the girl a generous tip. There aren't a lot of females around here, so it's important to be nice to them.
As I exit the food place, rain starts dropping from the gray skies, right on cue. My life is a terrible cliché. I dig myself a little deeper into my trench coat and pull down my hat. I should have just stayed in bed. In a semi-jog, I head over to TL HQ. This is going to be a long day.
– TO BE CONTINUED –