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Chapter 1-2 Upgrades

Tuesday morning, on a break between P.E. and science. Jason is studying up on level ONE Beiton subscription’s performance parameters. Suddenly someone slaps him on the back and proceeds with a big laughter. Jason leaps from his seat, struggling to tent to the hurting spot. He doesn’t have to turn his head Jason already knows it’s his idiot friend Aaron.

“Gosh Aaron, that hurt like hell! Will you ever grow up?”

“Not around that serious and silly face of yours! Plus, your reaction was priceless! Should have seen it!”

Before Jason can complain about his behavior more, Aaron quickly hands him Jason a Beiton Expo ticket, he knows to throw a carrot after the stick. “I’ve got something that’ll make you forget about the pain. Was awfully hard to get, and I know you are nuts about this stuff so go enjoy yourself this weekend.” But quickly he realizes that Jason doesn’t show the excitement he expected. “I appreciate the gesture but I’ve been there already. Last Saturday.”

“Wait what? How did you get a ticket? The tickets are so scarce right now and the last few available are auctioned at $5000 now on the secondary market.”

“Yeah, my old man got invited from one of his student’s parents. I mean, I’d love to go again but you can probably use it yourself or hand it to someone else who hasn’t had the opportunity.”

“Aaahhh, shame!. Now I’m feeling bad for slapping you that hard without a reason.”

Jason shrugs; that’s something he got used to with Aaron. He turns to his PC, Aaron follows him, curious to see what’s so interesting to look at.“Oh wait…, what happened to your hand?” Aaron points at Jason’s cast.

“Ivy Hamlyn…she did this to me at the expo.” Jason tries to downplay the incident.

“Wait, THE Ivy? You aren’t making this stuff up?” Aaron know Jason well. He wasn’t the type of guy who just blatantly bust out fake news from nowhere, especially with that straight face.

“Man, I gotta hear the story. Can’t believe you haven’t said a word about it.” Aaron leans forward towards Jason, whose attention still is with the PC screen.

Jason rolls his eyes and sighs. He’s sick of telling the story to everyone that asks. But still, he explains the incident between Barkley and Ivy at the Expo. How she tried to use a Beiton baton to beat up his dog Barkley but hit Jason’s hand instead.

“What happened in the end?”

“Well, the security guards showed up quickly and they kicked us out of the expo.”

“That’s it? That was anticlimactic.” Aaron says with disappointment, then adds: Well…you deserved that anyways..”

A smile crosses Jason’s face as he sees Aaron’s deflated expression. “But check this out….I got these from the expo.” Jason puts his non-injured left hand in the air and forms a wooden pencil and grabs it as the Beitons complete the rendering.

“Ah-ha, some basic level 1 rendering. At least you have it now.” Aaron isn’t interested in what he’s seeing. Afterall, a level 1 subscription is common amongst even in the below average income families. “Well, I didn’t want you to feel bad before but now I’m feeling okay for bringing these out.” Aaron raises his hand and renders an ink pen. That’s a level 2 rendering.

“Your parents love you that much, huh?” Jason says with a bit of jealousy in his tone.

“Okay they may have bought the particles for me but I’m still working my ass off to pay for the monthly subscription fee you douchebag. And I don’t think it’s worth it for me. You can hardly render anything and it’s so expensive.”

“A tool is only as good as its user. I’m certain that I can do so much more with what you have right now. As you know, what I really want to do is entering an event like the expo as a competitor. That requires level 3. The cost to upgrade to that from what I have is substantial.”

Looking at his best friend’s determined face, Aaron goes silent for a few seconds, then he speaks up.

“Let’s take it one step at a time. You should get level 2 first and then worry about level 3 later.”

Jason looks up the Beiton site, “Particles cost $1199 with a $200 monthly subscription fee. So, with my current savings and my job, I gotta quit piano practice and work 40 hours each month after school…” After a long pause, “It’s manageable.” He said.

Aaron nods:” If you wouldn’t mind doing a hard, physical job I’d probably be able to help you get a job that pays 18 an hour.”

“That would reduce my working time by half! I’d take such a job in a heart-beat. Just let me know what I need to do.”

“I’m not sure they will take you yet. It’s for my uncle’s construction project. I’ll have to talk to him first. Let’s meet after school.”

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