HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 280

“That was too close,” Galana said. “Maybe next time we’ll have a full party for a change.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Artephius said.

They distributed the spoils of the battle amongst themselves. Talon got a new grip for her mage staff that would give her a bonus to spellcasting speed.

“Well, I should get to work,” Balthazar said.

“Me too,” Nightingale said.

The Servants of Gloom logged off one by one until only Artephius and Talon remained. Artephius was really Amir, a bartender from Montreal. His boyfriend, Eric, also played in the guild as a berserker named Havelok.

“Can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked. “In private?”

They left the game and switched to a chat program.

“Is something wrong?” Angela asked.

“I believe so,” Amir said. “It’s about Eric. He’s been acting strange lately. He stopped playing games, watching TV, movies. He’s distant all the time. We haven’t had sex in weeks. I’ve tried asking him what’s going on, but he keeps brushing me off, telling me I’m imagining things. But I’m not. I know I’m not.”

“Sounds serious,” Angela said. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Actually, there is,” Amir said. “See, he just flew out to Victory City for work, so I was thinking maybe you could, like, check in on him. Does that sound overly stalkerish?”

“Nah, only slightly,” Angela said. “Where’s he staying?”

“You really don’t mind?” Amir asked.

“Of course not,” Angela replied. “It’ll be nice to finally meet someone from the guild.”

“Hopefully someday I’ll be there too,” Amir said. “He’s staying at the Champion Hotel. Room 312.”

Angela jotted the number on a piece of paper.

“Got it,” she typed. “I’ll let you know if I find out anything.”

Amir thanked Angela profusely and signed off. She closed the lid of her laptop. Chip climbed back up onto the desk and lay on top of the computer.