Fortuna the Book

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Jason stared at the computer screen, the only source of light in the room where he was ensconced. It was on the second floor of a small, newly-built villa where he served as caretaker in exchange for free rent. The owners, who had ridden the Silicon Valley boom to early wealth, were in Provence, would not return for at least two months, and perhaps never. The villa was eerily quiet. 

“Worse?” Jason typed, wondering what she had in mind. She was really good at this. Playing the Fortuna simulation with her was like writing a screenplay – a whole lot better than his life as a graduate student at Stanford. 

“We must meet. Sunday, at  noon, in front of the new cathedral in Pisa.” 

This made no sense. Pisa was out of the range of the simulation. Jason typed, “Do you mean Piaza San Marco?” 

“No. In front of the new cathedral. In Pisa .” 

Was there a new rev he had failed to download, one that added new geography? Surely he would have gotten an e-mail. He quickly launched another browser window and typed “Cathedral of Pisa” into the search window. In three clicks, he was looking at an image of a church completed, according to the caption, in 1350. Within the simulation’s timeframe, but not its geography. 

Jason weighed the situation for a moment and then decided to risk jumping out of character. 

Pisa isn’t in the game,” he typed. 

Very quickly, the voice responded. “This isn’t a game anymore.”