Joshua found himself in yet another empty white room with no exit after leaving Thoren and heading on ahead. The moment he entered the room the door behind him closed and disappeared leaving him alone with his thoughts as he waited for the next step. All the new information he gained swirled around in his head and it all lead to one important question, should he take up Thoren on his offer? Although Joshua was confident in his skills when it came to fighting he wasn't exactly confident in handling the situation he and the rest of humanity were about to be forced into. Fighting people and fighting monsters and beast were completely different things. Plus having someone to explain what he would have to deal with in the future and learn all sorts of things from would be a good thing.
He decided to put those thoughts aside as he was already rather tired from all the nonsense and just wanted to see his family and friends at the moment. He could give Thoren his answer after talking about it with his parents to see what they think about the situation. While Joshua was waiting a voice once again started to fill the room he was waiting in.
[All survivors from the first phase shall be taken to the current refugee camp until the final evolution of the planet is complete. This process will take two weeks, any more information on the next phase shall be given after the process is complete.]. Joshua paid attention to the new information and was just happy that they were going to be given a small break before anything else happened. [Details on rewards for completing the first phase shall be given out after the two week period alongside details of further phases. You may now proceed through the following door to reach your resting place for the following time frame.]
Once the voice stopped another door appeared in front of Joshua and he took one more deep breath before opening it and walking through. This time around instead of a long hall way like before or another white room it felt as though Joshua was being pulled forward at an extreme speed for a split moment before his surroundings completely changed and he found himself on a street standing outside of a big white house. He looked around for a moment and could see that there were several houses in the surroundings. There were so many of them that they stretched on for as far as Joshua could see. Each house looked exactly the same, two stories with white paint and a simple green lawn out front. Each house had a walkway that lead up to the front door and as Joshua stood there he could see several other people starting to appear outside of houses and look around curiously.
Joshua took a deep breath before walking up to the front door and saw a name tag on the door with a set of numbers underneath. It said James family residence and that brought a small smile to his face. He immediately pushed the doorbell and heard something like a bowl clatter against the floor for a moment before footsteps started to approach the other side of the door. Joshua gulped nervously as he heard the person on the other side start to unlock the entrance and when they opened it he saw a familiar face that chocked him up for a moment. Standing in front of him was a tall woman that stood at six foot two inches. Even though Joshua new she was older than she looked he was still a bit surprised by the sudden vitality that seemed to fill her being as she looked similar to how she did when he was a little kid. The older woman looked a little worried as she seemed on edge as she opened the door and her eyes were reddening as if she were on the verge of crying, but when she saw Joshua's face her entire face brightened up.
"Mom, I'm back." Joshua said with a smile before the women brought him into a tight hug. She seemed to sob a little bit as she held on to him tightly for a few moments before finally letting him go. "What's wrong, why did you seem to be so afraid when opening the door at first?"
His mother wiped away her tears before smiling up at him and patting his shoulder and pulling him inside the house. "For the past month or so whenever someone came to visit a house around this time of day it was usually a strange looking robot that would tell them that one of their family members had died. Whether it was a son, daughter, father, or mother it would always be around now so I was afraid that…"She had trouble finishing her sentence, but Joshua got the hint and decided to give her another hug to calm her down.
"I'm alright mom. I went through a lot, but I survived just fine. Now I'm back and just happy to see that my family is alright." Joshua said while patting her on the back. Eventually she was able to pull herself together before they separated and headed inside. "So where are dad and Amy?" Joshua asked, but when he heard music coming from upstairs and the occasional shouts of his father he had a pretty good idea of what the two were doing.
"Well you know them. The first day here after we were told what was going on your dad decided to put together a little make shift gym upstairs with some of the supplies we could get from the system. They've been up there training every day ever since then, and even drag me into it sometimes." His mother said with a bit of a frown. It was a bit odd to see his mother looking so much younger, but at least he was old enough to remember how she looked when she was younger. It must have been a huge surprise to his little sister.
"So I'm guessing just about everyone looks younger now? You look amazing mom, it reminds me of when you first started taking me to school." Joshua said as he glanced over her new appearance. Her hair was about shoulder length and framed her face nicely. Any signs of wrinkles were now completely gone and it made her look more like his older sister than his mother. If his mother looked this different he wondered how shocking it would be to see his father.
"Apparently our life spans have greatly been extended with this system. Even your dad looks like he did when I first met him. He's still as crazy as ever about fighting though." His mother said before heading towards the kitchen. "I was making some food so they should come back down stairs soon to eat. You three always work up a big appetite." Joshua could hear the happiness in her voice as she walked into the other room to finish the food. He wasn't sure how she would have handled his death just based off of how she looked when he first answered the door, but he was glad that wouldn't come to pass.
Joshua walked over to a larger room with a TV in it that was on some station that was playing jazz music that he knew his mother loved to listen too in her free time. He took a seat on one of the large couches and picked up a tablet that was left out on the table in front of him. He started flipping through the information it had on it that discussed how to get around this resort like space. Apparently the door he saw at the end of the hallway was a gateway to other places and all you had to do was insert the proper number beforehand and open it then you would move through space to your destination. It was an interesting way to get around and the tablet had a list of codes for restaurants, grocery stores, and all other sorts of places to go to through the gateway. He also notice several numbers that were grayed out and had a coming soon next to them. 'I guess we'll be using this hub like world for a long time to come.' Joshua thought.
Joshua flipped through the information for a while and relaxed while waiting. It wasn't too long before he heard someone rushing down the stairs into the hallway across from him. "Mom is lunch almost ready? Dad's crazy workouts have me hungrier than usual." A tall girl standing at about six feet said as she walked into view. She had long braided hair that was kept together with a couple of bands so that they wouldn't get in her way while training. Her skin was just as dark as Joshua's and she was definitely on the more developed side with constant exercise. She was wearing a simple workout outfit with long tight pants and a sleeveless shirt that left her abs exposed as she rubbed her stomach.
When Joshua saw his little sister being as hyper active as always it brought a smile to his face. When he stood up the sound of him getting off the couch grabbed her attention causing her to turn in his direction. Her eyes brighten up at the realization of who was standing in front of her. "What? Not going to give your big brother a hug?" Joshua said with a smile.
"Brother your back!" Amy nearly shouted as she ran over and nearly jumped onto him. She squeezed his big frame as hard as she could while jumping up and down. "I'm so glad your back, we were all worried sick about you, but dad kept saying you could handle yourself with that stern expression of his. But I know for a fact he was just as worried as we were."
"Did he go and take it all out on the poor punching bag upstairs like always?" Joshua asked and his sister nodded constantly in her usual over the top way.
"He just doesn't know how to say how he feels. Then he goes and makes my training even harder because of it. Humph, now that your back you can give his butt a beating for me to make up for all the work he put me through." Amy said with a bit of a pout.
"That's the only way he knows how to relieve stress so don't be too hard on him. I'll have a couple spars with him from now on so you won't have to worry too much about it. Seeing as how mom looks so young now I'm guessing dads the same way. If that's the case then I'm sure he has more energy than he's had in years." Joshua explained with a smile as he put his sister down and patted her on the shoulder. Before she could say anything else they both turned as they heard more footsteps coming down the stairs. Joshua was surprised to see someone that looked almost exactly the same as him come around the corner. The man was a couple inches shorter than Joshua and had a more gruff appearance, but they both had the same bulky frame that showed signs of how much they worked on their bodies.
"Your back son." Joshua's dad said in a bit of surprise before turning towards his wife and speaking loudly over the music. "See I told you two that he would be just fine. I've been training him his whole life so there's no way some brain dead zombies could kill him. "
A smile spread across Joshua's face before he walked over and gave his dad a big hug. "It's good to see you believed in me dad. You know I wouldn't let you down."
"I'm glad your back son. Now I've got someone who can give my new refreshed body a challenge in the ring. You better not hold back anymore, now I'm in my prime once again." His dad said with big smile before his mother came into the room with several plates of food to put on the table. When they had all gotten everything together they started to sit around the table and had a little prayer to bless the food before eating. Before Joshua could take his first bite of food the music on the television stopped followed by a voice appearing.
[All survivors from the first phase should be integrated into the housing system by this point. Anyone living on their own can find information on how things work on the tablet provided. Now the official rankings of the survivors will be placed on the information hub that can easily be checked. The second phase will have a new ranking system going forward, but the ranks for the first phase will always be available. Rewards for the first phase will be given at the end of the two week vacation period.]. The voice ended and a ranking board appeared on the television showing the top hundred rankers. You could scroll down the list if you wanted too, but Joshua's family were all wide eyed at seeing his name placed firmly in the first spot. Joshua smiled in return knowing that he had a lot to explain.