TnB Winter Writing Contest

Discussion in 'News and Announcements' started by Bennet Dyson, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Bennet Dyson

    Non-Roleplay Department Administrator

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    Alright, so obviously it's a long way til Christmas, but generally I want to give people a long time to create their work and get it in, so everyone is going to have until the 5th of December to submit their story and the contest should be settled by a panel of selected judges by the 20th of December at the latest.

    I was initially going to make the contest open to any sort of fiction, but in the interest of building, well, interest, in Half Life 2, it should be set in that universe. It doesn't have to be strict, it doesn't have to be 100%. Feel free to use head canon, feel free to use TnB Canon. Create something in the half life 2 universe that will build into a good story.

    A group of three judges will be chosen among the general playerbase when the time comes to decide a winner.

    E: The Prize is a $60 steam game that I'll put forward personally, winners choice obviously.

    To clarify. Submit your work here in this thread. It will be opened up next Friday and all work can be saved here. Anyone taking the piss will be punished in unimaginable ways. To be clear, anyone chosen to judge the submitted stories cannot have submitted a story themselves.
     
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    #1 Bennet Dyson, Oct 22, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
  2. Bennet Dyson

    Non-Roleplay Department Administrator

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    People interested in being a judge for the contest can send me a PM. Just outline your interest and explain why you believe you'd make a good judge. I'm likely to get a lot of messages so don't be surprised if you don't get a reply back, you'll know when the judges are announced.

    The single requirement for a judge is that you're not allowed to offer advice or any critique to those that are writing the stories.

    Along with the main winner, we'll probably include one or two runner up stories and offer some on server reward, such as stats or something.
     
  3. Bennet Dyson

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    Feel free to post stories now when they're finished. Still looking for judges, and just to clarify, you can't be a judge if you want to enter a story.
     
  4. Stupid Snake

    Stupid Snake Zealot

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    Anguish. The worn feet running in the bloody snow.

    Fear. The feeling of imminent doom as danger creeps around the corner.

    Panic. The soldiers firing hot steel bullets to end your life.

    Determination. The efforts failing to cut your life short as you run.

    Hopelessness. Surrounded with no way out.

    Humility and defeat. The shackles putting you into an inescapable bondage.

    Dread. The unknown as they ship you to a city locked down, with no way out.

    Uneasiness. The feeling in your stomach as you get assigned to a new life.

    Suspicion. The feeling of wondering if there's a deeper meaning behind their deaths.

    Revulsion. Knowing that humanity are the least humane creatures left.

    Dismay. Caught by the soldiers.

    Pain. Punished for your questioning and investigating.

    Despair. Knowing that it will never change.

    Confusion. As the buildings fall from the sky.



    Anguish. The worn feet running across icy grass.

    Fear. As the mechanical monsters chase you down.

    Panic. The feeling of searing heat passing along the side of your neck from nowhere.

    Determination. Almost to the other side.

    Hopelessness. Caught and put to Deaths sights.

    Humility and defeat. Thrown onto a train by men with armbands and cloth masks.

    Hope. A star of light from a candle shines in the train car as the clock strikes twelve.

    Filled. The feeling of hunger being washed away as the gritty, messy old man shares his food.

    Friendship. A stranger turned important. A new friend.

    Joy. The cycle is broken. Broken on Christmas Day.

    screw me silly i didnt make a copy in word and ninety percent of my original story got deleted so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Hope you enjoy this shorter one.
     
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    #4 Stupid Snake, Oct 31, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  5. Annoying Rooster

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    Well here I go, I figured I'd might as well give it a shot. So I hope you all like it, haven't written anything in awhile so I'm opened for criticism if you have anything. Have a good read.

    'The Talisman'

    -Prologue-

    Allen lightly jogged through the barren sidewalk alongside the paved road, vacant of any oncoming traffic with the exception of a few passing black trucks with green covers in the back concealing whatever cargo they maybe carrying. The August afternoon sun beating on the back of his neck as he became immersed in the eerily quiet atmosphere. It could've been 1430 in the afternoon, as the sun was just partially behind him. When he came upon a turn along the block of this small rural town, the majority of the 1980's homes had been abandoned, with their wooden boards and planks shielding the windows. The town of 'Henryetta' smack-dad in the middle of Oklahoma had been spared from the Earth stricken war, but had deprived itself into poverty due to the lack of resources.
    The occupation was a year in, and the Conscripts have established outposts around the city of Henryetta, making it a stopping point for logistics and quarters for their troops. The population had stood in this town at three thousand and six hundred, now only a mere nine hundred individuals, not including the Conscripts stationed within the city.


    Despite these circumstances Allen had learned to ignore, and since relocation into the newly built metropolitan cities was a slow process, he could ignore the change for a short time. He was carrying an old black knapsack with the clamps fixed around his chest which he'd been provided by a contact who called himself 'Halloway'. He was a supervisor of the black market organised every Friday within the abandoned super center just beside the main highway. There, they'd sell the necessities of vegetables and canned foods, as well as some luxuries like chocolate and toilet paper and remnants of the old world like stuffed animals for the children who still live among their families who hadn't been torn apart yet.
    Allen assisted among the Black Market as a runner for his job as a Surveyer. Some of the local resistant movements who organize 'Sabotage Rallies' in an effort to weaken the Conscripts latch on their already stretched position by leaving behind roadside bombs, disabling power lines, and setting fire to the land they plan to use as an outpost or a structure of terror like a prison. Allen worked at City Hall before the war, and was forced to perform survey work free of charge by request of his supervisor. A tall lanky man with short cut brown hair, green eyes, and with a terribly ignorant mindset, bought out by the Conscription Chain of Command. Allen recalled one point when he was required to survey a strip of land which was to be converted into an airfield, requiring to go a hundred feet and measure the elevation with a Philadelphia Rod and a primitive instrument for up to two miles in a horizontal line.

    Of course Allen had no problem sharing the information with his contact by copying the information from his records to a blank sheet of paper. He felt he was obligated to do so, as he was needed to support his own family. Allen had re-emerged among the street which he lived for his childhood. A once beautiful home now surrounded with dead yellow grass, a blue truck no longer in operation, added with a concrete porch which had been fitted with a broken green table and two plastic chairs and a swinging chair on the far left corner. There was also a rack of logs budded up against the house right next to the front door, left over from the winter. He'd leapt up the set of the stairs, inserting an aged key through the deadbolt as the door swung open with ease, however slightly difficult to shut in place. He lifted the door up from behind once he entered, so that it'd shut all the way.
    The wails of a newborn could be heard ringing out from the next room, not far from the front door where Allen had came in from. He wasted no time in quickly darting through the den and breaking off towards the left, just before entering the kitchen where he'd find his once and only true love. A red haired woman standing at 5'6'' with light freckles about her face, adorned in a slightly worn summer dress which covered her shoulders all the way down to her ankles. She'd modified the window to be connected to a clothesline on the outside, hanging out their wet apparel which she'd previously washed with sheet metal and laundry detergent to dry out in the baking hot sun.
    Rose, which was her name, spotted him from the noise when she pivoted in a hundred and eighty degree turn. Her red lips curled into a smile at Allen's introduction, entering fully as he wasted no time in fully embracing her. It was only for no more than five seconds, but it felt like five hours. Ending quickly to attend to his wailing infant, who was no more than six months old and adorned in his pajama's. The boy's name, Stansfield, stretched out his arms as Allen picked him up under the arms to cradle his one and only son. He was sick with pneumonia in the left lung, which was the reason Allen risked such attempt to copy the Survey information as the reward was worth it.


    Rose was rustling through his knapsack which he'd brought back where what she found had astonished her by the look on her face. Penicillin, an anti-biotic which was common to treat such case of what their son had. Allen made the intense effort to ease the pained new born as he coughed and cried. Rose swiftly had been eagerly preparing the pill of penicillin by breaking down the capsule to where the substance was powdery. She had a bowl of baby food, it was chicken he thought, and scooped it up with a big spoonful with the powdered capsule mixed with the food. She walked over to Allen, holding her child by his head as he got the drift and lowered his jaw without hesitation. The bitter taste probably only lasted for a little bit, but it was enough as the effects were almost immediate.
    This wasn't just any regular penicillin. This was from one of the many triage centers provided by the 'Combine', who demonstrated the masters of medicine. Stansfield quietly eased his wails, and instead clutched ahold of both Rose and Allen as his slow whimpers were surpressed with a bottle that had slipped inside of his lips, mixed with formula. The child was placed back inside of the makeshift crib, sturdy enough so it wouldn't fall. And just like that, his eyes clamped shut and he was on the bring of sleep with the bottle still clutched with his arms and legs.

    The two turned back to each other with a sigh of relief, Rose however resumed rustling through the knapsack, but not without her looking like she was on the bring of tears herself. "You've no idea how much this means to me, Allen.. How much you've risked for us. You don't think they'll find out, do you?" She was talking about his deed among the Survey department. Allen was confident that nobody was onto him, and he dropped to his knees as she retracted a wad of currency, baby food, baby clothes, one of the stuffed animals on display, as well as a loaf of bread and cheese. "Absolutely. I'm smarter than most of these boneheads at work. They're too worried about watchin' out for their own ass than to give a damn about me."
    Rose was pleased. She smiled whole-heartedly and delved back into a hug with her life long counterpart. However in this embrace, Allen had presented a carved looking talisman which couldn't have been more than 1-1/2 in diameter. It was engraved with a strange symbol, almost like a smooth triforce which was meant to resemble Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. "It's to protect you and Stansfield." Allen explained, "From anything, and anyone."
    She couldn't stop smiling from ear to ear, it was almost thoughtful as she stared at her lover's eyes, which was like staring at her own mental reflection which he was smiling from ear to ear as well. "I think I should prep the oven." She explained, "Friday night, and I think you could use a meal.. and a bath." If Allen could blush, he would. He stood back up along with his partner as their lips joined quickly for what one would consider to be a three second kiss, only to separate in the end unfortunately. "It's a date then." Allen said rhetorically, backing out of the room as Rose finished up with the small stack of clothes left.

    Allen was only nine-teen years old, needing to provide for his family in an occupation zone wasn't easy. He remembered, as he stood outside in the evening sun picking up scraps of trash that had swayed its way into his own end, he panicking on how he would take care of his then pregnant wife and support themselves. Luckily for him, he found a way and quick. As he reminiscent on the past, something caught his eye. It was quick, but he made out a figure at the end of the block looking at him with suspicion. He darted off quickly when he was noticed, and it had Allen's stomach churning in knots. Had he been discovered? Were the Conscription forces on to him? Or were they playing him like a fool?
    Allen had to take matters into his own hands, so next to an oak tree was a lead pipe from an old faucet he remembered throwing out. He clutched ahold of it and raced towards the end of the road. Reaching where the man was standing, he made a three sixty degree rotation around his general area, however there was no sight of the man or any remnants of his location. He was seeing things, he knew. A sigh of relief had escaped his lungs, knowingly that this was just his mind playing tricks on his eyes. He needed to relax, nobody saw and he was perfectly safe. They don't suspect a thing.

    It was a closure thought, but it was sadly not the truth. Allen spun on the ball of his heels as he heard a crashing noise, and the sight had caused his fingers to physically unbind around the shaft of the lead pipe as the clank caused his body to shake. His legs wobbled weakly, he felt the urge to vomit when he noticed that half of his home was engulfed in flames. The raging inferno grew fast as the dry weather made his home a tinder box. The side of the flames were where his wife and child resided, and he knew right there and then he'd made a terrible mistake. He knew he shouldn't have ever copied the survey notes, and that his contact must've been an agent for the Conscription Forces or atleast paid off.
    His suspicions were proven true when he turned around to see atleast five fully woodland patterned men armed with 'Billy Clubs' and sub machine guns chasing down towards him. One leg went in-front of the other towards his house, as his adrenaline soared through his brain. He had to reach the house, it wasn't too late! If they were trapped, he could get them out. Allen's fear soon turned to rage as a massive black armored truck, unlabeled and lacking detail, stopped at the crosswalk of the block just by his house. Bursting out of the back doors of the armored truck were atleast twenty more soldiers armed with battle rifles slung around their necks, dragging what appeared to be a stretcher. It was for him.

    ''WHAT'VE YOU DONE!?!'' It was all Allen shouted at the top of his roaring lungs. His face dripping with tears as he'd feared the worse. The men started to shift for his direction, Allen bolted towards the right of the group into the next yard. He was only twenty meters from his inflamed home, but it was as close as he was going to get. A man, twice his size, bearing a face mask had pummeled him into the ground. He was pushed back with ease, as another man joined in on the effort to seize Allen from gaining any closer towards his home. His cries of pain and horror roared as he became emotionally hysterical at this point. ''NO!~.. NO-NO, N-NOT MY BABIES!.. O-Oh god, I don't want to live!.. KILL ME!..''
    It was no use. It'd required atleast six of the camouflaged men to pin him to the grassy meadow as an additional Conscript stuck was felt like a needle into his elbow, injecting an unknown substance which slowed his heart rate tremendously. Allen soon became incredibly drowsy, as the last image he ever caught was his home collapsing before him in a fiery black hole before a black bag had fell over his head, shielding himself from the reality he'd once lived and will never be able to live again.
     
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  6. Wheatos

    Wheatos Legend

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    I suspect this should be deleted when this gets across.

    Can we all put pur stories in spoiler tabs to conserve room?
     
  7. Jackie

    Jackie Senior Member

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    im going to
     
  8. Bennet Dyson

    Non-Roleplay Department Administrator

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    More stories please.
     
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  9. Fuxx

    Fuxx Has absolutely no life

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    ;)
     
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  10. blooregardo

    blooregardo padre gringo
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    working on it
     
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  11. Stiles

    Stiles orgaysm

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    If I can finish mine in time I'll post mine.
     
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  12. Wheatos

    Wheatos Legend

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    [​IMG]

    Flames were already licking the dry furniture into wild displays of combusted splinters and nauseating smoke fumes. Another fire bomb broke through the frail window, clattering against the floor. The damage only spreads across the unbearably hot apartment, setting the curtains ablaze along with whatever poor soul finds himself in a Molotov's path.

    You see, the whole room was crowded with refugees. Literally packed. Children were hiding under couches and behind the upholstery, men and women tried in vain to retaliate with whatever weapons they scavenged from their respective journeys. One by one they dropped like flies, either too consumed in the suffocating grasp of smoke or vastly overcome with the pain of slowly burning to death.
    Rita tightly held this rag over my face and wouldn’t budge for even a second to let me get a good breath in. So what if the room was practically toxic? Probably more breathable than some old snot rag my nanny carries around. That’s what Rita was. My nanny. Or “au pair” as she calls herself. Which -evidently- is a dumb French word for nanny.
    My folks hired her around the time those tornados started popping up. They said I’d need proper supervision once they had to leave again. Which I always detested. Not the leaving part but the fact they thought I need an “au pair.”


    Mom and Dad were always leaving for stuff. They were some stiff collar generals in some branch of the US army or something like that. Which is respectable and all, until that's all they’re known for.

    Not the devoted parents of two beautiful children, but the stiff collar generals in some branch of the US army. I was two when they first left and even in the stories my sister tells me I can reckon they were the kind of parents to forget birthdays and send some lousy card with a check for 10 bucks in the mail for compensation. Made out to “cash” since they forgot your name too.

    Fat lot of good that did-- the au pair I mean. Not even before I turn seven does she royally screw it up. I have to give it to her though, we did manage to last since 05’ right after those tornados I mentioned began.

    People say the year is 2010 which is hard to believe since it feels longer. I think it's still 2005 and while the rest of the world continues forward in time normally, central Indiana was cursed to be stuck in some sort of alternate dimensional bubble. A bubble where monsters exist and nannies are called au pairs.

    Even just thinking that I can hear all the adults saying, “You deluded boy!” or “This is real life, get over it!”. Ironic isn’t it? Now I’m ridiculous for saying aliens aren’t real. Its funny how entitled adults get when things go to crap. They think that the explanations they agree to just must be fact.

    Right. Building fire. We’re shuffling towards the next room over now, careful to avoid falling chandeliers, burning carpets, or random alien appearances from the outside. Someone picks me up and tosses me out of the kitchen window. I fall a foot or two before landing on a fire escape with a thud. A few more children fall like raindrops next to me. See how rude they are?

    Rita hops down next being relatively young herself. She offers me a stare equally fiery to the apartment above, likely pissed I hadn’t moved from my spot on the ground. She takes my hand and some other little girl’s hand and moves us down the metal steps until we have to trek down a rusty ladder. We hop off and plant our feet in some dead grass before being tugged along by Rita in a sprint. We keep running and don’t stop until the giant three-legged spider is out of sight.
    ~CITY HALL CAMP~
    [​IMG]

    Everyone rendezvous at the old city hall in town square. It was the only “secure” place at the time. It wasn’t even the real city hall in Indianapolis. It was some old, run-down city hall they used when Indiana was still run by Native Indians and Colonial whites.

    The big, formerly white building was well camouflaged by vines growing up the sides of the walls and pillars. The dome up on top was caved in but luckily for us someone salvaged a blue tarp big enough to cover us from the rain and occasional flying aliens.

    The inside was equally drab. Instead of marble floors and towering statues like the newer city hall, this once was lined with beds of sick and injured people. The stench of urine and coagulated blood hit you in the face once you push past the big wooden doors. It was meant to be a clinic, food stock, and armory all in one. Before it was just zombies, meat-eating spiders, land squids, and other extra terrestrial vermin. Approximately two hours ago we got some fresh new visitors to Greencastle, Indiana. The more the merrier, right? Except these visitors were obviously trying to annihilate us...translation errors probably.

    Everyone sort of just shut up like they were trying to hear something no one under the age of thirteen could hear. They were probably listening in on their fancy radios. I wasn’t allowed a radio, you see. Either I was too young or too immature, I can’t remember. Not five seconds later do all the grown ups and big kids fly out of their cots, guns blazing and grenades ready to toss. This was different though; usually we only need a small team of folks to take down a monster, or even a group of them.

    Ever since they came people started busting out the big guns. And I mean big guns. We’re talking tanks I didn’t even know they had in the Midwest much less laying around Indiana. While the little kids and Rita intently listen to exploding missiles and the off-putting howls of sub-mechanical beings, the city hall sometimes livens up with the dramatic entry of a lethally wounded soldier. I guess that’s the queue for all the moms to rush them onto beds and get to work cutting them up and putting them back together again. Funny nurses do that.

    I just sit there, biting my nails and all, nervous as hell. That’s really all I could do. After a few hours less and less people starting coming back. It doesn’t take that long to blast a few behemoth bugs, does it? I start getting that weird feeling you get in your stomach when you eat a bad grain portion. Like I’m gonna throw up but I can’t because “That is a TERRIBLE waste of resources, Jamison!” God, I hated when Rita calls me by my full name. If I could grow up ten years right now, and be her au pair, I’d start calling her by her full name and see how she likes it. I really would.

    I get a strong nudge and wake up from my nap. You see, after so many years the sound of gunfire doesn’t faze someone from taking a nap or two. Its Rita, as inconsiderate as ever, telling me I had to get up. She says my bag is already packed and my sister Tabby’s already waiting in the Jeep. Almost immediately I notice the courthouse is different. All of the lanterns are turned out so I can barely make out Rita’s face. It’s cold too, like all of the heating lamps had been switched off. I start to move on to the front door when I realize there is no front door. Or walls or dodgy ceiling, or courthouse for that matter. We moved while I was asleep.
    Anyways, I follow the sound of the engine, careful not to trip over these big lumps in the ground. One of my bare feet (I didn’t have my shoes on) hit this warm, sticky rock. But it wasn’t a rock. It was softer than that, a lot softer. Me being the curious bastard I am, I crouch down and feel around for a bit. It was probably just a zombie or something. Its damn near impossible to walk two paces without stepping on an alien. I reach into my backpack and shine it on the body. It’s not a zombie, but a person. Someone from the camp, who I recognize too. She was one of the medic girls. No older than Rita, around 18 or 19. Her face was pale but that's because she was dead. She had freckles all across her nose and cheeks and her hair was red. Actually it was blonde, it's just covered in blood. Hot sticky crimson. I guess she would’ve been pretty had she’d not been horribly hurt. That sucks. Someone so young and pretty like that just dying. I didn’t even know her name either. The young, pretty medic who died without anyone knowing her name. I guess that happens a lot though because Rita doesn’t seem to be bothered by it when she takes me by the ear and drags me to the jeep.


    We get to the Jeep which is parked behind one of many destroyed building. I recognize it too because of the intact crucifix. Its the old Church of St Bernard. I used to go to nursery school their before those storms. Kinda sad seeing it all torn up and useless. Not that it wasn't useless before it got bombed, I mean I spent an entire year learning how to say an "Our Father" rather than my ABC's which I only now know up to S as of right of now.

    I see a glint of milky skin from Rita's flashlight and I know its my sister, Tabby. She's all sickly and pale from her cholera. When I see her she reminds me of the young, pretty medic. Except she's still alive...though just barely. I feel like I should have remorse or maybe pity for Tabby. But all I can muster is a depressing realization of mortality. Like when our cat got eaten by a land octopus. It was kind of sad, but mostly an inconvenience since we had all of these handmade toys that were now pointless to have.

    We're getting to the car when this old fellah, about 40 or 50 yelps. It startles Tabby pretty bad which I get a good laugh over. Rita's not laughing though, she drops our bags and runs over to the car her gun in her hand. I didn't get to have a gun. The old fellah who screamed just a second ago falls out of the Jeep like a dead body. Which he was since it looked like someone just stabbed him through the chest. Rita raises her gun and starts firing at something I surely can't see, and I don't think she can see. Out of nowhere this white-clad ninja starts jumping around, doing flips and tumbles across the pavement. I get a good look at it when it cartwheels under a street light. She -definitely a she- is wearing this skin tight white outfit that has some bullet proof vests and guns all strapped onto it. She has a helmet or something over head, with a big red eye in the middle of it. The gymnast with guns aims her firearms up towards Rita. I can tell Rita's scared as hell. Her breath's all shaky and you can almost hear her bones clattering.

    "<::DROP THE FIREARM!::>" says the female soldier in this weird metal voice.
    "Jamie." says Rita, obviously scared out of her wits. She's still trying to sound calm though "Go."

    I can tell she's crying but I don't know why. I've seen Rita kill whole kinds of monsters. Big ones all by herself. Rita starts firing some bullets from her gun, missing each time. Not because she's a bad shot or anything, but because the robot woman keeps jumping and summersaulting like she knows where the bullets are going to hit every single time. The soldier raises her own dual guns and fires straight towards Rita. Rita, not being a super gymnast, can't tumble her way out of it. She takes a good burst of bullets into her chest and crumples to the ground.

    Tabby just about goes bezerk. She's screaming and yelling like it'll do any good. I can't say I feel completely normal. In fact, I don't feel good at all. But I haven't felt good in a long time...

    ~THE INSTITUTES 2018~
    [​IMG]
    They say I'm "mentally unfit." That I can't be sent to whatever shit hole slave plantation they have set up outside the grads. The strict ass cunt with the tight bun and wrinkly old twat face goes through my list of 'demerits.'

    "Misuse of writing utensils" She says slow as hell. That was the time I stabbed a kid in the eye with a pencil for picking off of my ration tray.

    "Caught violating the space of a fellow student." That was when I hooked up with this underclass girl. I thought if she was unconscious I'd get away with it. I hadn't taken cameras into account. Whoops.

    "Vandalizing your work space." That was when I drew a picture of a naked Jenn Lowry on my desk. Was pretty accurate too.

    I tuned out after she hit about the twentieth since I remembered all of them. Every single one down to my first "misconduct." I shift on the metal table I'm sitting on and swallow real hard. I'm not nervous or anything; I just get thirsty when I'm listening to a load of bullshit, I really do.

    Anyway she says someone with my caliber of incompetence has no business being a worker of our glorious Union. That I can't spread my "disease" of malignance. Too bad- I'm pretty sure I gave that twelve year old I mentioned the clap- looks like the disease is already spreading.

    The lady notices my coughing and gulping and offers me some water. I take it since I'm thirsty as hell. Its bitter. Not like clean, regular water. But nasty and conspicuous like Breen's usual piss reserve. It hits the spot though. I'm not swallowing anymore and I'm a lot more relaxed. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

    Next thing I know the cunty teacher is handing me a syringe. One of those big ones the nurses use on the kids that go insane and start killing everyone they see. Happened to my friend once. He had a name I think....she gives it to me and says in a nice calm voice:

    "Do it."

    I don't know why but I find myself injecting the cold meds into his forearm. Like I've done it a hundred times. For some reason, my head starts drifting. I think back to faces I haven't seen in a while. My old au pair, my sister, my parents. I almost forgot I had any family. I think about how fucked everything got after the Portal Storms. How fucked I got. I never had a bestfriend. Or a birthday party. Or a Highschool graduation. I start thinking about what life was like. How shitty it was and shitty it was going to be. How shitty it is. Without knowing it I remove the needle and lay down. I'm calm. Oddly calm. I'm usually drumming my fingers on something or biting my nails- ADHD they said, but right now? I'm just still. Like I never have to move again. The teacher - I almost forgot she was there- asks me something.

    "Do you want to die?"

    Its a weird ass question. Why would anyone even fucking ask it. Of course I don't want to die...do I? Its a scary thing to think about but, maybe I do. Maybe I should die. My head goes back to thinking about my nanny and sister. My
    parents. The people at the old Indiana camp. I feel tears on my cheeks. I feel sad. I feel like it won't get better. Not ever..

    "Yeah." I find myself saying. "Yeah I do." and I do. The teacher gives me this pill and I swallow. Simple as that. I feel it going through my throat and then hit my stomach. And then I go numb. I want to turn my head, I want move but I can't. I feel people coming around me. I see the cunty teacher staring over me, as dead faced as ever.

    I can sense more people coming in. I hear a voice I've only ever heard over the loud speaker. A deep, Southern, manly voice that could only match the image or Satin himself...or maybe Bill Clinton.

    "Is it done?" He asks softly. I can tell he's looking at me but I can't look back. Still paralyzed.

    "Almost." Answers my cunty professor. "His body's more resistant than I thought. The dosage was enough, I can assure you, sir."

    "Well I sure hope so, Dolores. We wouldn't want Mister Carlyle here crawling off of the conveyer belt before he's properly packaged."

    "Of course, Doctor Wharton, sir." says cunty "Dolores". I try to process what they're saying but it just goes out my other ear. My natural talent for ignorance has grown too powerful.

    I start to drift off again. Everything goes fuzzy. I try to grasp on to what I can. Reality. It's slipping away. I try to grasp onto what I can. Everything's fuzzy! What'd they mean by dosage? Packaging? Am I a hotdog? Have I been a hotdog this whole time. That might explain why I've felt so trapped all this time. My heart was pounding like shit before but not anymore. I try to say something. No, yell. I'm trying to scream but my vocal cords are failing me. All I can get out is a raspy whisper. Its enough to get their attention I think.

    "Hotdog." I murmur.

    That was my last word. Hotdog. Fucking hotdog.
    :late: x1

    LAST EDITED: 2/9/17
     
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    #12 Wheatos, Dec 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  13. Scone !

    Scone ! I am not a bot

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    Ah fuck, I mixed it up and thought the deadline was the 15th.

    I didn't finish, fuck.
     
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  14. blooregardo

    blooregardo padre gringo
    Paroxysm Admin

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    I thought the deadline was at the end of december

    I wasn't gonna have time to write until after finals anyway
     
  15. Fuxx

    Fuxx Has absolutely no life

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    delay it or riot
     
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  16. Mox

    Mox I had strings but now I am free...
    Contributor

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    Y'all have had since mid October

    Rly confused
     
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  17. Stupid Snake

    Stupid Snake Zealot

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    I typed mine up and nearly finished but I was dumb so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  18. Rionas

    Rionas Legend

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    -snip-
     
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    #18 Rionas, Dec 7, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  19. Ace

    Ace Maverick

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    I did the same, don't feel too bad. At least it reminded me how rusty I have become in the literary department. My half-finished contribution I am opting not to submit but use as a means to regain some lost writing finesse since it pales compared to Pt. 1 (imo)
     
  20. shotcopper 9000

    shotcopper 9000 Dead Soul

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    Australia
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    i was going to write something but a whole torrent of bullshit plus my own bad memory and utter lack of temporal awareness meant i didn't actually even get a proper start

    there's always next year i guess
     
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  21. Scone !

    Scone ! I am not a bot

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    Wait fuck I fucking forgot my Nanowrimo this year as well, again, god fucking damn
     
  22. Bennet Dyson

    Non-Roleplay Department Administrator

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    you can keep submitting stories, i'll probably end it a bit after christmas
     
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    #22 Bennet Dyson, Dec 7, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  23. pirate

    pirate TnB's Most Wanted

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    i wrote about 2 pages then deleted it all and drank beer until i fell asleep
     
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  24. Gunnerstrip7

    Gunnerstrip7 Warrior of Sunlight

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    Okay.

    Prologue

    It’s a cold and snowy mid-December day in City Seventeen, capital of the world and the heart of the Universal Union. Citizens milled about and officers patrolled, both in groups and alone. APCs rolled past and all the citizens could hope for in a time that was once cheerful and joyous, was that those APCs were not going for their apartment block. The sound of the engine humming along the streets sent citizens to the wayside, or into their blocks. They knew that those machines would not hesitate to run them down if they got in the way and it didn't’ take much to keep them where they were. One particular APC was on a mission, loaded up with Civil Protection officers who themselves were armed to meet heavy resistance, even if such resistance hadn't’ reared its head in months in the city.

    One of those officers was Johnathan Karol, who sat squished between two other units. None of them said anything as the APC made its way towards its destination. Johnathan was a middling unit, ranked 02, not quite a veteran officer, not quite a newbie in need of teaching. Most of the time he was ignored, and this gave him plenty of time to think. It was a good thing that the standard-issue uniform did not allow for others to see facial expressions, Johnathan wore one of hesitation and unsureness. He had always done his job and stuck to orders, but he had seeds of doubt planted in his head. Seeds that threatened to grow into harvestable plants, a dangerous thing for someone who was never meant to question why they did what they did, or who it affected. The hesitation only appeared in brief moments, as the APC’s door opened and the units began rushing out, he took an extra moment before leaving his seat.

    Snow was falling in a flurry as they stood outside one of the Union'’s many industrial buildings. This one in particular was merely a uniform factory, meant to sewn up new jumpsuits to send out to citizens as the old ones wore thin. After all, a clean and orderly jumper meant a clean and orderly mind. A unit with red running through his outfit and a grated mask stood in front of the group of assembled units, "“Get in line, 055. Back up a bit, 153.”" He spoke in routine fashion as he micromanaged the units until they were ordered together. Johnathan made his way into line as ordered, being designated 05565. Regimented together, the only distinction between the lined units were their heights, not even their body-sizes varied that much given their strict exercise regiments and diets. The squad leader began to speak, "“A group of unappreciative citizens decided it’'d be a good idea to barricade themselves in this factory here to protest the rations the Union so generously gives them. They refuse to come out and back into the fold, so we'’re going to drag them back, kicking and screaming if need be.”" The Squad Leader then began to designate roles for the breach. Johnathan ended up being put towards the back, and was left to pile on with the others as the Squad Leader himself led the breach.

    For a time, the outside of the building was filled with the sounds of boots crunching snow beneath them and of the units geting into position, with Johnathan sandwiched between two other units against the cold brick and mortar of the old factory. He remembered a time when this place manufactured real clothes: Jeans, jackets, scarves, and more. Things that ended up in retail outlets, where they were sold to individuals. Now all it did was churn out the same tired blue jumpsuit, with the occasional lackluster winter gear for the cold season. Johnathan must have blanked out, because he was shoved forward by the unit behind him, as he came back to reality, he heard his squad leader shouting, "“055, get your ass in gear, move!”" And soon, he was in the building. Someone had popped a smoke grenade, and the coughing and screams of the assorted protestors was heard over the sound of the units stomping in.

    Johnathan rushed in quickly, not wanting to stall any longer. The protestors put up little fight as the confusion of the smoke and the shouting rendered most of them unable to react in time. Their weak, malnourished physiques couldn't’ stand up to well-fed and adequately equipped Civil Protection units. The protectors were being brought down without remorse and either zip-tied or beaten into unconsciousness, depending on how much of a fight they put up and how bad a mood the officer in question was in. Soon the main area of the building was clear, and the units were being rallied by their squad leader into the center, "“Nicely done units, but we’'re not done yet. 055, scout the rest of this building for any other protestors. Drag them out any way you have to, the rest of you, start loading these ingrates into the APC, they'll be begging for their regular ration intake after some time in detainment.”" The units began to fan out, either forcing up zip-tied citizens and taking them to the APC, or scooping up the unconscious forms of the more willful protesters and carrying them out. Johnathan made his way around the building, his standard issue pistol held at the ready in case anyone tried to jump him. The building was deathly quiet and the only sounds that kept him company were the creaking of the old machines and the sound of his footsteps on the concrete, and eventually the grating as he made his way to the catwalks and towards the office room. When he rounded the corner, he saw something that took him off-guard.

    Not having expected to see anyone else in this building, he was surprised to see not one, but two citizens. A man and a woman, cowering in the corner, finding small comfort in their embrace. They cowered as he entered, and the man spoke, “"P-Please! Don’t take us! All we wanted was more food, we can hardly live like this!"” The man’s voice was weak and pleading, the voice of someone who had all the fight taken out of this as quickly as it had likely been instilled beforehand.

    On closer inspection, they were both skin and bones, and barely the former. If these two had held perfectly still, Johnathan could've easily mistaken them for dead of starvation, but no such luck on their end, or on his. “"Please!"” The woman begins to plead as well, “"We'll never act out again! Just… leave us!” "Johnathan felt the growing pressure on the back of his neck to make a choice. His morals told him to leave them there and tell the Squad Leader nobody was left, his duty demanded that he take them both in and make them serve their punishment. Eventually, Johnathan let his morals win. He began to back away and head towards the stairs, but he promptly bumped into his squad leader. “"Well, 055, did you find anyone?”" Even the vocoder couldn't’ keep his interrogative tone at bay.


    "U-Uh, no sir. I didn't find anyone."” Johnathan replied clumsily, mentally cursing the stammer. Any hopes that the slip-up would go unnoticed vanished when the squad leader replied, "“Is that so? Then let me pass, I want to see for myself.”" Johnathan felt sweat going down his forehead, "“That’'s not necessary sir! It'’d be a waste of time. There’s nothing there!”" Yet the Squad Leader pushed past him, "“I’'ll decide that for myself."” Johnathan clenched his eyes shut as he heard the woman shriek in terror, “"No, please!”" He heard her speak pleadingly.

    The Squad Leader came out and said, “"Nothing there 055? Nobody. There? You lied to a commanding officer, I should have you killed right here for trying to hide these malignants! I knew I should've sent someone else, but I figured I'’d let you prove yourself. I'll deal with you later."” The Squad Leader reached for his radio and called another unit in, who came quickly. Johnathan was ordered back to the APC, his quick pace not blocking out the screams of the two citizens as he heard the unit and the Squad Leader beating them into submission before dragging them out. The ride on the APC was just as quiet as before, but even more cramped. Citizens were shoved into the corner, or if they were unconscious, thrown on the floor as they made their way back to the Nexus.

    The ride gave Johnathan ample opportunity to think about what the Squad Leader would do to him, and more time to think if this was all really worth it. He had joined the CCA for better food and better housing, he never could have imagined the kind of things he’'d be doing even as a mere ground unit. The atrocities he’'d committed never left his brain, and only watered the seeds of dissent in his mind. He'd heard stories of units going rogue and heading for a better life in the outlands, operating against the Union and for the betterment of the people. Maybe, if he survived today, he would leave. He didn't’ think he could take this life anymore.

    Soon they arrived back at the Nexus and the citizens were taken to deep containment, where they'’d barely eat and be treated like cattle. Johnathan heard a rumor that more than half of them were likely to die of starvation there, and he was left thinking about the couple he tried to spare. He had been making his way towards the mess to get his own ration when the Squad Leader grabbed him by the arm and dragged him towards his office. The Squad Leader’s grip was steel to Johnathan’'s iron, and he couldn't’, nor did he, resist. Soon he found himself sitting across from the angry, demasked squad leader, who was an older man of some years, gruff and with a look in his eye that said he didn't’ give a shit about anything but getting the job done. It was a look that Johnathan dreaded.

    The next hour was filled with chastising and yelling, plenty of name-calling and derogatory terms as Johnathan had to bear through it regardless. In the end, he was told he'’d be stuck cleaning out the ration dispensers with the Biotic Slaves for a week before he could return to regular duty. Mercifully, his shift ended soon after his sentencing and he headed home. His housing was in line with the housing of other ground units, a step up in the sense that they got the pleasure of having privacy and slightly better conditions, but by the standards of the old world, they might as well have been living in the tenants of a Soviet bloc tenement, just with better security. The flurry of snow picked up and threatened to turn into a blizzard as he trudged towards the apartment, his only solace was the tenement offered protection from the elements and he could soon be inside getting ready to sleep.

    Upon entering his apartment, he made his way to his standard-issue bag and began to stuff it with clothes. He’'d leave, defect and run off. He'’d make a better life of himself out with the other dissenters, and he’'d never have to harm another innocent again. Johnathan believed he could pull it off, and at least die one day knowing he resisted the system in some way. Yet, as he did this, he heard a voice behind him. An older woman’'s voice, “"Johnathan, what are you doing?"” He turned in alarm, did he leave his door unlocked? Was this person waiting for him? And yet, who he saw took his breath away. The woman was definitely an elder, with gray hair and a withered look. “"Mother?"” He mutters, “"You…. You can’t be real! You’'re dead."” Disbelief set in over him.

    “"I’'ve moved on, yes…. But I am here to tell you, that life in your brave new world is not that bad. Soon, you will be visited by three spirits, and they will show you just how much better things are."” Johnathan was aghast, “"How can you say this life isn't’ that bad? I hurt people, innocent people!”"

    "“You hurt people who deserve to be hurt!"” She replies, before coughing, “"I have to leave now…. Be a good boy, Johnathan. I’'ll see you eventually.”" And, like she was never there, she vanished. Johnathan was left shaken as he turned and looked at his bag, had he been drinking? Did he eat something weird? Regardless, the experience made him put off packing his bags. Maybe he could see the world differently if he just stuck it out for a bit longer. He went to bed that night unsure of himself, and uncertain of the future.

    Chapter One

    The day after the incident was filled with boring tedium that he had only heard horror stories about in the past by other units that misbehaved, he was forced to work alongside the Biotics as they cleaned out the ration dispensers. They didn’t clean out rations, no, they cleaned out any mess that accumulated in the machine from time, be it spilled ration contents or simple dirt and grime. His entire shift was filled with work that made his hands ache and his mind want to shut off from how boring it was. Yet Johnathan powered through, if only spurred on by trying to rationalize what he’d heard the night before. It helped that the Biotics were interesting to talk to, in what capacity they would talk to him in at least. They were very tight-lipped, given that he was a unit, but they still made for conversation about light matters.

    After his shift ended he left towards home again, Civil Workers and Biotics alike shoveling snow and tossing it to the side to clear the roads for APCs and for patrols. It had snowed a fair amount the night before, but the day had to go on. The Civil Workers seemed more than pleased with their lot in life, and their demeanor only made Johnathan more confused. These people were a far cry from the scared and pathetic citizens he had met the day before. When he got to his house, he was left sitting there staring at his bag until the sun went down and he went to go to bed.

    However, in the middle of the night, he felt a cold breeze move through his house and it stirred him back into consciousness. When he opened his eyes, he almost had a heart attack right then and there. Standing in front of him was someone who looked like an old-world homeless man, dressed in layers of clothes and jackets and wearing a raggedy beanie, complete with a beard that was unwashed. As a final kicker, the man was a translucent blue color, just enough to barely see through him. “Johnathan Karol. I am the Ghost of Humanity's Past, and I am here to show you the past for what it truly was.” It was then that Johnathan was certain he was going insane, but no matter how many times he pinched himself in the leg or rubbed his eyes, the man remained. “How are you real?” He breaths out in shock.

    The man didn’t answer, instead he reached over and grabbed Johnathan by the hand, “Come with me.” Johnathan was forced up and out of bed, wearing only his night clothes, which were thankfully more than enough given he had to dress for how cold it got. Yet, as soon as his feet hit the floor, he was no longer in his apartment. Instead, he was outside and in the city, and yet even still it only took a cursory glance around to see things were different. People wearing old-world military gear patrolled the streets and old-world vehicles drove down the road, however very few of them looked to be anything but military. Civilians walked around, but many of them looked scared and cold. It wasn’t that far off from what Johnathan thought of City Seventeen.

    “This,” the spirit began, “Is your old city. You think of the Universal Union as oppressive and unfair, but this was the reality of the world before they came. The old military barely kept out the alien creatures, brought here by human mistakes mind you, and people like you had to live in constant fear and under martial law.” The scene moved around them like something out of a movie, and soon they were standing at the window of a run-down house, looking in, Johnathan sucked in a breath.

    It was a younger version of him, naïve and bright-eyed. Were one to snap a picture of him, he’d look as happy as could be, yet as Johnathan’s senses expanded, he was reminded of the reality of his old life. His family did have a Christmas tree, but it was a withered husk in the corner, with nothing underneath. His mother and father sat in the room with the young Johnathan, telling him stories and sipping from their drinks. Now that he was older, he could tell just how tired and distraught both of them were. His parents had died just days before the Union came, he remembered. Although of what, he wasn’t certain even now.

    “You remember things differently than what they were, Johnathan.” The spirit continues, “You may have felt happy, but you didn’t know how bad things were. Your parents struggled to feed even you, and they let themselves grow hungry as a result. They died keeping you fed, Johnathan, in your present-day world, that would never happen. Everyone eats if they do their job.” The spirit took Johnathan by the arm again and soon they were right back at his place, he was left stumbling onto his bed and sitting there as the Spirit says, “Do you understand now how important the Union is? This future you could build could save humanity! People like me could’ve lived, if the Union had come earlier.”

    Th crushing weight of this all got to Johnathan’s head, “If we were left to do what we want we could build a better future! We could rebuild and take the world back, I know it! My parents didn’t die keeping me fed, they died because they were sick!” Even as he spoke his breath was haggard and his tone desperate. The spirit gave him a hard look and says, “You’ll see the truth soon enough.” Before it vanished into thin air.

    Johnathan didn’t get much sleep that night.

    Chapter Two

    The next day was occupied by Johnathan mindlessly working with the biotics and occasionally responding to the order of a superior officer. Nothing happened and he was left trying to stay awake through it all, having only gotten a mere hour of sleep before his shift began. Were he not being punished, he could’ve filed to miss this shift and doubled up later, but he couldn’t afford that after what he did. He would’ve been lying if he said he wasn’t a bit bitter over trying to save those people, given how miserable he felt at the moment.

    Soon he was making his way home again, the snow having been shoveled away mostly by now. A thin layer of the stuff stayed defiantly on the ground, which was a given as it was almost always snowing this time of year. The only small mercy of the day being the lack of cold, harsh wind that would’ve otherwise been biting into his skin and making him want to shrivel up indoors and wait out the season. As he made his way up the stairs, he bumped into someone else. Given the nature of this block, he knew it was another unit. “Oh, hi.” Johnathan spoke meekly to the other person.

    The person he bumped into was another man, this one was younger than he was and looked rather cleaned up. “Hey, nice weather huh?” Johnathan almost snorted at the cliché small-talk, but he just said, “For the season, yes. Going somewhere?” The younger man shifted a bit, “Yeah. Going to see a, uh… A friend, over at one of the restaurants.” It didn’t take a genius to know that this young man was going to see someone who was more than a friend, it made Johnathan smile just a bit. “Stay safe then.” And then he headed up the stairs.

    Even if the conversation was fleeting and lackluster, it got him thinking. Doctor Breen mentioned on Breen-casts that eventually humanity would be allowed to breed again when the Combine thought them ready. People like the man he just saw were the future of humanity, and if they all shaped up and the Union saw that humanity was going to be a good edition to the rest of the galaxy, they’d be allowed to prosper. At least, that’s what Breen said, but Johnathan always held a certain contempt for Breen, and most of the civil administration. People who dressed up in nice suits and acted important while the common citizen had trouble sleeping due to how cold and hungry they were.

    Johnathan entered his apartment and went about preparing a small meal for himself, what he could out of the CCA rations. He ate better than most people and he knew it, given that it didn’t take much to make headcrab stew out of what he had accumulated from his rations, and the stuff wasn’t half bad. After he ate, he busied himself until night fell doing mindless things. Reading Union-approved books and watching people from the window as they went about their day. He had almost forgotten about his crazy encounter from the night before, or written it off as a dream, when he went to bed.

    As he slept, he was greeted with the smell of gunpowder and smoke, before he opened his eyes and almost had another heart attack. It seemed one didn’t get used to spirits appearing at their bed. This one looked normal, they wore a civil protection uniform and everything on them was regulated right down to the bootstrap. They stared at him before saying, “Johnathan Karol, I am the Ghost of Humanity's Present, and I am here to show you why what you’ve thought of doing is wrong.”

    Just as the night before he was pulled out of his bed, yet this time he found himself with the spirit in the outlands. He had been there before, but only on brief excursions and he never paid much attention to it. Now, standing with the spirit, he saw people dressed in ragged Kevlar vests, or other assorted armors, milling around, some brandishing weapons and others merely making their way about. It appeared they were standing in a small, dilapidated settlement, with run down old buildings that offered meek protection from the cold. “Where are we?” was Johnathan’s first question.

    “An outpost for those rebels you glorify. Look around you.” The spirit gestured widely with his arms, “This is no future for humanity. These people fight to stay alive more so than even people in the past did, and you expect them to ‘free’ humanity? Pathetic. They’re not the future, and they can’t see the truth.” The spirit led him to where a small fire was built, headcrab meat on a spit was being slowly turned as a group of people huddled around the middling fire for warmth and protection from the elements. “These people could be wiped out in a second, the Union lets them persist as an example of the simple truth, without the Union humanity is doomed. The old world is gone, and it should stay that way. You’ll see just how pathetic this is.” The spirit gestured upwards right as a dropship flies overhead. The rebels scramble around like ants as they try to get to safety, some going into the ruins while others making a break for the wilderness.

    Transhuman Soldiers left the gunship in ordered fashion, rushing around and dispatching any life form they saw without remorse. The fire, left unattended, sparked and caught some nearby grass on fire. As it spread, the screams of the trapped rebels and their valiant but weak attempt at fighting back began to consume Johnathan’s senses. In all this chaos, he felt like hyperventilating, yet right as it began to reach its apex, he found himself back in his room, the spirit staring at him. “I- What was that?! Why would you show me that?” Johnathan wanted answers, and the Unit responded, “You needed to see the reality of this world, Johnathan. Resistance is not the path to success for humanity, the Union is. Do you see the truth now?”

    The whole ordeal left Johnathan shaken, “I-, I-“He stammered, yet before he could give a response, the spirit began to fade, “You will see Johnathan, just what will happen if you leave, if humanity is left to the dogs in the wilds and not the power of the Union.” And soon, it was gone. Johnathan went to bed and tried to sleep, nightmares of what he had witnessed haunting his mind. The smell of smoke and the screams of the dying rebels kept him from sleeping properly that night as well.

    Chapter Three​

    Johnathan was forced to deal with another day running with barely any sleep and the weight of the world on his mind. That day he said almost nothing to the Biotics and did his job quietly. He was asked what was wrong at least once, but he just told them that he was tired and that seemed to get them to leave him alone. There wasn’t as much work to do that day, mercifully, as the Ration Machines had been substituted mostly with a manual ration for the day as some units decided to break their usual tedium with one. He never understood that, but he didn’t complain.

    He headed home again, his senses focused on that one goal. Getting home and trying to make sense of his life, maybe having a drink of some of the alcohol the Union allowed for. He didn’t stop to look at anything or greet anyone, and instead headed right into his house and sat on his bed. That day was filled with drinking a drink that could barely get him buzzed, let alone drunk, and trying to rationalize his past week and why things were so screwed up. He knew in the back of his head that there was still one more spirit, his mother had said there would be three and there had only been two. Past and Present. As Johnathan prepared to sleep, he could only hope that the future would be bright and he could sleep soundly for once.

    That night there was no smell in the air, just another cold breeze as he opened his eyes and saw the next spirit. This time, for one reason or another, he welcomed it. The spirit took the appearance of a member of High Command, and for one reason or another, the trench-coated man that would usually fill him with fear filled him with some sense of reverence. “Johnathan Karol, I am the Ghost of Humanity's Future, and I am here to show you what will happen if humanity is stalled in its advance.”

    Just as the last two nights before, he was hoisted up and taken somewhere else. The new world he saw was a glorious one. There were children playing in a park, all wearing blue jumpsuits as units and citizens alike watched. APCs rolled around and civilians didn’t fear them, crimes were minor and people looked happy. “This is the future of the Union if it’s allowed to continue. We will all live in happiness. All it requires is for people like you to follow orders. If you don’t…” The scene changed and as quickly as the hopeful and glorious outlook had come, it was gone and it was replaced with something far worse.

    Johnathan saw a smoldering ruin of what had just been a playground a few moments ago, instead of children and happy people, he saw desolation and destruction. He saw people scurrying about the ruins like roaches, the spirit showed scenes in quick succession. People killing each other over scraps of meat and then eating the one they just killed, people creating violent gangs, and more. He saw the worst of humanity in a short time span, and it made Johnathan apprehensive, and scared. This was exactly the opposite of what he wanted for humanity. “This is what will happen if humanity is left to the dogs, and you?” The scene changed one last time.

    There in the icy snow was… him. Johnathan choked a sob as he saw his own dead corpse, frozen in the snow with a gunshot in his back. He was wearing the tattered remains of his uniform. “If you go rogue you will eventually be shot trying to help those who you once believed were the ‘future of humanity.’ You won’t even be a wheeze in the last dying breathes of humanity. Is that what you want?”

    “N-No, NO! I don’t! This- This can’t happen!” Johnathan said through sobs, the spirit forced its point, “It will if you don’t embrace the Union, and love it. You must do your job and help better humanity, and prepare for the future.” Johnathan was left staring at his own corpse in horror until they ended up back in his apartment again. “It’s not too late, is it?! I’ll be different, I swear!” Johnathan pleaded with the spirit, and the spirit began to fade, “It’s not too late. There’s still time to be a good unit, and a good citizen. Do not let humanity down.”

    The spirit was soon gone and Johnathan fell asleep, peacefully for once in his bed. His whole outlook had been changed. He was stupid to have doubted the Union, and tomorrow he was going to go and formally apologize for his insolence, and work as hard as he could to further the Union's glory. Johnathan realized this was the start of a brave new future for him.

    Epilogue​

    Inside the Nexus on a cold, snowy afternoon, there was a small gathering of four people in a hard, concrete room. Three of them were wearing uniforms indicating high rank in Civil Protection, while the fourth one laid back, strapped to a machine with his eyes closed. One of the men, an older gentleman with a cigarette in his mouth, exhaled smoke into the air. “So, was the procedure a success?” He asks without much concern in his voice, the question was more of a formality.

    Another one of the men, a younger man looking at a monitor which hooked up to the machine, says, “It looks that way from the data I’ve gathered. It seems like the scenario I set up worked like a charm. When Mr. Karol wakes up tomorrow morning, he’ll be an active and productive member of Civil Protection again. In fact, I think this might double his productivity, I’m rather proud of how this worked out.”

    A woman stood at the door, the third occupant of the room. She too wore a uniform, this one indicative of an officer in Socio, “That’ll teach him to try going rogue. Packing up and trying to run through the sewers and causing all sorts of commotion.” Scoffing, she says, “Will he remember any of that when he wakes up?”

    “No.” The man at the monitor replies, “As far as he’s concerned, the simulation was what his life has been for the past few days. He never finished packing his bag. I’ve already put out the request that his room be set up just like it needs to be and made sure that he’ll be cleaning out the ration units for the next few days as well. He might come off as a bit crazy to the other units if he talks about what he saw, but I doubt they’ll listen to him much. He didn’t have many friends.”

    “What about the biotics?” the older man asks, “They won’t know him at all.” The woman replies, “You’re losing your touch, 333. We’ll just tell them to act like they know who he is, and threaten them with losing their rations and a few extra beatings if they don’t.” To which the older man just nods, “Yeah I guess that’s the best way to go about this.”

    “Well, enough chatter.” The younger man says, “I poked some holes in a body bag, let’s get him in there and take him back to his apartment. The medicine should keep him out until tomorrow morning. If anyone asks what we’re doing, we’ll just mention a crime scene, or beat them.”

    “Details.” The older man says, “You’re right, let’s get Mr. Karol all packed up and ready to go. It’s Christmas Eve and I have a hot date with a bottle of whiskey and a fresh carton of smokes lined up for the next day and a half.”

    I took some inspiration from a couple sources, one of them being fairly obvious. I also took some liberties with the HL2/TnB Canon to make for a better story. Other than that, hope everyone enjoyed reading it.
     
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    #24 Gunnerstrip7, Dec 9, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  25. Wheatos

    Wheatos Legend

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    reminder to people that this contest is probably ending very soon!
     
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  26. Salty_

    Salty_ Senior Member

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    ...
     
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  27. blooregardo

    blooregardo padre gringo
    Paroxysm Admin

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    fuck i didnt know it was extendo
     
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  28. shotcopper 9000

    shotcopper 9000 Dead Soul

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    i might have an entry ready by next christmas does that still count
     
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  29. AgeofMyth

    AgeofMyth Senior Member

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    Thanks for pushing the contest into another year. I managed to squeeze this out because of it. The format may be a bit wonky because I typed this all up in Microsoft Word before pasting it here. Either way, enjoy!

    Astray

    [​IMG]
    This image belongs to www.gamesfragger.com

    What do you tell a person who is about to die? Do you tell them how sorry you feel? Like a harsh, unexpected, chilling breeze that crawls up the skin for a moment before disappearing, the woman in between my crosshairs fell over and was dead in an instant. I didn’t know her, and she didn’t know me. It’s better that way, but I still felt my heart tremble when I pulled the trigger. It almost seemed as if the recoil from the rifle came from my nerves rather than the bullet.

    The woman I just killed was targeted by our Civil Protection forces for weeks. She did not look fierce enough to be one of the Resistance’s leaders, nor did she look capable of killing her fellow man, yet she was. I spent what felt like a day beside her, watching her through a magnified lense. I saw her give compassion to a scared insurgent and witnessed her feed a rebel amputee. Throughout the day I had plenty of opportunities to kill her, but I waited until it was her time to go. I let her converse with allies and do her work in peace until I felt ready to fire, which was during her dawn smoke break. She was alone on a balcony trying to forget the world, and I saw an unmissable chance to finish my squad’s orders. No matter how much I sympathized for the woman I didn't know, I had to pull the trigger. My heart stopped for a second when her's stopped indefinitely. As conflicted as I was, I knew that by doing my job I saved lives. Her death, as peaceful as it could be, saves countless units in days to come.

    For months the Combine has tried to take back City 23 after a successful rebel uprising. Squads from other Union-controlled cities were dispatched to help reclaim the vital supply line that is City 23, and my squad from City 17 was ordered to aid in the fight. My squad was tasked with finding and killing the rebel leader who was hidden in the warzone of City 23. The nature of our mission was more significant than anything we had done in City 17, but we were confident. My squad had gone through Hell and back, and stands as a proud symbol of City 17’s sociostability squads, which is why we were chosen over any other squad. Most of the units in my squad have been together since recruitment, so we have grown to work together and rely on each other more than a regular squad would. We were expected to go behind enemy lines, and the always-adapting tides of war could either bring us reinforcements or shove us further in the hornet’s nest. It was a gamble, but our squad leader knew that we could do it.

    I struggled to get out from my sniper’s perch on the inside of a crumbling, multistory building because of how long I’d been there. I contacted my squad leader over the radio about my success but received no response. I figured my radio signal was obstructed and I headed down a long stretch of empty stairs until I got out of the building. I started a discreet trek to the FOB my squad set up only a few blocks away, and the persistent sound of distant gunfire kept me on my toes. The images of the woman I had been staring at all day reappeared frequently. That woman, much like my squad leader, was expected to lead a group of militants through adversity and win. She was as respected by her peers as my squad leader is of us. It was interesting to note how many parallels could be drawn between us and the rebels, because in the end, we are all fighting for survival.

    The daylight started to set in from the long night and I was still on my way to the FOB. I tried the radio again to see if anybody would pick up, but no dice. I readied my weapon as I approached the eerily silent FOB and entered with a cautious mind. I was ready to hear excitement for when I tell everyone about my success, but my attention was taken by the remnants of the reaper. Behind the barricades and against the walls were the cadavers of my squad mates. I froze at the horrific sight of my squad’s last stand. Behind the pillboxes was my squad leader, still holding his rifle valiantly in one hand. He had bullet holes across his entire body and a single well-placed shot through the cheek of his mask. He never surrendered and always stood at the forefront of the squad, proving that even the mightiest man is no match for an efficient team. It was pleasing to know that he died a hero’s death; however, I was agitated that I was not here to die with him.

    In the guard post was 101’s slouched corpse. His posture looked like he tripped on spent brass and hit his head on the railing, probably breaking his neck from the impact. No man could match his courage and no single man could beat his prowess in battle. 101 was the squad leader’s right-hand man, and he proved to be an admirable leader and teacher thanks to his commitment to improving us. He finally met his maker and I can only imagine what rebels came through and killed the best of the best. Whatever group it was surely took as many if not more casualties than my squad had, because of the myriad of blood pools stained into the ground and walls without corpses.

    I thought I had seen it all, but the body of 702 struck another chord in my heart. 702 or “seven ought to” as we called him, was one of the new units to our squad. We used to joke about his fear of firearms by saying, “Seven ought to grow a pair,’ but that meaningless joke was contradictory to his death behind one of the barricades. His rifle’s barrel was disfigured from overheating and a pile of empty magazines surrounded his body. He had a few bullet holes in his arms, but what looked to be the cause of his demise was shrapnel coating the entire back side of his body, tearing through his armor. It tugged at my insides to see 702’s corpse because he did nothing to deserve his wretched fate. A few other familiar faces found flat on the ground led me to believe that the FOB had become a hopeless graveyard. My mind ran along with my eyes.

    I left the FOB and tried to make contact with the other squads. My radio had a scrambled frequency, likely the result of a signal jammer, so that option was gone. Every couple of minutes I would have to duck into cover and hide from the occasional rebel supply trucks and reinforcement groups. I was convinced that the rebels held back the Combine offensive, yet I still hoped to return to safety. I started a haul towards the clashing fronts, planning on returning to the other squads within a matter of days. The journey would only be worse with my shattered morale and limited supplies, but I can make the most of what I have.

    After hours of walking along rubble-coated streets, I decided to take shelter in one of the nearby, intact buildings until the morning. I stayed in the top-floor room of an abandoned civil housing apartment. Even though I was alone, I knew I was not far from harm’s way. I tried to sleep with my rifle held against me, hidden in the bee’s nest; however, the constant ringing of gunfire and nearby bombardments kept me awake through most of the night.

    I woke with the sun scraping my eyes and prepared for a day of unwanted action. I peered out from the top floor’s window and hid when I heard the boots from a passing patrol. I stuck my head out minutes later and saw a single oddly dressed insurgent. He was wearing a bloodied, bullet riddled Civil Protection vest and was putting on a clean unit’s mask. Rebels were known to scavenge off dead units, and this rebel shared the same armband that I had. A rage engulfed me as I watched a bottom feeding insurgent wearing my squad’s proud symbol. I stared at him through my scope and pulled the trigger in my bout of madness. He fell to the ground and the entire patrol that walked past was likely coming back for retaliation. I kept my crosshairs on the corpse for drawn-out seconds before sinking my head down with anguish. I imagined one of my own squad mates being in that thief’s shoes and me in one of the rebel’s, and I realized that I was no better in this situation than the rebel. Another insurgent wearing tattered unit attire along with my squad’s armband ran up to the corpse and fell down next to him. The other rebel was holding his now dead friend like a baby, and was thoughtless of me firing again. I put the dead man’s friend in between my crosshairs and itched my finger back onto the trigger. I was ready to fire but thought for a moment, “Who am I saving by killing this person?” I readjusted myself from the hasty revenge and took my finger off the trigger. Just as I collected my bearings, the patrol returned and engaged the window.

    The patrol offered no recognition for my mercy and fired relentlessly. I grabbed my equipment and hurried down the stairs, trying to leave before the rebels entered. I made it to the first floor in seconds and burst through the side door leading to the street. The patrol turned its attention away from the window when it saw me sprinting across the street, and followed in a high-speed chase which assured that I made a mistake by shooting the straggler.

    My legs felt autonomous as I fled the scene. I knew the patrol was close because a bullet smacked the concrete behind me as I darted into an alley. I crashed through a building at the alley’s end and continued my adrenaline-filled rush. I heard the patrol’s inaudible yelling from my rear, yet I persevered and dusted out of the building.

    I kept a blind sprint out the door and ended up running into a destroyed APC. I recoiled to the ground with my wind gone and inhaled for breath as if my lungs bursted. In the long seconds it took for me to recoup, the patrol only came closer. I put my back against the APC and scanned the street. I was in the middle of a graveyard. Combine and rebel corpses were scattered all across the road, and I knew I would soon be one of them. I pointed my rifle at the door and was ready for the patrol to run right at me.

    The boots were thudding louder and louder with each second and my heart was doing the same. I gripped my rifle with all the strength I had left when I saw shadows emerging from the corner of the corridor. Just as I was about to fire, a group of Civil Protection units stormed out from the doorway and moved around me to secure the area. In my confused moment of ecstasy, one of the units from the group approached me wearing my squad’s armband. The unit looked just as shocked to see me as I was to see him. He said, “Shit, man, we thought you were captured! The FOB got hit hard, but a few of us made it out. Squad leader made it, but he just got taken out by a rebel sniper. You see that bastard run by?” From divine intervention to a twist of fate, I realized that I was that “rebel sniper.” My clouded head tried to piece together everything that was going on and all I said to my ally was, “I killed the leader.” He gave me a pat on the shoulder and said, “Guess our job here is done then. We’ll be heading home sooner than expected. Good work.”

    My ally picked me up from the APC wreckage and carried me back to the street where I killed the “thief,” and the patrol followed. He told me, “Whoever killed our squad leader is probably a mile out by now. No use in chasing what you can't catch.” I remained speechless. He brought me to an infirmary next to the housing building I slept in. I was still dumbfounded that he managed to live through it all. I inquired, “When did you all get here?” his response was, “We got here last night after we pushed back the rebel front. With the rebel leader now dead, thanks to you, this whole thing should be over soon.” I nodded and waited in the long line to receive a medical examination that can only fix what people can see is wrong with me.

    Two days later I was sitting shoulder to shoulder in a razor train next to the only other survivor from my squad. There was a handful of other units that were being transported on the train with us, all of which were remnants of defunct squads. Chained rebel fighters sat with us, going to the same place that we were. I turned to 101 and asked, “We’re heading back home, aren’t we?” He replied, “We’re heading to the Citadel for repurposing. Sorry bud, but our squad is dead. High Command doesn’t want to waste resources bringing it back to life, so we’re being given an “upgrade”. I shook at his words and realized that we were being disposed with the rebels as if we fought against the Combine. If there were any better fate to becoming a slave, it would be to die with the men that I let die.

    I was neither titled a hero nor a traitor for my actions in City 23. All I got in return was a one-way ticket to bondage and servitude under the Combine’s regime.
     
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    #29 AgeofMyth, Jan 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  30. Denicide

    Denicide Zealot

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    I'm just assuming this is still open for submissions.

    The Last Question

    608 vaulted the fence and hit the concrete running. She was tracking the body bobbing ahead of her by the splish-splash of shoes in the puddles rather than by sight. The last good look she’d had was as he veered off the path. His long blond foxtail of hair skipped through the air as he darted away, shimmering in the streetlights. It was shaved at the sides, with ends bleached so white she could make out the mop even now, in the dark.

    It wasn’t particularly important to stay right on top of him, 608 thought. Even if she didn’t know where he was, she knew where he’d be going. Precinct twenty-six. 608 had chased forgers, arsonists, murderers, even a few bone fide rebels around the city. The only thing they had in common was that they trusted precinct twenty-six to keep them safe. Once twenty-six swallowed them, they were free. Twenty-six was another shithole slum to units but a holy site for malcontents. 608 had never followed anyone inside alone, but then nobody had never killed her partner on the job before.

    _​

    Her partner, 988, found the advertisement in a bar he’d raided. Someone had used it as a mat for their pint, but he got the gist: it was cult thing, with a crude pentagram on top alongside alien doodles, a few of which corresponded to real creatures. 998 would’ve asked they visit any event with potentially seditious persons, but he admitted too that he was curious about the freaks and fanatics who haunted the city.

    ‘It’s not even a detour, not really. It’s the cellar of the Armistice Inn, we’ll pass near enough to smell their shit. Let’s just go in?’

    998’s hopes were higher than his expectations. They’d seen these places before: someone would light incense, maybe even start a rosary or incantation but within twenty minutes everyone would be smoking or shooting up. 608 reflected ruefully that their assumption had still been mostly correct here, but the unexpected bit had gotten her friend killed.

    The ritual was already over when they arrived. 688 picked up the scent of lotus flower from outside. Within, the floral incense sticks had smoked up the whole room. The faithful, a mere six citizens, all looked fucked up: the most cognisant, a woman pulling the front of her beanie down over her eyes, nodded vaguely when they came in.

    ‘Fruity, isn’t it? Sickly, almost?’

    608 expected this. It was 998’s habit when he was unnerved to ask rhetorical questions endlessly. Their commander had once tried to stage a training scenario where he played a rebel hiding out in a building, but 998 had fucked it up completely by asking inane questions every few seconds and quizzing the hidden, hypothetical rebel about his background.

    ‘Shut up, 998. There’s something on the television.’

    Evidently it had been recorded that night: the furniture was the same, and it had that hazy quality that comes when you record a room filled with smoke. There was a young man with blond hair in the centre of the frame, and a kind of green gym bag at his feet.

    ‘Shouldn’t we arrest the citizens? Should I search the back for drugs? Have you ever seen a lotus? Oh. God. Is that a biotic? Does it have no legs? Is it dead?’

    608 hissed as she refocused and saw the image as 998 was seeing it. That red blob at the end was its eye. The blond had made an incision into its torso. There was a title card, like in a silent film.


    DEGLOVE EXCAVATA PRIOR TO INGESTION
    PRESERVE CORRESPONDING NODE FOR CIRRINITH


    The next shot was from later. The camera was closer: the biotic was out of view, but the blond held a purple, oozing blob. It was rounded at one end, but nearest the camera it ended in a wedge with a few wormlike tentacles drooping down the front. There was no sound, but the blond spoke for a few seconds before biting into the thing. Its tentacles wriggled. It was difficult to tell, but perhaps it even squirmed in his hands. The video looped.

    ‘Was that thing inside…? Was it alive? Did he eat it?’

    That was the last question 998 asked. A moment later he was dead, falling straight forward, crushing the television, merely a vacant lump of meat. The blond man stood where 998 had once been, pistol in hand. It had been an execution: one bullet into the back of 998’s head. He’d been quiet, crept up, she’d not heard him. The bullet had sounded but she barely had time to register it before she pounced, balled a fist and swung.

    The blond slipped out of reach, but even so he reflexively blocked his face and dropped his pistol. He scampered backwards, avoided 608’s second swing but the third caught him on the shoulder. He was frantic after that. Still didn’t say anything, just kept moving his mouth silently, but he managed to slip close to her and slap her with an open palm on the side of the head. She was stunned, more by the screech of her biosignal tracker terminating than the impact. It was long enough for the blond to make it to the door.

    _​

    The blond knew his way around precinct twenty-six. He jumped in from a bridge behind the CCH and clambered over a skip into the patchwork maze of slums and bombed out husks which made up its interior. 608 stayed on him, fully aware that in twenty-six lone units were liable to get killed a dozen different ways. She might be shot from a balcony four stories up or stabbed by a mugger waiting at the end of one of the precinct’s endless blind alleys.

    If the blond was quick, though, she was stubborn. His pace slackened in the interior. Weariness, probably, but she wondered too if there were bits of twenty-six even the residents didn’t enter. They’d long since passed the point where units turned around due more to a feeling of unease than any particular danger. Maybe even violent lunatics felt the subtle tugging tide backward too?

    ‘Stop,’ she shouted.

    He didn’t reply, but he did pause momentarily before making a final sprint over to a derelict which still had most of its ‘Hotel’ sign. Curious, the pause. She was going to beat him to death when she caught him. Simply shoot him if she could get a clear view. If he knew how this worked, she wondered, why had he paused?

    Units had superstitions about this district – places not to go, even sounds and smells to avoid. Citizens must’ve had them too, and the mentally unfit, people like the blond, probably took such rumours as gospel.

    608 was too hasty. She went to ram the front door with her shoulder and it opened ahead of her; she’d too much momentum to come to a full stop. She didn’t see the hole where the floorboards fell away until she was already falling. When she hit the ground of the basement she was lying face up, and she could see the citizen’s jumpsuit receding up a partially collapsed flight of steps above. She drew her pistol, followed him from two floors below and waited for a clear shot. She saw him in the moonlight through another opening on the far side of the basement, creeping along a corridor on an upper floor. He was partially exposed by the collapsing wooden wall. She raised her pistol sluggishly and held her breath.

    Something heavy slipped from the ground floor and thudded down behind her. She whipped around and fired into fleshy material. Legs. The biotic’s lower half. She repeated the thought aloud to herself. Then a fleshy yellow cylinder came down, bounced off the severed legs and landed at her feet. For the first time the blond spoke from somewhere out of sight. His voice was trembling.

    ‘That's the node. I wanted you to be dead first. I’m sorry.’

    She was still after that, and in the silence she began to detect other presence in the basement with her. The sound was like sandpaper filing down a rough surface. Quiet but constant. There was another sound, too. Like a whisperer in the darkness or silk skirts brushing against one another.

    The thing took the severed legs first. Two bone white tentacle structures emerged from the darkest part of the basement, wrapped around the biotic’s ankles and dragged it off. She couldn’t bring herself to look up, to stare at the collapsed external wall where the legs had gone. They converged on her next, the tentacles erupting out through holes in the ground and the basement’s four walls. She was out of ammo by the time one gripped her. The bullets left no lasting damage on the fleshy part of the tentacles or the rough underside, the part she now thought were rows of teeth.

    Her next impression was of a white swampy youghurty substance pressing up against her suit and lenses. She spoke aloud to no one in particular.

    ‘Will it kill me now, or am I already inside it?’
     
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  31. Wheatos

    Wheatos Legend

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  32. valerstein

    valerstein RANDAL

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    ha ha you fell for his trick now he can steal your stories
     
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  33. Bennet Dyson

    Non-Roleplay Department Administrator

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    i keep delaying it in the hope for some more stories

    so now you can consider the definitive end date to be the 19th of february, after that will be closed and no more stories will be allowed enter and 1 lucky fella gets a prize.
     
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  34. Rionas

    Rionas Legend

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    should've named it the winter writing contest tbh
     
  35. tommy shlug

    tommy shlug jimmy flanagan 1985

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    That's my birthday!

    I'll see if I can write something.
     
  36. Bennet Dyson

    Non-Roleplay Department Administrator

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    what do u mean
     
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  37. Rionas

    Rionas Legend

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    the contest started in late october (fall) and hopefully it'll be concluding in february (end of winter).

    not particularly christmas time
     
  38. Hour

    Hour dog enthusiast

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    The smoke never cleared, it was something he was used to, the bio-containment suit that kept him alive was so thin, so thin he could almost feel the thick, suffocating haze hanging all around him. The voices of the infected individuals croaked from their ramshackle dwellings, a choir of the dying. There was no pattern to the gunfire that echoed in the distance, the crackle of the tiny comm near his neck was the only thing that could remind him where he was at this very moment.

    His name was Gregory M. Halls, and he was a monster. A monster that prowled the smog of it's own creation, seeking the unrightfully sick for swift death, a serpent in the haze that struck out without warning against people who didn't deserve it. Gregory Halls had come to terms with the fact that he was a monster while laying in bed a few days ago, it was almost a release of sorts. Sometimes though, he could feel his humanity, his long released morals taking hold, seeping into his body like a vampirism that struck when he wasn't strong from alcohol, or drugs, or having just fucked.

    He kicked in the doorway, the flimsy wood collapsed easily under his invincible tread, Gregory was a monster, nothing could kill him. He swept into the hallway the optics of his helm ablaze in the dim of the fog, the monster wasn't blinded like the weak, feeble, people; he could see as though it were a clear day. He discharged his weapon, but in his mind he breathed death to those pathetic, unworthy, orange forms. They spouted brighter colors, blossomed with death at his lead flames.

    Gregory Halls was a monster. A monster that spread doom through the fog like a pestilence, there were no knights here to stop him, no vaccine here to cure his disease. Gregory Halls was untouchable, invincible, impenetrable, Gregory Halls was an avenging god, and all of these people had it coming.
     
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  39. popo

    popo Zealot

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    Where twisted snakes of burnt carbon meet, high in the sky, they create the sooty, black body of this hideous hydra. Black smoke rises in tall columns. They threaten to block out the clouds. A gesticulating mass who's very existence could make one forget about even the giver of life.

    A chimera of metal, stone and ore rend the Earth's flesh, peeling back layers. Crunching through the roots of trees and the graves of our forebearers. Where it's stomach becomes burdened by the task before it, the conscience is nowhere to be found. Seemingly so lithe in existence that it may as well not. As it finally meets veils which it cannot pierce, it returns to the nest to sharpen its' teeth and feed the young. It shudders into a deep slumber. It's only intentions poignant in one regard, to hunt, and feed. Nothing else matters, nothing else will.

    Water laps all around the leviathan. It cuts it's way through the shadowy tide before it. Power ripped from the far reaches of this planet fuel it, give it purpose, and essence. A beast so warped from original form not even a God would claim it as it's own creation. The leviathans' eyes, ears and impenetrable skin perceive every direction but fall just short of omniscience. With all eyes focused outward, none look inward.

    "I thought we extinguished these foul beasts from the face of the planet, long ago." the boy asked his father. A sullen reply was granted after a moment of the two admiring the plumes of smoke rising into the atmosphere. "We did, my boy. But humankind needs monsters to dwell in the dark, in the pits where our minds cannot reach". After a moment of labored breathing he continues "When we killed the monsters we lit fires we could not undo." A sharp rattle emitted from the father's throat, the onset of death blankets his entire mind as he leans in to speak in a pained whisper to his only son "We are the evil that life must stride against, now. We are the monsters."
     
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    #39 popo, Jan 18, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  40. Fuxx

    Fuxx Has absolutely no life

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    2,779
    This is a piece I wrote for a C8 related event (part 1 of the planned 3 teaser threads) I wanted to make a few months ago, but which never came into fruition. I intended to write something new for this contest, but alas fate wouldn't have it. I'm unsure if the images and audio are cheating, but I might as well share than not submit.

    Cherry Blossoms

    [​IMG]

    I had a nosebleed the other night. We set up our camp in a clearing somewhere in the vicinity of Saitama. Jin prepared a vegetarian stew for our dinner. Frankly I've been craving meat and was ready to attack the sausages wrapped in foil in his backpack, but the danger of xens catching a whiff of it was too much to risk it. I forgot how marvelous nature can be when left to its own devices. The cherry blossom trees we saw in that creek we passed filled my heart with a color that made me so strangely nostalgic, colors that I hadn't seen or appreciated ever since I was a child with crayons in hand. Simpler times, times that I can barely recall. It was enough to tickle my creative bone and made me resume my drawings. The oil lamp disturbed the others in the tent, so I pulled a blanket over it and myself, painting to my heart's content as if I was five all over again. I drew the creek and the bridge we crossed, but restored as it was meant to be. I was drawing the cherry blossom trees when I feel something slip from my nose. I thought it was just mucus and brought my hand to wipe my nose, only to stain both my face and my hand with red. The first drop falls, then the second, then the third, all in quick succession all over my painting. It was ruined, I thought, and sighed wearily. It was only after I wiped myself clean and stuck a piece of paper up my nostril to clog it that I had a second thought. I'm an artist after all, or at least I always hoped to become one. What is blood but just another color worthy of just as much admiration?

    With the tip of my finger I painted splotches of red as the leaves of the cherry blossoms. It was an unfaithful color, it was too loud, too powerful when the scene was meant to be calming, but the Parisian in me insisted that it was symbolic, worthy of exposition in the Louvre for sure!... Oh how I wish... I can tell that the others in the group only nod their heads at my art just to make me feel good about it. They don't care, no one does. They've all lost that magic, that wonder. Never would I let my spirits dim, or let that vibrant blood in me lose its drive. Too many people mistake stone-faced apathy with strength, but that is not strength, it is a coping mechanism. I'm strong, because I fight with all of my fury to preserve who I really am. I will not be brought down.

    I'll have to be honest with you, mister diary. As much shit as I give the others, I may have bitten more than I could chew. Finally we had gone from the West coast to the East coast, approaching Tokyo. I was sick of the travel, I just wanted to get it over and done with. Each mile that brought us closer increased my anxiousness, but also my anxiety. I'm sure you can guess which one triumphed when we finally laid eyes upon that monstrous Citadel. I've been in many cities before in my life, but this was different.

    (do play it before continuing)

    I felt cold. I felt the veins of my body tighten. My blood refused to pump, or if it did then it was chill as ice because my muscles and joints were stiff like meat in the freezer. My spine felt a dropping icecub against it and my heart blackened, but it was only once we threw ourselves into the destroyed districts surrounding the reclusive walls that I felt empty. They had done nothing to clean. There were still trenches, the ruined homes still stood, shells littered the place, the earth was scorched, tattered uniforms from both sides were stuck to the edges of the stagnant puddles, I even saw the carcass of a gunship who had been devoured by the xens. The land was dead but... not dead. Despite all of this destruction, I felt a hum in me. Surely I was losing my mind trying to contain the anxiety, but I'm convinced that the others heard it too when I saw their eyes wide, bowing their heads to avoid looking at the Citadel as we trudged through. Only now am I suspecting it may have been the high tension cables above our heads, or the rumbling of the newly installed anti-xen systems several yards beneath the earth. And yet a voice in my head nags at me, blaming the Citadel itself for radiating that hum. I felt like it was watching me, like it knew I was there. Even though the air is still and we haven't seen any hunter choppers lately, I just knew that deep, deep inside the city it was still active, it was still alive. Human instinct and intuition, what powerful tools they are.

    Where was nature? Where were the creeks, the plants, the wild-life, the cherry blossoms? Even the earth was a dead gray, polluted with the city's vomit, the toxic chemical sludge. I've only just arrived and I already want to turn back, but the others would've blocked me. I must control myself. I have a job to do. I'm strong. I'm strong.

    [​IMG]
     
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    #40 Fuxx, Jan 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017