“With our introductions out of the way, let’s have the teams take to the floor!”
At the announcer’s queue, the lights begin to flicker and intense, uptempo electronic music begins to blast over the speakers. You and your teammates walk out into the centre of the area to the roaring of the crowd. Across from you, you can see that the opposing team is doing the same, waving at their admirers as you do yourself.
The centre of the arena is occupied by a large glass pillar, from within there is a bright blue glow and you can see tightly coiled wires as thick as your head, irradiated by the light. There are ten pods placed around the pillar, connected to it by ten equally thick cords.
The cheering continues as you all reach your designated pods and climb inside. Technicians seemingly scurry out of nowhere and begin connecting you to the pod with electrodes as you get into position. Then there there is the sound of metal sliding into metal and the familiar, strange sensation of the main plug being slid into the jack at the base of your neck. The tech helps lean you back into the comfortable chair of the pod and then the glass dome closes over you.
The crowd falls silent and you feel their excitement and anxiousness and it mingles with your own. This is the finals. You are a warrior marching into the biggest battle of the campaign. This is your moment.
You feel a sudden jerking sensation, your vision blurs blackens. A moment later you come to, you are no longer looking out of the glass dome but have spawned in the digital arena. Your physical form has changed, replaced by that of your avatar. Thus the game begins.
For the finals, the arena has taken the shape of an island. Around the outskirts of the island there is a thin strand of sandy beaches, surrounded by rough waves. Encircled by the beach is a thick ring of dense forest. Then, at the very centre of the map, lies the ruins of an ancient city. Whilst the water and the forest are full of critters, most docile but some dangerous, the city in the centre is dead and devoid of life.
You have spawned in a random location on that map and although you have a direct line of communication with the rest of your team (like having telepathy while in-game), none of them are within sight. It seems like you are alone, yet you already have the eerie sense that you are being watched from nearby.
At this stage, you have no idea that something is amiss. Soon however, like the city at the island's centre, everything will come crumbling down.
A blonde haired woman looked around at the virtual environment, not seeing any of her teammates avatars. Trees, trees, trees everywhere. No matter where she looked, there was vegetation growing. “So i’m in a forest with a ruin nearby, I wonder what type of arena we were teleported in.” The woman sharply turned her head towards a random direction, narrowing her eyes. This feeling… is there someone else here? The woman stayed in that position for a few more seconds before lifting up her hand and placing it on the side of her head.
‘Hello? Can you guys hear me?’
She waited for awhile, but nobody responded, they must be busy. The woman looked to her right and noticed a small opening in the greenery, almost like a path leading to an unknown area, there was two trees without any type of greenery in-between them. She looked down and saw the path stretched under her and continued into the vegetation, but it was easy to miss due to the volume of grass, flowers, bushes, basically of nature covering it.
“There’s a path… Should I follow? But what if it leads to the other team?” The woman pondered on the thought before looking at the small opening and nodding her head. “Yeah, I’ll just take a small peak and then go the other way.” She walked towards the small opening and placed a hand on one of the two trees, slowly and quietly, leaned forward and peaked her head, seeing some type of ancient ruins in the middle of a large clearing. The ruins looked to be millions of years old with some moss and vines growing on the walls.
“Ruins? I wonder what’s inside…” The woman then sharply turned behind her, placing her right hand on a pale-yellow spear with a red and silver blade on the receiving end, awaiting, but nothing happened. The woman glanced around, recalling the feeling she had seconds ago. There must be someone else here, she doesn’t know who. If it was her team, she would go, but it could also be the other team, awaiting for a chance to strike.
“For now, i’ll go down the path, can’t stay here and become a still target.” mumbled the woman as she slowly walked down the other path, walking farther and farther away from the ruins. As she walked, she kept her hand on her weapon, just in case she comes across a member of the other team. "They might already know my name, but if they don't, i'll just have them call me Momo, sounds easier." The blonde woman, Momo, continued her walk, not knowing that everything was about to change.
Black and Blonde. All alone. In a dark forest. The woman had no idea where she was. Her name is Michaela, or Micky for short. She started by taking a look at her surroundings. Woods here, woods there, a flower in some places, a bush in another. There were tree's as far as she could see. Micky couldn't shake the feeling she was being watched. Her teammates was nowhere to be seen, but neither were her enemies. Michaela searched the area a bit, but could find no one at all. Was it just her imagination? Was she paranoid?
After a while, she heard someone talk. Maybe this was one of her teammates? Micky decided to not say anything, as she wanted to focus more on her surroundings than her teammates, wherever they would be. There were a lot of flowers on the path, which all had a dark colour. Micky couldn't trust any flowers, who knows what kind of poison they contained? It'd be best to just avoid them and look for somewhere to go. Perhaps she would see one of her teammates. Or perhaps, one of her enemies, on the other team.....either way, she had to be careful, and expect the worst...
Jitters from being in front of a crowd turned to a dead calm as Rei’s consciousness was transported from the real world to the virtual realm.
“The devs sure went all out on the graphics…”
His eyes darting from image to image, the first thing that greeted him upon entry were the sparse beaches that led into a larger body of water and the vast forest that lay immediately behind them. As sand was displaced by shifting feet, Rei positioned himself farther from the forest (and by extension, closer to the virtual ocean, whose waves now nibbled at his heels) to get a better look at its general arrangement.
“Come on now… No forest is going to be perfectly uniform like this.”
Almost as if it was man-made and not something worked on by the forces of nature, the beaches had the forest surrounded in a circular perimeter.
While Rei might’ve sounded like he was complaining about the realism of it all (or rather, the lack thereof), he’d actually taken a liking to it. The beaches arcing around the forest at a suitable radius, the tides rising and receding at set intervals -- every detail was optimized to the highest degree of precision possible. Rei didn’t mind it in the least.
“What’s that we have there…?”
At the center of the forest, Rei could make out the remains of a ravaged city. He figured that was where most of the carnage would likely occur. Or so he hoped. Open spaces were the domain of snipers and shooters, and their pesky hit-and-run tactics. Corrine Bailey, who was in the other team, was one player who engaged in such tactics, and her Atalanta skill, which was an agility-buffing skill, combined with her Sylphid Waltz skill, which was a knockback skill, had caused him a ton of grief in a previous match. If it was at all possible, he sought to steer the flow of battle to a more localized space, where there was cover to hide behind.
As Rei’s thoughts began to shift from observation to introspection, the eerie silence which permeated the surrounding area started to creep up on him, eventually entering his mental purview. Before he had been too preoccupied looking around to realize it, but now the stillness unsettled him. If he didn’t know any better, he would’ve thought some invasive third party other than the devs was keeping tabs on him.
He had wasted enough time sitting around. It was time to convene with his teammates. Trudging his way towards the ruined city, he expected to run into them there (in addition to other people, some not-so-friendly).
Opening ; Ready, Set, Go
Class : Shooter
Corrine Bailey ; ♀, 25
Corrine was never one to submit to anxiety or pressure; she liked to take things in stride, and never too seriously. That applied to anything she did, including the game she was now playing.
As the head of an arrow lodged itself inside the trunk of some tree, a lone Corrine Bailey in her avatar form could be seen experimenting with her skills, letting them loose willy-nilly like a rowdy child who's had too much sugar to eat.
Still wandering the interior of the forest which housed a ruined city on its other side, it was only a matter of time before she ran into dangerous monsters. In a particularly dense part of the woods where sunlight struggled to penetrate through, a pair of large basilisks now had her surrounded, her back pressed against the hard surface of the same tree she’d shot an arrow at. As one of the basilisks swung its tail like an axe, Corrine circled to the other side of the tree to avoid the attack. Against the leviathan that was the basilisk’s tail, the tree was cleanly split in two; what remained was a headless stump.
“Yikes. You’re really out for blood, aren’t you Jasmine?” She named the striped basilisk “Jasmine.” The other basilisk left her no room to retaliate as it lunged towards her with a speed that seemed to betray its weight. “Here to tango too, Paul?” The basilisk Corrine had named “Paul” was met with air and empty space as she stepped out of harm’s way.
“You’ve gotten your chance. Now it’s my turn!”
As the words rushed from her mouth like a torrent, an equally swift volley of arrows left her bow then and there. Being enhanced with wind magic, the arrows would burst in an explosive salvo of air upon contact with reptilian skin. At least, that was the expectation.
Fortunately for her, things played out as she anticipated.
After the pummeling that followed each of Corrine’s arrows, which seemed to get progressively worse with every passing hit, both Paul and Jasmine succumbed to their injuries, fading into pixels and eventually to nothingness as the game erased them from its data.
“Mission accomplished.” Scrolling through her menu, Corrine took notice of the the gauge that had been filled with her last attack. “I’ll keep this in reserve for emergency situations.”
Wading through bushes and shrubs, she beelined for the ruined city now emerging from the distance, which she supposed would be a great meeting place for both friends and foes. It was like a lighthouse, the way it stood out among the greenery; that made it the perfect point of contact for all players.
Jordan slowed his breathing and wiped away at the sweat beading at his forehead. It'd had been quite a while since he'd been around this many people. The lights were crashing down on him and he could feel the eyes of the audience focusing on him. He knew they were talking about him. Why wouldn't they? He was the perfect target... but this game, this game gave him new hope. If he could win this game, nobody would be able to make fun of him again. He just had to do his job - he just had to beat all the others, just like always.
He laid down in his pod and closed his eyes, blocking out all of the noise around him as he waited to be transported to the battlefield. After a few moments, he felt that telltale sensation and slowly opened his eyes onto the new world.
All around him was an ancient city which lay in ruin. He stood atop a crumbling tower, which couldn't have been more than half of its original height. A smallish slot in the crumbling construction revealed the interior of the tower, showing a number of corridors which seemed to be leading down beneath the ground. Had this been the real world, he would have considered the suspect nature of this construct and the supposed labyrinth to which it led. However, being that this was simply a game, he simply raised his arms and fell into the slot in the tower's side, falling to the ground below.
As Jordan began to walk down the main hallway, he began to think to himself. 'If I encounter an enemy in here, it'll certainly be to my advantage. I'll just have to hope that nobody has a power which can collapse this labyrinth on us both.' He took up the butt of his katana and tapped it against the walls which had begun to open up into the labyrinthine hallways that he had expected. After a quick measurement and assessment, he figured that given the walls' thickness, something besides stone had to be trapped on the interiors of them in order to keep them strong and stable. This would certainly help to offer some meaningful cover if he were to encounter a bombing type.
At this point, there was no doubt in his mind that he could take the entirety of the opposing team with little to no effort if he could lure them down into this place. However, for the sake of the event, he had already decided to force himself to co-operate with his fellow team members. They were all championship level players after all. It would be foolish not to take advantage of their abilities and lessen the burden on himself at the least. However... he couldn't let them take away from his own personal glory, so if worst came to worst, he was just as prepared to take care of his allies as he was to ally himself with them to begin with.
He was going to be the star of this show, and that was that. He built this character to fulfill this desire, this lust for power and fame. With a smirk, Jordan used one of his powers to camouflage himself as he made his way back down the hallway. Eventually, crawling back out of the crack that he'd come down in, he was careful to ensure nobody had seen him before he distanced himself from the building and finally attempted to make contact with his teammates.