Shrapnel by Marek Okon
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Shrapnel by Marek Okon

Across the bridge I watched a blindingly fast ambush play out. Their phantom had been hiding among the abandoned cars. The player had uncloaked while at the same time kicking Rose’s weapon out of her hands, then round housing her in the helmet. She went sprawling into a sleek vehicle, sending broken glass spraying in the moonlight. They were both up and pulling their blades in an instant. Colored flames of armor penetrating decryption code lit the bridge around them.  They lunged at each other in a flurry of light and speed augmented by their armor.  I heard Rose snarl through her mic.  It made me smile.

Shrapnel by Marek Okon
Concept art of the day:
Shrapnel by Marek Okon.

“Horatio . . . take a shot!” I said nervously though clenched teeth, hoping our sniper had a clear shot.

“I can’t boss, I’ll hit Rose! We can’t lose another player!”  His voice echoed back in my own helmet.

“We’re going to lose her anyway,” I said, surveying the melee that was about to commence.  Rose appeared out geared and outmatched.

Just as I said it, Rose’s yellow blade plunged into the side of the Transcendentalist player, easily penetrating his armor.  Rose, badass as ever!  The yellow light of her blade began to spread through the player, but before he could be consumed and sent back to the game queue I saw the player move his hand in a hauntingly familiar pattern.  At that moment Rose also knew that she was confronting a roleplayer.  She knelt down, picked up her rifle, and tilted her head in resignation.  I watched the suicidal fire consumer her avatar.

Game over.

About Neal Ulen

Neal Ulen
Editor/Webmaster - Engineer by training, nerd by passion. Speculative fiction has influenced me since I was a kid, guiding me to the career I have now, and likely saving me from myself during times in my young life when the path was fraught with a minefield of choices. I dabble in tech, game, film, fiction, and writing. These are my true passions, and have been since the summer of '77.
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