Images & Words: Fire of Fanaticism

Images & Words: Fire of Fanaticism


Image
Shrapnel by Marek Okon

Words
Neal Ulen

When : Where
2307 CE Virtual : Realspace / Infinispace / Battlespace


Shrapnel by Marek Okon
Shrapnel by Marek Okon

Note: This is a first draft excerpt from an upcoming Infinispace novel.

On the bridge, a hundred meters away from me, I watched a blindingly fast ambush play out.

Their phantom had been hiding among the abandoned autos and detritus scattered on Westminster Bridge as Rose scouted ahead. The player had uncloaked and simultaneously knocked the rifle out of her hands in one fluid motion. His following round house kick to the head sent her helmet skipping down the pavement like a stone across water, finally rolling to a stop. This sent Rose sprawling into a sleek vehicle, broken glass spraying in the moonlight as her body crashed into its window.

They were both up and pulling blades in an instant, crouching in front of each other ready to strike. The colored glow of armor penetrating decryption code lit their blades, and the abandoned bridge  surrounding them. Not another soul was in sight, not after the evacuation. They lunged at each other in a blur of light and fury that was augmented by their armor. I heard Rose’s snarl echo faintly through her helmet’s microphone which lay ten meters from her.

It made me smile.

“We’re going to lose her anyway,” I said, surveying Rose and the opposing player in their ballet of violence. She appeared out geared and outmatched, but Rose was usually more cunning than her opponents.

“Horatio … take a shot!” I said nervously though clenched teeth, hoping our sniper had a clear shot. “I’m too far away to reach Rose! This isn’t going well.”

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

“We’re going to lose her anyway,” I said, surveying Rose and the opposing player in their ballet of violence. She appeared out geared and outmatched, but Rose was usually more cunning than her opponents.

Just then she bent and twisted under his riposte and her yellow blade plunged into the side of the Transcendentalist player, the decryption code doing its work, easily penetrating his armor. Rose, badass as ever! The light 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 as his body slumped to the ground. At that moment Rose also knew that she was not confronting a casual player … but a role-player, perhaps even a closeted Transcendentalist back in Realspace. A true believer, even here in Gamespace. Radical sacrifice always followed them, it was their calling card.

Rose knelt down, picked up her rifle, and tilted her head in resignation.

I watched the fire of fanaticism consume the entire bridge, and her avatar.

.Game Over.


Words © 2020-2021, Neal Ulen. All rights reserved.
Images/videos cited © to their respective owner(s).


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