World 14: Metal Gear Solid

THEY AIN’T HEAVY, THEY’RE MY BROTHERS

Previously: Get Thee Behind Me, Buffy

Themesong: We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel

While pondering what to do with the Slayerpop, I took a few days to relax with the crew before looking at the newest Jump. Metal Gear Solid… Well, never actually played these games, but they can’t be that bad, right? There are like a dozen of them, I think. Let’s start with rolling the dice for age. 12+2d10… 16. Well, that’s young… again. Weee.  and where do I start? 1995 South African Coast? Huh. Okay… wonder what happened there.

Backgrounds… Combat?  Naw.  Drop in?  R&D sounds cool… what are the discounted perks… ‘I’ve Got Science’? No… got that. ‘Omni-Keyed’? Hacking… mmmm I usually use Victoria for that… ‘Box-Tech’? Seriously, gadget tech?  I was a Starfleet engineering expert.  ‘A New Age of Warfare’… oooh… the Metal Gears.  These are the giant mechs from the games… pricy… could get the discount, but it’s only 400 since I don’t need the other stuff. How about Intel? ‘Lay of the Land’ could be useful, ‘Trained Eye’… not so much. The stealth stuff no… the language learning might be fun… but that’s 300 points worth of stuff that would cost me 200 to get a discount on?  So I’d get… 400 for 300… but that bonus 100 I just don’t need.  No… Might as well go with Drop-In… says I get a free 2nd language appropriate to my starting language. Already know Estonian, Chinese, Turian, Klingonese, Vulcanese… plus I have faint memories of Japanese, French, Asari, and whatever I was speaking in Pokemon Land. Appropriate to starting location… That’s South Africa. English, Afrikaans, Xhosa. I’ll take… English and Afrikaans. Shame to pass up Zulu or Xhosa, but Afrikaans essentially gets me Dutch too.

Drop-Ins get Survival Viewer! For free. “You have knowledge of foraging and preparing food in the wild, you generally know how to avoid food poisoning but even if you don’t your digestive system seems especially hardy.  In addition, you can increase your natural healing rate by eating good-quality food.” The food poisoning I don’t have to worry about, but the wilderness survival stuff sounds good.  Jumping Spider, which would boost my climbing, leaping, flexibility, speed, and agility, could be useful, but it burns stamina pretty fast. Never mind.

Mmmm Bees? Could get myself a wolfpack… but I’d kinda feel bad if they got hurt. But Psychic… that could be awesome. [300/700/1000] “The true power of the mind is unlocked within you, providing powers such as psychic communication and remotely moving light objects (up to 100lbs).  You can specialize in Telepathy to read minds or commune with the dead, or Telekinesis to shield yourself from incoming projectiles (which requires constant focus) or levitate.  An otherwise normal person should be able to soft-cap everything within about 17 years.” Well… I already have biotics, thanks to being Asari, though I haven’t used it much, and as a Vulcan I’m a little Telepathic. But this would be a huge boost. I’ll start with Telepathy, work on TK later.

I could take Marksman, but I’ll already a damned good shot. Should be considering how much shooting I’ve done. 10-Year Vet… hah. I’ve fought 2 Wars and countless skirmishes. Meh. Skip combat. R&D has A New Age of Warfare which is 600… I do like giant robots. Sure. Why not? But would it be better to buy one and reverse engineer it. Maybe. I’ll think about it a couple of days. But first, let’s buy “No Nation We Inhabit…” [200/500/1000] “You now speak and read Japanese and Russian at the level of a native.  In addition, you pick up new languages twice as fast and have an innate talent for cryptology.  This also affects computer languages.”

Mmm… Here’s to You [400/1000]… that looks fun “Any stored music you collect is automatically added to a mental music player that gives you perfect recollection of the song, as if you were hearing it played live.  In addition, if you touch a set of functioning speakers you can have them begin playing music from that collection.  Once the selected playlist ends, you move out of earshot, or someone turns them off, the speakers return to normal.”  Don’t see anything else that screams buy me. Weapons, Outfits… Metal Gears? Hmmm… I could probably build one of these things… Set that as a challenge maybe. Too expensive really.  

Let’s check out Drawbacks. Hhmmmm… War has Changed does what?  Doubles the length of the Jump… no… it puts two jumps in the same setting back to back, with continuity!  Heh.  It’s a built in sequel!  That’s cool.  It should almost be a perk! Sure, why not [500/1100].

Heh, ‘Metal GEAR?’ Will make me repeat things like I’m an idiot.  That’s cool. Anything to get them to underestimate me. [600/1200].  Weirdness Magnet? Excellent, dunno even what that entails, but I’ll take it.  [800/1400].  The Phantom Pain… huh… missing limbs?  Eh, why the hell not.  Eyepatch and an arm… the left I think.  [1100/1700]… dang!  I’m back in the Black big time.  Let’s spend some points! No cyborg gear. Save that for another jump maybe.  This is testing the waters.

Gadgets says I get “The Box” x4 free.  Yay!  A cardboard camo blox.  Idiocy. “What Was That Noise?” is also free.  A hollow plastic box that’s always in my pocket when I need it, light enough for long throws, makes and loud clacking noise that always seems to fool guards, and disappears when it settles. Well… that’s weird.  Could buy money… maybe if I have points left.

An Explosion?! Gives me 15 explosive items a day?  Really?  Interesting.  Sure, why not [900/1700] “Every 24 hours you get 15 total items from any combination of the following; Frag Grenades, Smoke Grenades, Stun Grenades, Sleep Gas Grenades, Chaff Grenades, C4, or Claymores.”  Buying a Signature weapon gives me experience with the weapon as if I had trained in its use since childhood (yes, even the rocketlauncher).  It also allows me to easily produce and customize ammo for them from my warehouse… which will come in real handy if I ever end up in Falloutopia. I’m a fan of the sniper rifle, so I might as well snag the Bambetov SV (it’s 50% off), a Semi-automatic sniper rifle, uses existing components to reduce cost and ease repair.  Provides effective long-range fire without sacrificing speed.  [800/1700]. That gets me a high precision Squirt Gun… which I guess I can load with Jusenkyo water.  I also get the Stun Knife which is a knife and a stun gun at the same time.  The battery auto-recharges and it keeps an edge with relatively little maintenance.

Lay of the Land [700/1700] makes it so that, wherever I start out, I will have an understanding of the local terrain, culture, and goings-on as if I had spent my whole life there.  It also means that when visiting other locations, I can gain this level of familiarity much faster than most.

Let’s snag CQC [100/1700].  Sure, I’m already a martial artist, but I’ve never done it in life or death or with guns.  CQC is a martial art for the modern age developed by The Boss and Naked Snake (Is that really someone’s name?), and I’ve managed to achieve true mastery.  My skill and spatial awareness has reached the point where I can floor a 4-man fireteam before they can even react… and that’s before taking into account my other martial art training.

With 100 left, let’s bring in 4 companions, each of whom will gain 1 Signature Weapon and 10 years of experience in the military of their choice.  That spends me out, but allows me to bring in Zane (IDF, Arms Material MRS-4R Combat Rifle), AJ (Mossad, Burkov 9mm pistol with integrated non-deteriorating suppressor), Petra (SAS,Fakel 46 Grenade Launcher) and Ryoga (Navy Seal, Windurger No.2 Tranq Pistol).

Scenarios?  Hmmm… Last time I saw these was in Harry Potter.  Didn’t go with any of them then… I suppose I should have a look.  FOB says if I can defend the contents of my Warehouse from all comers for the duration of the jump I get an ocean base? Why would I want an ocean base?  And it heavily implies the thieves would be able to study my tech… yeah, that sounds safe. No thanks.  Force of the Times says I begin in Arlington at the funeral of “The Boss” with someone called “Big Boss” and have to survive until 2014.  If I do I get someone named Venom Snake?… is that really a name… who looks like Big Boss but isn’t… what the hell?… to be a companion. Surviving wouldn’t be that hard… but do I really care enough about this Venom Snake?  Dunno.  

Legacy of the Boss is another recruitment scenario.  Apparently I can earn “the Boss”… who is apparently a lady… If I can stop a bunch of AIs from existing… or creating “The War Economy or something called “World Marshal”… and stop someone called “CIPHER”… right… umm… what?  Apparently there are AIs called “The Patriots”… isn’t one of the games called Sons of the Patriots? I dunno.  This is all very confusing.  

I dunno if I even care who these two people are… but I’ll probably find out… I wonder when The Boss died.  How many years it was.  I dunno.  Sounds challenging. I wonder how Vivian would do against these AIs? Legacy of The Boss sounds interesting. Dunno who she was, but she clearly kicked ass. But it’s a failstate. Do I really want to deal with that again? I don’t know. But the challenge calls to me. Survive an unknown amount of time, until 2014, against unknown threats… That could be cool. And the Legacy of the Boss gives me something to shoot for. I know there are rewards… but honestly… I’m more interested in the challenges.

I leave the thought to stew for a while, considering. I even consider playing the games… I’m almost certain Vivian has them somewhere in her Earthly Entertainment, 21st century, folder… but I think better of it. What finally sells me on the concept is that my initial roll puts my Jump between the years 1995 and 2004… but both these scenarios imply that all the cool stuff happens in 2014. That’s like jumping into Harry Potter 6 years before the first book, and having to leave after the TriWizard Tournament. Screw it. I’ll take the hard way. I lock in the choices and hit the switch.  

Upload is normally abrupt, but things level out again fast. One minute you’re in the Warehouse, the next you’re in the Jump… but not this time. Oh… oh… Boss of Jumps… sneaky. Sneaky. I was expecting to be there, a sixteen year old me watching a funeral… but what I got was a warm feeling, floating, mostly darkness, barely in control of my limbs, a feeling of pressure. And a voice, muffled, saying something in Russian. I knew Russian now… I did… cool… but it still took me a minute to realize what the voice was saying “We’ll bring you back, Joy. Oh yes. You’ll make them all pay.”

Being born sucks. You probably don’t remember it. I didn’t remember the first time… I remembered this time. I also remember being slapped… and breaking the doctor’s thumb. I couldn’t remember who I was… but I understood I was special. Oh yes. That I understood. I was Joy… Joyous Snake… I was told this every day. My mother had been The Boss. My other mother was Eva… Big Momma. I didn’t have a father. The year was 1965. I had 50 years to go.

What I had was training. All the time. Every day. Training. To be the best. To make Momma proud. Mother was dead. Killed by Snake, the other Snake, the Big Boss, but it wasn’t his fault. It was America’s fault. They’d betrayed Mother. They’d made her lay down her life to cover for them. But I’d make them pay. For Mother. For the Boss.

We lived in Israel, hiding from the Americans, from the Russians, from the Chinese. We’d started in China, but Momma and I had escaped, escaped through the landmines that had taken my eye. We went to Israel, where there were many Russians like us. I had many imaginary friends as a kid; Iron Hound, who spoke to me of wars against evil AIs and of tyrants bent on world domination; Acid Jaguar, who taught me the secrets of peering into the thoughts of others and told me of adventures of a young girl collecting magical guardians to protect her on her quest; Stone Scorpion, who moving things with my mind and to work my will upon the world; and Crusher Piglet, who would hug me whenever I was sad or angry and taught me that all prisons can be escaped.

As I grew, my friends became more and more real and Momma would be absent for longer and longer, doing missions to keep us safe. When I was 7, Momma gave me two brothers, but it would be years before I ever got to meet either of them. Later that year, the assassins came for the first time. There were twelve of them. I was alone, watching the news that terrorists had kidnapped several of Israel’s athletes from the Munich games. I had just thought to my friends, “You should go save them.” when I heard a noise downstairs in our house in Netanya. I went to look. Momma often left me alone for days; she trusted me to take care of myself.  I was very smart, smarter than all the other kids, smarter than all the adults too.

As I said, there were twelve of them. There was one of me. They never stood a chance. I played with them, reading their minds.  They worked for the Zhéxué Jiā… the Chinese Philosophers and were looking for Momma. They didn’t know I existed. I made sure they never told anyone.  

One by one I destroyed them, making the weakest willed amongst them turn their weapon against the others.  He was quickly cut down, but in the destruction I made another burn and froze a second so hard he shattered.  I punched a third many times until his chest shattered and a fourth… well… the were going to hurt Momma… what would you have done.  Still, I played too rough, too sloppy.  I had counted only eleven.  The last was quiet, so very quiet.  His sword made my arm hurt… it would have made my head hurt, but I saw his reflection in the eleventh man’s eyes as they went dark and moved at the last moment.

I screamed, a dark green angry scream, words in a language I didn’t know, the words “Avada Kedavra!” blasting out of my 7 year old chest and he stopped… I fell down then, weak from all the red stuff gushing from where my arm stopped just below my elbow. That was September 5th.

Momma found me there amid the bodies two days later, my arm having healed into a stump.  The world had been stunned by the speed of Israel’s reaction to the Munich Hostage crisis. A group of agents had arrived on scene and obliterated the terrorists before the terrorists could even respond and that all 9 of the surviving hostages had been liberated.

I adapted quickly to the lost of my arm, as I had to the loss of my eye, but the pain continued to bother me, intruding on my focus and making me irritable. More irritating were the number of times I tried to do something with my left hand by reflex, only to fail. The doctors fitted me with a prosthetic, but I didn’t like it and I was continually tinkering with it, working with it, making it better, cleaner, more realistic.  As the years passed and I grew physically, I learned to control my fake hand with my mind, the same process that allowed me to snag things across the room allowing me to grasp things though not with the same skill as I could with my physical hand.

We moved a lot over the years, hiding from the Bad Cat and the Big Boss.  It wasn’t time, not yet.  When I was ten, Momma sent me to a place called Mother Base to support some people named XOF and make sure they succeeded in their mission.  I didn’t understand much of it, but I did as I was told.  I did that a lot.  But I was young then.  I even assassinated a Pope, for reasons I’ll never know beyond that I had orders.

As I got older, more and more of my personality emerged from the darkness, like islands being exposed by sinking sea levels.  I was a creature of this world, this world of intrigue, this world of shadows and lies… but also not off it.  I was a clone of The Joy, also known as The Boss, born to take revenge upon the world that had betrayed her… and, as I realized on my sixteenth birthday, as all my old memories crashed over me and I remembered everything… created by the nascent organization I was supposed to have stopped from coming into existence… when I’d been 5, apparently.  Clearly, some rules had been changed… but maybe they had to be.  If CIPHER was to create the Patriots, they’d need to exist… and I still had no idea what World Marshal or the War Economy were… or who CIPHER was…  It was 1981.

But now I had my team… and Momma.  Momma knew more than she was letting on. It’s a very strange thing to interrogate the woman that raised you… but she’d raised me to be what I was. I’d committed genocide against two species, tried to do so against at least two more. I’d assassinated people who believed they were above the law in their own beds. And I’d done so out of moral outrage… but Joy… this new me… we didn’t have those. Or at least not enough to stop us from asking some pointed questions… and then when those were avoided… some enhanced questions.

You have to give it to EVA; she had a mind like a vault. But Vaults can be broken into. Electro-torture, waterboarding, pain… those are all primitive. I could have Crucio’d the information from her… but she was still my mother, the closest thing I’d had to one in decades really… So I mixed up Veritaserum and questioned her again… then I Obliviated her memory of the event. Thanks for that, Gilderoy.

I learned a lot from that.  Of a Gentleman named Zero and of my Son-Brother… Ocelot.  I learned of my brothers, David and Eli, and their father, John… and of what had been done to them.  I decided it was time for me to take my place on the global stage.

The Joy Division name already being taken, I named my group Hijas de Invierno, the Daughters of Winter. HDI contracted with the American Government to stabilize regions and remove despots and guerilla forces acting against American interests. We did our first job pro bono, more of a demonstration than anything else.  

In October of 1981, the Salvadoran Civil War was heating up, with China and Cuba supplying the rebels and the US, Israel, and Taiwan supporting the Government. By december there weren’t any rebels. One dead leader is a martyr. All the leaders either dead or publicly recanting is a failed rebellion. In exchange, someone may have convinced the military government to peacefully transition back to a democracy. It wasn’t optimal, but a 12 year civil war with nearly 90,000 dead and more than a million displaced was less so. The needs of the many and all. Didn’t even need to deploy Metal Gear Dragon.

I sunk most of the money I could get my hands on… which was considerable… into stocks of AT&T and IBM, planning for the future and curious to see if those companies would still thrive. In the next few years, HDI would guarantee an Israeli victory in Lebanon and the creation of non-Syrian controlled independant Lebanon, the singlehanded resolution of the Cuban takeover of Grenada, the clandestine destruction of Severomorsk Naval Base in Russia, and many more.

We faced stiff competition at first, but soon the mere hint that HDI and our all but invincible Metal Gear were operating in country was enough to make the timid run for the hills.  Of course, we eventually got too big, too hated, and that meant we had to disappear.  I took a page from Mom’s book and we faked the destruction of our compound on Svalbard, Winter Base. PMCs around the world leapt over each other to claim credit and began fighting each other in a series of ever escalating private wars. The year was 1988.

I had sixteen years. I became Simon Joval, head of a new start up company called Global-Universal Networking. GUN released a computer system a decade more advanced than anything available at the time, a time where the top of the line computers gave one 33 MegaHertz of processing power with 500 MegaBytes of Hard Drive Space… with a CRT… all for the rock bottom price of 7,000 USD. The GUN-ONE, by comparison, started at 250 MegaHertz, 4GB HD, 32MB of Ram, CD-Rom (a brand new technology)… with a 16’ LCD display… all for 500 dollars. And each and every one of them came with a proprietary operating system… and internet connectivity. Everything was produced in house.

To say the GUN-ONE took the world by storm is not an exaggeration. And we kept churning out innovations, faster than any of our competitors could compete… and compete they did… because I was selling them tech too, tech stolen from GUN by none other than Little Boss, not so dead as the world thought. Within a decade, I was the richest person on Earth and my chips were in everything. Everything. Which meant Vivian was in everything.

The Patriots knew Little Boss was coming for them. They thought they were ready. They thought they were smart. They thought a lot of things. But I’d had decades to prepare for them before any of the little bastards went on line. Hell, GUNCorp created the very processors they were running on. One by one, the five AIs came on line. And I did nothing. They were waiting for me to make my move. Let them wait. I’d waited… and I continued doing so. I waited… waited… watching my little brothers. Watching Big Boss maneuver. I was good at watching. I was the spider in the web.

Then my moment came. My Brothers were both heading to Shadow Moses Island… the year was 2005… and that meant so was I.  I followed David… Solid Snake… as he made his way through FOXHOUND’s operatives, helping him though he didn’t know it along each step of the way. My systems were already analyzing the nanoviral pathogen in his system. It was… primitive… crude… but it had utility. I neutralized it. Biowarfare is a nasty habit.

Eventually David and Eli faced each other, Eli… Liquid, acting like a right prat. I interrupted their little boxing match by decloaking between them and flooring them both in seconds. “Boys.  We need to talk.”

Liquid…. What a stupid name… Eli, Eli looked stunned.  He knew my face. “Boss?” I smirked. “In the flesh.”

“But… you’re dead?”

I laughed at that. “So was your father. Yet you live. Solidus lives… he’s your baby brother… President of the US too, for that matter. Okay, so no… I’m not The Boss. I’m Little Boss. I am to The Boss as you two are to Big Boss. Though both of you have been genetically… damaged.”

David, clever David, asked, “What are you doing here?”

“Strictly speaking, from a way of looking at it… you’re my little brothers. Clones can’t be grown in test tubes. All three of us were born of the womb of Big Momma. Eva… and since I’m the eldest, that means I have to look out for you two idiots. You’re both being manipulated. Eli… oh, sorry, you prefer that idiotic code name Liquid… you’ve been told  you were the defective one…  well it’s not true. David… Solid… Jesus… what’s wrong with just calling people Snake 6 or something. Stupid animal themes… anyway… Solid, Big Boss hasn’t really turned his back on everything he believed in… you’re both being manipulated by a bunch of AIs called the Patriots.  Is that right, Ocelot… did you miss momma?”

Adam… Revolver Ocelot… which is, I’ll admit pretty cool, stepped out of hiding. “You’re not my mother. She died before you were born. You’re just a copy.”

“I like to think of myself as an improvement actually. Not bad for 40, huh?” I flexed. I was in damned good shape… even my cybernetic arm and eye were in top shape. I’d built them myself, top of the line tech for the year, direct neural interface and everything. Eli looked like he was about to spring, Adam was reaching for his gun, David was looking confused.

I flicked out a corner of my will and summoned Adam’s revolvers too me, catching one in each hand, “Colt, Single Action, Army Revolver. Good gun. Big Boss gave you the idea back when he was Naked Snake and you were still using a Makarov, right?”

He just growled, “Kindly return my guns.”

“Sure… but just so you know, there are bombers on the way now. Look, Eli, I know you’ve spent your whole life hating David, but it’s not like either of you are any match for me, and until you are, who cares if you’re better than him or not. I could take all three of you but none of us have the time. And quite frankly, I’d rather the two of you don’t kill each other.” I tossed both of them a pressure injector “Here. These are full of nanites to scrub the FOXDIE… I think that’s what that little psycho called it… out of your systems… and they’ll fix that pesky accelerated aging. Then both of you should get out of here.”

I’m very good at convincing people. But Eli is very insane. It took every ounce of self control not to kill him. I’d never really tried that in a serious fight before. Finally I just Vulcan Nerve Pinched him and he went down like a sack of meal. “Adam, David… get out of here. Adam… tell Solidus I’m coming for him… oh… and Vivian?”

A disembodied voice came from every computer on Earth.  “Yes Little Boss?”

“Jericho.”

“Yes Little Boss.”

And the Patriot AIs died as every computer on the planet went into emergency reboot.  Well, not every.  There might have been a few older systems owned by very silly people, but every computer made after 1992 or so. Every phone. Every game console. Everything had some iteration of GUNTech’s chipset or a knockoff… and every one of those billions of chips was part of Vivian. The Patriots had been running on my computers… rent free…  now they weren’t doing any such thing.

At the same time, AJ stepped out of a doorway in a hospital half a world away, a blade growing out of his arm.  Silent as smoke, he swung his arm and the head of a man who didn’t exist bounced free of his shoulders. Zero had been divided… and was now one with the Infinite.

At the same time, what had once been a UFP Assault Shuttle slipped out of the infinite night behind the moon and fired a pencil thin phaser blast at the Earth… or nearly. A single satellite, one among thousands… vaporized.

David looked at me, suspicion on his face. “What did you just do?”

“That, little brother, would be telling. I’ve no idea how this will play out… but FYI… I’m going to assassinate President Sears. You could try and stop me… you won’t be able to… but you could try. But he’s not worth it. He’s an enemy agent.”

“You have proof of that?”

“I do. I’ll give them to you in 9 years. But right now, I’d recommend grabbing Meryl and running… oh… and tell Naomi if I ever hear she’s been messing with nanoviruses again, I will personally provide her a one way ticket to Low Earth Orbit.”

He left. I stole the heavily damaged Metal Gear Rex, its railgun, and the entire nuclear arsenal of Shadow Moses Base.  I still had to make sure that the Patriots plans didn’t come true. I’d already stopped 9-11… that had been child’s play. One of my squad had been on each of the four planes and had… well, you can imagine… But I still had to stop the War Economy. I’d finally learned what that was. Still didn’t have a clue what World Marshal was. But the War Economy… a global shift to continuing local warfare as a business to promote peace? I’ve heard of insanity before… but only an AI could come up with something that bonkers.

And to that end, I was going to give the people of this Earth an absolutely stunning demonstration of why private militaries were a terrible idea.

Two days after the death by heart attack of US President Sears, HDI emerged as a nuclear power. We freed Tibet in 21 days, smashing everything the Chinese sent against us, promising swift retaliation if they attacked Tibet ever again. We hired ourselves to every oppressed minority, every region. We came with cameras, we came with Metal Gears, we came with peace in mind, but the threat of force. And we were death on death squads.

The UN called for our heads as nation after nation broke into the opening stages of civil war… but we were ghosts. For six years we moved freely across the world, keeping constantly aware of every trap because every machine used my chipset. It was a unique opportunity. I’d shaped the information so completely that I effectively controlled the Infosphere. Nothing was hidden from my eyes.

Finally, the UN passed a general condemnation of private militaries, with member nation after member nation agreeing to seriously limit their use. Private or corporate ownership of modern military technology was essentially outlawed. The year was 2011. I spent the last few years of the jump mostly as Simon, enjoying my wealth and using my massive political clout to push green technologies, socialized medicine, and all that.

I did have to keep Liquid from being an ass, but bringing him inside my head for some extensive therapy sessions helped. I was there when the four Snakes met up. I perched on the top of my genesister’s grave and chuckled as the four idiots acted all macho and restrained. They jerked as one, reaching for sidearms like four copies of the same man. As I decloaked I said, “You four look so stiff. You’re family… essentially. As good as it gets for any of you. And none of you are getting any younger. Smile. Relax… things are looking up. Trust me… That’s an order from the Boss. Well, Boss 2.0. Smaller, more compact… streamlined.” And then I dumped Jusenkyo water on all four of them.

I walked away, whistling… smug for once… There were seconds to go. Sure, this wasn’t the beach… but this was a special occasion. All I had to do was get out of sight, make a cool exit, and I’d apparate back to Svalbard… And in that moment I let my guard down.

I felt the explosion lift me off my feet and smash me through a dozen gravemarkers. My final thought was “Fuck… that’s what being hit by a railgun feels like.”

Oh, in case anyone’s wondering why I didn’t repeat everything like an idiot… I did… a lot… but fuck it… this is my story… I’m totally not telling you about all the times I had to repeat what I just heard because I didn’t get it the first time. Honestly… After the first 20 years I pretty much stopped asking questions and just nodded a lot. As for all the weirdness… yeah… there was… lots of that. Lots and lots… but it would have distracted from the overly long narrative. If you’re good little boys and girls, someday I might tell you about the Ghostjackers or the Badgers in trenchcoats… or the time I had to fight an entire ship of Greys armed only with a spork… fuckers are from a 3 grav world.  Was all I could to do walk most of the time.  And the ship had like a zillion sporks.  Always knew they were invented by Aliens.

Next: Six Guns, Two Swords

Resources: Document, Build

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