Sunday, April 15 2007

Weekend Horror: A Trip to the Gaming Vaults

Well, it's Sunday, and I'm completely burned out.  However, I somehow managed to complete my  taxes, so I have an excuse.  Rather than try to find something to create a profound comment on, I've decided to go in to the horrors of my hard drive for something to scare or at least amuse you.  I have a collection of gaming files I have created, from character designs to abortive attempts at fan fiction.  If you are curious what my mind does when it isn't trying to make a profound philosophical point out of the geekiest bits of modern American culture, read on...

[Author's Note: The following was written as the first part of the backstory for one of my recent roleplaying characters.  The setting is a generic Earth with superheroes.  The campaign is on indefinite hiatus, which is why I haven't finished the story.  As I wrote a little fanfiction in college, and still read some on occasion, the backstory was done in a cinematic fanfiction style.  You have to imagine the date and location information superimposed on the lower corner of the screen, possible displayed letter by letter with a sufficiently computer-sounding sound.  Boris was the new character being introduced.  Ivan is an older character of mine, temporarily relegated to NPC status in this campaign.  I may finish this some day, so be warned.]

1995 / 10 / 13   0612 UTC (1412 Local)
86 km NNE of Khabarovsk, Russia

Private Piotr Soldatov shouldered his Kalashnikov and took the bottle offered by his Sergeant, and gulped down a few swallows of vodka before passing the bottle along.  He knew that a drink couldn’t hurt, as anyone trying to kill him would have to go through what sounded like half the army, a quarter of the air force, and who-knew-what from the intelligence ministries.  He wasn’t expecting anything to happen.  His squad and their APC had been ordered to stay at this narrow trail intersection deep in the Siberian wilderness, and wave on through anyone with a pass.
In theory, they were also to stop anyone without a pass.  However, one trail out of here led to a small village now serving as a regimental headquarters filled with other troops asking for passes, and the other two trails led into the containment zone, which is what people needed a pass to get in to.  As everyone within twenty kilometers had a pass already, it was an easy job.
He wasn’t sure what the containment zone was supposed to be containing.  Headquarters had given the squad a Geiger counter, which ticked occasionally, but the sergeant said that was normal for this part of Russia.  Anyways, if it could get out past the tank battalion and the Spetsnaz special forces which had driven past his unit over the past two days or the attack helicopters and strike aircraft occasionally visible circling overhead, it was not going to be fazed by the 73mm cannon on the squad BMP.  He wondered if the aircraft had passes; everyone else certainly did.
It must have been some kind of exercise, Piotr told himself.  Wake everyone up in the middle of the night, drive to a desolate region, and wait for a week, checking passes.  It was cold, but not too cold yet, and Piotr was Siberian anyways.  The sergeant was a decent person when he was drunk, which he usually was, and managed to always have enough for the squad.
 The sergeant downed the last of the vodka in the bottle and called out “Piotr!  Get out another bottle!” 
Piotr went into the APC and emerged with another bottle of Stolichnaya. “Okay, who’s next?”  he asked.
A hand quickly grabbed the bottle with a mumbled “Thank you.”  There was a smashing sound of the bottle against the back of the APC.  Piotr turned and gaped in amazement at the spectre which leaned against the side of the vehicle.  The man was tall, tough-looking, clad in bloody fatigues, carried a foreign submachinegun slung over his shoulder and had a glazed look in his eyes as he stared at the neckless vodka bottle.  With one swift move he upended the vodka bottle and drained the contents.  He then fell over into the snow and began snoring loudly.
Within a minute, the sergeant was on the radio to HQ as Piotr checked the man’s condition.  He had several deep cuts (most of which sported improvised bandages) and large brusies, and had lost a decent amount of blood, but was in no immediate danger.  The SMG had a handful of bullets left and was not on safe, so Piotr slipped it off and safetied it.  Most importantly, the man didn’t have a pass.
Not ten minutes later, an army UAZ utility jeep came barreling down the trail from within the containment zone and stopped next to the APC.  At the wheel was another apparition, a young woman with snow-white hair.  Piotr was a bit relieved to see she was wearing an army uniform with Capitan’s insignia when she got out of the vehicle, but was puzzled as she was armed with a cavalry saber carried in a scabbard at her waist as well as a pistol. 
She walked up to the sleeping man, and gently prodded him with her boot.  “I figured if anyone else could have gotten out of that alive, it would be him…” she said to no one in particular.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I need to see your pass…” said Piotr, sheepishly.  It was what he was there for, after all.
The woman shot him a look, but pulled the special piece of paper out of a jacket pocket.  “Is there anything else you need, Private?” she asked, with the emphasis on Private.  Piotr just shook his head no.  She turned to the unconscious man.  “Ivan, wake up!” and kicked him sharply in the ribs.  The man, Ivan, groaned sharply but did not stir.  The woman turned back to Piotr.  “How much did he drink?”
“He drank most of the bottle, ma’am.  He smashed the neck off and downed it in one go.”
She walked back to the utility jeep, and got on the radio.  Piotr only heard her side of the conversation.  “Yes sir, it’s Anastasia.  Checkpoint south-six found Ivan… No, he’s alive, but unconscious… Actually, he’s only slightly wounded, but he’s passed out drunk,” there was a pause during which she glanced at Piotr and smiled, “No sir, I don’t know where he found the vodka, sir.  You know Ivan; he can find vodka anywhere…  He looks fit to travel… There’s enough of a clearing a helicopter should be able to land… Thank you, sir.  I’ll thank the troops at the checkpoint for keeping a keen eye out.  Anastasia out.”  She put down the radio headset and leaned out the window, smiled and yelled at Piotr.  “Private, you have about five minutes before the helicopter arrives to get all the vodka from the APC and put it in the back of my jeep…”

1995 / 10 / 13   0635 UTC (0935 Local)
FSB Headquarters, Moscow, Russia
Despite the fact that only a handful of people were present, the small briefing room in the basement of FSB headquarters felt like it was filled to capacity.  At a long table in the front of the room sat the three officers conducting the ‘debriefing’, a description which didn’t really fit the circumstances but was probably more accurate than ‘interrogation’.  Of course, it was a lot more polite than Russian interrogations usually were, especially those conducted in this building.  One of the three was FSB, one was GRU, and the third was the special representative of the Russian President.  Each had an empath / telepath sitting to their right and a stenographer sitting to their left, to keep the proceedings honest.  The FSB and GRU psychics were officers of their respective agencies, and presumably loyal to the same agencies.  The psychic for the president’s special representative was definitely loyal to Russia itself.  She was known as Pravda, and she was the mentalist member of Russia’s super team, the Heroic Defenders of the Motherland.
Two of her teammates kept watch over the room.  On the left, by the main door, stood Hammer.  At a hair under two meters tall, and built like a tank, he easily held the massive weapon that was his namesake in one hand.  Across the room stood his fraternal twin sister, Sickle.  She was significantly shorter and more slender, and graceful like a ballerina.  She was also holding her equally-lethal namesake weapon and watching the room.  Despite their sheltered upbringing by the party, the pair had managed the transition to capitalism and democracy rather well.  The two were on alert despite the massive security lockdown of the capital and the buildings other formidable defenses.
Two or three others sat in the back of the room, witness from other agencies with an interest in the proceedings.  This briefing was classified most secret, but its revelations had the potential to shake the Russian government to its foundations, and as such the whole government was waiting for the outcome, as were several foreign governments aware through their own methods that something big had just occurred in the Russian wilderness.
On a simple wooden chair in the middle of the room sat a man who was the center of attention for the rest of the room, and, by extension, the rest of the world.  He was above average height, and somewhat lean and slender, and surprisingly graceful.  Those who knew him slightly described him as charming and rakishly handsome.  Those who knew him well described him as a cunning, ruthless killer, and likened his grin to the smile of a wolf.  His name was Capitan Boris Maximov of Russia’s elite Shadow Alpha special operations force, and he was smiling now as his debriefing began.
The president’s special representative looked down at his notes, away from the vicious grin, and then at Pravda, who nodded.  He looked back at Boris, and said “Well, Capitan, can you tell us what happened from the very beginning…”

[Insert Bond-esqe Opening Credit Montage Here]

Amalgamated Media Technologies
In Association With
Ronin Productions Incorporated

Ivan Alekseyev
Boris Maximov
Ilyana Romanova

Cold Blood

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