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Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat

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Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-05-31 10:38:54

Without further stalling for time, I give you the new Writing contest. We are under new management, so many thanks to WritersBlock and gumOnShoe for their efforts in running the show, while thanks are also extended to the judges from previous contests. Now it has fallen to me to come up with a new contest for you all, so here we go.


All official entries must be submitted here. No linking to your story hosted elsewhere. No discussion whatsoever in this thread. All discussion for this competition must take place in the DISCUSSION THREAD.



Please read through the entirety of the opening posts and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of this competition. All participants must comply to the rules listed below, as they are final. Failure to comply will result in disqualification from the current competition.

MWC10: June : Cinematic Combat

A wide-ranging brief is what we need to encourage people to enter the contests, so I'm going to give you guys some pretty free reign with it all. We are seeking a piece that focuses on Cinematic Combat. Admit it, you're all fed up with movies that have so much of the budget wasted on the look of the combat scenes and not enough character depth surrounding it. *cough*Michael Bay*cough*

What we want is for you to build up to some sort of fight, have the fight and then deliver an aftermath. Your focus does not have to be on the combat itself, but what else is seen and felt. After all, war is terrible and the losses are very graphic, with only the most desensitised individuals being completely psychologically unaffected.

Brief examples would include a ship's captain, hunting pirates in the Indies, seeking the bounties and the promotion that will surely accompany them. Perhaps a young lad, afraid of raiders that killed his father in raids carried out last spring. How about the raiders themselves?

1) You must have combat in the piece, which your protagonists take part in.
2) Minimum Word Count: 1,000 Words
3) Maximum Word Count: 5,000 Words

Thursday, July 1st 0300hrs EST. I will be online at that time, so therefore the thread will be locked at that point.

1st) $30 Newgrounds store credit.
2nd) $30 Newgrounds store credit.
3rd) $30 Newgrounds store credit.
4th and 5th) Honourable mentions.


1) Please ensure you have proof read your submission before posting it. There are plenty of decent writers on here that have offered services for proofing
2) Post your stories in this thread.
3) Do not post revisions in this thread. They will be deleted.
4) You may submit one story only, one time. Posts will not be deleted at your demand so make sure your work is perfect before posting here.
5) Entries should be posted concordantly in the thread. Don't post the first part, then leave it three days before posting the next, as this makes judging more difficult.


1) Contestants may submit exactly one entry. No more. Users found trying to smart ass their way around this rule will be disqualified from this and an arbitrary number of future competitions to be agreed on by the judges. (You are your alt and vice versa)
2) Users caught posting writings which they do not own will face imediate disqualification from this and any future contests. That means don't try to pass other's work off as your own, you will fail and we'll all hate you!
3) Users must submit on or before the given date. NO EXCEPTIONS!
4) You must follow the rules of this BBS. If you have a question about whether you will be breaking them, contact a moderator.


The judges do not HAVE to review your work and give you a detailed critique, there are too many entries in most contests for that to be a plausible option. You have the following options none the less:

1) I highly recommend that you review someone else's work, in that way, they may return the favour. ;)
2) There is both a writing club & and writing guild in the Clubs & Crews section which is there as an open forum for writers to post their work.
3) PM the specific person you would like to review your work and hope they will.
4) Post a link to a newspost on your user page which contains your story again, in either the discussion thread or at the end of your official submission in this thread.
5) Mingle with the people in the writing forum. It's the hip new place to be.


Judges will be as follows:

*1 more to be announced

Judging will take place during the month of July, with the entries thread predicted (hoped) to run alongside the launch of the next competition, in August. If we get a good enough level of entries and people actively requesting to be judges, we might even go back to the monthly contest, but for now these will remain at a bi-monthly rate.

For all Monthly Writing Contests from now on, if you have suggestions for themes, comments on the judging process, wish to become a part of the judging team

and so forth, please post it in the Monthly Writing Contest HQ

Will it ever end. Yes, all human endeavour is pointless ~ Bill Bailey
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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-05-31 20:03:11


A boy and girl lie wrapped in each others arms, staring up at a starless night sky in a large field alongside a road. It is late. They are both in bloom and every few moments they turn their pretty faces toward each other and smile.

"I love you." he says.

"I love you." she says.

And smile at each other, eyes emblazoned with affection. And so even without a star in the sky, their world is perfect in that field; gazing into each others eyes, they stroke each others faces softly, interested by the smallest freckle dancing upon the other's skin.

"I love you." she says.

"I love you." he says.

The Inamorato

by MiSFiTT (A.Anderson)

Death is one moment, and life is so many of them.- Tennessee Williams

I opened my eyes. The salty and hard-baked air filled my nostrils with a painful remedy for sleep while waves crashed with a wail; a lone seagull flying by cried out from the blotted out sky. A black and smokey veil for the sun is what the sky has become. I let out a great sigh before turning over and pushing my calloused hands into the stained dirt, sorely forcing my body upright. Blocks of led hung from the bottoms of my eyelids; my hands were cracked with blood and hardened sand. I felt something wedged inside of my left fist. I began to carefully unclose my hand but stopped when the rhythmic squishing of wet sand approached. I looked up and my eyes met Lieutenant's. Slapping my arms down to my sides I brought my legs together; my right arm flew upward and a sharpened hand swung at my forehead. Salut.

I stuffed whatever had been in my fist into my pocket and picked up my gun from the ground. Lieutenant stumbled off to the next sleeping dead soldier. Death was everywhere: in the air we breathed, on the ground we walked, in our minds and in our hearts; Death was everywhere. I swung the strap of my gun around my back, wincing at it's sting against my weathered body. I no longer noticed the dying groans of men as I walked along the cold beach. They seemed meaningless to me now, as did everything else. Losing my sloppy footing I tripped and fell with a short and surprised in-take of breath. I spat out the sand and struggled with myself to stand again. Little rocks of sand are made up of tougher stuff than a body. I've learned that over the past few months.

Trudging on I stopped upon a large shard of glass stuck in the earth like a blemish upon it's face. Looking down into it I saw the reflection of a man I didn't know. He stared back at me with sunken black eyes; his nose was crooked as if someone had wrenched it sideways and his hair was that of a mad man. Cuts and scars and scrapes ran across his gray and black and red face as if he were afflicted with some disease. Reaching down, I picked up the mirage and held it close to my face with a trembling hand. After a singular thought I crushed it. My hand swelled. The sky fell down upon me. The world darkened and a dry tear found it's way into the corner of one of my eyes.

Screams and bullets tearing through the air slowly became apparent to me in an echoing crescendo. The world shook and I threw my body to the ground behind a giant rock in the sand. It had only been a matter of time before they came for us. We had all known it when we received word of our abandonment - of our meaningless nature. I hid behind my rock as men ran forward or backward in total chaos. Led shot through their brains one by one ending a lifetime of memories; shells blew up their hearts one by one ending a lifetime of love. No soul could escape the heavenly fire from the hills that rained down upon us like the Judgement Day.

My veins pumped vigorously as blood rushed throughout my whole body. I felt my skin pulsating and I clenched my gun tight to my body. I dug deep into my soul to find something to get up and fight for; a singular idea or thought to stand up and die for. But there is nothing left to dig out of a grave already dug.

I stayed behind my rock until the rhythmic splashing of wet blood approached. It was Lieutenant. He yelled and hollered, throwing my trembling body out from behind my rock just as a bullet shot through his mouth. His eyes bulged outward, dementing his face; an emotion that only a dying man knows overwhelmed him and as he stumbled on the sand a second bullet mercilessly shot through his forehead, throwing him backward.

I began to quickly crawl back behind my rock when I noticed something had fallen out of my pocket, next to Lieutenant's blood. I grabbed it and picked it up. I held it out in front of me.

(Oh, God)

Tears welled up in my eyes and a smile wrapped itself around my face; my heart trembled and my soul shook; an overpowering warmth overtook my whole body as I looked down at the thin piece of photo-paper I held: My love; my world. Through all the chaos her smile shook the gray clouds of death away; the sun shined down on her beautiful face and lit the world like lightning. My love; my world - my life is yours.

I charged forward, gun in hand, screaming like everyone else, hallowed out and carved up from the inside like everyone else. For in times of war, men die from the inside out.

A bullet tore through the blade of my shoulder.

Yet I charged on.

A bullet sundered through the muscle of my chest.

I charged on.

A bullet ripped through the bone of my knee.

Charged on...

and on...

and on.

My love; my world - you're smile sets my soul afire.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-15 13:30:20

St. Michael's Seraphim (Part 1)

"Down, down," Sergeant Vikki Fenris hissed at her section, who all ducked behind what was left of the north wall on the second floor of one particular apartment complex amongst hundreds in the city.

As the soldiers ducked behind jutting pieces of concrete and steel bars, dust fell from the ceiling above their heads. The ground rumbled as a column of tanks rolled down the street, infantry walking alongside them, peeking into the ruins lining the road.

"What the hell are tanks doing here? Intel said the Entente had all their armour at the East end of the city," Corporal Jaeger said, almost shouting above the roar of the approaching tank engines.

"Either they moved since we checked in five hours ago, or this is another squadron we didn't know about. Just keep your damn heads down. Kessler, move over to the staircase and make sure none of them infantry get too nosey," Vikki commanded.

The Private in question nodded, grasping his light machine gun and running in a crouch deeper into the building to watch the only remaining flight of stairs leading up to the second floor. Vikki pointed at Private Mann and flicked her hand to indicate he follow the machine gunner. The soldier nodded and moved after his comrade.

Despite the noise of the passing tanks, Vikki knew this was a calm moment, and took the time to remove her helmet and run a hand through her grimy hair. She hadn't showered in five days, not since her section had been dropped behind enemy lines to run sabotage and generally play havoc with Entente forces, while the Coalition moved in over land from the East.

Pulling a pack of cigarettes from one of the pockets on her tactical vest, her eyes ran over the five other soldiers in the room with her. Lighting up, the flick of her lighter silent amongst the rumble, she took a deep inhale. It'd been five hours since any contact was made with friendly forces, and that was only by radio. They had no real idea on how the battle was going, but such was the life of a Coalition paratrooper.

Moments like these, where couldn't talk to even the soldier beside them, were all too common in this city. Just yesterday the section had lain low while a friendly artillery barrage hammered an old office building being used as an operations centre. Thoughts of home crept into the mind, of crawling into a familiar and comfortable bed rather than sleeping in shifts in rubble. Thoughts of standing in a hot shower rather than stewing in your own sweat beneath armour that never got taken off. Memories of friends and family left behind, left to worry about your safety; it all came creeping back unbidden, and Vikki shook her head, forcing the thoughts away. She had a job to do in this hell hole, and that was to keep the men under her command alive.

Pressing the smouldering butt of her cigarette against the ground before flicking it across the room, Vikki took a sip of water from the tube hanging off her shoulder and connecting to the hydration pack beneath the plates on her back, washing away the dust collecting in her throat. As she clipped the tube back into place the sounds of the tanks moved past, and started to fade into the distance.

Vikki held out her hand flat, palm down, telling the section to stay hidden as she peaked through the window above her head, the glass long since blown away. The infantry were close behind the tanks, and it wasn't long before they were no longer a concern.

"Hammond, radio in and tell HQ there's another squadron of armour headed east from our position, rest of you keep watch we move out in five," Vikki said, standing and moving out of the room to check on Kessler and Mann.

Hammond nodded before pulling reaching behind him to turn on the radio. They often kept it powered down to prevent being tracked by enemy electronic warfare.

Vikki found Kessler kneeling behind a turned over desk at the head of the stairs, with Mann sitting beside him smoking. Kessler's eyes never moved from the iron sights of his weapon, but Mann looked up at his sergeant and nodded.

"It's all clear sarge," he whispered, wisps of smoke punctuating each word.

"Good, we move out in five, still have to take out the anti-tank gun two K north east before we link up for extraction," Vikki said quietly.

"Sounds just dandy," Kessler muttered.

As Mann finished his cigarette he tapped his friend's shoulder and the two swapped spots, as Kessler reached for the smokes stashed in the same pocket Vikki kept hers.

Moving back to the central room, Vikki pulled a map of the city from under her armour. It was these quiet moments, where boredom crawled over the fear, that could be the most dangerous. People lost their edge wallowing in these moments, soldiers became complacent, and people died. Vikki didn't let her mind wander, and wouldn't let the minds of her men wander either as she investigated the map unfolded on the floor before her. The other paratroopers all kept watch while Hammond moved over to his sergeant silently.

"Command acknowledges. That was it," he reported.

"Good. We stop for dinner after the gun is down," Vikki said, folding up the map and tucking it away.

This time as she stood, securing her helmet, the others got to their feet as well. Without a word the section moved out of the house, Kessler and Mann falling into the rear of the patrol as the emerged from the crumbling apartment building and dashed across the street into a shadow filled alley.

Their boots made little sound, each soldier a professional; well trained, well equipped and no stranger to combat. Their eyes and weapons all locked into different niches, peering for any enemy that would gladly send them home in a flag draped coffin.

In the distance, explosions rocked the city and machine gun fire rattled off constantly; just white noise backdrop, a constant reminder of the dragging conflict of the soil hidden beneath the concrete.

Cutting through alleys, and moving silently through buildings, long since abandoned by the people who had once lived here, the soldiers made their way towards the coordinates given them hours earlier. They finally stopped in the rubble filled ruins of a basement, lying behind stumps of concrete. Across the street was a two story structure, its original purpose unclear, but nestled atop it on a metal platform and covered in camouflage netting was the objective. Entente soldiers stood around it, assault rifles held loosely in their hands, and Vikki could see another looking out through a second story window.

"All right, quick game plan. Jaeger, Kessler and Mann, you three stay back here and give us some covering fire, but don't start until you hear shooting. The longer we keep quiet the better our chances. Everyone else is on me; we're going in through the left door, nice and easy. Quiet kills if you can make them, but don't play the hero. Petrov, I want the first two rounds in your shotgun to be slugs. Alright, prep yourselves, we go in once we good," Vikki said after sliding down the rubble just enough to keep her head out of sight.

The paratroopers reacted instantly to her commands, rearranging their kit for close quarters, ensuring bayonets were within easy reach. It didn't take long for them to finish; just a minute before they flashed Vikki a thumbs up to signal their readiness.

"Okay. Quick, quiet, clean. Huah?" She grunted to the men.

"Airborne," came the whispered reply.

With that final word, five soldiers scrambled over the rim of rubble, quickly sprinting across the open road hoping that they wouldn't be seen. Kessler and Jaeger took up positions watching the building, while Mann looked the other way, making sure no one came up to shove a knife between their shoulder blades.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-15 13:31:58

St. Michael's Seraphim (Part 2/2)

Holding her assault rifle in one hand, Vikki carefully reached out and opened the door before her, and stepped into the building. She could hear people talking in low hushed voices, unaware of the enemy amongst them. Moving down the hallway that met her, butt of her weapon firm against her shoulder, moving like a ghost, Vikki didn't need to pay attention to her men; she had full confidence in their abilities.

A door opened to her right, and a man walked out, clad in an Entente uniform and covered in body armour. He was running a hand through his hair, about to put on his helmet, when Vikki's bayonet plunged into the flesh of his throat. Hot red blood gushed around the steel piercing his windpipe, pattering across the floor as he clutched at the wound, trying to scream but not even able to gurgle.

As Vikki eased the body to the floor, Sampson and Petrov moved into the opened room, quietly snapping the necks of the two guards huddled over the radio. Without orders they promptly cut the wires connecting the headset and scrambled the encryption making the valuable equipment inoperable.

Another soldier was coming down the stairs, footsteps echoing off the walls as Vikki hurried, hoping to get to the base to kill him quietly. She wasn't fast enough, and the man let out a sharp yell of surprise, bringing his weapon up. Vikki's finger pulled back twice, her rifle barking loudly in the confines of the building, empty shell bouncing off the wall beside her as the bullets tore through the man's face, coating the stairwell with crimson, chips of white bone and clumps of gray. The corpse collapsed to the ground and rolled down the stairs as shouts of alarm went up on the second floor.

From outside came the punctuated crack of Jaeger's sniper rifle, before the chattering hum of the light machine gun.

"Contact, to the south," someone yelled before shots were returned.

"Petrov take point," Vikki said, using her hands to give orders in case the man couldn't hear her over the gunfire.

Petrov nodded, clutching his shotgun as he started to move up the stairs, Vikki close behind him, aiming her rifle around his arm. As they moved onto the second story they saw Entente soldiers firing out the windows, bullets digging into the wall behind them. As one fell back, clutching at his arm, Petrov let his shotgun roar. The twelve gauge slug punched into the closest soldier, tearing through his armour and crushing through his ribcage. Gore exploded from the exit wound and he crumpled to the floor as Vikki began to fire down the hall. For just a few seconds it was utter chaos as bullets and blood sprayed everywhere, chipping and painting the walls with carnage.

Passing by the first window, Vikki planted a green stick on the sill, letting the three outside know their progress while the other four began to clear the side rooms. Vikki glanced out the window towards Jaeger and pointed up, while behind her the sounds of gunfire flared as her section ruthlessly cleared the building.

Seeing his sergeant's signal, Jaeger swiped his hand across his throat. They were incapacitated in the least. Petrov emerged from the last door at the end of the hall, placing a green stick of his own in the window, earning a thumbs up from Kessler who stopped firing.

Silence fell over their little portion of the city, their ears ringing from the barrage.

"You three get inside. Rest of us are moving up top," Vikki shouted out the window and began moving towards a second set of stairs that led up to the roof. Her heart was pounding, adrenaline coursing through her veins after the quick burst of intensity. The firefight couldn't have lasted any more than five minutes, but it gave her the spike of excitement she always craved. The burst of life that prevented her from ever getting out.

The muzzle of her rifle led the way as her boots hammered on the grated steel of the steps, her ears picking up the others behind her. There was a door between her and the open sky, and she put two shots into the lock before kicking out. The connection of boot on wood sent the door crashing open, and Vikki stormed onto the roof, turning to the right, checking for hostiles. All she found was a dead man, half the contents of his skull splattered across the rough ground.

"Don't fucking move," Petrov shouted, and Vikki turned to see the point man holding his shotgun to a wounded Entente soldier's head who was sitting on the elevated platform, leaning against the cannon.

"I'm not," the man said, clutching at his limp right arm, blood soaking into the dull gray of his uniform. There weren't any weapons around him, though Vikki spotted an abandoned and unloaded rifle lying beneath the weapon platform.

Vikki clipped her rifle to the carabineer on her chest and simply let it hang from her armour as she moved up to the wounded man, crouching in front of him, reaching into one of her abdomen pouches.

"Name and rank?" she asked him.

"Corporal Eliot Taylor. Other than that, I ain't telling you dick," he said, his face calm.

Vikki nodded, and pulled out a package BioCement, some gauze and a bandage from her pouch. Taylor eased his arm away from the wound, letting Vikki use her bayonet to cut away the fabric and find the hole.

"Looks like a through and through Taylor. I'm going to patch this up, then me and my team are going to blow up this gun, and we're going to leave you in the basement with your hands tied. Understand?" Vikki told him, fully aware of the shotgun aiming over her shoulder at Taylor's head.

"You're... not going to kill me?" Taylor asked, watching as his captor opened the package of BioCement and wincing as she used the gauze to wipe away most of the blood gushing from his wound.

"We're soldiers, not murderers Taylor. Even if people have trouble making that distinction," Vikki said, not looking into the man's face as she pulled what looked like black clay out of the package, and shoved it into the hole in his arm. He screamed in pain as Vikki packed the putty into his flesh, blocking every vein and artery. As Vikki wrapped the gauze and the bandage around Taylor's arm, the clay turned to concrete. All the doctors would need to do now is tap it so it breaks, and let it fall out.

"Sometimes even us," Petrov muttered off to the side, pulling Eliot to his feet before strapping his hands together in front of his belly at the wrists.

As Petrov and Hammond guided Taylor back to the basement Vikki stood before the large anti-tank weapon and pulled out a block of explosives. The pliable explosive stuck easily to the weapon's firing chamber, and the detonator slid easily into place.

"Let's get the hell out of dodge," Vikki said, calmly moving back through the building and onto the streets.

The section moved like phantoms back into the desolation, leaving Taylor with a bottle of water sitting outside the building, unarmed. Vikki looked over her shoulder, before thumbing the switch in her hand.

The explosion roared, a cloud of dust obscuring the building instantly, pieces of metal scattered everywhere, bouncing off the surrounding structures and the road below.

"Time to go home yet sarge?" Mann asked carefully.

"I hope so, but I doubt it," Vikki replied, and slipped away once more, to strike again somewhere else.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-24 07:15:12

The Human Soldier part 1

O3 scratched the back of his neck with unease. Damn, it was hot. He returned to silently surveyed the weapons that lay on the table, these tools of death that would easily kill a man in many different ways.

He picked the first one. A .50 Barrett, great accuracy, equipped with a silencer, perfect for stealth missions like the one they were about to embark on. With expert hands he checked the stock, then slid it back.

'It's a suicide mission,' O3 said to the other man in the room. 1-55 just stared blankly at the wall, lost in his own world, brooding. His hand held a stress ball which he squeezed every two seconds.

'Do you hear what I said?' O3 spoke louder now. 'We gonna get our bloody asses killed. You hear me?'

1-55 continued staring. O3 wasn't sure if the old bag cared about dying or not. Hell, 1-55 hadn't cared about anything but this mission, ever since O3 had met him again back in May.

O3 sighed, and went back to the weapons. The next one, a P90 machinegun, filled to the brim with fresh rounds. Then the next. A M9 pistol, for emergency purposes. Then a traditional commando knife. Never leave home without it.

However, O3 didn't feel reassured. He looked up at 1-55. 'You've gone senile, old man. Only two of us, take down an entire base? You're mad. Barmy. On crack.'

1-55 spoke one word. 'Thousand million.'

The thought of that money shut O3 up immediately. He returned to the table, and checked 1-55's share of weapons. 'All done,' he announced, settling back on a chair.

1-55 didn't respond. He was still squeezing his stress ball. O3 looked at him anxiously. Money and possible insanity aside, he was rather found of the old man, who had used to be one of his friendliest clients.

'All done,' O3 said, louder this time.


'Hey old man,' O3 said, knowing 1-55 wouldn't mind being jabbed at. 'Have you died from all that crack?'

'Mcmillian.' 1-55 said, making his partner jump. He looked down at the stress ball, as if it was the very man himself.

'Don't worry old man,' O3 said. 'We'll get him.'

'He's already dead,' 1-55 said in a cold, gravelly tone. He carelessly dumped the stress ball to one side. O3 noticed that it had deep scratch marks in it, as if fingernails had scraped against the surface repeatedly, venting out their frustration.

1-55 picked up his weapon, and without further instruction, ran out of the shed and started sprinting down the road. He reached the rocky hill and started climbing up with tremendous speed. O3 was even more amazed. 1-55 hadn't sprinted like that in ages. Colonel Mcmillian must have done something that really, really pissed 1-55 off.

After a few minutes of trying to keep up, O3 stopped abruptly at a turn in the rocky path. He saw a building in the distance, and looked through his binoculars. to study it better. Electronic fences, security fences, and guards. A lot and a lot of guards.

'Closer,' 1-55 whispered. They crept nearer to the base, retrieving their sniper rifles. Details came closer into view. Four guard towers with a sniper in each.

'Take the snipers,' 1-55 said. 'I'll take the patrols. Be quiet about it.'

'You won't hear a damn peep, gramps.'

He sighted down his scope and focused on the guard by the farthest tower. Dressed in black garments and goggles, the guard looked like an elite mercenary. A sleek, black scoped rifle nestled in the crook of his arm.

O3 centered the crosshairs on him, taking his time. As he watched, the guard looked from side to side, and then fished out a packet of potato crisps, opening them and stuffing himself.

'Sorry, buddy,' muttered O3 as he pulled the trigger. 'Wrong place, wrong time.'

The guard jerked backwards, and then collapsed on the floor next to his rifle. He came too late to savor his first taste of bacon flavored potato crisps.

Instantly O3 moved his rifle left, firing once, then his arm blurred right, another shot fired, left again, another guard died. So far, so good, all four had been taken down without any sound.

1-55 lowered his rifle. 'Move,' he said. 'Before they discover the bodies.'

The slid down the mountain and sprinted towards the base. They reached the entrance, and as they passed a dead guard 1-55 stopped. 'Take point,' he said gruffly. 'I've got to do a few things first.'

O3 slowly moved forward, covering every opening, but he couldn't resist looking back to see what 1-55 was doing. He was searching the guard's dead body, and grabbed a radio off him. Good, able to monitor enemy chatter, but still O3 waited.

Would he? Much of him had changed, but would he at least do the one thing he did after every firefight? The one thing that made him so likable?

1-55 reached into his jacket. Yes, he could be...O3 watched as 1-55 drew a small teddy bear and placed it gently on the guard's body.

Every man with a gun in his hand, sooner or later, found a way to redeem themselves. 1-55'S way was to leave a teddy bear at every scene. Usually a few dollar coins would be stuffed inside. A way of saying, sorry about the death, hope you'll accept this token.

'Move up,' 1-55 said in a deadened tone. O3 snapped his attention back to the mission and they slowly progressed forward, covering each other's backs. Two guards came into their view, chatting to each other. Immediately they dropped down dead without knowing what hit them.

O3 quietly reloaded his rifle. 'Hey old man,' he said. 'Not the best time, but I was wondering - what happened to those Sand Company guys you were dragging around? Thought they'd give you a hand.'

'They're dead.'

There was an uncomfortable silence.

'Mcmillian - ' began O3 tentatively. 'You're not saying - '

'He and his man massacred Sand Company. I'm the last one.'

Another silence.

The radio suddenly crackled into life. 'Delta Six, Delta Six, please respond, over.'

1-55 started jogging forward, ignoring the radio. 'We won't have much time until they find out we're here.'

'You got that right,' O3 muttered, moving with him.

A guard suddenly appeared when they were about to turn a corner. Immediately 1-55 sprang forwards, grabbed the man's mouth, and stabbed him in the chest.

The guard's eyes bulged, but he was still alive. He struggled, but 1-55 kept him in check.

'Hey,' O3 said. 'Just break his neck.'

'No,' 1-55 growled. O3 realised what he meant and lapsed into another silence, a shocked one this time. Finally, the guard went limp, dead. 1-55 cast him carelessly aside.

He took out a teddy bear from his jacket and dropped it next to the body, as if for some form of compensation.

'You sure have changed, Gramps.' Said O3.

'Haven't we all,' said 1-55, starting to move forward again.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-24 07:17:47

Part 2

First Lieutenant Mark Reyes was calmly making some tea. Earl grey, as it happened. The Colonel's favourite. His tea making activities was disrupted when the radio beside him squawked.

'Control, this is Gamma One. We found Delta and Echo. They are all dead, killed by silenced weapons.'

Reyes grabbed the radio. 'Search the base immediately, Gamma one. We are putting the base on high alert. Control out.'

'Roger that.'

Reyes then switched channels to the public channel, and said, 'The base is under attack. This is not a drill. Search the base immediately. Team Bravo, you are to escort the Colonel to the LZ. Control out.'

'Roger that. Alpha out.'

'Roger that. Bravo out.'

'Roger that. Charlie out.'

Reyes didn't say any more, in case the enemy was listening in. He picked up the cup of tea and walked to the corner of the room.

'Sir,' he said. 'Unfortunately, the base has been compromised. We need to get you out of here.'

A meaty hand lined with lots of scars grabbed the teacup and the liquid inside disappeared in one gulp.

'Shit.' Said Colonel Mcmillian, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

There was a knock on the door, and Bravo One appeared. 'Sir!' he saluted. 'The heli is prepped and ready.'

Mcmillian didn't seem to have heard. 'Only one man would come here,' he rasped. 'Only one man knows who I truly am.'

'Sir,' Reyes patiently said. 'We have to - '

Suddenly, Mcmillian broke into a smile. That itself was amazing. But then he proceeded to even chuckle, a chuckle that evolved into a full blown burst of laughter.

Mcmillian fell off his chair, laughing hard, and Reyes rushed forward. 'Sir,' he said. 'We must go.'

'Yeah, yeah, whatever,' chuckled Mcmillian. Bravo One tried to keep his face composed as he and Reyes led the Colonel out the door.


1-55 heard the words on his stolen radio, and clenched his fist. 'We're running out of time,' he growled.

'Again - '

'We gotta get to Mcmillian before he escapes - ' 1-55 suddenly spotted one, then two, then three guards emerging from a warehouse.

'Move!' he hissed, ducking into another warehouse. The pair retreated to the farthest corner of the building, and they stayed absolutely quiet.

They heard voices.

'Alpha Two, take the left flank.'

'Roger that.'

'Into that warehouse. Alpha Five, take point.'

O3 quietly switched to his P90. It looked like they might have to engage.

A guard entered the warehouse. Then another one. Then two more, and two more after that.

'Spread out. Flashlights on. Alpha Two, move up. Alpha Six, take his place. Stay frosty.'

'Shit, shit, shit!' cursed O3.

1-55 cradled his own P90. They were well concealed in the darkness of the warehouse, but the guards would search the warehouse thoroughly. There would be no escape.

'Get ready,' he whispered to O3.

Suddenly a flashlight blinded 1-55's face. 'They're here!' he heard a guards voice call.

'OPEN FIRE!' roared 1-55, shredding the guard to pieces with his P90. O3 did likewise, pumping the trigger, in short sharp bursts. The warehouse was lit up by wildly strobing lights, seven guns firing all at once. The cacophony of discharges rang heavily in 1-55's ears.

'FUCK YOU!' yelled 1-55, spraying his P90 left and right. A bullet tore through his hip. 1-55 overcame the pain, continued firing. One, two, three men jerked backwards, fell onto the ground, writhed in their death throes.

He stopped to reload, and ducked behind an empty can. He finished and peered round at the warehouse. It was deathly silent.

Six bodies lay on the floor. Six guards had come in. Everyone had been eliminated.

'Come on,' 1-55 said. 'Mcmillian's gonna get away!'

O3 didn't reply.

1-55 looked beside him. O3 was lying on the ground. The front of his shirt was reddened. But his chest was still rising, he was still alive.

'Goodbye, O3,' 1-55 said. O3 tried to speak. But his mouth was full of blood. All that came out was 'umm, mmm.'

1-55 placed a teddy bear gently next to O3. As a form of compensation, of course. Then, without hesitation, he sprinted out of the warehouse, leaving O3 to his fate.


Reyes saw the chopper in the distance. 'Don't worry, sir,' he shouted over the whirring of the blades. 'You'll make it!'

Mcmillian's only response was to chuckle again. Although this was very odd indeed, Reyes had seen odder things on the battlefield, and he didn't care anyway. They ran up to the helicopter, Bravo team covering their backs.

'Okay sir,' Reyes said, watching Mcmillian get into the chopper, 'You're safe now.'

Then one of the guards fell to the ground.

'What - sniper!' yelled Bravo One sprinting to cover. Not fast enough. His head exploded and his body crumpled.

'He's here,' Mcmillian said, and then suddenly he was laughing again. 'I'm so looking forward to meeting him.'

'I'd advise you duck, sir,' Reyes replied, pushing the Colonel down. He himself drew his pistol, and surveyed the scene. Three of Bravo's men were dead. The other's were milling in confusion, trying to locate the sniper. Then another guard went down, grabbling at the wound in his chest, drowning in his own blood.

'Take off!' ordered Reyes, waving at the pilot.

'Can't. I'll need a few more seconds.' The pilot yelled, and then suddenly his head jerked back, a cloud of red formed, and he slumped down dead.

'Looks like we're in trouble, sir,' commented Reyes, ducking down as well. He switched on the radio. 'All teams, sniper targeting the helipad. Request immediate assistance.'

'Roger that. Charlie out.'

'Roger that, Gamma out.'

Reyes watched as the last Bravo man dropped dead. 'Prepare to engage, sir.'

From what he could gather, 1-55 - Mcmillian seemed to think it was him - couldn't snipe them from his position. Therefore they were safe - as long as Gamma and Charlie could arrive in time.

'Wait,' Mcmillian said. 'Tell the men to capture 1-55 alive, then bring him to me.'

'But sir - '

'Do it.'

Reyes shrugged and relayed the Colonel's orders to Gamma and Charlie. Then they waited.

Silence. A crow swooped down and began pecking out the insides of the pilot's head.

'Where's my camera?' asked Mcmillian.

Reyes ignored him and continued waiting, his hands sweaty from gripping the pistol. All was silent again.

Then suddenly the radio squawked. 'We've got him, sir,' Gamma One said.

Reyes peeked out from the chopper. Gamma Team was there all right, and they were slowly leading a old man to the helipad.

'They've got him, sir,' said Reyes. 'You can do whatever you like to him now.'

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-24 07:20:59

Part 3

'Good,' smiled Mcmillian, getting out of the chopper. He watched as the old man got nearer. His eyes stared at Mcmillian, boring into him, trying to tear him apart.

Mcmillian's grin grew wider. This was going to be interesting.

Finally, 1-55 reached the helipad, hands above his head, staring defiantly. A half dozen guns were pointed at him, and there wasn't much chance of him trying anything.

'Jonathan Doyle,' Mcmillian greeted his enemy. 'Fancy seeing you here. I'd knew you'd survive.'

'Same can't be said for you,' spat Doyle.

'You know the funny thing, Doyle?' Mcmillian said. 'It's this.' He cast his hand around the desolate landscape, with the dead bodies and the crows. 'Many fine, fit young men. All dead. For nothing.' Suddenly Mcmillian was laughing again. 'Isn't that funny, Doyle? Men getting killed for nothing? My men, your men, we're all being trapped in one gigantic joke.'

'They didn't die for nothing,' snapped Doyle. 'They died for revenge.'

'Revenge is rather pointless, isn't it?' Mcmillian moved closer. 'You know another funny thing? You. "The human soldier", they used to call you. Always thinking of your enemies, showing as much mercy as possible towards them. Even leaving teddy bears at every scene. But I guess every man has his breaking point.'

O3 was dying and he knew it. His breath came in short gasps, and his vision was fading. Without thinking, he stretched his hand out, trying to reach for something, anything that would help him.

His fingers found the teddy bear.

'What the hell?' Charlie Three muttered, bending down and reaching for the teddy bear. 'What the hell is this?'

'Not our concern, Charlie Three. Move!'

Charlie Three hesitated for a second, then picked it up. 'It's heavy!' he exclaimed. 'Something's inside.'

'Charlie Three, our orders are to - '

'Gamma's got the situation controlled,' retorted Three, turning the bear over in his hands. He made a decision, took out his knife and started to slice the stuffed toy open.

'So?' Mcmillian raised his hands. 'Are you going to contradict me? Say I'm wrong? that actually you are still "The Human Soldier"?'

'Would you mind if I have a smoke?' asked Doyle suddenly.

'Sure,' Mcmillian smiled. 'Go ahead.'

Doyle slowly reached into his jacket...and took out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.'

'Want one?'

'No thanks. I don't smoke.'

'Ah. Too bad then, you never will.'

Doyle then put the cigarette in his mouth. 'In regards to your previous question, by the way - you're absolutely right. I'm no longer human.'

Mcmillian bellowed with laughter at that one. 'Neither am I, friend,' he chuckled. 'So you finally joined the club. That's...hilarious.'

'Three - '

'Fuck you,' Three replied, and finally finished making the cut. He ripped apart the skin eagerly, and took a look at what was inside.

A yellow, square package. A blinking red light was attached and wires were sticking out. Three stared at it in mounting shock. He knew what that was.

A block of C4.

Slowly, Three turned to look beside him. There were several red barrels very, very near him. These red barrels had a picture of a flame on them.

'Fuck.' Three said.

'I guess our little chat is drawing to a close,' said Mcmillian.

'Absolutely right,' agreed Doyle, and flicked the lighter open.

Mcmillian saw what had been hidden underneath the cap, and realized Doyle wasn't holding a lighter at all.

Doyle pressed down hard on the button.

A loud boom was heard. Instinctively, every Gamma member turned their heads, to see what was going on. They saw two great pillars of orange flame, hungrily rising up, destroying everything in its path, burning everything.

They saw all this, and then Doyle moved. He grabbed the nearest guard's gun, jerked it out of his hand, drew a knife from his jacket with the other hand. He spun round in a circle, firing one-handed, slicing and slashing. Gamma members fell down, shot in the head, stabbed in the heart. The last man turned round, leveling his gun. Doyle swung the knife upwards, leaving a bloody arc behind him. A severed head landed and rolled on the floor.

He turned, and aimed the sub-machinegun at Mcmillian.

Reyes fired his pistol.

Doyle stumbled back, a hole in his shoulder. He dropped the gun.

Reyes fired again.

Doyle jerked backwards, his feet tripping over one another, as he desperately tried to remain standing. There was a gaping wound in his chest.

He raised his good hand, the one with the knife in it. He threw the knife just as Reyes fired one last time. The bullet went straight through Doyle's brain, and the human soldier fell down dead.

The knife whizzed through the air. Mcmillian ducked, and the knife hit Reyes straight in the eye.

'Sarah,' Reyes managed to get out, before falling down dead. Mcmillian slowly stood up, surveying the carnage around him. Dead bodies, with streaks of red, and also flames and smoke rising in the distance. It looked like Hell itself.

Mcmillian shrugged. 'What the fuck,' he said. He picked up Reyes's pistol. This was long overdue, anyway. He jammed the barrel into his mouth. Pulled the trigger.

He keeled over, dead. Nothing was left living on the helipad, except for a single crow that began to feed.


O3 ripped open the teddy bear. Inside was a single photograph.

He gasped. He recognized the people in the photo. How could 1-55 have gotten this? That guy must have called in every favor to track them down, just for a photo. For his old friend, O3.

O3 felt a tear trickle out of his eye. He touched the photograph. She was beautiful.

'Doyle, you bastard,' he said, suddenly breaking into a smile. Looks like 1-55 hadn't changed that much at all. He laughed, and laughed, and laughed, infected with some giddy happiness, looking at his daughter, and then laughing some more.

He was still was smiling as he died, comfortable with the knowledge there would always be humans in the world

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-25 23:59:14

Chapter 1: Meet Marcus

My name is Marcus, Marcus Homerson, black hair, green eyes, blood-type O. Before I was three years old my parents placed me in an adoption center. Three years later I was adopted by a married couple who sometimes did strange things I couldn't understand at that age. One day I had found out that the married couple were actually child molesters after seeing them both touch other "kids of theirs" in perverted places. After the secret was exposed to me I assumed they would try to perform the same acts upon me, so with not one feeling or thought besides fear in my mind, I ran as fast I could away from that area. After hours of running, I had stopped in the alleyway to take a breather. I was scared that they would be right behind me. The alley smelled of rat feces and weed. That was when I first met Tyshawn and Rodney. Tyshawn was a few inches taller than me at the time, heck he still is now, he has brown eyes and a normal hairstyle like me. He was eight back then. Rodney was shorter than me, had blue eyes and a cornrow hairstyle. He was four back then. They had told me the story of how they ended up in the same place as me. Rodney said he was being watched by a strange mysterious man, who says many anonymous things to himself (which I suspect to be a hobo). Tyshawn said that he once saw his father brutally beat and rape his mother right in front of him. He also said his dad did drugs and drinks alcohol. While talking, we grew more fond of each other and became more of a family than we did friends. They took me to where they slept and ate, which was a broken down abandoned building, but for us a safe haven. We did whatever we could to survive, search the garbage for food, beg for people to feed us, or hustle out in the streets. We started to hustle more and forgot about the other methods for finding food. After the fact, hustling became our job, been doing it for the next nine years. Our small family could never be broken up, until we broke it up ourselves...

Chapter 2: It started with a dollar...

And then it always went up to more when things came to hustling. People in the streets never knew when to stop gambling because they always wanted more money. Whether I was shuffling the cups with rocks in them, flipping and switching cards, or playing dominoes for keeps, Tyshawn would handle the money, and Rodney would do the advertising. We had to be careful though, anyone could rat us out, or be a cop. After our daily shifts were over, we decided to go check on our girlfriends (girl as a friend) who were just dismissed from school, their names were Lucy, Asha and Kristy. They knew everything about us, where we live, what we do, that's how close we were. We flirted with the girls some days and normally talked to them at others, we also play fought and treated the girls to food, mainly the diner area though, it was our usual spot.

Chapter 3: Another day of many

Today Rodney, Tyshawn and me made a high amount of five hundred dollars. We couldn't believe the end amount of money we got, so we counted our money over a good five or six more times. After continuously counting our total amount of money we headed to the girls to treat them out to the diner again. The walk there was pretty entertaining, me and everyone else was sharing comedic, horrific, saddening or enraging moments we experienced in the past. At the diner, we chilled, ate and chilled some more, eventually the itis would catch up to all of us. Then, when everything seemed perfect, a bunch of so called "bikers" came along and ruined the moment in the diner by making rude remarks about anyone they see and saying sexual leading phrases to our girlfriends. I replied back to the fourteen year old bikers, telling them to respect the ladies. Rodney tried to ignore the bikers replies back, while me and Tyshawn actually stood up against it. I seemed to have said something out of line, which angered their lead member. He told me to meet him outside of "this dump" immediately where he would be waiting for me, I knew what was going to happen...

Chapter 4: Face-off

I walked out the diner a minute after the bikers did. Lucy (who I think has a crush on me) tried to talk me out of fighting, while all my other friends encouraged me to do so. I walked to the gangs leader waiting for him or someone else to say the starting words, then suddenly their leader came charging at me as I now started doing to him. He grabbed me by the neck using his arm like wrestlers do, so I punched him on the side of ribs twice, he let go afterwards and then I punched him in the cheek bone, but the pain made him react quicker to my blow and he punched me in the gut, then in my chest. It was hard to breathe once all that air was knocked out of me, I was already crawling on the floor. After recovering a somewhat decent amount of air, I slowly got back up to find the enemy about to kick me in my face, but my reflexes kicked in and I rolled to the side to dodge a kick to the nose or mouth. I ran to the enemy no matter how exhausted I would feel near him and punched in the same area he was about to kick me, making the biker fall to the ground unconscious, and I kicked him twice just to make sure he would stay down. After the fight, me and my friends went to our homes with no problems from the other bikers. Still a little tired from the fight, Rodney, Tyshawn, and I walked the girls to their home, and then we walked to ours since it was dark outside.

Chapter 5: Look what I found!

I overslept today when I should have been working, although no one woke up, so I didn't take the blame for it. Since I was late and Tyshawn was doing the work and watching the funds, Tyshawn told me to just hold on to the money. In the end, we made a total of four-hundred and thirty three dollars. Once again happy with business, the guys and I wondered what we should do with our money, when a strong wind blew away a twenty dollar bill right out of my hands, and into the alley. Tyshawn said he would get the money and he ran into the shadows in hopes of finding the hard earned pay. A couple of minutes later, Tyshawn returned from the dark alleyway with a tiny smirk in his face, as if he had done something maniacal. I asked him if he was okay, he said he was, but his facial expression still stuck on to me. Then I asked him if he found the money, and he told me there was no sign of it.

Chapter 6: He's got a piece!

So in the evening, Rodney, Tyshawn and I took a walk in the park, and came across two thug looking guys with raggedy looking clothes on them. They pulled some switchblade knifes on us, and me and Rodney were about to run, but Tyshawn didn't look scared at all. He told the thugs they should go pick on someone as old as them. One of the thugs asked why they would do that, and then Tyshawn lifted up the left side of his shirt so all of us could see what he had on his side. The thugs, now a bit scared, quickly retreated the park. I looked at Tyshawns' side to find something I would've never expected there...a gun.

Chapter 7: Fun rhymes with gun

I asked Tyshawn why in his mind would he be carrying a gun, he answered, because it can help us out any problem. Then I told him to rethink this, but he didn't pay attention to my words, all he said was let's go. Confused, Rodney and I asked where we were going. Tyshawn cocked the pistol and slowly, but more aggressively said let's go. both me and Rodney scared followed Tyshawn to where-ever he was taking us...

Chapter 8: Boogie Nights

It was ten fifty-three at night, and still Rodney and I had no idea where Tyshawn was taking us. After a block or two more distances passed, Tyshawn stopped in front of a house that looked pretty big. Rodney asked Tyshawn what we were going to do now, Tyshawn said we would rob whoever lived in this manor. Surprised and a bit scared I yelled no at Tyshawn, but once again he didn't listen to a thing I said. The three of us walked the lowest window with Tyshawn in the lead, he told us to go through the window, but me, and Rodney refused to follow his order. Tyshawn got angry and took the gun from the side of his

Just call me Psycho for short.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-26 00:01:01

pants, and pointed it at us. Rodney got scared, and jump away from where Tyshwan pointed the gun at us, I stayed exactly where I was, and challenged Tyshawn by saying the gun didn't have any ammunition in it. He grinned evilly and asked me if I would like to find out. Worried he would shoot me, I went through the open window after Rodney, and Tyshawn went through it last. The part of the house we were in looked like a very clean and old type of room. There were many glass figures upon the shelves, family photos with frames, an old colorless television, fur like substance on the floor, and the furniture was wrapped with plastic. The house smelled like old people, which was why I suspected an elderly person to live there. Tyshawn told us to grab anything we could carry, but I didn't feel right stealing from someone, and neither did Rodney. I tried to talk Tyshawn out of making us do this, but he told me the gun would get us a lot more things than just money. After a couple minutes of whispering to each other over robbing the house or not, a door cracked open a bit, and we thought someone would find us stealing things that don't belong to us, but instead it was a cat. We had tried to persuade the cat into leaving the room, but it got angry and began hissing at us, which made us all jump up in fear. Then the lights came on, and an elderly woman saw us in her house, she had a shotgun in her hand, and aimed right at us. The three of us now scared of the elderly lady quickly ran to the window from where we came. The old lady fired rapidly at us, while trying to aim for our legs, all attempted shots were missed, and our escape was successful. We continued to run away from the house, but eventually we had to rest and catch our breath. I told Tyshawn to never force us to do anything like that again, he replied yes with a fake tone as if he didn't mean it. I looked at him, telling him I was serious, and he said the same thing with a little more serious tone. We walked home, hoping to forget all about it.

Chapter 9: run your s**t

Yet again I overslept, and was told to handle the money. Todays pay was pretty high, higher than we normally get, it was a little over a thousand dollars. With that much money in our hands, we thought about taking the girls some place a little more fancy than the diner. We did the same things we did at the diner, chilled ate and chilled again. Lucy asked me how I felt after the fight with the "biker". I told her I was one hundred percent fine, although what happened yesterday still hung over me, what if that old lady remembered what we looked like? After eating we walked the girls home again, we passed the television shop and saw the late at night news on channel six. They were talking about a teenager who robbed an indian store clerk shortly after he opened up shop which was six in the morning. The indian man said the suspect had brown eyes, a normal hairstyle, and was a little tall. Then he said he was carrying a pistol on the side of his pants at the time, the left side. After hearing what the clerk said I knew the one person who might have robbed the store...Tyshawn.

Chapter 10: One more thing...

At our safe haven, I questioned Tyshawn about a few things, all his answers were "To help out our family". Since I was not getting any other answer but that, I chose to go to bed. The next day I woke up earlier than Rodney and Tyshawn. Instead of waking up and immediately getting to work, I thought I should go take a walk around. While going anywhere in the town, I stumbled across another old abandoned house, I went inside hoping to find something to take my mind of off the things Tyshawn has been doing lately. While inside, I didn't find anything, but an empty house, it looked a lot better than where the three of us lived. I sat down in the corner of the first floor and tried to remember anything about my parents, sadly I did not. I was just about ready to go home when a familiar voice called me, it was Tyshawn. I got scared when he found me in the house, he asked me why I wasn't making money today with an aggressive tone, I replied back saying what does it matter to you. After I said that he closed his eyes, put a smirk on his face, showed me the gun again, and told me to watch my tone. Then he told me to take another walk with him, I just knew we would get in more trouble...

Chapter 11: Mom and Pop

Me and Tyshawn had been walking for what seemed to be a pretty long while, so long I couldn't feel the sole of my shoes. The area we were in looked war-torn by gangsters, drug addicts and thugs. Tyshawn stopped in front of an old apartment building, as if it was familiar to him. He told me this was where it all happened, the abuse, the rape, all of it. I followed him to the third floor where he used to live, apartment four C. He knocked on the door and found a brutally beaten and pale looking lady. Tyshawn pushed the lady out of the way and searched for something (or someone) in the house. I went inside to help the lady up, and followed Tyshawn to tell him to stop doing what he's doing.He continued to search every room though, and soon he found a sick looking man on the bed. Tyshawn took a very long pause. I saw his facial expression quickly changed from sadly surprised to angry, and filled with hate. He quickly walked up to him, I tried to stop him from reaching the man, but his strength had overcome me, and I kept being pushed out of his way. During my final attempt to stop Tyshawn he punched me in the the cheek and I fell to the ground in pain. With me out of his way, Tyshawn was going to accomplish his goal, killing a poor innocent looking man. A gun shot went off, afterword everything got silent for a few seconds. After Tyshawn left the room, I got up to look at the man who is now deceased, and is laying on the bed. Looking at the dead body made my stomach twirl, and body freeze, I felt like I was about to pass out, I then heard the lady who opened the door scream, which made me leave the other room to find out what was going on. I saw Tyshawn point the gun at the lady, and say "This is for not getting us help when we needed it". I got confused when he said that, then I looked at the women's face, it reminded me of Tyshawns' face for some reason, and then it finally made sense to me, these were his parents. After finally realizing why he wanted to come here, revenge. I quickly ran up to Tyshawn, and shoved him with enough force to make the gun fall out his hand. He yelled at me, asking me what I was doing, I asked him why in his right mind would he want to kill his relatives. He replied saying it was because of his history with them. I told him we should leave now, he thought he should stay and finish up what he was doing here, but I told Tyshawn I would stop him if he ever tried that again. Angry he couldn't have his way, he agreed with me. But before I left, I took one last look at his mother, down on her knees crying. I felt terrible that she nearly died. We both left the area quickly...

Just call me Psycho for short.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-26 00:04:12

Chapter 12: A blind man could see it coming...

After we left the apartment area, we walked the rest of the way home, I was still shocked at what I had seen. A dead body, and an victim of abuse, and rape, crying on the floor, after seeing that I didn't think I should be alive anymore. We saw Rodney in the park, feeding some birds with bread. I was still pretty angry at Tyshawn though. The three of us went home, which was my used to be called a "safe haven". At the house, I told Rodney everything that happened, or at least from my point of view. Rodney looked pretty shook up just by hearing the story, I highly doubt he could have taken all that in if he was actually there. Rodney told me he wasn't sure if we should be doing anything else with Tyshawn anymore, and honestly I agreed. Rodney thought I should tell Tyshawn this and not himself, he said he was pretty scared when Tyshawn first pulled out the gun on the thugs. I told Rodney that I would talk to Tyshawn tomorrow, before it got dark. After we talked to each-other, me and Rodney chose to go to bed, I couldn't sleep as quickly as I normally did though, I was still startled.

Chapter 13: Leave a mark over your eye...

I woke up today, and got to work with Rodney, and Tyshawn. I didn't care about how much money we raised today, I just wanted things to be like this again, to bad it wasn't for long. Today I did nothing, but figure out how I should tell Tyshawn Rodney, and I don't want to do these things anymore. It was pretty dark by the time I found a way to talk to Tyshawn without him threatening us. At the house, I finally got to talk to Tyshawn. He said he thought we were cool, I told him that we were cool, but ever since he found that gun he's been starting nothing but trouble, he may have been the oldest, but he definitely wasn't the smartest. Tyshawn said he was sorry he couldn't let us just walk out on him, and he once again showed us the gun. I told him that I was sick of him pulling that gun out to scare us, this made him angry, and he pushed me up against the wall right in front of Rodney, who ran up to Tyshawn in hopes of hitting him, but instead got hit with the gun right in his face. Angry, I had punched Tyshawn in his face, making him lose his balance, and drop the gun. He got back up, and tried to grab me, which worked, but then he threw me to the ground. He tried to kick me while I was getting back up, but I blocked his kick, although, it did hurt my arms. I punched him in his stomach while I was working my way back on my feet. Tyshawn punched me back right on the side of my jaw, which made me stumble a bit. I tried to punch him in the face again, but he moved and got me in the chest like the teenage "biker" did. The blow he dealt to me did a lot more damage to me because it still hurt from the previous fight, and Tyshawn was a lot more older, and stronger. This time while I was crying for air, Tyshawn punched me to the ground, I laid there on my back with my bruises settling in, I was completely defenseless against Tyshawn as he walked over to me, and tried to strangle me. I grabbed his hands hoping to get them off of my neck, when that didn't work, I threw four punches at him, left, right, left, right. He evaded all of them. I had no chance against Tyshawn, he was going to kill me right then and there, but then a gunshot wet off, It was Rodney.

Chapter 14: It ends with a bang!

Tyshawn fell of of me very slowly, I took in as much air as I could and got back up on my feet slowly. I saw my past friends' dead body, and I looked at Rodney to see if he was okay, he looked traumatized by what he had just did. I slowly took the the gun away from him, and talked to him about what had happened. I told Rodney we had to leave before people find us, I had to repeat what I said a couple of more times before Rodney actually listened to me. I grabbed both ran away from the scene of the crime. It was nine in the morning when Rodney, and I had made it to Lucys' house, I had to tell her everything that happened to us I had to sneak in her room through the window. After she heard the story,then she had a few questions to ask me, and she told me she was very worried about me. And then she hugged me, I blushed a little bit, and after the hugging Lucy said she had one more question for me, where would me, and Rodney go? I explained to her that there was an abandoned house I found while taking a walk, Rodney and I could stay there from now on a find another way to raise money. I told Lucy that I had to leave, Rodney was waiting for me outside, she thought the same thing. I climbed outside her house to regroup with Rodney. Rodney said he would like to take a walk in the park, I felt like doing the same.

Chapter 15: Would I do it all again?

Me and Rodney took a walk in the park, talking about the good things that happened when Tyshawn was still our brother, then I found twenty dollars on the floor. I picked up the twenty dollars, it looked very beat up as if it had been through a lot just like me. I let the dollar bill fall to the floor, and me, and Rodney continued our walk, and our lives.

The End

The name of my story is called "Family til' the end", but I forgot to title it in when I posted the first chapters.

Just call me Psycho for short.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-26 08:29:45


N.B: Ninety percent of this will be unnecessary CGI.

SCENE ONE: Bill and Jonas stand in a Tokyo subway station, walking in a counter-clockwise circle, swords drawn.

BILL: Well, I suppose this is the end of the line, Jody.

JONAS: Well, I suppose no one unintelligent enough to watch this film cared that you messed up my name.

BILL: I don't even know what my own name is, Johnathan. But that doesn't matter anymore, now does it?


JONAS: Umm... Do you want to do this outside?

BILL: No, man, I want to beat someone up in a Tokyo subway station!

JONAS: Did you consider how insanely crowded Tokyo subway stations are?

BILL: What was that?


SCENE TWO: Bill and Jonas are on the roof of a tall building, swords drawn, walking counter-clockwise again.

BILL: Well, I suppose this is the end of the line, Johan.

JONAS: Yeah, um, YEAH.

BILL: I bet you think you're pretty smart teleporting us to a roof.

JONAS: Thank you for that half-assed attempt at continuity, Bill.

BILL: What do you mean half-WHOA!

(Bill inadvertently trips over a man in a lawn chair working on his tan.)


JONAS: Why don't we just rent out a stadium or something?

SCENE THREE: Bill and Jonas are in a rented out stadium or something.

BILL: Okay, (insert new J-name here because this joke is getting old very quickly), It is finally time for us to fight. Fuck continuity at this point.

JONAS: Okay, but before we begin, I think we should write in some more characters to fight with us.

BILL: But it'll would forever to fully develop that many new characters in one scene.

JONAS: It would, but you need to remember that the goal is to make the film as confusing as possible so people think that what they're watching is smart and makes sense on some plane.

BILL: Oh okay. Bring in the new characters then.

SCENE ONE: Bill and Jonas stand in a Tokyo subway station, walking in a counter-clockwise circle, swords drawn.

BILL: Well, I suppose this is the end of the line, Jody.

JONAS: Well, I suppose no one unintelligent enough to watch this film cared that you messed up my name.

BILL: I don't even know what my own name is, Johnathan. But that doesn't matter anymore, now does it?


JONAS: Umm... Do you want to do this outside?

BILL: No, man, I want to beat someone up in a Tokyo subway station!

JONAS: Did you consider how insanely crowded Tokyo subway stations are?

BILL: What was that?


SCENE TWO: Bill and Jonas are on the roof of a tall building, swords drawn, walking counter-clockwise again.

BILL: Well, I suppose this is the end of the line, Johan.

JONAS: Yeah, um, YEAH.

BILL: I bet you think you're pretty smart teleporting us to a roof.

JONAS: Thank you for that half-assed attempt at continuity, Bill.

BILL: What do you mean half-WHOA!

(Bill inadvertently trips over a man in a lawn chair working on his tan.)


JONAS: Why don't we just rent out a stadium or something?

SCENE THREE: Bill and Jonas are in a rented out stadium or something.

BILL: Okay, (insert new J-name here because this joke is getting old very quickly), It is finally time for us to fight. Fuck continuity at this point.

JONAS: Okay, but before we begin, I think we should write in some more characters to fight with us.

BILL: But it'll would forever to fully develop that many new characters in one scene.

JONAS: It would, but you need to remember that the goal is to make the film as confusing as possible so people think that what they're watching is smart and makes sense on some plane.

BILL: Oh okay. Bring in the new characters then.

(Characters enter, probably via air drop.)

JONAS: And now we shall battle!!! (Draws his sword.)

(Random New Character 4 pulls out a machine gun and shoots Jonas in the head for the rest of the film as the credits begin scrolling over.)

BILL (to RNC7): That was a dick move, man.

RNC7: (insert set-up for sequel here.)

Cue Huge Fucking Explosion.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-27 12:54:38

I always wanted to know why my parents want to live in a city under the sea. I was born here and every single day in school they told us the surface was bad. That government and religion ruled over you. Do they not see rapture is a cult? Do they not see that Andrew Ryan is a dictator? I'm sorry I should explain everything. A few years ago a man named Andrew Ryan built a city in the middle of the ocean to get away from things he didn't like. People came to this city seeking a better life, so it was named Rapture. Now the early days of the city were great, scientists were finding out ways to make our lives better and everyone was fine. The way they made everything better sickens me, Splicing. Taking anything god gave you and turning it into something "perfect". Calling these powers plasmids. Eve powers these plasmids, you can get more eve from eve hypos. But of course it went wrong, people went insane and started killing those weaker in strength. Now Andrew Ryan watches his city and people fall down but does not care. Now my family is not a happy story. My dad and mom got killed by splicers two weeks ago. I've come to one answer, destroy the city. I will even sacrifice my humanity to bring Ryan to justice. As I stand at thier graves I calculate the distance from Ryan.
At the moment I'm a thirty minute walking distance from Andrew Ryan and the city's self destruct. As i expected there is hundreds of splicers protecting thier "king". I have a couple tricks up my sleave from the plasmids. My hands light on fire and I jump into the air. I light the first wave of splicers on fire making sure they do not reach me. I fall to the ground and reach for a hypo before the second wave comes. My hands turn into something that represents a beehive and Bees kill everyone around me. As the third wave comes my I shoot lightning bolts but I run out of eve without enough time to use my eve hypos. So I run at the splicers with my parents in my mind and bullets flying at me. I'm hit three times but I do not stop and as a miracle from god just happened lightning flows through my fingure tips once agian. Before I try to realise how I got more eve lightning bursts from my body killing that wave. I limp to the next wave but there is not another. I fall to the ground and use all my might to reach the elevator. As I ride the elevator I use a first aid kit and two eve hypos. I reach the office of Andrew Ryan with little life in me. He rambles on about men and parasites. He thinks I will die before I raise my arm to kill him but I raise my arm and freeze him. I reach the self destruct lever he has "in case the parasites take his city". I pull it with only seconds left i watch Andrew Ryan shatter into chunks of ice and then I fall to the ground. I see my parents as happy as they can be and then I hear a boom.

My collabs: asdf :: L4D :::: Need a voice actor?

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-27 17:32:09

They called him Stumpy, all but his wife that is, who called him "Hon," and his two daughters and three sons who all called him "father." He was a successful small rancher by the standards of nearby Berlin City, a small town of maybe a hundred in the Texas panhandle where everybody knew everybody, at least by sight. He awoke with the sun just peaking out over the horizon to discover he had dozed off despite himself, and mysteriously misplaced his rifle, besides. He'd lain outside the paddock beside his horse but no fire, with a blanket to keep warm.

"That makes three head in three days. I'm fed up. Sick and tired." They were careful last time, the time before that, too. This time, it was different. The herd was huddled in the far corner of the fenced-off pasture that was Stumpy's. Packed in tight, they pushed and nudged at each other near one edge, where there was a patch of musky wet blood on the grass. Stumpy could smell it almost a quarter of a mile off as he rode up; there was so much of it. They didn't just have the nerve to steal Stumpy's rifle, they went and killed his cattle on his land. Up 'til then he'd thought it was some drunks taking them and selling them for a fraction of what they were worth to some unscrupulous rancher or other across town for booze money. He had them branded, sure, but drives passed through every few days this time of year, and he hadn't thought he'd find the two head in time. They weren't worth the trouble, 'sides.

But now there was no way this was rustlers. Cattle rustlers don't kill cattle. When they do, they don't take 'em with them, dead cattle are certainly not worth the trouble. Stumpy knew if it were him, he wouldn't have took it. They didn't just take the head they got, though; they dragged it, leaving a blood trail along the ground. Stumpy followed the trail a good mile and a half across his field and through a gate that hung open. After closing the gate, he continued along the bloody drag mark through the woods to a dry riverbed, where the remains of three butchered and partially gnawed cattle rested. A puddle of blood, mixed with earth to make nasty mud, had flowed a feet feet downhill before congealing. Cracked, moist bones, some intestines, and torn hides were all that remained of the three stolen cattle lying in rough bundles that each barely approximated the form of the creature they had come from. From the way the cow's necks were shattered, it looked as if something had crushed their spines with its teeth.

Stumpy dropped off his horse and bent to pick up a leg bone. He examined it as if he didn't already know what he'd find: doglike tooth marks, only very large. There was only one type of creature that would eat the flesh and gnaw the bones of a cow. Only one type, that is, with the smarts to open Stumpy's gate.

. . .

Stumpy stumped into the wooden house, a little better than a shack he called home. "You didn't need the rifle last night did you?" Providence sat in the kitchen sharpening knives, the lot laid out across the wooden dining table.

"Nope," said Stumpy, hanging his gun belt on a hook beside the door and laying his hat on top of it.
"So the rustlers didn't come back last night?" It being late morning, the children were all out on their own, the Lord only knew where, and Stumpy didn't really care as long as they did their chores and didn't get in any trouble.

Stumpy collapsed into the chair across from Providence. "They certainly did, and they took my rifle to boot."
She was flabbergasted. "They took your rifle? How?"
"I dozed off; they just moseyed on up and grabbed it."
"They took another head, too, didn't they?"
Stumpy nodded. "I'm fed up." He stood and walked to the door. "I'm going to ride into town and make sure the sheriff takes care of this." He took his hat and gun down from the peg beside the door. "If he won't, I'll have to."
"Hon, you aren't going to do anything crazy are you?"
"Of course not."
"But why do you have to do anything?"
"Well," he thought for a moment, scratched his head, and shrugged, "we're up to our eyeballs in debt and we need every last head to cover our margins."

Stumpy threw his saddle back on his horse and headed into town. A rabbit sat in the path nibbling on a piece of something or other. When it saw Stumpy coming on his horse it turned and leapt away. Stumpy drew his gun as quick as a shot- bzzzZAP! The rabbit burst in half before it could even land the first jump, charred guts strewed in a half moon across the ground behind where the red-hot ray busted through them.

The day before, Stumpy had asked the sheriff to deal with his problem. The sheriff had said he'd look into it and advised Stumpy to keep an eye on his herd. But now Stumpy knew whodunit and if the sheriff didn't hang anybody, Stumpy would have to take matters into his own hands.
No, it wasn't wolves ate Stumpy's cattle. It was Earnhardt van Dyke or at least a member of his gang, or event the whole gang. But then, he was no longer Earnhardt van Dyke, son of a Dutch immigrant milliner before he came back from the war transformed into a wolf-man. After that folks around town took to calling him Woofman. Since then he'd been an unholy terror, scaring folks and raising hell with the wolf-men he brought back when he came home; he was drunk more often than sober and fighting more often than not. All of Woofman's front teeth were missing, which he always used to say he lost in a fight with a much larger wolf-man, though the joke around town was they'd been kicked out by a mule he was trying to molest. He had something of a lisp now, so whenever he said wolf-man it came out woofman, which is where the name came from. Collectively, all the hooligan wolf-men in town were known as the Woofman Gang, after Woofman, their leader.

Speaking of names, they didn't start calling him "Stumpy" until the draft board asked if he had any defects that would preclude him from military service and he stood up, said yes. That surprised a lot of folks around town because Stumpy was good at pretty much everything; he could run fast, he could jump high, he could dodge a kick from a mule, he could ride a bucking bronco into the ground, he was the steadiest shot for three counties in any direction. The one thing he couldn't do was walk; he had a lump of either muscle or tendon balled up in the arch of his left foot that sent pain shooting up his leg any time he tried to make pace any slower than a jog but faster than a limp. So he limped -stumped- anywhere he didn't have to run or ride. Nobody had really noticed how much that damn lump really pained ol' Stumpy before he'd stood in front of the draft board.

After that, Stumpy stumped around town all the harder out of shame, and the name stuck. He was the only young Berliner, including Earnhardt, who hadn't gotten packed off to the frozen North to blast zombies, and he took it pretty hard.

As soon as Stumpy got into town he rode up to the jail, tied up his horse and was about to knock on the door, "sheriff ain't in there," came a quiet, slow voice behind Stumpy. "He's dragging an escaped convict down to Amarillo to stuff him on a train for the US Marshall. He took both his deputies with him." Stumpy turned to find Skeet standing in the middle of the street looking at him.
Skeet was more or less the town drunk, less because he didn't imbibe any alcohol that Stumpy knew of and more because he was shiftless, often in trouble with the law, and hung over pretty much every day. Skeet was a Bloodsucker, after all, like a Mosquito, which is where he got the name Skeet, short for Skeeter. Every penny he got, he paid to whores so he could suck their blood.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-27 17:37:17

The sun didn't agree with him much. Whenever he was out in the daylight, he wore tinted glasses and a ridiculous wide-brimmed hat-one of the biggest Stumpy had ever seen- to keep the sun off his face, but he acted as if he had a constant hangover anyway. He preferred to work at night, but he had to be about during the day to maintain his habit, since all the shops and people in town were closed and abed come sundown.

"Well that's too bad," said Stumpy, "I've got important business with him." Stumpy stumped off the sheriff's porch.
"I heard. You figured out whodunit yet?"
"Yup, it was Woofman, or a member of his gang." Stumpy untied his horse from the post in front of the sheriff's and led him across the street to Arch's, the local tavern.
"What are you gonna do with the sheriff out of town?"
"I'm gonna have to put a stop to the whole mess myself."
"Why would you want to face off against the Woofman Gang?" asked Skeet. "And you not even a lawman!"

Stumpy tossed the reins around a pole in front of Arch's. "Well, I'm up to my eyeballs in debt, and I need every last head to cover my margins. Besides, I might just talk to Woofman and he'll quit." With that, Stumpy stumped into to Arch's place. Skeet stayed outside.

"Hey there, Archibald." Stumpy popped his hat off.
"Hay horses, Stumpy." Arch stood behind the counter stocking the bar with new booze. The place was empty except for Arch's nephew who swept the floor; Arch's didn't officially open for business until mid-afternoon, though folks came and went all day.

"Speaking of horses, you wouldn't mind keeping mine in your stable for a few hours, would you? I've got to run some errands and I'd like him out of my hair for a while."
"Sure." Arch sent his nephew out to get Stumpy's horse.
"You wouldn't happen to know if Woofman ever comes in here on his own, wouldja?" He plopped his hat down on the bar, "I mean without his boys."
"Woofman usually come in here half hour 'fore openin' to sit on his own and hear Blondie practice piani before her evenin' show, you know that, Stumpy," said Arch. Blondie was the bar's entertainment; she played piano for the men who congregated there. He gave Stumpy a quick once over with a wary eye. "You ain't plannin' do nothin' drastic in my place, are ya Stumpy?"
"I ain't gonna do nothing drastic, Arch" said Stumpy, "I'm just gonna put the fear of God in the som' bitch."
"Why you gonna go off and do something stupid like that in my place?"
"Woofman or a member of his gang keeps snatchin' up my cows. Seeing as I'm up to my eyeballs in debt, I need every last head to cover my margins." The church bell across town toned three o'clock, and Stumpy realized he was hungry. "Say, Arch, you wouldn't happen to have any of your famous ham sandwiches lying around would you?" Arch nodded yes and Stumpy bought two, working on one and stuffing the other, wrapped in wax paper, in his breast pocket.

Stumpy stumped out of Arch's. Skeet sat in the shade on the jail's porch, watching Stumpy as he walked down the street. He headed to Spaceman's, Berlin's general store. Spaceman was a little green man from Mars, maybe not so little, but smaller than most Berliners. He had big green eyes that filled up most of his face, and he often muttered to himself in some strange otherworldly dialect.

Spaceman smiled as Stumpy walked in, "good afternoon!" He exclaimed.
"Well, good afternoon," said Stumpy, plucking off his hat and laying it on the store counter beside the register. "I'm here to get a new rifle and some rounds."
"Oh? Your other rifle too old and out of style for you?" asked Spaceman, widening his big green eyes, which were already the size of saucers to begin with.
"No, it got stole."
"Hmm," said Spaceman, lifting a flashy gun with a silver finish off the wall and proffering it to Stumpy, "well...can I interest you in one of our newest-"
"Just give me that one," said Stumpy roughly, pointing to a slightly newer model of the battery powered Henry repeater that Woofman stole, "and two boxes of rounds."
"Mon dieu-" Spaceman muttered to himself, lifting down the rifle and rounds. "That'll be 100 dollars for the rifle and 2 dollars for the rounds."
Stumpy grimaced, "I haven't got the money now, but I can give you a twenty dollar down payment and bring the rest in a day or so. You know I'm good for it."
"I can't say that I do, at that," said Spaceman, "I hear you're out to get yourself killed."

"Well, then, how about you hold my horse and saddle as collateral?" asked Stumpy. "They're down in Arch's stable."
"I guess that would be okay," said Spaceman. Stumpy stuffed the rounds in his pocket, picked up the rifle, and plopped his hat down on his head. As he turned to leave, Spaceman asked, "Why is it you want to stick your neck out over a couple of cows, anyway?"
Stumpy turned back and said, "I'm up to my debt in eyeballs, and I need every last margin to cover my head."
Spaceman scratched his head and muttered "qua?" at that, but Stumpy had already stumped his way out the door.

The sun was beginning to set, casting lengthening shadows down the street. Stumpy stumped his way to the porch in front of the jail across from Arch's. He plunked down beside Skeet, who hadn't moved since Stumpy had gone into Spaceman's. "Woofman gone in yet?" asked Stumpy, as he pulled the sandwich wrapped in wax paper out of his pocket.

"Just before you came out." Stumpy started working on the sandwich, figuring he had a few minutes to spare.
"What is it you're fixin' to do?" asked Skeet.
Stumpy took a few bites of the sandwich. "You ever been a rancher Skeet?"
"No. I never had the money."
"I mean, you ever been a ranch hand? Wrangler?" Skeet shook his head. Stumpy continued, "Of course not. I should have known, you never did an honest day's work in your life."
"That's not true, why just yesterday I held down one of the Miller boys from across town while Doc took out his appendix."
"Well I'll bet that only lasted a few hours," said Stumpy, and Skeet shrugged, "That's not a full day's work, then. Is that the kind of thing you do to pay for a fix? Never mind, don't answer that." Stumpy took another bite of the sandwich before holding it up in front of Skeet, offering him some. Skeet shook him off.

Stumpy took another bite before continuing, "when you graze cattle the bane of your existence isn't rats or mice like a farmer, it's prairie dogs because the cows will break their legs if they step in the holes. You can't have that. You have to go out and kill all the prairie dogs so they don't ruin you."
"So the Woofman Gang is all prairie dogs?"

Stumpy chuckled, "are you taking me for serious? I'm just thinking out loud." He took another bite of the sandwich. "You know how you clean out all the 'dogs on your land?" Skeet shook his head, "what you do is you wait with a rifle until one comes out in the open and you blast it. For whatever reason, prairie dogs like to eat their own, so pretty soon another one'll pop up and try to drag the dead one down a hole and you repeat the process. Not too long after that, you got a nice little stack of dead 'dogs." Stumpy wrapped up the last of the sandwich and stuffed it back in his pocket.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-27 17:43:46

"Anyway," said Stumpy, "I enjoyed this stimulating chat, but I gotta go in there and tell Woofman to have his gang lay off my herd. Hopefully I'll see you later, Skeet." Skeet nodded and waved. Stumpy stood and stumped his way up to the door of Arch's place. Arch stood behind the bar, ready for the evening rush that came as soon as fellas started to get off work. Blondie sat practicing the piano in the corner, while Woofman sat listening alone at a round table. In dress Woofman was much the same as any other Texan; it was in his build that he differed.

He was quite tall. If his height were his only discerning feature he would still have been unusual. Unfortunately for Woofman, aside from his height, his entire body was covered in thick brown fur. His arms and legs, though, were straight like a man's and he wore regular, albeit large, boots on his feet. Perched on Woofman's shoulders was a large wolf's head in place of a man's. He hadn't a tail.
Like all wolf-men, Woofman had massive meaty paws for hands, far too large in proportion to the rest of his massive body, so guns didn't quite fit and looked like little children's toys when he held them. Because of their big hands all the wolf-men in town were real slow to the draw and tried to avoid showdowns. Stumpy knew he could outdraw Woofman, but that's not what he was there for. He was there to keep the Woofman Gang away from his herd and his family.

On this occasion, Woofman had his arm up in a sling with a blood stain the size of a fist near the elbow. Stumpy stumped to the bar and laid his rifle down in front of Arch. He ordered a shot of whiskey. He threw it back before turning to face Woofman, who was still engrossed in Blondie playing the piano. "That's a nasty scratch you got there," said Stumpy. Woofman turned toward Stumpy and his face fell. "What happened, you take a nasty fall? Or maybe you got gored?"
"What's it to ya?"
"I bet that's why you killed that steer in the pasture last night. It poked you and you got mad."
"And what if it did?" snapped Woofman.
"Right to it, then," said Stumpy. "If it did you been stealing my property. I'd be much obliged if you replace the three head you and your boys et."
"Now lets make sure you got one thing straight," said Woofman, jabbing a finger at Stumpy, "I never said me or my boys et none of your cows, but let's say we did. Rhetorical like."
"Hypothetical you mean?"
"Whichever one means I'm not sayin' I did it."
"If you paid me 200 dollars I'd be willing to forget the whole thing."
"200 bucks is a lot of money for three meals. I bet you'll be expecting your rifle back, too."
"You give me 200 sharpish, you can keep the rifle. It was getting old and now I got a new one." Stumpy pointed to his shiny new rifle resting on the bar.
"You know what?" Woofman said, studying Stumpy with a critical eye, "seeing as it's awful hard to feed my gang, you're not gonna see one cent from us because I don't think you can prove whodunit, and what's more, we were gonna move on to some other poke's herd, but now you're gonna lose a couple more head."
"Then we're gonna have us a problem," said Stumpy as he drew his pistol. Arch shouted something unintelligible and Blondie screamed. Snarling, Woofman slapped the gun out of Stumpy's hand before he could take aim and stood up. He grabbed a hold of Stumpy's collar with his good arm and brought his gaping maw down toward the rancher's throat.

His front teeth were all gone, but he still had wicked canines for tearing flesh. Stumpy reached up over Woofman's snout and pinched his lips down between his upper and lower teeth; Woofman couldn't bite Stumpy without chewing through his own face. He tried to pull out of Stumpy's grip and push him away, but Stumpy held on for dear life. Frantic, Woofman pushed with his tongue against Stumpy's hand to no avail. Struggling to escape, Woofman tripped over a chair and fell backwards, dragging Stumpy down on top of himself. For a brief moment, Woofman was pinned below Stumpy as he struggled to find purchase. Stumpy took advantage, drawing his hunting knife from his belt and plunging it into Woofman's neck. Woofman was stricken by a paroxysm of agony, letting go of Stumpy, who withdrew the knife and leapt up to avoid the torrent of blood that burst across the floor.

Stumpy stumped over to the bar, plucking a handkerchief out of his breast pocket and wiping his hands and knife as he did so. "Give me a drink, Arch," he said.
"Wha-" Arch cleared his throat, then rasped anyway, "what'll you have?"
"Whiskey'll do fine."

His hands shaking, Arch pulled out a bottle and glass, and poured a shot. Stumpy reached for it but Arch threw it back and choked it down. Then Arch pulled out another glass and filled it in front of Stumpy, before pouring himself another shot.
Stumpy watched Arch throw down the next shot before pointing at the drink sitting on the bar. "Is this one for me?" Arch froze for a moment, his glass suspended in his hand a foot off the bar; he gave Stumpy the evil eye. Stumpy took that for a yes. He drank the shot in three sips, then slapped the glass to the table.
"Go ahead and put that on my tab."
"Can't say as I ought to," said Arch.
"On account of what?" asked Stumpy.
"On account a you bein' dead by sunup!"

Stumpy looked out the door and saw Skeet sitting across the way, prim as a princess, as if Stumpy hadn't just done the stupidest thing in the history of Berlin, Texas. "Hey, Skeet, you mind giving me a hand with this?" Stumpy shouted across the road. Skeet obligingly ambled on over to Arch's place.
"What's up Stumpy?" Asked Skeet.
"Give me a hand here, willya?" Stumpy walked over to Woofman's prostrate corpse and grabbed a hold of his vest collar, "go ahead and grab the other side." Skeet grabbed a handful of Woofman opposite Stumpy, and the two of them dragged him into the street in front of Arch's. Woofman's toes left two long scuffs in the dirt, and they clunked as Skeet and Stumpy dragged him down the stairs. Stumpy dropped his half unceremoniously right there, in front of Arch's, and Skeet followed suit. "Would you do me a favor?" Stumpy asked Skeet.
"Wha d'ya want me to do?"
"Go find the rest of the Woofman Gang and tell them Woofman's been stabbed and laid out in the street."
"Sure. But uh, hey, Stumpy?"
"What is it, Skeet?"
"Them other wolf-men ain't prairie dogs; they're no kinda rodent at all."
"No," said Stumpy, straightening his hat, "I expect they're rather more like canines, but I suppose I'll just have to make do." Skeet turned to leave. "Oh and, uh..." said Stumpy.

"You can tell them it was me killed Woofman, but I'd be much obliged if you didn't say anything about any prairie dogs to Woofman's boys." Skeet could only nod and headed up the street.

Stumpy waited by Woofman's body until Skeet had disappeared from view down the road, then he stumped back into Arch's and picked his rifle up off the bar. He stumped out of Arch's place with Arch's old, misty, cataract-ridden eyes drilling a hole in the back of his head.

The sheriff lived in a room above the jail across the way, with a set of stairs in the alley next to it leading up to the door. Stumpy broke one of the windows in the door and reached through to unlock it. He walked in and searched through the windows to find the best view of Woofman. The window by the alley gave him a pretty good firing angle of the street, so he hunkered down beneath it with his back to the wall to wait. Resting below the sill, Stumpy plucked the slightly flattened corner of the sandwich out of his breast pocket and munched on it, serenaded by a distant howling that swept aside the tranquility of the Berlin summer twilight.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-29 17:07:04

Battle of Dover 1/2


Before a dogfight, everything was about the gauges. Once a dogfight started, it was restricted to three gauges, but the heart of the matter was: this was war. This was war, but for Matthias Schmeling it wasn't. It wasn't combat or heroics. It was numbers. It was about his fuel gauge, his altimeter, and his engine RPMs, not about the Spitfire VIIs he would be engaging, or the other BF-109s flying through the sky with him.

"Matthias, are you listening?" A deep voice crackled over his radio. Matthias looked up from his gauges to the immaculately clear blue sky in front of him and he wearily shook his head.

"Yes, sir."

"Then get with the rest of your wing."

"Yes sir, sorry sir." Matthias responded, dipping his wing toward the squadron leader in a sign of respect before climbing up to join the rest of his wing.

"Matthias! Finally joining us, are you?" The fighter wing's leader asked in a joking tone as Matthias' 109 climbed up to his altitude.

"Sorry, Captain, I didn't get much rest." Matthias said to the wing leader, careful not to sound tired over the radio.

"I know, we saw you running the perimeter last night. Plan on using those pedals a lot?"

"Don't we all?"

"Matthias is right, Captain. We're going to have to have to work those pedals to grab all the kills we can!"

The rest of the men cheered at this remark while Matthias' eyes slowly dropped back down to his instruments. Altitude: 6,000 Meters. Fuel: Nominal: RPMs: Nominal. Artificial Horizon: Aligned. Everything was in perfect working order, and Matthias began to relax. That is, until the jovial radio chatter became a mix of fear and anger.

"Enemies, 2 o'clock, low!"

"Protect the Heinkels!"

The rest of Matthias' wing broke off and dove toward the British fighters below. Matthias carefully spun his plane and banked off on a similar heading, his nose pointed down at the swirling fighters below. His heart raced and pounded as fast as the cylinders of his plane's engine. It was Matthias Schmeling's first sortie; pushing aside his innocence, he thumbed the safety off his trigger and rested his index finger across the yoke. Together, with his guages, he dropped into the fray.

Matthias smiled as his plane whistled through the air toward the ground. The altimeter smoothly cycled as he grew ever closer to the green mass below him. His eyes darted up from his console for a second to select a target, and his hand pulled back on the yoke while the other relaxed the throttle.

Pressure pushed down on his body as he levelled out of his dive and placed the target within the metal gun sights in front of him. Reacting immediately, the RAF pilot in front of him began a daring combination of rolls, turns, and cuts. With carefully drilled precision, Matthias followed the man, all the way up into a scissor turn.

The two planes criss-crossed as they climbed, each trying to gain a tighter turn on the other. Contrails appeared on each of their lead wings, making a swirling gray serpent in the sky. In the cockpit, Matthias furiously alternated pedals and pulled the yoke to and fro, determined to gain leverage on his opponent. His plane coughed and began to shake, and Matthias turned an eye to his altimeter. It read 9,540 meters. The maximum service height of Matthias' plane was 10,000 meters, and realizing this, he cut back on his throttle and went into a prop hang, his plane floating nearly perpendicular to the ground. The enemy Spitfire continued the scissor turn to meet back up with where Matthias should have been, but instead was met with a stream of 20 and 7.92 mm fire. Before Matthias' plane flipped over backwards on itself, he saw a wing split off and engine oil spray before catching fire. After his nose flipped over and he was once more pointing down, his engine thundered again, though he could still hear, and feel, the enemy fuselage above him exploding.

"Splash one, Captain," he reported as he descended back into the thick of the battle. Below, he saw that the dogfighting now took place within the formations of the Heinkel 111s. All this time, despite the chaos around them, the bombers floated ceaselessly towards their destination.

"Who was that?"

"Matthias, the rook!"

"Well get back into the fight, boy, we can use that luck a bit more!" The Captain yelled with pride welling in his voice. Matthias complied, though he didn't ruin their mood by telling them what had actually transpired. It wasn't luck, it was faith in the gauges, and the knowledge of his craft's capabilities. Despite what people always told him, this 'war' was a rather mechanical beast.

"Captain, one's marking my tail! I can't shake him!" One of the other men in the wing cut in, his voice shaking and struggling as he pulled high G maneuvers.

"Who can mark his six?"

"I've got it, sir." Matthias said, pushing the throttle to maximum before he noticed his already maxed-out RPMs. He slackened the power flow, since all it would do now is speed up his fuel consumption.

His dive continued back into the twisted skirmish below while his eyes jumped from fighter to fighter, trying to identify his man. When he spotted the 109 with a yellow three painted on its left wing, he immediately banked toward him and rolled into a chase behind the Spitfire on Three's tail.

With a light squeeze, Matthias' plane spat a short stream of tracers at the Spitfire, but the bullets sailed wide, their convergence distance set too high. The effect was all the same, however, and the Spitfire broke chase of Three, now more intent on dodging Matthias. The Spitfire tried to bait him into a corkscrew dive that he would would easily outmaneuver Matthias on, considering the 109's weaker engine. Matthias checked his desire to give chase and looked between the maneuvering fighter and the bombers below, torn between pursuing the kill and being on call to cover a Heinkel. Precious seconds passed as he grappled with the choice.

In the end, instead of giving chase, Matthias callibrated his convergence distance before turning his nose once again to the Heinkels. After all, no one would care how many enemies he could take down if they had no successful bombing run to go in conjunction. If anything, his inability to keep to the objective would come off as a debilitating trait to his superiors.

"Matthias, take him out!" Three pleaded through the static.

The saddest aspect of man is that at the times that when he must act like a human most is when he completely abandons his humanity. Unknown Writer, Late 22nd Century

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-29 17:08:44

Battle of Dover 2/2

"Just focus on shaking him, those Heinkels need--shit!" Just as he spoke, a Heinkel to his high right spewed fire from its engines. Through the smoke, Matthias thought he saw four dots get flicked from the fuselage before the engine on the right wing shuddered and exploded, throwing shrapnel through the air while sending the wing away from the rest of the craft. The bomber belched black smoke and nosed toward the ground in odd, erratic arcs. Matthias looked around near where the bomber used to be, but the four dots were gone, no parachutes bloomed in the open sky. One less Heinkel. That meant fifty less bombs. Trivial in the larger scope, but it angered Matthias that anything was lost at all. The roar of a Spitfire's supercharged engine pulled him back to the battlle, and a burst of its guns made his muscles tense. With a glance to his artificial horizon and altimeter he grabbed his bearings and pitched into a chase of the Spitfire that precisely peppered another of the Heinkels in their formation. The pilot twisted and dove through the tracers of the Heinkel's gunners, all the while surgically taking down the one he tailed. Matthias' 109 grunted, then screamed as he pushed the throttle to its limit and cut into the fight. A cursory burst of his 7.92s gauged his distance and he got closer, still unstatisfied. The Spitfire banked to the right to avoid the Heinkel's fire, and Matthias climbed into the air, then rolled until he was upside down and dove back toward the Heinkels. Once the two had completed their maneuvers, Matthias was right on the Spitifre's tail, guns firing.

The 7.92s shredded the vertical stabilizer on the Spitfire's tail, and a 20 mm cannon shot punched a window in the left wing. The Spitfire jerked wildly in response to the damage as Matthias fired one more burst. [Just after he pulled the trigger, what he saw made his go blank.

The RAF pilot in front of him had just bailed from his doomed craft, and his body was soon punctuated by two puffs of red spray.

When Matthias finally realized what had happened, the body was flipping through the air, toward his 109, and no amount of looking at gauges or clever maneuvering could stop what was about to happen.]

Crimson spray. A sickly crunching noise, then a lack of sound altogether. All chipped away at his composure, though the strange feeling of rising out of his seat was what pushed him over the edge. He took off his respirator and vomited on his controls, then looked up to his viewport, completely smeared with blood. He pushed on the throttle but the engine simply roared and RPMs shot up while the propeller remained inert, still sputtering and struggling to move. As he slowed down, the 109 began to buck, barely able to stay up as it coughed and stalled. Matthias looked to each of his instruments before he realized it was futile. The upheaval in his stomach returned and he stifled the feeling as he pulled his canopy back.

Shrieking winds and screaming engines suddenly replaced the silence in his cockpit. Matthias made sure his parachute was secure on his back, then jumped.

The wind tore at his flight suit and bit his eyes, forcing them closed, though in the few seconds that he was able to look around, he saw his plane still going, its front completely dyed red, and its propeller jammed on something . . . bits of a stitched leather flight suit and white flakes on a red, bleeding mass. The scene burned itself so vividly in his mind that even after his eyes clamped shut, he saw it as it was.

He continued tumbling, blind, unable to see how high he was. He simply felt and heard. He fell through the sky, inexorably closer to the Earth below, and as he did, the battle seemed to disappear. It was like all he had to do was keep falling, and it would all fade from existence.

On instinct he pulled the rip-chord on his chute and felt his chest compress against the harness, then the falling sensation subsided in part. He opened his eyes and looked around. The chaos was now a calm countryside, and so long as he didn't look up, Matthias swore the place could pass for being in the midst of a great peace.

The ground approached fast, and Matthias got ready to land. He bent his knees slightly and inhaled deeply. He hit the ground with a crunch and rolled, then tripped as his parachute began to pull him farther across the dirt. He tore off the pack and watched the nylon mass lazily glide across the grassy hills, then fell to his knees, breathing heavily.

Above him was a tapestry of white, grey, black, and blue; punctuated by brief brilliant flashes of orange. From below, it almost looked beautiful, but here, on the ground, was the truth.

Twisted, discolored wreckages pockmarked the landscape, though for every partial plane on the ground there was a gouged patch of ground with small metal pieces smattered about, the result of a nosedive. Even though he was exhausted, Matthias stood and took one unsure step, then staggered onward.

He walked to the nearest wreckage and leaned against the warm fuselage, catching his breath. With luck he could find some ammo for his service pistol, or maybe even a British Webley. Anything was better than what he had now. With a grunt he reached up and pulled the canopy back.

Vacant eyes stared at him, and Matthias stumbled back, then fell to the ground. He stayed there, flat on his back for a few minutes, breathing heavily. When he finally managed to calm himself, he got back up and looked once more into the man's eyes, then to the various other wreckages around him. Each of them was another plane, but they were also another set of distant eyes, another person.

Numbers. Numbers were the most important thing in war, the most important thing in young Matthias Schmeling's life. Numbers saved his life. Numbers saved the lives of his friends. Faith in the numbers and the gauges on which they rested allowed him to do things he never thought he could. And yet all the numbers that ran so quickly in front of his eyes made him forget something so blatantly essential that it robbed him of his senses: those were people that he used his numbers to chase, that he used his numbers to kill. It was people that he so thoughtlessly sent to the ground below, trapped in searing flames and suffocating black smoke. In all this, Matthias couldn't move, he couldn't think. All he could do was sit on the wing of the dead man's plane, bury his face in his hands, and cry. Cry as the men high above used numbers to dole out death.

The saddest aspect of man is that at the times that when he must act like a human most is when he completely abandons his humanity. Unknown Writer, Late 22nd Century

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 00:55:11

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Silence filled the dim metallic corridor with the exception of Edgar's boots on metal grating. Red emergency lights lit the industrial hallway, casting deep shadows on the walls and various pipes surrounding the walkway. The shadows and crimson lights blend on the trench coat that covered Edgar's large form as he walked at a fast but steady pace. Even in the poor lighting he could make out the end of the corridor which was steadily coming closer as he kept going.
The lighting was a result of his tussle with the facility's preliminary security measures. Not long after breaking in and dealing with some resistance he managed to find and destroy a power box, but his years as a heavy-duty hitman have taught him that shutting down the lights isn't the end of things. His target was at the other end of this hallway, and he was in a rush to get there.
"Hey Ed, everything alright there?" spoke the modestly concerned voice in his ear. It was his intel partner Maureen, whom he affectionately called "Ma" in the years they've worked together. But Edgar's disposition was far from affectionate at the moment.
"It's fine Ma. I'm nearly done here."
"Things got a little crazy there. You almost had me worried."
"Don't be; I'm still standing. Do me a favor, Ma: Keep quiet for the next ten minutes."
"Aren't you pushing it a little? You don't really need to do this you know." Edgar's next response sounded impatient.
"I said I'm nearly done, okay? Nothing's being pushed so back off. I'll call when I've taken out the target."
Edgar was in no mood for Maureen's stiff doting. The past few days were annoying enough, beginning with the job he took to find an ambassadorial assassin. Having no luck tracking the guy Edgar later learned that he was hired by a floundering foreign nationalist party trying to regain their country's foothold in the world through select killings. In unsurprising irony they wound up being minced by their own attack dog, but even without its masters the client still wanted the assassin dead. Nothing more dangerous than a killer dog off his leash Edgar thought, yet reaching the double doors that marked the end of the hallway he knew that there was more to this story than that. Punching the panel button to open the doors, Edgar was prepared to see a face he once knew long ago.
The lights were the same as those in the hallway plus one extra: Sickly green. The double doors entered onto a grated walkway that ran along the sides and mid-section of the room's walls, which were close to thirty feet in height. Machines with glass coverings lined the walls, and it was the liquids within these containers that gave off the nauseating new color. The containers, numbering in the dozens, all glowed with the same soft and silent intensity of green. What got Edgar's attention though was the pod in the corner across from where he stood, which was not only the biggest in the room but its glow was far more intense than the others.
Edgar made his way to the pod but halfway there the machine gave off a hiss of steam and began shifting around. He stops and watches the pod, waiting patiently as if knowing what would happen next. The large pod lowered and nestled onto the walkway via piston arms. Seams on the front of the pod expanded and warm green liquid streamed out and fell through the grating to the floor below. Eventually the pod had drained completely and the light within had begun to die down just as its frontal frame lifted up and over itself.
From his spot Edgar saw what he had expected to see: The man he had come to eliminate. As he remembered he was almost Edgar's height, lean and fit despite an aged look of gray hair and wrinkled skin covered by a ragged tunic and pants. Several bursts of steam went off as tubes attached to the man's back flew off, and once freed the man stepped forward and revealed the things that Edgar had not expected to see. The man's right side was a horrendous meshing of metal and flesh, his arm the most horrendous-looking as the few bits of skin appeared steam grafted to the metal works that now made up its muscles and bones. A gear protruded out of his right shoulder, and a large bionic eye took up most of his face's right side.
The man straightened up with a whir and looked at Edgar, his artificial eye lighting up an intense yellow. After a moment he gave a gentle smile.
"Hello Edgar. It's nice to see you." His voice was like that of a sage: Soft, firm and comforting.
"It's been a while, Master," Edgar replies in a typically gruff fashion. After a brief pause he added, "You lost some weight."
"Gained some is more accurate," the man amended jokingly as he lazily waved his left arm over his chest, indicating his modifications. "The desperate attempt to forcefully harness a swordsman's full prowess, but as you've undoubtedly learned such a thing is impossible." He took a moment to look over his former pupil briefly.
"You certainly look as though you've been keeping well." Edgar nodded.
"Yeah; I managed to find a job that suited me."
"I am aware. My time with the party has informed me of your occupation and your various activities. Not the line of work I had expected you to find, but everyone has their own personal calling." The master spoke gently without the faintest hint of animosity, like a father catching up with his wayward son. His voice took on a graver tone with what he said next however.
"With that said, I know precisely why you're here. Though it pains me that we would see each other again under such circumstances, I would like to think that perhaps there was little that could have been done to affect this outcome. I find such thoughts reassuring given my predicament." Master gave a stifled laugh following that last statement, to which Edgar replied,
"Uh-huh. That's a pretty weak excuse. But you're right, Master: It's tough shit. Though, sometimes the hand we're dealt is the only option we can take. No doubt you'd agree."
"Speaking of which, I have a question for you Edgar. You are a freelance assassin; you're never attached to any one group or individual via contract, making you free to quit a task at anytime. Knowing full well that you would have to eliminate me I ask: Why did you come?" Edgar's response was almost instantaneous.
"Nothing personal if that's what you're asking about. I'm here because I make a good living from this work. I get the most out of my life doing this, and you said it yourself that everyone needs to find something fulfilling to their needs and talents." A pause between the two, and then the master gives a mild sigh.
"Fair enough. Clearly you have done more with yourself these past ten years then I have with mine. If I hadn't remained a hermit, I may not have ended up like this. Who can say? But you have changed much Edgar; that is certain. No longer hesitant, your sights set unwavering on whatever you want. Gone is the wandering man who couldn't even think up a name for himself." Those last statements revealed a twinge of nostalgic reminiscing in his voice which nearly upset his steady tone.
"So you know Master, I didn't get my shit straight without the help of some friends, and even then I still wander around. That's why I do what I do. Yet you were the one who pointed me in the direction that would bring me here from the start. You could say it's a thing of serendipity, Master."

There is no Mercy, only DoDonPachi

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 00:58:36

At this the master chuckles to himself, almost sounding mournful.
"Such sentimental talk doesn't befit you Edgar. In any case, my days as your 'master' are long passed. Do not expect me to succumb swiftly because we know each other." Edgar shrugs.
"I wasn't gonna assume that anyway." The master nods, before quietly saying,
"Very well." Stretching out his disfigured right arm a "shrink" sound is made as a long thin blade shot out of his right palm and locks into place. He slowly raises and bends his arm to bring the blade up and across his chest in a preparation stance. Edgar flexes out his hands before reaching back into his trench coat and drawing out his two custom swords.
"Two now?" The master playfully inquired.
"It's how I roll." Edgar grins as he gives his swords a twirl before bringing them up into his own preparation stance.
Before they could begin their duel a warning klaxon goes off. All around the room the lights of the other pods flare up as steam began shooting from them. After a cursory glance Edgar gives a questioning look at his opponent.
"I'm afraid the final security measure has activated. With the delay I had hoped it was permanently shut down, but it seems I hoped in vain."
The seams of several pods on the walkway begin widening and letting out warm liquid which made a considerable noise.
"Try to think of them as an added challenge. Also, this means I will be unable to face you in the traditional sense. Specific factors won't allow me," the master said as the light in his bionic eye flashes into a piercing red shade, his voice sounding more artificial as well. The pods begin to raise their fronts, and from them shambled out moaning abominations that, though once human, were nothing but walking figures of oozing flesh whose only distinguishable features were large black dead eyes and glaring sharp teeth. As the undead shuffle from their pods and pass the Master toward Edgar the lone hitman sharply looked around at the growing odds then casually shrugged while maintaining his stance.
"Guess I gotta live with it."
Immediately Edgar broke his stance and slashed his sword diagonally through the closest zombie in front of him and bringing about his second sword to deal with a second and a third. The decomposition of the walking corpses was so advanced that the steel of the swords cut through them like mushy butter, yet that didn't deter the rest from encroaching mindlessly. Noting the growing crowd behind him Edgar spun with swords raised and level to decapitate two more zombies in one swift motion. Instantly he knelt and rotated bringing his swords down in a half-circle swing to cut off the legs of the zombie approaching his right side. It was then that the mechanized master made his move, dashing with enhanced speed past some stiffs to meet the kneeling Edgar.
Edgar flicked his wrists in order to raise his swords to deflect the quick strike of Master's palm blade, and in a blink Edgar hops into a standing position in time to deflect another two opposing swings. The two engage in a brief series of matched parries and strikes when a corpse lands with a sickening plop between the two along with a stream of liquid. Looking up Edgar finds that the pods on the upper wall were expelling their contents, just as Master leapt far back into the approaching crowd.
The zombie that had landed flat on its face started grabbing at Edgar's legs, and he reacts by driving a sword into its head. Quickly Edgar reaches with his free hand into his trench coat and draws one of his 9mm pistols and whips around to pick off some of the zombies behind him. As he was doing this Master leapt up onto the top of his personal pod and holding himself in place with his left hand he retracted his palm blade and stuck his right arm straight down at Edgar. Tightening his metal-meshed hand into a fist Master fires four bullet rounds from his deformed knuckles at Edgar.
Immediately picking up the noise of gunshots Edgar turned his gaze in the direction of Master only to tilt at an extreme angle to avoid the volley. Master doesn't give him time to reorient himself as his knuckles gave off more sidelong rounds at Edgar. Through fleeting ducks and the use of his one sword Edgar manages to dodge and deflect the rounds, with some of the zombies around him losing chunks of flesh to stray bullets.
During a pause in the firing Edgar aims his pistol at Master and returns fire, but Master leaps off his pod before the rounds reach him. Landing briefly on a nearby pod Master produces his palm blade again, which starts to steam and turn red with increasing heat. Another leap brings Master soaring past Edgar in a dive which lands him two yards from his rear. While crouched Master makes a quick clean cut through the grated walkway with his heated blade, then leaps back into the air with the greatest strength and ease. Going over Edgar once more and landing back on his pod Master retracts his blade and engages his gun knuckles once again, this time aiming at the grating two yards in front of Edgar. Firing once more the rounds hit and detonate on the grating with the force of three Semtex grenades, rending the metal asunder into small shrapnel. With the other part of the walkway sliced through the section of walkway falls through taking Edgar and multiple zombies with it.
There is a loud and clumsy clatter as the portion of walkway crashes onto and knocks over an industrial shelf on the floor below containing several unmarked canisters. Finding himself flat on his back on a slanted walkway Edgar quickly focuses and gets up into a sitting position. He doesn't get more time to rest though as the zombies who had fallen with him are getting up as well, now accompanied by the stiffs on the ground floor. Edgar immediately starts firing his pistol at the hoard, but after taking out several zombies the gun clicks empty. Throwing the gun aside Edgar gets back on his feet and yanks out the sword still holding the zombie head to the grating and goes back into dual-sword mode into the crowd. Getting off the walkway Edgar steadily makes his way toward the center of the room while systematically cutting down zombies left and right, as more zombies drop in from the hole made by Master.
Once at the room center there is a thump sound and Edgar looks to see Master has landed some yards away, this time holding an uzi in his left hand. Master wastes no time to raise the weapon, aim and fire a stream of bullets at Edgar. Edgar quickly squats to avoid the bullets, allowing them to tear through a few nearby zombies. As Master adjusted his aim lower while still firing Edgar makes an evasive roll by some zombies that get their legs blown off in the process. After the quick maneuver Edgar is back on his feet and tossing his left hand sword high into the air he reaches into his coat and draws out another 9mm and returns fire. Master and Edgar begin strafing each other in a circle dodging each other's fire while many zombies are blown apart and dismembered in the cross-fire.
This deadly exchange lasts a few seconds until Edgar dashes at Master while ducking and weaving through the bullet storm whereupon reaching him he gives a vicious upward slash of his sword, which is instantly met by Master's palm blade. The two cross blades for a moment until Master lands a kick to Edgar's chest, sending him sliding roughly back some yards back into the considerably reduced zombie crowd. After Edgar comes to a stop a zombie makes a lunge for him, only to be impaled by the sword that had been tossed earlier. Holstering his gun Edgar grabs the hilt of upright sword when he notices Master raising his uzi for another go. Taking an instant to strategize Edgar heaves up his sword making sure that the impaled zombie is still attached and then charges straight at Master with the burdened sword pointed right at him. Master fires without hesitation, the rapid bullets hitting the unfortunate zombie which has now become a miserable rotting meat shield.

There is no Mercy, only DoDonPachi

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 01:00:50

Edgar doesn't err from his charge, increasing his dash as his protection quickly turns to ribbons. When barely much of a spine and torso remain on the cadaver Edgar immediately plunges the sword into the ground and using it as an impromptu pole-vault lifts himself off the ground and through the air at uninterrupted speed. The hitman grips both hands on the one remaining sword and delivers a brutal aerial stab to Master's right shoulder before he could have time to react. With feet planted on the chest and arm of his opponent Edgar drives and twists the blade deep into the metal appendage breaking the protruding gear in the process and forcing Master to drop his uzi. Now in noticeable discomfort Master grabs Edgar's shirt with his left hand and yanks him down with the strength of a robotic gorilla. With Edgar at his level the wounded warrior gives him a powerful headbutt with his metal-plated face before tossing him across the room like a sack of oranges. Edgar hits and rolls along the floor pained and disoriented upon stopping close to the opposite wall. Weakly looking up through a newly formed blood stream from his head he spots something near the Master: Canisters from the knocked over shelf. With zombies slowly approaching and with no other option Edgar reaches into his coat and pulls out his pistol once more, taking aim and firing at the canisters with his remaining rounds.
After three bullets one of the canisters ruptures and from it a concussive fiery blast erupts causing other canisters to go off simultaneously. A chain reaction occurs amongst the canisters, going down a line that went along the side of the room close to the hole in the walkway which also happened to be where the remaining zombies were situated. As fire and guts and noise went up all round smoke filled the air and as abruptly as it had started the chain reaction ended, leaving nothing but trembling silence.
The smoke and dust began to settle when Edgar decides to raise himself up, dropping his spent pistol. Shaken, he stands before the quiet room and looked around. Most of the emergency light fixtures are smeared with steaming zombie blood, shading the room in a sickly gray hue. Through his blurred vision Edgar couldn't see any standing zombies, or anything noticeably mobile for that matter. Sword still in hand Edgar steps toward the middle of the room where much of the remaining smoke was gathered, stopping upon seeing a shadowy form arise within. Even as the lingering smoke dissipated Edgar already knew what it was.
"Still alive old man?"
"Very much I'm afraid." The smoke clears and Edgar was face to face with Master who looked worse for wear as he was covered in scorch marks and soot, not to mention the four-foot sword sticking out of his charred sparking metal shoulder. Despite all that, he maintained the air and look he had before the fight, along with a bionic eye of calm green instead of crimson.
"You have my sincerest appreciation. That stunt of yours has shorted out my body's connection to the security network." As he spoke he slowly reaches his left hand to his right arm, grabbing the mechanical wrist that still had a blade sticking out of the palm.
"In this state," Master grips his wrist hard and with a great pull rips much of his damaged arm from the shoulder, issuing sparks and indiscernible fluids from the socket. "I can fight the way I want."
Holding the severed limb he lowers it to the floor and places a foot over the severed end. Changing his grip from the wrist to the base of the palm blade he pulls and yanks the bare blade from the arm which falls away. Master takes a moment to test the blade by moving it around with his one hand, now dripping blood from wielding it without a hilt.
"How about it: One on one, single blade? With all the distractions gone it will make for an honest match, would you agree?" He begins walking to the center of the room. Edgar looks at him briefly before giving a grin.
"I wouldn't have it any other way." Edgar casually walks to the middle as well. Soon the two meet at four paces apart face to face.
"Just like old times, eh Edgar?" Master twirls his blade a bit as Edgar nods.
"Just like old times, Master." Edgar brings up his sword with both hands just as Master held his own in preparation. The two share a silent moment in enjoying the peace in staring one another down, and with a nudge of Master's head they duel.
Displaying considerable focus and reserve the swordsmen cross blades with rhythm and form, but shortly after the duel starts Edgar began feeling the pressure. Despite having both arms he was still disoriented from the earlier headbutt and from Master's unyielding moves the old man seemed completely unaffected by his injuries. In short time Edgar's strikes became sluggish as did his defense, resulting in clumsy deflections and him getting steadily pushed back. Master continues to advance and a finishing strike seems inevitable.
As the situation became dire Edgar's mind started drifting to his earliest memories: Cold, alone, lost and confused in a harsh valley of fog with no recollection of whom or where he was. He remembered how he first looked up upon the figure of the man who took him in, gave him shelter, companionship, and a name to be addressed by. More importantly, that very same man showed him the means to defend himself in a harsh desolate world.
One memory Edgar's mind kept lingering on at that moment was a training session where he and Master faced each other much like now, except the blades were of wood and Edgar was blindfolded. He remembered how Master used this one move where he would stop mid-strike and switch to a merciful side slash almost instantaneously. Not once had he been able to predict or even counter that move. Master had told him several times that the key when fighting an opponent of equal or greater skill was to develop a way to "read" their actions, even before such actions were taken.
Now looking at the unchanging face of his former teacher, caretaker and friend through bleary eyes Edgar felt nervous and uncertain for the first time in recent memory. All motion began to slow as anxiety starts to set in; the air became so still that Edgar could only hear the steady beating of his very own heart. However, it quickly dawns on him that the beats he was hearing weren't coming from within him but from Master. Before Edgar could begin questioning this event Master had brought his blade down in a vertical slash but mid-way down the constant heartbeat stopped. Edgar's brows rose at that instant, right when Master stops his motion and quickly brings the blade down to his side. Edgar knelt in time to avoid the devastating diagonal cut that struck only air. Taking the opportunity Edgar rose and with his sword delivers his own devastating upward slice up through Master's front. A thin shower of darkened blood sprays from the wizened warrior's body as he fell on his back to the floor, ending the duel.
For a moment Edgar remains as he is: Upright and his sword and arm raised in their finishing position. Afterwards he brings the blade down in a swish to dispel the blood that covered its edge and walks toward his fallen foe. Lying prone on the blood-stained concrete floor Master was all but broken in the physical sense; along with burns and an amputated arm there now ran a deep gash up the front of his body at an angle that missed his face. His bionic eye wavered between green and black and blood slowly flowed from his mouth, but his mouth and one living eye formed a look of content.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 01:02:39

"That's that then: You defeated my unstoppable move. You've finally surpassed me, although the way I am now shows that without saying." He laughed painfully and still held a content look even though talking had become a struggle. "I knew you could do it Edgar. Deep down, I always wondered how long it'd be until you did," Master weakly laughs some more, coughing up more blood to spatter his marred face.
"Save your breath old man," Edgar spoke comfortingly. "It was still one hell of a close finish."
"Yes, it was. Still, that reaction and the follow-up... truly masterful." Edgar looks to the side at this statement.
"No; it was chance. I just happened to see it, and then took it."
"Edgar, please listen to what I have to say." Master's voice grew softer and nearly indistinct. "There is something I never told you before; regarding the day I took you in. I think... you should know about it." Master struggles more to speak. Edgar looks back down at him with undivided attention.
"Ten years ago, when I found you on that mountainside, your skin was pale and ravaged with dirt. I could tell that you had been wondering for days in that condition just from the haggard look of your face and body. But, it wasn't long after I took you in that I was bothered by something. The night temperatures of that region were always close to zero degrees. Despite wearing nothing more than a ragged pair of pants, you were completely healthy. You weren't suffering from hypothermia; there wasn't even frostbite anywhere on your body. Somehow you withstood one of the harshest environments on the planet... with no form of protection. As though... impervious."
Edgar was stone silent to this claim, mostly because he was very well aware of that personal attribute from other separate extreme situations.
"You are special Edgar. Whether it's because of a born ability or not, there is something that makes you unique. I had taught you that men understand one another in the heat of battle; during our sessions I could tell there was something wholly unknown within you, but it was also something profound. What I'm trying to say Edgar, is that even if you never learn who you once were, you are very capable of making a life for yourself in the present. Just look at all that you have achieved without my guidance." Master smiles after saying that. During this discourse Edgar was overcome with something, though he couldn't tell if it whether it was emotion or something else. Master coughs more harshly, hacking up more blood.
"Thank you... for lending an ear to an old man's rambling. My time grows ever shorter," he coughs some more. "If it's no trouble, could you finish me off? Save me the troublesome agony of waiting for the inevitable." Edgar lowers his head for a moment, and then looks at Master.
"Sure thing." He lifts up his arm, sword in hand, and gripping the hilt with both hands holds it directly over Master's chest.
"It was... great to see you this one last time. And to know... that my death... was at your hands. And... even now... I think of you... like a son."
Edgar lifts up his sword a bit higher and pauses briefly before driving it into Master's heart. The old warrior gave one gasp of air before rolling his head onto its side, his bionic eye shutting off. Once again the room was silent, with Edgar as its sole living occupant. His friend deceased Edgar lets go of the sword and backs away a few steps before squatting on the floor. A moment passes before he reaches into his coat and withdraws a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Taking out a cigarette he puts it between his lips and bringing up his lighter he ignites the end and takes a long, slow drag.
Before he could take another drag a buzz sound emanated from his ear.
"Ed, Ed, come in Ed. Still alive?" Edgar thought he forgot something.
"Like always, Ma; good timing as always. Say could you do me a favor and maintain radio silence for five more minutes?"
"Why? Something happen?"
"No. It was just rougher this time is all." Edgar turns off his communicator and resumes doing his silent smoke. Even though his mind was mulling over the things that had just happened and the things that were spoken, he took time to enjoy the serenity that only a room full of death could create.
"Business as usual," he said before giving a long exhale of smoky breath.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 06:06:25

"You must now face those who have fallen by your hand," said the voice softly.

The smirk upon the Tyrant's face remained unchanged. He scoffed.

"One? Against thousands?" he asked, gesturing to his band of monstrous soldiers that stretched from horizon to horizon. Some laughter broke out from among them. Others remained silent, perhaps lacking the intelligence to recognize the absurdity of the situation, or perhaps merely having a far more cruel and physical sense of humour.

From his throne, placed upon a dais of ivory and gold, carried upon the backs of twelve men, the god-like Tyrant glared down at the stranger.

"For this... you have made me stop our march."

The Tyrants voice was lower now, but far more threatening. It carried an edge of death and pain. His horde has heard this voice before. It was the voice which called upon their blood to kill and pillage. Some of them licked their lips. All of them reached for their weapons.

The stranger still knelt upon the floor, dressed in sleek armour of blue and silver. They contrasted against the Tyrant's own red and black plates, forged of steel and obsidian. Rising from the kneeling position, the lone knight picked up the enormous sword, also of blue and silver, which had been laid to a side. As the wind picked up the knight's cape, the great sword was raised and pointed purposefully at the Tyrants head. In the howling that echoed through the canyon, a voice could be heard, cutting clear through:

"I may be one, but I carry the will of a thousand!"

The knight charged, the horde wailed. Axes and swords, pikes and clubs, all came at the blue and silver streak from all sides. Screams challenged the hot wind's howls as arms and heads were lopped off from their disfigured bodies. The dusty ground, dry for centuries since it last saw water as the bed of a mighty river, was now wet with crimson blood. Slowly but surely, the blue cape travelled through the savage band of monsters, leaving a trail of corpses and deep red mud.

The Tyrant, confident before, began to grow alarmed. Turning around, he signaled to his band of cowled servants. All thirty of them stepped forward, their faces deep in the shadows of their dark red hoods. Pulling back their capes, their revealed their naked bodies, scarred from blood rituals and prescribed torment. Softly they began chanting, drawing deep, bloody cuts into their arms as their sharpened nails drew vile symbols in their own flesh.

Further away, but getting closer every minute, the knight fought on, oblivious to this change in the battle plan. Already parts of the blue cape were tattered and torn. Deep dents could be seen on the once-perfect metalwork of the armour. Still the knight showed no signs of slowing.

Deep dark pools of energy were forming upon the hands of the cowled wizards. As one, they raised their right hand, each drawing his dark nucleus of power to a point at his fingertip. Their chants begin to coalesce, forming into a clear drone beneath the screams of the dying. Suddenly, they stopped.

The knight glanced up.

The mages screamed. Their screams were of pure agony, formed by the pain of a lifetime of torment inflicted upon their bodies by their own hand and the hands of allies and friends. Their wail was one that would grate upon the soul, like a baby's scream in the night as its arm is slowly pulled from its body. It was a sound enough to drive a person hopelessly into insanity.

Purple-blue darkness streaked from thirty fingers. The horde cleared a path. They knew what the darkness held.

Sensing the lull in the battle, the knight raised the great sword into the air, and then plunged it deep into the ground. Ramming a shoulder into the sword, the knight braced for impact.

The sword took on the blasts of energy, but then something unusual happened. The metal parted where the bolts hit, revealing swirling pools of nothingness beneath. The pools absorbed every blast that connected. Eventually, the screaming stopped. The wizards lowered their hands. Their eyes widened as they saw the pools flow together like beads of quicksilver. They turned to run, but they had barely gotten a few steps before the bright shaft of light hit them. It emanated from the blade, shredding the fowl sorcerers and all who stood between them and the knight to faintly glowing ashes.

Slowly the knight stood up. Everyone else hesitated. With some effort, the sword was pulled from the ground. Seeing this, some of the horde turned tail and ran.

Heaving the giant sword, the knight charged once again. Some of the horde stood their ground, more ran away. Many of them perished that day.

The Tyrant was now on the verge of panic.

"Kill him! Kill him!" he screamed, yet he watched in horror as more and more of his men went down, spilling guts and losing limbs before they were left wreathing on the ground. Slowly, however, he began to regain some confidence. He smiled as one axe left a crack in the sword. He grinned as someone tore the cape in half. He nearly cheered when a stray blow knocked the blue and silver helmet onto the ground, revealing a head crowned with long, shoulder-length hair. His glee was short-lived however, and he drew back as the knight made an inhuman leap, and the sword came crashing down, burying deep into the dais exactly where the Tyrant had stood just seconds before.

The knight raised her head.

Realization dawned upon the evil dictator. A woman, he thought.

Indeed the knight was a woman. She had shoulder-length hair of silver and gold, and in her blue eyes was a great determination. Her eyes made him uneasy, for in them he found not hate, nor a yearning for vengeance. It was something that his own sinister mind could not comprehend. It was the look of a person touched by fate.

Now, as he takes the time to study her, he finds his usual arrogance returning to him. Parts of the armour had been knocked clean off, and some parts had been cleaved and split, and beneath them were revealed deep cuts and dark bruises. She was breathing heavily, and it was clear that she had little energy left. The Tyrant, on the other hand, was a very skilled tactician and swordsman, and he was fully rested. He glanced down the side of the throne, and counted still hundreds of his men still standing.

"And what will you do now, fair knight?" he shouted.

His voice echoed through the canyon, now red with a river of blood.

"What can you do now, one against so many?"

The Tyrant gave her a lopsided smile.

The knight continued to give him a steady stare. When she finally spoke, she spoke softly: "I came bearing the souls of a thousand..."

Gripping the hilt of the sword, she pulled herself up to her feet.

"I am now inspiration to a thousand more."

It started as a whisper at first, but it slowly grew into a roar, sounding like a torrent charging down the ravine.

"Down with the Tyrant! Down with the Tyrant!" they shouted, the voices of thousands of people; they were peasants, workers, soldiers; men and women, young and old. They were people who will no longer suffer the brutality of the Tyrant. They were those who have learned to stand up for themselves. They lined the canyon on all sides, cheering the knight on, proclaiming her their savior. They were not an army. They were not fighters. They were not heroes. But they would no longer leave their fate in the hands of monsters.

Yes, they were not an army, but their will is strong, and their number many.

As the Tyrant turned around to take in the faces of the rebels, behind him came the sound of a sword being pulled from his throne of ivory and gold...

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 11:29:59

Deceptive Harmony

I needed to move, to get out of there, but if I was too sudden with my actions then I would very well be ending my life. Four sentries were closing in and I didn't have the self-confidence to take on one demon, let alone four at a time. A simple miscalculation in my step and the racket that I cause would bring these beasts bearing down on my location. I'd never outrun them and the chances of killing them was near impossible. I had to find some way to get them to bypass my location and allow me to have a chance to sneak away, but how? Their sense of smell was keen, their watchful eyes could easily pick up any small movements, their sense of hearing was so precise that I was afraid they could hear my thoughts, and their physical abilities were unworldly. They were getting close and they were moving quickly. Then there was nothing, just silence and that feeling that you get when you know somebody is sneaking up on you, but none of your five senses have picked it up. I just felt it; the end. The screech of metal scraping and cutting through the car door that had been against my back filled my ear, but only for a short period of time. Purely out of instinct, my body threw itself forward and I started to run. My right hand grasped at my right earlobe, but found no target.

"The mother fucker cut my ear off!"

There was no time for pain. In fact, I should have been dead by now, but it didn't matter; I'd be dead within seconds if I didn't turn and fight now. That feeling again: a feeling similar to electricity moving through my body like lightning about to hit nearby. My body instinctively ducked and I heard the swish of air warping above my head as bloody steel passed over, nearly taking my head along with it. It was my only chance; I needed to act right away and maybe I could still take one of the bastards with me. By the time I was about to finished the swipe of my sword, the demon had turned around and taken the blade directly in its throat. A twist and a rip and I had beheaded the foul beast.

"No time to get cocky, there are still three more and by all the goddamn noise you made there are probably more where they came from."

As if my own thoughts narrated my life the three beasts were upon me within moments. There really wasn't any running that time. I had to stay and fight. Dying wasn't an option and the only way to stay alive was to end the lives of the demons in front of me. They stood side by side, snarling, trying to wear me down with fear before they even moved in. The one in the middle motioned to the other two to stay back.

"Great, I have a better chance this way."

The creature made an expression that I could only make out as a grin as it prepared for battle. Slowly, it crept towards me, ever so confident that I had no chance. Probably I didn't. I had only killed one for the first time moments ago and that in itself was an incredible task. The beast charged me and for a moment two pieces of metal clanged together in a sound that most soldiers would hear if they were lucky enough to engage and block the first swing before their immediate death. The earth moved away from below as the blow threw me to the ground. I swung my sword on the way down as an act of desperation, but wasn't rewarded with the solid blow that I had hoped for. Instead, my sword seemed to bounce off of the hard, scaly substance that made up the demon's hide. My back hit the ground first, with my head following close behind as it cracked against the ground. With my vision blurred I struggled to my feet, awaiting my inevitable death, or so I thought.

They did nothing. I couldn't believe it. There was an open gash over the left eye of the one that had attacked me, but it showed no pain as the wound slowly closed up in seconds.

I stood there, ready to protect myself in any way that I could, just waiting. The monster threw a grin in my direction, turned around, and left with his two companions. I stood there in silence for around thirty seconds or so. After the demons had walked about twenty feet they took off on a run, letting me live. Never did they show mercy, even if it meant killing a woman or a child, but for some odd reason they had let me go. I figured it was some sort of trap or trick that they were playing on me, but it didn't matter. I needed to get the message to the resistance as fast as possible, whether it meant fighting my way through a trap or not. Standing there wasn't going to get me any further; that much was for sure.

It was probably only a mile left to the last encampment and I knew the territory well. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. Is ignorance truly bliss? I was ignorant once, and, come to think of it, life had been so good, but bliss it was not. For something to be bliss it needs to be heavenly and happy. Nothing could be blissful if it created so much destruction and that's exactly what our ignorance caused. In front of me laid the remains of men, women, children, and even a few of the demons. It looked like the entire camp had been destroyed. For all that I knew it was the last human civilization left outside the camp that I just had come from. I thought that I had made it in time and that the demons that I had just encountered were a scout team, but they must have been a small group patrolling for any survivors. From the look of the total carnage in front of me, they had done their job.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 11:31:03

"Wait, is somebody there?"

I had probably given myself away, but that sound was so human. I heard a whimper or perhaps a whisper. Approximately twenty feet to my right I saw a small section of land lifted up. Suddenly my vision blurred and for the first time I remembered about the blood running down the side of my face. After falling to my knees, a silhouette with seemingly human eyes appeared and carried me away.

"Come quickly, down into the earth before they come back and find us."

I was being carried down a crudely made tunnel with just enough light at the end of it to make our way through. Those carrying me found their way around a root that used to be attached to a tree and just around the next corner was a compartment big enough to fit fifty or so people. Women, children, and men cluttered the far corner in fear, in which I assumed was caused by the massacre up above. For a moment there was silence as the empty faces looked towards our direction. My blurred vision turned black and I drifted off into a deep sleep, one that part of me wished I wouldn't wake up from.

The sun was shining and I was walking my dog in the nearby park outside my apartment. Children were playing basketball in a nearby court, yelling at each other for a foul that someone committed. All around me the sounds of cars and other unforgotten noises bounced and echoed off of the towering buildings. I was back in a time where the only thing I had to worry about was not getting to work on time or my favorite TV series being cancelled. A time where I wish I wouldn't have taken things for granted like I had. I hear my name being called from the left and I see my wife smiling and waving. I try to run to her, but the chain gives an unnatural resistance. I turn to look at my dog, yet find nothing but rotten flesh and bones hanging from a collar.

"No.. no.. no..."

My body starts to shake, but I have time. I can still save her, I know I can. I drop the leash and I run as fast as I can towards my wife, but no matter how hard I try to run I'm barely making any ground.

"So... so close... please God let me make it."

She calls my name one more time and reaches. Just as our finger tips are about to touch the ground opens up and claws start tearing at her skin. Clawing, pulling, and killing her. Everywhere around me there's death. The children that were once yelling about a foul in their game were now having their limbs being torn apart by creatures. The demon that had just murdered my wife now stands in front of me. I want nothing more than to make him suffer. I claw at his face with my own hands just to find that he wasn't a demon at all, but instead a man. He was... he was me...

It felt like my heart had just left my chest. I sat up in a dead sweat from the nightmare. The women next to me put her hand behind my head and carefully helped me back to the ground.

"Not too fast, you've lost a lot of blood. Have some water, it's our last, but we won't be needing it... Your wound has been cleaned and bandaged."

I turned to the man that had led me down the tunnel as he seemed to be the one in command.
"Sir, I have a message from the north, but apparently I'm too. Our camp was attacked by scouts and we noticed a small group moving in this direction to your encampment."

"Yes, your message was too late, but even if we had been prepared it wouldn't have mattered. We only numbered around one hundred or so people, but now we are down to a mere thirty four. We got as many people as we could underground, but there just wasn't enough time. Ahem... what are the results from the northern battle front?"

The man was choking back his emotions. I knew the feeling that he had because it was the same feeling that we all had every second of our remaining lives. No matter how hard we tried, how hard we fought, and how hard we wanted to come out of this victorious, it didn't matter. For every demon we killed, three more would replace it. Hell, if we hadn't stood a chance when we had guns and missiles, we surely didn't have a chance fighting with crude melee weapons. If we were lucky enough we would find one of the demons' swords lying around, but these were few and far in between, showing the small amount of success that we actually had killing them.

"I don't know. We had just repelled a small group of about thirty demons. They didn't attack in full force, but we still had major causalities. I was sent out before there was a head count, but I would say we had around twice as many people left as you have here. "

"You've had a long journey. I would offer you some food, but all was lost in the battle up. We could use another hand here. Would you be willing to stay?"

I really had no reason to go back. Most of my friends had died months ago and I had no family to speak of. I tried not to get attached to people because chances were they weren't going to be alive for very long.

"Yeah, I'll stay. I have nothing to return to anyway."

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 11:32:12

A sudden crash echoed through the tunnel that I had been carried through. I had nothing to return to and by the sound I had just heard there might not be anything left there as well. Random whimpers of concern and fear filled the corridor. I stood up with the sword by my side. We had a chance in such a small area. They would have to funnel through the only tunnel and we could fight them one at a time. A claw exposed itself from the opening of the tunnel, followed the by the red, scaled skin of an arm, and a hideous face, a face that I had once seen. It was the demon I sliced open earlier, the scar covering its left eye. I should have known better, they weren't just letting me go. They had tricked me into leading them to the rest of the survivors.

"Well come on you son of a bitch, what are you waiting for? You want me to slice you open again?"

I screamed at it like I would to a wild animal, but unlike a wild animal there was no point in trying to intimidate it. They had never shown fear before and there was no reason for them to show it now. It stepped closer; one step, two steps, and surveyed the room. Just as I was ready to move in it surrendered its sword.

"The population is under control. You are the only remaining humans left on Earth. It's over."

The room was filled with confusion from each direction that seemingly collected and grew as the seconds ticked by. We never knew they could speak in the first place, but on top of that it had talked about the slaughtering as some sort of population control. I demanded to know what in the world was going on and I wasn't quite ready to set my sword down. In fact, I was almost certain it was some kind of trick where it was just toying with our emotions before it ended our lives.

"What the fuck do you mean? You talk as if you were doing us a fucking favor, but you've done nothing but destroy and kill us."
"I understand your confusion and your anger, but we were only doing our job. If the human population continued to advance at its rate then the world would have been destroyed."

Yells came from the far corner of the room where people were still clinging to, in a desperate attempt to gain as many inches between them and the beast as possible.

"How can you say that? You've destroyed everything!"

"Don't trust the beast, its evil!"

"Kill it! This is just a trick!"

I knew not to trust it, but I almost heard sincerity within its words. I needed to hear it out before any actions were taken. The beast took a seat on a nearby rock and continued.

"We only destroyed the parts of the world that we needed to. We needed the get the human population down to a specific number and we have accomplished this goal. What we have destroyed can be restored, but if we would have let you continue to ravish and take advantage of the world it would have died. Your technology was making the land unlivable. What humans forget is they are a very small portion of the bigger picture of the world. You may think I'm evil, but don't think of us as bad. I know this sounds very hard to understand, but the universe isn't as black and white as good and evil. We are merely the opposite of light. Without us light wouldn't exist and without light we wouldn't exist. It's all about a continuing balance between things in nature and in the universe itself. Humans were shifting this balance and making it lopsided. We needed take care of it in the only way that we knew how."

I continued my intimidating voice, but not in fear, but in anger and realization of what the beast was telling us.

"You could have... I don't know... tried telling us, you know!"

"We've tried that. We tried it approximately three hundred to four hundred times already. Some civilizations were by far superior than yours was and some were much more primitive, but the end result was always the same. We were tired of trying to prevent the inevitable from happening so we moved right on to solving the problem. Eliminating the human population to the point where the world could recover and give the humans a fair chance at trying again. You guys mark the thousandth time we've had to do this. Like I said before, it was nothing against you as a species. It was all about maintaining a balance."

For some reason I believed it. Before this happened the world was in very rough shape. We had ruined a large section of the oceans with pollution and oil spills, our air was severely polluted, and large sections of the forest had been cut down.

"Well, what now?" I said softly.

"That's up to you guys. Try to prevent the inevitable from happening once again by teaching everyone about us, but along with this you must teach people about the technology and the power that it can create. On the other hand you can attempt to keep the population down and stick to a strict life style where you live in harmony with the world. This would prevent you from teaching people about technology and therefore give no reason to speak about us and the events here. I warn you though. No matter what you do the inevitable will always happen."

"But... but... we can always try..." a child's voice from the corner of the room chipped in with.

The beast gave the same grin that it had given me earlier when it had let me live as it started towards the tunnel.

"I wish you humans the best."

We stood there in silence for the longest time after it had left. Eventually people started murmuring about things and discussing what had just been told to us. There were still those who thought it was some sort of trick to lure us out into a trap. I knew there was only one way to find out. Sword in hand I made my way through the tunnel that I had been carried through before, climbing and pushing the rubble out of the way leading to the opening of the tunnel. I witnessed something that I hadn't seen for years besides in my dreams. The clouds of soot had cleared and the sun was shining. All of the human bodies remained, but any sign or trace of the demon creatures couldn't be found. They had left as promised and now it was our turn to make sure they would never have to return.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 13:33:49

"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."-Mick Jagger

Sympathy for the Men P1

The coffee cup sits still on the desk, steam slowly rising out of it, releasing a bitter smell to the world. Next to the steaming cup lies a bloodied handkerchief, soaked dark red and dipping, forming a small pool on the desk. A .45 caliber Smith and Wesson, placed beside the other items, has its slide locked back, chamber empty. The man sitting behind the desk, severely injured, takes several deep heavy breaths as he begins to speak. "It's about time you got here."

The words are directed to a well dressed dark suited man sitting across from the wounded man. "It takes time, you know? Can't be every where at once. Besides, you're going to take awhile. I wasn't expecting you for quite some time, so now I got a few minutes to kill. Why don't you tell me how you became acquainted with me?"

The dying man catches his breath, and begins his tale. "It was supposed to be easy. Just another easy snatch and grab job.

"The target was this bank manager. Weird little Asian fellow. No idea why he would borrow from us and not the Yakuza or the Triads, but what the hell. It's more money for the family, and there's nothing wrong with some more cash, right?

"We got the orders from the Boss. Guy owed us 20 large, and wasn't paying it back anytime soon. Boss really needed that money for a deal that was going down with the East-Siders. Everything about the guy was given to us. His credit card numbers, his address, his car, you name it, we got it. Max and I staked out his place, while Vinny and his crew went to the bank to see if they could make a withdrawal."

The well dressed man smiles. "Ah yes, Vinny. I was surprised to see him last as long as he did. With all those dealings with the Irish and those double crossings? It must have been hard trying to keep all those alliances straight in his head. Neither the less, he's still dancing with me. Go on."

"Vinny was supposed to call us regardless of how the Asian acted. We never got the call. Both of us assumed Vinny's cell was dead. Since you are here, I guess in hindsight it was a fatal mistake."

"After killing an hour talking about whatever, Max and I decided to scope the place out. After all, no one was around, Vinny hadn't showed up yet, and we were bored. Max picked the lock and we were in."

"The place was pretty standard for a suburban house. HD TV, couch, kitchen, bedrooms, the works. We went searching for whatever cash we could find. Unfortunately, we found none. What we did find, though, was pretty interesting."

"The place had more drugs than a pothead Columbian. PCP, crack, weed, meth, heroin, enough shit to keep Keith Richards happy. The house was full of this stuff. Max and I figured we should nick the stuff, and tell the Asian the debt was settled, provided he'd hand over the drugs. We called up the Boss to make sure, and to get some guys over here. There was easily 5 mil worth of drugs, and so not to be noticed by the fuzz, we'd take the stuff out in shifts, not all at once. The stuff's worth too much to take a chance on it."

"We finally called Vinny to tell him the deal had changed. By then though Vinny wasn't answering his phone, so we figured Vinny was somehow "negotiating" the terms of agreement. It wasn't uncommon, but still a bit unnerving."

"After the stuff had been moved, we decided to check up on Vinny's meeting. We drove up to the bank, where we saw Vinny's Hummer parked. A bunch of black vans where there too, so we knew there was some trouble. They weren't ours, I can tell you that."

"Lucky for us, some of our guys had followed us, figuring we might need some backup. We tried calling Vinny again, but with no avail. Probably what should have struck us as something wrong was the lack of guards there. But then again, knowing Vinny, he might have paid them off or something. Since there were no guards, we figured it'd be best to check out the vans."

"We called the techie nerd Max knew to run the plates through the DMV database."

The bleeding man pauses while the other man pulls out a box of cigarettes from his inside pocket of his black Armani jacket. He offers the storyteller one, the label across the box reading "Warning: Goethe's Cigarettes are hazardous to your health." The storyteller refuses the offer, and the well dressed man lights his own cigarette with an engraved lighter reading the name Samael. "You know a techie that can hack the DMV? That's impressive my friend. Highly illegal, I might add, but impressive, none the less for the mob."

"What do you think? The mob's always had connection, especially with the FBI. How else do you think we've survived this entire time Samael?"

"Well, to be honest with you, I've never put that much thought into it. I just assumed it was my charming influence. And please, no need to call me Samael. No one's used that name for years."

"What should I call you then my friend?"

"Call me Lou, if you need to. But that's enough about me. Please, continue with your story."

The wounded man inhales heavily and coughs. Blood gushes out of the wound in his chest. "Do you think you could do something about this?" he asks.

Lou sighs and blows out a long drag from his cigarette. "Fine. I'll see what I can do."

One of the embers from the lit cigarette floats in air and lands on the bullet hole. The blood stops flowing. "Now will you continue your story?" Lou asks.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 13:34:55

Sympathy for the Men P2

"The plates belonged to several Triad guys. We knew then and there we were in shit. That's when we got a call from the Boss, telling us to call Vinny and get the fuck him out of there. The deal with the East-Enders got fucked up, and the shit was hitting the fan. A good part of the gang had been shot up at the deal site. It turns out this Asian guy was the cousin and of the head of the Triad in the local area. He dealt out the drugs via the bank. The Triad had teamed up with the East-Enders to run us out of town and take over our turf. The debt was so the East-Enders had a reason to gun down the Boss at the deal when it looked like we'd tried to fuck them out of their money. Just as the Boss was telling us to get the fuck of there we heard an explosion and the line went dead."

"Max looked at me and asked me what the hell was going on. There was this look of terror on his face, and I don't blame him for it. Our boss just got blown up and the entire family was compromised. I wish I could have said something at that moment. I guess though my expression said it all. He told me to get to the car, but I just stood there. He finally had to whack me to get me to move. Thank God he did, though. What happened next still shocks me."

"The vans we were checking blew up. I assume now that it was the fucking Triads, but why'd they do it, I don't know. Maybe it was some crazy Chinese ritual shit or something. Regardless, it was crazy shit. Luckily, most of us were still in one piece. One of the unlucky bastards was leaning against the van. Poor sucker never saw it coming. The rest of us, though, were shocked."

"Just as we finally got our heads together and in one place, a fucking mob of Asians burst out the front door of the bank, guns a-blazing. Sons-a-bitches had submachine guns firing full auto. A few of the guys got caught in the mass shooting without time to react. Guys I knew. Guys I had drinks with several times. Guys who did jobs with me. Their bodies got riddled with bullets and had more holes in them than the fucking cheese made over at Max's wife's deli. At that point every single part of my body screamed to fight and kill all of the slanted eye cock-sucking bastards."

"The guys who survived the initial attacked had run either for cover or their cars. Those who ran for cover pulled their pieces and were beginning to fire back, but with no avail. They too got flanked and gunned down by the seemingly endless storm of bullets firing. What was probably 5 minutes of gunfire felt like an eternity. More guys got shot up as I made my way to my car with Max, taking cover when I could. Some of the other guys who made it to their cars opened up their trunks to pull their heavy firepower weapons. Regardless, the entire thing was a fucking bloodbath. Both sides were taking heavy causalities. In a fucking parking lot, none the less! Can you believe this shit? It was fucking crazy!"

"Hold on there, big boy. You talk like that; the wound's going to reopen. And there's no way I'm going to fix it up a second time." Lou sticks his cigarette in mouth and picks up the Smith and Wesson. Lou checks the slide and releases the magazine to find it's empty. In a matter of seconds Lou's hands dismantles the pistol. "You talk a lot about the gun fight, but you haven't said anything about yourself taking part in said fight. And by the looks of the wear-and-tear of this .45, I'd say this handgun saw a lot of action today." In a flash Lou reassembles the gun and releases the slide to its natural position. "Azrail wasn't kidding when he called me. It sounds like quite the fight. Az must have had a lot of paperwork to do."

"Will you let me finish my story? Maybe then you'll have your answers."

Lou puts down the gun and leans against the wall. He checks his silver Rolex watch and while doing so reveals a tattoo reading "Memento mori". Lou takes another long drag of his cigarette. "Go on."

"Max and I decided to get the fuck out of there to head up with Boss's boss, the Big Man, to tell what the fuck was going on and how he needed to save the family. As we made a dash to the car Max caught a bullet in his thigh and went down. I ran over to him, shooting at whatever I could see that remotely looked like a bad guy. When I finally got to him he was bleeding badly so I dragged him out from the open parking lot to my car. I barely had time to bandage the wound when I started to hear sirens, so I scrambled to the driver's side and slammed on the gas."

"Those son-of-a-bitches must have had some kind of luck on their side, because I swear I was safe at that point. However, some god must have been on their side because a bullet came and got me, flat on my chest. That's what this here is." The man points to the wound. "Meanwhile, though, Max is hollering in pain, bleeding out while I'm bleeding out as well. The only difference was by the time we got to the Big Man's office, Max was long past dead."

Lou chuckles. "Yes, poor Max. Sad for him. Didn't get to talk to him that much, but don't worry, he got there."

The wounded man snorts. "You really do like your job too much, don't you?"

"What can I say? Maybe it's the pride of it. Please, do go on."

"I barely made it through the elevator up to the office. By the time I got there though the Big Man had already left, only leaving behind a note saying he heard what happened, the drugs were in the building, and the entire place was rigged to explode. Bastard couldn't even tell me to my face he was leaving me behind. I found a first aid kit, bandaged myself, and pop myself down here and then you showed up."

"Sounds like a fun day. For you, at least. Me? I have to go around all the time to people, making sure everything goes the right way." Lou puts out his cigarette, takes out his cell phone and reads the text. "Hm. Sounds like the Big Man didn't even make it out of town. East-Enders got to him over the bridge. Lucky for you."

The man coughs heavily. His wound has reopened and blood is bleeding out. "I think I'll have that cigarette now."

Lou hands over the box. The mortal man takes one and the immortal man lights it. The two men disappear. A group of Triads raid the building which explodes.

"Crudelius est quam mori semper timere mortem"

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 14:33:43

Terror struck American citizens this afternoon as what appeared to be a bright, sunny day turned to chaos when armed guerillas raided the White House...

He could hear the distant television echoes from his kitchen. Not a whisper was heard from his living room, as intent and focused eyes watched the news report. There was a slight horror in the air; a despair, almost as if they had seen the last of their days. The brutality of the terrorists was too impactful to be ignored.

...police have retrieved a video sent by the radical organization to CNN Headquarters this morning which they have refused to release --

The broadcast was interrupted by white noise and static, and shortly following, a Guy Fawkes mask. The man was wearing nothing but black. Behind him were similarly dressed soldiers, each with a gun and a mask. Some of them were of Saw, some of The Joker, some of Guy Fawkes. It was not their appearance that was intimidating, but rather what they stood for; rebellion, freedom and anarchy. The appreciation of life and the insistence of revolution.

Kacey ran from the kitchen to the TV. His family were still silent, glued to the broadcast. A deep voice spoke with steady and bone chilling words.

We are not radicals. We are warriors and wolves in a world of sheep and cowards. Beneath the whip of oppression, held by the icy shackles of tyranny and the crude torture of men, we do not shudder. Do not close your eyes as you witness the next several minutes; be brave. Honour the courage of these men.

Tonight we will die. Tonight we will die for freedom. We do not die for an insane dictator. We die so that all may know that governments can bleed; that if our voices will not be heard, our swords will be felt. That in the face of madness and insanity, some are still bold enough to speak out, to risk their lives for freedom.

We are not mad Arabians, as the government would have you believe. We refuse to call ourselves American, but it was from this unholy patch of earth that we were spawned. We ask that our names be known, and let all know of what took place here today, and the men who died. Witness the power of free men. Witness the spirit of our youth. But if nothing else, remember what we stand for.

Kacey's brother started crying. Who could blame him? His father looked terrified. His mother was shaking. There wasn't a single car on the street nor a person outdoors. The words were inspiring yet horrifying. Perhaps everyone knew what had to be done, but nothing but a handful of armed and probably amateur men behind masks could even face doing it. Forget dying, what about getting arrested and held in a cell? Tortured as a war prisoner?

Jason Lee, age 16. Cameron Ryan, age 26. Laurent Ryan, age 21. Tom Ryan, age 17. Frank Mimikos, age 32. Taylor Agnes, age 19. James Agnes, age 19. Michael Peterson, age 21. Craig Correl, age 15. Cody Correl, age 20. Chase Green, age 20. Their leader, Carry Raphael, age 19, and our trusted CNN computer hacker, Stal Banks, age 28.

Watch as every government in the world now shudders. Today we charge the doors of the White House to assassinate every politician we possibly can. We do this knowing full well our chances of survival. This is not for glory. This is for fear. I ask you to reflect. Perhaps, just perhaps, your sorrows and depression stem from your inability to act. Tonight, my friends...tonight, we are alive.

It instantly switched back to white noise. No one stood, not yet. Heads buried in hands, some silent weeps came from the corners of the apartment. A far off scream reached them. A car alarm on an empty street. Yet not a single bird in the sky.

Kacey walked to the window. How could he forget the clouds that day, dark and brooding. Angry and vengeful. Thunder cracked the silence in unison with the young boy's voice; "NO!" His family jolted and looked up at him. The sixteen year old walked to his room and closed the door with a thud. Under a normal circumstance someone might have stopped him, but this was no normal circumstance; the atmosphere was colder than a graveyard, and they had hardly realized what happened. A few more moments of sitting would settle it in, but they were of a different breed. They could choose to ignore the calling of justice.

Kacey, on the other hand...He grabbed his leather trench coat and ran down the stairs. He swung open the doors of the apartment complex and walked out into the rainy pavement. As he did, he found soldier upon soldier, breaking free of their slavery and taking to the streets. Their faces determined and unchanging, despite the freezing rain. Every step took them closer. Some held guns and some held fists, each of them ready to trigger and destroy if only given the opportunity.

A single shout set the chant, and with a fist in the air the world joined in; Tonight we are alive!

It was dark by the time they reached the White House. Taking a left turn down Executive Avenue, adjacent to Pennsylvania and into the outside park. There were thousands. A sea of people, chanting, raving, "Tonight we are alive!" Fists crashed through the air and thunder aided their screams. The police were prepared. Lined up outside the large gate surrounding the premises.

Riot police. Shields. Rubber bullets and tear gas. The fight had started long before Kacey arrived with his neighbours. The cheers fell silent as they realized what they were doing. Risking their lives for men they'd never met, for freedoms they couldn't afford. Most frightening, however, was that if they were not killed they'd surely be arrested or minimally hurt. was evasive and mysterious by this time. Some even turned and ran back to their homes. Only a handful were brave enough to join the fray.

The police were firing rubber rounds into the crowd. Some faint tear gas lingered in the air, too small in dosage to affect anyone. It must have been from earlier on. Suddenly, deafening and unnerving, Kacey heard what he could only assume was a hand grenade. He would have looked but holding onto his ears was the only thing keeping him conscious at that time.

Seconds later he could faintly make out screams, and a high pitched buzz. Looking over to the gate, Kacey saw a massive empty patch, severed by gunpowder and fire. A handful of had police were killed in the act. Amputated limbs rested on the grass and flower beds. This was not what he'd asked for. Such violence, such terror. Such animalistic ideals and ungodly appraise. Kacey was 16 and certainly no soldier. The worst he'd had was the average tiff with a kid from school. Hand grenades, guns and the unvengeful murder of policemen? That was past his grade.

Every part of him wanted to run away but he somehow couldn't. Protesters fell left and right as the impact from the bullets met their chests. The cops were no amateurs, they were placing aimed shots and knocking unconscious or rendering useless everyone they aimed for.

A round of tear gas clanked to the floor. Kacey ran past it, closer to the danger zone. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't just go home, to his terrified parents and his cowering brother.
He remembered the video. The rebels had tried to instil fear in the government. If this failed, the government would only instil fear upon the people. A limp body lay next to him, unconscious with a massive bruise on his forehead. Two standard 9 millimetre guns were in his hands and a shotgun strapped around his back. Kacey took them off and made a break for it.

Fuck death, fuck fear, this is fucking real! he thought to himself. A violent rage burst inside his heart. He could feel it rushing, beating with adrenaline. He felt addicted, almost like a drug. The hand grenade caused some disturbance and cops were trying to close in on the gap yet had been warded off by the crowds. The second Kacey switched to live ammunition the riot police would too. He was risking a lot of lives, and perhaps he should have thought things through, but now wasn't the time for that.

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 14:35:49

He'd run track in high school and was the top in his class. At least he had that much going for him. He shoved his way through the rambunctious riots and finally saw the S.W.A.T. Team who had done so well. With his pistols outstretched, two slightly off cracks settled everything to utter silence. Kacey made a break for it. The cops fell with a thud, blood laminating their shields. He heard shots come after him and he heard the screams of dispersing cowards.

It was a long run from the gate to the front door, but in the confusion and panic they'd been left unguarded. He burst through into the main reception. Thank god they taught the White House's floor plans in school; he could basically navigate blind.

He slowed his pace through the Diplomatic Reception Room. Dead bodies and blood covered the famed carpet and walls. Paintings, lavishly splattered in crimson. The adrenaline kept pumping which was all he needed to keep going. Through to the centre hall, more bodies. They were spread thin but one was enough to make it look like the aftermath of a war.

He crept his way through the building and could hardly hear a tremor. He wondered why no one had followed him, why no one had heard of the results of the skirmish between the government and the home-grown terrorists. Things started to die down and that familiar fear settled in again. Kacey thought to himself for a moment. What am I thinking? I'm in the white house with three guns, I killed a fucking cop!

There was no going back, and still, something gripped him, something moved him. He hardly noticed that his feet had been moving and he was right outside the doors to the Oval Office. They were shut. He knocked before realizing the idiocy of knocking during a stick up, but it made sense at the time. The response from inside gave him the fright of his life, so much so that he squeezed the trigger of his gun and shot through the distant window.

"Who's there?!" the voice bellowed. It was somehow familiar.

Kacey didn't know if he was speaking to some presidential bodyguard or the masked assailants from the TV. He hoped the latter but who could've guessed. He thought of what to say. He could give his identity but either way he'd be pretty screwed.

"Who is that?!" the voice came again.

Kacey looked around, analysing his options. He wished he'd watched The Bourne Series a few more times to get an idea, but he was in the deep end now.

"I'll count to five and if you still haven't said anything I'm gonna blow his head off!" Again.
Kacey panicked. "Kacey! My name is Kacey! I came to help." He assumed "blow his head off" referred to a hostage, and as far as Kacey had been taught, governments don't keep hostages. Good call. The door clicked open and a Guy Fawkes mask ushered him in.

A severed head lay on the table. Kacey couldn't stand the fact that he'd seen that face on so many occasions, backing his country.

It looked as though every other member of the terrorists had been killed. Only one remained. The one who had spoken with such grace just earlier that day.

Only then did the young boy realize the gravity of his errors, the fatality of his idiocy. He'd supported slaughter. Unlawful, unjust killing. He stammered back, his mouth open and his eyes rushing with water. The aftermath of adrenaline.

The leader ushered him in with a hand forward. "Come, you must see." He cautiously stepped over a body and kept motioning for Kacey to follow. "All my men, my brothers. They were killed in this blood brawl. We hardly expected to make it," the man paused to take a seat in the president's chair. Lifting his arms up like some insane fanatic, he finished his bone chilling sentence; "but we did. We've retaken America."

Kacey's legs shuddered as he motioned forward. His stomach was churning with vomit and nausea, the sick feeling of nerves. He couldn't bare it. The smell of blood was so pungent. He'd never experienced it before. His muscles buckled with the weight of his body. But he walked forward. He had to see. He collapsed on the chair opposite the mysterious Guy Fawkes mask. He buried his head in his hands.

"Kacey," he began, "You've come a long way and have shown bravery. For that I commend you." He looked over at the terrified sixteen year old. "But there's no going back, and for that I can never forgive you. Upon my heart rests the graves of eleven brothers. Eleven men who died so that you wouldn't have to. And having come so far, you must realize how deep your sins run. Believe me, the roots of hell could not hold the evil that has been seen this day."

Guy Fawkes stood and turned to the window. Kacey still couldn't figure out why the cops hadn't come yet, but it was the last of his worries. Prison, torture, they all seemed minute.

He continued, "Our reasons were just yet I have no shame in saying that we attained what we came for."

Kacey vomited to the side of the chair. Nothing came out other than some light spit. He could hardly feel less. He was numb and oblivious. With some effort, he rose and walked to the window. The leader grabbed him around the shoulder and removed his mask. A good looking man, sharp features. He turned him to face the desk. "Witness, Kacey," he said, pointing under the table, "the world we have crafted."

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Response to Mwc10 June: Cinematic Combat 2010-06-30 20:28:19

Iron Petrov

Pavel Stragovitch sat by himself in the near-deserted bar. His lean face was red from drinking, and tears ran down his cheeks. His head was hung in the fashion of someone who had been utterly defeated. There was a reason he was surrounded by so many empty bottles of vodka. A month ago today Pavel had put the lives of a few hundred people in danger. Now, he was spending the little bit of money he'd saved up to help him forget.
He lifted a bottle to his mouth clumsily, trying to drink. He paused for a moment with a look of confusion on his inebriated face, "More." he grunted when he realized he'd drained the fifth bottle. The bartender eyed him with contempt, but was still reaching for a sixth bottle when a sharp whistle rang through the bar.
Pavel stupidly stared off into space as the bartender looked past him. Fear flickered across his face and he gulped; turning to Pavel he whispered, "No, nothing more. But for your own sake, leave." He looked back over Pavel's shoulder and gave a few urgent nods. Pavel stayed unmoving as the bartender tossed his jacket on and made for the door.
"I'm not leaving until I've had what I paid for!" he called after the bartender as the coward stepped out into the blizzard and slammed the door behind him. So he was left sitting not quite alone and drinkless. Pavel didn't care, he deserved it. He only wished the bartender could've left him a bottle. There was always stealing one at least, he was already trash; lowering himself a little more wouldn't make a damn difference. But there were the other men in the bar, maybe they wouldn't care. Pavel turned to look at them, and found himself staring into the bearded face of the most terrifying man he'd ever seen.
"Comrade, I am thinking that you should leave." the man growled. Under normal circumstances Pavel would've obeyed without question, but he was unbelievably drunk. He couldn't see the man's scarred face, the single pale blue eye, or even the furious stare he was being given.
Still it was a surprise when Pavel's unfocused eyes stared up at the man's wrathful looking face and said, "Fuck you." The man's good eye twitched, and his companions at the table broke out in whispers and cruel laughs. They glared at each other, unmoving, for a moment; then, the man broke out in a huge smile displaying yellowed teeth. He laughed deeply as he threw a massive arm around Pavel, sweeping him off the bar stool.
"I think we may get along my friend! Come, come, have a drink; sit with us!" Sighs of both relief and disappointment came from the other men at the table as the man pulled the not-entirely-unwilling Pavel over. Pavel could barely believe his change of luck. He went from almost having his face beaten into a bloody pulp to some guest of honor with this idiot and his thugs. If they wanted to waste good liquor on him he wasn't going to argue.
The big man stopped in front of the table, Pavel didn't and would've fallen if the man hadn't been supporting him. "Comrades, I think we have found our sixth man, unless anyone has a reason we should not take him?"
A wiry man in a stained undershirt butted in, "Look at him Anatoly, this idiot is a fucking drunk. We're supposed to be professionals, he swears at you and you let want to let him in?" His voice was nasally and obnoxious, as could be predicted by looking at him. "Toss him out into the street and let us get to business."
Furious, Pavel lunged at the man. Anatoly easily held him back, a huge hand clamped around the back of his collar was all it really took. Another, much more friendly looking man, came in trying to lighten the mood, "At least when this guy gets drunk he fights like an animal instead of pissing himself and going to sleep Vlad!" Anatoly and the other men roared with laughter, Vlad leaned back in his chair with an aggravated look on his face.
"If I wanted to hear shit like this I could-"
"Ahhhh shut up Vlad!" shouted Anatoly as he laughed. The larger man released Pavel as the mood lightened. "Take a seat a seat my friend, let me introduce you." Pavel collapsed into the chair and saw that there were already a few shots of vodka set before him. Almost as if someone were expected; Pavel didn't think too much on that, he just began downing them.
Anatoly started walking around the table, "This is Mikhael," he said as he passed the tall, nervous looking man on Pavel's left. Pavel raised a glass to him, and Mikhael gave a quick nod. He didn't look like the kind of man Pavel would ever trust. Beside Mikhael sat Vlad, Anatoly slapped him on his should and said, "You must already know Mudak's name." At this the men laughed heartily again, Pavel with them. Even Vlad's pale, haughty face had a slight smile cross it for a moment. Anatoly continued, "Boris." The fat man was drinking as well, his thin goatee soaked with alcohol. He gave Pavel an approving smile as they both downed their last shots. "And last," grunted Anatoly as he sat down beside Boris, "Yuri."
Yuri was the man who'd lessened the tensions earlier; he might've been considered handsome if he didn't look more like a psychopath. His blonde hair was shaved close down to his head in a military style. His face was peppered with pocket marks and small scars, he had dark rings under eyes that had that were the same cold blue as Anatoly's single one.
As Anatoly finished introductions the men turned to look at Pavel. He glanced down at his glass, and seeing it empty decided to talk. "My name is Pavel Stragovitch." He stated plainly.
"But what did you do?" asked Vlad as if Pavel should've already known. He was really starting to hate that weasely little man.
"What about what I've done? That's nothing you should've ever heard about." Pavel responded defensively. His drunken eyes darted around the table, expecting the men to accuse him, or attack him. Instead he got looks of understanding and sadness.
"He's our man." Whispered Yuri just loud enough so that they could all hear.
Anatoly nodded in agreement, then turned from Yuri to face Pavel from across the table. A slight shock ran through Pavel as he realized Anatoly was missing his left arm as well as his eye. "Pavel," he said, simply testing the name out, "You've done some terrible things haven't you Pavel?" He chuckled morbidly, and was the only one to do so. "We all have you know; Vlad, Vlad fucking killed his own family."
"They had it coming."" Vlad tried to say blankly; sadness could still be heard in his voice.
"Yuri blew up a school during the war." Pavel saw Yuri staring down at his hands on the table. Pavel had felt that guilt and shame before. Anatoly kept going, "Boris-"
"No, please," Boris interrupted in his deep, croaky voice, "I'd rather nobody else knew."
Anatoly respected his request and stopped there. Mikhael didn't seem to care that he didn't get a moment in the spotlight. "A man doesn't sit alone, drinking his life away for no reason. Does it gnaw away at your insides? Do you wish you were dead so that you don't have to live with the shame?" Pavel opened his mouth to speak, but Anatoly shook his head and continued. "Don't answer that, I know you do. We're all here because we want the same thing my friend, a chance at redemption."