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Over the past month or so, your life has gotten pretty damn hectic.

It all started when a girl named 0phelia marched into your arcade like she owned the place, and proceeded to upend your entire life out of spite. Since then, you’ve been through plenty of trials – salty gamers wrecking your store, having your face thrust back into the limelight of a world that you were content to have left behind, and agreeing to support your former teammate from that world in making bank at your first tournament debut in five years.

There are a lot of things that you’ve had to come to terms with as a result of this. Overcoming guilt for your past fuckups, the anxiety caused by knowing that anyone you’ve set off in the past could waltz right through your door, or even the fact that you’ve been tossed in the deep end without your best friend at your side.

It just really hasn’t been a good chain of events for you, Wolfgang O’Neal.

The process of getting registered at the tournament building was easy enough. Orion drove the two of you to the arena several hours before you actually needed to be there, and it turned out to be all the better for it. There were several papers you had to sign – namely updating shit that you haven’t touched in several years, as well as the not-so-gentle reminder that cheating is banned in the tournament. That’s one noose around your neck that you doubt you’ll be able to escape, unfortunately.

What followed was the most grueling thing of all, however – taking pictures.

The photographer, like all of them you’ve met, was pushy as all hell. You must have been a lot better at dealing with them in your youth, because ten minutes into the shoot you wanted to walk out of the room outright when they told you to “stop scowling”. It ended with some pictures of you and Orion standing together with neutral faces, and as far as you’re concerned, that’s all that they deserved to get.

With all of that out of the way, however, you finally found yourself with a brief moment of respite once you stepped out of the locker room and into the bathroom a few halls over. You look at yourself in the mirror, and wince at the deep bags underneath your green eyes. Your black hair is pulled into a messy ponytail, and you honestly look like you’d rather be anywhere but here.

Maybe there’s truth to that. Your shaking hands agree.

What would you like to do, Wolfgang?

>Slink over to the bathroom door and peek outside – you’ve been trying to remain undetected from the masses all morning.
>Go into a stall and call someone while you have the time to – some reassuring words or advice might be good for you.
>Try and mentally recall the various competitors that you briefly saw as you made your way into the back in a slight panic. [This will require a ROLL.]
>Write-in.

Thread Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Gun%20x%20Glory
Thread Discord: https://discord.gg/bfBa2uX
Thread OP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DYzYD2-23g
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>>4915249
>Try and mentally recall the various competitors that you briefly saw as you made your way into the back in a slight panic. [This will require a ROLL.]
>>
>>4915249
>Slink over to the bathroom door and peek outside – you’ve been trying to remain undetected from the masses all morning.
Whoooooo yeahhhhh baby yay. We're back
>>
>Try and mentally recall the various competitors that you briefly saw as you made your way into the back in a slight panic. [This will require a ROLL.]
GAMERS RISE UP
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>>4915249
>Try and mentally recall the various competitors that you briefly saw as you made your way into the back in a slight panic. [This will require a ROLL.]

obligatory fuck the captcha
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>>4915249
Damn, you're still running this? Good on ya, mate.

>Write-in.
Take an unpleasant shit.
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>>4915250
>>4915260
>>4915261
Roll to see past the imminent dread. For those who are new, please give me a 1d20 - best of the first three rolls goes through.

>>4915261
Seriously fuck the captcha, it's so ass.

>>4915263
Took a long break so I could finish college and work on some personal matters, but I am indeed still running!
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>4915271
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>4915271
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>4915271
NAT 1 BAYBEEE
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>>4915288
For what it's worth, this goes through! Writing now.
>>
Oh shit, missed the first vote. I'll be here for the next one tho. Nice to have you back Cirno.
>>
>>4915289

You try and rack your brains as much as physically possible, resting your forearms against the sink and closing your eyes in order to block out the world. There were some displays in the front that were just being turned on that had some flashing graphics or some shit – stuff that you entirely disregarded only moments after entering, unfortunately.

To be fair to yourself, it’s not like you…well, purposefully threw out the information. It was there at one point, but the constantly looming fear of anyone not part of the event seeing you and ripping you a new one kind of overshadowed that information. You clearly remember Orion clicking his tongue as he signed the both of you up, on behalf of your eyes being firmly locked to the dark tile floor, and then his feet when you both made your way to sign the paperwork.

Honestly, you had thought you were going to grab this tournament by the horns, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you even begin. You recall the incident last night outside of Dahlia’s shop in Warscape, and how she specifically told you that she’d hate it if you did such a thing.

Well, too bad for her – it’s been a while since you’ve been in this particular rodeo.

You open your eyes and let out a deep sigh, moving off of the counter and glancing down at your wrists. One has a metallic band across it – eerily similar to the anti-cheat device – but instead of ensuring that no fuckery occurs, it’s simply an identifier for you and Orion. A small screen adorns it, displaying your username and team name.

>TEAM #2: GENESYS
>n0v4_c4es4r

It didn’t make you feel great to use your old team’s name, but Orion insisted that it’d come off good for the two of you – and apparently it worked. It doesn’t change the guilt festering inside your head, though.

You shake your head and bite back the bitter feeling rising in your throat, instead striding over to the door with focused eyes. Sure, your hands are shaking, and you feel like your heart is gonna drop through your body, but you’ve made a commitment, damnit. You can get Orion his money, see what that grand prize is about, and then go back to the arcade!

Raising your arm, you step forward and open the door.

“OH SH- THERE HE IS!”

Oh, god, no.

A barrage of flashing lights invade your senses, causing you to raise up in an attempt to block it all out. This, however, is enough for the clacking of footsteps to rush closer to you.

“Mr. Nova! Why have you chosen to come out of retirement?”

“Are there any thoughts about the reaction to your comeback?”

“Is registering under the Genesys name a sign of things to come for you!?”

You have experienced a few probes by reporters at the arcade, but it was usually one person just looking for a quick piece – not a concentrated effort like this.

>Patiently answer the questions while making your way back to the locker room.
>Push through them and stonewall their efforts.
>Turn around and run the fuck away.
>Write-in.
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>>4915323
>Push through them and stonewall their efforts.

Don't need more stress on top of pre-game jitters, but also don't need to sperg out and bolt.
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>>4915323
>Push through them and stonewall their efforts.
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>>4915323
>Push through them and stonewall their efforts.
No need in listening to the press, and even less in answering them. They'll fabricate their own stories anyways.
Bite down on the panic and bravely push through!
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>>4915323
Push through them and stonewall their efforts.
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>>4915323
>Patiently answer the questions while making your way back to the locker room.
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>>4915331
>>4915346
>>4915356
>>4915362
You know how the press work, and you won't feed them. Writing now!
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>>4915377
You briefly entertain talking to the group, but you quickly realize that they’re likely to distort anything that you try and put across to them. Even on the off-chance that they are legit reporters who aren’t like that, you’d rather not take the chance and end up with even more heat on your back.

So, what’s your solution? Walking right the fuck through them!

Without heeding any of their words, you simply begin to walk directly towards them. They raise their microphones when you get close, but immediately begin scuttling back when you don’t stop to talk into them.

“P-Please, Mr. Nova! The world wants to know!”

You could give less of a shit about what the world thinks of you because of not answering the press – they’ve already drawn their conclusions, anyway.

They continue to chase you as you make your way down the hallway, and you ignore them entirely. Even taking them out of the equation, you notice that the backstage corridors are much more populated than when you originally came out for a piss. There are more members of the press who have flagged down some teams for interviews, and most of which seem happy to oblige. You get a few glances, some grins, and a fair few scowls as you pass them.

“Enjoy it while you can, dickhead. You’ll be the first out.”

A burly man calls to you in a snide tone of voice, not so subtly flexing his tanned muscles as you pass. You keep your head down and suppress the urge to flip him off, idly noting that he has a black shirt with the words Ballistic Designs stretched across the chest.

You could swear that you remember that name, but there’s no time for that now. You finally reach the locker room – again, it says GENESYS – and practically fling yourself inside, immediately shutting and bolting the door behind you.

“Didn’t take ‘em long.” A neutral voice comments from across the room, causing you to look up with a wince.

Orion Jasper, otherwise known as Orange, is currently splayed out across a couch seemingly without a care in the world. His bright orange hair is obscuring his permanently scowling eyes, but you have a damn good feeling that they are intently focused on you.

The room is strangely empty, with only the two of you in it. A few scant pieces of furniture, a television, and a whole lot of dread.

“W-Well, it’s not like it can be helped.” You shrug your shoulders and walk over to him. “The press does what they want, after all.”

“I remember when you used to eat that shit up. It’s comical.” He brushes his bangs out of his eyes, causing you to feel a flash of fear – seriously, this poser needs to work on his facial expressions.

>”That was a long time ago, Orion. I grew up.”
>”Have our places in the bracket been decided?”
>Ignore him, and go to turn on the television.
>Write-in.
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>>4915411
>>”That was a long time ago, Orion. I grew up.”
well more like broke down but you get the idea
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>>4915411
>”That was a long time ago, Orion. I grew up.”
>Write-in.
Die inside. Just, cry from embarrassment over having to remember the past.

Reminder that Ballistic Designs is a team mentioned by Dahlia's shopkeep (probably as problematic customers) and Cinder, during asking for info, described as tourny regulars:
>"...a group that have modified their avatar with armor that makes them look like robots, which are called Ballistic Designs.”
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>>4915411
>>”That was a long time ago, Orion. I grew up.”
>>
>>4915437
>>4915439
>>4915440
It's been a whiiiile. Writing now!
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>>4915411
>"Years have passed, situations changed. How does the bracket look?"
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>>4915411
>Ignore him, and go to turn on the television.
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>>4915449

“That was a long time ago, Orion. I grew up.” You say simply, cringing when you look back on it. There was a time where you were quite the camera hog – practically disrupting shoots in order to get the best picture you could. Buster liked to enable that behavior, often trying to one-up you in the moment – even if you miss the camaraderie, you really don’t miss how you used to act.

“Oh, did you?” Orion says, raising himself up so his back is against the arm of the couch. “From where I’m sitting, it seems like a step forward with your attitude, but two steps back with the rest of the shit.”

Your fists clench against your will as your heart stutters, but you do your best to stare back at him, not quite meeting his eyes.

“Listen, at least I—”

He cracks a snide grin at your indignation, likely because you took the bait.

“Was just a joke, you gotta take a chill pill.” He waves a hand as if brushing his comment off, causing the zippers on his jacket to ping off of the metal. “I know you’re helpin’ me out, and you could have told me to fuck off.”

You sincerely wonder if it’s too late to just walk out of the building.

“But, for real, it’s almost funny to see how much you’ve changed. You from five years ago would have been all over the press, singing our praises and how you’d crush the competition under your feet. I almost wish we had that enthusiasm now.”

You cringe even harder, the singularity of past regret threatening to tear you apart. God, you really were like that.

“M-Moving on, have the brackets been announced yet?” You cough and avert your eyes towards the powered down television, thankful for the reprieve from his unrelenting gaze.

“Nope, although I got a text saying that they would be soon. It’s up to us if we actually wanna look, though – could be fun to go in with a surprise?”

You give him a flat look.

“I’m only yanking your chain, Wolf, Jesus. Trying to bring some laughter to your negative nancy ass.”

That’s the pot calling the kettle black, as far as you’re concerned.

>Tell him that you saw a Ballistic Designs member in the hallway – communication is key, even if he’s annoying.
>Ask if he can chill the hell out - it's not going to make the tournament any easier by acting like a crabass.
>Check your phone to see if anything leaked online, or if anyone’s trying to contact you.
>Sit in abject silence until the bracket is announced, because fuck trying to build rapport, you guess.
>Write-in.
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>>4915483
Missed two votes already cause I'm at work lol

>Tell him that you saw a Ballistic Designs member in the hallway – communication is key, even if he’s annoying.
Lead by example and all that
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>>4915483
>Tell him that you saw a Ballistic Designs member in the hallway – communication is key, even if he’s annoying.
>Check your phone to see if anything leaked online, or if anyone’s trying to contact you.

While grating, he's just trying to lighten the mood, in his own way. Progress?
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>>4915483
>>Tell him that you saw a Ballistic Designs member in the hallway – communication is key, even if he’s annoying.
>>
>>4915483
>Check your phone to see if anything leaked online, or if anyone’s trying to contact you.
>>
>>4915491
>>4915496
>>4915500
>>4915501
I think we can safely bundle all of these together. Communication is key! Writing now.
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>>4915518

You shake your head and attempt to let Orion’s words roll off your shoulders, instead focusing on who you saw in the hallway. If memory serves you correctly, you didn’t see a partner with him – he had brown hair, tanned skin, and a burly stature. You remember that Mach, Dahlia’s cashier, implied that they had been causing issues at Dahlia’s shop.

Another problematic group. At least they aren’t directed solely at you.

“By the way, do you remember the name Ballistic Designs from last night?”

You sit across from Orion as he uses a remote to turn on the flatscreen. It seems to be connected to a stage inside the building, where a group of panelists eagerly discuss the tournament. You tune them out immediately.

“Yeah. Somethin’ about them being assholes who come to this tournament often, so what else is new, right?”

That does get a snort out of you.

“I saw one of their members in the hallway. They tried to give me a hard time, but I stone-walled them. I remember being told that they mod their avatars to look like robots.” You recount all the information that you can, causing Orion to nod as he shifts to match your posture, albeit with a more relaxed air.

“Hmm, must mean that they have some armor to match that. With how far shit’s come, it wouldn’t surprise me. Might mean that we need to pack an extra punch, if we end up fighting them.”

“Well, I do have that caustic grenade…” You add, immediately flinching when Orion claps his hands together.

“Good shit, Wolf, I didn’t even think of that. We could melt right through the fuckers!”

Although you’re not used to the sudden enthusiasm, it’s a lot more welcome than how the air had been previously. You watch as Orion cups his chin and seems to drift off into his own little world, giving you the time to draw out your smartphone. You immediately notice that you have an unread text from Cinder, and a missed call from Fletcher.

The one time you leave your phone on silent, you swear to god. You know it was probably for the best, though – those photographers might have ended up breaking your phone if it rang during the shoot.

“Looks like they’re about to get shit started.” Orion hops up and begins pacing, nervously tapping his fingers against his pocket.

You’re glad to know you’re not the only one with the jitters.

>Check Cinder’s text – you aren’t the type of person to leave many people on read.
>Call Fletcher back – you hadn’t expected him to get ahold of you.
>Quickly research the tournament online and try to squeeze out any information you can find.
>Write-in.
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>>4915545
>Check Cinder’s text – you aren’t the type of person to leave many people on read.
>Call Fletcher back – you hadn’t expected him to get ahold of you.
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>>4915545
>Check Cinder’s text – you aren’t the type of person to leave many people on read.
>>
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>>4915411
>“Enjoy it while you can, dickhead. You’ll be the first out.”

Get a load of this guy

>>4915545
>Check Cinder’s text – you aren’t the type of person to leave many people on read.
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>>4915545
I kinda want to call Fletcher, we won't have much of a chance later, but answering Cinder will probably take less time.
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>>4915580
Sentence cut off: will probably take less time, so we might have the opportunity to do both if we're brief.
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>>4915552
>>4915568
>>4915576
>>4915580
Respond to your best friend, and see if you can fit Fletcher in as well. Writing now!

>>4915576
He can't keep getting away with this!
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>>4915596

When you see Cinder’s name on the phone, you feel a bit of relaxation as you go through the process of inputting your password. You always have the slight fear that another unknown number will contact you, so seeing a friendly face, Cinder’s especially, helps to chill you out. Namely the fact that, if she were here right now, she’d probably force you to calm the hell down.

Funnily enough, when you navigate to your texts, it’s quite literal that you’re seeing a friendly face.

A slightly blurry picture of Cinder stares back at you, obviously a quick snapshot taken from your desk back at the Cascade arcade. A wide grin splits her face, and the hand that isn’t holding her cellphone is formed into a thumbs up. Directly afterwards, there’s a small message.

>Cinder: Do your best, and knock them the fuck out!

Even with your current funk, it does manage to bring a smile to your face.

>Wolfgang: Thanks. I’ll do my best.

Almost immediately after you send this, another text comes through.

>Cinder: Your best will be more than enough! Also, you better pay me for watching the place this time!
>Wolfgang: We’ll see how the day goes.
>Cinder: :(

Chuckling to yourself – which gets a look from Orion, you notice – you swipe over to the phone app as you prepare to call Fletcher back. Just as the phone begins ringing, you hear a loud noise from the television, which causes your eyebrow to raise. A large graphic flashes across the screen, which quickly shifts into a large tournament bracket, with sixteen slots on the left end.

Four matches. A lot of room for failure.

“Damn.” Orion insightfully comments as the phone continues to ring.

The bracket is shifted to the left, as a list of the team names is displayed. You quickly spot yourself among the bunch, along with Ballistic Designs and another team you recall mentioned last night, the Cyclers. Everyone else on that list is completely unknown to you.

“Two outta three, huh? Wonder if the other one they were talking about flaked.”

“Beats me. Maybe they just had better things to do?” You comment, frowning when Fletcher’s phone goes to voicemail.

>Hello, this is Fletcher. If you are looking to contact me for a tournament opportunity, please default to my agent at—

You hang up.

“Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Let’s see who of our teams, both new and old, will square off in a battle of life and death!”

On the screen, the names turn into bright light, and begin whizzing about haphazardly. The streaks of light eventually shoot towards the open slots, each one settling into place.

Both you and Orion lean forward in anticipation.

When you see the results, you both look at each other with slowly growing smirks.

>”Looks like we got lucky, Orion!” Allow yourself to feel some form of excitement.
>”Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” Don’t let yourself get swept up by emotion.
>”Oh, we’re gonna fuck them up.” Fuck that dude for giving you shit in the hallway.
>Write-in.
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>>4915666
>”Oh, we’re gonna fuck them up.” Fuck that dude for giving you shit in the hallway.
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>>4915666
>”Oh, we’re gonna fuck them up.” Fuck that dude for giving you shit in the hallway.
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>>4915666
>”Oh, we’re gonna fuck them up.” Fuck that dude for giving you shit in the hallway.
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>>4915666
>”Oh, we’re gonna fuck them up.” Fuck that dude for giving you shit in the hallway.
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>>4915679
>>4915695
>>4915752
>>4915753
You are absolutely going to fuck them up. Writing now!
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>>4915774

(This is going to be my last update for the day – you can expect me again around 12 PM CST! Thank you very much for coming to read, and it’s great to be back! Have a great night, anons. Stay cool.)

A trait that you’ve been noticing as of late is increasing levels of spite for people who fuck with you. Maybe it’s general irritation at your circumstance, or maybe it’s a trait that’s evolving due to your involvement with Warscape once again. Either way, it only comes out at times like this – especially so when you’re being faced with absolute shitbags.

Feeling a rare tinge of confidence, you reach out and put a hand on Orion’s shoulder. He doesn’t look particularly bothered by this.

“We are going to fuck them up.” You say solemnly, now basking in your stroke of luck with that caustic grenade. “Even if they can somehow resist that grenade, we are going to rain hell on them.”

Orion’s grin gets wider.

“Now that’s the enthusiasm I’m talking about!” He claps you on the shoulder. “Who cares if they have armor, right? We can just bring shit that’ll crack it, or find stuff that will! Even competitive matches have loot boxes, right?”

“As far as I know, yeah!”

“Then we’re gonna work with what we get, and steamroll our way to all of that money!” He rubs his hands together, throwing himself back on the couch with a loud cackle. You’re reminded once again that Orion seems to be incredibly money oriented, and you can’t quite remember if he’s always been like this. Again, it’s not like you saw too much of him, even back in your prime.

Orion is moved from his tirade by the sound of his phone pinging, which he quickly checks.

“Looks like we’re on in five.”

“Aren’t we fourth in that list, though?”

“They’re doing the matches simultaneously, it looks like.”

“How the fuck is anyone supposed to get footage?”

“Same way as in Infinite Skies, I’d assume – multicam. It’s not like that’s an impossibility for today’s tech, especially with such a small scale game like this.”

“Fair enough. What should we do in the meantime?” You ask, rising up from your own couch and rolling your shoulders.

“Strategize, chill, worry-“ He stares at you for a moment, “-it’s up to you.”

Good to know, you guess.

>Sit down and try to strategize with Orion – you can make some solid assumptions about Ballistic Designs, and having any gameplan is better than none.
>Brave the backstage area and see if you can pick up on any information from people who are hanging around.
>Give Cinder a call – you’re still stressing, and hearing her would probably get you to chill. Gotta love dependency!
>Do as Orion implied, and worry about literally everything that could go wrong here.
>Write-in.
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>>4915816
>>Do as Orion implied, and worry about literally everything that could go wrong here.
>>
>>4915816
>Sit down and try to strategize with Orion – you can make some solid assumptions about Ballistic Designs, and having any gameplan is better than none.
>>
>>4915816
>Sit down and try to strategize with Orion – you can make some solid assumptions about Ballistic Designs, and having any gameplan is better than none.

Was thinking about adding Cinder to the small planning session, but if it's in 5 minutes, I mean, is that really possible?

Also, have a good rest!
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>>4915816
>Sit down and try to strategize with Orion – you can make some solid assumptions about Ballistic Designs, and having any gameplan is better than none.
>>
>>4915816
>Brave the backstage area and see if you can pick up on any information from people who are hanging around.
>>
Good afternoon, everyone! Hope you're doing well today - it's too hot outside.

>>4916265
>>4916275
>>4916516
Strategy is go. Writing now!
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>>4916873

“Well, we can already make a solid assumption about the armor, like you said. If they went through all of the trouble to customize their avatars like that, I’d assume they’d try to back it up by making it…well, metallic.” You muse, leaning against the door of the room with your arms crossed. “It seems like most people love to go to those extremes, nowadays.”

“In your brief new experience.” Orion cuts in, sitting on the arm of the couch. The cocky tone of voice has left him completely, now that he’s focused solely on contemplating along with you. “No offence meant, but it seems like you’re constantly running into people who only go to extremes. Doesn’t mean that these guys will be the same.”

You can agree that it makes sense. From 0phelia to Edit, most Warscape players that you’ve met seem to be turned up to 11. Weirdly enough, Sky has been your most normal opponent – and she liked to take people’s signatures as a kill list for PR.

“Let’s go forward and assume that they are armored, at least for now. How do we get around it?” You respond, tapping your foot against the ground. “In specifics – saying that we can “bring shit to crack it” won’t do us any good if we don’t know what we’re actually gonna do.”

“Fair enough, I just said it in the moment – you take things too seriously, Wolf.” Orion waves his hand dismissably again. “You snagged that caustic grenade, right? That could melt through the armor while we fuck them up from the front. Or we could just crack them with some sniper rounds, like we practiced. Or, even better, we lace up some traps that’ll render the armor useless. Seems like these days, there are plenty of ways to skirt around issues like that.”

“I have to give it to you, there. What are the odds of them being frontline fighters?” You ask, already pulling out your cellphone once again. “If they get too close, I can ask Cinder for some tips.”

“There’s at least a chance? Not much reason for them to have heavy armor if they aren’t gonna put it to use…although, maybe they’re armored snipers? That’d remove some of the risk of being snuck up on.”

Man, the game is far too complicated for your ancient ass. You remember the good ol’ days of being able to gun down frontliners without worrying about what tricks they could have up their sleeve.

“I say that it’s safe for us to commit to a gameplan for now. In summary, we’ll go with the assumption that they’re armored like you said, because anything we can realistically do will work on them even if they aren’t. I’ll leave it to you, Mr. Prodigy.”

You bite down on a deep sigh. Fucking gamers.

>Your plan will be to play aggressive, looking to use the caustic grenade in order to render one of them unarmored in order to tear them down.
>Your plan will be to play it safe, staying behind and trying to break through their armor with sniper rifles.
>Your plan will be to play it tricky, keeping yourself hidden and using the environment to trip up your opponents.
>Write-in.
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>>4916914
>Your plan will be to play it tricky, keeping yourself hidden and using the environment to trip up your opponents.
>>
>>4916914
>Play it tricky
The caustic grenade can be set to go off in a trap and then we may juke them later by fake nading them. Switching it up with the range can be effective to stay adaptable, only committing when their set-up is confirmed.
>>
>>4916926
>>4916948
You've done your best work while being tricky! Writing now.
>>
>>4916959

“I say we keep them on their toes. We can use traps to trip them up – that’s where we use the caustic grenade. One of us can be a decoy that leads them to the trap, while the other lights them up as soon as they fall into it. Let’s bring some stuff so we can keep switching up the range, as well – maybe rifles and snipers?”

“Melee as well – I’m telling you man, just use a fuckin’ sword.” Orion nods his head and rises off of the couch, walking towards you with his arms extended.

“This game was never intended to have them, Orion.” You can feel your indignation start to rise, just as someone bangs on the door behind you, causing you to nearly jump a few feet in the air. Orion promptly loses his shit at this, and a second later, the door opens.

“Genesys, you’re on. Follow me.” A man with a ginger bowl cut addresses the both of you, the dress shirt and tie adorning him looking about three sizes too big.

“Alright, scaredy cat.” Orion snickers, roughly slapping you on the back and moving past you. “Let’s get this shit on the road, yeah? Providing the wind doesn’t spook you.”

You roll your eyes and follow him out of the room. The hallway is much more barren, likely because of the press moving into the main stage area rather than searching for scraps of information back here.

“Did everyone else already come through?” You ask the spindly man as you’re quickly led through the winding hallways.

“Yes, they’re being introduced – which is why we need to hurry.”

“You sure about that, buddy? We could afford to be fashionably late.” Orion says without a care in the world, walking a few steps behind you with his hands in his pockets. “Gotta leave an impact, you know? Don’t think many people would dare do such a thing.”

“I think we’re already gonna make an impact, Orion…” You hiss at him. “Technically, it’s the first time the Genesys name has come up in five years.”

“Oh, I’m sure they’re already eating that up – in fact, I know they are. But if we come back, and show that we absolutely don’t give a fuck? That’ll get them roaring.” He inclines his head towards you with a smug grin. “You’re awfully good at getting them to have a reaction.”

You recognize the attempt to rile you up from a mile away, and choose to ignore it.

Eventually, you reach an area where groups of three are lined up – you assume that the ones are the front are handlers, and the rest are the teams. In front of you, you see the same burly man from Ballistic Designs glaring at the curtain, while a much meeker boy with similar brown hair stands close behind him.

When you approach, the smaller one looks at you with fear and curiosity, while the other remains unmoving in his glare towards the fabric.

>”Hey, let’s have a good game out there.” Sure, you’ll fuck them up, but that’s no reason to forget your honor.
>”Feelin’ nervous, big man?” He antagonized you, and you’ll give as good as you got.
>Nod to the smaller one, but don’t say anything beyond that.
>Write-in.
>>
>>4917032
>Nod to the smaller one, but don’t say anything beyond that.
>>
>>4917032
>Just give them a nod
We can be the better man AND petty at the same time. We usually are anyways.
>>
>>4917043
>>4917101
You'll speak for yourself on the battlefield. Writing now!
>>
>>4917159

Maybe the you that was a little younger would have bit back and caused a scene over the bigger one’s behavior, but you’ve chilled out since those times. You know that you’ll be able to put his money where his mouth is in the tournament, and that alone is plenty of satisfaction for you.

Also, you think that if you even raised your voice a little, the meek one would freak out. That also would be a bad thing, since you didn’t even see him in the hallway. Nevertheless, he is also wearing a black shirt that boasts the name of their team. You give him a little nod, which causes him to visibly relax his shoulders.

From beyond the curtain, you hear the sudden sound of applause and the roaring of the crowd leak through the undoubtedly thick fabric. It causes a wave of energy to surge throughout the competitors. Some begin pacing, others give themselves pep talks, and for you, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

“Feel that, Wolf?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s do or die for me, so let’s not fuck this up.”

“I’ll do my best not to.”

A loud voice breaks through the curtain.

“WELL, IF YOU’RE READY, LET’S BRING THEM OUT! PLEASE GIVE A WARM WELCOME TO THE TEAMS THAT WILL PERPETUATE THE 39TH CLASH!”

The crowd roars, and when you see the people at the start of the line move forward, you and Orion follow suit.

The first thing that you notice upon stepping through the curtain is that the audience area looks weirder than what you’re used to. Every group of five seats appears to have a table in front of them, and in front of every member sits a pair of jet black goggles. They’re attached to the table by long cables, and several of them have already been donned by the crowd.

“Well, that’s a bit different than multicam. Selective spectating.” Orion murmurs to you, and it can hardly be heard over the roar of the crowd.

Your gaze drifts upwards, and you can see all of the teams and their related pictures being displayed, yourself included. You wince when the picture is shown – it’s literally just you and Orion standing next to each other, looking like a pair of wannabe tools who’d rather be anywhere but there.

The crowd seems to agree when they see it, too. The energetic noise mutes a little, and you can hear booing clearly intermixed with some people who are still cheering, whether or not it’s for you or any of the other teams on stage.

Well, you wish you could see that you hadn’t seen it coming, but it always feels like shit to get physically booed directly in front of your face.

>Focus on the crowd – see if there’s anyone in particular that they care about that isn’t you.
>Look at the rest of the teams on the stage – maybe you recognize the members, despite not knowing team names.
>Be the heel – flip them off. If they want to hate you, you’ll feed into it. It’s all a part of the show.
>Write-in.
>>
>>4917243
>Focus on the crowd – see if there’s anyone in particular that they care about that isn’t you.
>>
>>4917243
>Focus on the crowd – see if there’s anyone in particular that they care about that isn’t you.

Maybe that's why Fletcher called? What a bro, if that's the case.
>>
>>4917243
>focus on the crowd
Might as well find out who're the fan favorites.
We could even spy some familiar faces in the midst!
>>
>>4917243
>Look at the rest of the teams on the stage – maybe you recognize the members, despite not knowing team names.
>>
Yo! Had some shit to take care of at home, so this'll be my last for today - I'll see you tomorrow anons, so have a great night.

>>4917267
>>4917271
>>4917276
Do you spy with your little eye? Only one way to find out! Writing now.
>>
>>4917658

Rather than being absorbed in the overwhelming mixture of noise directed at the stage, you decide to try to pick out faces in the crowd, or even who on the stage is eliciting that reaction from them.

The first thing you notice is that, when the image of the team known as the Cyclers comes on the flatscreen, the boos are almost entirely absent in face of the insurmountable cheering. You quickly glance over to your right in an attempt to find the team, and when you do, you find them to look really strange.

Both of them are wearing thick black coats, and their faces are entirely obscured by black masks. On the sleeves, a simple blue font denotes them as the Cyclers – you can’t even see their skin, as their hands are covered by black gloves.

You recall them being mentioned as “pro players” who are rumored to be using fake accounts. Even if that’s really the case, they seem to be laying it on extra thick – I mean, black clothes under the harsh spotlights of the stage? Really? You choose to ignore the fact that you’re wearing a black shirt, instead focusing on the fact that they look vastly weirder than you.

Shaking your head and directing your gaze back to the crowd, you can’t pick out many people who look particularly notable. You’re almost glad for this, considering the last time you were in a tournament hall, 0phelia was in the back row like some kind of vengeful spirit. There are a few folks with crazy dyed hair, some people who look like they’re cosplaying, and a girl with a cowboy hat.

Hang on, that’s somehow the weirdest thing there, and somewhat…familiar?

You feel someone jab your side, and you quickly find that someone to be Orion.

“We’re supposed to get in the pods, buddy. Find someone who strikes your fancy? Did Cinder dip on watchin’ the arcade?” A teasing lilt is present in his voice, but you stiffly turn away and march towards an empty pod, grateful for the fact that there isn’t an assigned one for you. You would have entirely missed it, given your crowd focus, and that would have been real damn awkward.

You press yourself into the plush leather seat, and allow yourself to groan now that you’re out of the direct public eye. Now that you’re in here, you’re acutely aware of the way your heart is pounding against your ribs, and the way that your skin has broken out in goosebumps.

Old habits die hard—

Your internal monologue is broken when the large man from Ballistic Designs passes by your pod, giving it a hearty kick as he does. Looks like shit talkers are always gonna be present no matter the era! Good for you to know, you guess.

When you reach up to rest your arms on the sides of the chair, your bracelet does a little beep – likely auto signing you in. Reaching up, you affix the headset to your head, and wait for your mind to be uploaded into the game once again.

What’s the worst that could happen?

(1/2).
>>
>>4917693


The room that you wake up in is not the one you’ve grown accustomed to.

There’s an overbearing scent of smoke, and not the kind that’s emitted by wood. It smells like burning plastic and cardboard, enough so that your thoughts are almost blotted out due to the sheer thickness of the scent. You feel it wash over your entire body, even though you’re sure that you’re clothed – it feels like you’ve stepped outside into the most sweltering summer day, and it makes you want to vomit.

“Please select your loadout, n0v4_c43s4r. You have one minute.” A chilling yet familiar voice whispers into your ear. You flick your eyes to the side, but you can’t see the robot – again, the band around your wrist tightens, even if you know that it’s all in your head.

“Leave me the fuck alone.” You grit through your teeth, trying to avoid any smoke finding purchase inside your throat. Instead, you focus on reaching forward to summon your menu – and thankfully, after a few moments, it does appear.

WEAPONS
>Slot #1 – EMPTY
>Slot #2 – EMPTY
>Slot #3 – ACCELERATOR KNIFE

ITEMS
>Slot #1 – UNIVERSAL FLASHLIGHT (Affixes to all guns.)
>Slot #2 – MK. 1 ROPE
>Slot #3 – AUXILIA™ HEALING PATCHES x3 (Restores +20 HP).
>Slot #4 – CAUSTIC GRENADE

Alright, it looks like you remembered to slot that in at some point last night. The real kicker here is your weaponry – you’d never dream of being caught slacking without your trusty knife. They’ll never be able to take that from you. The real question is what your other ones will be. You discussed rifles and snipers with Orion, but it may do well for you both to have different loadouts, so you’ll be universally prepared.

Which of your armaments do you take with you?

>Pick two weapons to fill your empty slots with.

>SKYFIRE sniper rifle. Capable of using burst shot, created by Dahlia.
>SILVERDOLLAR shotgun. Quick to load, but just as quick to jam.
>L85A3 assault rifle. Comes with AP ammunition.
>OCELOT revolver. Fast to load, and fast to fire. Created by Dahlia.
>Write-in anything that you want that I may have missed, as well as if you’d like to swap any of your ITEMS with something else you’ve acquired over your brief stint back in Warscape.

(2/2).
>>
>>4917695
>L85A3 assault rifle. Comes with AP ammunition.
>OCELOT revolver. Fast to load, and fast to fire. Created by Dahlia.

Armored enemies, meet armor piercing rounds. Revolver in case the small one is more of a speedster.

Thanks for running Cirno! Glad to see you back and alive!
>>
>>4917695
>L85A3 assault rifle. Comes with AP ammunition.
>OCELOT revolver. Fast to load, and fast to fire. Created by Dahlia.
>>
>>4917695
>SKYFIRE sniper rifle. Capable of using burst shot, created by Dahlia.
>SILVERDOLLAR shotgun. Quick to load, but just as quick to jam.
>>
>>4917695
>L85A3 assault rifle. Comes with AP ammunition.
>OCELOT revolver. Fast to load, and fast to fire. Created by Dahlia.

letsago
>>
>>4917695
>L85A3 assault rifle. Comes with AP ammunition.
>OCELOT revolver. Fast to load, and fast to fire. Created by Dahlia.
>>
Good evening, everyone! Guess who was waiting all day for a very important phone call, only for it to arrive half an hour after the fucking place closed? Gotta love it.

Won't be going for super long today - probably only an update or two - but tomorrow, I'll be back in full form. Hope you're doing well!

>>4917704
>>4917720
>>4917737
>>4917740
A full consensus - let's get this game started. Writing now!
>>
>>4919045

With trembling hands caused by the onset of sensory overload, you’re able to drag the weapons over to their assigned slots – seconds later, you feel the weapons settle on your body, causing you to hunch over further. The smoke is overwhelming now, quickly blotting out the visage of your in-game menu that was once clear to you.

“What the fuck is this place?” You say aloud, the words coming out as more of a shout in an attempt to rise above the howling winds.

“The beginning.” The same robotic voice says in your ear. You wish that you could turn around and cuff it upside the head out of pure irritation, but you quickly find that you no longer can feel your hands – nor your feet, heartbeat, or anything else.

Wonderful. The game has started.

---

You come to consciousness when your head strikes against something hard and cold, making your eyes shoot open due to the sudden shock. Immediately holding your breath, you try and sense the space around you, attempting to get any information in the split second of your awakening.

Unfortunately, the room is apparently pitch fucking black, and it’s cold. Really cold.

Fanning out your hands that were previously tucked underneath your torso, you discover that the floor of wherever you’re at is metal – and, as well as that, incredibly cold. It’s to the point where you have resistance when you pull your hands away, implying that if you’d left them long enough, there was a good enough chance that they’d stick and freeze.

Oh, lovely.

You take a moment to breathe in the air, and find once more that it is indeed uncomfortably cold, almost taking your breath away entirely. This gets a quiet chuckle out of you – out of everywhere you’ve spawned so far, you can’t remember being in a place as uncomfortable as this.

Well, maybe the prison-esque area is a contender – that sucked pretty hard.

Upon not being able to find anything of substance from on the ground, you raise yourself from the ground and check to make sure everything’s on you. Your rifle is strapped to your chest, your pistol and knife at your waist, and a satchel at your other side. The way that the bits of metal clank and clatter against each other makes you wince considering the mostly silent environment, and you hope to god that nobody heard that.

Just to make sure, you hold your breath. You can’t hear anything except a faint whirring…a fan?

What would you like to do, Wolfgang?

>PLAYER: n0v4_c43s4r
>HP: 100/100

>Try to creep around the room, making as little sound as possible – you’d like to be stealthy on the off chance that they spawned close to you.
>Reach into your satchel and clip your flashlight onto one of your guns – even if someone might see, you’d rather get out before this cold starts harming you.
>Stay still and try to whisper-yell for Orion. You can’t hear any immediate movement, but maybe he’s somewhere in the vicinity of you?
>Write-in.
>>
>>4919070
>Try to creep around the room, making as little sound as possible – you’d like to be stealthy on the off chance that they spawned close to you.
>Try and locate the noise, stay close to cover as much as you can.

Don't like noises, makes me think it's some turret
>>
My ID will likely change with this post but who cares.
>>4919070
>Try to navigate the room, quietly, locating sounds and noting if there's any kind of light reflecting on surfaces
>Attach the flashlight to the revolver, don't turn it on
Having the opportunity to blind an opponent is always nice.
Considering what we know (metallic cold floor, fan sound) either we are in a cold storage/freezer room, or we are in a Shadow Moses rip-off. In the first case, better a short range weapon. In the second, doesn't matter.
>>
>>4919070
>Reach into your satchel and clip your flashlight onto one of your guns – even if someone might see, you’d rather get out before this cold starts harming you.
>>
>>4919070
>Stay still and try to whisper-yell for Orion. You can’t hear any immediate movement, but maybe he’s somewhere in the vicinity of you?
>>
>>4919070
>Try to navigate the room, quietly, locating sounds and noting if there's any kind of light reflecting on surfaces
>Attach the flashlight to the revolver, don't turn it on
>>
Good afternoon, everyone! Hope your day is well - let's boogie.

>>4919083
>>4919113
>>4919148
>>4919437
Be quiet, and outfit your revolver. Writing now!
>>
>>4919922

The first thing on your mind is reaching into your satchel, and quietly extracting your universal flashlight without allowing it to hit against any other items in an attempt to silence noise. When this is done, you pull your revolver from its holster and clip the flashlight onto the rail, not turning it on quite yet. This is partially so you don’t give yourself away to anyone who may be able to see, but also because turning it on suddenly will likely throw your opponent off, as it has before.

In this case, you gotta love how detailed sensations are in this virtual space. Having someone’s eyes unable to quickly adjust to a flashlight is an incredible tactical advantage.

When you’re sure that it’s been properly clipped on, you immediately set about moving around at a half-crouch, looking to find any evidence of where you could be. Again, you use the tactic of keeping your hands extended in front of you, which saves you almost immediately when they bump against a wall, sending a momentary wave of electricity up your wrists and arms. You feel around slowly, and the only thing that becomes apparent to you are slight grooves in the wall, likely from metal building material.

Where the hell am I?

Now that you’re off the ground, you pause and listen again, trying to locate where the whirring noise is at. This leads you to turn your head around to where you assume the opposite wall is, where upon squinting, you swear you can see…something.

A little green light disappears for a moment, and then comes back. A second later, it repeats – so, you were correct. A fan, which fits with how damn cold the floor was – it’s likely that you’re in some form of freezer. The light is likely a power unit of some kind that’s hooked up inside the vent.

Well, that’s a damn good sign that you should get the fuck out of here, then. If you died by frostbite, you’d be even more of a laughingstock, and Orion would probably beat you to death in real life. Because that seems like something he’d do if you lost him his chance at money, honestly.

Speaking of him, your current spawn point makes you wonder where the fuck he could have spawned. He isn’t in here with you, that much you’re certain of, despite hardly being able to see a damn thing.

>Spend a little more time trying to find the door, and hope to god that you aren’t locked in.
>Navigate over to the fan and see if you can get out through the vent.
>Now that you know where you’re at, see if there’s any food that you can shove into your pack. [This will require a roll.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>4919944
>Navigate over to the fan and see if you can get out through the vent.
>>
>>4919944
>Navigate over to the fan and see if you can get out through the vent.
>>
>>4919944
>Navigate over to the fan and see if you can get out through the vent.
>>
>>4919961
>>4919980
>>4919983
Crawl through vent for maximum maneuvering. Writing now!
>>
>>4919994

You spend a few moments centering your vision on the rapidly flickering light so you don’t lose track of it in the darkness, and then slowly begin edging towards it with incredibly cautious steps. If this is a freezer, then there’s likely to be shelves – if you slam into them, it’ll be fucking loud.

Thankfully, nothing trips you up as you reach the wall, and now you can clearly hear the mechanical whirring that the fan is letting off. You gingerly reach up and find the opening of the vent, and hoist yourself up with your elbows so you’re face to face with the light – now you can see the outline of the fan, and boy howdy is it spinning.

How the fuck am I supposed to get this open?

It’s really a matter of getting the blades to stop, you think to yourself. After that, it’s getting the unit out of the way so you can actually maneuver through the vents. This sounds like a very complex thing that a mechanic should be doing, but emergencies are emergencies, and you would sincerely like to be not here in this moment.

How do you want to bust out?

>Fuck it, you’re on a time limit – bust out the fan and move through.
>Use something on you to do things a little more quietly. [Describe what you wish to use.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>4920013
See if you can unscrew the grate with the knife.
I'm not sure if it'd be a good idea to jam the blades with our rope, or with something from the shelves. Anyone knows?
>>
>>4920034
sure lets do this, I aint got any ideas
>>
>>4920034
Yeah. Using the knife is the only thing I can think of. That or something from the shelves.
Knife it is.
>>
>>4920034
>>4920044
>>4920058
Use your knife the way it was intended to be. Writing now!
>>
>>4920034
Another possibility could be banging the blades out of shape or breaking the joint with something from the shelves. It would be loud, tho.
>>
>>4920068

You painstakingly keep yourself held up with an elbow as you fish around to pull you knife from it’s sheathe. You’re thankful that your avatar is somewhat more resilient than your real life body, as you’re sure that you’d fall over like a cut marionette were you trying to attempt this. Nevertheless, you’re able to grab your knife, and you pull yourself further into the vent with a grunt, right until you’re face to face with the fan.

“Well, time to get to work.” You murmur, ignoring the way you’re now being blasted by cold air in favor of putting your knife to the screws.

To be blunt, it takes a bit longer than you’d like it to. Trying to undo the screws without putting your hands in the way is a challenge, as well as doing it without dropping the knife or yourself. Thankfully, you’re able to keep yourself held up as you fish the screws out one by one, ruminating on the fact that someone could burst in and shoot you directly in the ass if they so chose to.

Regardless, that timeline doesn’t come to pass, and you’re eventually able to shimmy the fan out of place, again with the assistance of your trusty knife. Once the hard bit is done, you’re easily able to slash the power cord, making the appliance sputter out without another sound.

You’re left in silence, the only sound in your ears being your heartbeat and your shallow breaths.

Without wait, you fully press the fan against the wall of the vent, and move past it as quickly as you can. Thankfully, you’re a wiry dude, so you’re able to scramble up and through the vent without being stuck in place. Eventually, you’re able to wind your way through the vent’s tunnels, and at the end of it, you see another grate – one that’s leaking dim light, and weirdly heavy air.

You draw out your knife again, and after another minute of work, you drop down to the ground.

What greets you is not the pleasant feeling of spring air, or even a nice sense of tangible warmth – it’s heavy rain, accompanied by the distant crackle of thunder. Your eyes shoot up above you, and you see that the world above you is almost entirely encased by dark clouds, with little bits of white and green sky interposed throughout it. Raising an eyebrow, you survey the area – a walled off area with muddy dirt and a few dumpsters, with a brick building behind you – and you set about going around the corner.

The wall must be solely to keep people from entering through the back, as the area vastly opens up to your right when you begin moving along the wall. There’s a long stretch of road that goes off into the distance, and to your immediate right, there’s a small parking lot with two or three shitty cars that are being hammered by rain.

At least it’s warmer than the freezer, you suppose.

“I better get insi—” You say out loud, rubbing your arms – when you continue to move forward, however, you’re interrupted suddenly.

A muted gunshot, followed by the shrill sound of shattering glass.

>Roll a 1d20. Best of three goes through.
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>4920102
Don't get hit
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>4920102
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>4920102
Oh shit
>>
>>4920134
This goes through! Writing now.
>>
>>4920304

Your instincts take over as soon as the glass shatters, and you jerk your head down just in time to hear the bullet whiz over your head. Without looking to your left, you throw your body and force it to surge forward in a roll, your frenzied motion causing you to slam against the ground. You feel the mud against your cheek and arm, and it makes you stumble slightly when you dive towards the wall underneath the window for cover.

Somewhere behind you, there’s the sound of hurried footsteps coming directly towards you, and so you pull out the revolver with the intent to blind the perpetrator as you shoot at them.

“Get back here, motherfucker!” A furious voice screams, and you pause.

…this fucking asshole.

“Orion, you dick, it’s me!” You call back to him, your fear of him significantly overridden by the fact that he almost took your head off.

The footsteps screech to a halt.

“Wolf!?” He responds, and you take note of the fact that he cocks his gun – sounds like a pistol, from where you’re at. “Where the fuck were you?”

“In the goddamn freezer!” You pull yourself up, trying to wipe the mud from your jeans. “Was that really necessary?”

“You scared the shit out of me!” Orion storms towards you, slicking back his orange hair and roughly shoving your shoulder through the now broken window. “With how fucked the weather is, I couldn’t recognize you – all I did was see a shadow in the corner of my eye.”

You look again at the pouring rain. It definitely makes sense to you, especially with how dark the sky currently is. It doesn’t change the very real anger that the action inspired in you, however.

“Fair enough – can I come inside, or are you gonna shoot at me again?” You wipe the mud off of your face and flick it at Orion, making him let out a forced chuckle.

“Yeah, yeah – get the fuck in here before I actually do.”

Rather than circling around the building to find the door, you simply break out the rest of the window and come inside through there. Looking around, the scenery here is familiar to you – at least, in concept. Shelves stocked with junk food, refrigerators with drinks – you’re in a gas station. A quick glance out the front set of windows confirms this, as two small pumps are stationed directly outside.

How quaint. Too bad it’s raining cats and dogs outside.

>”What’s the situation, Orion?” Figure out if he saw anything that you didn’t while you were in the freezer.
>Now that you’re not in a freezer or being shot at, take the time to look around and see if there’s anything of interest.
>Immediately set upon the store and look for anything that may prove useful to you – Orion probably looted, but you’ll do it too. [This will require a roll.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>4920334
>”What’s the situation, Orion?” Figure out if he saw anything that you didn’t while you were in the freezer.
>>
>>4920334
>”What’s the situation, Orion?” Figure out if he saw anything that you didn’t while you were in the freezer.
Gib the intel
>>
>>4920334
>”What’s the situation, Orion?” Figure out if he saw anything that you didn’t while you were in the freezer.
>>
>>4920334
>Immediately set upon the store and look for anything that may prove useful to you – Orion probably looted, but you’ll do it too. [This will require a roll.]
>>
Having finally got off my arse to go and read through the archives of this quest after ignoring it since the start of its original run, I can say that it is the Good Shit (tm) and I'll definitely be lurking at the very least from here on out. Now I wonder where cirno has wandered off to.
>>
>>4925303
According to the Discord, his AC broke and is suffering.
>>
>>4925990
Rats. The QM Curse strikes again!