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Author Topic: MR War Arc: NO1SY  (Read 240 times)

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Offline NO1SY

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MR War Arc: NO1SY
« on: June 19, 2020, 05:52:18 AM »
ALL RIIIIIIGHT!

I’m actually super happy that my first writing project back is contributing to MR Canon, which will hopefully lead into some more collaborative writing later on.

I have been advised to collect all of my work relating to this more solo part of the story into one place, so here it is! There is more to come and I hope you all enjoy  :biggrin:



MR WAR ARC: NO1SY


PROLOGUE: WAYWARD
Wayward

A light wind swept the sand up against the walls of MR City, piling it into a yellow skirt. The walls still reached skyward, solid as ever, holding the dense city in its secure embrace. They were a comfort, like a warm hug, letting you know that your ideas, your creativity, your interests were safe and welcome. At least that is how the figure looking out at the city from the top of a dune in the distance used to feel.
   I got close this time... he thought to himself, in equal part nostalgic excitement, equal part wary anxiety. For as he gazed at his former home across the sand, those walls felt like cold hurdles now, the gates just portals to peek through into a city that looked like commitment.
   Once NO1SY had worn the appearance of a spritely young man with angular features, smooth skin and a healthy head of radiant orange hair that sat strikingly in a carefully curated mess. While working shifts for Pub-Tan he would dress in the get-up of a high-class service establishment, although he would never be seen without his headphones at least hung around his neck.
   However, over time, his image began to change: His features softened, his skin felt more coarse, his hair shortened and felt like dry straw, his beard grew long and disheveled, his shoulders became burdened with the weight of unseen responsibilities and lack of creativity, and his new clothes came across as hipster but trying too hard. Moreover, his headphones were now less a conduit for social engagement and instead an island of solitude whenever he wore them.
   By that time he had links to many sections of MangaRaiders; from Radio to Writer, Artist to Music, Review to Support. He had had plans, and had made promises, but one day when the sun rose in the sky above MR City, NO1SY was nowhere to be found.
   That was two years ago.

   A growing wump Wump WUMP broke NO1SY from his reverie.
   The heavyset military chopper crested the dune behind him, flying so low that the gusts from its blades threatened to sweep NO1SY off of the dune-top. He steadied himself in a wide stance and shielded his face from the billowing sand with his arm. He watched the chopper zoom towards MR City, and then what little colour he had drained from his pasty skin.
   They came from everywhere: tanks burrowed from hidden tunnels in the ground followed by legions of marching footmen, choppers descended from the sky in every direction like a swarm of locusts, artillery turrets breached through the sand on rising platforms and turned their sights towards the city. NO1SY had never seen anything like it.
   In a panic he launched himself down the side of the dune towards the city. As he descended, he sunk below the peaks of the other dunes in front of him and his view was cut off. NO1SY broke into a run to start scrambling up the next sandy mound in his way. He could hear the rumble of explosions in the distance, the faint rattle of gunfire. Somewhere to his left a roar and then a sizzling hiss indicated that a missile had launched from one of the artillery platforms. He pushed on and on despite the burning in his legs, as the battle raged on ahead of him.
   He ran. And then he slowed. He walked. And then he came to a stop.

   NO1SY stood looking up at the colossal walls looming before him and the buildings rising from within. He was closer to the city than he had gotten in years.
   Smoke billowed darkly from several locations across the skyline, while countless scores of troops rappelled from military helicopters that hovered like a dark cloud above the streets. Bolts of lightning and bursts of multicoloured lights flashed like a strobe from within, indicating that The Mods were in the thick of battle. On top of this, it was hard to explain, but it felt like The City was less... animated... somehow, like something important was now being lost.
   A part of NO1SY screamed at him to move forward. But instead he hesitated.
   I don’t think I’m ready for this... his chest felt heavy as he took an involuntary, wobbly step backwards. And suddenly, NO1SY once again found himself in the middle of a vast expanse of empty desert.
   “Sh*t.”


Check out the other MR War Arc Shorts here!


CHAPTER 1: COMPASS
Compass

“Sh*t.”
   It had been half a year and much was different, just not his choice of words...

   NO1SY had changed though. While his features were still not as sharp, his jaw was more set. His beard was trimmed and well shaped. As was his hair, which had regained a little personality atop its short back and sides. Despite his muddy green eyes speaking of some new aged experience, as well as old burdens, it seemed that he had learned to stand a little taller with it.
   The digital sun was high in the sky, beating down oppressively the desert landscape. NO1SY was just barely not boiling alive in his slim-fit combat trousers, (blessedly) breathable, grey hooded sweater, and tall, lace-up combat boots. He was a city dweller, not meant for a life of wandering a sweltering wasteland as hot as Satan’s balls. While he was as comfortable in a mixologist’s apron as he was a scientists lab coat, these days he opted for a bomber jacket, which provided extra manoeuvrability and extra padding. Unfortunately, now was not the time for his bartender’s waistcoat and cufflinks either. With a handgun strapped to his right thigh, instead he was prepared for a battle.
   At least he still had his headphones.
   He wiped sweat from his brow and shifted his toes uncomfortably in his boots, trying to ignore the gritty feeling. Sand really does get everywhere...
   The wayward Raider stood atop a dune, reminiscent of before. And once again, finally, after months of searching and directionless wandering and stumbling over shifting sands, he had found his way back. MR City lay ahead of him. Its alloy walls rose out of the sands that stretched from horizon to horizon. A sight for sore eyes. But also a despairing sight.
   Between him and his destination still lay a smouldering expanse of desert that unquestionably remained Lost Chorus territory. The artillery turrets still stood sentinel in the sands like mechanical monoliths. Military convoys and soldier squadrons trundled back and forth between the city gates, desert camps and the underground desert facility network. They looked like busy ants from this distance, and ants were unfortunately effective as a collective.
   Once upon a time it would have been second nature for NO1SY to simply will himself to appear at the gates of the city, which would have been open and welcoming. Now, that method of traversal seemed to elude him, new guard posts at the gates notwithstanding. In fact, he had seemed near physically incapable of even getting this close to MangaRaiders before now. Every time he trekked through the desert he found himself falling foul of one of a multitude of obstacles that only served to sow the seeds of doubt within him. The moment that happened he would either find himself whisked away once more into the middle of nowhere, or driven to seeking solitude in one of his many other haunts elsewhere on The Net. YouTube was the domain he most often sought comfort in; whiling away the days in endless streams of digital gaming entertainment and now completely defunct political debates. But it was only ever a matter of time before his will resolved once more and he would resume his search. Over and over and over again NO1SY relived this cycle, each attempt never more successful than the last.
   NO1SY even made negative progress on one particularly nightmarish journey. On that occasion, the endless dunes had a potent monotonous effect on his faculties, and so he did not spot the crevasse in the ground until he was already falling into it. He tumbled through darkness for what was far too long for the crack to be a natural geographical phenomenon. At some point he thought he could see streams of something trickling through the nothingness. It was glitchy and hard to look at, like thousands of superimposed letters and numbers tumbling through the aether. Before he could wrap his head around the sight, NO1SY hit solid ground with a thud that knocked the wind out of his lungs. After gasping in enough air, which could only be described as ‘ripe’, to regain his feet, he flicked on his torch to reveal a dingy room with a tiled floor. He could not say how long he spent trapped in that dark corner of The Net he had accidentally illuminated, but it had taken a very long, very cold shower to rid himself of the filth from the place he now dubbed ‘Oppai Hell’. Who knew that so much of a good thing could be so awfully bad.
   Nevertheless, this latest excursion had begun as any other: summoning himself into the desert plains, picking a direction and heading straight. In truth, the lost Raider had really held out little hope by then. He just put his battered headphones on, hit play, and walked. Then his headphones began picking up a signal. It began as spikes of static and he tapped at his headphones to make sure that the sand hadn’t damaged them. Then the odd word came through here or there.  He took a step in one direction but then the static cut out and his music resumed. NO1SY stood still for a moment, then backed up. The static returned. He began to walk in a circle until he reached a point where words cut through again, then he followed this faint signal like a compass until the crackling gave way to more and more speech. The voice was so familiar.
   “Bzzzzzt -ear Listeners, bzzzt -rently 202 days into... spell of mild bzzt sunny weather bzzzt rather boring bzzzzzzzzzzzt Occupation... worse than the infestation of the mimes! bzzzzzzt -iterally underground, totally pretend, gambling... Screw you fickle sponsors!........ bzzzt Together we...... strong... work bzzzzzzt freedom of all... bzt -aiting for you bzzzzt will come and go, but they never truly leave.... bzzzzzzzt.... WE ARE RAIDER!.... bzzzzt I miss the break room cookies... bzzt -nd now for Carly Rae Jepson’s ‘Call me maybe’ as performed by an orchestra of coffee machines!”
   It was kind of annoying, but also kind of beautiful, and it was undeniably 3.0. NO1SY didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, to fall to his knees or to punch the air. Instead, he just quickened the pace in whichever direction made the signal clearer. And so, now here he was catching his breath on the top of a hill of sand. MangaRaiders once again within his sight after so very long. He had truly missed it. And that’s why he felt nothing but wholehearted determination this time as he descended the dune and prepared to strike out across hostile territory.

   Through Oppai Hell or high water, NO1SY would return home.



CHAPTER 2: DETOUR
Detour

Holy tan! What NO1SY wouldn’t have given for a pint as he snuck his way across the sands.
   The turret platforms wobbled in the heat shimmer ahead of him. The automated artillery launchers were still; a much different scene from the drum-roll of concussive kick-back he remembered as they fired away on the day of the invasion and cracked open the city dome. It seemed that Lost Chorus weren’t wise to him yet, but he wasn’t going to take any chances. He had no intentions of being popped in the head by a sniper on his approach.
   He snaked around the larger dunes so that he was never moving straight and out in the open for too long. He approached the field of artillery towers from the west, as indicated by the oppressive sun, which had yet to reach its zenith while silhouetting the city in the near distance. The platforms formed a diffuse ring around the entire walled city. As he drew closer to the turrets NO1SY could only snort. The pop-up platforms, which held terrifying weapons that wrought such destruction, were surrounded in holographic screens running adverts for the G-rated 4Kids licensed shows. There was irony here, somewhere...
   A happy-go-lucky Monkey D. Luffy grinned down at him as he crept forward, cheering for him to join the Straw Hat Pirates for the 6179th re-run of the 104 licensed episodes. But... that ends in the middle of the Alabasta Arc!? Thought NO1SY, confused. On a platform further to the right, a hologram ad ran for “Yu-Gi-Oh! GGGXVZ: School’s Out: Zernos 21: Cards of the Heart”, and further in he thought he could make out the disproportionately large, bug-like head of a Kamen Rider toddler on a trike. He was just arriving and this place was already making his skin crawl. Who knows what they had managed to do to the city.
   Upon reaching the hydraulic tower, hidden as it was behind a veil of bright cartoon colour, NO1SY peered around to the other side to assess his options. He guessed that he was about two kilometres out from MR City; close enough that it rose colossal up out of the desert sands ahead, providing a silvery backdrop for his dilemma. Nothing seemed particularly promising. The sand was flattened substantially here, providing little opportunity for cover between the turrets, which were spaced just too far apart to be of much use themselves. On top of this, several convoys of soldiers and vehicles stalked across the sands. They could have been transporting supplies, or training, or patrolling, or a myriad of other military operations. What NO1SY was certain of however, was that there would be no sneaking past them. Not without being shot to shreds.
   Frustrated, he pushed off from his platform and began wheeling around the periphery a bit more, making use of what dunes he could. A thick sheen of sweat lathered his forehead and stung his eyes, and so he nearly didn’t notice that he had begun walking on what was more akin to a dirt road. It was the rumble of a heavy-set engine ahead that alerted him enough to run for cover. Sprinting off the road, NO1SY made for the largest dune he could find and launched himself behind it. Panting like a dog, he crawled to the top of the sand pile to get a look. The vista was much the same from this vantage, save for one key detail. The road he was on trailed into a dip in the ground that led to a cavernous opening beneath the sand, which was framed by a high-tech, trapezoid doorway. From the dark passage within emerged a platoon of Lost Chorus soldiers in formation around an armoured vehicle with a mounted turret. NO1SY had found an entrance to the desert facility.
   Prone on the crest of the dune, NO1SY watched the squadron come up onto the road to begin their patrol. As the beastly vehicle revved, he could feel the sand around him quake and tremble. They were seriously packing. He counted at least three rocket launchers carried amongst the relatively small contingent, alongside the combat rifles and grenades and other implements of death. What are they expecting to face out here exactly!? There was an answer to that question that NO1SY wanted to hear, but he had learned to not hope for too much in these times.
   The convoy was directly ahead of him now, and that’s when he experienced the sickening, lurching feeling. The dune he was spying from had been loosened by vibrations from the armoured vehicle and he was beginning to slide forward. Before long he would be tumbling forward on a dusty wake and landing right at the soldiers’ boots. Fighting against the panic, NO1SY quickly appraised the terrain either side of him and then, instead of allowing himself to be carried with the falling sand, he launched himself leftward into a sideways roll down the slope at a different angle. He spun and slid and bounced, flicking up puffs of sand into the desert breeze and into his mouth and eyes. Then he landed in the shrub he had been aiming for. He couldn’t see, but he knew because it was bare and spiny and bit into him uncomfortably. It was also shielded from the road by a low sandbank. NO1SY lay there still, fighting against the urge to untangle himself from the itchy clutches of the shrub, or to wash out the sand that caked his tongue and burned his eyes. He just listened.
   He could hear the steady gurgle of the engine, and the whirring of the swivelling turret. They’ve stopped! NO1SY worried, confirmed by the faint crunch of a couple of pairs of boots as they left the dirt road towards him. He held his breath. He could no longer hear the footfalls as the soldiers left the road for the desert sands. His chest burned for air and he itched all over something fierce. But he dared not move nor make a sound as he waited for a gun barrel to poke against his skull.
   “Storm’s picking up.” Came the modulated voice from one of the soldier’s helmets, not more than ten feet away on the other side of the sandbank. Literally one more step up the bank and a quick glance down and NO1SY was done for. He was beginning to get a headache.
   “Let’s get moving again so that we can be sitting cozy in the barracks when it hits.” Came an equally robotic sounding response. NO1SY held on until the footsteps resumed on the road and the engine roared and began moving along once more. Then he rolled to his side, tearing himself painfully out of the shrub, and vomited out a concoction of bile, saliva and sand. Lots of sand. He coughed and heaved in air greedily, until he choked and vomited again. Clawing for his water canteen, he poured some on his face, and rubbed to clear his eyes.
   That sucked… he thought as he shuffled his way to sit up against the sandbank, still gasping. His body felt weak with relief. He craned his head around to peer over the bank and watch the convoy amble away down the road. As he blinked away the stars from his puffy eyes, his mood sank once more. For all he had just suffered he was still no better off than before.

   Off in the distance, past the convoy, NO1SY’s gaze was drawn to something he found deeply unsettling. It was a sandstorm that swelled in twisting plumes of oranges and reds and browns. And something moved within. His breath caught in his throat and he quickly averted his eyes as if he had been caught staring at someone on the train, as if that would change the fact that it was here and it was headed this way. As he sat drained in the desert, a cruel chill ran down his spine. It’s coming! Thought NO1SY behind wide eyes, It’s… coming…? In that moment an idea crept into his mind. It was a crazy idea, verging on insane. He was beginning to like it more and more.
 



CHAPTER 3: DRIFT
Drift

NO1SY spent the afternoon un-accosted amongst the dunes, cleaning a seemingly endless supply of sand from both his headphones and his handgun. It was still roasting as the sun slow-walked itself out across the sky, but the promise of something cooler was uplifting. He kept one eye on the approaching storm and another on the road. Unfortunately, the facility’s hefty mechanical door had slowly chomped shut to a siren’s bark while he had been chucking up his guts full of sand earlier. This made his infiltration a slight more risky. He knew, from his brief surveillance of Lost Chorus desert operations earlier in the day, that if one convoy began their patrol from this entrance, another convoy would end theirs here too. So to have the facility open its maw again, all he had to do was wait.
   Then would come the hard part.
   The wind was beginning to pick up and roll the sands around him. The sky was taking on a reddish hue. It would not be long now. NO1SY blew away the last few grains from his headphones, knowing full well the futility in this place, and hung them back on his neck. He found comfort in their embrace as he sat alone in the desert. With a long breath in, he shuffled around to a crouch in his spot within the drifts and kept a look out for an approaching convoy.

   They were cutting it closer than he would have expected of a Lost Chorus unit. By the time the patrol came into view on the road, billowing gusts were whipping sand into NO1SY’s face and the looming storm had cast a long shadow over the region. He avoided looking at the tumbling wall of sand for too long; he would get an uneasy chill down his spine every time he gazed too deeply.
   The convoy appeared to feel the same, as several of the more heavily geared soldiers clung to the external roll-cage of the armoured truck as it hummed along the road, while the rest jogged briskly to keep up. The churning storm was only a couple of hundred feet away from lashing at their heels, and it was gaining. NO1SY ducked low as they passed by, although he guessed they weren’t paying much attention to their flanks considering the circumstances. They began to descend the ramp to the mechanical door, which opened with a metallic groan and the blare of a siren as they approached.
   Now or never… thought NO1SY with a curt sigh. He stood and walked to the road, pulling his headphones over his ears as he went. The noise of the world - the engine, the siren, the storm - was immediately muffled. In position, he quickly prepared himself by shifting his weight onto his leading leg, bending slightly at the knees and leaning a touch forward. He could feel the storm reaching for his back.
   “Two-hundred BPM,” he declared to himself quietly. Ready, he tapped his headphones once.
   Power Metal electrified him.
   In the blink of an eye, NO1SY bolted down the road and ramp, leaving a thin line of sand kicked up in his wake. The convoy had only made it roughly twenty paces into the facility tunnel by the time he blitzed below the door, which was only just beginning to close. He tapped his headphones again.
   Metalcore boiled his blood.
   NO1SY braced himself as the bulky alloy door came down on him. He caught it with his hands and guided himself so that it landed across his shoulders, then he planted his feet and pushed back. He breathed sharply and sweat beaded quickly on his brow. It took everything he had to hold it up. Gears ground and metal twisted and whined as he strained to keep the jaws apart. It must have been rather pronounced, because two soldiers at the rear of the unit turned to identify the commotion. But they were too late.
   Before they could even raise their guns, the storm hit and NO1SY and the convoy were swept up by a violent torrent of sand.

   NO1SY found himself spitting out sand for the second time in one day. Still sucks…
   When he had stopped tumbling, the only part of him that was fully above sand was his left forearm, in which he clutched his precious headphones. It had taken a good few minutes to dig himself out from his impromptu burial.
   Free now and standing, he had to do a double-take to believe what he was seeing.
   “What the…” For as far as he could see, until the tunnel took a bend to the left, the floor was completely covered in sand. It was as if the desert itself had moved in. The mechanical door sat only two-thirds closed (at about the level where NO1SY had held it) as it chewed limply into a solid six feet of sand. Looks like I’m not the only one choking on this stuff. Still, NO1SY couldn’t help but groan, he had hoped to leave the desert behind and get his feet on some nice solid ground. All he had wanted was for the sandstorm to obscure his entry into the facility. Surely that was all he had wanted…
  How did this much sand get in anyway? I was knocked out from under the door almost instantly! NO1SY puzzled. The thought made him squirm.
   He began to shuffle cautiously down the tunnel. Several of the long white light tubes that ran along the top corners of the passage had been smashed, casting sections into shadow. One light flickered in the distance.
   After roughly sixty feet NO1SY stood next to the protruding corner of the up-turned armoured vehicle, completely buried save for a small section of rear bumper and the back half of a large tyre. He gave the bumper a couple of tentative kicks and listened for a response. None came. The blood in the sand had been a bit of a give-away.
   The desert’s invasion continued on for quite a ways, the sand piled high for a good few hundred feet as the tunnel swung around its bend, until it eventually tapered out when the confines of the corridor opened up into a large room. NO1SY slid down the unsteady slope onto a blissfully solid floor. His boots still crunched atop a thin and endless gritty layer, which would make it harder to sneak around, but at this point he really didn’t care.
   The room was a hexagonal garage of sorts. The surviving lights were either inadequate for full illumination or erratically struggling to function at all. Still, NO1SY managed to squint through the awkward dimness and take stock of his location. Rows of armoured vehicles sat parked in bays along the right hand side of the space. The far left corner was a dedicated workshop space, with three hydraulic lifts benching vehicles in different states of repair and togetherness. The far right corner led to a darkened bay set back into the wall. A long barrel and wide treads poked out of the shadows, indicating the particular composite armour beast that slumbered within. To his immediate left, supply and ammo crates were stacked in piles or filed on giant shelving units. A meshed walkway lined the edges of the room overhead, and the stairways leading to it flanked either side of a large open doorway on the left hand wall, which fed deeper into the facility. To NO1SY, however, the most obvious feature of the room was the silence.
   He crept forward, flinching at every crunch until the floor in the central portion of the room became a metal grate that the sand couldn’t find purchase on.
   A tiny sound and NO1SY had whipped himself around, gun immediately trained on the precise source. He forced himself to let go of the breath he was strangling in his lungs.
   “Piece of...” he grumbled at the parked forklift in front of a pile of crates. But then the sound happened again followed by a humming flicker of a light. Drip. NO1SY watched the ripple on the floor beneath the fork. It glistened crimson in the fleeting glow. “...crap…”
   It was everywhere, like someone had set off a paint-bomb that had plastered almost every inch of the room in a deep red. The metallic tang was hidden amongst a veritable hay-stack of armour and oil, and now it all crept viscously back to the centre of the room, filling the holes in the floor grate like a gross honeycomb.
   A scream pierced through the doorway, echoing around the room. Only, NO1SY felt like it emanated from right beside him at the same time. Still, he forced himself to tip-toe through the goop to stand in front of the beckoning threshold. He rolled his eyes, dismayed at the darkness within.
   “So it’s one of those movies huh…”




For a rundown of current MR Canon, check out Coryn’s Quick Guide here!
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 08:35:25 PM by NO1SY »

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2020, 06:47:14 PM »
Nice work Noisey! This is really shaping up to be something! Getting others into writing via War Arc was definitely the n my mind while putting it together. I just didn't think after all this time that it was actually going to work! Good on you for being the one!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline NO1SY

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2020, 02:16:39 AM »

Just kiddin’  :biggrin:

Offline legomaestro

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2020, 08:40:03 AM »
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS YET ANOTHER RAIDER JOINS CANON WOOT


Ahem.

At least the headphones are there indeed haha. Badass outfit as always. I have several questions about Oppai hell but I'll just let it be.

Total Dark Souls vibe from No1seys' struggles to try to get back to the city. A noice noice chapter entry I say.

It's funny how a crisis inspires good writing haha

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2020, 09:32:44 AM »
Cheers for the praise Lego  :biggrin:  I’ve had good help getting to grips with it.

I have several questions about Oppai hell but I'll just let it be.

I thought that might catch your attention! Just wait until you see what I have planned for what method NO1SY tries to get in touch with Legomaestro! (Provided that makes it into the final edit... Still yet to be written...)

Anyways yeah, felt like I wanted to do something creative with all the extra free time since I’m using up my paid holiday, and Coryn so kindly put together his guide to the Canon, so bad-a-bing bad-a-boom - that’s me falling clumsily down the stairs into MR Canon and trying to play it cool as I slide in for the landing...

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2020, 11:17:58 AM »
As is our way. Few such smooth landings exist when getting into a world that's been building for so long. Sometimes you just gotta get into a Wikipedia hole y'know?

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2020, 08:06:54 PM »
And so it continues!

CHAPTER 2: DETOUR
Detour

Holy tan! What NO1SY wouldn’t have given for a pint as he snuck his way across the sands.
   The turret platforms wobbled in the heat shimmer ahead of him. The automated artillery launchers were still; a much different scene from the drum-roll of concussive kick-back he remembered as they fired away on the day of the invasion and cracked open the city dome. It seemed that Lost Chorus weren’t wise to him yet, but he wasn’t going to take any chances. He had no intentions of being popped in the head by a sniper on his approach.
   He snaked around the larger dunes so that he was never moving straight and out in the open for too long. He approached the field of artillery towers from the west, as indicated by the oppressive sun, which had yet to reach its zenith while silhouetting the city in the near distance. The platforms formed a diffuse ring around the entire walled city. As he drew closer to the turrets NO1SY could only snort. The pop-up platforms, which held terrifying weapons that wrought such destruction, were surrounded in holographic screens running adverts for the G-rated 4Kids licensed shows. There was irony here, somewhere...
   A happy-go-lucky Monkey D. Luffy grinned down at him as he crept forward, cheering for him to join the Straw Hat Pirates for the 6179th re-run of the 104 licensed episodes. But... that ends in the middle of the Alabasta Arc!? Thought NO1SY, confused. On a platform further to the right, a hologram ad ran for “Yu-Gi-Oh! GGGXVZ: School’s Out: Zernos 21: Cards of the Heart”, and further in he thought he could make out the disproportionately large, bug-like head of a Kamen Rider toddler on a trike. He was just arriving and this place was already making his skin crawl. Who knows what they had managed to do to the city.
   Upon reaching the hydraulic tower, hidden as it was behind a veil of bright cartoon colour, NO1SY peered around to the other side to assess his options. He guessed that he was about two kilometres out from MR City; close enough that it rose colossal up out of the desert sands ahead, providing a silvery backdrop for his dilemma. Nothing seemed particularly promising. The sand was flattened substantially here, providing little opportunity for cover between the turrets, which were spaced just too far apart to be of much use themselves. On top of this, several convoys of soldiers and vehicles stalked across the sands. They could have been transporting supplies, or training, or patrolling, or a myriad of other military operations. What NO1SY was certain of however, was that there would be no sneaking past them. Not without being shot to shreds.
   Frustrated, he pushed off from his platform and began wheeling around the periphery a bit more, making use of what dunes he could. A thick sheen of sweat lathered his forehead and stung his eyes, and so he nearly didn’t notice that he had begun walking on what was more akin to a dirt road. It was the rumble of a heavy-set engine ahead that alerted him enough to run for cover. Sprinting off the road, NO1SY made for the largest dune he could find and launched himself behind it. Panting like a dog, he crawled to the top of the sand pile to get a look. The vista was much the same from this vantage, save for one key detail. The road he was on trailed into a dip in the ground that led to a cavernous opening beneath the sand, which was framed by a high-tech, trapezoid doorway. From the dark passage within emerged a platoon of Lost Chorus soldiers in formation around an armoured vehicle with a mounted turret. NO1SY had found an entrance to the desert facility.
   Prone on the crest of the dune, NO1SY watched the squadron come up onto the road to begin their patrol. As the beastly vehicle revved, he could feel the sand around him quake and tremble. They were seriously packing. He counted at least three rocket launchers carried amongst the relatively small contingent, alongside the combat rifles and grenades and other implements of death. What are they expecting to face out here exactly!? There was an answer to that question that NO1SY wanted to hear, but he had learned to not hope for too much in these times.
   The convoy was directly ahead of him now, and that’s when he experienced the sickening, lurching feeling. The dune he was spying from had been loosened by vibrations from the armoured vehicle and he was beginning to slide forward. Before long he would be tumbling forward on a dusty wake and landing right at the soldiers’ boots. Fighting against the panic, NO1SY quickly appraised the terrain either side of him and then, instead of allowing himself to be carried with the falling sand, he launched himself leftward into a sideways roll down the slope at a different angle. He spun and slid and bounced, flicking up puffs of sand into the desert breeze and into his mouth and eyes. Then he landed in the shrub he had been aiming for. He couldn’t see, but he knew because it was bare and spiny and bit into him uncomfortably. It was also shielded from the road by a low sandbank. NO1SY lay there still, fighting against the urge to untangle himself from the itchy clutches of the shrub, or to wash out the sand that caked his tongue and burned his eyes. He just listened.
   He could hear the steady gurgle of the engine, and the whirring of the swivelling turret. They’ve stopped! NO1SY worried, confirmed by the faint crunch of a couple of pairs of boots as they left the dirt road towards him. He held his breath. He could no longer hear the footfalls as the soldiers left the road for the desert sands. His chest burned for air and he itched all over something fierce. But he dared not move nor make a sound as he waited for a gun barrel to poke against his skull.
   “Storm’s picking up.” Came the modulated voice from one of the soldier’s helmets, not more than ten feet away on the other side of the sandbank. Literally one more step up the bank and a quick glance down and NO1SY was done for. He was beginning to get a headache.
   “Let’s get moving again so that we can be sitting cozy in the barracks when it hits.” Came an equally robotic sounding response. NO1SY held on until the footsteps resumed on the road and the engine roared and began moving along once more. Then he rolled to his side, tearing himself painfully out of the shrub, and vomited out a concoction of bile, saliva and sand. Lots of sand. He coughed and heaved in air greedily, until he choked and vomited again. Clawing for his water canteen, he poured some on his face, and rubbed to clear his eyes.
   That sucked… he thought as he shuffled his way to sit up against the sandbank, still gasping. His body felt weak with relief. He craned his head around to peer over the bank and watch the convoy amble away down the road. As he blinked away the stars from his puffy eyes, his mood sank once more. For all he had just suffered he was still no better off than before.

   Off in the distance, past the convoy, NO1SY’s gaze was drawn to something he found deeply unsettling. It was a sandstorm that swelled in twisting plumes of oranges and reds and browns. And something moved within. His breath caught in his throat and he quickly averted his eyes as if he had been caught staring at someone on the train, as if that would change the fact that it was here and it was headed this way. As he sat drained in the desert, a cruel chill ran down his spine. It’s coming! Thought NO1SY behind wide eyes, It’s… coming…? In that moment an idea crept into his mind. It was a crazy idea, verging on insane. He was beginning to like it more and more.
 


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« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 11:55:03 AM by NO1SY »

Offline NO1SY

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Re: MR War Arc: NO1SY
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 08:34:29 PM »
Let's keep this ball rolling!

CHAPTER 3: DRIFT
Drift

NO1SY spent the afternoon un-accosted amongst the dunes, cleaning a seemingly endless supply of sand from both his headphones and his handgun. It was still roasting as the sun slow-walked itself out across the sky, but the promise of something cooler was uplifting. He kept one eye on the approaching storm and another on the road. Unfortunately, the facility’s hefty mechanical door had slowly chomped shut to a siren’s bark while he had been chucking up his guts full of sand earlier. This made his infiltration a slight more risky. He knew, from his brief surveillance of Lost Chorus desert operations earlier in the day, that if one convoy began their patrol from this entrance, another convoy would end theirs here too. So to have the facility open its maw again, all he had to do was wait.
   Then would come the hard part.
   The wind was beginning to pick up and roll the sands around him. The sky was taking on a reddish hue. It would not be long now. NO1SY blew away the last few grains from his headphones, knowing full well the futility in this place, and hung them back on his neck. He found comfort in their embrace as he sat alone in the desert. With a long breath in, he shuffled around to a crouch in his spot within the drifts and kept a look out for an approaching convoy.

   They were cutting it closer than he would have expected of a Lost Chorus unit. By the time the patrol came into view on the road, billowing gusts were whipping sand into NO1SY’s face and the looming storm had cast a long shadow over the region. He avoided looking at the tumbling wall of sand for too long; he would get an uneasy chill down his spine every time he gazed too deeply.
   The convoy appeared to feel the same, as several of the more heavily geared soldiers clung to the external roll-cage of the armoured truck as it hummed along the road, while the rest jogged briskly to keep up. The churning storm was only a couple of hundred feet away from lashing at their heels, and it was gaining. NO1SY ducked low as they passed by, although he guessed they weren’t paying much attention to their flanks considering the circumstances. They began to descend the ramp to the mechanical door, which opened with a metallic groan and the blare of a siren as they approached.
   Now or never… thought NO1SY with a curt sigh. He stood and walked to the road, pulling his headphones over his ears as he went. The noise of the world - the engine, the siren, the storm - was immediately muffled. In position, he quickly prepared himself by shifting his weight onto his leading leg, bending slightly at the knees and leaning a touch forward. He could feel the storm reaching for his back.
   “Two-hundred BPM,” he declared to himself quietly. Ready, he tapped his headphones once.
   Power Metal electrified him.
   In the blink of an eye, NO1SY bolted down the road and ramp, leaving a thin line of sand kicked up in his wake. The convoy had only made it roughly twenty paces into the facility tunnel by the time he blitzed below the door, which was only just beginning to close. He tapped his headphones again.
   Metalcore boiled his blood.
   NO1SY braced himself as the bulky alloy door came down on him. He caught it with his hands and guided himself so that it landed across his shoulders, then he planted his feet and pushed back. He breathed sharply and sweat beaded quickly on his brow. It took everything he had to hold it up. Gears ground and metal twisted and whined as he strained to keep the jaws apart. It must have been rather pronounced, because two soldiers at the rear of the unit turned to identify the commotion. But they were too late.
   Before they could even raise their guns, the storm hit and NO1SY and the convoy were swept up by a violent torrent of sand.

   NO1SY found himself spitting out sand for the second time in one day. Still sucks…
   When he had stopped tumbling, the only part of him that was fully above sand was his left forearm, in which he clutched his precious headphones. It had taken a good few minutes to dig himself out from his impromptu burial.
   Free now and standing, he had to do a double-take to believe what he was seeing.
   “What the…” For as far as he could see, until the tunnel took a bend to the left, the floor was completely covered in sand. It was as if the desert itself had moved in. The mechanical door sat only two-thirds closed (at about the level where NO1SY had held it) as it chewed limply into a solid six feet of sand. Looks like I’m not the only one choking on this stuff. Still, NO1SY couldn’t help but groan, he had hoped to leave the desert behind and get his feet on some nice solid ground. All he had wanted was for the sandstorm to obscure his entry into the facility. Surely that was all he had wanted…
  How did this much sand get in anyway? I was knocked out from under the door almost instantly! NO1SY puzzled. The thought made him squirm.
   He began to shuffle cautiously down the tunnel. Several of the long white light tubes that ran along the top corners of the passage had been smashed, casting sections into shadow. One light flickered in the distance.
   After roughly sixty feet NO1SY stood next to the protruding corner of the up-turned armoured vehicle, completely buried save for a small section of rear bumper and the back half of a large tyre. He gave the bumper a couple of tentative kicks and listened for a response. None came. The blood in the sand had been a bit of a give-away.
   The desert’s invasion continued on for quite a ways, the sand piled high for a good few hundred feet as the tunnel swung around its bend, until it eventually tapered out when the confines of the corridor opened up into a large room. NO1SY slid down the unsteady slope onto a blissfully solid floor. His boots still crunched atop a thin and endless gritty layer, which would make it harder to sneak around, but at this point he really didn’t care.
   The room was a hexagonal garage of sorts. The surviving lights were either inadequate for full illumination or erratically struggling to function at all. Still, NO1SY managed to squint through the awkward dimness and take stock of his location. Rows of armoured vehicles sat parked in bays along the right hand side of the space. The far left corner was a dedicated workshop space, with three hydraulic lifts benching vehicles in different states of repair and togetherness. The far right corner led to a darkened bay set back into the wall. A long barrel and wide treads poked out of the shadows, indicating the particular composite armour beast that slumbered within. To his immediate left, supply and ammo crates were stacked in piles or filed on giant shelving units. A meshed walkway lined the edges of the room overhead, and the stairways leading to it flanked either side of a large open doorway on the left hand wall, which fed deeper into the facility. To NO1SY, however, the most obvious feature of the room was the silence.
   He crept forward, flinching at every crunch until the floor in the central portion of the room became a metal grate that the sand couldn’t find purchase on.
   A tiny sound and NO1SY had whipped himself around, gun immediately trained on the precise source. He forced himself to let go of the breath he was strangling in his lungs.
   “Piece of...” he grumbled at the parked forklift in front of a pile of crates. But then the sound happened again followed by a humming flicker of a light. Drip. NO1SY watched the ripple on the floor beneath the fork. It glistened crimson in the fleeting glow. “...crap…”
   It was everywhere, like someone had set off a paint-bomb that had plastered almost every inch of the room in a deep red. The metallic tang was hidden amongst a veritable hay-stack of armour and oil, and now it all crept viscously back to the centre of the room, filling the holes in the floor grate like a gross honeycomb.
   A scream pierced through the doorway, echoing around the room. Only, NO1SY felt like it emanated from right beside him at the same time. Still, he forced himself to tip-toe through the goop to stand in front of the beckoning threshold. He rolled his eyes, dismayed at the darkness within.
   “So it’s one of those movies huh…”



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