Tuesday, 16 June 2009
My eyes strain under the purposefully dim flickering halogen light strips, as I follow the dank dungeon tunnel. My wrist is beginning to hurt as I point this oversized gun into the corridor. This model can kill anything I point it at.
But if I were to die right now, it wouldn’t matter.
Through the dull drone of a generator somewhere inside the complex, another distant machine hums. I’m listening.
At least the power’s still on. The company has a habit of cutting it without warning, and always at the wrong moment.
The ‘bot emerges fast, tracks rotating, driving toward me. I aim for the engine, trigger depressed, as its side mounted arsenal returns fire. My pulse quickens, noticeably forcing itself under the skin on my trigger finger. The machine’s radar and camera explode, but not even the protective metal body suit- tailored to fit, typically- can deflect the bombardment of enemy bullets. I keep firing. I don’t even feel the heat. I only register adrenaline, or anger, as it pumps through me like a hard drug to which I am addicted. My reinforced visor eventually cracks, distorting my vision. The synapses fire wildly around my brain, causing me to crave destruction, the nozzle of the weapon blazing with equal ferocity.
The ‘bot lies on its side now, blackened by the rounds from my gun. I edge past it towards a tunnel opening, avoiding the massive barrels still spraying fire into the tunnel and chipping the concrete floor.
Emerging to a battered, scorched landscape, I realise the acid rain will rust my armour, slowing me, if refuge isn’t found soon.
I have never seen this part of the land before. I can hear the low hum of the rescue ship’s engine, ready to lift me. The ground should tremble with the bass, but it doesn’t…
I look up, excited- the ship, also new to me, is immense. The end, for the moment at least, is near.
Bullets whip into the ground around me. I spin to the tunnel entrance as another bot fires off rounds, damaging my metal exoskeleton. Through cracked glass I see my own ammo rip into this pig-sized tank, making it squeal as the hardware short-circuits. Its engine erupts in a ball of fire as pride swells in my throat. I don’t smell the burning fuel or feel the heat from the blast, but I register only the urge to keep my finger on the trigger. In a matter of seconds I will be safe-
The screen goes black, and my lamp turns off. Across the street a burglar alarm rings.
I throw the joypad on the carpet as the monitor emits a diminishing crackle of static. Another power cut. I didn’t even save the game. I want to kill something.