8th Official Tournament: Round 2!
It’s now been a little more than a week since the war first broke out. Even now, after most of the dust has settled and my disjointed thoughts have had time to adequately precipitate within my mind, I’m still not entirely sure as to what exactly gave rise to this foul bloodshed. It’s as if one evening the people that once peacefully resided along the FFR peninsula had gone to bed as per the norm and then for some inexplicable reason had woken up the next morning with an insatiable appetite for carnage and destruction. Some of my co-workers have been whispering about warring states, political factions attempting to commandeer natural resources and the like, but I don’t believe them. I mean, why would we be sending entire divisions to the polar ends of the Earth if this was just a self-contained phenomenon? I know that war can drive entire countries insane and push them to the threshold of depravity, but at the same time I also know for a fact that what we’ve been witnessing thus far goes above and beyond the level of destruction outlined in the history books.
“Ensign Plopadop!” a gruff voice suddenly called out from behind me. Immediately snapping out of my stupor, I took a fleeting glance over my shoulder to see Professor Halogen walking in my direction, his hands clutching onto a tray that held an identical meal to the one that I was presently ingesting. “Spacing out again, are we?”
“Y-yeah, sorry,” I awkwardly replied before taking a spoonful of applesauce into my mouth. The substance was bitter and tasteless, just like the man who soon sat himself down opposite to me.
“Nothing to be sorry about,” he smiled. “Just don’t forget that you have a job to do here. Many people are counting on you, myself included.”
“Yes sir.” I paused before adding, “So, how are things looking?”
Division One: Reset
“There’s been a Reset for Division One,” he listlessly informed me. “The time-space continuum there is quite volatile so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but seeing it happen with your own eyes is really…well, you’ve read the textbooks, haven’t you? Personally, I think it may have something to do with the Silvuh Faction’s introduction of triples, but we’re still looking into it. Still, having to put up with a Shift on top of the fighting is really going to do a number on every side’s forces, ours included.”
“What are the projected losses?”
“Approximately twenty-seven percent, give or take.”
I mindlessly sipped my vitamin supplement. “Christ.”
Division Two: Wonder World!
“On the brighter side though, the combatants in Division Two have a real wonder world in comparison to their D1 allies. The weather’s been nothing but bright blue skies and there haven’t been any major hitches in the plan as of yet. I know, I know: knocking on wood, but whatever. Much of the fighting is taking place in and amongst the Kagerow River area though so it’s not exactly easy for us to get any precise figures. We were, however, able to sneak in a few biospies and we’ve picked up some traces of dreamy pop core. You know what that means, right?”
“Yeah, low cutoffs,” I replied with mechanical efficiency.
Professor Halogen winked. “Precisely.”
Division Three: Blue Marine
“What about Division Three?”
“Eh, it’s a fairly typical Blue Marine routine. It’s cutthroat, but at the same time it’s only water combat. The biggest problem is that the troops don’t have all that much ozone down there so only those that are familiar with the Elite Ninja technique are able to remain submerged for long enough to make any serious progress on the seabed.” He pauses. “It’s a real shame that we’ll have to lose ParagonX9 Island as a result of the eruption though. Oh well, what can you do, right?”
I had been to ParagonX9 Island once, long before this all began. The mere thought that we were going to destroy so much Newgroundian history in the name of eliminating such a small percentage of enemy forces made me nauseous, but at the same time I knew that there wasn’t much else that could be done. In the Professor’s words, this was, “Simply how it worked.”
Division Four: Walk on Water
“Those bastards in Division Four are having loads of fun I bet,” Professor Halogen scoffed a few moments later. “Must be nice.”
“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“The Devs just affixed their newfangled HG7-8 augmentation to most of their rigs.”
“HG7-8?” I confusedly repeated.
“The Walk On Water module. It allows them to keep the water-faring D3 folks safe when they surface for air by allowing them to hover, glide and even climb using the Peninsula’s basin as a fuel source. Apparently they’re having a blast. Over half of them have achieved AAA rankings in their flights, which is a hell of a lot better than what they pulled off in training.”
Division Five: Oops
Professor Halogen’s gaze met mine for a brief moment in time. Both of us knew fully well what was going on with Division Five; after all, one would have to blindfold and deafen themselves from the constant vespam broadcasts if for some strange reason they desired to remain ignorant towards the plights that D5 were suffering through. Jump-jacks, the sheer brutality of which not seen since the AIM Anthem massacre of the old times, had made short work of too many people to count. Even at that moment the precise number of causalities remained in a constant state of flux.
“YoshL has not been a kind god,” Professor Halogen muttered under his breath.
“Has he ever been?”
The man across the way from me emitted a throaty laugh. “Good point.”
Division Six and Division Seven: Beautiful Arrhythmia
“And the other two divisions…how are they faring?”
My companion shrugged his shoulders. “Fine, I suppose. Arrhythmiatic vapors were deployed with little to no success, but that’s the way those sectors work. I don’t know how those lost souls can stand not only working but actually thriving in such a…peculiar place.”
I nodded my head and kept my disagreement internalized. “Yeah, they’re a bunch of weird ones alright.”
Before I was able to question him any further about the status of the upper divisions, Professor Halogen suddenly stood up. Looking down, I noticed that where there had once sat a colossal lunch there now remained nothing more than an empty plate, some dirtied cutlery and a balled-up napkin. “Well, I’m done,” he laughed with sarcastic remorse. “I suppose it’s back to work for me then. I look forward to hearing your report at the afternoon meeting. Enjoy the rest of your meal, Ensign.”
“Thanks, I will.”
It wasn’t until Professor Halogen was long out of sight that I allowed my expression to droop and my fist to come slamming down onto the vacant portion of the table adjacent to my tray.
“Don’t worry,” I attempted to console myself as I vacantly stared downwards into my colorless mess of food. “I’ll stop this. I’ll get you back to where you belong.”
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