8th Official Tournament: Round 5!
Even if you ignore the whole “being the only sentient life form in the entire universe that is able to recall a period of history in which time and space were actually bounded by laws that kept life coherent and stable” thing, I’ve always considered myself to be a relatively lucky person. The number of Rock Paper Scissors matches that I’ve won greatly outnumber those that I’ve lost, and not once have I ever purchased a lottery ticket without winning at least some sort of prize. I wish I could say that the inexplicable affection that the cosmos hold towards me is the main reason as to why I’m still alive right now, but unfortunately I know all too well that there’s a much more significant purpose for my proliferation than what I’ve been told. Besides, at the end of the day the simple fact remains that the Quarks could have chosen any old person on this planet to embed themselves within, but for some hapless reason they had picked me. I suppose that it wouldn’t be all that much of a stretch if I said that I had used up more than my fair share of luck prior to now and have been forced to endure the consequences in the form of being made into the unluckiest person in the entire world.
The day began with two suns rising in the east and one in the west: not exactly the most agreeable of conditions for a ten-person convoy that had to trek its way across the treacherous Canadian wasteland. We took cars and trucks for as long as we could before being forced to switch over to bio-rigged dune buggies and experimental Waste Walkers, the pungent odors of which being almost too much for even the iron-stomached B-Mah to handle. Once we reached the infamous Niagara Bonecase a few hours later, we left our vehicles to be devoured by the ravenous hordes of mechanized protovultures before beginning our ascent of what I recall was once a proud and noble waterfall, now reduced to nothing more than a highly disorganized pile of human remains.
Division One: Move It Groove It [Standard]
Somewhere way off in the distance we could hear the sounds of Division One waging an intense battle. It felt oddly sobering to realize that the tournament didn’t bring itself to a standstill out of respect for us having left the FFR Governing Staff complex in order to seek out the rumored location of the elusive third Quark. If anything, the war was carrying on with more steam than ever before. Far too many lives had been lost over the last few days for us to produce an accurate measurement. However, despite their numbers continually dwindling down towards the inevitable sole survivor, the atrocious discords of fierce bloodshed never lessened by even the slightest amount. The Desire Drive phenomenon that had plagued the division’s physical forms the last time that I had come across them had apparently been rectified during my absence. Now, in what many have interpreted as being a particularly macabre celebration, they were commemorating the return of their proper bodies by intensifying their respective offensives to nearly catastrophic degrees.
“Gosh darn savages,” General Jimerax muttered under his breath.
“Hey, come on now, we all started out in D1 too!” Professor Halogen laughed. “Just let them Move It Groove It for now. They’ll tire themselves out by sundown anyways.” He paused. “Well, assuming that there is a sundown tonight, of course!”
Division Two: Futari, Hajimari.
Bones cracked and turned to dust under our heavy footsteps as we continued to ascend the Bonecase. A ceaseless stream of perspiration streaked down from my forehead and irritated the entirety of my face with an itch that would remain unscratched thanks to the fact that my hands were presently bounded together behind my back with poison-enriched handcuffs. Every so often Professor Halogen would look over his shoulder and proudly display a smug expression in my general direction, one that made me consider pursuing my options for escape all that much more.
“Sir, we just got some news in,” A2P, one of the Governing Staff interns, suddenly called out. “It’s Division Two. They’ve…they’ve…”
“Paired up?” Professor Halogen interrupted the pallid-faced child. “Yes yes, I see, it’s just as we predicted then. Futari, Hajimari. Named for the Japanese’s week-long festival in which they bind together with their loved ones and experience their day to day lives as a single entity, so too does this phenomenon cause two combatants to fuse together irrespective of whether they want to or not. Essentially the playing field just became a bit of a buy one get one free sale: take out one person and you’ll take out two. This should be a very interesting turn of events indeed.”
Division Three: Beatrice
The next few hours that passed by provided little in the ways of eventfulness aside from an unfortunate incident involving femur-induced hysteria. It wasn’t until we had reached final stretch of the Bonecase that everything went to hell. There, with its body appearing as a silhouette due to the three suns just over its shoulder, was Beatrice. Similar to the Jazzman, Beatrice was a powerful entity with international renown for possessing the ability to comprise any physical form that it so desired to, just so long as it met a minimal height of at least thirty meters. Today it had assumed the likeness of a rather barbaric monster, complete with slimy tentacles that stretched out for kilometers upon kilometers and a mouth full of whirring buzzsaw teeth.
“Yowzas! Where the heck is Division Three when you need them?” B-Mah cried out.
“Probably wiped out by that thing already!” Jimerax solemnly lamented. “Come on, let’s get the h-e-double-hockey-sticks outta here before it gets us too!”
“No!” Professor Halogen promptly shouted back. “There is a way!”
Division Four: Into Your Eyes (Boyinaband Remix)
The Professor spun around and confidently strutted over to me in perfect synchronicity with the monster bellowing a hollow, unearthly shriek. “You,” he said. “You can save us. The power is within yourself, and I don’t mean that as some lame after-school special sort of thing either! I need you…no, we all need you to quite literally go inside of yourself and confront that which is hidden within!”
“Uhh…okay?” I uneasily replied. “If you take off my handcuffs then I suppose that I can give it a try, whatever it is.”
Halogen shook his head. “That’s not necessary. Actually, if anything, the handcuffs will be of great assistance to you. All you need to do is to take the two Quarks that are bonded to your nervous system and redirect them Into Your Eyes.”
An immense amount of pain wreaked havoc throughout my already frail body as I complied with the Professor’s request. “Now what?”
“Now we do this,” he said as he rummaged around within the depths of his back pocket until he eventually came across the object of his desires. A small cosmetics mirror, the surface of which ornately engraved with the letters P.A., was soon unearthed and shoved directly into my face. For a moment I caught a glimpse of my reflection, my hair hilariously disheveled and my skin clinging for dear life onto the rest of my face, before the two Quarks within my eyes consumed my consciousness and took me to a place far removed from both the rattling Bonecase and Beatrice’s increasingly large figure as it angrily ran towards us.
Division Five: Crow’s Ghost
The sweltering heat of the Canadian wastes soon vanished and were instantaneously replaced with a temperature that was neither hot nor cold, warm nor cool, comfortable nor uncomfortable– it simply was. Interminable darkness constituted the entirety of my surroundings and stretched on for as far as my eyes could see. This place had no ceiling, no floor, no anything: in this world, it was only me and the pale birdlike entity that was hovering within arms length of my chest.
“Hello Plopadop,” it spoke, its voice mimicking mine to a uncannily high degree of accuracy. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you in the flesh. I am the Crow’s Ghost, the keeper of the Quarks. However, disdain towards. I too wish to see its decimation and for life to return to the ways of the old.”
“Oh yeah? If you’re not the one that’s responsible then who is?”
The ghost remained silent for a disproportionately lengthy stretch of time. “Such matters are of petty concern. The rest of your kind can debate amongst yourselves once all is rendered stable. You are above that. You hold a much higher purpose, one that nobody else can fulfill.”
“Why me though? Why not some other random schmuck? What did I ever do to deserve all of this?”
Even if only for a snapshot moment in time, I could have sworn that the ghost had smiled. “There will come a day in which you will learn the truth. For now though you must simply trust me.”
Division Six and Seven: Infinity
“Trust you? Why? What the hell do you want me to do?” I asked it, all the while making a point of expressing my impatience. “Should I harness the power of the Quarks, believe in the power of friendship and emerge from this cliched metaphor for introspection in order to fire a big laser beam that takes Beatrice and allows the rest of us to collect the third Quark? And then what, are we going to collect the fourth one, fight the person responsible for all of this, and maybe even learn that a bad guy wasn’t all that bad while a good guy wasn’t all that good? In a world as messed up as this, there’s no way that something so hackneyed could be possible!”
“No, that will not occur,” the ghost replied with saintlike calmness. “Or, rather, that did not occur. You see, the world persists outside of this realm. Beatrice has been defeated by the group that you refer to as Division Three, the third Quark has been collected, and your convoy is already traveling towards the fourth. Similarly, collecting all four Quarks will serve to do nothing but proliferate the reign of the FFR Governing Staff.”
“Then why are we doing all of this?”
“Because,” the ghost spoke, “it’s the only way for you to reach Infinity.”
22 Responses to “8th Official Tournament: Round 5!”Leave a Reply
You must be logged in or registered to post a comment.