The Glory of God

Here’s another brief piece of fiction, introducing another character I’m working on. Chughes made a post on the trials of fiction writing, and the balance of single-character introspect verses character interaction. I’m in the same boat, but on the other side—I can write two characters together in a serious scene, and I can write about things happening, but as soon as a plot slows down, so do I.

Well, in any case, here’s the introduction of a character named Sara. I should give a dual warning: first of, these characters are going to be part of a cyber-punk universe, so be prepared for occasional sci-fi elements creeping in. Second off, this particular revolves around a video game, and contains minor vulgarity and bloodspray. If you don’t want to read either of these things, I would recommend you go down to a different post, and read that.

In any case, enjoy.

————————————————————–

The only light in the room is the soft glow coming from a pair of specs. The room is small, though, and the dim light it well. The specs are resting on the face of a girl, who is sitting in front of a desk looking for all the world like she’s unconscious—she’s limp like the wadded clothes that are strewn across the floor, and her mouth is hanging open just wide enough for bugs to make their way inside.

The only telltale signs that she’s even alive are occasional twitches. Her mouth will close to swallow now and again, or her jaw will clench. The muscles along her cheekbones shift now and again, presumably to squint or widen her eyes. It’s hard to tell if that’s the case, though, because her eyes are invisible behind the specs. She has the opacity set to max, and so the lenses might as well have been spray painted white.

In the real world her name is Sera Bevens, but that doesn’t matter at the moment. Nothing in the real world matters at the moment because, as might be seen from her zombie-esque state, Sera isn’t currently a resident of the real world. Sera is currently in the middle of an advanced fortress somewhere light years from earth. Most of the details about this fortress are inane and unimportant. What is important about the fortress is that it’s been partially destroyed, and huge hunks of metal are strewn about conveniently for use of cover.

Sera has about eighty three percent of her body armor left, and her shields are recharging at an acceptable rate, which means she’s better off than most of her opponents. She has a shotgun as her primary weapon (it’s the best for one on one close encounters, and this fortress throws a lot of those at you) and a long range rail gun thrown over her shoulder should any sniping opportunities pop up. She also has a single incendiary grenade, but those are by and large useless unless she’s in a close quarters free for all, so it will no doubt stay by her side in reserve.

Also, her name isn’t Sera right now. It’s The Glory of God. The Glory of God named herself this for one specific reason: the rush of satisfaction she gets whenever she does… this.

In the real world, one of Sera’s fingers, which is encased in a heavy, almost gauntlet like glove, twitches. In the space-fortress, The Glory of God, who has worked her way up to the rafters, pulls out her rail gun and takes aim. Somewhere, some two hundred meters below her, another player collapses with a staggering amount of nothing where most of him was supposed to be. That person, who’s name was pen15m4n, is probably sitting somewhere on the other side of America staring dumbly at the inside of his specs, which are displaying his dead body and the words “You have been killed by The Glory of God.” The Glory of God can’t see the words, but she knows that they’re there, and it fills her with satisfaction all the same.

Sera is grinning. The specs, which take the basic concept of wrap-around sunglasses and surgically remove all the ugly bits, are flickering spectacularly with backlight reflections of the images being sent directly to Sera’s eyes. The earpieces wrap around the back of her ears and then plug directly into her cochlear canals, simulating perfect surround sound. She even has a special attachment that juts off one side, runs down her right jaw and then up to her mouth, so she doesn’t have to rely on the shitty microphone that the specs originally came with. Where she in a team-based match, she’d be using this to be in constant communication with her allies. She doesn’t really play this game to communicate, though. She plays for the blood spray. In free for all matches like this, she seldom uses it.

Other, like the kid she just pegged, do. “Jesus Christ!” he screeches, and The Glory of God can tell from the voice that he’s too young to be playing a game this violent. “Camping whore!”*

“I know,” says another soul, who she had demolished a few minutes earlier. “I think she’s hacking.”

The Glory of God is used to this sort of audio, and ignores it. She sees another likely target, but he’s hiding a bit too well to snipe. She shoulders her rail gun, pulls out the shot gun, and dives from her peak in the rafters like an eagle with a shot gun.

The maneuver she is attempting to pull requires her to steer a free fall with a back-mounted jet back, aim, and turn all at once. It takes near-perfect coordination to pull off, but this isn’t much of a problem, because The Glory of God makes a habit of being perfect.

She drops right in front of the shmuck, with both barrels leveled at his nose.

The game is graphically unrealistic. In the real world, Sera flicks two of her fingers in her gauntlet. In the space-fortress, the guy’s head explodes, spattering The Glory of God and the surrounding area with three metric blood-drives worth of people-juice.

This makes her eighth kill since her last spawn. Were this a one on one match, it would be no big deal, but this current round is a brawl-type match with about thirty players at any given moment. The average lifespan for a combatant in a game like this is less than a minute, and a normal player is lucky if she gets more than a single kill in that time. The Glory of God is no normal player, though. She averages four to five kills per spawn—she’s an elite. Eight kills is still a lot, though, even for her, and she can’t help but be a little impressed with herself.

In the process or scoring her eighth kill The Glory of God had dropped down into a mesh of shredded steel siding which resembles a some sort of jungle-gym turned evil, like a playground had wandered into a knife shop and had an accident. It’s dangerous, because it gets extra-hard to maneuver, and enemies can hide anywhere.

Sera’s hand is moving frantically, her five fingers squirming like the legs of an ant under a magnifying glass. On the inside of her gauntlet are countless little pressure-sensitive joints and panels, little gyroscopes and wireless transmitters and LPSs (Local Positioning Systems) that tell two hundred fifty six separate processing units what’s happening with the glove. When she wants to fire, she taps her index finger against the table top. When she wants to change weapons, she thrusts her thumb out then drags it in towards her palm. To jump, she simply lifts her palm off the desk, and The Glory of God’s back-mounted boosters catapult her forward into space.

Sera’s going into her third hour of gaming though, and so none of this is even on her conscious anymore. It’s taken a long time for her to get as good as she is, and by now her brain’s adjusted. She thinks jump, and it happens in the game. The fact that her palm lifts from the surface of the desk doesn’t even register in her mind anymore, and she merely recognizes the spinning of her vision as The Glory of God’s jets go off, slinging her forward like a skipping stone fleeting across the surface of a lake.

In the middle of flight, a camper from some higher level snipes her. It’s a head shot, that cuts through her shields and body armor and thunks into her skull like a shotgun shell hitting a watermelon.

Sera’s lips pull in a sudden grimace. On her specs, the view shifts so that she’s viewing The Glory of God’s body from an angel’s eye view. The now-useless hunk of meat continues to careen across the charred landscape, where it splats uselessly against one of the fortress’s far walls and flops to the floor.

“Shit,” is the first thing Sera says into her microphone, then, to concede that a headshot against an airborne target is no small feat, “Nice one.”

Her specs dull just a little, and a bold number 10 in angry orange appears on her lenses. It counts down slowly, one number per second, and she prepares, suddenly keenly aware of the soreness in her finger joints and wrist. She rotates the gauntleted hand twice, wriggles her digits, and then plops it down heavily on her desk again.

The number reaches 0, and then her specs glare to life again. Her vision swims in a sudden, spontaneous, unloving birth, and The Glory of God is alive again.

—————————

* Camping refers to a strategy used in many games which involves sitting in a single spot with a sniper rifle, and picking off enemies as they come into range. While tactically sound, it is normally considered a form a cheating. The phrase “Camping Whore” on the other hand has little to do with camping. Rather, it is the mating cry of adolescent boys who lack any form of gaming skill in the first place, and try to make up for it by being fowl-mouthed.

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4 Comments

  1. Chase said,

    July 9, 2007 at 5:26 am

    I love the last line of this test writing piece. Though I like how “You were killed by The Glory of God” sounds this last line seems to flow a lot better. Maybe its because I know you and while the “kill” line was expected the “alive” line was not.

  2. chughes said,

    July 9, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    i agree with Chase regarding those two lines.
    i like this because it is not what i usually read. The pace is good, steady and there are enough details to inform a sci-fi novice (like me) but it’s not so much that it detracts from the story.

  3. Hannah said,

    August 4, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Okay, this is ireally ntruiging. Someone somewhere sometime needs to fill me in on this world of sci-fi. I feel like I’m wandering around in the dark when there’s a light swtich somewhere waiting to be found.

    Aha! Finally—I found someone new to the world of SF. Thanks so much, for the comment Hannah. Yes, sci-fi can be incredibly confusing for the unwary, and the worst part is is that there aren’t really ‘good’ places to start. It’s the sort of thing you have to jump in and hope you can swim with. But, nevertheless, it could certainly be that we writers could make it easier to swim, or provide little water-wings.
    That’s one of the things I always try to do—give a reader a chance to understand what my twisted imagination is thinking without drowning in it. It’s something I can always improve on.
    Thanks!
    ~DK

  4. March 28, 2008 at 12:19 am

    […] wrote about Sera in The Glory of God. You’ll notice that there’s a lot of her behavior in there, but her personality is a […]


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