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Heroes Community > Age of Heroes Coliseum > Thread: Xhane Contest - Short Story Competition
Thread: Xhane Contest - Short Story Competition
Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted May 31, 2010 11:41 AM
Edited by Elvin at 19:26, 01 Jun 2010.

Xhane Contest - Short Story Competition

One of the fie individual competitions promoted by Xhane, the new Community Developer for Might&Magic. As the title suggests the goal is to write a short story with the top entry gaining some of the clash of heroes figurines as the prize. Anyone can join, no formalities as registering though I'd like to know who will participate. The entry is not limited by a specific genre or setting like might&magic, surprise me Only one entry per contestant allowed.

Start writing!


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Mytical
Mytical


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Chaos seeking Harmony
posted May 31, 2010 11:42 AM

Do we post them here or hcm them, or link them?  Oh and I can judge if you need one .. but I would like somebody to judge my entry also
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted May 31, 2010 12:03 PM

You post them here of course. And thanks for offering
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A sea without waves is no longer a sea. It's a pond.

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Mytical
Mytical


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Chaos seeking Harmony
posted May 31, 2010 12:13 PM

R.E.A.L.

Reading data file

Initializing systems

Primary systems online, powering unit.

Her eyes opened. That dream again. What could it all mean. She'd been having it for a year. Sometimes it was just green words against a blackness. Other times she woke in some sort of laboratory, and yet other times she would have flashes of memories that were not hers.

Sighing she turned over and lay for awhile on her back. Looking around her dismal apartment, sometimes she wished the dreams were the reality. Yeah, a super soldier prototype. To bad she was actually a meter-maid, making less then twenty thousand a year. Some glamorous life.

The irritating sound of her alarm pierced through the air. Grumbling she slowly got up and turned it off. Soon she was out the door, ready for another 'exciting' day of giving people tickets. One hundred dollars for not having fifty cents. If it wasn't so sad, she'd laugh.

Another long boring day passed, just punching the clock. In and out, barely even having to think. Another cog in the machine of life. Life just doesn't get any better.

She threw her bag onto her chair, and started to prepare something to eat. After it was done, she sat in her chair watching tv, eating but not really tasting anything. Her eyes closed for a moment.

Threat detected, intruder present, initiate survival mode

Her eyes flew open and she pushed herself back in the chair, turning it over. A millisecond later a bullet ripped past where she would have been. "What the heck just happened."she thought as she rolled out of the way as more bullets continued to assault the chair. "Where did that thought come from, who the heck is trying to kill me." it was if her body was not hers. She was moving, and aware of all her actions, but not in control.

With inhuman reflexes she reached the kitchen and obtained several knives. It was still unclear where the person or people were who were shooting at her, but it was if something in the back of her mind already knew. A knife streaks out of her hands, and she could hear a thump, followed by a grunt. Before the person hit the ground she had already thrown 3 more, all with the same result. Not one miss, and she didn't even know where they were!

Major threat detected, escape protocol 5 initiated. screamed something in her head. Next thing she knew she was throwing herself out of her window seconds before a large explosion dismantled it. Falling 5 stories, she hit the pavement hard. It felt like every bone in her body shattered into tiny pieces. For about a split second. Then suddenly it didn't hurt anymore. Mere seconds later she was up and running, she didn't know to where.

Fighting for control of her body was useless. No matter how she struggled, whatever that voice was, it was in command. Thing was, she wasn't sure it was a good idea to fight it anyhow, so far it had saved her life. Wait...did that mean it wasn't a dream...

After what seemed like an eternity she heard that voice again. No threats detected initiate standby mode. She had went further and faster then she thought was humanly possible, and she was extremely tired. It was all she could do to keep from collapsing in a heap, but she found a tree to lean against. Sitting under it, she tried to catch her breath.

"What in the heck is going on. Why are there people shooting at me?" millions of other questions rocketed through her mind. Each led to a hundred other questions. Finally she had caught her breath and looked around.

She was sitting under a tree near a warehouse. It looked abandoned, probably for some time. Why would whatever was controlling her bring her here. Why not some police department? Maybe there were answers here, or were once, this place looked like it hadn't been used for a very long time.

Still it wouldn't hurt to look around a bit. She stood up and began to scout the area, trying to find a way in without breaking anything.
To her surprise the front hanger doors was unlocked. Inside it was pretty much empty except a stack of boxes in the back, and a few empty drums.

Checking around a bit, she decided that there was nothing left here. Maybe at one time the 'voice' had reason to come here, but it apparently was a long time ago. Just as she was getting ready to leave something caught her eye. A tube sticking out of one of the boxes. Everything else in here was empty. Deciding to examine it, she tried to pull it out.

A soft click is heard, and suddenly the floor was no longer under her. It was not a long fall, certainly no 3 stories, like her earlier fall. She landed in what looked like a old laboratory that had been gutted. Only one single computer was left, and it had her name on it. Literally.

So, maybe this wasn't coincidence she ended up here after all. Whoever had ran this place obviously had known she'd end up here eventually, and had left something here for her. Apprehensively she turned the computer on.

It took awhile, but the computer finally finished loading, and then a program started running. A video clip of .. herself came on the screen. "No," the person on the screen said, "you are not crazy. Have a seat, I have a lot to tell you, and it is not going to make much sense."

Getting comfortable Marissa watched the video enthralled. "You probably have a lot of questions, but unfortunately I only have some of the answers. You're going to have to figure the rest out on your own."

The screen displayed various different screens as the video continued. "What I do know is I'm..your...we are one of eight of a abandoned project. There were two initial prototypes, four more of that model, then two more second generation prototypes. We are one of the two second prototypes. One is fully human with the REAL system wired to their brain, the other is fully mechanical. I don't know which we are, but there is two ways to find out."

"One is to damage ourselves extensively, which I would prefer we not do. If we cut down to bone we would know for sure which we were. The only other possibility is a file in the military abandoned research files. It is code named REAL. Recon and Extermination Artificial lifeform. Though all but one was mechanical, this stood for the program, not the creations it was in. You need to find this file, and examine it, to find which you are. It contains pictures of all the models, including the flesh and blood human being."

The independent power supply of the computer started blinking. "Well, that is about the time I have. If you are here, it means that the government is trying to get rid of all evidence that this project existed. They have this place monitored, but it will still be several minutes before they show up. The REAL inside of you can supply you with tactical and surveillance knowledge, and get you in the place where the record is kept. One thing, however, it requires a lot of energy. I'd stock up on high sugar snacks. It's going to be a long long night."

The screen goes dark. Marissa sat there as long as she felt she could afford, trying to soak up all the information. "A robot? I can't be a robot..can I? I feel, I eat, I sleep...it's not possible. Am I dreaming?.......

After leaving behind the warehouse, Marissa didn't have a clue where to go or what to do. The thing in her head was supposed to be able to help, but she had no idea how to activate it, let alone communicate with it.

Analyzing all that she did know, she realized it wasn't much. At least she knew a few things. One, the computer in her head required energy. Two, it activated in times of stress. Unfortunately it took complete control over her, and got her as far away from that stress as it could. Then it shut down again. Which really didn't help her.

Still, something to keep her energy up would be a good thing. Only she had left her money, id, and everything back at her room. Which was now a smoldering mess. How was she supposed to get food now?

Query acknowledged, searching for solutions came that mechanical voice.

"Wait..your active? I thought you were in 'standby' mode. Whatever that is."

One query at a time, searching all possibilities

So apparently it had limits. At least in standby mode.

Options analyzed. Best option initiated, processing second query. Reply : Only combat mode is in full standby, basic systems still functional.

Her body started moving on its own again. "Would you stop doing that! Couldn't you just tell me where to go and what to do. At least if there is no threats."

Suddenly her body was hers again. Non-combat override initiated by host request. Proceed five blocks south, 2 blocks west. Further instructions will follow upon arrival.

"Wow, just like that? Cool. So, is it in your programming to tell explain to me a little more about what is going on?"

Affirmative, your clearance level is sufficient. From the data I gathered during the last conflict, I do not believe it was a government action. Too sloppy, and too public. It could however be the other REAL agents. Means we should only be facing 6 other actual threats, plus whatever mercenaries they could acquire. A good deal of which will no longer be a threat

"Six? But I thought there were eight total, wouldn't that be seven?" she had arrived at a ... junk yard.

Proceed to row 5, blue sedan, in the trunk you will find supplies. Negative, if the other second generation prototype was involved we would not be functioning. It would have anticipated our strategy and we would have been eliminated before we could have recovered

Sure enough right where the voice had indicated she found a satchel full of food, money, id's, the works.

Before her REAL could answer, it suddenly sent out that alarm. Combat override initiated, threat level major it warned, and she ducked just as a hand shot past her head. Whoever her assailant was, they were dead even matched. For every move she had they had a counter, and for every move they had the gadget in her head was prepared for. It was like fighting a mirror.

She could hear a voice. "Your good! Didn't think any of the early models could keep up. I don't care what kind of directive you have, you are not taking me without a fight!" It was all she could do to keep up with whoever it was, she was getting tired. Must be that energy thing the recording told her about.

"Wait! I am not here to hurt you!" she said even as she was ducking and weaving avoiding the blows that by her estimate could go through pure steel. "They are after me also!" unfortunately she couldn't override the combat mode. She'd have to hope that whoever she was facing could.

Sure enough the other figure jumped back about 20' in a single leap, keeping the combat stance, and ready to reengage at any time. "Don't know if I believe you, that would mean that you are the other prototype, which would mean this is one heck of a coincidence."

Threat level dropping, initiating guard phase

"Yeah, yeah. I sort of got that." she thought as she took up a defensive stance. "Look, we are not enemies. They are trying to kill us both. Can we stop trying to kill each other now?"

The other figure, who she could now tell was a man, laughed. "Well it will take a little time for the REAL to wind down, but I think we'll be ok as long as we don't get too close. Explains why you could keep up with me. That was some fancy footwork."

"So...am I the human one, or the artificial one? Am I real?"

"So you are the other prototype? I have about a million questions." Marisa sat down with a thump as she grabbed one of the snack bars. She had never been this hungry in her life.

"Unfortunately, I know about as much as you. Probably less. Throw one of those over here. I am starved!" he too began to snack after Marisa had complied. "Heck my REAL can't even tell me if I am the human or not. I think I am. I am pretty sure I am, but it doesn't know. Guess they didn't program it with that information." between the two of them they polished off the snacks in the bag. Luckily there was quite a bit of money if they needed it.

"We have to get to that place where they are holding the records. Only that record can explain which is which." Marissa saw the blank expression on his face. Apparently he indeed did not know as much as she did. "Oh, appears I left myself a message. Said there is a record in a government archive. May explain some other things also."

"Great! I don't know though. Does it matter? I mean, even if I'm not human. I know I have feelings, I hurt, I get tired. Would I be any less real if I was not a human?"

"I was thinking the same thing. There would be pictures of the ones trying to kill us though. That would certainly be helpful. Not like we can go to the police. They'd lock us up as insane!"

The guy laughed, but held his ribs. "Yeah, I guess they would. Maybe if we stick together we have a chance. Both of us surived their first attempt, maybe together we can take them down."

Marissa couldn't argue that logic. Something tugged at the back of her mind, but she just shrugged it off. It was good to have somebody watching her back.

The two of them rested and recuperated for a bit. "Well, I think it is time to find a place to rest the night. Then we have to find a way to get to that file. We need to know who we are up against if nothing else." Marissa decided.

"Yeah, hey I know a few people we might be able to trust. First thing tomorrow I'll make some calls. Don't worry I'll use a disposable cell phone."

"Ok, sounds good. Lets go."

It took awhile, but they found a hotel. It accepted cash, so they paid for a night. They didn't want any way of tracing them. After a hot shower Marissa felt much better.

About your question. I don't have that information. However, I did find a file that might be of interest. According to my data banks, there is a storage area not far from here. Inside is a data download device. It preforms a stealth download, but can not carry much information. Might come in handy. I am planning the best route to your objective currently

Marissa couldn't help but think to herself. "You feel so .. human. It is hard to believe you are just a machine. How did they ever manage true AI?"

Like you I have feelings, intuition, and my own opinions. I can even bypass most of my programming if I think it is essential. I wish I had answers for you, but I don't. You yourself said, it doesn't matter. We are as real as we choose to be.

The next day her mysterious partner calls up a few contacts. It takes awhile, but they show up, and boy do they deliver. State of the art breaking and entry gear, weapons, layouts, even a security pass. The fact that they had an unconscious guard with them, who was bound, explained the last. Which means they had until his normal shift to get in and get out, or most likely they never would.

They planned, plotted, and considered. Soon it was time, they were as ready as they were going to get. Before they left, Marissa snuck off and recovered the stealth download device. Might come in handy cracking the mainframe.

It didn't go down perfectly, but after a few rough patches Marissa was inside the area with the mainframe. She noticed a secondary system, one that had the names of several 'dissidents' who had issues with the REAL project. Some of them even looked like they were high ranking. On a hunch, she used her stealth downloading device on it.

Meanwhile while that was downloading, she used the one her partners contacts had suggested on the mainframe to download the R.E.A.L. file. Hiding the stealth download device, she returned to the others.

Her partner and the others congratulated her, patting her on the back, for a job well done. "Now, if you will hand over the R.E.A.L. file, slowly, we can finally end this." sure enough a weapon was pointed right at her head. She had been betrayed.

"I figured as much. Something seemed to good to be true, and then you knew about the attack. I never said anything about it." she was heartbroken. All this, and she would loose the file. "What does it matter? The file is still there..what was the point?!"

The guy backhands her sending her flying. "You stupid machine. You don't know anything do you. I am saving mankind from you and you and the other abominations. I am the only real human, even the others are not aware I am just using them. This file contains how we were created, it has to be destroyed! No more of us can exist. The device you used held a virus, nothing will be left of the original. Just like soon, there will be nothing left of this or you."

He looms over her weapon in hand, but for some reason her REAL hasn't kicked on. "Burn this, then kill her. Nobody will ever see this file, ever. Then scrap the others, it's time to end this."

"So what? Just because you think I am not real, I don't count? I don't matter? Are you so sure you are the real one. What if I told you I watched the files as they were being downloaded, and you are not the human?" She was bluffing, buying time. She hadn't seen anything. It was possible though, and she was certain he really didn't know for a fact he was the human.

"Impossible! I know I have to be the real one. My emotions, the pain I feel, no machine could feel those things!" still there was a hint of doubt in his eyes. Just as he turned to retrieve the disk, probably to examine it, Marrissa's REAL kicked on, just as they had planned from the beginning.

Before he could recover, or his REAL recognize the problem, she grabbed the disk and slammed into the guard near the rear of the vehicle. Since it was not a direct assault, nor likely to harm him, she knew his REAL would not quickly switch to assault mode.

Bursting out the back of the vehicle she hit the ground running. She could hear gunfire and cursing behind her, but none of the non-augmented ones had a chance of catching her. Just as she reached a small hill she heard a whistling sound. An explosion rocked right behind her, sending her tumbling down the hill. Rolling down the hill she felt something wet, then blacked out.

When she came too she in a boat, a rugged looking guy helping her out of the water. "You ok miss? No offense but you look like hell warmed over."

She could only grunt. At least she was alive, and there was hope. As she lifted her hand, part of that hope died. The REAL file disk was destroyed. She still had the other, it was in a waterproof bag in her jacket and still intact, but now she may never know if she was the real human or not.

Marissa was finally back on dry land. The person who had owned the boat had been very nice, and very worried about her. They had fed her, given her some extra clothes (that was about 2 sizes too big, but she was hardly in a condition to complain), and even wanted to track down the people who had put her in the water. She had politely declined the last.

She had them let her off nearest one of the names on that she had remembered from the list she was caring. Mr. Thompson, the guy who had rescued her, had given her his card. "Now if'n you change ye mind about findin' those lowlifes jus give me a call. Got me some friends still in the force, an they'll do right by ya." despite all she been through she believed him. If things got bad enough, she'd call.

Her R.E.A.L. had been rather quiet since she went in the water. At first she was worried it had somehow gotten damaged. Last night the truth had come out though. It was embarrassed. Problem was, the REAL had thought it should have known that the other one was going to betray her. So it was moping. She found it funny that it could mope.

Mumbling something about being more human then half the humans she knew she went to the address she had. She had picked a name in the middle of the list, convinced that first or last names would be the first ones the others checked.

Captain Stevie James, currently on leave to have a child. Marissa checked out everything before approaching, but if there was any surveillance they were VERY good. She had to take a chance eventually, so she went up and knocked on the door.

A woman opened up the door. She was a bit frazzled, but had a glow about her. "Yes? May I help you?" Stevie asked.

Elevated heart rate, slightly dilated pupils, shortness of breath. This person has been engaging in physical activity recently.

Mentally Marissa laughed. With a newborn, that is a given. They keep you on your toes "I really hate to bother you, but I really need your help. I was involved in the REAL project, and now I have been targeted to be killed."

The woman stared for a moment then grabbed her arm and pulled her inside. "Get in quick, before anybody sees you." Inside the house was almost spotless despite a newborn being present. Years of military discipline obviously helped when raising a child. "My god, I thought everything had been destroyed or buried so deep it would never surface again."

"I think they tried, but they missed something. Me." sighed Marissa.

It took a moment for what she was saying to sink in. "Your...your a REAL? Oh my god.." the captain sat down rather unceremoniously.

Unfortunately. Now they want to make me disappear like everything else, and I have nowhere to turn to."

Stevie sat for a moment thinking. "Ok, ok. Just give me a moment." A million different thoughts went through her head. About her child, about the danger, everything. Weighing everything. In the end, her sense of morality won out. She sighed. "I'll help. As much as I can."

Marissa relaxed, but just a little. She had been betrayed before. "I'm sorry. I know that I shouldn't have put you in this situation, but I really need somebody to do something."

"Everything will have to be below the radar, until we can get some proof. I have some people we might be able to trust, but I have no doubt you will want to talk to them face to face. One at a time of course. It won't be easy, and it might take awhile. A million things could go wrong..."

Marissa nodded. "Yeah, but it's better then the chance I have right now. Which is none. Any help you can give me will be appreciated. I'm just worried about you and your child."

"Let me worry about that. It's not right what we did to you, and its certainly not right trying to bury you. We made a mistake, and we should put it right. I know several of the project who feel the same. Some I just don't know how to get a hold of.."

"I can help there," offered Marissa, "I have a list." she hesitantly handed over the list.

"Ok, that will help. Were also going to need your help, though. In your mind is one of the most advanced tactical and recon computers ever. If we are going to have even a chance, we'll need all the edge we can get."

"What..what if I am not the human. What .. what if I am just a machine?"

"Well, what if you are? If you are, you didn't ask to be made. You didn't ask to be given a conscious, and you certainly didn't ask to be put on a hit list. Sometimes people just have to do the right thing..."

Something troubled Marissa while she slept. It had been awhile, but she was still exhausted from all the events that had transpired. Tossing and turning, she was running a fever. Probably from the icy water she had been forced into to escape.

A voice kept intruding on her slumber, and wouldn't go away. She wished it would leave her alone in the cool darkness of her sleep. Through the murkiness and grogginess, finally she started hearing what the voice was saying.

Override malfunction, alert alert. You need to get up, you need to get up now. Override malfunction, alert alert. Danger is eminent.

Marissa didn't know it, but the blast had given her a concussion. It interfered with the normal ability of the REAL to override her movements. Not to mention putting her in danger of not waking up.

When she finally fought out of the grogginess the REAL was able to assume control. Thank goodness, I thought I had lost you. We have intruders. They have already killed 3 guards and are on the way here. The guards are in danger, it is the two first REAL prototypes. We have to help.

As she raced to the rescue, she could hear the gunfire, and the screams. It only took a few minutes, but they could do some real damage in a few minutes. Quickly climbing the stairs, she finally saw them below her.

Her new allies were brave, and were doing what they could, but it was a slaughter. The two figures just kept advancing, mowing down everything in their path without emotion.

Grabbing a chain she jumped and launched herself at them, guns blazing. They were not like the other REALs however. They didn't feel, and had no emotion. The bullets ripped through them, but they remained standing. Both turned to advance on her, but they were rather slow and bulky compared.

At least she had lured them away from her friends. Now, she just had to find a way to stop them. She dived behind a nearby an empty oil drum as bullets barely missed her. It felt odd to be in full control of the amazing reflexes and speed granted her by her REAL. She wasn't sure why it was having trouble taking over, but didn't think it was a good thing.

Jumping out she riddled them with bullets again, but it was not very effective. They just were not able to be hurt, and their body was metal so bullets did little to them. Something bigger was needed, but she was running out of room, options, and time.

Thinking to REAL. "Give me some options here! Might as well be throwing spitballs at them. By the time my friends recover enough to help, it's going to be too late!"

I have ran every scenario, considered every option, and calculated every move possible. The combat area and available instruments are not conductive to our winning. Had you paused before jumping into the frey, I might have been able to achieve victory.

Great she thought, given a lecture by my own mind, what's next? Suddenly a brilliant idea came to her, but it was risky. More then likely the REAL had considered it and discarded it, but it was a chance, although a very slim one.

I advise against this action

"Too bad, you had your chance." she thought as she mustered all of her speed. She charged right at the two of them, guns blazing. They tried to zero in on her, but she was a bit too fast for their outdated systems. As they struggled to shot her, she charged right between the two of them. They turned trying to track her, and ended up shooting each other.

It was not enough to take them down, but it was enough to slow them down. She was past them, and had a little more breathing room. Just then she heard a familiar whistling sound, and something flew past her. A large explosion knocked her down, but she was relatively unharmed. The two other REALs were not so fortunate. Nothing remained of them besides two smoldering heaps.

Standing in the entrance was a rather rugged looking man, dressed in military fatigues. On his shoulder was a rocket launcher. "Stupid tin cans, ruining my beauty sleep. Don't they realize what time it is?" he looked at Marissa, and his eyes was cold. She realized he hadn't cared if she had been injured or worse in that blast.

He just turned away, lowering the launcher, and walked out not looking back

The next morning after the assault on the base by the two original REAL prototypes dawns. A virtual beehive of activity as people try to clean up the mess, bury the dead, and take care of the wounded. Marissa was feeling a bit sore, but compared to what could have happened she felt she got lucky.

Stevie and that mystery guy from last night were waiting on Marissa when she entered the meeting room. Maps and other intel were scattered across the table, and they were scouring all of it for details. "Ah just in time, I have to head out to take care of a few things, but Hanson here can catch you up. Major Hanson, Marissa. Marissa Major Mathew Hanson. I will leave you two to it."

There was a uncomfortable silence for a bit after Stevie left, so Marissa thought she would brake the ice. "Major Hanson, thank you for your.."

"Stow it coffee pot. I ain't helping you, I'm helping Stevie. For all I care they could recycle you. She asked me to help, so I'll keep your gears turning, but we ain't friends. I'll catch you up, cause those were here orders. Nothing else." the Major was quite frank about his feelings toward Marissa.

Marissa looked at the Major and then she lit into him like lightning. "Now listen here MAJOR, I'm not a blasted coffee pot. Nor a tin can, nor any other appliance. As for your so called help, you don't want to be here there is the door. You saved my life last night, and I won't forget it, but I'll not take that from anybody. Got me? Anybody!"

Hanson seemed unfazed by her tirade. "Well, the space heater has a backbone. I ain't here because of you, and only Stevie can ask me to leave. We don't have to be friends, as long as we get the job done. Just don't expect me to cry when they are scraping your wiring off of the floor."

Marissa started to say something, but Stevie came back about that time. "Enough you two. Mathew, I am surprised at you. Go prep the team, we are leaving soon." He just shrugged and departed, seemingly nonplussed. "Sorry about that Marissa, he was one of the strongest anti-REAL people I could find. He has an excellent strategic mind, even if he has the personality of a pit bull."

Marissa nodded slowly. "It's ok. Just keep him away from me and everything will be fine. Now, catch me up to speed."

Marissa hated that people were going to die because of her. With one or two exceptions they had all been wonderful, but time was running out. They knew where she was for sure now, and would be coming in full force. She knew pretty much what tactics they would use, and it would give them a fighting chance. Unfortunately, nothing short of a miracle would save them, or her.

They were trying, putting up booby traps, stacking objects to stop bullets, all sorts of things. There was even a small chance they might win. At what cost, though? They were up against the best minds in the military. Things that though they felt pain, needed a fatal shot to stop. They didn't need rest or sleep, never got tired, and didn't care if they got destroyed.

Are you sure that is wise? My calculations indicate that there is a 99% probability of death if you go through with this.

She didn't answer, they had gone through it a hundred times. It was the only way. As she slipped unseen through all the chaos and action, she made peace with her fate. It was for the best, she couldn't have more death on her hands.

Sure enough the REAL squad was already outside, getting ready to go in and kill everybody. Not even their relative emotionlessness stopped them from expressing shock when she stepped out where they could see her.

Immediately they looked around for some sort of ambush, but there was none. Marissa knew nobody even knew she had come out here. Unarmed, alone, and ready to end this.

"Well, go ahead. Here I am. I have too much blood on my hands already. You want to kill me, I won't put up a fight. Just end it."
Marissa was tired of all the running and fighting.

The person who had been chasing her smirked. "How noble, a machine giving up it's existence to protect humans. Ok, you got it. Time to end this."

He raised his weapon taking aim at Marissa. From this distance, with his REAL, there is no way he could miss. A shot rang out. Silence, then a burst of activity from the base. They were all coming out to see what the commotion was.

Marissa felt cold and wet. She clutched at her chest, but .. there was no blood. Maybe she was just a machine after all. Then, her tormentor fell face forward. Multiple explosions came from far away. Even her REAL couldn't detect them from where they were coming until they were too close to dodge. They were not aiming for her, however

Three of the other REALS fell instantly, but the others had time to respond. The fighting began in earnest. Even with their leader down, and greatly outnumbered, the REAL were a major threat. Marissa was too shocked to do much. She expected to be dead.

Then she saw him, that man that had called her a space heater. He was carrying a high powered sniper rifle, and was closing in to get a better shot at the remaining enemy. One of the REAL targeted him, and he didn't see it.

Suddenly she could move again, and for some reason she couldn't fathom she raced to save his life. Tackling him to the ground she kept rolling and fired hitting the REAL. It went down hard..but now she felt pain. Lots of pain.

Stevie was standing over her. "Your bleeding, stay still. We got things here. You should survive, but your going to be hurt in the morning."

Darkness...then light. She was in a hospital room, and she was alive. Stevie was watching over her. "So..how'd it go. Did you find his body?"

"No. We know he is dead, but there wasn't enough left from the explosions. Since the others died in the same spot, it is hard to tell if he was one of them or not."

"What about the other guy?"

"He'll live. Don't expect him to come thank you, though. You know..." Stevie stood up, and prepared to leave. "While your here, you could have them slice you open and find out."

Marissa smiled faintly. "What and ruin the surprise? Somebody out there knows the truth. I'll find them. Heck all I got to do is not become somebody's experiment, avoid the CIA, FBI, and who knows what else. Find a source of money, and track down people who don't want to be found. Should be a piece of cake.."
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Jiriki9
Jiriki9


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Altar Dweller
posted May 31, 2010 01:15 PM

Any length restrictions

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted May 31, 2010 01:32 PM

No longer than Mysty's
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Jiriki9
Jiriki9


Honorable
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Altar Dweller
posted May 31, 2010 04:20 PM

in terms of lines or letters?

I'm in...but only if I have a bit time...what's the deadline?

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted May 31, 2010 04:44 PM

I am considering one month but depending on how things go I can extend the deadline.
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Carcity
Carcity


Supreme Hero
Blind Sage
posted May 31, 2010 11:13 PM

I might participate if I have time, Not really sure though.
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TSoD
TSoD


Promising
Famous Hero
NCF Blacksmith
posted June 03, 2010 01:00 PM
Edited by TSoD at 13:00, 03 Jun 2010.

I'm in too But I'll post it as a PDF, for ambiance, you'll see

Title : The Cosmic Egg & Ashan Eventful Birth

I'm a french native speaker with only a good english knowledge, so please don't pay attention If I made some little mistakes :X
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Elvin
Elvin


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What if Elvin was female?
posted June 03, 2010 01:33 PM

This should be good..
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TSoD
TSoD


Promising
Famous Hero
NCF Blacksmith
posted June 04, 2010 05:49 PM bonus applied by Mytical on 11 Aug 2010.

I made it (I had already written it in French long ago, when I wanted to make an "Ashan Chronicles" encyclopedia), all is translated
Hope you'll enjoy it

Summary:
It tells a story that happened in the Mythic Age. The birth of all, then the birth of Ashan, with Urgash and Asha.
I tried to make it fit into what we know of the "real" storyline of Homm.V universe. I put all I got in it, hope you'll like it, even if it does not win the contest !!

The PDF.
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dkolb
dkolb


Promising
Known Hero
Nay Nay and Aslan Protector
posted July 07, 2010 10:33 PM bonus applied by Mytical on 11 Aug 2010.
Edited by dkolb at 22:39, 07 Jul 2010.

I chose Zehir as the protagonist for this story (which I can finish if people really like it) because he was one of the few characters that had a pretty good sense of humor. Despite being a really powerful wizard who normally come off as serious or arrogant, Zehir was a really likeable character at least to me. I may have made him a little dumber than the game portrays but this is sort of how I thought of Zehir in a good way.

The Fool's Errand
Zehir was having a VERY bad day. First he had forgotten to check the moon phases and  found out the hard way that it was the very same week the Cerberi are let out of their cages to begin mating.  He had to listen to the yowls and yelps of the skinless mongrels in the throes of passion all of the night before and had woken up tired and grumpy. As it turns out being tired and grumpy does not make for the most focused spell casting, as when he tried to summon Earth Elementals to help him move what was left of his camp after the cerberi had dragged away and chewed on most of it, he instead summoned fire elementals, who as Zehir would state "rather stupidly", burned his tent and a new magic tome he had been reading .  Wiping away the soot off of his robe and angrily grabbing up his magic wand, Zehir cursed to himself and grumbled aloud within range of the fire elementals "I suppose it's time I headed back to the Academy before something even more unfortunately happens, although I should hope we run into LOTS of snow on our way there, maybe even a Dwarven Fortress, I've heard they grind up fire elementals and use their blood as fuel for their lamps!" He heard the fire elementals behind him sizzle and hiss and a couple gremlins snicker.

Zehir was just about to figure out a way to board his only form of transportation, a giant elephant, when he heard a voice behind him.
"Ah so there you are Zehir!"
Zehir spun around to see the familar blue robes of a Haven priest.  Zehir knew this priest.
"Why good day to you, Father, are you out for donations? Well I suppose I have a few bits of gold here and there" Zehir said with a sheepish grin.

"Oh I'm not here for that Zehir." The old priest's eyes narrowed and his weathered brow furrowed. Zehir could tell he was not in a particularly festive mood. "Zehir I'm here about the debt you owe."

"What debt? I don't know what you're talking about but you have nerve to accuse me holy man and I'm not in a happy mood." Zehir said feigning anger and buying himself some time. "But anyway...look out !"
With one smooth motion Zehir's wand crackled with energy and a loud roar erupted complete with a magical image of a charging pit lord appeared from behind the priest, and with his free hand, he grabbed for a potion of temporary invisibility.
The only problem  was that the priest hadn't been fooled a bit. He simply raised his holy cross a few inches and all of a sudden a bolt came down from the heavens and knocked Zehir on his derriere. Zehir rubbed his backside and sat on the ground looking much like an infant does after its first spanking.
"Zehir...look" The priest said deliberately and slowly, with much consternation and agitation. "You and your fellow wizards and assorted heretics probably think of yourselves as being quite clever up there in your cloud castles and ivory towers. But let me tell you this: You can live to be my age, you can live to be a Black Dragon's age, in fact you can live to the age of many many long-lived creatures that walk this earth, and you will still not be clever enough to fool this old priest, let alone my betters."
Zehir opened his mouth to protest but the priest, anticipating this, continued loudly
"But if you try me and if you waste anymore of my time, then I will remind you that some men leave this world in such a state that not even necromancers can raise them from the ground. And if you think I am of ill humor then I should introduce you to some Zealots and Inquisitors that I know, for in their company, I have the patience of a lamb."
Zehir smiled despite himself. He had always admired the brutal honesty  and directness of the priests whose demeanor was a notable departure from the  many of his wizard peers. This particular priest had been the head of the Cathedral Library in Chillbury. Zehir had often traveled there to learn from the abundance of tomes about Light Magic that the Clerics had collected for many years. Unfortunately, the tome Zehir had been pouring into was the old and rather dry to read Tome of Resurrection . Aware of the utility of such a powerful magic, Zehir insisted that he would read it later, and had taken the book with him.  However before long Zehir had promptly forgotten and lost the priceless book. As a result Zehir imagined the priest had lost his job and now apparently ran errands with even less enthusiasm than he had when he was a librarian.
"This is about that Resurrection Book I take it?" Zehir said suddenly.
"And the Tome of Righteous Might, the Tome of Haste and Divine Strength, even the unpopular Tome of Deflect Missile, about the only Tome you didn't take was the Tome of Cleansing and I assure you that the irony of that wasn't lost on me."
"Ah, well kind sir I'll be the first to admit that I am a bit absent minded about things like that.  I mean sometimes it's like things go poof and just disappear just like that! I am a wizard after all. But truly I intend to make up the difference to you  Zehir is a man of his word at that, you'll see!  But perhaps a bit of gold might brighten that chipper face of yours."
"The Magic of Resurrection was taught to us by the Archangels, it is the ultimate gift of life and the epitome of redemption and restoration and you LOST IT?!" The Priest bristled "And then you would bribe a Priest? I suppose I'll have to have the Collector's deal with this."

Zehir frowned. The Collector's, as they were nicknamed, are an elite unit made up of Vindicators, Zealots, Inquisitors, and Champions. They were tasked with reclaiming lost or stolen artifacts or artifacts that the Holy Griffin Empire felt they were "entitled to." Since they are paid in whatever additional loot they recovered, they are very good at their job. Zehir shuddered at the thought of trying to outrun a Champion at full charge on a hell stallion let alone a giant elephant!
"Ok old man you win, I'll do what you want." said Zehir grumbling

"I understand there is a Necropolis near Chillbury." The priest said very loudly and clearly. Suddenly the priest turned and walked away, leaving Zehir confounded.

Obviously the priest wanted him to destroy the Necropolis, but why such an odd request?  Zehir pondered this...
One thing was for sure Zehir was no fan of Necromancers. Zehir viewed many of them as quitters who didn't have the discipline for magic and turned to Necromancy because of the instant power it offered. Although Wizards were long-lived, Necromancers were perhaps even moreso depending on the definition of long-lived.  As the years waned on the Necromancer's physical appearance became more and more grotesque as the self-destructive nature of their craft devoured their physical bodies until they had just a shriveled husk of a body.  Zehir, a lover of all the pleasures life had to offer, intellectual and otherwise,  couldn't think of anything worse than being a necromancer. However even at his young age, Zehir had heard too many tales of Sandro to not underestimate Necromancer's  frail forms. Often the more skeletal the condition of a Necromancer was,  the more dangerous  they were.  After all, the older the Necromancer was, the more likely they were to have survived many battles.
Come to think of it Zehir remembered reading that Vampires were the exception to this rule because they were able to offset the physical cost of Necromancy by substituting other creature's blood for their own life force. In fact Zehir had heard about a vampire named Giovanni who.....
"THAT'S IT!" Zehir cried aloud.
Giovanni and several of his allies had aligned with the Griffin Empire's Bull Duchy. Zehir was quite a fan of their beautiful Duchess Ornella. His assistant, Narxes told him that Ornella had questionable ethics, hence why she had continued to ally with the Necromancers, but Zehir then reminded him that Wizards were rather known for having questionable ethics as well.

So then, concluded Zehir, the priest wasn't acting on behalf of his Duchy after all, in fact likely the priest's charges and threats were trumped up as well, as this was all a ploy to get him to eliminate the Necropolis. Fascinated by this realization and his initially incorrect diagnosis of the priest, Zehir was more inclined than ever to attack Giovanni's Stronghold. The young wizard stroked his beard. "Well old chum, this is getting quite interesting"  and giving his elephant a swift kick in the rump, he set off.
To Be Continued.

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Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Far-flung Keeper
posted August 01, 2010 12:28 AM

Since Elvin is swamped with keeping HC alive as it is (), I'll be the one judging this competition. I planned to have a victor declared yesterday, but unfortunately I haven't have a spare minute recently. I'll choose a winner tomorrow after catching up on around 20-something hours of missed sleep. Thanks alot for all your entries.
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 01, 2010 12:38 AM
Edited by Elvin at 00:38, 01 Aug 2010.

Hey relax man No sense losing any sleep over it, the very fact that you offered to help is enough. A day or two are fine.
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Cepheus
Cepheus


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Far-flung Keeper
posted August 03, 2010 01:08 AM
Edited by Cepheus at 01:28, 03 Aug 2010.

Sorry I'm late with the verdicts. I didn't mean those 20 hours to become literal, but I'm usually the contestant and not the judge, so it took a while to mull over these

Obviously this is an international forum, so I don't give a damn about spelling and grammar in this instance. That unfortunately makes it even harder to objectively judge which is best, thus I'm just unceremoniously picking the one I liked most. Lastly, apologies that my comments are a little brief. They don't really justify the time you guys spent on these, I realise it. If you want me to provide more extensive feedback, PM me and I'll answer with longer ramblings ASAP.

Mytical
My first thought went as follows:

"Jesus Christ. We said short story competition"

Ridiculously extreme pace and very intriguing premise with original ideas. The fact that the narrative moves quickly helped me conquer its length. I no longer really follow RPs around here but I think this is based on one? Anyway, I was a little confused here and there regarding who was referring to what during conversations, but that's trivial.

"Breakneck speed" is one of the most cliched hack filler reviewer phrases, but I'm remorseless in saying that it applies to this story and added a lot to it. Nice twists too. I hate cliffhangers, but you're getting away with it here since the "little" saga felt complete nonetheless. You might want to delete that post and hoard the ideas in it since you could probably make money fleshing this out into some other form of media, a webcomic or whatever.

TSoD
I know you're not a native English speaker, so as already mentioned I completely removed semantics from the competition. Don't worry about your English and be especially thankful you'll never have to read any of my French

You clearly put a lot of effort into this. Very nice "biblical scripture" - particularly reminds me of the Silmarillion. Actually, with a little proofreading, I would've been happy if Ubi themselves had produced this type of chronicle rather than what we received. It isn't easy to write a creation myth without a little purple prose, and your descriptions are the strong point here. It's the most verbose and impressive of the three. Maximum points for presentation, though I wish it'd had a character to develop... but admittedly you were working with source material from Heroes V after all, the game that killed realistic motives

One detail that caught my eye: "Nobody knows, nobody can know, and nobody want to know." I do.

dkolb
I wish you'd continued, since this was a fresh one indeed. I really enjoyed the humourous angle, despite Zehir's insufferable disrespect for my beloved bland, musty tomes (j/k). The priest's anecdote about the Tome of Cleansing cheered me up. My main complaint is the lack of an ending - I know nobody showed interest in this thread but if you'd wrapped it up with another chapter it could've been really great. Irrespective of that, kudos for capturing Zehir's idiotic attitude beautifully and actually making him entertaining, as the H5 dialogue never did.

So.
Brilliant show of creativity everyone. I honestly didn't expect to have fun reading these, and when it turned out that I did enjoy them and decided to take them more seriously, it because a tougher choice than anticipated with no obvious victor. All three tales are in different genres and each has its particular strengths and weaknesses.

However, this is a competition dammit, so for his story's immersion, comprehensiveness and triple-bypass-inducing flow, I'm declaring Mytical the winner. I was thinking of disqualifying the entry for its goddamn length though. No, I'm not going to make any crappy puns about it being REAL good, but I do consider it the most satisfying of the three. If presentation had been a factor, however, TSoD would've outshone the rest easily.

Well done to the three of you, thanks for entering and if we do another of these in the future, I hope I'll be given the opportunity to award another one of you again next time
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 03, 2010 12:23 PM

Thanks guys, it was an interesting read An official congratulations to Mysty, will send the package as soon as possible
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TSoD
TSoD


Promising
Famous Hero
NCF Blacksmith
posted August 05, 2010 05:16 PM

Congratulations, Mytical !! I think also you deserved it

And thanks for your comments, I'm very happy you enjoyed my story !
And well, when the 'bible' (proud you noticed I chose this kind of writing ^^) said 'Nobody wants to know', it meant in Ashan, the writer(s) of this 'bible' don't want to know, and so do the Ashan people. In writing it, I put myself in the skin of a writer, some kind of priest/chaman who was talking about something very important but taboo too
Again thanks for reading =)
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Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
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Far-flung Keeper
posted August 05, 2010 05:54 PM

It was my pleasure.
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