On this night May 14, 2317, in a city known from ancient times as Pertraskin in the humble Falstonian region, Tripp was beginning a legacy for the ages. Sitting all alone on the lone and blustery night, Tripp stayed alert in his apartment and waited for his friend to arrive before they were to dive into the ancient arcane teachings of old. Hunger was setting in on him and he got up to make himself a sandwich. He walked by the window and saw a squadron of riot police at the set of apartment next door, taking care of three rogue vandals terrorizing his neighborhood.
"What a surprise." Tripp said sarcastically. "No one can make it in this world without taking from the success others have built."
Right after he said this one of the vandals broke through the police and ran in the direction of Tripp's apartment complex. A quick thinking officer took his specially made ion cannon and blasted the guy. He was no more than five feet from Tripp's window when he was hit and Tripp saw the mix of pain and terror on the vandals melting face. Right before his vaporized into nothingness he looked in at Tripp and calmly said, "Be wise. Chose a better path. Don't make that mistake." Then he was gone. The other two vandals were so shocked that they both collapsed and were taken into custody by the riot officers.
"Wow!" Tripp said with a chuckle. "You don't see something quite like that every day." Now that that weird display was behind him, Tripp gathered his focus and made his special triple-decker roast beef, ham, and turkey sandwich. When he sat down with his sandwich he got out his idea journal and outlined his recent plans on two of the pages. He picked up his sandwich to take a bite and the doorbell finally rang and it was his friends. He got up and answered the door, and to his surprise he got more than he expected.
Celvin was the first to walk in, followed by Adam Stukyoto, Grant Mendraki, and Preston Thames. "Good Evening Mr. Geradin. We have come to make you greater than the gods." Celvin said in a sly, forced mature voice.
"Hey guys. What are all of you doing here?" Tripp asked, not really caring what the answer was, just glad that his old friends dropped by to help him out in his quest.
"Just thought you could use some extra help." Celvin said trying to politely impose his judgment on Tripp's hospitality.
"What's going on outside, there are police and medical vehicles everywhere?" asked Adam with worried confusion in his voice.
"Just some vandals being idiots. You might want to avoid the window in the kitchen. One of them was shot with a unique ion cannon and what is left of him is right out there." Tripp said with a chuckle. "Right before he died he said something that was pretty odd"
"What would that be?" Grant asked with great haste and curiosity.
"He looked at me and said 'Be wise. Chose a better path. Don't make that mistake.' I think he was just a little bit crazy." Tripp said.
"Is there any possibility the mistake he referred to is the quest of becoming a Dark Chaos Mage, and for immortality?" Celvin asked.
"I don't think so." Tripp said confidently. "He wouldn't have even known about that"
"True, but still a little creepy." Preston said quietly.
"Make yourselves at home, and for the love of God don't do anything stupid." Tripp said as kindly as he could manage while still being serious. "I have my sandwich to eat, and then we will get started"
"Alright." Grant said. "Let's start this party old school style"
"Just keep it sane, okay"
"Yeah sure, whatever"
As Tripp ate his delicious sandwich his friends acted like all normal college guys, drunk and crazy. Adam and Grant thought it would be a good idea to start a wrestling match right in the middle of the room, and Celvin started to through a football around with Preston.
Adam had Grant in a headlock while Grant was grabbing Adam in a figure four leg lock. Grant succumbed to the headlock and fell, then Adam picked him up and performed a gutwrench powerbomb onto the couch, causing and wild creaking sound of stress. Then Grant got up and bodyslamed Adam through the glass coffee table, ending the match.
Simultaneously Celvin through a spiraled beauty to Preston. He leaped into the air, toward the couch, caught the ball, missed the couch, hit a lamp, and broke the table it was sitting on. Both of these blunders occurred at the same time that Tripp finished his sandwich, and he was very furious.
"What is wrong with you guys!" Tripp shouted. "I invite you into my house and what is the first thing you do? Destroy half my stuff. You guys are absolutely pathetic, what do you have to say for yourselves"
"At least I caught the ball." Preston said in a goofy, light-hearted tone.
"That was pretty cool." Tripp said as he laughed lightly. "But that doesn't give you the right to mess up my life like this"
"My back hurts," Adam said through gritted teeth, "that was a hard and pointy table"
"I am sorry buddy." Grant said holding back a laugh. "Do you want some ice for that"
"No." Adam said trying to tough it out on his own. "I will be fine, it's just a little sore"
"Come on, let's see it." Tripp said filled with unusual glee. "How much damage did Grant really do to your back"
"Seriously guys, I'm fine. Don't worry about it"
"Ah come on. What's it going to hurt? I want to see my strength at work." Grant said with delight in his voice.
"Alright, if it with shut you up." Adam said as he took his shirt off. "There, you happy now"
"Damn, that is brutal." Celvin said in astonishment.
"What is wrong? Is it that bad?" Adam asked, suddenly filled with a mild terror of his well being.
"Well," Grant said with hesitation. "Your entire back is solid red, with random patches of bruised and bloodied tissue, and a few of your vertebrae look strangely askew"
"No wonder it hurts so much." Adam said, chuckling to take his mind of the pain. "Ice sounds really good right about now"
"You got it." Tripp said. He went to the cabinet, grabbed a large plastic bag, went to the freezer and filled it with ice. "Here you go"
"Thanks." Adam said putting on his back slowly. "Ooh, very cold"
"Tripp, I am sorry I broke both your lamp and the table it was on" Preston said with genuine sincerity.
"It will be okay, I won't be mad all night." Tripp said with an open chuckle. He looked at Preston and they both cracked up.
"Alright, are we ready to start the massive learning sessions or what?" Celvin said full of excitement and joy.
"My back still hurts, can we start a little later?" Adam said quietly.
"Sure we can wait a little. But in the mean time I have a good idea for fun." Tripp said with a smile of enjoyment growing on his face.
"What is it?" Grant said with an anxious look on his face.
"Let's get virtual." Tripp said and they all cheered loudly, for it was their favorite form of entertainment.
Tripp loaded the gaming information into the ionic distrapulator and pressed go. There was a very popular string video games made in the early twenty-first century that involved strategy, teamwork, and lots of shooting. Due to the unanimous popularity of the games there was a series of them remade into virtual reality about fifteen years into the twenty-fourth century, and they were even more popular there. This game was so realistic that it made regular three dimensional life look dull, flat, and boring. Giving them all the more reason to escape to it.
They, being the blue team, were playing in a group of four against other groups both smaller and larger than they. The key to the most successful mission was perfect strategy and teamwork, but a steady hand and great aim are also helpful.
Tripp, carrying an M-16 assault rifle, is the leading commander of the blue squadron. Celvin, with a Romak III Dragunov military rifle, is the left flank captain. Grant, with an Uzi submachine gun, is the right flank captain. Bringing up the rear is Preston with a carbine action semi-automatic 12Ga shotgun. In addition to their main weapons they each had a Desert Eagle .44 Magnum and three standard issue throwing knives.
As the mission began the objectives and outlines wisped into the air in front of them and just as soon vanished. The were to destroy all the other teams, rescue government hostages, disable the few nitrogen bombs, and overthrow the French government installation. Only when the other teams are destroyed is when they can perform their other objective tasks. Now was the time of reckoning, time to shine or to fall apart, it all depended on their teamwork and sportsmanship.
Right out of the gate the blue team had a defining advantage, true teamwork was expressed in every move that they made.