Destiny Story: A Work in Progress

I only know of a handful of people that are my friends elsewhere, who are patiently waiting for this post. I want to provide a bit for those of you who are new. In September the game Destiny will be released. It is a game that many are looking forward to ever since they produced their “last” game, Halo: Reach. This new game takes place on Earth in the far future and is a mix of science fiction and fantasy, or speculative fiction. As some of you may know it is my hope that I will be able to realize my dream of becoming a narrative designer and craft experiences like the ones in many of our popular games. I also enjoy creating a back-story to any character I play in role-playing games. This is often not shown in the games themselves, but is made known through some of the players’ conversations. This is essentially the back-story to my character. I have no idea on how many pages it will be when I finish, but I am planning for three hundred plus. It may only make it to two-fifty or less, but that’s okay. When it is completed it will be packaged off and sent to Bungie with my thanks and as a gift for the stories that they have crafted over the years.

Since I am new to speculative fiction, the story is in its roughest form. Since I am not a Bungie employee, and I cannot speculate on what scenery will be in the game, I have left overt descriptions of places and things that may be within the game out of the story. Since I am a fan of many things, there will be references to pop culture items within the story. I was once a member of a Halo community that treated me well until conflict arose, and there’s a reference to them. As for my current community, don’t worry, you’ll get in there. Since I don’t really know how to separate the story into chapters, I will release the story in snippets or sections where chapter separation could be. When I have released all that I have completed I will release sections as they have been completed. At the end I will edit my story and place it in a section all it’s own so that a reader can read it in the way it was written and not the way in which it was posted.

A word of caution, I am a man of faith, and that particular faith is Christianity. There will be some elements to the story that have Christian elements and even some things that may offend. So if you are sensitive than please turn away. The elements don’t happen until near the end of the story. When I have sent the story and its “elements” off to Bungie, it effectively belongs to them. Should I receive a “cease and desist” notice from Bungie, which I will ask for if required. I will remove the story from this site, but by then maybe I’ll have a job with them, or an offer to turn the story into a novel from Activision, which would be really cool. Well that’s enough ranting, on with the story…

 

As the long-range fighter Zephyr’s Shadow approached the blue-green planet Earth, a sliver of sunlight could be seen dancing along its edge, a silent sentinel in the depths of space. The moon that had been mostly destroyed in the past hung silent, slowly rotating, most of its surface a field of debris resting along its orbit. As the long-range fighter continued, a whitish-silver ball was seen hanging silently along the Earths surface. This ball, known only as the Traveler, had been present for many years, and had been considered by many, the salvation of the peoples of Earth.

After so many centuries, many still didn’t know where the Traveler had come from. They only knew that it had always been there, and would be there long after Earthlings had perished. There were those however, who studied the Traveler and had adopted some of its technology. These Warlocks, as some had begun calling them, spent the majority of their time within the Traveler. Those that ventured forth however, had become dependable allies to humanity. As the fighter descended into Earth’s atmosphere, it shook slightly, the inertial dampeners screaming in protest to the turbulent forces.

The co-pilot couldn’t help but wince as the nose of the fighter glowed red throughout the descent, while the pilot sat in their seat, arms folded, almost looking as if they were asleep. As the fighter approached the Traveler and the City beneath it, the co-pilot kicked the pilots’ seat back violently.

“Hey.” The co-pilot said. “It’s time to wake up, we’re on long final to the City. Why is it that you always sleep on these long trips while I stay awake?”

The pilot rubbed his eyes and looked casually at the forward view screen, sleep draining from his body as he sat upright in his chair, his feet falling from the forward control console. “Well.” He said. “Maybe it’s because these long trips bore me.”

“Well, we could spring for a larger transport with trans-warp capabilities, but you always spend our credits on Old-Earth fiction books and Holovids.” The co-pilot said in disgust. “Besides this ship always feels like it’s falling apart whenever we enter atmosphere, the least you could do is spring for better inertial dampeners instead of weapons we never use, or shields so outdated, that if we come even this close to a miniscule asteroid, the klaxon goes off as if we were going to crash into a moon.” The co-pilot spread her arms wide to emphasize her point.

“Hey, you know you don’t have to stay with me, you could always go off and join the Titans.” The pilot stated as he placed an earpiece in his ear and positioned its small lip-mic. “City control this is long-range fighter Zephyr’s Shadow on long final requesting entry into your air-space for landing and long-term parking over.”

The radio cracked to life as the air traffic controller responded. “Roger Zephyr’s Shadow, we have you on long range air-space surveillance at bearing zero-one niner, you are cleared to enter City air-space, please advise when you are on short final and we will send you over to ground for docking and refuel. Please stay in your fighter while we refuel and then we’ll send you over to long-term parking. How copy, over.”

“That’s a good copy City control, will advise when on short final, Zephyr’s Shadow out. Well that was easy.” The pilot said. “Let me know when we’re on short final, I’m going to check on our cargo.” The pilot captains’ chair swiveled around so that the pilot could exit his seat and have access to the modest crew quarters and smaller cargo bay. Looking at his co-pilot as he moved past her, her eyes downcast, he placed a reassuring hand on her slender shoulder and squeezed it slightly. “I didn’t mean the Titan remark, I know how you feel about them.” The pilot moved past the bunk beds, the galley, and moved towards the small cargo area of the ship where their cargo lay safe and snug in one of the fighters’ two long-term cryo-tubes.

The cryo-tubes were a necessary item in older models of long-range fighters. This enabled the crew to rest “in ship” as they were transported “lamprey style” to their destination on any number of carriers. Within this tube however, was the reason that the crew of Zephyr’s Shadow had made this rare trip to Earth. The crew members of the Zephyr’s Shadow were both Hunters, and while to the general populace they were regarded as scoundrels and mercenary, bounty hunter scum, to those in charge however, they were a necessary evil.

Most Hunters were either individuals who had left modest beginnings for fame and fortune, were from one of the outlying colonies that had developed a warrior culture, or were former Titans who had become disenfranchised with the Titan philosophy. “You know,” The co-pilot called back. “I would never even think about joining those self-important jerks even if they knew my history, got on their knees and begged me to join.”

“I know,” The pilot responded as he made his way back to the pilots chair. “I just know that it irritates you when I mention them. Besides I promised your father I’d take care of you.” As the pilot sat down and swiveled his chair back into flight position, he rested his hands on the control panel and entered in a series of commands. “City control this is Zephyr’s Shadow on short final. Requesting docking instructions over.” The pilot spoke into his lip-mic, the City looming even closer to the fighter as it approached.

Zephyr’s Shadow this is City control,” The radio crackled. “You are cleared to dock at refueling point two-one-bravo. Suggest you contact ground immediately for further instructions.”

“Roger, City control. Will contact ground immediately. Zephyr’s Shadow out.” The pilot switched frequencies to ground and a gruff voice came over the earpiece.

“Don’t even bother Zephyr’s Shadow,” The voice said. “Just proceed on in, we’ll refuel you and then send you over to long-term parking.”

“Thanks ground, we’re on our way.” The pilot said as he maneuvered the fighter into docking position. The fighter had a sleek and black low profile, which was better to camouflage it against the blackness of space. The fighter’s appearance of course, belayed its age. The newer long-range fighters only required one pilot and had a cryo-tube integrated into the cockpit, the Zephyr’s Shadow however, was an Eagle model and therefore required two pilots. The second pilot filled more of a weapons control and flight engineer position, only piloting the fighter in emergency conditions and during long, non-cryo missions.

In the standard Eagle model fighter the cryo-tubes were right behind the pilots and only held enough room for them to get into and out of the tubes. The Zephyr’s Shadow however, had been modified to house a small crew quarters, with enough space to move relatively comfortably. There were two beds, situated one over the other and a small galley, which consisted of a fold out table and basic food preparation equipment. The food was stored in a dehydrated state, and was packaged in such a way as to be placed in boiling water to rehydrate.

All water, even waste-water, was recycled through scrubbers to be reused, and was able to last several months before needing to be filled with fresh water. The newer models used an advanced hydrogen and oxygen collection system that only required the pilots or a limited A.I. to skirt the atmosphere of a planet or star to extract the necessary elements. Since Hydrogen and oxygen were easily renewable resources on a variety of planets, the newer models of fighters used these elements in their drive cores to propel them.

The Zephyr’s Shadow however, utilized a large Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster, which was an applied-field thruster that utilized hydrogen as a fuel source, even though lithium had been proven to be much more efficient. There were several, smaller MPD arc-jet thrusters in the fore and aft of the fighter, with more on the wings for any attitude adjustment that was required within the vastness of space. Within atmosphere, the Zephyr’s Shadow was relegated to good-old-fashioned winged flight, with antiquated hydrogen powered rocket engines situated just below the fuselage located underneath the joining portions of each wing.

It was these engines that were receiving fuel now, an electromagnetic anti-grav unit positioned below the fighter was used to keep it aloft during the process. With the refueling complete, the pilot shut off the anti-grav unit and the fighter dropped like a stone. A lump rose in his stomach before he reengaged the engines and moved the fighter towards the long-term parking location that they had been given by the ground controller. The pilot disengaged the engines and glided over a wall until he reached his assigned spot. He then engaged the anti-grav unit, lowering the power until the fighter had touched the ground, it’s tripod landing gear cushioning the fighter as it settled.

“Well, time to deliver the package.” The pilot said as he entered in the commands to lower the cryo-tube from the fighter. “Remember, buckets on until we reach the safe-house.”

“I know, I know.” The co-pilot said as she swiveled her own chair to face the rear of the fighter. The co-pilot rose from her seat and stretched, her slender frame elongating until her hands touched the ceiling. She walked back to her bunk and picked up her helmet. Placing her helmet upon her head and sealing its neck seal, she approached the cryo-tube and sat upon its lid. “You coming boss?” She said as the pilot touched a series of buttons, his own helmet already upon his head, the neck seal hanging down like the collar of a jacket that had been left open.

“On my way.” The pilot said through their linked and secured interpersonal frequency. He stood next to his co-pilot, his boot resting on the lip of the cryo-tube. The cargo compartment lowered and the light from outside spilled through. The sun was high in the air and if not for their filters, the duo would smell the slight ozone scent that permeated every inch of the land that was beneath the Traveler. The outer edge of the Traveler loomed ahead as the two uncoupled the cryo-tube. To say that the Traveler had an edge was a misnomer because everyone knew that the Traveler was a sphere, but to think of it this way made it easier to understand from an outside point of view.

The two Hunters unstowed from the bottom of their fighter a small anti-grav lift. The lift was placed underneath the cryo-tube and the two Hunters started out towards the edge of the parking area. As the Hunters walked towards the end of the parking area they took stock of their equipment. The pilot wore heavy boots that were made of a flexible metal material interwoven with carbon fiber nano-tubes that provided both flexibility and strength. The boots ended just above his ankles and he wore carbon fiber nano-tube laced cloth trousers. The trousers had protective plates over the thighs and shins and were attached to the trousers with high tensile strength mirco-connectors. In the past these plates would be attached with nylon or leather straps and would persistently shift, making constant readjustment necessary.

A leather belt held the trousers up, and over it the pilot wore a leather pistol belt which held an old leather holster for his sidearm which he lovingly named “Betsy”. He wore a standard button up tunic that he tucked into his trousers, to provide better protection from the elements. Over the tunic he wore an old piece of armor, it wasn’t as shiny as the ones that were worn now, but the pilot had it for a really long time and it had never failed him. Sure it had several dents and scratches, but it covered all of the important bits. He also wore gauntlets over his forearms, when other hunters preferred just gloves. His left forearm gauntlet housed a port for his PDA, which helped him to not only keep tabs on whatever he was doing, but also provided a wireless, secure link to his helmets’ functions. Hidden within the underside of both forearm gauntlets were retractable, ten-inch hidden vibroblades that were released by a flick of the wrist. The leather gloves he wore were fingerless to allow for greater dexterity.

Most Hunters of the day wore the most up to date helmets. With these newer helmets, all of the functions were determined by blinks or clicks of the tongue. The even more expensive ones followed voice commands, or had a direct neural lattice embedded within the helmet liner to translate thought into whatever the individual wanted to do with the helmets’ various electronic suites. The pilot used whatever worked best, even if it was antiquated. The pilots helmet was a simple, long domed design, which had a “T” shaped visor, and came to just below his chin. While other, newer helmets did away with the long domed design and visors altogether, he did not because to him they always felt claustrophobic. It was for this same reason that he often left his neck seal open, even though the helmets A/C unit wouldn’t work without it sealed. Altogether the armor was a dull silver color with sand-gold highlights. The cloth portions were black and unlike most Hunters, who only have a cloth cowl covering their heads and a long scarf to cover their faces to break up the outlines of their helmets, the pilot preferred to wear a leather duster in addition to the cowl. In his mind the scarf and duster looked pretty cool when the wind picked up and blew it out from behind or billowed out when the wind blew from the front, the coat tails and scarf legs blowing in the wind.

The leather duster and cowl/scarf combination were both brown, unlike most Hunters who wore colors indicative to the groups or families they were associated with. In reality he was probably the only Hunter who wore a duster. Usually the cowl was up over his helmet to assist in breaking up the outline of his head, but because he was in the City he didn’t feel the need so he kept it down behind his head. In his arms, in the at-the-ready position, but with the butt in the pocket of his shoulder sat his rifle Hunters’ Intent. It was an old, but reliable rifle that he had carried with him for as long as he had been a Hunter.

Hunters’ Intent had a different name when he acquired it, but he changed it when he decided to become a Hunter. The weapon had what seemed like an infinite number of customizable options, but the pilot decided to keep it simple. The rifle came standard with single shot and automatic fire. The pilot, an expert weapon smith, decided to adjust it to single and three-round burst. This way he can maintain control of the amount of ammunition the weapon used during sustained fire. The rifle also tended to be more accurate under a lower rate of fire. He updated the scope as new ones came out, but for the most part, the rest was standard equipment. Newer rifles came with an integrated plasma launcher below the rifle, but the pilot had changed this out with an antique shotgun load grenade launcher.

The standard ammunition varied according to the power supply of the rifle, but the pilot had modified his rifle to house up to thirty rounds of seven millimeter metal pellets. Other weapons had interchangeable power supplies that governed which ammunition was fired, Hunters’ Intent only required a refill of the ammunition, without changing the power supply. The pellets were accelerated by a magnetic coil to almost five thousand feet per second. The pilot had tuned it down to just two thousand because of the psychological effects that the rounds had in hitting their targets. Sure, energy was cool and all, but it didn’t have the effect that metal ammunition did. With a plasma charge you would just get a burn at the impact site or maybe a neat little hole, but plasma just didn’t have the effect of a missing limb or the, “holy crap Johnny’s missing his head and blood is spurting out from the stump” effect that metal ammunition does.

“Betsy” was just a simple pulse pistol that fired a bolt of super heated plasma at a target and had to go through a “cool down” period after every twenty pulls of the trigger. The number of pulls of the trigger was halved if you fired it any faster than once every second. Newer pistols had just as many customizable options as the other weapons, but the pilot liked simpler-yet-just as effective weaponry. Behind his back the pilot kept an old wooden handled kukri knife that had always served him well. On his off hand hip he kept an old plasma sword just for “decorative” purposes.

His partner on the other hand was a different story altogether. While the pilot had tried to inspire a minimalistic approach to personal armor, which he used as a means to blend in with the local populace; his partner chose to have full on body armor. Her feet were clad in a heavier version of the boots that he himself wore and came to just under her knees. From just above her knees to her waist, she wore a set of flex-metal greaves, that surrounded her entire lower body. She wore knee pads to cover the space between the greaves and boots. She wore no holsters, because her greaves had an integrated mag-lock connection system which held her weapons in place on her thighs. The upper portion of her armor encompassed her entire upper body as well. Usually armor for females was anatomically correct, in her case however, she had chosen to wear male upper body armor. Even thought the pilot knew the reason why she had chosen male upper body armor, it still didn’t stop him from teasing her about it from time to time.

The armor on her arms, was the one place the pilot felt that she had listened to him. Most of her armor consisted of one or two pieces. The armor on her arms however, was comprised of individual pieces of armor covering the outer portion of her upper arms, no elbow pads, and gauntlets that, while integrated into her gloves, were also segmented, so that her wrists and fingers moved about freely. The co-pilot wasn’t into bladed weapons, but she did carry a small dagger in her right boot. This dagger had a small motor in the hilt that rotated the blade three-hundred and sixty degrees and a constant speed of six-hundred RPM, acting as an auger whenever it was used.

Unlike the pilot who preferred trousers and a tunic, the copilot wore a complete carbon fiber nano-tube body suit. The suit had a small cooling system interwoven throughout it, and a high collar that sealed directly to her helmet. Her helmet was a visor-less model that carried a variety of various electronic suites within, which assisted in system task management, and afforded the wearer a full three-hundred and sixty degree view of their surroundings. These views were accessible through voice command.

Her weapons status was carried to the helmet through tactile connections within her gauntlets and unlike the pilot, who had to either look at counter displays on his weapon, or connect a cable from the weapon to a port on his helmet, she didn’t have to. A medical suite was also integrated within her helmet to make emergency medical decisions on the fly. Her armor was a brighter shade of silver than the pilot’s, with subdued sand-gold accents. She wore a brown cloak and cowl which covered her head, and could be closed with snaps to cover her entire frame. Her cowl remained over her head and the cloak was opened up and held behind her weapons.

The copilot only carried three weapons in addition to the knife at all times. A shotgun, named Hammer of Regret lay across her back, connected to her armor with the muzzle facing up so she could reach it underneath her cloak. The Hammer of Regret was a standard shotgun which fired a high concussion plasma charge and ejected the spent casings from the bottom of the breach. The charge could be dialed in to either release a single shot, or a spread of multiple shots, and was linked to her helmet so she could select which to use through voice commands. The spread was usually used for breaching doors and for causing the most damage on a close range target. The Hammer of Regret had limited customization options which mostly affected range and rate of fire. Things like different lengths of barrels and electromagnetic compression coils. She kept a short barrel because she only really used the Hammer of Regret when she was close in to a target to have the greatest damage effect.

Her two sidearms, Titans’ Lament: Peace and Titans’ Lament: Justice,were placed grip forward on her left and right thighs respectively. “The Twins”, as she lovingly called them, were two carbines of the same make and model. They were both about eighteen inches long and were modified to use the same ammunition as Hunters’ Intent so that the two Hunters could share ammunition. “The Twins” had inertial accelerators installed just before the barrel so that they could fire at two thousand feet per second. The co-pilot held a “spray and pray” mentality, so she had extended the magazines to carry ninety rounds of seven millimeter pellets. Without the accelerators, the weapons only fired at a mere eight-hundred feet per second, so this addition more than made up for the shortcomings of the weapons.

She carried the weapons grip forward because in her mind, “it looked cool” to pull the weapons out from across her body, as opposed to pulling them out “gunslinger style”. As the two Hunters approached the end of the parking area, the pilot tapped on his PDA, and a familiar rumbling sound could be heard in the distance, as their ground transportation approached them.

“Here’s another thing I don’t get.” The co-pilot said as she tapped the toe of her boot on the ground. “Why do we still use that old rust bucket when the newer models are so much cooler and run quieter?”

“Because it still works.” The pilot replied. “Why throw away something that can still work?”

“But it breaks down more often than it runs.” The co-pilot responded. “I mean like, you’ve sunk enough into it that we could buy about twenty new ones.”

“I could say the same thing about you.” The pilot said with an internal smirk. The co-pilot crossed her arms and turned her head up and to the right, away from him in a huff. “Here she comes.” The rumbling grew closer as the vehicle rolled into view. The vehicle was an old Titan “Puma” model. The “Puma” was a four wheeled transport that the Hunter had acquired early on in his career. In this day and age, most vehicles had antigrav units that propelled them, but the “Puma” model had a hydrogen powered, nitrogen cooled engine. It was capable of 960 foot-pounds of torque, that enabled the “Puma” to reach a top speed of roughly 125 KPH.

The “Puma”, which the pilot did not rename, had multiple spots of rust, which gave it’s forest green paint job a dirty appearance around its wheels and hinges. The vehicle had a cable winch on the front, not for hauling others out mind you, but to tow it behind another vehicle when it broke down, which happened a lot. As the “Puma” rolled to a stop, the two Hunters loaded the cryo-tube into the back, and entered the vehicle. As the pilot took control of the wheel the vehicle sputtered and died.

“Want me to get out and push?” The co-pilot asked, a sarcastic tone in her voice.

“No, that’s alright” The pilot said as he exited the vehicle and lifted the hood. “It… just… needs… a little… finesse” He said as he repeatedly hammered on the engine with his rifle. As the engine sputtered to life once again the pilot reentered the drivers seat and the vehicle sped off down the road. As the two traveled down the road, the Wall moved closer into view.

The Wall was built by the first Titans, who sought a way to protect the new City that had been developed after the war. The Wall reached high into the sky and continued to be improved upon as time went by. The Wall started out as a small project, and was only really tall enough to prevent someone from climbing it, but as the City grew and more humans came to live under the Traveler, the Wall grew in height. Now, reaching thousands of meters, the Wall was the first line of defense for the City.

The dull grey color of the Wall had faded with time, and there were plenty of places where sheets of metal had fallen off, but it still stood, daunting in its scope. At several strategic points there were positioned towers, where the Titans were stationed. Within these towers was an entire living space for multiple shifts of the Titan guard. The Titans practically lived in the towers and rarely saw any place else in the City. There were rumors that Titans had been born in those towers, outfitted with armor, given a weapon and told to stand and watch.

The towers had ports where the Titans within could watch the outside. The ports gave them a view that was from the ten o’clock position to the two o’clock position. In fact the towers were positioned in such a way as to afford this viewpoint to anyone who was within the tower on guard. This also afforded them interlocking sectors of fire, so that the guards could best protect the City within. There were those who would say that various ports would open within the tower so that massive cannons could stick out and fire on approaching enemies.

In the space between the towers, massive anti-aircraft guns rested, so as best to discourage attacks from the air. The fire that was produced from these guns lit up the night sky and was tested every week, often disturbing the populace as they slept with their thrumming. Only those within the Titans ranks knew how many secrets the Wall held, while the rest of the population could only guess. As the two Hunters drove towards the security checkpoint, a single Titan stepped out from the guard shack to meet them.

The pilot applied the brakes, but his vehicle refused to slow down. He pumped the breaks several times with no effect as the Titan grew closer. The Titan began waving his arms in a panic as the “Puma” barreled down on him, the pilot continuing to pump the brakes. The Titan dove out of the way as the vehicle’s wheels began to squeal, the brakes finally catching. The “Puma” slid past the Titan and just barely stopped before the emergency plasma lattice cut the vehicle and it’s occupants to shreds.

“Sorry about that” The pilot said as the Titan rose and dusted himself off. New appointees to the checkpoint always had a few colorful words to say to the pilot when they first experienced the late breaking of the “Puma” but this particular Titan had come across it many times before.

“You almost got sliced.” The Titan said as he approached the drivers’ side of the vehicle. “When are you going to break down, get a new vehicle, and stop scaring the new guys?” The Titan nodded his head to the other Titan at the checkpoint who had his rifle pointed in their direction.

“That’s what I keep on telling him.” The co-pilot said to the Titan from the passengers’ side. “How are you today Jonn?”

“Can’t complain too much Elsibeth. Same boring stuff as always. The only highlight is when you two show up.” Jonn the Titan said. “You two got a delivery?”

“These aren’t the Hunters you are looking for.” The pilot said as he waved a hand across the front of his helmet. When Jonn cocked his head to the side, the pilot just shook his head. “Yep, only this one is special, not the usual one”

“I can tell.” Jonn said, looking towards the back of the vehicle. “You know, I don’t know why you say the same thing every time I see you here, I never get the joke. You two try to be more careful, a lot of people won’t take too kindly being almost run over by an antique driven by one.” Jonn walked around the back of the “Puma” and towards the guard shack. He drew his hand in a slicing motion across his neck and the Titan in the shack turned off the lattice. When he reached the guard shack, he turned back towards the vehicle. “Move along.” He said, making a sweeping motion with his left hand across his body. “Move along.”

“See, you do get the joke!” The pilot exclaimed as he drove off into the tunnel that led to the City.

The other Titan watched them leave and then turned to face Jonn. “Who was that sir?” He said.

“Just and old friend.” Jonn replied. “One of the best of us.”

“You don’t mean…” The young Titan said, his voice trailing off.

“Yep.” Jonn responded. “The one and only.”

Storytelling final project.

This was the final project for storytelling. I had to do a storyboard with this assignment but because I’m a terrible sketch artist I have omitted the storyboard element. This assignment fleshes out a little bit of the narrative and gives more insight into the world that the characters live in. I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to any constructive criticism and questions.

Children of The Piper (working title)

By Jarrod Herrington

Summary:

In an alternate future, where the Cold War had erupted into WWIII, the world is now governed by a corporate culture. This culture, in which major corporations rule the planet, only a handful of cities survive, and are currently run by one major corporation per city. What had started out as a utopia had devolved into a dystopian society, where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. The poor live in the lower levels of the cities, while the rich live in the upper levels. The leaders of these corporations play a dangerous game, a game where the children of these leaders are kidnaped and used as pawns in bids for ultimate power. To kidnap these children a new drug, using sound, has surfaced and has become the most prevalent drug of the age.

In the past, the Pied Piper of Hamelin led its children away with a tune from his pipe. In many accounts there was only one child left behind. In others, there were two, a blind child and a lame child. In most accounts the children are rumored to be the ancestors of the people who lived in Transylvania, which is now known as the central region of Romania. But what if they weren’t the ancestors? What if they lived on under the ground, growing and advancing? What if their aging was retarded?

 The game focuses on the blind child, and the lame child, who have grown up and now run a business that finds these missing children. The business does very well, even though their main office is in the lower portions of the primary European city of London. A woman from their past contacts them and hires them for a job. This job, takes them all over the planet, putting together pieces of a puzzle that lead them back to their roots and to a man they had thought they would never come into contact with again, the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

 Setting:

               As stated earlier the world the characters live in is a dystopian society. There are only a few cities left, and most of the world’s population has been centralized to those cities. The world outside of the cities has mostly returned to nature, with small areas that are populated by an agrarian society. The major costal cities of every nation have been wiped out and those who have no desire to subscribe to the “utopia” that the corporations have promised populate most of them.

               The major cities, which are now corporate city-states, or Cor-sci, are located in places that each corporation has roots in, is an easily defensible location, or has the historical relevance to influence that areas population. In Europe, where the story both begins and ends there is the Cor-sci of Avalon, formerly London, and Felső világ, which was formerly Vienna. London, because of it’s historical significance, and Vienna, because of it’s centrality. In Asia the entire Taklimakan desert in China has been turned into the Cor-sci of Shangri-La. In Japan, almost ninety percent of the country is the Cor-sci of Amaterasu.

               Within North America the cities of New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, Dallas, Austin, Denver, and Las Vegas no linger exist and are areas of high radioactivity. Florida and California are gaping craters flooded with seawater. The face of North America is a vastly different place. The new seat of power within North America resides in the Cor-sci of Freedom, which is located in the place of Des Moines Iowa. Tupã, the Cor-sci of South America encompasses the entire Mato Grosso region of Brazil.

Story Synopsis:

               The story begins in the Cor-sci of Avalon, where the two main characters, Hans and Franz, are on a mission to rescue the daughter of one of the minor corporations that exist. Another minor corporation attempted to affect a “hostile takeover” of the other to increase their standing in the Cor-sci hierarchy by kidnapping the daughter or that corporation’s leader. Not only are we introduced to Hans and Franz but we are also introduced to the sonic drug “Elysium.” After rescuing the girl, our heroes return to their offices to find the door open. Within the main room is a woman who identifies herself as Fullō. Fullō tells Hans and Franz that she is aware of their secret and that she won’t reveal it to the corporations unless they help her on a little job.

                Their first lead takes them to Felső világ, and to a man named Beowulf, who is in charge of the corporation that governs Felső világ. While there, they come in contact with Beowulf’s assistant Wiglaf who attacks them in a mechanized suit of armor called Seax. After their confrontation with Wiglaf, they meet Beowulf and discover that his name is in fact Aldo, one of the children who were taken by the Pied Piper. After killing Beowulf we discover that Hans and Franz are in fact two children who were left behind when they could not follow the piper. We also discover that a side effect of the pipers tune caused the children who heard it to age at a slower rate, and to be almost immortal.

                The next lead takes them to the Cor-sci of Tupã in South America to meet Rupave and Sypave. Rupave and Sypave attack Hans and Franz in a large bipedal mech that requires two people to pilot it. After defeating them Hans and Franz discover that Rupave and Sypave are in fact Odo and Oda, twin brother and sister who were also taken by the Piper. After a giant earthquake levels the building that Odo and Oda were in, Hans and Franz learn that the sonic drug “Elysium” causes death in adults because of a change in their hormones that occur when they reach adulthood. Only those who have heard the original tune are immune to it.

                Next they go to the Cor-sci of Freedom to compile what they know so far and to engage in some R&R and resupply. While there, the head of the Cor-sci approaches them to deal with a rebel faction. In dealing with the rebels they discover that the leader is not only the former head of the Cor-sci but also Dietrich, another of the children that was taken by the Piper. He almost didn’t make it because of his obesity, which hasn’t improved with age. Hans and Franz do not deal with Dietrich like they had done with the others because when they were children they were close friends. Instead they lead an assault on the Cor-sci to reinstall Dietrich as head.

                 They then head to the Cor-sci of Amaterasu to meet with Susanoo. Susanoo, attacks the two in a suit of armor that resembles armor worn by Samurai. The armor has a second stage that resembles a Ninja. After defeating Susanoo, Hans and Franz discover that Susanoo is not a human being at all but a cyborg created from the remains of Ingrid, one of the oldest children taken by the Piper. They also learn that the Piper is still alive and living in the Cor-sci of Shangri-La.

                 Upon reaching Shangri-La, Hans and Franz are immediately attacked by the Piper’s forces. After escaping, Hans and Franz make their way to the floating fortress where the Piper supposedly resides. After reaching the piper they are confronted by cybernetic copies of the people they fought in the previous Cor-sci’s, including Dietrich, who is not as big as he was when they met him in Freedom. Upon reaching the Piper, Hans and Franz discover that not only is the Piper just a shadow of his former self, and suffering from severe psychosis, but that it was never the Piper who controlled the children but the pipe itself that caused the children to follow him. Originally, when air was blown through the pipe, a chemical reaction between the air and the material that the pipe was made of produced a spore that when ingested, caused euphoria and made the mind highly suggestible. Because of a child’s under-developed mind, this caused no ill effects and even produced a limited immortality. The Piper originally discovered this when he first played the pipe over five thousand years ago as a child. Over time the level of technology had become so advanced that the pipe wasn’t required to be played anymore. Instead it was discovered that the sound itself, while not producing the suggestibility, still produced euphoria.

                 At about this time Fullō is revealed to be Emma who, with her husband Edwald, had sought to control the remaining population, first through the Cor-sci’s and then through “Elysium”, to realize the utopian society that was promised by the Piper when they were younger through their organization, Muspilli. A final battle is held and Hans and Franz leave Shangri-La, as the Piper’s floating fortress burns in the background. In the epilogue Hans and Franz discuss the dangers of sonic drugs, how private enterprise should be limited in their scope, and the benefits of entrepreneurship. Also in the epilogue we find that Emma and Edwald are still alive.

Area Summary:

There are six main areas that the characters can explore. There is much to do in these areas like mini-games and discovering items or clues that can lead the characters to the ones they combat in the final “stage” of each area. The characters need to interact with the local population in order to discover clues as to who is in charge and how to stop the spread of the drug “Elysium”. All areas are essentially the same with the exception of the area Shangri-La that sees the characters enter random skirmishes with security forces that are actively searching for them.

When interacting with NPC’s the characters have the option of a negative, positive or neutral dialogue options that effect the “reputation” of the characters. If the responses are too positive then the NPC’s will lie to the characters, believing them to be too gullible. If the responses are too negative then the NPC’s will lie to the characters, fearing for their lives. If the responses are too neutral then the NPC’s will think that the characters just don’t care and they will give a randomized response, which could either be the truth or a lie. If the characters are too “dark” or too “light” then the NPC’s will always lie.

Just before moving on to the next area the player will be given the option of “uploading” what they have learned to a community board for other players to access. This can help other players to complete the game and obtain the “true” ending. This especially is needed for attempts to play the game at higher difficulties. The player will also be able to “upload” information through the pause menu as needed and be able to check what others have “uploaded”.

There is almost always a “boss” battle with a minor antagonist that can either have one of the characters face a near death situation. In the event of a near death situation the other character must pull that character to cover so that the character can be restored. The whole story cannot be achieved without either A, accessing the community board or B, switching between the main characters in single player mode.

Characters:

Hans:

Hans is the more stoic of the duo. Blind since birth, he has had his eyes replaced with bionics that give him the abilities of enhanced vision to include x-ray, thermal, and night vision. His bionic eyes also grant him the ability of enhanced targeting. Hans’s primary job during combat is to provide security to Franz while Franz is either in a hand-to-hand situation or accessing a buildings security system.

Hans is taller than Franz and carries himself with an almost soldier like quality due to spending time in the military long before the story takes place. Hans is solidly built and tends to communicate more through actions than words. Hans does like to have intelligent conversation and finds those who whine and complain intolerable. The only one he tolerates in their whining is Franz. Hans is vehemently anti-homosexual, but is wise enough not to let it hinder his outlook.

Franz:

            Franz is openly homosexual, a little bit more high-strung, and often reacts emotionally. An accident when he was younger cost him the use of his leg, and he often needed to be carried around by a friend. His leg was replaced by cybernetics, which grants him advanced code breaking and reprogramming skills utilizing the computers located with in his leg. Franz can open any electronic lock and break into any computer system.

            Franz provides intelligence for the duo by the use of a gauntlet that is linked to his leg wirelessly. This gauntlet has a retractable vibrating blade that is approximately ten inches long and can cut through any substance or can disable any electronic device, including the human nervous system.

            Franz is thinner than Hans and about a foot shorter. Because of his previous disability, Franz takes a more direct approach when dealing with people. He also tends to assume the worst when it comes to interpersonal interaction and often tries to goad Hans into performing what he likes to call “aggressive negotiations”. Franz is a bit quicker tempered than his larger counterpart and it shows in his fighting style.