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Otaku Idol: Round Three


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After a slight delay it is time for the semifinals of the Otaku Idol competition to begin. Yes, you read it correctly, the semifinals!

This round will be the toughest for our six remaining competitors. Last round, we bid farewell to Juu, and in this round we will be saying good-bye to [i]several[/i] other Idols. Thus, making the stakes higher than ever before. The judges and you, the Otaku public, will vote off four of the six idols. [b]Contestants must submit a short sci-fi story by August 8th[/b]. Obviously, originality and creativity are a must for this round.

Although our mystery judge from last round is still a mystery (due to Internet problems), the guest judge for this round is well known for his venomous wit.

Good luck.
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[color=darkgreen][font=gothic]Oh dear. I have just begun school again and will not have time for this... will try, would rather die than miss this round. I'm taking this very seriously, so please don't count me out. I'll give it my best shot to be in on time.[/color][/font]
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The street was dark.
The three outlaws huddled together on a corner against the unanticipated chill, their breath fogging in front of them. Shawn, the youngest of them at fourteen, was taking it the hardest, his blonde hair plastered to the side of his face as his teeth chattered in a cold sweat.
?Where is he?? muttered the second of them irritably, a raven haired girl called Trigger. She hugged Shawn closer against the cold as she glared at the third of them. ?He should have been here by now,? she continued darkly. Their companion made to answer, but then heard the familiar ?chug-chug-chug? of something approaching. All three of them leaned into the shadows as a police patrol floated by, the vehicle hovering inches from the ground as it hummed its way past them. After a few more moments, the lights dimmed around another corner and they relaxed. Irritably, Trigger pressed the issue. ?We?re going to die of the cold soon. We need to get in there.?
?I know,? came the hissed reply, as Jackal turned his weathered face to look at them. ?But we can?t go until we get the signal, alright? No signal, no safety. You got that Trig??
Quietly, Trigger nodded. She knew. She just didn?t like it.
?What if this is a set-up?? murmured Shawn, after a few moments of silence had passed. ?We?ve been standing here for 3 hours now??
?Three and a half.?
?Okay,? conceded Shawn quietly, pulling himself out of Trigger?s grip to rub his arms, noting quietly that his fingers were turning an uncanny shade of purple. ?But, what if-?
?Will you quit with the ?what if?s?? snapped Jackal suddenly. ?You?re not helping anything. And besides-?
?Besides,? cut in Trigger, her voice holding an element of excitement, ?there?s the signal!?
Turning his sharp gaze, Jackal noted the light that was peering out of one of the windows in the complex. He nodded quietly. ?So it is,? he said, taking a cautious step into the street. Then he beckoned for Shawn and Trigger to follow him. ?Let?s go.?

They were a well-balanced group of people. Trigger specialised in infiltration, perfectly capable of creeping about in the dark. Jackal was, despite outward appearances, a combat mage. Some people had latent magical abilities, though few were willing to admit it. And Shawn, too new at this to even have acquired himself a nickname, was their computer specialist.
Quietly, they moved around the dark building, the waning light throwing awkward shadows onto the ground. Trigger took the lead, sneaky things being her speciality. Her violet gaze roved the area before she flicked it towards Jackal. ?We need those cameras out.?
?Right now??
She nodded. ?It?ll take them a little while to realise they?re gone. I hear the security chief sleeps on the job.? As she spoke, she removed three earpieces out of a pouch on her belt and handed one to Shawn, watching as he put it in.
Then she turned to see Jackal muttering something under his breath, his hands making small motions that she would never hope to understand. Then, with a faint glow, and a crackling sound, the cameras went down. ?Okay,? he murmured. ?We?re good to go.?
Quickly, Trigger handed him his earpiece, and then got up to move, pulling lightly on Shawn?s jacket. ?C?mon kiddo. Your turn.?
Shawn was already delving into his own small bag, pulling out a series of wires and connectors. He took a position, cross-legged on the floor and started connecting everything together.
Jackal was watching him with an almost disgusted expression. He?d seen what Shawn did next? and it just wasn?t natural. Not by a long shot. He winced visibly as Shawn pushed back the hair by his temple, revealing a small socket, and clicked the wire into place. ?Doesn?t that ever make you sick??
?To the stomach,? murmured Shawn, with a slight nod. ?Every time.?
Jackal didn?t say anything, but watched the boy. Now that he looked, Jackal noticed that Shawn did look a little paler than he had done a few seconds ago. What must that feel like? But the question was idly wondered ? they had things to do.
?Go on kiddo,? murmured Trigger, having produced a dangerous-looking gun. ?We?ll cover you.?
?I know you will.?
?Both of us.? Jackal rubbed his hands together as he spoke, reciting combat incantations in his head, in case he should have need of them. Which was all too likely.
Shawn sighed. He breath wobbled in his throat. Every time he had to do this he wanted to run away. To run clear away where he wouldn?t be found. But he was this deep now. He was so deep he couldn?t see daylight. In fact, he hadn?t seen daylight for a long time. None of them had?
Quietly, but quickly, he clicked the last wires into place. Then he flicked the power on, and the small console in front of him hummed to life. ?I?m going online in 5?4?3?2?1??
?Zero? was lost on his lips as Shawn?s eyes slid shut, and his face was suddenly expressionless. Like? he wasn?t quite there anymore. Trigger couldn?t help but shudder. She?d once asked him about it, what it felt like to go ?online?. He?d told her that his mind was busy somewhere else. That he really didn?t have time to focus on what his face was doing. It had sounded stupid at the time, but the few occasions when she?d witnessed him going ?online? she had to agree with what he was saying. It didn?t seem like he really did have time for much else.
?Keep your guard up,? she murmured quietly.
?But you said they?d be slow to figure it out,? protested Jackal gruffly, continuing to rub his hands together, and not entirely from the cold.
?I did,? Trigger agreed quietly, ?but they?ll figure it out eventually. And he may need longer than that to get us in.?

Five minutes later, though, they were packing up and unplugging the shivering blonde. Jackal took all the wires and main unit apart, although Trigger had to take the wire out of Shawn?s temple. He was shaking too much to do it himself, and Jackal simply refused to touch it. ?Why do that to the lad?? he hissed quietly.
?Because he wants to,? she hissed back, her voice sharp. ?Because it?s the only thing he ?can? do now.?
Jackal, although he said no more, held a highly disapproving demeanour as the slipped through the, now unlocked, front door of the huge building. After another minute or two, Shawn stopped shivering quite so much. ?I?I?ve taken out all the cameras from here to the fourth floor,? he managed to stammer. ?We?re good up until there.?
Trigger nodded, peering round the corner. ?That?s better than I thought you?d manage. We need to get to the fifth floor, but everything we can get is a bonus.?
Still trembling, Shawn pulled out a pistol from his small bag and checked it.
?You can aim??
Shawn shook his head quietly at Jackal?s question. ?Couldn?t hit a barn door.?
?So how???
??They? don?t know that though.?
?Ahh,? murmured Jackal after a blank pause, suddenly nodding in understanding. ?I see where you?re coming from now.?
Hushing them quietly, Trigger motioned them onwards. ?We don?t have time to waste??
Then Jackal winced as an ear-splitting siren filled the silence. ?Trig? you jinxed it! I swear you jinxed it!?
?Quit whining, and get MOVING!? she bellowed, suddenly breaking into a sprint. ?They know we?re here, but they don?t know exactly where yet!?
Suddenly, desperately trying to keep up, Shawn swore. His weapon was clutched in hands, slippery with sweat.
?What?? barked Jackal, Trigger seemingly having not heard.
?The thermal scanners,? murmured Shawn, his blue eyes wide, slowing to a stop, causing the whole party to stop running and turn to him.
?What was that?? Trigger?s voice, for the first time in Jackal?s hearing, was afraid. ?What did you say??
?The thermal scanners are still online.? His voice shook, as the gun finally slipped from his shaking fingers, clattering to the floor and skittering a short distance from him. The air was still cut by the wailing siren, but it seemed almost silent to the three, suddenly presented with their doom. ?They?ll find us in a heartbeat. They?ll be on their way now??
?But I thought you??
?I thought I?d taken care of everything!? Shawn?s words were earnest and insistent, his eyes holding his terror like a glass holds water. He was so afraid? ?I thought I had, and--?
The unmistakable sound of a single gunshot scorched the air. Then Shawn blonde fell forward, his mouth still forming his explanation as Trigger caught him, her mouth gaping in surprise. She looked up, her surprise turning to a glare as a patrol of about five men stood there. Hurriedly, she pushed Shawn?s hair aside so she could see his eyes. They were open, but misty and dim. He was dead.
?You?? she whispered, her voice then whipping up into a stormy bellow. ?YOU JUST KILLED HIM!!?
The man holding the proverbial, and quite literal, smoking gun simply smirked at her. Then he levelled the weapon again. But Trigger was faster, as her name perhaps indicated, two of them writhing on the floor before the main gunman had pulled his trigger. Then she and Jackal were sprinting away, like ghosts on a breeze. But they?d soon be found again, they couldn?t stop themselves being warm blooded. Their footsteps rung hollowly through the corridor, Shawn gliding further away from them like a nightmare.
?Can?t you ?do something??!? Trigger snapped in Jackal?s direction. ?You?re the one with all the mystic mumbo-jumbo!?
?Oh yeah?!? he retorted, his temper risen, suppressing his distress at Shawn?s death with a savage efficiency. There were some things even a hacker didn?t deserve. ?Hold on a minute while I become a God will you?!?
?Well hurry it up, before I personally-!?
Another crack filled the air. The mere sound made Jackal want to cover his eyes and never look up again. The sight of Trigger lying in a pool of her own blood was terrifying to the mage. The hole in her right temple was acute, accurate, and lethal. She didn?t even breathe anymore. Jackal stepped back, his dark eyes coming up towards her murders. They were laughing? The stupid imbeciles had the NERVE to laugh!
?Wanted dead or alive, man.? The words sounded almost like an apology. They might even have been convincing had the officer holding the weapon not been smiling. This made Jackal angry. He was a mage, he reminded himself forcefully, trying to keep calm. But then he also reminded himself that this didn?t make him a saint, and that keeping his temper had never been his strong suit.
With a final glance at Trigger, her silently bid her farewell, before straightening notably.
?Well?? asked the officer, moving the gun slightly gesturing his willingness to use it. ?Which is it going to be? Dead or alive??
?I don?t really care.? Quietly, he built up the energy inside him. A lot of anger was there. Two companions dead. It was enough to stir up a hell of a lot of anger. But there was passion there too. Memories. Friendships. Things he?d barely achieved before they were stolen. Emotion writhed in him like a snake begging to be set free. Almost as though his actions weren?t his own. He heard sounds, voices, but they didn?t matter anymore. Revenge. Revenge mattered. Mattered more than anything had ever mattered before. He had so much energy, he could barely feel himself anymore.
And then? he set it all free.

Somewhere, on another compound far away, a spectacled man rested a clipboard on his knee. He watched a small light go out on a huge wall-mounted map before turning to his supervisor. ?Light 786 just went out, sir.?
?Add it to the list.?
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[size=1][b]There's no title to this one, and please bear with me for the weirdness. The only Sci-fi I've read is Liamc2's Eden, but one of my friends said this classified.

Oh, and this isn't nearly as long as Braidless Baka's, sorry.[/b]

I stepped into the building, and adjusted my business suit. It was, after all, necessary to make a good impression, and when one was applying for a job such as this.

And it was the job of a lifetime. The chance to travel all over the world, the ability to make money by doing what I do naturally ? manipulate. Of course, I had to get the job first, but what did that matter? I was bound to get it. After all, no one had a mind like mine. No one could alter the truth like I could. All I needed to do was prove it. Not that that was hard. I?d never admit it openly, but I knew that my gender was working [i]for me[/i], not against.

I smiled at the secretary, silently asking for assistance. ?Are you here for the application?? The rather good-looking secretary asked. At my affirmative reply, the secretary pointed towards the couch. ?Please wait there.?

I nodded and watched as the secretary walked over to get a cup of coffee, vaguely registering the fact that the individual was almost 6 months pregnant.

The secretary walked back with coffee in hand. I stood and took it, careful not to get my suit stained. You never could tell with these pregnant ones. One of my friends had joked that they had extremely shaky hands. Not that my friend was complaining, of course. But this interview was extremely important, and I couldn?t have some pregnant blonde bimbo messing it up for me by spilling coffee on my suit.

?So what?s your name?? I asked, giving my best slow smile. The blonde grinned at me, showing nice, straight teeth.


?Nice name.? There was a buzzing of the intercom, and Charlie moved over to answer it. ?Please, go right in.?

I walked through the room, looking at the pictures and recognizing them for what they were. Beauty. Grassy hills and such. Actually, I was quite impatient about beauty sometimes, but in this form it was almost magical.

Grinning, I shook myself away from my whimsical thoughts. Those were for the pregnant blondes like the ones outside the office.

The interviewer was quite ordinary. She sat in a polished mahogany desk, her hair tied neatly back, wearing a high-powered business suit. She had great rings around her eyes, and looked as if all she wanted to do was go to bed and sleep for a thousand years. But then, most high-powered business suit people were like that. That or they were manic.

When she had the resume, she asked, ?So tell me, what do you think would make you good for the job??

I sat straighter in my chair. ?I believe that I would be good for this company. I do not indulge in office affairs, I work productively, and, as several of my past employers have stated, I have the energy to work all day and into the night.? Yes, that?s right. I was a manic business suit person.

?And what are your ambitions in life?? She smiled encouragingly, and I knew straight away that we had what I dubbed a ?gender affinity?. She would choose me over a male with the same qualifications any day.

We continued on for a while, with her asking questions like ?What have you achieved?? and ?What are your qualifications??. I answered perfectly ? every aspect covered. She would certainly bring me to her bosses, and the gender affinity would play a huge role in my getting the job. Not that I was certain to do so. Of course, my well placed, ?And I won?t be leaving my job to get married and have kids? certainly helped the matter.

As I left the office, I saw Charlie again, bending over the copy machine. I grinned at the huge lump in his stomach, then walked over and asked him what he was going to call the new child. He looked surprised for a minute, and then answered that, if it was a girl, he and his partner were going to name her ?Aimee?, after his grandmother. If it was a boy, they?d name him ?Thom?, after his adoptive father.

I grinned as I left the building. Trust a male to be so sentimental. [/size]
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[color=009966][i]A strange creature washed up on the shore, lying on his back. His name was Haisthiin. He had a build slightly like a human, but his hair was a dark midnight color with a hint of blue, his skin a pale blue, and there were small fins that extended from his wrists to his elbow, and from his ankles to his shins. He seemed unconscious for a while, but then he slowly opened his eyes and took a look at his surroundings: sand under him, white, puffy things in the sky above him, strange gray shapes to his right, the ocean behind him, and everything was dry. Only then did it hit him that he was in what his people called "The Human World Above the Waves."

He stood up and looked behind him at the ocean, at his home. [/i]"Thinking of which," [i]he said to himself,[/i] "What am I doing up here?"

[i]He could vaguely remember a white-hot pain that shot through his body, but that was all. He couldn't remember anything. When he tried to remember, the blood in his brain started pounding awfully against his head. He rubbed his temples then massaged his sore neck, but he suddenly stopped in surprise. His gills were gone! The pain returned to his head, and once again he started rubbing his temples. He groaned not from the pain, but from his own ignorance. Why didn't he notice it before? How else would he have been able to breathe above the ocean all this time? He glanced back at the ocean. Could he even return to his home without them? He hesitated a few moments, but then he walked towards it and dove in. He swam farther and farther down. His chest started hurting, and he saw spots in front of his eyes. Finally he couldn't take it any more. He inhaled deeply, and his lungs immediately filled with water. He realized that he was worse off than before. He tried to swim to the surface, something, if under normal circumstances, he would never have done. He was becoming weaker with every stroke, and just when he felt that he couldn't last another second, his head broke through the surface of the water. He trudged back to the shore coughing up water and taking large gulps of air. He felt very dizzy and confused. Now what was he supposed to do, stranded here in this place?

Haisthiin glanced over his shoulder at the gray shapes behind him. Was that where the humans lived? It looked....dull. Seeing as he had nowhere else to go, he walked towards it. As he came closer, he could make out the shapes more clearly. He saw what appeared to be the image of a person with words beside him fixed to one of the buildings. He stared at it. Was that what humans looked like? He looked down at himself in comparison. Certainly humans did not have fins or webbed feet, nor were they blue. He would have to change that. He closed his eyes and concentrated his energy, chanelling it through himself as his body transformed. When the sensation had passed, he looked at himself again with great satisfaction. He looked just like a human! He was wearing a pair of dark-blue baggy pants, a white T-shirt with short sleeves, tennis shoes, and his skin was a pale color, he didn't have webbed fingers or fins either. In fact, the only thing that he had had before was his dark blue hair and black eyes.[/i]

"At least I didn't lose my magic powers as well,"[i] he thought grimly. [/i]

[i]He walked a bit more confidently towards it, but something to the left caught his eye. There were strange brown and green shaped popping up from the ground! Were these what humans called "trees?" He glanced at them curiously and was about to take a closer look when a loud roaring sound came from above. There was a strange silver creature creating such an awful racket flying through the air! He let out a cry of alarm and ran to the trees for protection. Haisthiin huddled against the hard trunk of it until the loud roaring went away. He felt numb all over. How could people [/i]live[i] here!? He searched the sky frantically in case he saw another one, but he was interrupted by someone talking to him.[/i]

"Dude, are you alright?"

[i]Haisthiin turned to find a boy staring at him. He had hazel eyes, brown hair with a few blonde streaks, and he was wearing cahki shorts, a black T-shirt with the image of some human on it, and was standing on a flat piece of metal that was hovering about six inches off the ground! Haisthiin started at it for a while, but noticed that the human boy was looking at him as if he were insane.[/i]

"Umm, I'm fine!"[i] He said to the human boy, even though he didn't exactly know what "dude" meant. [/i]

"Then why were you staring at the airplane as if it were an attacking space ship?"

[i]Now it was Haisthiin's turn to stare at the human boy as if he were insane. Both were silent for a few moments, but then the human stepped off the board and walked over to him.[/i]

"Dude, it's alright if you're scared of airplanes," [i]the human boy said quietly.[/i] "My mom and dad both get air-sick when they ride on them too. Don't worry about it."

[i]The boy stepped away a bit and held out his hand.[/i]

"I'm Brett,"[i] he said in a slightly louder voice.[/i] "Brett Carson. What's your name?"

[i]Haisthiin hesitated for a while. Should he make up a fake name? What if Brett found out that he wasn't a human because his name wasn't human? All these thoughts raced through his mind, but he had to say something quickly.[/i]

"I...I'm Haisthiin."[i] He said slowly. Haisthiin also held out his hand. Maybe this was the human way of saying "hello." Brett reached out and grabbed his hand and started shaking it. It felt awkward to Haisthiin.[/i]

"'Haisthiin', huh? Sounds kinda wierd. What kind of name is it?" [i]Brett asked as he released his hand.[/i]

"Umm....it's my dad's name?"[i] Haisthiin said, not sure whether Brett would believe him.

Apparently he did because Brett just walked over to the flat board, which was still suspended in the air. He turned around to Haisthiin.[/i]

"It's getting pretty dark. Do you need a lift? I can drop you off at your house."

"No, thanks. Erm....I'll just walk,"[i] Haisthiin replied. Brett shrugged and hit the accelerator with the heel of his left foot, and took off.

Haisthiin decided that it was time to find somewhere to stay. Who knew what kind of things appeared at night? He looked up at the sky and saw two pale, white circles. Were these the "moons" that he had heard so much about? He walked away from the trees and continued on the original path that he was taking before he was spooked by the airplane. It was starting to get noisier as he moved closer. Finally he turned a corner and was right in the middle of a road with a monster coming right for him! It let out a loud screeching sound mixed with an odd roar, and the monster stopped inches from Haisthiin. A head emerged from the beast.[/i]

"Watch where you're goin,' ya moron! You're gonna get killed if ya keep that up! You better not've scratched my car, ya wacko! I paid fourty-thousand dollars for it!!"

[i]Without even waiting for a reply, he drove off, leaving Haisthiin a bit stunned, and again wondering why anyone would want to live there. After that, he made sure to stay away from the road.

He wandered around for hours. He had lost all sense of direction in the maze of buildings and streets---Everything looked the same. Eventually Haisthiin gave up and just stared at the ground as he walked around aimlessly. He became so lost in thought that he didn't even notice the moons climb higher and higher into the sky as the night wore on. While he trudged on, he almost passed by a small slip of green paper on the ground. He stopped, picked it up, and examined it. In the center was the image of a man, and under it were the words "Twenty Dollars." Dollars....dollars....Where had he heard that word before? Then he remembered the angry man who was shouting at him. He had said that he paid fourty-thousand dollars for his "car" or whatever. [/i]

"So 'dollars' must be what these humans use as currency," Haisthiin thought to himself. He slipped it into his pocket and kept walking. After about fifteen minutes, he found a small building, much smaller than the others, on the outside of the city. A small sign hung above the door said "Hotel: Please check in with the clerk. Enjoy your stay." Haisthiin walked towards it curiously and opened the door. It was shabby little place with moth-eaten furniture, dusty tables, and very dim, but Haisthiin was now getting very tired. He walked up to the man at the counter, who was sleeping, and tapped him on the shoulder. The man woke with a start and stared around.[/i]

"Who? Oh. I take it that you want a room, sir?" [i]he asked while rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Haisthiin nodded. [/i]

"That'll be $14.92 for one night."

[i]Haisthiin took the bill out of his pocket while praying that he had enough and handed it over to the clerk. The clerk put it in a black box, handed Haisthiin a few coins and another bill, then handed him a key. The clerk mumbled something that sounded like "Room 24....the right...." before he fell back to sleep. Haisthiin put the money back in his pocket and walked up the stairs, counting the doors until he came to number 24. He put the key in the lock, gave it a hard twist (the lock was rusty), and stepped inside. The room looked only a little better than the lobby. He wasn't complaining, though. He lied on the bed, and almost immediately fell asleep.

Haisthiin woke with a start and looked around. He was home---his home! For a several moments, he was at a total and complete loss. It had seemed so real! He felt the pain, weariness, sorrow, terror....Was it really a dream? He jumped out of bed and swam to the door and opened it. He saw the fish swimming happily, and the wet sand beneath his fins. His hand went to his neck. Relief flooded over him as he felt his own gills. He looked above him and saw the sun's rays shining through the waves of the surface, leaving streaks of light playing on the ocean floor. He heaved a sigh of happiness, but as he did so, he couldn't help but wonder if what he saw in his dream was what the World Above the Surface really looked like....[/i][/color]
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[size=1][b][u]The[/u] [spoiler][u]AI[/u][/spoiler] [u]Aftermath[/u]/[u]A[/u] [u]Shattered[/u] [u]Hope[/u][/b]

The old man hunched over himself and allowed a shudder to escape his torn and tired body. The nights these days were especially colder, and he no longer felt the will in him anymore to work as long or as hard as he could do back in the days of his youth. And no sooner had the moon hidden itself behind a greylined black cloud, the old man determined it was far too dangerous for his self to be out still dealing in the harsh streets.

He blew warm life into his wrinkly overworked palms, and began his nightly pilgrimage back home. He had only tonight made enough to keep his family going an extra day, but he had more than excused himself already for this, and he decided that he may as well survive one day at a time. The man started up a little pace, and quickened it to a faster walk after a while. The quicker he was out of the labyrinthine alleyways that he knew so well, the quicker he would be that much more significantly safe.

As the man reached the alley mouth to the dirty main street, he halted. His eyes darted left to right, and he deemed the area before him secure enough to pop out of the dark little building gap, and in a casual enough manner, to flit from shadowed corner to corner.

[b]23rd September 2024
Private Mouse O'Connor, Diary Entry of[/b]
[i]I think this war is going to come to an end soon.. you know? I can just feel it in my heart. I dunno. Call it a soldier's dying hope, or a fighter's intuition. Or let's just say that I miss home so much I'm force-feeding myself lies. I've been at war for just maybe two months at the most, and I'm sick. Sick of everything. I just hope that it all works out as soon as this is done, you know? I wanna make it out of this damned place a hero. I want to walk in the street with my head held up high. Even when I'm old and greying, I want people to point me out and say 'Hey look! There's old Mouse, the war hero!'
Written with peace and family in mind, Mouse.[/i]

Mouse proceeded to walk down the bleak street; its lamp posts flickering haphazardly. Head down, his hands were thrust deep within his trenchcoat pockets. He was far too deeply caught up in the sound of his own footsteps to notice the following until a rather large puddle was disturbed. He turned around sharply.
'O'Connor, Mouse.'

He stared up and down the two people opposite him. From their washed-out uniforms that reminded him of the long-vancished Cuban militia, he could easily tell that they were officers. They were a great deal larger than him, and seemed very unfriendly to say the least. The woman entered his name into the palm of the glove she wore, and watched the information jump out into the air above. Organised fireworks of holographic data.
'So.. an old war veteran are we, Private?'
He hesitated to answer. There was something about the way the officers were going about asking their questions.
'Yes sir. I partook in the Third World War.'

The atmosphere felt wrong. And they were most likely going to search him for drugs, which tonight of all nights he still had on his person.
'Sir, you have a record of multiple incidents of drug dealing.'
Mouse had seen it coming. And he knew what else was now still left to come.
'Sir, lie against the car, spread your legs apart, and please put your hands on your head.'

[b]17th August 2025
Private Mouse O'Connor, Diary Entry of[/b]
[i]You know, I think I've lost it. The end of this war doesn't mean anything anymore. War is hell. And I hope everyone who let their sons and brothers lead themselves into the mouth of hell rots in misery. I just want to get out of this hole, go home, and just beat the first good citizen I see.
Written in the hope that there will be no more need for soldiers after this war; no more violence, Mouse.[/i]

Mouse could feel his senses dulling, and his eyes beginning to draw closer together. He was tired and couldn't care anymore. But he could still taste the sharp blood that dripped out his nose and along the top of the car.
'Some future you patriots led us into!'
The other officer joined in with the jeering.
'Some perfect example, you old drug-addict.'
But Mouse was no longer listening. He was far too tired for any of that anymore..

[b]3rd September 2025
Private Mouse O'Connor, Diary Entry of[/b]
[i]It's nearly over, you know? Everyone's talking about it. And it seems to have calmed down on both sides. Not so much shooting, and a helluva lot more talking. Guys talking about who they miss, who they love, what they'll go back to..
I don't really have anything to go back to anymore. Gonna start myself a new life. See, I can say that I've done my bit for mankind. And I can say that I was one of those who paved the way for the future.
Written in confidence, curiosity, and with no patience for what awaits us all, Mouse.[/i][/size]
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