A Certain Type of Violence
By Sean Maye
The last real sound Chase heard was the slight click of the switch signaling the start of the simulation. For a fleeting moment, there was a blinding flash of colours with an almost ethereal bit of music in the background, then the bleak grey of the loading area eclipsed the other colours.
Before the sandy haired youth, a rectangle appeared, seemingly floating in thin air. He didn’t even glance at that first little card: it wasn’t the one he was looking for, not by a long shot. He reached out his right hand, his pale skin seeming to glow a little more than usual, and pressed the tip of his index finger to a small arrow that had appeared beneath the card. His blue eyes flashed over many more images and titles as they flew by, his eyes looking for one image in particular.
He released his finger from the arrow as the title card he had been searching for appeared in front of him. It was a rather plain looking image, depicting fields stretching off into the horizon, a small farmhouse appearing just off to the right. But there was something different with the image.
A large mechanical robot was in the process of ripping strange plants up from the tilled soil, the farmhouse was built from a strange dark metal, and a man stood with his back facing the camera, looking up at something in the sky. A rocket was flying across the blue expanse of sky, positioned in between two words in bold white text: ‘New Frontier’.
With a slight smile playing on his lips, Chase once again pressed his index finger to the title card. A small blue circle appeared around his fingertip, quickly filling up. Once it was full, the words ‘Load Complete’ appeared in front of his eyes, and there was another flow of colours and sounds, different to the original one. He heard voices and bits of music, as well as other sounds. Sounds he couldn’t place. Alien sounds.
When the colours faded, Chase found himself sitting down on a bench in a large room. The walls were made from a strange, dark metal, and in front of him was a bay window looking out over a city on fire. He felt a good bit heavier and, glancing down, he could see that the game had loaded his full suit of military combat armour. His smile grew as he stood up, shifting the shoulder strap holding his rifle in place on his back. He walked over to the window and looked out onto a hell-scape.
Fires roared upwards from several different places in the massive city, the flames belching black smoke skywards to add to the already smog filled sky. Explosions rippled out from several different places, often near the blackened out husks of skyscrapers that reached up to the heavens like great hollow trees scorched by a forest fire.
Gunfire and flashes of light regularly appeared down below, a sign of the continued fighting in the region. Fighting craft blasted one another apart with heavy ordinance, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse above the shattered ruin below.
A shout from behind him caused him to jump slightly, turning to see Luna standing in a doorway behind him. She grinned at him, twirling a bit of brown hair that had slipped from beneath her helmet. “Come on you dolt, everyone else is waiting at the drop ship in the hanger bay. Let’s not make them wait any longer, huh?” She said jokingly, smiling at him with a teasing glint in her green eyes. “Try not to get too spellbound by all the explosions, alright?”.
Chase smirked in turn and made his way across the room to her, following her out and down a corridor towards the hanger bay. Never had a teenager been more excited for war. And war was most certainly in his future.