Saturday, August 13, 2022

Story Post: Announcement #24

Meanwhile, in a seedy bar not far from the Arena Hall complex…

If you give the bartender the exact right kind of nod, they’ll gesture you towards a nondescript door which will lead you to a dark corridor. At the end of that corridor is a heavy steel door, which, when opened, will reveal a narrow, rusted-iron spiral staircase leading down into a damp cellar. From the foot of these stairs you will now be able to hear the sounds of people shouting and the tortured whine of metal on metal. This is the real deal; push through the curtains and what you’ll see is the real BlogBot fighting league, the dark, dangerous underbelly of the sport where everything is for keeps and nothing is off limits.

Take this bout, for example. One Bot, called Zero Wing, is basically a control unit surrounded by autonomous modules that can break away, charge down the opponent and detonate themselves - expensive for the Operator, worse still for the Opponent. It’s hanging back, now, at the edge of the fighting pit, its drones circling its main unit, looking for an opening through which to strike.

Because its opponent is also a Bot of no common factor; named Six Eyes, its form profile is more or less a series of rotating rings inside a fixed frame, each of which holds a lens in place. When activated a single laser beam can be split into a half-dozen, scoring the centre of the stage and preventing even a determined bot-cloud from getting through. This bot is making aggressive moves; it’s a battle of positioning, as the ring-bot tries to find a position where it can catch its Opponent’s central unit with its laser with enough force to knock it out in one, while the Operator of the cloud-bot is trusting their gut, watching the rings, waiting for a moment where -

Ah. There it is.

For just a split-second the rings are misconfigured, giving too much coverage on the left and not enough on the right. And that’s all that the swarm needs; two of the detonation modules peel away from the central housing and score up the left hand track of the pit - but it was a feint, and actually the rings were never misconfigured at all, and suddenly those lenses are snapped back into position, the detonation modules are fried and dead-stick, and that’s now created a little safety-corridor on the left for Six Eyes, who takes it…

Because behind Six Eyes is a player knows that you don’t play against the Bot, you play against its Operator.

In the chaos as the Bout concludes, with the bookies collecting their winnings and the crowd jostling and yelling, someone appears at the Operator pit, by Six Eyes’ Operator: someone in the livery of the BlogBot league. The Operator is handed a note; it reads:


SupernovaStarbright stands up and, with a thin smile, grabs her competitor’s pink slip, her winnings, and a fat manilla folder marked TRAPDOORSPYDER. Time for DuckTank to get back to work.

Meanwhile, across town, a mysterious figure stepped off of a boat and onto the dock. Despite the lashing rain, this stranger had no coat or umbrella, and nor did the man there to meet him - although this person at least could be identified thanks to the BlogBot League pin on his lapel. “Are you… Habanero?” asked the man, and the figure just nodded. “Come this way please… Your first bout happens imminently, it’s against Raven1207 and CrowBot2000, do you need time to get ready…?”

Habanero’s response was simply a shake of the head. It was time to shake up this league.

SupernovaStarbright vs Trapdoorspyder, no configurations
Habanero vs Raven1207, bumpers up, obstacles as follows: 11^, 10v, 7v


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