Another week, another hike

I’m out around Kylemore tomorrow, and if the weather isn’t shite I’ll take some photos and see about uploading them here. In the meantime, here’s a short story:

“Sensors indicate noobs!” Badurk yelled, his eyes wide with alarm behind the horn-rimmed glasses. That got everyone’s attention – even Friday stopped dozing in the corner and jumped to his feet, lighting up a Ghouloise, or trying to, but his hands were too unsteady. After years of running and hiding from the noobs, have they found our hiding place?
“How many?” Munekra asked. She’s the most cold-blooded, calculating human I’ve ever met – goes out on raids of the surrounding countryside with a sniper’s rifle and picks a few “n00blets” off – and she showed no fear at all, just her usual narrowed eyes that told us she’s calculating the odds and planning accordingly.
Badurk examined the computer screen more carefully, focussing on the feed from the video cameras. Just as he was about to call out a number, he gasped and jumped backwards as an ugly grey face stuck itself into the camera. It looked permanently dumbstruck, mouth hanging open and eyes staring vacantly. The mouth was filled with the blunt little teeth that struck fear into many survivors, and I could see the huge folds of fat billowing up around it’s neck.
The creature’s mouth closed slightly and opened again, just as it started to scream with the CAPS LOCK on, “OMG I c@N haZ N0m nOM N0M?!?!” Just as I covered my ears, the screen went black as another noob yelled “N0 F@iR, I s3e$ iT 1st!!LOL!!!”
“Check the other camera!” Friday growled, patting his beard nervously. He’s a former Web moderator, one of the few to survive The Downloading ten years ago, back when all this shite began. Noobs went from being an almost indescribable species of failure on the Interwebs to a real-life threat – almost everyone downloaded the virus that changed them into these freaks. All attempts to stop them failed, not by being ineffective against individual noobs, but because there were just too many of them.

Badurk switched to the second camera, and we were confronted with a sea of equally stupid faces. Each head was set on top of a body that was like a billowing sea of fat, the folds flopping up and down as the creatures hopped forwards, backwards and even sideways. Somewhere under the skirts of fat were two stick-thin legs that often failed to support them properly and either collapsed or went out of control and walked them off a cliff or into water. Two arms dangled almost uselessly on the stomach, and though the majority of the noobs held weapons, they mightn’t have bothered, they could never use them properly.
The problem was that, as always, there were at least a hundred thousand. And when a hundred thousand-plus noobs yell “PlZ Ha1L MEEEE!!!” (which is as close as they come to having a battle cry), it’s only a matter of time before you run out of ammo
“Up on the wall, people,” Munekra snapped. “Friday, check the NPs. Badurk, break open the Poitin Grenades. And Cyber-” this directed to me “-get the PODI.”
Without a word, we grabbed our weapons and left the bunker. Friday was carrying a massive shoulder-mounted cannon, his left arm swinging for balance and holding two extra ammunition belts. Slotted into the pockets of each belt were shot-sized bottles containing the Tactical Nuclear Penguins the cannon fired – only five of them, but to make up for this, he’d included about thirty Thermo-Nuclear Mushrooms.
Badurk had another five belts around him, stuffed with the round balls of liquid and dynamite that make up a good Poitin Grenade, and was lugging a case of fifty. He had used them in the evacuation of Farcia five years ago to good effect – even if the dynamite failed to detonate, any nearby noobs would sample the poitin, with predictable results. A holstered .33 Magnum PeaShooter, with twelve cans of rock-hard chickpeas ready to fire, completed his outfit.
My rifle looked a bit more ordinary at first. At a glance, it was a normal Steyr AUG, until somebody noticed the pint bottle mounted in place of the magazine. I never drank from it, I’ve never been that desperate. Munekra had taken her sniper’s rifle and another PeaShooter.
The wall was about thirty feet high, made of whatever we could find. Corrugated iron, logs, and even a few dead trolls. On the other side was the canyon that we called home, for lack of a better word. It sloped upwards and disappeared around a corner about 500 metres away. Even from here, we could hear the noobs bickering with each other as they got closer. Sadly, there were no cliffs for them to fall off, but we’d dug a few pits to compensate.
As if we needed another indication that they’d found us, one waddled around the corner and stopped. It stared at us, as though trying to figure out what to do, but just before it realised we were NOM-able, Friday triggered the Red Herring. It landed in among the other noobs that piled around the corner, immediately starting a fight as they accused each other of “$t3Al1ng miy N0m nOM n0m”. Friday shouldered the Cannon, and didn’t even bother to aim through the sights, the Penguin was already locking onto the Red Herring as he squeezed the trigger.
Burgess Meredith laughed to my right as the Penguin was ejected from the cannon at high speed. It sped in towards the pack of noobs, none of whom even noticed something coming, and detonated with an ear-splitting boom that just about masked their death cries of “OMG u gU¥Z R H@k1nG!!!!!”
Even as more piled around the corner, Friday triggered another Penguin. This one killed even more, but they just kept coming. Enough had made it through for them to yell their lame battle cry and waddle towards us, bumping into each other, falling into the pits, or even just standing still and wailing about the evil hackers on the wall.
Badurk threw a Poitin Grenade and watched it fly the three hundred metres in a second. A noob promptly gobbled it up and started to stagger around, firing it’s magic AKA-47 in all directions just before the grenade went off, showering the surrounding idiots with flaming poitin and fatty shrapnel. Badurk swiftly threw another, and another.
I lifted the PODI and squeezed the trigger. It kicked back against my shoulder as a six-foot-tall ginger was expelled from the muzzle. The ginger was dressed in a red jersey that clashed horribly with it’s hair, and it’s hand clutched a pitcher of Guinness. As always, I couldn’t helping smiling as they started to beat the noobs senseless (or even more senseless than they had been) and swear at them with terrifying inventiveness. Nothing like a pissed-off drunken Irishman blaspheming.
I fired another, and another, aiming them in separate directions. Just as the first was finally overwhelmed by the incorporated stupidity, I fired off another in the same area. Unfortunately, when the noobs were beaten off, the first PODI rose from the ground, focussed on the one I’d just fired, and promptly swung a fist at it. Naturally the fourth responded, and soon the noobs were hopping past them, their hands waving excitedly as they got closer.
Friday fired off his last Penguin and then shoved a Mushroom into the cannon, aiming at different angles to account for their relative lack of aerodynamics. Each one gave off a red mushroom cloud as it exploded, giving them enough radiation to make a power plant faint. The radiation promptly drove them nuts and turned them on each other, causing a brief lull in the battle as noob tried to own noob. Even as the victors bounced up and down on the other noobs’ corpses, we continued firing.
I ducked underneath the parapet to change bottles, and I heard something coming from behind me. I quickly turned, and my jaw dropped as I saw a noob landing on the walkway. It bounced and turned to face me, and screamed something about running on water. My first thought was “Oh shit, we’re finished.”
Just as the noob was about to bite, I heard a loud boom, and it’s whole body exploded. Even as I wiped the liquid from my face, I heard a Germanic voice proclaim “I reject your realities and substitute my own!”
I looked over to my left, at the speaker, and I almost groaned at the sight. He was another ginger, dressed in a smart white tuxedo jacket, with a massive scar down one side of his face. Behind him was a robot and another nonsensical character.
The robot had a black beret on it’s head, and had stuck a walrus-like moustache underneath the metal nose. It’s arms held a cannon that looked like two metal tubes welded into a plus sign, with a can of something shoved down the barrel, and a canister of compressed air on the robot’s back. The Hyneman, obviously not programmed to read my exasperated expression correctly, called it “my little pop-gun” as it aimed and fired. The can shot out of the cannon, landing among the noobs that were now at the bottom of the wall, and exploded, showering them with boiling fizzy drinks.
The other character was a massive cartoon horn with curly hair and stick-like arms and legs, holding a Kalashnikov-version of the PODI. As it made it’s way up the ramp, it honked at a piece of noob to “Get out of the way!” and promptly threw it away. Friday facepalmed and asked out loud why Jeremy Clacson couldn’t have died in Vyralia. I silently agreed.
“Because ze noobs couldn’t eat him!” Baron von Savage shouted, throwing what looked like a bag of popcorn with a cell phone attached to it. “But ze little Schweinhunds can eat zis!”
The noob that caught this stared at it, before yelling something. Probably asking if popcorn can be popped using a mobile. No, unless…
“When in doubt. C4,” The Hyneman intoned mechanically. The Baron nodded gleefully and dialled a number. I could hear the other phone ringing, just before it exploded, followed by the high-explosive popcorn going up in a cloud of smoke.
Clacson aimed his PODR and sprayed a long burst. Instead of angry drunken Irishmen, angry drunks wearing fur caps and holding bottles of vodka landed in the killing zone. Angry drunken Russians – what next in this stupid video game?


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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