Tag Archives: TTL

Out of Darkness, Unto Destiny

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Destiny

New piece of Destiny fan fiction I wrote last week. This one merits a bit of explanation. I wrote it as a kind of transition piece for my clan, Tied the Leader. The TTL Gunslingers were founded on and modeled a bit after Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. At the time we were a Halo-exclusive clan, so the moniker was appropriate for the kind of game we played. Now with Destiny, the title of ‘gunslinger’ still holds (especially since there’s a particular build of Hunter that carries the same name). This story is meant to represent TTL’s passage from one Bungie title to the next.

Out Of Darkness, Unto Destiny

He stands on a low hillside, looking out over the grassland stretching before him. The night presses in on him, wrapping around him like a cape, cloaking him in darkness. It is late, and the moon has not yet risen, but still his sharp eyes can pick out every detail of the landscape below. The wide brim of his hat hides his eyes in complete darkness, shielding them even from what little starlight filters down through the clouds above.

He stands straight and tall, despite the burden of his passage to get here. A pair of six-shooters — the last of their kind, for all he knows — hangs low and heavy on his hips. He barely notices their weight. He has carried them for so long that they are now almost a part of him, an extension of his own body. They have not been fired in a dog’s age, yet they have been meticulously cared for. He suspects they will not be out of place here.

Echoes of the words that brought him here (“There are other worlds than these…”), spoken not to him but to a distant ancestor, still ring inside his skull like a bell. They repeat like a geas, driving him onward, urging him toward… something. He knows the truth of those words, though, knows them all too well. He has passed through more than one doorway, portals through space and time. They have brought him here now, to this “where,” to this “when.” He is not certain yet what his appointed task will be, but he knows he will not have to wait long to find out.

A burst of gunfire draws his attention, and his hands reflexively drop to his pistols. He does not draw them, for one does not draw iron unless one intends to kill (I kill with my heart, that old, familiar creed whispers in the back of his mind), but he readies himself for action. He looks in the direction of the gunfire, and sees a figure running as though all the hounds of hell are on her heels. He absently notes with approval her resourcefulness; her gear has clearly been scavenged from whatever cast-offs she has come across in her travels. A tattered cape flutters behind her as she runs. She wears a helmet that glows faintly with a low blue light, a kind of new technology that he has not run into before.

The six low creatures that pursue her are like nothing he has ever seen. They are fleet of foot and deeply alien. They too bear helmets and armor that have seen better days. Most have four arms, giving them a vaguely insect- or spider-like appearance that he finds unsettling. All have weapons of their own and are using them now to fire on the figure that runs before them.

He takes a step as though to enter the battle, the champion within him rising to her defense — then stops. She dives forward just as one of the creatures fires on her. She hits the ground with a roll, coming up holding a pistol so much like his own that he starts with surprise. Three time she fires, and three times the bullets find their mark. Her pursuit has been reduced by half. The corners of his mouth turn up appreciatively, the closest his lips have been to a smile in years. The woman is a gunslinger in her own right — not unheard of, of course, but not common from where he comes, either. He relaxes his grip on his pistols and leans back on his heels to observe, confident that she is more than capable of taking care of herself.

Her counterattack has reduced her lead substantially, but the remaining creatures are more wary now, more cautious, and are giving her a wider berth. They have seen what she can do and are reluctant to give her an excuse to unleash more of her fury upon them. It doesn’t matter. The night is lit briefly by a ball of purple energy that falls out of the sky, as though a piece of the sun has been hurled Earthside. It explodes on the ground near the figure, obliterating two more of the creatures. A moment later a second figure descends smoothly from a gliding arc to stand next to the first, this one wearing a cloak that would not have been out of place on one of the gunslingers of old. A heartbeat, and a third figure emerges from the darkness to stand next to the other two, this one enormous and covered head to toe in steel like one of the knights of Arthur Eld’s court.

The sole remaining creature roars defiantly before turning and loping off into the darkness. The three figures let it go without pursuit. Word of what has happened here will pass among others of the creature’s kind, and perhaps they will be more reticent to attack these figures in the future. They are gunslingers, to be sure, but they are also something more. It is these, he is sure now, that he was meant to find.

The three of them appear to confer for a moment, and one of them produces a glowing orb that takes flight and moves rapidly around their heads. Whether magic or technology he cannot determine, not from this distance, but he suspects it is probably some combination of the two. It would not be the first time a civilization had used one to harness the other.

This is why he is here now, he is certain of it, but the time is still not yet right for him to reveal his presence to these people. That moment will arrive soon, but there are other things he must do before then. He turns and slips away quietly before he can be discovered, an aura of golden light glowing faintly around each of his pistols.

Reclaimer Images

A little Reclaimer fun I’ve had in Photoshop today:

Reclaimer Splash Image

I’ve been toying with the idea of taking advantage of the new Facebook feature of pages, and I whipped up this little screenshot with title and URL for that purpose.

Reclaimer banner

A smaller version of the above, with the URL moved, for use as either linkto button or a forum signature image. I’m using it currently as my sig image on the “TTL forums”:http://forum.tiedtheleader.com.

Yeah, I love playing with Photoshop, and I don’t even tap into _half_ of that program’s power.

Ogame Development

HammerstrikeI didn’t think it’d be possible, but this “Ogame”:http://ogame.org thing is really quite addictive. I’ve been playing for a bit over a week now (10 days, actually), and I’ve worked my way up to a solidly established Homeworld (which I dubbed ‘Darkfall’) and two colony planets (Firestorm and Hammerstrike). I’ve actually got a colony ship _en route_ to arrive at a potential fourth planet in about six hours. This is actually my second attempt to gain a fourth planet, the first of which failed in the last 15 minutes as someone arrived there just before I did (it was a 10-hour trip one-way, so the colony ship had to turn around and come 10 hours back home again).

Solar PlantMy strategy thus far has been simple – keep as low of a profile as possible, spend resources as fast as possible, and spread myself out around the galaxy as much as possible. Fortunately, I’m under what’s called ‘newbie protection,’ which means that more advanced players who have been at the game longer than I can’t attack me until I level up quite a bit more. Likewise, I can’t attack players newer than me (beyond a certain level). I’ve primarily spent most of my time sending cargo ships out to ‘attack’ inactive players who haven’t logged in for at least seven days, some of which have been away for 28 days or more. Some of these folks are about to have their accounts deleted anyway, so I can safely raid their stuff while they’re gone without fear of retaliation. Soon enough, though, I’ll have to start building fleets and become a bit more active in the local battles and wars in order to continue surviving. Newbie protection doesn’t last forever, you know.

Colony ShipIt helps to enter this game with an alliance already in place. A bunch of guys from my “Halo clan”:http://tiedtheleader.com have been playing Ogame for several months now, so most of them are already firmly entrenched and well-established. My first few days in the game saw care packages coming in from several different players and planets. The extra resources were instrumental in allowing me to gain a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. This has also allowed me to establish a pretty solid foothold so that I can share some of my resources around to newer players, as well. As an alliance, TTL works very well together and the goal is for us to become one of the highest ranked alliances in the game (at least on our server). We’ve even managed to pull players from other Halo clans into our Ogame alliance, thus making us even stronger.

normaltempplanet05.jpgOgame is pretty cool for what amounts to little more than a glorified Excel spreadsheet. There’s no animations (aside from the countdown clocks), no super-fancy graphics, no wicked cool sounds. It’s simply a slow and plodding game of resource management and colony development. It’s amazingly complex and requires a certain amount of strategy to be able to manage your development. I like the fact that there is no luck, no chance involved. Everything is very mathematical and formulaic, and therefore outcomes are relatively easy to predict.

Feel free to give the game a try, and if you decide you want to register and need an alliance to ally with, declare yourself over at “TTL’s Ogame Alliance Hall”:http://forum.tiedtheleader.com/index.php?topic=8529.0 for a pass to our private strategy forum. Tell them Demag0gue sent you.