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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Thranguy posted:

Also still looking for two more judges.

I can't stand Leonard Cohen so in the interest of balance I'm stepping up.

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Obliterati posted:

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Resuming this in 20 minutes, no thanks to British Telecoms who are bad at internet connections

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

prompt

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

In

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

free crit by me, tyrannosaurus
this is good humor guys take note because djeser IS a judge but he is neither fast nor good

Counterpoint: I don't get how this relates to the prompt and so it should default lose

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

In with Michelle Branch - Everywhere

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLCasyAh7ic

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

in

also

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

The Last Shot of the War
1735 words


One explosion is nothing to worry about, its boom almost drowned under the hiss of the rain. But a second? It's them. I stay prone, soaking into the mud beneath the tank. It still smells of burned rubber, harsh and acrid, as much as the jungle tries to smother it. A mangrove rises through the turret hole, its roots shielded in steel plate. What was it the Lieutenant said? Everything breaks eventually?

A third explosion booms through the foliage from the west, coastward. They'll have their work cut out for them there. When the Americans launched their failed assault, all oorahs, gum and flame, our grenades often failed to detonate. But as the years pass and the chemicals within decay, that no longer matters. They lie where they fell, in the anti-tank nests and the foxholes and deep within the caves and beneath what's left of the beach waiting, patiently, for their moment. I haul myself upright with the butt of the rifle, every muscle and tendon roaring in protest, and I edge towards the sound.

You know, the moment when the Lieutenant came out with that – everything breaks eventually – was the one when I missed Jaito the most. But I digress. It's hard to keep my focus these days. Harder to remember the safe paths that I walk among the fallen. But I made my choice. I think of my father, a red, long settled mist somewhere in the pores of Shanghai; would he be proud? Or does any of that matter now that they can make men on an assembly line?

I close my eyes for just a second and then I'm back in the trees with the Lieutenant, thirty metres from the sand line. The beach is longer then. It languidly stretches out of the sea to bask in the sun and it would make a fine killing field, except-

Lieutenant Takamura coughs. I turn my head, and he is sitting with his back to the beach, trimming his thin moustache with the edge of a pocketknife. “Hold, Sakamoto,” he says. “Let them go.”

Sure enough, the Yankees are in full retreat. They pile back onto the transports with the eager glee of cowards in peacetime. I grin like a child and sling the rifle. Behind me, Jaito snorts. “Idiots,” he says. The beard he is growing is thick and black and completely inappropriate for a soldier of the 14th Infantry Division. “War's over.”

“That's treason, Private,” the Lieutenant says. He doesn't stop trimming. “The Empire of Japan-”

“-is done,” Jaito says.

The Lieutenant folds the knife and slips it into his front pocket. He sighs. “This island,” he says, “is still Japan, so long as we draw breath.”

Jaito opens his mouth to tell him, for the hundredth time, about his father at Peleliu and the good his breath did him but I don't get to hear it because I blink and I'm back in the now, alone but for the explosions, the machines, and the rain.

There is a rhythm to them now. Boom. Wait just long enough to think it's over and boom. Boom. I skulk closer, dip behind a shattered wing and pull out my binoculars.

There's ten of them this time. They walk up and down the beach on spindly legs, pulling rakes behind them, tilling the sand like soil. The rain flows down their metal frames in thick rivulets. And, every so often, one stops, reverses, and boom. The grenade goes off, eighty years late, leaving nothing but a gash in the sand to show for its patience.

The first time I saw them, they were collecting bones in the Valley of Death. That wasn't a grenade battle. I nearly walked into them on my weekly patrol, but for the rustling of the bushes as they were pushed aside, the machines relentlessly bagging every fragment bigger than a fingerbone. The rifle shot just bounced off the plating.

I fall back the way I came. We let them go, and now they're back.

#

It's not just the grenades that are getting old. The ammunition, too, succumbs to the heat and the dank and the days. I rescue what I can, but I cannot scavenge a rust-free AT gun.

My joints ache. But it has to be now, whilst the moonlight is good. I check my sightlines to the path and draw the Lieutenant's service pistol. I aim into the air and fire once. The sound cracks through the silent night. I wait. I try to keep my focus, try to keep my eyes open, but I have to blink and then it's me and Jaito side by side in the sunny foxhole we dug above the old airfield, in case the enemy tried a landing.

“See any planes, kid?”

I scan the night sky again. All quiet. “Not tonight, I guess.”

He laughs. “Not ever.”

“How'd you know?”

Jaito sighs and rolls on his back, looking up at the stars. “One: not one drat plane in twelve months. Two: nothing else either. War's over, and if we'd won we'd have heard by now.”

I open my mouth to reply and somewhere on the edge of hearing I can hear metal scraping on rock and I blink and it's just me under the stars.

I don't know how the machines avoid the grenades. This one follows the same path I did, ambling through what happened here like it never did. But whoever made them – whoever sent them – didn't prepare for alternative methods of attack. As it steps onto the trap, the ground gives way beneath and it disappears into the hole I dug after the Lieutenant left, in case he ever came back. There is a screech of metal on metal as the barbed wire takes the weight.

I wait ten minutes. None of its friends show up. Then I wait ten more. Finally I stand up groaning, my tendons cracking as they move, and hobble over to the pit. I look down at it, wrapped in red-brown wire, and it looks back up at me. Its face is blank, a featureless reflective sheen. I pause, reach into my pocket and pull out the rumpled English phrasebook. I squint. “Good evening,” I say. “You are a prisoner of war.”

There is a second, then, in which I feel like a fool. Then, the head jerks ever so slightly. “Konbanwa,” it says, in perfect Japanese. “This is an unarmed decontamination drone. Repeat, this unit is unarmed.”

I aim the pistol at its head. “How many soldiers do you have?”

“Repeat, this unit is unarmed.”

“What are your orders?”

“This unit is restoring the locality to its pre-war configuration.”

I start at that. To erase this, like it never happened? “Who is your commander?”

“This island,” it says, “is the private property of Mr. Takamura Genzo. He has now been informed of this unlawful presence.”

“Good,” I say. “Tell him to hurry.” Maybe it's true: if they can make machines that talk, they can make radios that are quiet. I leave it there, suspended like a fly in a web. The jungle will claim it, as it has everything else. As I turn away I blink and I'm back here with him and Jaito, at the end.

“Halt,” the Lieutenant says. It was a desert then. The fire burned the grass and burned the trees and burned the birds in their nests until the whole thing burned out and all that was left was the dust, stained black and red.

“Nobody here,” Jaito says. “War's over.”

“They might come back,” I say.

He makes a show of looking around. “For what?” He kicks a Marine helmet, sending it flying over the ground. “We aren't even worth finishing.” The helmet comes to rest like a tortoise on its back, spinning slowly.

“No more of this defeatist talk,” the Lieutenant says from up ahead. “That's an order.”

“Is that so, Takamura? You're not my commander any more. War's over. I fought your drat war, and now it's over.” Jaito's gun drops to the ground. “And I'm leaving. Going to go down to the beach and make some noise and surrender. You care so much about your honour, then you know what a noble should do.”

“Insubordination!” The Lieutenant turns and strikes Jaito once across the face. Jaito stumbles. Time always seems to slow around this part. He takes a step back and trips, toppling like a tower, until he hits the ground and the grenade goes off. I look away. I don't need to remember.

Instead I stare at the Lieutenant, who is staring at his hand like it might strike him next. He looks at me, or perhaps through. “The Private was too far gone,” he says. “Everything breaks eventually.”

I'm about to aim the rifle, but I blink again and I hear nothing but the tortured scratch of metal on metal as the machine struggles against its bonds.

#

I wait in a clearing close to the beach. I hear him before I see him: the helicopter chops thick and loud in the morning sunlight,

A figure steps off the helicopter. It waves to me from across the clearing.

“Private,” he says.

“Mr. Takamura.”

“I told you to leave,” I say. “This place isn't yours.”

He looks me up and down. “I bought it,” he says.

I glare at him. “You don't have the right.”

He shrugs. “This place is two square kilometres of explosive-filled jungle. It wasn't expensive. I assumed you wouldn't mind, by now. And the sea is rising and well – we're all running out of time.” He wheezes. “If I'd waited much longer we'd be talking with our ankles wet. Or not at all.”

“You can't just erase what happened here,” I say.

“Jaito was right,” he says. “War's over.”

“Speak for yourself,” I say.

“I can put all this away. Clean out the grenades. Return the remains to Japan, to let them rest. Move on. Sakamoto,” he says, stepping forward, “don't you want the war to be over?”

I breathe in.

I blink, once, but I'm still right here. I draw the pistol and aim at the stack of grenades beneath our feet. Some things are worth finishing.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Entenzahn posted:

Videogame Week Crits

Good crittin', thanks

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Still need a third judge?

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Sitting Here posted:

oh and Obliterati, if you still wanna judge, you're on

Nice

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

In etc

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

ATTN: WEEK 300 DOMERS

I am indulging in my semi-regular ritual of livecrittin'.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Wot no SF

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

In with She. No DMs, off to lurk in IRC.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Bingo

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Tech me up nerds, I am in

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

I'm that guy you're fairly certain won't submit and is, regardless, in

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