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Tales From The Digital Bunker: The Great Game

The Great GameThe Great Game

Every global organisation has its secrets and the Army of Toy Soldiers are no different.
When I first elected myself Spymaster General, I thought it would be a bit of a laugh, just some fun like everything else the Toy Soldiers were known for.
Perhaps I was naïve.
Everything has its price in this world. Even something as simple as fun has to be fought for.
The following reports are a catalogue of the strange occurrences that happen when you rig a facility to bend reality for the sake of fun. When you genetically manipulate small mammals and build insane robots in the name of fun. Sure, there is a lot of fun, but the weird is often close behind…

Valravn Report 295a: The Great Game

            It was some time ago I remember going down into the sub-levels looking for adventure, as you do when you are a young man with a sugar and caffeine addiction, a portable CD player and the latest Nu Metal album to blast through it (Spineshank’s “Self-Destructive Pattern”) . Walking through those dark, dusty tunnels, my flared jeans leaving swept trails in my wake, I heard a rather unusual noise.
“Plink… Plonk… Plink… Plonk…”
Down the hallway a door was open, a harsh, flickering light coming from within.
The scent of brine was on the air. If I was not careful the Hot Dog Man would be coming by soon. Knowing time was of the essence, I darted inside, thinking I would simply find an old control room, or server stack. What I found was far more bizarre than that.
Sat in the middle of a bare room, was an ancient, black and white CRT Television. It was just like Abuela had, the kind with the wood panel case. Embedded in the case were two large, bakelite knobs and a series of buttons. The knobs were being patiently turned forward and back by two rusting robots of a design that easily pre-dated the spherical headed units we know now. Their faces were like a 1920’s pulp hero’s space mask. A hollowed out metal turnip, with a deep gouge for a grin and huge lenses screwed crudely into cavernous eye sockets. Their limbs were strange, noodly appendages with gripping claws at the end. Their bodies were like metal beer barrels with thick, stumpy legs sticking out, ending in crude box shaped feet.
The two robots scowled at the screen as a white dot moved back and forth, emitting a loud “beep” each time it changed direction.
On either side of the screen were two enormous rectangles, sliding back and forth, controlled by the creaking robots and their gripping claws.
Pong. They were playing Pong.
Looking up at the score it read “0-0”
Looking to the right of that was something I did not expect. A clock. The game had been running for 31 years 2 months 4 days 6 hours and 19 minutes…
They had been playing since Pong was first released in 1972.
Perfectly matched. Forever the equal of each other. I backed away, not wanting to interrupt something older than I was. A Great Game, set to last forever between perfectly matched opponents.
Who would design such a thing I would never know, but even now, when I roam the lower sections I occasionally hear them faintly in the distance.



Tales From The Digital Bunker: Welcome to the Bunker!


Hi there! It’s me, Lt. Sophie. I’m here to welcome you to the Digital Bunker of TSU, and to show you around a little. I see you’re new, so I will try not to overwhelm you. But there’s a lot to see, I can tell you that!
At least you came in through the main entrance, that makes things so much easier and less messy. Here, have a cookie and strap on your hiking boots, cause it’s gonna be quite a walk.

This is floor Zero. People usually arrive here. However they do it, I don’t know. I’ve been here so long I can’t even tell how I got here anymore. But I assume everybody has their own way of finding us. You’ll notice this floor looks more like a hangar than anything. That’s because it’s closest to “The Surface”. Of course, being a digital world, there is no actual surface anywhere, but it’s closest to the physical world and where we usually leave from if we have to go outside. The hamsters don’t like it much here, they prefer the cosier quarters below. Over there is the maintenance area for our robots. We’re currently trying to implement a self-repair station, but… well, it’s not working yet, you know?
There’s also the Admin HQ over there. That’s where Engineer Airhead does most of his magic, and tries to keep things running. Sometimes that even works.
Our central computing system, Q.V.R.E.S.S., is in there too. We’re all not sure what exactly it does, but Airhead is trying to figure it out.
Right, let’s go down to the quarters, shall we? There’s an elevator right here. Of course there are stairs for those that like to keep it sporty, but you never know where exactly you’ll end up using the staircase. It seems a little glitchy.

There we are, floor One! Already looks a lot more like home, doesn’t it? This is the community area. Here, you can sit down and chill, over there’s a corner for our engineers and anyone interested to fiddle with stuff. We also have a big kitchen over there, and the Mess Hall is right through that door. We’re still trying to program a bunch of robots to cook for us, but apart from a few explosions and some very burned meals we haven’t really achieved anything yet. So you may have to take care of your own meals, or join a bunch of others to cook with.
On this floor, you’ll find most of the things you’ll need to be creative. We have a bunch of people working on a studio to play and record music in right now, if you wanna know more just ask Dr. Malice. There’s also some workshops for painting, sculpting, sewing and some other stuff. We’re even trying to build our own Youtube Space, and I think a few of us are attempting to build a forge in one of those as well. If you need any material or have general questions that involve art or these workshops, just let me know. Oh, and that door over there, that’s the library. That’s where WRITE sits most of the time, feeding their imagination and working on their latest novel or poem. Please, remember to be quiet in there. Our librarian is not the most patient and has very sharp teeth.
That lab door over there leads to the quarters of T.S.O.S.D., where they work on their various space projects. I think last time they tried to send a hamster into space. Wonder how that worked out…
And last but not least, we all have to stay in shape, so we turned that room over there into a little gym. It’s not the fanciest, but it does the job, and we programmed one of the robots to motivate you by constantly throwing insults at you. Pretty clever, eh? The community showers are right next to it.

Right, back into the elevator and onto the next floor! Floor Two has a bunch of dorms and guest rooms. See all those corridors? Each of them leads to about a dozen rooms and a few apartments for those who live here with their entire family. There are more smaller rooms on the floors below, but we haven’t renovated all of them yet. Even with the help of the robots it’s a tedious task. This bunker seems surprisingly old, considering it only exists in the digital world, and we try to make it as homey as possible. Each floor also has a smaller community room for group activities, a laundry room and a maintenance room. Each floor also seems to have some sort of secret to it. Corridors we haven’t explored yet, rooms that pop in and out of existence, all kinds of weird things. We think there are some bugs in the system that cause these issues. You’ll also find the hamsters are quite active around here, I hope you don’t mind.
The community rooms all come with coffee machines and kettles and small refrigerators. But some of our rooms and apartments are big enough for their own little kitchen. Right now we’re far from full, so you can choose whichever you prefer! But you should probably stay away from the lower levels for now. We still haven’t explored the whole Bunker, you know, and sometimes there are… weird things happening. Other soldiers reported strange noises and hamsters behaving erratically. There’s been talk about the Hotdog Man, which the HQ can neither deny nor confirm.
There are one or two special things about floor Two. If you look over there, that’s the door to our medical bay. If a hamster bites you or you get sick, or if you just want to take part in some medical experiments, that’s where you need to go. Our nurses work there around the clock to keep everyone healthy. Mostly. The room right next to it, by the way, is Raptor’s. We had to move him here because he was a constant visitor to the medical bay anyway, and we didn’t want to put him through the hassle of going up and down with the elevator each time.

Right, do you want to take a look at our vacant rooms? Let’s go deeper into the Bunker then…

Happy New Year!

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