– This story accompanies the map ‘McKinley’s Vengeance‘ by Eraser. Parts of this story are based on the short story included with the Quake II ThreeWave CTF mod and on the facts presented in the series of stories by LeeMon based on the Generations Arena mod-
Resting against a wall, a machine-gun in your hands, your mind wanders back to the days when you were not in this godforsaken place. Combat training, military school, life was easy back then. When you died, you died.
Now, things are not so clear anymore. You still die, but it doesn’t end there. Before you know it, you are flashed back to life, your machine-gun in your hand, destined to die again sooner or later. You try to remember how long it’s been since you came to the arenas. A week, a month, a year? Time seems to be a strange thing around here, but you do remember what your first moments were like…
…Disoriented at first, you slowly notice your surroundings. A metallic room, filled with beeping and flashing computer consoles. A big mirror, too. And some sort of portal. You are shaking on your legs and walking seems to be an impossibility. You feel you are carrying something heavy. When you look down, you see a strange weapon resting in your arms. It resembles a chaingun, but you don’t have the nerves to investigate it more closely.
Then, suddenly, a low booming voice commands you to step into the portal. You feel reluctant, but can’t resist the urge to comply. When you walk closer to the portal you notice that you can see through it. The image disturbs you, as you see a heavily armored young woman walk by, armed with what looks to be a shotgun. You lean forward and before you know it…. you stand in front of that woman! But how…?
You don’t have time to think about what just happened. You see a bright flash coming from the muzzle of the shotgun and you feel the pain as your body is being ripped to pieces by the shotgun pellets that are eating through your flesh…
A sound like a thunderclap brings you back from your memories. You quickly look around and in the same time switch your weapon. The low hum of a railgun reassures you that it’s charged and ready to pop some head. Suddenly a bright white beam of electricity whizzes past you. A moment later you spot your attacker. A pull of your trigger and the head of your opponent is ripped from his body by the uranium slug you fired.
“Base secure”, you think aloud.
The only response you get is the metallic ‘affirmative’ of one of your teammates, probably that big piece of junk, Tank Jr. The blue flag on top of its platform spins its rounds, waiting to be picked up by one of the opponents. But not if you can help it. Strange, you think, how a place so familiar is suddenly so alien to you. McKinley Revival always was a fine training site. The memories of that place are still vivid and, more important, pleasing. If you look around now, however, you can’t imagine you ever liked it here. McKinley Revival has turned from a soldiers playing ground into an eternal pain filled hell.
Your thoughts drift away and you recall your experiences here, when McKinley Revival was still a part of home..
…”O-K boys and girls, this exercise is called ‘Capture the Flag.’ There will be two teams and two flags. You must infiltrate the enemy base using stealth, firepower, cunning, or whatever the hell else you can to get the damn flag. Be sure to use your grappling hooks to speed movement and travel in areas normally not accessible by foot. Once you bring your flag back to base you must touch the flag to your own. If your flag has been taken by another team one of your team members must get it back before you can score. I will lead the red team.”
The sergeant looks over to you. “Soldier 3585, you will lead the blue team. This exercise will be held on a training site called ‘McKinley Revival.’ It will begin in 5 minutes. Take your goddamn places and get outta my face.”
You smile as you heft the grappling hook and organize your team.
“You, Tokay, you’re pretty damn good with a rocket launcher. Take Uppa here and guard the flag. Don’t let the freakin’ bastards get it.” You look over at another soldier. “Zoid, right? You feel up to getting that flag with me?”
“Damn right I do.”
“Good let’s go get it then,” you say to Zoid as the two of you head out of your base room down into the training site. The training computer’s voice intrudes on your thoughts.
“Weapons on simulation mode. Proceed with scenario ‘Capture the Flag’,” it says in its friendly female voice. You move down the hallways toward the objective, Zoid following close behind. Picking up a few grenades and a grenade launcher, you lean against the wall and look at your companion. He is carrying a double-barrel shotgun. You nod at him and look around the corner, into enemy territory.
A soldier approaches carrying a machine gun. You give the enemy sign to Zoid and he nods with a smile on his face. The enemy soldier comes around the corner and Zoid pulls the trigger of his double-barrel. The computer chimes in, “Blue scores a kill.” Zoid moves over to the ‘dead’ soldier and smiles down at him as he raids the soldier’s supplies. “Finders, keepers,” he says. The soldier on the ground looks up and rolls his eyes…
…If only you had known the strange turn things would take from there. If only you had noticed the tall, hooded character standing in the shadow of a few crates earlier. Perhaps you could’ve blasted it to eternity. Heh, what irony. The only one who would go to eternity was you, but you didn’t know that back then…
…and it looks as if he wants to say something. He can’t, obviously, since the training computer has locked him down. Standard procedure when you get ‘killed’ during training. Still, you feel as if he wants to say something important. You look into the direction his eyes are pointing. There, in the shadows underneath the walkway in the red base, you see something moving.
Before you can react, a dark, hooded person, correction, creature, is looking at you. It moves towards you on long, spiny legs. As the creature emerges out of the shadows you can see small, ragged wings sticking out of its cloths. You try to fire your weapon but you are unable to move a muscle. It feels as if an ice-cold grip has been placed on your bones.
“Don’t bother to try to brake free, young lad”, the hooded figure speaks, “It won’t do you any good.”
You can see from the corner of your eye that Zoid is frozen as well. So much for any assistance from that direction. You still try to move your head to look around you, but it’s no use.
“It’s good to see you here, fighting the way you are. You are probably wondering who I am? You may call me Uriel, if you like. I’m send here by my masters, known to some as the Vadrigar. It has come to their attention that this, well, complex, is used by some of the bravest warriors of mankind to practice the art of war. I’m here to take this complex away and bring it to my masters, you included.”
You gasp for breath. What is this… this thing talking about? What does he mean, taking McKinley Revival away? I must be having a bad trip or something… At that moment you hear the drill sergeant running up the ramp leading to the red base. Before he makes the turn into the base you hear him cursing.
“What the hell do you dumb shits think you are doing? This isn’t a tea party! You punks need to get over here, steal that flag and score some fuckin’ points, or else I will…”
The sergeant doesn’t finish his last sentence, as he sees Uriel standing in front of his frozen recruits. You can see from the corner of your eye that the sergeant aims his sidearm at the creature, ready to pop its brains out at the slightest provocation. Uriel however, simply smiles at the sergeant and stretches its bony arm towards him. You can’t believe your eyes as a strange looking device (is it a weapon?) materializes in Uriel’s hand. A moment later a giant spark stretches out in front of the weapon towards the sergeant, hitting and engulfing his body. Seconds later, Uriel dismisses the electrical beam, only to leave the cooked and blackened body of the sergeant to fall to the floor. The weapon dematerializes as Uriel puts down its arm.
“My masters will not tolerate any resistance or insubordinance,” Uriel simply says. “Now it is time to take you and your base away.”
Moments after Uriel has spoken these words, you see a strange blue light emerging from the walls, floor and ceiling of the room you are standing in. Uriel waves his hands around in a strange pattern and mutters a few words. The blue light becomes stronger and stronger, until it is too bright for you to keep looking. Just after you close your eyes you hear a loud explosion, as if an airplane has broken through the sound barrier. You feel a powerful wind trying to pull your body from the ground, but somehow the lock Uriel has placed upon you keeps you in place.
When you open your eyes you can’t believe what you see. Where once stood the mighty training site McKinley Revival now lays a giant crater. The broken earth and rock around you shows where the foundation of the base has been torn loose. At some places you see broken electrical cables sticking out of the earth, spewing showers of sparks.
“I will take you with me to the Arena Eternal,” Uriel says to you with a harsh voice. “You’ll make an excellent warrior.”
Before you can try to react you are engulfed by the same blue light that took away McKinley Revival just moments earlier. The light becomes brighter until you are blinded. Then, everything fades to black…
…You are brought back from your daydreaming by a distant explosion. “Great,” you whisper, “probably more incoming bogies. Let me have ’em.”
As you watch two red warriors running towards your base, their rocket launchers blazing, you can’t help to think about the worst thing the Vadrigar did to McKinley Revival. It’s not the blackened walls you care about, nor the slight but impossible to ignore changes they made to the base to facilitate their way of combat. The one thing the Vadrigar should’ve never done was taking away the spirit of McKinley Revival, turning it into McKinley’s Vengeance. You promise yourself, again, that you will never let them get away with that!
When you turn your attention again to the red enemies you see your moment of neglect has given them the opportunity to come close enough to use their lightning guns. As the electrical beam eats its way into your armor and flesh your last thought is simple: “I’ll see you in a moment, bastards!”