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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Cypher's Tale 23 Beta

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Concrete and glass walls stretched into the distance. Setting sun reflected from the haze. Traffic was light enough that a few LARPers had taken their game into the street, waving swords and brandishing red machine guns at the images on their HUDs. A few wore glasses, but most used implants like Shilo's. He tuned into their net for a moment and the others followed.

An iridescent black serpent with long, bony legs and a thousand black roach wings chittered in the far lanes, weaving to avoid cars and bursts of small arms fire. Three soldiers in green livery held it at bay with long spears. An advertisement for the game scrolled across the sky.

Cars honked at the gunners, who scattered to the sidewalk around Shilo's companions. Their bullets ricocheted and passed harmlessly through onlookers. Finally, one pikeman rushed into the mass of legs and herded the thing in front of a bus. It was smashed open, showering the players with goo and leaving behind a glittering chest.

A pikeman moved in to open it. The gunners turned towards Shilo's group, flicking safeties

and Betty reacted. She was closest to the street, between two of the LARPers. Her left foot connected with the man to her right in a precarious reverse side kick that sent her toppling to the left, unbalanced. Four small fingers brushed against the left man's SMG, wrenching it sideways. Then her body rotated upright and followed through with a sweeping front kick to his nose. Blood squirted into the air- his nasal bones were driven into the frontal lobe. She had risen up on three right toes and now pushed off with them. It was a rare public demonstration of the floating foot technique that sent her flying between the slow motion reactions of Shilo and Jonas. Her left foot came down on a broken hand and gun- her right foot whipped up in a roundhouse kick to the doubled over gunner a split sec later. His head snapped back, jaw shattered, throat torn open by distension.

She looked leftward, still standing on her third victim in a lazy Philly Crab stance. Shilo leapt on the first gunner, who only had a broken rib. The gunman fought with strength and skill, but Shilo fought with a shameless bear hug.

The fourth man struggled valiantly against Jonas and Black Alice. She clung to his gun hand while Jonas tried to hold on to his left arm. A burst of nickel slugs cut the air above Alice. The man wasn't too large or strong- actually, he was smaller than Jonas- but his movements were sharp. He probably could have beaten them both if not for Betty's right jab. It crushed his eye socket.

"Geeryeeeeagh!" he said.
His partner finally headbutted Shilo and reached the gun he'd dropped, but Betty kicked him in the temple.

Three genuine LARPers stared.

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