Chapter 03 - Thanks for the feedback!
Brent and Duck kept walking through the farmland, arriving at a small flimsy looking farmhouse that was thankfully different from the one Brent had seen on his descent.
However, his gratitude was short lived. Gunfire rang out and several small puffs of dirt kicked up around the boys’ feet where the shots impacted the ground.
“Shit! Shit!” Duck swore. “Take cover!”
Startled, Brent took out his pistol and looked around for the source of the shooting, but then he felt a sharp pain materialize in his side. A health bar appeared near the bottom of his vision:
“Augh!” he groaned, and started running. Duck had already bolted ahead into the farmhouse, throwing the door closed behind him out of instinctual precaution... seconds before Brent arrived at it.
“Let me in! LET ME IIIIIIIN!!!!” he wailed as he frantically tugged at the doorknob.
“It’s not locked, just open it!” Duck shouted back.
“I can’t!” No matter how hard Brent pulled on it the door wouldn’t budge, like it was stuck on something. Could this be one of Dombey Uno’s tricks?
Duck made a loud sigh in exasperation. “Okay hold on a sec.”
The knob turned and the door opened inward. Brent almost fell over in his rush to get in. Duck closed the door again and looked at Brent in a way you might look at someone who tried to pull on a door marked “push”.
“Hey, don’t look at me like that,” Brent protested after catching his breath, “If you hadn’t closed the door before I got there that wouldn’t have happened.”
“It also wouldn’t have happened if you knew how doors worked.”
“But why the fuck did you close the door?!?”
“I thought you were right behind me,” Duck shot back, “Why were you so slow?”
Brent couldn’t believe the other boy was refusing to admit any wrongdoing. He was about to retort when the pain in his side surged. He looked down to see a small red spot staining his shirt. Realizing it was his own blood he began to feel queasy.
Bang! Another gunshot rang out, this one sounding closer, followed by a female voice:
“I’ve got ya cornered now, varmint! Come on out with yer hands where I can see ‘em, nice and slow!”
At once silence filled the room, neither boy knowing how to react. Brent doubted surrendering was going to end well. He crept over to a dusty window and peered out, making sure as little of his body could be seen from the other side.
Their assailant was a blonde woman wearing a cowboy hat, who seemed to be chewing something. She was slowly approaching the house with a submachine gun in hand.
She stopped about 30 feet away. Hearing no response, she spat on the ground, said “Heh. Fish in a barrel it is then,” and opened fire.
Ratatattat! The window shattered under the fully automatic hail of bullets, and the wall around it began to splinter, holes appearing where the shots had… gone straight through?
He’d been hit again. Brent realized with horror that these walls could not protect him, and made to run in search of something that could. But it was too late. A red haze filled his vision as a few rounds struck him in the left leg, taking him down.
“Gahh!” As he fell to the floor he heard a strange sound that could best be described as a cross between a bird tweeting into a radio and a small child exclaiming “Oof!”.
The gunfire stopped, but the damage had been done. Pain coursed through his body as Brent crawled along on his hands and knees. Well, one knee at least. He looked back at Duck, who looked to be unscathed from the attack. “M-my leg,” Brent called out weakly, stretching a hand out. “H-help me…” If he could just get back on his feet...
Duck didn’t respond, glancing at him and then back outside in contemplation.
Duck abruptly dashed further into the house. What was he doing?
Brent’s heart sank as he saw Duck exit the house through a back door, throwing it closed behind him(out of instinctual precaution of course) and continuing to run.
“Where d’ya think yer going?!” the woman shouted. Brent heard footsteps circling around the house, followed by more shots. He flinched, but the house wasn’t the target this time.
The submachine gun’s rattle was interspersed with the sound of another gun.
In another moment, all was quiet again, and text appeared in the top right corner of Brent’s vision:
Brent dimly recognized it as a kill notification. So Duck had gotten himself killed. What an idiot. What a god damn idiot.
And now it was his turn. That woman was more than likely going to come back to loot the house, find him in this feeble state, then finish him off. Hot tears began to form on Brent’s eyes at the unfairness of it all. He’d just been transported to this new world mere hours ago and already he was in such dire straits.
Still wracked with pain, Brent managed to crawl over to a wall and prop himself up against it. He then readied his pistol and listened for the back door. Oh yes, he’d resigned himself to an unfair, pointless death once already when that truck inexplicably swerved, but this time he figured he would at least put up a fight.
A minute passed in silent suspense, then another, but nobody came. Strange, Brent thought. They couldn’t have gone far. If that woman was coming back she would be here by now. Was he… safe?
Pain consumed his mind again, turning his attention back to his wounds. His health bar had turned a bright flashing red and was slowly shrinking.
|HealthBleeding Out||89/200 [Warning! Death is imminent!]|
As he watched the number ticked down to 88, 87, 86. Brent struggled to stay conscious as darkness lurked at the edge of his vision. He needed to do something about that fast or it wouldn’t matter whether an enemy came or not, he’d succumb to his injuries.
Oh right, the Bandages. Normally Brent would have thought of this right away but these weren’t normal circumstances. He opened his backpack and took out a roll, a description window popping up as he did.
|Heals 15 HP.
“Use,” he croaked, but nothing happened, and there was no button to press. Hey, it was worth a try.
Brent lifted up the end of the tape and started wrapping it around his wounded leg. Upon using up a certain length the strip cleanly detached itself from the roll as if severed by some unseen scissors. He felt better, much more so than he rightfully should have from wrapping duct tape around a bullet wound.
It was no healing potion but it was close enough. His health bar was green again albeit uncomfortably thin. That would be easily remedied by more bandages which he applied liberally, he did have two rolls after all. In doing so he learned two things:
1. They had no effect after reaching 75 HP but would be consumed anyways. He learned that the hard way leaving only 3 uses left on his second and last roll.
2. It didn’t seem to matter where he put them on his body, even if they didn’t cover a wound the Bandages would have full effect. The results of this experimentation had him looking half-mummified.
Now in a stable condition, Brent got up and started searching the farmhouse for anything of use, taking care not to make too much noise on the off chance there was still someone close by outside. In the corner of what could be considered the dining room he found a strange box next to the cabinets. It had a metallic sheen on it and half of it was painted pink. Brent identified it as this world’s equivalent of a loot chest, and flipped up the clasp to open it. As the lid popped open several items immediately flew out causing him to recoil and shield his face.
Brent opened his eyes to find himself unharmed. So it wasn’t a trap, just the way the chests worked. Great. He surveyed the expelled contents on the floor.
There were two cans of “Monstrous” brand energy drinks, a few bundles of cash, and a white motorcycle helmet.
|Helmet - Level 1
|Reduces headshot damage by 25%|
He put it on.
It was a little stuffy and reduced his field of vision somewhat, but he needed all the protection he could get. The cash added up to $413 total which would have been nice, if he was back home and not stuck in an otherworldly deathmatch. Was there even a shop in this place to spend the money?
|Weapon||Noisy Cricket (14/14)|
|Helmet||Biker (Level 1)|
|Backpack||Tote Bag (Level 1)|
Suitably equipped, Brent looked out the backdoor and saw that the coast was clear. He started walking out in the same direction they had been going before, towards the center of the island. It wasn’t long before he came across the body of Duck sprawled along the bloody grass. The other boy had been stripped of all items but his clothes, and there was no sign of anyone else nearby. Sighing, Brent elected not to get any closer to the body and moved on.
Continuing to scavenge items laying around in crop fields and houses, he found yet more attachments and ammunition he couldn’t use. Why couldn’t he get something good? He did at least find some dry packaged food and water, so he wouldn’t have to worry about sustenance for a while.
Beep boop beep beep boooop. A strange jingle reached Brent’s ears, the echoes of a broadcast from a distant speaker tower. It sounded like a depressing version of those beeping ringtones used by older cell phones. “The first halo is now closing!” the voice of Dombey Uno announced after the jingle was done. Brent looked out toward the edge of the island and saw that a good portion of the lower horizon had gotten significantly darker with a purple-ish tinge, but he couldn’t make out what was behind that.
Though he was constantly on the lookout, he didn’t encounter anyone else. The sun was getting low and according to the map he was already within the ring, so it was probably time to find a place to set up camp for the night. Another farmhouse? No, that ran the risk of someone barging in in search of loot or a place to rest just like him.
He eventually settled on a small cave that ran some distance into the side of a large hill. It was a straight shaft wide enough for three to walk abreast, and curved sharply to the right about 30 feet in before terminating in a dead end.
It wouldn’t be very comfortable sleeping on dirt floor, even if it was mostly smooth, but there was no chance of someone just wandering in. At least he hoped so. Brent set his backpack down as a makeshift pillow and took out a blanket he’d scavenged from one of the houses.
Back in his own world he would usually stay up a lot later, reading light novels or questing in an MMO. But after everything that had happened today he was exhausted, and as he lay down he found himself drifting off rather quickly.
Then he heard soft footsteps nearby, and he forced himself back up in case it was trouble. The steps were oddly light, and accompanied by a mechanical clanking. Peering around the corner, Brent leveled his pistol at the entrance.
It wasn’t a person, but something a lot smaller: a miniature version of that creepy pink rabbit animatronic, waddling about like a certain battery manufacturer’s mascot.
Seemingly unaware that he was pointing a gun at it, the mini-Dombey continued to approach him until it was about six feet away. Brent kept his pistol aimed at its motionless form. Suddenly, it spread its arms and a puff of stale confetti came out of its mouth. “OOH HOO HOO HOO! Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of Day 1 of Battleground Survival Legends!”
Brent almost pulled the trigger on impulse just from hearing that disturbing chortle, but controlled himself. The thing might have some information that he could use in the days to come. And it would likely be at least a few days given Dombey’s mention of “Day 1”.
“You’ve been randomly selected to participate in a Survivor Survey, where we find out a little bit more about our contestants! Let’s start with some basic details:” Its voice abruptly changed to a dull monotone.
“Name: Brent Davies. Race: Human. Age: 16. Occupation: High School Student. Blood Type: AB. Origin: Earth.” There was a slight distortion to the last syllable.
How did it know these things about him? Brent remained tense, though he lowered the Cricket as the mini-Dombey didn’t pose any immediate threat.
“First question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your first day on the island?”
The animatronic paused, and Brent realized that it was expecting him to answer.
“Uh… I’d rate it a 1. I got shot, and everyone seems to have better gear than me.”
After a few seconds the monotone continued without reacting to what he had said. “Second question: If you are the winner of this battle royale you will be returned to your world and granted one wish of your choice. Money, fame, power, it could all be yours. What would you wish for?”
Brent was silent for a time, as he hadn’t really thought about that.
“I’d wish for strength. The power to change the world.” Now that he’d said it out loud it sounded kind of vague and dumb. “Like, the ability to cast god-tier magic.” Yeah, that didn’t make it any better.
“Last Question: Do you have any questions or suggestions on how this battle royale could be better?”
“I don’t know, maybe having it not be a battle royale? Why did you transport me and all these other people here anyway?”
Another few seconds passed before Dombey spoke, this time back to its normal voice.
“Thank you. Your responses have been recorded and will help in improving the experience of Battleground Survival Legends for future participants. Enjoy the rest of your life! OOH HOO HOO HOO!”
The animatronic waddled away, leaving Brent alone to digest what had just happened.
His responses had been recorded, but for whose benefit?
Well, thinking about that could wait until he wasn’t exhausted.
As Brent drifted off to sleep in earnest, he glanced at the survivor counter that he’d been ignoring since he first dropped: