The Quantum Leap meets Captain N story of a gamer literally sucked into videogames.
(To catch up with the story and read previous editions of “Quantum Geek,” click here.)
“Crap crap crap crap CRAAAAAAAP,” Tom shouted as the third wave of Tarrasques emerged from the central Zerg hive.
“We can’t hold out much longer like this!” Alli cried.
“I know! Do you guys still have any tanks left?”
“Yeah, but that last attack took out my air defenses, so they’re going to get wiped out the next time it sends a wave of fliers at us!”
“CRAAAAAAP. Rick, what’s the situation up there?” cried Tom.
Rick was hurriedly typing, looking for any possible weakness in the Enemy’s protection. “I’m trying, Tom, but it still hasn’t slowed down enough for me to be able to break through!”
“Well keep trying! Emmi, how are you doing?”
“Not well, I am afraid. That last wave took out most of my ground defenses. Our opponent has a clear path to my primary base.”
“Dammit! Alli, can you reinforce Emmi while I get some more tanks over there?”
“Yeah, I can…shit, they’re here!” Tom could hear the sounds of battle over the comm link. “Tom, I’m stuck; they’ve cut me off!”
“Argghhh! Emmi, try to hold on! I’ll be there in a minute!”
“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Tom.”
“What? What the hell are you talking about?”
“The Enemy’s elite unit will reach my base before you can produce any significant amount of units to aid me. Those units would be much better used helping you win this match.”
“What? No, we’re doing this together.” Tom could now hear the roar of the enemy forces through Emmi’s comm link.
“No, Tom, it must be you and Alli. I will not be able to generate enough units to be useful, but you and Alli may yet be able to occupy our opponent’s forces long enough to allow the Creator the opportunity he needs.”
“NO GODDAMMIT, just hold on!”
“I am truly sorry, Tom, and I do hope you are successful in this task. It has been a pleasure making your acquaintance.” With that, Emmi’s link went dead. Suddenly, another wave of Zerg hit Tom’s base, but his forces barely felt it. The tanks he had begun to manufacture for Emmi had moved over his front line, and were quickly felling anything that came within range, including the Tarrasques.
Tom wasn’t sure if it was concern or morbid curiosity that caused him to send a cloaked unit to check on Emmi’s base, but what he saw surprised him. From his vantage point he could see the Zerg forces eviscerating his ally’s base. Emmi, however, had withdrawn her forces to the base’s edge, and was ready to close in on the invading swarm and crush them from behind. The resulting fight was bloody, but evenly matched. Tom watched helplessly as the two sides collided. By the time it was over, everyone in the area had been annihilated, leaving behind nothing but scorched earth.
Tom brought his unit back to base, and spoke into his comm.
“Alli, you there?”
“Yeah, I’m just mopping up the last of this wave.”
“Alli, Emmi’s gone.”
“Yeah…I heard. She could have made it, though!”
“No, I checked. If it’s any consolation, she took out her attackers, and then some.”
“Good, serves those bastards right. So what now? Get ready for the next wave?”
“No,” replied Tom resolutely. “This isn’t working, and after a couple of more waves like this we’ll be in the same situation as Emmi. We’re going to take the forces we have and take the fight to the central hive.”
“HELL YES! FINALLY!”
“What, no objections? No cries that this is suicide?”
“Like you said, it’s suicide to stay. Besides, I’ve been itching to give this guy a bloody nose the entire match.”
“Fair enough. I’m just hoping that we can occupy enough of the Enemy’s forces this way to give Rick the chance he needs.”
“And if not, at least I get to give this bastard the finger as I go down.”
“That’s…one way of looking at it, I guess. Rick, did you get all that?” Silence met Tom’s question. “Rick? Rick!”
“Hunh? What is it, Tom? I’m pretty busy here.”
“OK, recap: Emmi’s gone, this strategy isn’t working, and Alli and I are going to push in to the main hive to try and give you what you need.”
“Wait, what?! Emmi’s gone?! And you’re going into the main hive?! That’s not the plan! And it’s suicide!”
Ah, there we are, thought Tom. “Rick, listen—this is the only shot we have. We’ll be dead in a couple more waves, anyway; this is the only chance we have left.”
“But, there has to be another way!” Rick protested.
“Rick, we’re out of options! We’re doing this whether you like it or not!”
“YES! Let’s do this!” shouted Alli, as she started to mobilize her forces. “You two ladies can stay here and argue, but I’m done waiting.”
“I guess that’s that, Rick,” said Tom, following Alli’s lead. “We’re only getting one shot at this, so make it count. And Rick?”
“I know I’ve been….short with you throughout a lot of this, but I know this wasn’t your fault. Well…in a way it WAS, but I know it wasn’t intentional. And whatever happens, I want to say thanks for all you’ve done.”
“Thanks, Tom. And I’m really sorry it’s all come down to this.”
“It’s OK. Just promise me you’ll do your best here. I’d still REALLY like to get back to my body.”
“I’ll try, buddy.”
“Oh my GOD, could you two PLEASE finish up your Lifetime movie and give me some freakin’ backup?!” interrupted Alli.
“Right, sorry,” replied Rick. “See you on the other side, Tom.”
“See you on the other side, Rick.”