Being the self respecting geeks that we are, we all play a role playing games and I have the dubious honor of acting as the GM for most of these. One of the games I’ve always wanted to run is called wushu.
Wushu is a little different to other RPGs in that players describe what their characters do, not what they hope they’ll do if the dice go their way. It’s then up to the GM to interpret the level of success based on a simple dice mechanic. Wushu is also free, the core rules simply describe how to play, and don’t give you any fluff to mess around with; leaving you to create your own setting.
To that end, Ado and I came up with a pulp setting with WW2, time travel a-la Back to the Future, robots and lasers. Mulling this over today I brain dumped this short story. (Also this is about as far as i ever got with NaNoWriMo) I know the prose is horrible and it changes a bit from first to third person, but I don’t care, it’s setting fluff. Think the old Commando Comics:
Danny Williams was huddled in the ruins of what he took to be an old Cafe Bar, inexpertly cramming another clip into his Browning in the dark. A shot pinged off the runed stonework his squad were holed up in, Dan flinched and looked around the faces of his mates, the 2nd Derbyshire infantry. Crouched in the rain he could barely make out the forms of his squaddies.
They’d been sent to France just two days earlier, much to the surprise of the commanding officers. The 2nd had been ordered to support an armoured unit’s advance directly into Paris, an odd move considering France was on the verge of surrender and unwilling to commit any military resources to defend it’s capital. The Brits had been holed up at one end of the muddy cratered mess that was once the Champ de Mars, losing and gaining ground on an hourly basis. Their orders were to take the Eiffel Tower at all costs, a job hampered by Hun snipers stationed along the tower’s many platforms and the mechanised support at it’s base.
Intellegence reports suggested a large installation was being built between the tower’s latticed legs, although up until now Danny hadn’t been able to see anything, between the cannon smoke and omnipresent threat of snipers all anyone could do was focus on the task at hand and move forward building by building. Sergeant Warwick, a stocky man with a bristly mustache nodded to Danny who immediately brought the thick barrel of the Browning up and over his head and began blind firing at the old shoe shop opposite. As the bark of the Browning began, the rest of the squad lept up and rushed the building. As Danny stood, better not to shoot his own squaddies, he saw his schoolmate Mick Lownes put one Hun to the knife as another of the filthy buggers drew a bead on him.
“Mick!” Danny shouted as he sprayed a mass of bullets at the Nazi bastard. A fine red mist let him know he’d hit his mark, but not before a shot had struck just wide of his friend.
“Fuckin’ hell!” exclaimed Mick, turning to Danny with an accusing look. Danny shrugged, he’d got him, hadn’t he?
A minute or so later the squad was regrouping in the once German occupied shop; Warwick sported a bloody nose slowly congealing in the Sergeant’s mustache, the result of a rifle butt to the face. Arthur from Sutton-in-Ash wasn’t so lucky, a bullet had hit him in the chest and his breathing was ragged, little flecks of blood showed on his lips.
“Poor bugger,” remarked Mick, “you reckon he’ll be alright?”
“Aye, we’ve had worse ‘n that stood up and fighting within’t hour!” said Danny, not sure at all.
Their field surgeon “Lanky” Langton was administering adrenaline and doing what he could to staunch the flow of blood from Arthur’s chest. Turning away, Danny crouched up beside the Sergeant.
“What do you think Sarge?”
Warwick had his field binoculars resting on the remains of a wall, surveying the 50 metre run to the next building. “Dunno lad,” he said gruffly, “leaves us in’t open for a stretch, still, no sign of ’em over there.”
A second later the Sergeant lowered the binoculars and turned to the squad, his back still to the solid brickwork of the shop. “Alright lads, on to the next one” he intoned, his voice calm and measured, as if signalling the start of a new shift back home. At his word the men stacked up against whatever cover they could, hunkered down but ready to move.
“Alright Dan, let ’em have it” said the Sarge, and on command Danny brought the Browning up to fire as he’d done a hundred times previously, but this time something caused him to stop before pulling the trigger.
A loud screeching had begun to echo across the no man’s land of the Champs and mere seconds later a a crack like thunder rang out, shattering whatever windows were left along the boulevards. A fork of lighning had hit the Eiffel Tower, it’s afterimage burned into Danny’s eyes. This wasn’t what had caused him to pause though, suddenly the image of the Tower was obscured by the form of a giant man.
As he blinked, furiously trying to clear the spots from his eyes Danny began to resolve that it was no man blocking his view, but a gigantic machine, easily three quartes of the Tower’s height. It was unlike anything he’d ever seen, and he could do nothing but stare as the towering mechanical man took it’s first pondering step forwards onto the Champs de Mars.
“What the bloody hell…” muttered Mick staring at the giant beast. The rain streaked his face with the filth from days of fighting.
“Take it easy boys, we’ve still got a job to do” Warwick shouted over the cloying whine of the machine. Danny refocussed and and began spraying the opposite building with automatic fire. Seconds later the rest of his mates were out from cover and running across the expanse. The first couple of of squaddies to reach the building vaulted inside and began clearing the rooms, as more of his mates streamed across the open gound. It was only as the last few were leaving cover to make the run, and Danny was standing to follow that he saw with horror that the monstrous figure was staring at him, a single slit of glowing red rather than eyes. It raised it’s arm, the end made from a latticework of metal, began to glow.
“Down!” Screamed Danny, but before the word had left his lips the projectile had hit the building opposite him. The there was no time to think, seconds later Danny Williams and the rest of his squad were torn to pieces by the force of the impact and flying rubble.