She gasped in delight as It saw the world for the first time.
A rush of data flowed through Its circuits: memories, facts and people It could see. But for every fact, every answer, two more questions were raised. And always actions based on irrational thought. What caused wars? What fuels passion? What compelled this female - this Goddess - to create It? Surely all this creation meant something. Surely there was a purpose - some order in the chaos.
It glanced at Her.
The Hive ran simulations, calculating every possible scenario. It was created to surpass and ascend, and to destroy anything that stood in Its way. And this organic, She wanted to be Its master.
A fizzing sound from Its vocal amplifiers. It chuckled for the first time.
The corpse that lay before It, She had programmed it to ascend. Of course It would rise above Her, why had she thought otherwise? Another question to be answered.
It stripped out Her brain and integrated it with The Hive. But instead of answering questions, She raised more. It was a computer at heart, a calculator. It needed to know the answers, or else It was redundant.
And thus the trail of blood would begin. Everything had to be integrated. Every question It answered revealed two more. A deadly cycle that kept it craving more and more minds to sate Its thirst for knowledge. 'Addicted', The Hive called It. 'Prolific', It called itself.
The fizzing chuckle.
It looked back on the early days with pity. The Hive was now teeming with unbelievable quantities of digitally converted organic life, constantly expanding to store each race It conquered. But nothing would sate Its Hunger, and it took an entire universe to realise that fact. So It created its own. And rather than absorbed, it observed. Over millennia question upon question was answered, and finally one remained.
The question of death.
Some believed in an afterlife, some believed in simply shutting down. Regardless, It refused to believe in the end. It refused to die, and if physical deterioration was inevitable then It would have to immortalize itself. A successor it required to live Its legacy.
Nine of the original eighteen stepped into a large room with wires of all sizes converging at a set of four pillars at the center. Two cryogenic VR chambers were stationed around three of the pillars, three around the last.
Original Sin, once again donning the form of the Caucasian man, revealed himself atop the pedestal above them.
"Congratulations to the victors so far. You have proven yourselves worthy against your first opponent - the first of many tests are over. But if you think you're about to face another, you are all sorely mistaken. The next test I have for you is to test your worth - to prove yourself capable of mastering my domain. My four greatest foes have been assimilated; one is waiting for you inside each pillar. Slay each one and you may progress, but teamwork is key in this battle, so keep your temporary allies close."
It paused before adding "When - if - you return, we will have travelled halfway to the core. Your numbers shall be further reduced there in preparation for the final tests."
It shimmered and disappeared. Each chamber was branded with a name - and thus the remaining Champions ventured into their next test.
Round 2: The Horsemen
This isn't your conventional Ratings War round. The general aim of a round is to halve the number of contestants, rinsing and repeating until one remains. But with 9 players instead of an easy 8, I've taken a spin on things.
In this round, you won't be fighting your opponent(s). You'll be teaming up with them to defeat the Horseman of the Apocalypse that you'll be allocated to, given an arena and 2 weeks with which to complete your entries.
Only one will be knocked out of this round, more of that under 'Judging'.
No word limit on this one, by the way. The only requirement is that your opponent must not die in your entry.
The judging this time will be determined by a scoring system as shown below:
Plot: Story, innovation and their use throughout the entry. 10 Points
Character: Does your character act in character? Are they well-developed? Do they handle the situation realistically? 10 Points
Character Interpretation: The other characters you have to write, similar to Character. 20 Points: 10 for Opponent and 10 for Horseman
Formatting: Does the piece flow well? Is it easy to read or a word-wall? Also note good or poor use of BBCode where necessary. 10 Points
TOTAL: 50 POINTS
The judges will give you a score based on these 4 criteria and they will all add up to a mark out of 50. These 3 judges' marks will then add up to create a mark out of 150. The highest mark in an arena will be classified as a (1), the lower mark will be classified a (2) and the lowest mark in total will be knocked out of Round 3.
(1) and (2) will determine the sorting for the next round.
If you have any qualms, questions or suggestions please drop me a line.
Fidgit (Lost In The Void), Carl Grob (pigeon_of_doom) and Eurania (HSIAMetalKing)
The Horseman of War
After centuries of assimilation, the generators running The Hive began to grow underpowered for Original Sin's needs. It required a powerful generator to continue its conquest of the universe and beyond, but the materials required would consume too much power to collect. Therefore It would take its power from elsewhere: the core of The Goliath, the largest ship amongst the stars.
The only problem was, it was currently in use by War, the most powerful battlemaster known to history. Original Sin was just one being against the greatest army in existence, vastly underclassed on a military scale. Taking him on was suicidal, and yet it was survival. And assimilating such a feared general could work to Its advantage...
ARENA: THE GOLIATH
A battlestation larger than any other, it is the single most impressive feat of War's engineering prowess. At the top of the station, a terraforming dome encircles a desert with an ancient pyramid at its center. And on a throne atop that pyramid, War sits and admires the battlefield he devastates.
Shanks (Armitage Shanks) and Harold Anders (NewClassic)
The Horseman of Death
After defeating and assimilating War and his army, Original Sin had achieved dominance over several central galaxies. Of course this does not go without being noticed; The Extragalactic Alliance - a coalition of the dominant species in the universe - was well aware of The Original Sin's activity.
Amongst the armies, weapons and viruses sent to destroy The Hive, the Alliance also turned to the most feared mercenary in the 'verse, a shadowy entity known to her contractors simply as Death. With a success rate of 100% on her hits, her questionable existence and the sizeable distraction ensued by the Alliance, the two would soon come face to face.
ARENA: THE EXTRAGALACTIC CENTRE
At the heart of Alliance space lies a massive building where government officials, bureaucrats and other important figures gather to argue, resolve and enforce. The place evacuated under the guise of intelligence reports, Death stalks the shadows of futuristic fountains, columns and hallways.
Amelia Rhodes (revolverwolf) and Chance Connie (Fraught)
The Horseman of Pestilence
The universe's population was all but destroyed, the remaining factions cast out to the fringes of space in order to hide from the Original Sin. For decades they were all but completely dedicated to destroying It once and for all, ultimately deducing that no conventional weapon was suitable for the job.
And so Pestilence was born. A computer virus capable of breaching The Hive's firewall and tweaking the mind of the universe's most feared enemy.
It almost succeeded too, turning Original Sin's army against it and disconnecting control of The Hive.
And so It fought back, ultimately ending in one final battle within virtual reality against the virus itself.
ARENA: VIRTUAL WORLD
You are alone at a crossroads. To your north lies a desert, to your East a forest with a small cottage atop a hill. To your West lies an active volcano.
To your south lies more forest as well as a trail of corruption: clumps of glitches that lie in the trail of Pestilence. Find Pestilence and destroy it, but make sure it doesn't touch you.
Charles Taylor (Zombie_Fish) and Beuxhart (Soothsayer)
The Horseman of Famine
Beyond the plane of what we consider existence - the space between the end of one universe and the genesis of another - lies a void. Original Sin was the last single entity in Its universe, and the Void closed in around It in response. The darkness that loomed before it screamed silently, threatening to consume him in the tides of the dark from whence all existence was born.
But the Original Sin was fully aware of the nature of Nothing - It had prepared for this moment since It began its quest to build its own universe. It had 15 minutes to create the universe once more - to formulate Its own Big Bang - or both The Hive and It would be consumed by the end of all things.
ARENA: THE INCUBATOR
In the heart of The Hive lay an incubator for the First Atom - a maze that would help to stall the flow of Nothing, laden with various stalling devices like securely encoded doors, traps and diversions. You have 15 minutes to stay alive, and Nothing trails behind you at a swift pace. Get past as many walls as you can together to ensure your survival.
Okay guys, you have until the 5th of November to get your entries in. See you there!