A Post Opp's Devolution: Part 5 - The Dictator

These games were incredibly focus intensive, in fact they employed a gamified working memory task, so that the challenges of the game took up your RAM-like working memory (aka conscious mind). Lots of players consumed absurd amounts of caffeine while playing to try to push the envelope...
Amateurs! I dabble with the modafinil molecule to augment my gaming skills, it's like being on 3 cups of coffee for 9 hours, minus the twitchiness, if I'm actually competing and really need to bring next level game, I stack it with a tablespoon or two of MCT oil, which switches your brain over to burning ketones instead of carbohydrates, tantamount to putting Super Unleaded gasoline instead of dirty cooking oil in the fuel tank of a V8 Mustang before a day at the track. Together they make you a scary smart, focused gamer.

The game began under the waves, with a tour of an massive submarine, The Neptune, the flagship of the Atlantean navy. An attractive, female lieutenant was his guide throughout the vessel as he interacted with an assortment of colorful characters throughout the submarine; gruff engineers in the propulsion sector, two tobacco smoking, philosophizing laborers in the torpedo room, infantrymen training hand to hand combat, two drunken sailors, hurling insults, in the brig who had been locked up for a fight, new recruits being brain washed in a training center and an infirmary with a drugged up patient undergoing surgery and a flight deck crammed with smaller combat craft. He poked his digital head into several shrines and onboard temples of the Atlantean pantheon, a few of which doubled as brothels. His tour also included an impressive map room with one wall covered by a realistically inaccurate map of the globe according to the leading Atlantean cartographers, in the corner of the map room two such cartographers argued about the existence of Greenland.

The world of the Neptune was a smörgåsbord of modern technology (like torpedoes), ancient implements of warfare (like swords), magic arts of the Atlanteans, and polytheistic religious iconoclasm.

The tour ended in a conference room where Jason's character was made responsible for investigating a remote outpost of the Atlantean hegemony that had been destroyed by a disaster of epic proportions on the Mediterranean isle of Crete.

The Dictator was really impressive, in every way an evolution of franchise, one of the really revolutionary features of the game was integrating data from your Link and personal life into the game. The permissions the game requested were invasive, to say the least...
Dictator 3 requests the following permissions:

  • To use images and memories recorded by your Link from the past 72 hours
  • Will block other notifications
  • Would like to access your biosigns and corresponding emotional reactions from the past 72 hours
  • Will monitor your reactions to external stimuli with 72 hours of playing the game
  • Will stimulate lucid dream content while you are asleep

Jason barely read the permissions before approving them.

Far from pictures of the sun drenched island Jason had seen in photos, The Dictator 3's Crete was a forlorn place, a island made grey by ash covered ground, massive boulders, and overthrown stone columns, buildings and palaces, a sad image of a thriving ancient society destroyed in a few hours by massive geologic forces, sulfur and fire. The few soot-faced survivors wailed for the dead, begged the Jason's for food and help, or wondered about in a state of shell shock, muttering none sense and laughing diabolically at the morbid scenes of destruction.

His investigations on the Island, led him to evidence that the erruption was the conspiracy of the rogue Greek state of Argos, that had developed dark arts of magic on a scale massive enough to summon the volcanic wrath of the Island.

Upon debriefing the admiralty he was made the commander of a squadron of Jules Verne-esque, Man of War aerial battleships with hot air balloons where the sails should have been. The obvious weakness of these visually impressive, fictional vessels of warfare, was the highly flammable, hot air balloons that provided the lift. If they were struck by a single flaming arrow, the ships would fall out of the sky like a rock.

His mission was punishing the errant state for their subterfuge, which would begin with an attack on the Temple of Dragos. The columns, and classically Greek architecture of the target, emerged out of the mist on the side of a rugged mountainside which overlooked the city of Argos. Jason ordered the flotilla of airships to surround the temple and pound it to rubble with their short ranged, yet powerful cannons, but as the first airship moved into position, three darts of flame were fired from behind the temple into the balloons of the leading battleship.

The temple was protected by an artillery unit of archers and two massive bolt launching crossbows that required multiple men to operate. Longer range than the cannons of his aerial battleships, a formidable threat.

In a digital moment no doubt inspired by images of The Hindenburg moments before it's demise, the flames grew quickly and consumed the balloons suspending the vessel in the air. As it lost altitude dramatically the balloons to the front of the vessel were consumed first by the fire, causing the wooden vessel to dangle like a toy in the air from the aft balloons. Screams of Atlantean sailors plummeting to their deaths could be heard as one fifth of his command was lost, it violently crash landed against the steep grade of the mountain.

This would require a change of strategy; he signaled his command to climb, the flotilla of vessels would adopt a dive bombing strategy, building great speed descending rapidly and firing upon the temple, attacking it in pairs to overwhelm and present moving targets to the artillery unit.

Jason noticed a group of toga wearing priests run from the temple, carrying some kind of staff with a large, ornate winged creature perched on it, a volley of arrows from the nearest aerial battleship took down half a dozen of them, the surviving priests instead of fleeing into the forest below, oddly made their way towards the summit of the mountain. Jason ignored them and continued the attack on the temple while trying to avoid the flame arrows and bolts launched by the artillery unit.

A flash appeared from the mountain's summit, the priests had fired off some kind of signal from the mountain top. A few minutes later in a flash of scales, wings, pyrotechnics, claws and a distortion of serpentine anatomy, a dragon appeared on the deck of his ship. It decapitated a crew member with a razor sharp, black obsidian claw and spit a fireball that consumed three archers, in a matter of seconds. Two brave nearby infantrymen, took up spears and began to back the beast into a corner of the deck, in a flurry of wings and claws one of the points of the spears found itself in the dragon's midsection. Injured and admitting temporary defeat the dragon dove off the side of the ship and back into the relative safety of the open sky, as it's mighty wings grasped the air it released a terrifying guttural scream.

Moments later five more dragons filled the sky, two were huge, like winged Tyrannosaurus Rex's. In a moment fit for a Hollywood blockbuster one of the aerial leviathans, easily dodged the defensive volleys of his fleet, closed in on one of the airships and ripped the vessel partial apart midair with it's massive claws Two of the smaller dragons, strafed his vessel, blowing missiles of fire and sulfur into the hot air balloons that kept the airship afloat hundreds of feet above the Peloponnesian landscape. As his digital persona fell out of the sky, he could hear air rushing past his ears. The game prompted him to restart the level. Jason was proving to be a less than masterful Dictator and he was only given 2 failures of any given mission before being demoted to a more simplistic position in the hierarchy of the Atlantean navy.

Damn! If I were to drop a Modafinil, I could multi task destroying the temple, killing the priests, and fending off the dragon attack.... But Modafinil puts me an antisocial mood and I need to see Astrid tonight. I could take some MCT oil, that gives me an edge and wears off in about 5 hours.

Jason paused the game, and ordered a bottle of MCT Oil from Amazon Now, a few minutes later there was knock at his door; in an impressive symphony of modern alchemy and logistics the 3D printer of organic products in his neighborhood had already synthesized the product, bottled it and had dropped off the cylinder of pure ketonic stimulant with his building's concierge.
I really shouldn't play all day on an empty stomach...
Avocado in particular was delicious with MCT oil, so Jason began to prepare a salad. As he was reaching for a cutting board he bumped a satchel he had left on the counter, it fell on the floor and out rolled a single large orange pill.
The Modafinil! I forgot I had kept some in this backpack. Fuck it!
Jason swallowed the Modafinil and chased it with three teaspons of the medium-chain triglyceride derived oil, left the meal half made on the kitchen counter and returned to the gaming nerve center.

The Greeks didn't stand a chance.

This time the priority would be avoiding the dragons being signaled, Jason delayed the mission till night in the game and dropped off two small units of infantrymen on the opposite side of the mountain, one unit would be responsible for sneaking into the temple and capturing the dragon signaling firework, which he would take personal responsibility for.

Jason would lead the mission to capture the dragon signaling staff. A rope was thrown over the side of the airship, on which he and three other elite infantrymen descended to the rugged mountainside below. The rendering of the unfriendly mountain was impressive, down to the asymmetrical boulders, overhangs and tiny ledges his team need to edge along, illumination to do so provided by the cold light of the moon. As they neared their destination, the silhouette of the temple seemed to morph out of the side of the mountain. From the ground it was an impressively large structure, sitting on a massive, yet mostly flat rock shoulder of the mountain side. The lights of the city twinkled in the distance. To avoid tipping off the artillery unit he would need to infiltrate the temple itself undetected, his strategy for doing so was pretty simple, he would just impersonate a priest.

His small unit moved through the dark, to within about 100 yards of the temple, this time as opposed to a small artillery unit guarding the temple, there was an encampment of what looked like at several hundred soldiers. Conveniently, two priests in togas where working in the garden behind the temple.
Odd thing to do at night...
They grabbed them, pulled them behind some boulders and threatened to kill the priests if they didn't tell them where the signaling staff was in the temple. One of the priests was obviously senior to the other in the priesthood of Dragos. The younger priest almost completely refused to talk, his eyes darted everywhere, the older priest was direct and just a little confrontational, he finally responded that it was in an attic above the apprenticeship room.
"How do I know you're not lying to me? You'll have to show me. Any tricks and I promise I'll cut your both of your throats." Jason told the priest in Greek
"No tricks! I'll take you right to the firework."
"If we don't return in 15 minutes with the firework, he is going to die." The infantryman raised the sword to the younger priest's neck for dramatic effect "We just want the firework, then one of you will accompany us to the seashore, then we will let you go free. The other will stay here at the temple, if anyone asks were he is you will tell them that he is getting drunk with prostitutes. After we set you free, you will return in a day or two and admit to getting drunk with prostitutes. You will speak to no one about us." The two priests nodded in nervous agreement.
"We have a spy in the temple, if you warn the other priests of the stolen signal staff, our spy will contact us and we will kill him. If you show me where the firework is and play along you will be safe. You have my word."
I need to figure out if these guys understand Atlantean.
"What is your name?" He questioned the two priests in Atlantean, a simple question anyone with a basic knowledge of given language can answer in it. "Tell me your names, now." they looked back and forth at each other confused.
Satisfied that they did not understand Atlantean, Jason turned to his second in command and spoke in Atlantean
"If they priests are missing it will cause alarm in the temple and they may signal the dragons some other way... We need the first priest to assure the rest of the temple everything is fine. So we don't want to kill them yet. Take the older priest to the airship, don't kill him, yet - question him to see what he knows about the incident on Crete. The younger priest will convince the rest of the temple that his absence is not cause for concern. If I don't appear with the firework, I maybe captured, come back here and use a little more force."
The younger priest has the distinction of being totally replaceable and likely much more gullible. The older priest probably understands that the signaling firework being stolen means impending disaster for the temple.
He ordered the older priest to strip down and give him his toga and added in Greek "I promise this old man's life is worth nothing to me if I for any reason I believe you've warned the battalion guarding your temple, he will become useless to me."
As he gestured for the two of the soldiers to take the older priest back to the ship he added in Atlantean "Torture him to find out what he knows about the magic used on Crete."
What! I'm supposed to be acting like a dictator...

Jason donned the priests robes, his digital body's muscular frame filling out the fabric sown for a slighter figure, he took a moment to hide a short sword in the folds "Show me where the signaling firework is." Jason told the younger, clothed priest, gesturing towards the temple.

The interior design of the temple was rich, strange and rustic. It's a shame I have to destroy this place! They passed a large double door with an intricate design carved into it of two angels kissing. Beside the door was a large, ornate vase with an assortment of fresh flowers, while walking past the young priest reached with a jerky movement into his satchel, produced a flower from his satchel and added it to the ample collection. Odd thing to do while being held hostage!
"Wait... What's in here?"
The priest responded in a nervous tone "It's the dwelling of the vestal virgins of the temple" Jason's curiosity was piqued
"Show me"
The young priest cringed, as if to say, "This is not a good idea."

The doors opened to reveal a room fit for a goddess. In the corner a fireplace blazed, illuminating the room with sublime yellow light. On a large, canopied bed surrounded by draping curtains lounged two curvy women, wearing (with infinitely more grace) similar togas to the young priest.

A simultaneous sensation of guilt, desire and deva vu, made the hairs stand up on the back of Jason's neck as he recognized the vestal virgins.

They were Astrid and Alejandra.


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