Play the Game
Action and adventure are not on Archie Chamberlain's list of things he wants to do, but the greatest obstacle to his quiet life is his best friend and boss, Gennaro, the single-minded, genetically-modified owner of Gamemaster Inc. and ruler of the futuristic City of West Meg. More
Archie Chamberlain wanted little more than his teaching certification, and a nice job teaching English Lit anywhere in the Solar System: “An easy chair, a nice cuppa tea, and a game on the weekend.” The greatest obstacle to this quiet life was his best friend, Gennaro, the single-minded, genetically-modified owner of Gamemaster Inc. and ruler of the futuristic City of West Meg.
Archie recognized the signs of executive temperament when he saw them, and pulled back. “There’s more to this racket than we thought. Let Robinson show you what he’s got. I think he’s one hundred per cent right,” Archie told Gennaro. “You must let—”
Robinson’s hand went to his holster. “What’s that?”
Archie realized he’d been ignoring a background noise. With a sinking heart, he knew he’d ignored it because it was a sound he associated with the ordinary buzz of the Gee-9 lab, with virtual war games that did not interest him: the zat, crack, thung of weaponry.
Robinson recognized it, too, and moved. “Behind the bar,” he ordered the two Gamemasters, turning toward the door with his gun drawn.
The door smashed inward. Archie saw weapons. The Gamemaster Security personnel jumped into action, toward the door. Immediately Archie closed his eyes, threw himself against Gee and knocked him behind the rude wooden bar. There was the deafening sound of weapons fire, a burnt smell, noises of men yelling—and the grunt of men being hit. Blinding flashes of light coruscated about the room.
The bar wasn’t much cover at all. Archie knew it. No miracle would save them.
“Max—” said Archie, too late. A final bright blast knocked him into darkness.
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