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Rain splashed at the wide window. Lightning flashed, brightening up the office, showing the silhouette of a man. Footsteps soon followed, indicated only by the slight vibrations in the floor, since the raging storm drowned out all noise.

Another flash. This time, the man was much closer, and appeared to be heading toward the door. He may have seen me in the flash, though I doubt he could make out my features any more than I could see his, and instead he merely knew that the safest option was to escape from the mysterious intruder while he still had the chance.

The door opened, and light trickled into the room. I saw his face, old and wrinkled, carrying a look of surprise and anger. I rushed to the door, and chased my target down the hallway, holding the miniature bomb in my hand. He turned to look at his killer, eyes wide with the realization of my identity, before sprinting to the stairs and screaming for security.

If he hadn't looked back, he might have got away. I caught him opening the door to the stairway, and planted the bomb firmly in the back of his neck using the sharp edge I painstakingly crafted. He screamed, broke free of me, and ran down the stairs. Just as I've planned.

I walked back into the office, which was many stories above the ground, and waited. Twenty-five seconds later, I heard an explosion, followed by a cacophony of screams from frightened security guards. The sounds pierced through the storm's own aural dissonance, upsetting the remaining humanity left in me. I paused, before putting on my gloves and taking a vial of clear liquid out of my pocket.

A few seconds later, I'm carefully pouring the acid on the window, and experiencing the sickening smell of melting glass. Glass which was supposed to be nigh-indestructible. Glass that I personally designed for the purpose of protecting this room's inhabitant.

I pushed on the window and dislodged a sizable hole in the process. I saw it fall out of sight, into the streets below, where it may finally shatter. Then I willingly followed it out of the building.
-------------------------------------------------------
Yes, I once worked with this man, who famously created the sport of "gloryball". I admired and respected him as a friend and an ally, and together we conquered the world of entertainment. I needed his creative vision, and he needed my expertise. We were the perfect team. We were unstoppable.

Gloryball... is unique, because it's not so much a game as it is a discussion. Two teams of seven are set against each other – five strikers, one goalie, and one captain – to try and earn points by answering questions about the opposing team's world view. It's complicated. We set up the questions so that each member of each team is exposed to the opposing team's ideology in its purest, most powerful form, then once each of the five strikers choose an answer, they get a goal attempt.

It's a game of psychological warfare. As each person is exposed to a different view, their own views are compared and questioned. This can affect their focus on their goal attempt, and perhaps bring them to intentionally miss and backstab their teammates. At the end of the match, every player's answers are revealed, and everyone would know each other's opinions. Unless, of course, those opinions are lies.

This makes amateur gloryball very fun, and professional levels very boring. Top-tier teams, religious teams for example, are nigh intractable. Their beliefs are so strong that nothing can shake them. As such, gloryball is the perfect way to see which beliefs are the most potent among us, giving humans an opportunity to understand each other. I loved this idea, and with my partner, we made it into a sensation.

I thought that it was a safe sport. Little physical contact was involved, and it existed to foster harmony. Unfortunately, not everyone thought the same. Death threats were given to "traitors" who were merely being honest and following their own hearts, and riots broke out between ideological groups when one team bested another. I thought it wasn't a competition, but a test instead. A challenge. A way to gauge one's own beliefs. But it failed in its purpose, and only drove people further apart.

My associate didn't see it that way. He claimed that the world was a safer place than ever before, reminding me that wars have been started based on a difference of opinion, and going from war to a handful of bar fights was a major improvement. I believed him, until it became personal.

Isaac, my son, was an amateur gloryballer for 'The Fates', a team believing that everything was predestined. I didn't exactly agree with him, but I supported him as I believe I should have. Unfortunately, an after-game brawl with a 'Freedom Fighter' left his brain irreparably damaged, paralyzing him and dropping his IQ to below one hundred points. It was terrible, and I knew I had to do something about it.

I had a lengthy, rather heated discussion with my partner, who remained intractable in his belief that gloryball shouldn't be altered for any reason. It was his idea, and he took complete ownership of it. A criticism of gloryball was a criticism to himself, it seemed. Knowing that he couldn't be reasoned with, I left him, and set out to change the game from the outside.

Maybe I shouldn't have killed him. Perhaps I shouldn't have crossed the line. However, my greatest regret is birthing his child, followed shortly by letting the child be named after him. My old partner turned out to be a monster. The very kind of stubborn, powerful, and dangerous monster he had hoped to prevent. He needed me to stop him, like he needed me for everything else. It was my destiny.
An assassin. A game. A regret.

Inspired by Native American lacrosse, "The Creator's Game" is a science-fiction short story about a world where ideologies are tested against each other in a battle of wills.

This was the winning entry for :iconakkajess: 's contest.

This has had some proofreading or editing. I don't post stories on deviantART that I intend to make money off of. Keeps my intentions pure, that way. If you end up really liking my work, perhaps you can convince me to offer an improved, heavily edited version in the future. In the meantime, I happily allow sharing, copying, and editing of my work, as long as you credit me and don't use it commercially. Derivative works are allowed, but I'd much prefer being asked for permission first. Be sure to share alike.

Thank all of you for making TCG one of dA's most popular works of science fiction.
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:iconresidentnobody:
Critique by ResidentNobody Jul 30, 2012, 7:06:46 PM
Vision: I did not expect this. An assassin, angered that her partner had ignored her warnings of a game that some can argue would only lead to violence, takes a giant leap to do what she believes is right. I really like the idea of Gloryball, and love the dispute it puts in place. Is Gloryball improving the world by setting people against each other to argue beliefs and ideologies, or is making the world worse by causing fits of violence to break out? The entire story is a game of Gloryball, with one person having different beliefs about it then the other, and due to the different beliefs a life is taken. Yet, you only realize that at the end. I love it.

Originality: I gave this four stars instead of five simply because I feel like I've heard this concept before. I'm not sure where, but I feel like the idea has been done. Though this, you take a different route in the execution of it, making it original. So, while I'm not sure if the over-arching concept is original, I do know that the style in which you presented it is original.

Technique: I had some problems with the writing. Take the third sentence for example, Footsteps soon followed, indicated only by the slight vibrations in the floor, since the raging storm drowned out all noise. You don't need to say since the raging storm drowned out all the noise. It can be inferred. This happens throughout the story. Yet, I'm not sure if it was on purpose because it did add to the "feel" of the story. You don't need to add explanations where they're not needed, but it does sort of add to the feel, so I'm not entirely sure.

Impact: This part was great. It really hit me. The final realization that the entire story was two people playing the game of Gloryball really hit me, and hit me hard. And also realizing that she sort of supported her own argument that Gloryball only incites violence by killing Issac, adds much more of an impact. It can almost be summed up with a meme, "Well that escalated quickly." It did escalate quickly, and unexpectedly. And the realizations make it that much better.

Overall, I can see why this won the competition. It is a very good story, that lands a major blow and makes the reader think. Very good job.
What do you think?
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:iconconcora:
Concora Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013   Writer
This piece has been featured in #The-Asterismos' weekly Showcase [here].

Please support your fellow featured deviants, and thank you for sharing your wonderful work with the group! :thanks: :heart:
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks. I was hoping that you didn't mind me accidentally submitting it to the wrong folder. >_<
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:iconconcora:
Concora Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013   Writer
It's no trouble. :)
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:icongabrielleragusi:
gabrielleragusi Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013   Digital Artist
Hi! Your great work has been featured here: [link] :heart:
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
I've had my internet open on this page for quite some time now because I keep meaning to leave a critique for you... And now I'm too tired to write out every thought. Go figure. Anyway, I'm still leaving a comment nonetheless, and it'll probably end up being just as long as a critique.
To actually have a point though, here's my real comment :)

I really liked this piece. It's not [as far as I can remember] something similar to anything I've read before, and that's great! Quite a feat as well, since I do read quite a bit. :giggle: I think that you did a good job explaining gloryball. And quite honestly, I'd love to see this as a movie. :nod: The last paragraph was fantastic. I think that alone is a great hook, if you were to make it into a novel. As a short story, it's the perfect ending. :D Wonderful descriptions, and I love the 'thinking required' idea. I really love writing that makes the reader think, yet is still interesting and fun... I know a lot of writing that makes the reader think can be boring, tedious, etc. but this definitely isn't.

Overall great job, fave from me! :love:
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you. :) I don't intend on making this into a novel (it's already as good as it's going to get, I think), I do have ideas for more stories in this universe. The next one I have planned actually follows the events of a specific gloryball match, and closely examines the political implications of the sport.
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
Oh that sounds really neat!
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:iconthelesserofevils:
TheLesserOfEvils Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012
I liked the part where the person most concerned with harmony and had personally experienced a devastating loss decided it was right to brutally murder some one in order to make the world a better place. Irony, or hypocrisy?
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Student Writer
*jeez I've been off of dA for way too long*
Thanks for the comment! I was definitely intending that part of the story to be ironic, as if the victim had it coming to him. After all, isn't the creator responsible for the actions of his creation? Shouldn't he be punished?
That's the point of view being taken by the main character.
Reply
:iconnixcoo:
nixcoo Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012   Writer
Wow, this was really creative - I love the idea of gloryball, reminds me of the political debates, just without balls, haha. Enjoyed the twist of the story, u did it so well without being melodramatic. This is a amazing piece.

Just a lil thing that annoyed me: On paragraph 2, line 2, it should be 'He may have SEEN me in the flash' instead of 'He may have saw me in the flash'. That's it. Good job overall :D
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks. :) I went ahead and fixed a few grammar issues that have been pointed out, and otherwise I probably wouldn't have noticed them, so even more thanks.
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:iconnixcoo:
nixcoo Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012   Writer
No problem. Love your work :)
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:iconsolaces:
Solaces Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
"He may have saw me in the flash, though I doubt he could make out my features anymore than I could see his, and instead he merely knew that the safest option was to escape from the mysterious intruder while he still had the chance."

I don't know if it's a tonal thing, but the first bit should be "he may have seen. Also, anymore should be any more.
Reply
:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Student Writer
Where are all the views coming from? :O (No seriously I'd appreciate the knowledge)
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:iconmathiasthemighty:
MathiasTheMighty Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I was particularly interested by the idea of gloryball, which I thought was rather inventive and thought-provoking. Awesome stuff!
Reply
:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you.
Reply
:iconwanderinggoose:
WanderingGoose Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Student Writer
You have shown us a very interesting world although it was only described in a short piece. The creators of Gloryball obviously had good intentions and their realization that the sport has caused trouble instead of harmony is quite saddening. Wonderful!
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconmechatherium:
Mechatherium Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Submit this to Analog. It's as good as any I've read in that magazine, and, regardless of what insanedr4gon said, a damn sight more original.
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Writer
Consider it considered. Heavily considered. Very likely, even.
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:iconforrobinstears:
ForRobinsTears Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Professional Writer
I really like the way you describe the "environment". Catchy. I like it.
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:iconclouded-rachel:
Clouded-Rachel Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Student Writer
Congrats on 1st place in the contest! :)
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Student Writer
Congrats to you too. :) Your contest entry is really unique and awesome. XD I'll be paying attention to you more often (oh and your Okami avatar makes my heart explode with nostalgia).
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:iconclouded-rachel:
Clouded-Rachel Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! :) I'll also be reading more of your work. Haha you're an Okami fan? :) I was searching dA and found it as a free avatar to use.
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Writer
What can I say? :shrug: Okami is a masterpiece, if not one of the most underrated games ever made.
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:iconshadow-hunter-is-in:
Shadow-Hunter-Is-In Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Student General Artist
I didn't read it all (sorry) but I'm totally gonna :+fav: it. :D
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:iconshadowsyndrome:
ShadowSyndrome Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist
this is awesome!! your writing is amazing, the words flow together so well~!
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks. :D
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:iconshadowsyndrome:
ShadowSyndrome Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist
Welcome ^^
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:iconburningquill:
BurningQuill Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Student Writer
An amazing idea and an even better twist. One thing though: in the fourteenth paragraph predestined is missing an e.
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Student Writer
Good observation. :) This one was hastily submitted by my usual standards, so I'm not surprised if there's a handful of spelling or grammar mistakes. :shrug:
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:iconburningquill:
BurningQuill Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Student Writer
That's the only one I caught, and to be absolutely honest I am horrible at editing.
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:icongoldshroom:
goldshroom Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Student Writer
I'll tell you a secret...
...
...
...I'm not good at editing either. :P
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