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Reckless Abandon: Halfway House

I recently started a blog called Write4Games with the goal of demonstrating how much I love games and story telling. I'll be reposting blog entries here to increase exposure. Thank you so much for reading. Feel free to comment and spread the word!

NOTE: Originally posted on March 4, 2012 at Writes4Games.

Hi all. I thought I'd wrap up my Reckless Abandon posts with one more entry. I do have very clear plans for how the game should end, but I've got other game ideas and writing exercises I want to get to soon. With that in mind, here's a brief description of the third level of Reckless Abandon, known as "Halfway House".

As a brief summary: Reckless Abandon is a military-themed FPS that centers around a college kid with zero experience with the military, combat or weapons in general. Your character is very much thrown into a situation against their will and has to fight alongside trained soldiers to make it back home.

By this level, the soldiers finally give you live ammo to go with your weapon. It's mid-afternoon and your group reaches a small town and begins searching for temporary shelter. They find a street lined with homes built right up to the sidewalk. Many of owners have converted their garage or front rooms into small shops facing the street.

Your group passes a number of these home/shops. You see a convenience store, a store selling (seemingly) nothing but hats and a tattoo parlor among others. One soldier jokes they should get you a pretty tattoo now that you think you're a real warrior.

Clearly some in the group still don't trust you with a weapon.

Without warning, you hear a single shot and the shoulder of the man next to you erupts in a shower of bone and blood. Your group quickly ducks in an alley and looks for a safe home to break into. You find a small bakery that's currently closed. A sign in the window is written in a language you're struggling to understand (you're a college exchange student after all). You realize it says "Back in 5 minutes". The group leader decides this is good enough and you break into the bakery.

Two men take the injured soldier into a back room to tend to his wounds. With a man down and others trying to help him, you have no choice but take an active role in defending your group. The squad leader and another soldier take up positions near the front door. You and your one actual friend in the group guard the back door.

From your vantage point, you can see as two armed men try to kick down the front door. You see your squad leader and the other soldier take fire. Your friend goes to help, leaving you alone at the backdoor. A sudden banging sound grabs your attention as you turn to see a large silhouette behind the curtains and glass of the back door.

Like the enemies in the front, someone is trying to kick open the back door. The music ratchets up, your heartbeat becomes audible. As you aim at the door, your hands become steady and sure. You're ready. The door kicks open and a figure races in. You fire once and bring the man down.

As he stammers and falls back against the wall, you realize he's not an enemy. In fact, he's probably the owner of the bakery, the one who stepped out for a few minutes. You also realize why he was trying to kick the door open. In both arms, you see two young children closing their eyes and covering their ears.

Your first kill of the game is a baker and a father of two.

As the other soldiers clear out the remaining (actual) enemies they slowly realize what you've done. After the action dies down, all eyes are on you. The soldiers stare and talk among themselves. The two children (a young boy and an even younger girl) can't take their eyes off you. Most disturbingly, the dead shop owner's eyes seem fixed on yours.

Wait-a-second....

I know what you're thinking: since I'm in control of this character, what if I realize he's not an enemy and allow him in safely?

Well, in that event, your character motions for him and his children to get down and away from the door. At that moment, you hear gunfire nearby. The father of two drops to his knees and reveal and actual enemy had followed him in. You should probably shoot the gunman.

The main point is an innocent man will die either by your action or inaction. It's very much a damned if you do, damned if you don't moment.

For what it's worth, the group leader puts a hand on your shoulder and tells you not to blame yourself. You didn't ask for any of this and deciding to take a life is a big decision.

The injured soldier is patched up and the group decides to move out before drawing any more attention. As you make your way out of the house, two of the soldiers grab you and drag you over to the tattoo parlor. They show a photo to the tattoo artist and force your hand to lay flat on a table. The scene fades to black.

When the scene picks up a few minutes later, the soldiers finally release your hand and you can see what they were doing. On the back of your hand, in the space between your thumb and wrists, is a small tattoo of two kids. It's the two children from the bakery.

The soldiers tell you they chose that section of your hand so you can see it whenever you hold up your gun.

"Good or bad, the first one always sticks with you," one soldier says.

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