Dec 13 2014 - 3:35 pm

Mistakes Were Made: Chapters 4-7

Mistakes Were Made is currently a work in progress. Anything and/or everything can/might/could/probably will change around depending on feedback, editing, revisions, et cetera.
Dot Esports

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Mistakes Were Made is currently a work in progress. Anything and/or everything can/might/could/probably will change around depending on feedback, editing, revisions, et cetera. All feedback, comments, questions, ideas, and especially constructive criticism is welcome and encouraged throughout the entire process. Thanks in advance if you help in any way.

Furthermore, as a work in progress, you can expect unintentional typos, incorrect or inconsistent formatting, plot holes, tiny, erroneous errors, and many other kinds of things that need fixing. This is a very first draft, so a lot of things will most likely suck, and a lot will be thrown out, heavily revised, et cetera, before it is considered a final product. Feel free to provide any thoughts and feedback.

This is a work of fiction. Names of characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to an persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely intentional.

Previous Chapters
MWM: Chapters 0-3

4
DeusRex

“And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains...” Percy Bysshe Shelley

     A roaring crowd held up placards with insignias and messages written with markers. Well into the back of the room, hands waved ecstatically. Fists struck the air as voices chanted in unison: “FFG! FFG! FFG!”
     Rays of red and blue lights from above surfed the crowed of people standing on their seats.
     “FFG! FFG! FFG!”
     Confetti fell from nowhere, camera crews followed reporters onto the stage and camera lights flashed from all directions.
     “FFG! FFG! FFG!”
     He ignored it all as he embraced the team. NeoTokyo moved closer hold his fist forward.

     Bzzt, his pillow rumbled. Bzzt.

     He tapped his phone and the alarm stopped. With burning eyes and mucus in his throat, he lifted himself up and strolled towards the bathroom, his hands acting as his eyes for the moment. A cold breeze snuck in through the tiny space in the window.

     Amid his morning routine a voice and a knock came from the door “George?” Continuing to brush his teeth, he unlocked the door and opened it.

     “I’m going now to see Madelyn, are you coming?”
     He spit the toothpaste out and responded as he looked at her through the mirror, “I’m gonna be goin’ later with Geoff’n Erica.”
     “Okay. Any idea what time?”
     He pointed at his left wrist with his right hand.
     “Uh,” she took out her phone, “12:50.”
     He showed two fingers. Three, and seesawed his hand.
     “Okay, I’ll let her know. Oh, and I left some eggs and sausages on a plate if you want any. I’m on my way now, though. Tell Geoffrey and Erica I said hi. I love you, George.”
     “Love you, mom,” he said as she left. Though breakfast had become cold, food was food, he reasoned. As he ate with one hand, he checked his phone with the other and he read a text from moments ago:
     (12:52) Erica: puerta! D:

     Immediately after reading it there was a knock at the door. “Your mom opened the door downstairs for me,” she said entering as she hugging him, leaning in to quickly kiss him on the cheek.

     “Want some cold food?” he asked holding the plate toward her.
     She inspected the plate with a pensive humming before saying “Mmm, I think I’ll just wait till we eat with Geoff.”
     “A’right. By the way, were you watching us stream yesterday?”
     “Mhm,” she quickly nodded twice.
     “When he asked about that email from Shel—well, lemme just show you.”
     She read from his phone, her eyes slowly opening wide, silently she gasped.
     “Ohmygosh!” she burst out with embracing arms.

     “Waitwaitwait,” he quickly dissuaded, “nothing’s final yet. I’m still not quite on a stable salary or even in the official league. But I may have to disappear for a bit to dedicate time to practice with the team in order to make sure we’re actually a quality team. I’m not even sure if I’ll be staying here for this since Shelly mentioned the travel will be paid. I’m assuming there’s a gaming house. I also have to let Madelyn know, she’d’ve been the first person I told, but I’d really rather tell her in person.”

     “So let’s go tell her!”
     “Yeah I will, gotta call Geoff and see if he’s awake, though.”
     The line rang three, four, five times. No answer.
     “Tch. Well he ain’t answerin’. Let’s head over to his place if he’s not picking up. Keep calling him while I get ready.”
     As they left the apartment she hit the call button again. She kept her phone to her ear as they walked down eight, nine, ten street tiles, until eventually, “Oh. Tokyo, ¡levántate! We’re coming over…No seas bebé, besides it’s like one o’clock. Get up!...Yeah, we’ll be there in a bit…Geoff says hi.”
     “I bet he did.”

     They walked down the street, fingers locked together, discussing their week, this person and that video, this game and that episode, and the possibility of great things to come. The streets were empty and quiet compared to the crowds and honking of the day prior.

     Atop a distant building a large billboard read “$10 Million!” They walked past abandoned stores and derelict plots of land that had become a home for stray cats and plastic boxes and wooden boxes and smashed CRT monitors and bulky VCRs. And this land would not sell, it was far too filthy to clean up and turn into profit. Other areas were boarded off with plywood to keep the junk and the strays and the destitute out.

     They continued past broken, littered, and tarnished homes with for sale signs on them. Cars outside the occupied homes were cars with numbers scribbled on them, cars recently cleaned and washed.

     As they approached their destination she called again, but there was no answer. They sat on the steps outside the house, talking, laughing, and joking around. Eventually the door opened and Tokyo emerged with this monotonous “Oh hi.”

     “Last I checked, ten minutes wasn’t twenty, Geoff,” Rex stood up, holding his fist out.
     “Fuck you, too,” Tokyo replied as he bumped his fist against Rex’s. The girl hugged him and they quickly pecked each other on the cheek.
     “A’ight, so where we goin’?” Rex asked.
     “Don’t care, man, up to you,” Tokyo mumbled.
     “I know,” Erica jumped in, “let’s just get whatever at the deli.”
     “A’ight,” Rex replied as he began down the steps, the others following closely behind.
     “So, dude,” Tokyo began “we’re gonna have to play our asses off if we want FFG in the series. Oh, does Erica know, by the way?”

     “Yap, he showed me the email,” she replied quickly.
     “I was kinda thinkin’ maybe we can duo and tryhard for a few days,” Rex suggested. “Y’know, to try getting back into the super tryhard mindset.”
     “Y yo puedo ser coach and give you guys pointers and tell you you’re bad,” Erica added cheerfully.
     “Sure, sounds like a plan,” Tokyo agreed. “Did you talk to anyone else on the team after you got the email, George?”
     “Nah, but I think I saw Zodiac on while we were in-game. He didn’t message me or anything. I’m thinking maybe he was AFK or didn’t wanna risk anything showing up on stream.”

     “Maybe we should talk to them in a Skype call or Raidcall and set up some practice games. You have everyone on your friend list, right?”
     “Umm, I don’t know,” Rex hesitated. “I probably do, but I’ll have to check when I get home. You thinkin’ this’ll be the actual team, or you think someone’ll decline?”

     “I have no clue,” Tokyo half-yawned. “To be honest, though,” he continued, “I’m not too sure what to think of Crescendo. He’s never played in any competitive LANs and all we know is he’s good at winning games with solo queue teams if they listen to his calls. I’m not sure if that’ll translate well into competitive play against well-practiced and well-coordinated teams who have months and years of experience.”

     “Yeah, I can kinda see that making an impact in competitive play. What d’you know about Zodiac or WildCat?”
     “Zodiac? Well I know he played with a makeshift team at an MLG event a while ago. He was playing with Daze, I think, and maybe Shuriken. But that was before she was picked up by Royale.”

     As they crossed the road, looking both ways to dodge between cars and trucks, Tokyo continued “And well, you know WildCat: king of solo queue with his god damn three accounts in Challenger. Kid’s insanely good. I’d be extremely surprised if he joined the team since I’d imagine existing teams would be fighting with every penny just to have him on their own starting lineup. I honestly don’t know why he’s not on a top-tier team already. Maybe teams think his age might be problem. Anyway, then there’s this other dude who goes by the name DeusRex. He’s a shitter, I don’t even think he belongs in Diamond, he’s like some high Gold, low Plat, if you ask me.”

     “Oh, is that the case?” Rex asked. “Well I’ve heard this NeoTokyo guy is pretty bad, too. He ain’t anythin’ special…at all.”

     When they reached the deli they ordered their sandwiches and ate up, further discussing whatever crossed their minds. Their newfound opportunity was the focal point of their conversations, an endeavor they had thought of for years. And though at times they strayed from the topic, they again and again returned to it.

     “Damn, dude, I just can’t get over this team,” Tokyo thought out loud, “we actually have a pretty good chance at being a decent team.”
     Rex snickered “And to think you fuckin’ hated the game when I introduced it to you.”
     “Well yeah, but it was a completely different game back then. After a couple of patches and new champs and shit it becomes a new game. Not to mention some of the larger changes after Worlds.”
     “Also now it’s like you owe me one for showing you League.”
     “Mmm, well, I found FFG first, so Simon knows about you through me. I think we’re even.”
     “I guess. By the way, d’you know what happened to…damn, what was her name?” Rex snapped his fingers, “…that first grade teacher we had…”
     “Oh yeah!” Tokyo exclaimed, “Fuckin’…god damn, what was her name. Why in the fuck can’t I remember?”
     “You got us caught playin’ Pokemon and she took our Gameboys.”
     “Dude, I had like no health on Croconaw, he was my last Pokemon and I somehow beat Whitney. And then she wouldn’t give me the badge. I’m pretty sure you would’ve reacted the same way.”

     “You remember what she said after?” Rex asked withholding a snicker.
     “Oh yeah, I fuckin’ remember. That sonovabitch had the god damn audacity to lecture the entire class that video games were a waste of time and would get us nowhere. ‘One day you’ll be working in an office’ she said, ‘and you’ll have to fill out paperwork all day and you’ll have no time for toys and computers and your Pókemans and your playboys. One day you’ll thank me.’”

     “Ella no dijo ‘playboys,’ did she, George?” Erica asked in disbelief.
     “She actu’lly did,” Rex said matter-of-factly.
     She squinted and spoke with a higher pitch “Ah, entonces you remember because a few years later you two found out what playboys really were, verdad?” ...Hombres,” she scoffed.

     “Well, first of all, we remember her exact words because we then set out to prove her wrong…so mission accomplished on that front. Second, you may not have heard of it, Erica, but we have this thing called the internet, now. Don’t need no magazines.”
     “Oh god, why did I even say anything?” she asked.
     “Yo, George, did you ever find any good results from that Playboy Advance SP search?” Toyko asked loudly.

     “Nah, I’m not that advanced yet, I can’t Google that until I find some good stuff for Playboy Color,” Rex replied just as loudly.
     “Okay,” Erica chirped as she jogged forward to get some distance. She plugged her earphones in and raised the volume of her music, and with a red face she turned around to whisper“you can talk about playboys, si queiren.”
     “But dude, you haven’t heard about the magic of the PlayCube, yet,” Tokyo yelled.

     “Y ella? Mirala, que guapa. Y blancita como tu.”
     “No, dude,” Tokyo sighed. “Would you react positively if some guy walked up to you randomly on the street or bus and complimented you or asked you out? Don’t fucking lie, you’d think he was a creep, wouldn’t you?”
     “Pues, depende how he looks.”
     “Something tells me you’re just saying that because you can’t bring yourself to admit it’s weird. Besides, you pretty much just said it’s all about looks. If you’ll talk to him because he looks cute or whatever, doesn’t that just mean the only reason he’s talking to you is because he also thinks you’re cute or hot or whatever?”

     “Mira, solo estás overcomplicating something that’s easy,” Erica replied impatiently. “You’ll probably never see her again y ni te va conocer if you bump into each other on the street. Just go talk to her.”
     “Where do you stand on this George?”

     “I’m stickin’ with Geoff on this one. Look at it this way, if I had just randomly asked you out an’ you didn’t know me, you woulda probably looked at me all weird. Yeah, just like that. But since we went to school together, there’s kinda already a reason for me to talk to you, like to ask what the homework was or whatever.”

     She stood with a distasteful frown and didn’t bother trying to reply.
     “C’mon, Erica, don’t look so sad face,” Tokyo mocked. “If I go talk to her, will you be satisfied?”

     She remained still with the same sour face, with arms crossed, and with shifting eyes.
     “I think you should just go find out,” Rex filled in the silence. “Doesn’t look like she’s gonna say anything else.”

     “Alright, fine. I’ll be right back,” Tokyo said as he walked toward the girl in question.
     “You should be his official wingwoman,” Rex suggested. He kept an eye on Tokyo and narrated the exchange, “Oh shit, look at ‘er, Geoff hasn’t even said anything and she’s already turnin’…uh…what’s red?”
     “Roja. Rosada,” Erica replied dryly.

     “See look, now she’s all coy and she’s makin’ her body smaller. She must feel uncomfortable as fuck right now.” He snickered as the girl began walking away, “Well that was clearly a no. Happy now?”

     When Tokyo returned he quickly said “Well, there you go, Erica.”
     “Probably ni trataste.,” she kept her dry voice.
     “Well, if that’s how you think it went down…maybe we can try again later, preferably with something on the line. Like a lunch or a few dollars.”
     “Okay, enough bantering, you two. Let’s get inside,” Rex began pushing them into the building.

     “How about next time you just go talk to some guy and see if he doesn’t react the same way? I’m telling you, hardly anyone expects to be bothered when they’re staring at their phone or just standing around. I’ll buy you lunch if you try it.”

     “Fine, próxima vez we get the chance.”
     “Good afternoon. How may I help you?” the receptionist asked when they approached.
     “Hi, we’re here to see King, Madelyn,” Rex said.
     The receptionist slowly typed the name in with two fingers and then responded “Room 305, left as you get off the elevator.”

     “Alright, thanks,” Rex said with a smile. He walked past the desk but away from the elevators. “Kay, I’m goin’ up the stairs.”
     “Why? Los elevators están right here,” Erica asked, walking toward the elevators.
     “Well, if you wanna be trapped close quarters here, go right ahead,” Rex said as he opened the door to the stairway.
     “I’m jogging up the stairs with you, Rex,” Tokyo said as he followed, letting the close door behind him.

     “Wait! Por lo menos hold the door for me!” Erica yelled struggling to open the heavy iron door to follow them.
     Once at the third floor they searched for room 305. “A’ight, left off the elevators. Uh…should be…this…way?”
     “What if it turns out the receptionist trolled us and the room’s actually to the right of the elevators?”

     “There!” Erica exclaimed. “There’s 305!” she sighed in relief.
     “Well, ladies first,” Rex swayed both arms toward the door.
     “Aww, aren’t you just the most adorable, George?” she teased as she entered. And “Maddy!” she exclaimed rushing into the room.
     “After you, Geoff,” Rex motioned toward the door.
     “¿Cómo estás?” Erica asked as their hug ended.
     “Muy bien,” Madelyn replied with the little Spanish she knew. “Thanks so much for coming, Erica. Geoff!” her face brightened once she laid eyes on Tokyo, “I haven’t seen you in forever, I was so glad to hear you would be coming.”

     “Yeah I finally had a weekend off work. M’glad to see you’re doing alright, dude,” Tokyo persisted in his monotonous voice.
     “Heyo, Sis,” Rex waved as he walked in.
     “Hey, George. Hah! What the fuck? Flowers?”
     “That’s not all. Cup your hands.”
     “Aww, it’s so cute. I didn’t know they made Metroid plushies.”
     “They don’t. I got it custom made, jus’ for you, Sis.”
     “Thanks, George. He shall be named…Squishy.”

     “Estos asientos are really comfortable!” Erica commented, jumping on the bouncy seat cushions. “It’s like they want tu cuarto to be a lounge or something.”
     “So, George, mom told me you and Geoff had something big come up?”
     “God damn it, ma,” Rex sighed, “yeah, let me pull up the email.”
     She flicked her thumb upward on the screen and the permanent smirk on her face turned into a wide grin.

     “No, nono, this is horrible. This is like the worst thing possible…I won’t be able to watch your games from here. I doubt anyone could hook up a computer to the big monitor so I can see you in your glorious moments.”
     “Fuckin’ Madelyn! Such a troll. You learnin’ from Geoff?”

     “Haha! Relax, I saw an opportunity so I took it. I can’t believe you’re both going to be fighting for a spot in the LCS. I feel like I should ask you both for autographs and strictly start referring to you as NeoTokyo and DeusRex.”

     “¿Sabes qué, Maddy? I think I should get autographs now too…while they’re rare. Then tal vez I can make some good dough online when the time is right.”
     “Sign me up for that, Erica. Once you’re in the LCS you should fly us over to Riot’s studios to see you guys play in person.”

     “Soon’s you get better. How long the doctors thinkin’ you’ll have to stay for chemo?”
     “Well, they’re not exactly saying so I think they can’t even determine how long I’ll have to be here. They’re just trying to be cautious is all.”
     “Then iremos when they play in Worlds.”

     “How about we just worry about you gettin’ healthy for the time being?”

     “That’s sweet of you, George, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. Right now you have a chance to do something good, something you enjoy doing…and you’ll have Geoff with you the whole way. Stop worrying about your little sis for a bit and focus on doing the best you can. Please? For me? Could you forget about my problems? Let me work on getting better, and I’ll let you focus on playing your best. Sound like a plan?”

     “…well a’right, if you’re givin’ me permission to clear my mind, I’ll do just that. And I’ll make sure Tokyo does his best to keep me from going on tilt.”

     “I’ll do my best. I’m probably better at that than I am on Rainbow Roa—” Tokyo groaned at his 3DS unenthusiastically “god damn red shells. They’re annoying as fuck on this map.

     Rex snickered in response, but his attention shifted to his phone as it rumbled in his hand. “Gimmie a minute, I’ll be right back.”

5
Machina

“The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do.” B.F. Skinner

     He would walk down long hallways, past the rooms of other patients who were admitted for numerous reasons. Men and women in their dress shirts, in their white coats, with clipboards and folders in their hands took intentional strides at New York pace. They would look down at their phones, picking, and tapping, and sliding, and typing every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

     He would take the stairs up or down a few levels and enter one of the restrooms, there he would check under the stalls to see if he was alone. He would wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, until all was clear.

     He would turn on the hand dryers, turn on a faucet and ask himself why.
     Why.
     Why? as warmth slowly trickled down his face.
     Why was she so strong?
     Why could she handle it all? as he slammed his hands on the counter.
     Why could she ignore it more than he could?
     Why could she never break from her smile?
     Why could she never admit to her pain? as his vision blurred.
     Why would she not tell him how he could help?
     Why is she okay with the way things were?
     Why could she endure? as strength left his body.
     Why could he not see the world through her eyes?
     Why could she not see the world through his?
     Why was she so much stronger than he? as he punched an indentation into the wall.

     And then he would clean himself up and return to the room, playing with his phone, easily joining in on the conversation at hand.
     You’re bleeding from your hand, she said when she noticed the trickling red.
     Shit, must’ve been when the door closed on my hand.
     And ever so slightly her smile would fade.

6
Pandango

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” The Buddha

     “And so erythrocytes are the most abundant type of cells found in the blood. They typically last about one hundred twenty days, with most of the iron being recycled but some of it must be replaced. Normally erythrocytes are highly flexible cells that transport oxygen and carbon dioxide. Sickle cell anemia, however, causes RBCs to be” bzzt “much less flexible, and causes them to get caught. The bone marrow is res—”

Confidential – Team Final Frontier Gaming
Tue, Oct 11, 2016, 12:03 (0 minutes ago)
Simon Penn <[email protected]>
to me
Pandango,

Final Frontier Gaming is inviting you to be a member of our team to compete in the upcoming League of Legends North American series. We cannot give you the list of other people we have invited, but as of yet, two players have accepted our invitation. We are in need of a mid laner for the team, but of course roles can be swapped around if the need arises.

We have set aside a budget to pay for a player’s travel, as well as a salary for at least three months. As you know Riot guarantees a stable salary for teams that qualify into the LCS, so making it there will be tougher than simply being on FFG.

Feel free to reply with any questions you may have or talk to me on Skype (contact information available at FFG’s contact page). Please respond with an official answer by this Friday and we can discuss things in more depth.

Please try to keep this under wraps for the time being until we can make an official announcement. Try not to show things off on stream and try not to talk about or hint towards this on social media. I cannot stress enough how important this is to us. 

Thanks, and game on.

Sincerely,
Simon “Shellshock” Penn
Founder, Final Frontier Gaming
http://ffgaming.tk

     “Jorge!” 
     “…what?”
     “What is in the blood that allows it to transport oxygen?”
     “Oh. Hemoglobin.”
     “Yes. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying—”

     A once in a lifetime opportunity, a rare one, in the palm of my hands and I can respond in just a few seconds, and my future could change forever. In the palm of my hands.

     Who could the other players be? Two of them accepted already, possibly new people who have never been pros. I don’t think already-salaried and sponsored players would take a risk with a newly formed team. Maybe someone wasn’t able to keep their mouth closed and some information was leaked…the internet detectives would know something by now if that were the case.

     “Alright, so then I’ll see you guys Friday. Email me if you have any questions. I’ll have office hours tomorrow if you want some pointers or if you want to review for the exam.”

     God damn. Still one more class before I have to go home, but only three days to decide for this team. Fuck it, I’ll just have to get home as fast as possible and see if there’s any news. Who could be the other two players who haven’t decided yet? Maybe they’re already in an LCS team and are negotiating for better deals?

     Fuck, am I even good enough to compete at top tier? Can I play at the same level as the greatest of North American mid laners? Dasher? MissInk? Zoroichi? Who’m I missing? Phyros. Marlwolf. Do I have what it takes, or have I just gotten lucky up until now? That can’t possibly be. I must be doing something right if I’m always somewhere between Master and Challenger. I couldn’t have gotten this far without learning and fixing my mistakes while playing.
     Of course I can hang in top tier. And if this works out it’ll be my job. That I can do.
     Who’ll be on the team, though? Are they assholes who rage in solo queue? What if they just got lucky? That couldn’t possibly be the case, could it? If I got this far by doing at least one thing right, they must have as well, right? And they could easily be anyone I play with on a daily basis.

     What’ll mom and dad think when I tell them about this? They’ll probably just automatically think I’m getting scammed. Why are there still no esports leagues in universities? I thought this was the place where we pioneer into the future. This’d all be far easier to explain and actualize if it weren’t just a huge gambit raising red flags for everyone. Fuck.
     Fuck!

     Bzzt.
     (12:22) Michelle: Yo where are you?
     Shit…forgot again.
     Call sender.
     “Hey! Jorge, where are you?”
     “Hey, Michelle, something came up during class. I’m going to have to skip next class and shit. Something important came up.”

     Silence filled the line, and eventually there was a response “…Jorge, something always comes up with you. At this point I don’t even know if I want to keep trying with you.”

     “First of all, let me just say sorry. I know I haven’t kept my word these past two or so weeks, but I’ve been finding it difficult to adjust to college. For this thing that’s come up, I only have a few days to do some research on it, and maybe something big will come out of it. So if you’re willing to put off one more day of my stupidity, I’ll be all yours from here on.”

     “You know what? To be perfectly honest, I want to accept that offer. I really do, but I don’t know if you’re just going to leave me hanging day after day, week after week. Maybe I just need to set my expectations low and this relationship can work, but I really, really don’t think that’s what I want to do. Can you at least tell me what it is that’s so important that we can’t go to lunch as we planned? You don’t sound as ecstatic and kawaii as always. How serious is this?”

     “…there’s…there’s this thing called esports. It’s…more or less it’s competitive gaming as a spectator sport. I was just invited to a team, and I have to let them know by Friday if I want in. I don’t know if it’s a reputable organization, though, so that’s what I’m going to go find out for like the next two or three days. If you want to know why I’m going so far as to skip class and our planned lunch, I can show you a few videos and articles about what this is and why it’s so important to me.”

     “So you’re saying that some game is just going to—”
     “It’s…it’s not just a game, it’s way more than just a game.”
     “Fine, okay. But you’re saying this competitive gaming thing is more important than even going to your next class?”

     “If you let me show you the videos of past events and tournaments I think you’d quickly see why I’m taking this hella seriously.”

     “I’ll just…I’ll talk to you later, then, if you’re going to be busy doing stuff. I don’t know how long I’ll be willing to remain calm about this whole thing, though, so you’re off the hook…for now.”

     “Alright, cool. I’ll call you later tonight if I get the chance. And I’ll let you know what happens with all this.”

     “…yeah,” a hesitant voice responded before the call ended.
     She’s fucking pissed at me. Damn it, Shellshock. The only thing that could make this day any worse is a Teemo shroom.

     I already know what my parents are going to say. Why am I even bothering trying to think of how I could convince them? If I go for this, would they kick me out of the house? What would I have to do to make this shit work? How would I get them on board without severing ties?

     Music bled into his mind while he worked his way off campus. Students rushed in every direction, some running, some at the pace of snails, others standing in groups talking and laughing and overall enjoying the best years of their lives.

     Upon the grassy knolls stood the eldest trees on campus, towering well even some buildings. From time to time landscaping crews maintained the growing shrubs: they would pull the weeds and cut the thin, young vines that were eager to grow. They left the ancient, clunky roots growing out of the soil to absorb all the nutrients and all the sunlight, to provide further nourishment and health, and to preserve the prestige of the old guard.

     He exited through the gates of campus and walked to the bus stop. Along the way, vehicles flooded the streets, vehicles driven by people who had gone through the same educational system he was in, and they were people who would perpetually fill roles because it was what tradition had dictated. They had all been processed and developed and trained by the scholastic assembly line to complete tasks to meet quotas and then move on to the next task and the next and the next.

     They had all been rewarded with letters and numbers that would be forever attached to their résumés alongside their other lists of accomplishments, one after the other after the other, with no time to think any further and with no time to reflect or criticize—there, another task, do that! it must be done! it is as those before me have done! no time to improve on it! it must be done now! immediately! why isn’t it done yet, do you not want more letters and numbers to add to your résumés?

     And do not burden yourself with the worry of educational costs. If you follow in our footsteps we will ensure we set you up with internships and eventually you will begin to make your own profits, just like us. In the meantime, look at this grand oasis we have built to train your mind. The fauna and shrubbery will keep you at peace. And look at all of these events we have for students, just like you—no, especially for you. I am no businessman—I am an educator, and a friend. Look at all of these young people, they are just like you. Think of this, think of now; do not worry about the world outside the school or where we find the money for this. When the time is right you will earn a dollar, one by one.

     We are resolute in our structure, it has worked for centuries and there is no need to change it now. We have all of this down to a science—this is the safest way to make it through life. Listen to your elected officials, to your teachers, to your parents, they have it all figured out. They, too, have gone through this system, and so it is to be trusted. You are in the right hands, always—just do as we say.

     Do not take unnecessary risks, do not tread where there are no more footsteps to follow, only those with years of experience can do that. Stay where there is sure footing, there is no need for you to attempt to carve your own footprints into the cement. If you fail, you will be laughed at, no one can handle being laughed at, especially not a young person like yourself who has not experienced the troubles and difficulties of real life.

     Always consider what others think of you, for they keep you grounded in reality. We urge you to stay where it is safe, we will provide you with a future.

[37:52] Pompow (Nasus) has targeted ARC Marlwolf(Lux)
[38:13] Bls SaintSpark has slain ARC MechaHive for a double kill!
[38:16] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): :(
[38:25] Pandango has slain Tahr for a double kill!
[38:13] Pandango has ended Tahr’s killing spree! (Bounty: 500G)
[38:25] Pandango has slain JessThePinkMan for a triple kill!
[38:25] Pandango is unstoppable!
[38:25] Your team has scored an ace!
[38:29] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): real
[38:29] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): dat flash q
[38:34] [All] Pandango (Karthus): lol
[38:35] [All] Pandango (Karthus): wat r u talking about?
[38:36] [All] Pandango (Karthus): i didnt’ flash
[38:37] [All] ARC Marlwolf (Lux): long range skittles doe
[38:46] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): damn panda ur pr
[38:47] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): pretty good at lieing
[38:50] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): I know the perfecet job for oyu
[38:53] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): the governemtn
[38:54] [All] Pompow (Nasus): xD
[38:56] [All] ARC Marlwolf (Lux): he’s just kidding
[38:57] [All] ARC Marlwolf (Lux): there are no jobs
[38:57] [All] Crescendo (Sona): :p
[38:59] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): rofl
[38:59] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu) has slain Baron Nashor!
[39:03] [All] Pandango (Karthus): lol wtf
[39:06] Pompow (Nasus): oshit u landed the smite
[39:06] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): 4559 bar
[39:10] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): lol
[39:10] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): stfu
[39:16] [All] Pandango (Karthus): will pentakill for monies
[39:18] [All] Pandango (Karthus): pls
[39:25] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted the Inner Turret
[39:26] Pompow (Nasus) is on the way
[39:26] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): too low im scared
[39:30] Crescendo (Sona): -      -
[39:42] Pompow (Nasus): drag soon
[39:46] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): Cresh pls b
[39:47] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): plssssssssssssss
[39:50] Crescendo (Sona): Either you help me take tower.
[39:50] Crescendo (Sona): And we keep pushing.
[39:52] Crescendo (Sona): Or I go alone, die, and we lose towers.
[39:53] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu) is on the way
[39:55] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): y u always take ur team hostage? qq
[39:57] Crescendo (Sona): Because win.
[40:00] UltimateBurrito (Lucian): Saint stop crying in jungle and man up
[40:03] UltimateBurrito (Lucian): ur crying so much I can see a river
[40:05] [All] Pandango (Karthus): saint won’t stop crying in your jungle
[40:07] [All] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): qq
[40:10] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): i have a hug for him
[40:12] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): come to bot inhib
[40:20] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): I said bot not top wtf
[40:27] Crescendo (Sona): B after.
[40:37] [All] ARC Marlwolf (Lux): pls responderino
[41:05] Crescendo (Sona) purchased Sight Ward!
[41:10] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu) purchased Sight Ward!
[41:23] Crescendo (Sona): TP/Karthus ult cd?
[41:30] Pompow (Nasus): 1min
[41:34] Crescendo (Sona): Pressure top while we take bot?
[41:35] Pompow (Nasus) is on the way
[41:40] UltimateBurrito (Lucian): all mia
[41:47] Crescendo (Sona): Want a ward in top jungle?
[41:50] Pompow (Nasus): i’m good
[42:18] Pandango (Karthus) signals that enemies are missing
[42:24] Crescendo (Sona): They’re probably all going up towards you.
[42:26] Crescendo (Sona): We’ll take bot if they do.
[42:48] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted the Inhibitor
[42:48] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted the Inhibitor
[42:49] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted the Inhibitor
[42:57] Pompow (Nasus): lol they sent 3
[43:10] Pompow (Nasus): have FH
[43:11] Pompow (Nasus): tanky as fuck
[43:15] Pompow (Nasus): they gonna iwsh they hadn’t let the dogs our
[45:53] Crescendo (Sona) signals to be careful
[45:59] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): bar 1 min
[46:03] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): why you guys no come to me?
[46:07] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): I just want to give you cupcakes
[46:14] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): also
[46:14] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): saint
[46:14] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): cresencdo
[46:16] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): y u block minimap? >:C
[46:21] [All] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): real
[46:26] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): everyone else
[46:28] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): y u no stream?
[46:32] [All] Pandango (Karthus): lol y u ghosting?
[46:34] [All] Pandango (Karthus): I want you to tryhard, son
[46:35] Pompow (Nasus): 51:40 lux falsh
[46:36] [All] Pandango (Karthus): don’t be so
[46:40] [All] Pandango (Karthus): ENTITLED
[46:43] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): D:
[46:43] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): k
[46:44] Crescendo (Sona) is on the way
[46:45] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu) is asking for assistance
[46:46] Pandango (Karthus) is on the way
[46:46] Pandango (Karthus) is on the way
[46:55] Crescendo (Sona) signals to be careful
[46:56] UltimateBurrito (Lucian) signals that enemies are missing
[46:57] Crescendo (Sona) signals to be careful
[46:59] Pandango (Karthus): we baiting or gettign?
[47:00] Pompow (Nasus): get
[47:03] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted ARC MechaHive – (Volibear)
[47:03] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted Tahr – (Aatrox)
[47:07] UltimateBurrito (Lucian) is asking for assistance
[47:13] ARC Marlwolf has ended Pandango’s killing spree! (Bounty: 437G)
[47:15] UltimateBurrito (Lucian) has slain Baron Nashor!
[47:15] [All] Pompow (Nasus): these junglers doe
[47:16] [All] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): lol
[47:16] [All] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): saint is that you?
[47:16] [All] xNietzsche (Jinx): wooololoolol
[47:16] [All] Pandango (Karthus): pc
[47:16] Crescendo (Sona) has targeted ARC Marlwolf (Lux)
[47:17] UltimateBurrito (Lucian) has targeted xNietzsche (Jinx)
[47:17] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): fkn sky lazrz
[47:18] Pandango has slain Tahr for a double kill!
[47:18] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): h4h4h4h4h oyur so funny
[47:18] Pandango has slain xNietzsche for a penta kill!
[47:19] Your team has scored an ace!
[47:20] UltimateBurrito (Lucian): lol gj
[47:20] Crescendo (Sona) is on the way
[47:20] Crescendo (Sona) is asking for assistance
[47:24] [All] ARC MechaHive (Volibear): ggs
[47:24] Enemy team agreed to surrender with 4 votes for and 0 against!
[47:24] [All] ARC Marlwolf (Lux): ggwp
[47:25] [All] UltimateBurrito (Lucian): gg
[47:25] Crescendo has started a surrender vote. Type /surrender or /nosurrender
[47:25] [All] Crescendo (Sona): GG ^u^
[47:26] [All] Pandango (Karthus): good agme duderinos :D
[47:26] [All] JessThePinkMan (Lulu): geeg
[47:27] Enemy team agreed to surrender with 5 votes for and 0 against!
[47:28] [All] Bls SaintSpark (Amumu): gg wp
Victory!

     Alright, back to work. Let’s see…Simon “Shellshock” Penn, played Counter-Strike for Collateral Gaming, from 2004 to 2007—aged seventeen to twenty at the time. So he’s…twenty-nine years old now. After playing he coached for two years, then managed for another two. Damn. This guy knows what’s up.

     Founded Final Frontier Gaming after leaving Collateral on good terms. Hmm.
     Final Frontier’s site has guides, forums, contests, and featured streamers. NeoTokyo is the most popular streamer. Currently offline. He generally plays every role hella good whenever we’re in the same game. Is he a teammate?

     “Jorge, when did you get home?”
     “Oh hey, ma. I got back about an hour ago. I came home early since I have to do some research on something important.”

     “You already have a big assignment due?”
     “Ehm, it’s not for school. Is…uh…is dad home?”
     “He’ll be around in a minute—he stepped out to pick up some things at the store.”

     “Well, since you’re here…there’s this thing called esports, it’s people playing video games professionally, for money. It’s like sports, but for video games. Let me show you a video."

     He quickly typed in Worlds 2016 and continued explaining, “So this was earlier this month, it was a World Championship where only the two best teams from the world played. Neither was an American team partly because…well most Americans don’t know what esports is or how big it is, so there aren’t many ways for people to get into it.”
     “Wait, is that a stadium?”

     “Yeah. Tens of thousands of people in attendance. With millions more watching online.”
     “Why online? Can’t they put this on TV?”

     “Well, it’s been tried before but there were a lot of conflicts with how TV distributes content and how the internet distributes it.”

     “Are you trying to say you want to do something like this?”
     “Sort of. Earlier today I got an email. The founder of a gaming organization invited me to be a player. I may have to move, I’m not sure where yet but I’m guessing LA, New York, Chicago, Seattle, maybe.”

     “Wait, are you serious about all of this?”
     “Yeah, look, I can show you the email. I’ve been looking up information on the sender, and it’s definitely the founder. He has a long history in competitive gaming, so he knows how business works.”

     “Are you planning on going into this business after you graduate?”
     “That’s the thing, ma. Right now is my one chance. I need to answer by Friday.”
     “So you’re asking for permission to to drop out of school, then?”
     “That’s one way of doing it. But I’m thinking I can ask for a temporary leave. The email says I’ll be paid for three months, so until January. If it doesn’t work I could just continue with school next semester.”
     “This is definitely something we have to talk about with your father.”
     “Yeah, I know.”

     “No, absolutely not, this is silly.”

     “Dad, I’ve only got this one chance. Even at nineteen I might be too old. I’m already late. If I were seventeen or eighteen I’d definitely have the natural reaction speed to play my best.”

     “I forbid you from doing this. There are always going to be people better than you no matter what. If this is your only chance and you’re already past your prime, it’s definitely not going to work out.”

     “You’ve told me countless times in the past that in life some opportunities are rare and that I should take them when I can. I can just do this for the three months and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just continue with school normally and I won’t pursue this anymore. Can we just do it that way?”

     “Look, son, you’re not thinking straight. Listen to yourself: you want to drop school for three months to play video games. Video games aren’t going to get you anywhere in life. You’re not going to be doing anything productive, and it’ll probably lead you nowhere. This is extremely high-risk, and it’s a risk you don’t need to take. Just go through with school like everyone else. You can pursue video games when you’re done with school and you’ll have nothing but support from me.”

     “C’mon, don’t you at least think you could believe in me just a little? Like, I’m sure you’ve taken risks in your life. Like all the fucking time.”
     “Like all the what time?”

     “Sorry. But yeah, I’m sure you’ve had to make hard choices in your life, dad, decisions you probably didn’t want to make. And even then, if I fail at this, I can always just return to school easily. If I don’t try, I’ll never know.”

     He paused to gather his thoughts. “You’ve always wanted me to give one hundred ten percent at everything, but now you’re preventing me from even doing one hundred. I can’t know if I’ll fail if I don’t try. What if you were born in a world where competitive video games were mainstream alongside football? You would have cheered on for your favorite team and I’d be sitting on the couch next to you cheering along. You would have raised me to practice football for an hour and then a video game for an hour. You would be urging me to take this chance—you’d probably be begging me to take it. And you’d be proud as fuck if you ever saw me competing and winning at something I enjoy doing.”

     They sat in silence, the final game of the 2016 Championship playing on the monitor. And in silence his parents considered his position. After a hid dad finally spoke “How about you give me a few minutes to think this over again? We’ll talk at dinner, son.”

     “Alright.”
     “I think you made very good points, Jorge. We’ll talk more later.”
     “Thanks, ma.”
     What if they say no? He seemed pretty adamant in sticking to his no. If they say no…then fuck it. It’s not their decision to make anyway. They can’t make every choice for me. This is my life, I get to choose what I want to do.

     Bzzt.

     (16:45) Michelle: You know what? I think I need some time to rethink this. Let’s go our separate ways a bit. I’ll let you know how I feel in a week.
     This isn’t their risk to take—this isn’t their education or their future on the line. They’re mine! Even if they’ll hate me for it, I’ll do it. And if that’s the case, then I better start studying.

     He typed in two team names and LCS, clicked the first search result and skipped ahead a few minutes.
     NA LCS coL vs Max 2016 Summer Week 2 Day 2.
     03:10
     “—ecause this was a standard start with no aggressive wards placed, it was an optimal decision for Maxim to send two top rath—”
     19:42
     “—and at the end of the day Collateral just stood back and watched.”

     “And not only did they just kind of give up Dragon to Maxim, but MissInk made a run for that top lane. So she’s immediately pushing the side of the map furthest from Dragon to punish them. It was a five v five that Maxim were daring Collateral to take, and since Collateral is a really smart team, even though Collateral could have contested Dragon and won that fight, it was a risk, and they weren’t willing to take it.”

     “It does show a clear focus. They’re more interested in towers than anything else right now. MissInk is taking a lot of tower hits, but she’s facetanking it just to get her team their fifth tower of the game.”

     “And with five turrets to zero in favor of Collateral, that is exactly where all the gold difference comes from right now. The CS numbers are starting to normalize across the board, but Collateral is still six thousand gold ahead and it’s stayed at around that value for a pretty long time.”

     “Sorcerer’s Shoes have been picked up by Zoroichi, he’s really going to want that additional mobility now that the laning phase is over” bzzt “and do a bit more damage as he roams around the map and participates in teamfigh—”

     (16:47) Mammy: Looks like you’re in the green. Your father is proud to have a passionate man like yourself for a son. Let us know how we can support you in all of this. :)
     God fucking yes!

7
A Future

“The wisest men follow their own direction.” Euripides

     Reply.
I’ll do it. My Skype info uses this same email. Let me know what I need to know.
Pandango
     Send.

     Sign out.
     Login.
     Compose.
Requesting Temporary Leave from University,
Hello Dr. Norma,
Something has come up recently and I am wondering how I would go about requesting a temporary leave from my studies. I will only be—

Hello Dr. Norma,
I have been offered an interesting opportunity for employment, and I will have to take time off from school. I will be unable to continue my studies for the remainder of this semester. My temporary leave may take anywhere from three months to a year. I would greatly appreciate it if you would guide me through the steps I must take for a temporary absence.
Thanks,
Jorge Reyes
Send.

     NeoTrollkyo would like to add you to his contacts.
     GeorgeDeusKing would like to add you to his contacts.
     Accept.
     Accept.
     GeorgeDeusKing has invited you to join his group.
     Accept.

GeorgeDeusKing
NeoTrollkyo
PANDAKAWAII
NeoTrollkyo




PANDAKAWAII

Yo. You know why we added you?
PANDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:DDDDDDDDDDDDDD
:D
So we’re planning on doing
A team meeting sort of thing
Over a Skype call
Tomorrow or Thursday if you have time
Awesome. Let’s do this shit.

17:04
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8
WildCat

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Benjamin Franklin

 

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