365 Writing · Stories

Defenders (Part 5)

Level 100 was the farthest that anyone had yet to go in Defenders. It was almost impossible to achieve with the three lives given to players, let alone to do it with only one life on a perfect run. The screen of Arthur’s smartphone was filled with lights and symbols of ships and lasers. He managed to find the gaps in them and predict where shots were going to come from next. The trick was this prediction, if one wasn’t careful, you could end up locked into an unwinnable situation faster than the blink of an eye.

Arthur barely made it through a section of lasers that cut off every second but one, he maneuvered his way out and blasted down the enemy ships with ease. A large ship filled the upper half of the screen. Finally, he had reached the boss. No one had ever killed it, some players said that it might have unlimited health, and the goal is merely to do as much damage to it so that one could get the top score. Arthur, however, believed otherwise. There had to be an end to the game other than a game over screen.

The boss regularly shot out hordes of missiles and lasers, the same as if it was a fleet of ships. Arthur deftly dodged its increasingly tricky attacks while keeping up a constant barrage of fire in return. The boss itself was of bestial appearance like a monstrous animal converted into a giant ship. It roared at him as he laid down fire and returned in kind, but Arthur was still in the zone, he guessed based on the patterns he had seen in its attacks and evaded again. This went on for what felt like an eternity, the screen alight with projectiles, both his little ship and the boss trading fire. Soon even for Arthur, it began to become next to impossible to avoid the fire from the boss. He knew all it would take is one hit, and his little ship would disappear, just like his dream of finishing a perfect game.

And then it happened. A stream of lasers went out from the boss, he returned with his missiles that had just come off cooldown and moved to avoid the lasers, but another batch came from the other side and locked him in between them and quickly closed the gap around his ship until there was nothing left.

He sat there, staring at the game over screen. His mouth was dry, and he realized his hands were shaking. The score counter filled up his total and then showed the leaderboard. Second place. He had failed.