“Spy Game”

This is a short story I wrote for a creative writing class; I rediscovered it and decided to share it, with a number of tweaks, some of which change the tone a bit.

The assignment was to choose from a list of first sentences from novels and build my own story from there; the sentence I chose was from John Barth’s The End of the Road (which I haven’t read), and the story I developed around it is centered on what I didn’t realize at the time is basically an MMO version of Metal Gear Solid V, though the name “Euphonia” had to have been suggested by the teacher because I have no idea how I would have come up with that on my own. Before I say too much more:

“In a sense, I am ‘Jacob-Horner’,” Blake Everton said into a microphone to a fellow player of Spy Rogues Online, the most anticipated video game of the year.

It was like many MMORPGs (massive multiplayer online role playing games), but instead of a fantasy world filled with monsters and elves, this was a modern-day world of espionage where several-hundred people had named their characters after Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid stealth game series. But not Blake Everton. He named himself ‘Jacob-Horner’, a tall, blue-haired infiltrator.

“Why ‘Jacob-Horner’?” asked a player who went by the username of ‘Solid-Snake541’—not to be confused with ‘SolidSnake-541’.

“It hadn’t been taken,” explained Blake.

“Oh…I thought it was going to mean something more significant. Like the composer for The Wrath of Khan’s soundtrack.”

“That was James Horner.”

“In the Hebrew dialect, they’re the same thing.”

As Blake began ruminating about how he’d realized that he’d stolen the name of a great and deceased composer, his curious mother, Euphonia, called from the living room, “Blake, who are you talking to?”

“‘Solid-Dash-Snake541’, not to be confused with ‘SoildSnake-Dash-541’,” replied Blake.

“I know what my name is,” replied Solid-Snake541, thinking that Blake was talking to him.

“That spying game again?!” cried Blake’s mom, who’d speak in the calmest voice until she’d unleash her inner banshee on occasions like this. “Can’t you take a break and do your homework?!”

After her son explained why he must respectfully change his username, she asked what he’d then change his name to. Blake retorted, “Um…‘Ethan-Hunt-007’—! Hey, that name’s not taken.”

“Okay, ‘Ethan-Hunt-007’. You changed your username. Now can you be Blake Everton for a few hours?” And his mom left the conversation at that.

During those next few hours, however, Blake Everton, or ‘Ethan-Hunt-007’, had chowed down countless Doritos and slugged down a couple of two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew. He and Solid-Snake541 also spread their mischief and ticked off several Chinese players.

With at least two countries after them, they were cornered, and they had no choice but to split up and run to their secret bases. However, one of the pursuers had a speed boosting ability. As the pursuer was just about to reach Blake, it got shot dead by an unknown player. Down a nearby hill walked username ‘Crank-Cavern’ who wielded a sniper rifle. Blake thanked this player profusely; Crank replied with “Ur welcome” in the chatbox. As the players were about to depart ways, Blake asked Crank if he could watch his back; Crank agreed.

As they chatted and got to know each other, Blake allowed Crank to enter his secret hideout—a privilege that required a special in-game invitation. To Blake’s shock, Crank planted C-4 in the base and blew it up, leaving Blake having to start over from scratch and screaming in his room.

“Blake, what are you screaming about?!” cried Blake’s mom.

Blake screamed back, “I earned some blockhead’s trust, and he stabbed me in the back!”

“That’s why you shouldn’t trust somebody by the name of ‘Crank-Cavern’! Now can you finish your homework for tomorrow?”

Blake sighed, “…Okay mom…Wait, mom?!”

She then logged out of her own account of Spy Rogues Online.


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