Date: 23rd August 2024
Soldiers were standing on a mountain side. They were divided into several divisions and were preparing for a battle. They all had modern guns and were waiting for new electronic weaponry because the Military Command wasn’t able to provide the new ones since their last battle. The scouters should had warned them before an attack. The earth shook, faults appeared and creatures started to jump out of them. Lots of them were crawling on all four, some of them had blades instead of hands and were ripping soldiers into pieces, others were spitting acid on tanks which turned into puddles of molten metal. There was chaos everywhere. No orders, soldiers shooting everywhere around, no tactics, no logic. They were dying.
Date: 23rd August 2024
Place: Prague, Czech Republic
This wasn’t the way it should had been. The plan was perfect. Oliver knew that the battle would go like this, he even designed his tanks to detect enemies under the ground. Unfortunately, these tanks were still on their way to his regiment because of their slow manufacture. This was a critical battle, a battle of Oliver’s victory-to-be. Instead of this, it was a battle of suffering and his defeat. Oliver was sitting at his computer and watching his army dying. He wasn’t even trying to do anything. He lost his battle, he wasn’t able to manufacture enough defense forces and turn away his fall.
Oliver was about 180cm tall, he was thin, had blond hair and a beard. He was an ordinary man, except for his eyes. His eyes were bright yellow, and therefore people thought he was wearing contact lenses just to be extraordinary. He was participating in a huge E-Sport tournament in Prague and was trying to win the qualification for the main competition, where he could win thousands of Euros. Only thirty-two people could participate in the main tournament and twenty-four had qualified in this season. The remaining eight players were chosen out of sixty-four best players of the season. A French player, whose name Oliver didn’t even remember, destroyed all his chances to get to the finals. Remembering names wasn’t Oliver’s strong point, he remembered faces instead. He knew all his competitor’s tactics and he knew, what to do to win. At least he thought he knew it all. As he was defeated, he could have a good time during these championships. But he was so mad about it, playing games and strategic planning was the only thing he was ever good at. He was full of hate, when he was beaten. He never learned to accept defeat, although maybe he never really tried to learn it. There were only a few Slovak players who were able to make it as far as Oliver. Actually, only one Slovak, except him, made it through yesterdays’ qualification and got to the finals. His name was Mathias or Martin. Oliver wasn’t sure about his name and didn’t really care about it at all. He didn’t know him, nor had he ever heard of him. This man was only another competitor to him and the reason Oliver analyzed his strategies to use the best tactics and defeat him, which all was a history now, as he lost. He was looking at the TV and watching alien forces destroying human army.
Two hours later, Oliver was sitting in a bar near the place of championships. The bar was huge, at least for Oliver who was living in a small town. There were TVs on bar’s walls with tournaments that were still running. Overload was the name of this bar. He was drinking beer and was watching the next qualification. A German player quickly trained his forces and with only one attack was his Russian competitor almost defeated. But he chose a horrible formation and lost the game after this first attack.
Oliver was sitting in the bar, watching TV and planning strategies how he would defeat both of men sitting there. Suddenly, a man sat to him and ordered a beer. Oliver didn’t pay any attention to him, he was staring at the game on TV.
“That Russian is kicking his ass, isn’t he?”
It took Oliver some time to realize the question belonged to him. Then he turned around and saw an approximately twenty-five years old man sitting by him. The man had short hair, was about ten centimeters shorter but thicker than him. “I don’t think so, I think the German is only playing games with him,” said Oliver. Apparently, the man disagreed.
“He has less than one third of his forces and he’s falling back. Why would you say he’s only playing with him?” Oliver smiled. “So far, his forces were fighting with no strategy, he let them do all the job, he didn’t control them. Either he’s stupid and lucky to be in the finals or maybe he wants the Russian to think he’s going to win.” The man started to laugh. “Well, we’ll see. I bet one beer on the Russian.” “OK”, said Oliver.
A few minutes later, right in front of the Russian’s base, the German turned all his forces against him and wiped out his army out. The Russian thought he was the winner, he didn’t produce so many forces as he needed and his enemy destroyed his whole base.
“I think I won a beer.”
The man ordered two beers and introduced himself. “I’m Martin, Martin Farkaš.” In this moment Oliver realized why he was familiar to him. It was the guy, who played at yesterdays’ finals. “Oliver Král. You qualified yourself yesterday, right?” “Yes. It was a close victory, I was lucky. I don’t think I was the one that should had been there.” Oliver thought the same as he saw this game and knew Martin’s strategy wasn’t extraordinary. But he didn’t want to say anything because of today’s game. “Actually, I’m not here by accident. I was looking for you since your last game, I would be pleased if you could help me.” He was shocked. “Help you? How could I help you?” “I saw your strategy, you knew your enemy’s strategy and as he wasn’t a world-known player, you were not able to learn about his tactics on the internet. I suppose you learned his tactics from the game you saw during the qualification. The speed of play is your problem. You can have the best tactics ever but if you lose time, you will lose the game.”
Oliver wasn’t very pleased to hear this fact but he had to agree, Martin was right. “So why were you looking for me?” “As I said, your tactics is much better than mine, I won because I was quick and had luck for weak opponents in the qualification. In fact, I didn’t want to play, my friends persuaded me. I have come to have a good time, not to compete. There were six professional players against you and you made it to the finals. Can you help me with my strategy and if I win the game, we’ll share the prize.”
Oliver was shocked, he wouldn’t expect for somebody to ever ask him for an advice and certainly not someone qualified for the finals of one of the biggest local tournaments. But it was a good offer. If he helps Martin with the game, he can make a lot of money for nothing. Martin had a feeling Oliver wasn’t very interested in this “job”.
“Look, if you don’t want to do it, I understand it. You are the only Slovak here, so I’ve come to you because I think you really knew what you had been doing. I myself can’t win this tournament, though I don’t really care about winning it. As I said before, I have come here to have fun but with your help, we both can gain. Only in this case is the whole game really interesting to me.”
“I don’t like your negativity. You belong to sixty-four best players, who had the chance to be here. You can’t be that bad.” “Well, that’s not so true either. Every player, who was qualified before me or who just didn’t come, is excluded. The place isn’t steady. I was placed somewhere under a hundred. I got there because I’ve been playing this game for a long time.”
Oliver almost forgot about this. He knew the players’ places are not steady, but he didn’t realize it. When he wanted, he always reached the best score in tournaments. This was also the moment when he realized why there were so many weak players in these championships.
“The first thing you have to do is to change your attitude, if you really want to win. You can win only with the attitude of a winner.” Oliver stared at him. Martin’s face lighted up with joy. “So, you will help me?” “Yeah, it could be interesting. If you win and keep your word, I will earn some money. If you lose, I will get some information for the future. I saw you playing, I can give you some advice how to improve your tactics. I can tell you what I learned about other players. But it’s up to you to make the best of it.”
They sat together and Martin took his computer out of the bag. They spent next four hours drinking beer and Oliver showed Martin videos of other players, that he could meet in the finals. He was switching from one video to another, explaining different strategies and ways how to beat them. He only stopped talking when he was drinking his beer. Many people would not keep up with Oliver, but Martin didn’t ask him to slow down, he just listened and watched the screen. When he needed more information, he asked Oliver to explain it.
Time went very fast and they were still discussing. They had a break only when Martin went for another beer. And one of these moments was right now. Oliver was looking around and saw five girls giggling at a table next to him. According to what he heard, they were from Czech Republic and were a little bit drunk. He also saw several professional players sitting at other tables and it looked as if when they were not playing, they were sitting here, in Overload.
In a community like this, there were a lot of people that didn’t fit in a standard norm. This was the reason why a lot of them were going to festivals like this. They wanted to have a great time without others judging them and it was also common to see people in different costumes and crazy outfits. Despite all of this, Oliver took a notice of a girl, that was different from the others, not as if she was looking weirder, she was just interesting.
Her brown hair was long on one side and short, just under her ear, on the other. There were not a lot of pretty girls in this community, but this one was looking exceptionally good. Apparently, she was looking for somebody. Then a group of three people passed in front of him and the girl disappeared.
Martin came back with another beer and looked at Oliver: “You’re looking tired. Have we drunk too much or are you fed up with explaining?” Oliver realized he was staring into space. “No, I’m not, I was just thinking about something. But I don’t think there is anything else I can help you with. We went through everything we could.”
“In this case…”
“Here you are, you traitor!” A voice came from Oliver’s back. He turned around and saw the girl he was staring at seconds ago. She was frowning at Martin, although she didn’t look like she was angry at all. “You said, you’d go to the discourse with me! And you didn’t! I should have known you’d go here and forgot about me!
Oliver was confused, he turned around and asked: “Your girlfriend?” Martin started to laugh. “Oh, my god, no! Oliver, this is my cousin Sophia. Sophia, this is Oliver, he’s helping me with tomorrow’s tournament. Oliver is the guy, I was talking about. The guy I wanted to ask for help.”
Sophia sat to Martin and looked at Oliver. “So, he persuaded you? Martin has always been good at persuading, although mostly he was using it to flirt with girls.”
“Come on, my little cousin, you don’t have to tell every one of my new friends the story of my life.” Martin and Sophia exchanged furtive smiles. “Buy me a glass of rose wine and I won’t do that again.” Martin’s smile froze, he heaved a sigh, stood up and went for the wine, grumbling about who can persuade who.
While he was away, Oliver and Sophia were sitting on the opposite sides of the table and rating each other. “Martin introduced us, but…again, I’m Sophia, nice to meet you. I’m sorry my cousin dragged you into his games.” At a closer look, Sophia was looking even more attractive. She could have been about twenty-two years old and was much shorter than Oliver. Her eyes were what really impressed him a lot. They were varicolored, one was green like olives and the other was blue like the sky. “My name is Oliver. You don’t have to worry, I enjoy it and Martin’s paying for my beers, so I can’t complain.”
“I hope that dumb head will take advantage of your words.” “You don’t seem to really like him”, said Oliver. “I do, I only love to make fun of him. Actually, I enjoy going to festivals, but I didn’t plan to visit this one. Martin said, he’d pay it for me, so I agreed. But now, I’m left alone, staying in a cheap hotel on the other side of the town while he’s somewhere flirting with girls, who he wants to pick up, or out in pubs with his friends. I wanted to find him because I was willing to go back to the hotel. But now, as he’s not trying to get into a girl’s pants, I can stay here with you for a while. Especially, when he’s paying.”
Sophia said this to Oliver without losing her smile for a second. He was amazed by Sophia’s spirit. She was sincere though cheerful, even when she was ripping on her cousin’s back and being angry with him, she wasn’t annoying. “Oh, and by the way, are you wearing yellow lenses? Looks great!” She took Oliver by surprise, but he heard this question so many times, he automatically replied, “No, that’s my very own color,” and added, “but your color is really interesting.” This was the first time when Sophia was out of words. Martin came back with Sophia’s glass of wine.
“Are you two having fun? Listen, a guy just told me, there’s a party going on in one of the bars downtown. Do you wanna go there?”
Sophia heaved a sigh and looked at her cousin: “I’m not interested in watching you picking up girls. If you want to go there, take me to the hotel first.”
With these words she put Martin in a bad mood. “Come on, can’t you go back alone?”
“Find me a hotel near to the place of festival next time and you won’t have to take me anywhere. But I’m not going through Prague alone in an hour like this!”
Martin frowned. “What are you afraid of? It’s not that far. I couldn’t pay you a hotel near here. Have you got any idea how expensive only my room was? I know I persuaded you to go with me, but you’re not a little baby. You can make it.”
If a human body was able to blow out smoke out of its nose, Sophia would have been doing that right now. “I wouldn’t care if I wasn’t alone. I don’t know anyone here and I had never been in Prague before. There are hardly any buses going near to that hotel and I am not going to let myself being robbed so that you can pick up Czech chicks!”
Oliver didn’t want to take part in this. He was drinking his beer and those two seemed to totally forget about him sitting with them at the same table. “OK, OK, I will take you there. And I can get some sleep, too.” “Thank you,” nodded Sophia with an angry but satisfied look on her face.
Sophia was glad to hear that, so all three of them spent the rest of the evening together talking. It was something between two and three o’clock and Sophia and Martin decided it was time to go. They said goodbye to Oliver and left. Olivet went to his hotel, too. He couldn’t afford an expensive hotel, but he was lucky to find a room near the festival. It was clean, had about three-square meters and was furnished with a bed, wardrobe and a bathroom. Immediately, when he got to his room, he fell asleep in his clothes.