F3: Total Campaign Dominance
Today I had something else planned, but my day turned out busier than expected and the week has generally been a bit fucked up. As a result I’ve quickly finished up something around an old idea; I like the concept but could have done more with it. Ah well. C’est la vie.
TOTAL CAMPAIGN DOMINANCE
I run my fingers over the pitted superplastics of her canopy, feeling the slight crevice where it meets the fuselage. Each scar, each burn carries a memory, some that I so dimly recall that they are little more than emotion: the elation of a victory, the rush of fear at a narrow escape, the shame or self-loathing of a defeat. The intensity of my physical state often feels more real than the wounds inflicted on my war machine, but in these precious few minutes before an engagement I feel a bond between us. All the moments that have made us who we are are shared, and at no other point is the evidence of this more real.
‘Orders have come in, sir. Time to get you suited and booted.’
I nod without turning, acknowledging my tech’s message. He’s good, a valued asset and a friend. But this moment is for me and the machine, a rare and special moment that must be savoured. I spread my hands wide like a pair of stars and push against her skin. I feel my soft flesh squeezing into pits as I apply pressure. I close my eyes and breathe in, slow and assured. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. And… exhale.
‘Who am I up against this time?’ I ask, finally turning. I lean against the war machine, her reassuring coldness at my back.
My tech holds up a sheaf of papers and says ‘Heavy hitters. D’Angelo Powerworks. We don’t know who they’re fielding: they’ve kept it close to their chests. Analysis says they’re publicly confident, but it could be a front. It may be that this is a feint to distract us from a more significant campaign.’
‘So be it,’ I tell him. ‘There’s no gain in us second-guessing. We’re the foot soldiers on the front line. We take what we’re given and we make it work.’
‘You always put it so well, sir.’
I grin wildly, exposing teeth bleached pearly-white in a confidence man’s smile. ‘That’s why I’m where I am today. Okay, start the final diagnostics. I’m plugging in.’
I climb into the canopy as he moves toward the war machine’s attendant console. I connect up my neural feeds and watch as the weapon and defence systems greenlight: five levels of viral strains, direct pulses that run straight through the eyeballs and to the back of the brain, the latest memes that our cultural people have cooked up, ARG clusterbomblets, experiential brand identification and placement, proximity broadcasts, and more. The full spectra of audio, visual and subliminal ordnance. Finally, there are the standard munitions for the final blow: the coup de grace as I claim this contract.
The canopy closes over me and I grit my teeth in readiness. This is marketing, and I’m going to war.