Here it is, the final chapter of New Game. I would like to say thanks to all 330 favorites, nearly 500 followers, and 155 reviews on this year-long journey. This has been my best story to date, and definitely has a place in my heart. I wrote this story due to a severe lack of Dva-centric stories in the community, and after reading one such story, decided... What if I was Hana's rival in gaming? What would that be like? So a year and three months later, with a story that was originally just going to be a oneshot, here we are.
EDIT (6/21): Yes, I somehow made it back here. There are some changes to this chapter, especially near the end. I suggest, if you don't want to reread this chapter, go straight to the section after the tournament ends. That sets up my new version of the sequel, which, to those who followed over, I'm sorry, but as I posted in that story, I wasn't feeling the storyline and felt it was too derivative from what I set up here, two gamers taking on the world, not saving it. Plus...I just want to focus on them playing games. So I am readjusting the ending to New Game so that Level Up 2.0 is a better story to write.
Enjoy the final chapter.
Hana, 15 minutes before the Grand Finals.
What I am about to say stays between you and me. Joshua doesn't need to know this. If he did, he might make fun of me, how I went from eager to scared in a twelve hour period. Yeah, I was a little eager last night (oh, I can still feel everything from it right now) but now… This is ridiculous. I am Hana "Dva" Song, three-time GWC Champion in the Starcraft II Division. I am gaming's most popular player and the (un)disputed best in the world.
So why am I indeed nervous about a place in my career that I have been and won three successive times? Is it because I am not going against Joshua? Is it because now my chances of winning are dependent on him? Is it because I am threatened by Team Widowmaker's chances? There is something bothering me, and I cannot tell if it is one of the three of all of them combined in a singular mass known to humankind as fear. I will tell you this, right here, right now: I never been afraid as much as I am now my entire life, not even the first time I was in this position. Nervousness comes with it, but fear…
The best in the world shouldn't have fear. That's why they lay upside down on a couch alone in a dressing room, while everyone else sits in the lobby waiting for the match to get started. Joshua is out there as well, so he cannot calm me. If only I could relieve this stress… I could… I should go lock the door.
"Sonnyeo?" As I stood up with my dangerously dirty plan in mind, my grandpa decided to burst in. I quickly cleared my mind as he walked in, shutting the door behind him. He saw my bewildered expression, causing him to chuckle. "What's your problem?"
I shook my head as I sat back down on the couch. "Hello hal-abeoji. What brings you here?"
"Ah, I was looking for you." Grandpa took a seat next to me, patting me on my legs. "So...nervous?"
I smiled weakly. "More than you know."
"Don't worry. You'll do fine."
"That's the thing. This year is so different. If I was a singles competitor, I wouldn't be a mess right now, since I know I'm facing Joshua. But now… We're teammates, and I'm sure we'll do our best, but if one of us slips…"
Grandpa wrapped me in his arms, consoling me. "Hey now. Don't think like that. The boy won't let you down, and neither will you do the same to him. In any case, you're letting everything that has happened to you two overcome your focus. Remember what I told you, that the world loves to raise champions, and even more loves to bring them down. Right now, the world is Tracer and Widowmaker. Don't give the world what they want… At least not yet."
I looked at my grandfather confused. "What do you mean?"
"I...got a call yesterday. You've been selected for MEKA."
Quite honestly, it was of little shock. I have the feeling I would be chosen, but hearing it… It was hearing an unwanted confirmation. But I had only one concern. "Does Joshua know?"
"No… I'll let you tell him that you were selected."
But there were others… "Who are they, the others?"
"People you really wouldn't want to work with. One of them isn't from this area of the world...Some other American." Grandpa stood up after that, patting me on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it now. Focus on your match."
"Thank you. And Grandpa, can you lock the door when you leave. I want to process this without being bothered." Grandpa nodded, gave me a reassuring smile, and closed the door behind him after twisted the lock. I looked at the time. I had nine minutes to myself.
I made sure to use every single moment of that time.
Joshua. match time
"Ladies and gentlemen, here in the arena and all across the world, the time you have been waiting for has finally come! The Gaming World Championship Grand Final for the Starcraft II Division!"
The cheers, clapping, and the excessive shouting was familiar to Hana and I. This will be the fourth time we walk out there, shake our opponents' hand, take out seats in opposing booths, then start the game. But now, things were quite different. I was not facing Hana, and Hana was not facing me. This year, we were a team, going against a new enemy in a familiar scene. I know Hana probably didn't want me to know she's afraid, but it isn't like I don't know that already. I know she's afraid because I am indeed afraid. I slip my hand into hers, she immediately takes and grips hers around mine. Yep, I was right.
"Introducing the challengers… Hailing from London, England, and from Annecy, France, I present to you Team WidowTracer, Tracer and Widowmaker!" Seconds later, the pair of women came on stage, Tracer (who has less tack than most) jumping to the center stage while Widowmaker walked slowly behind, like a predator waiting for her prey to come out of hiding. It was a scary, yet beautiful sight...
"Oww!" I clutched my formerly held hand as the nerves on it throbbed. "What the hell Hana?"
"You were staring at Amélie. I saw it."
"Okay, but I need my hands, don't you think?"
Hana smiled as she looked back at the stage. "I can do just as good as you can with my own." I didn't understand what she meant by that, but whatever.
"Now introducing their opponents… From Busan, South Korea and from the United States, I present to you Team MEKA, Dva and Hardin25!" Showtime. Hana and I came out the curtains, doing the exact same as the team before us (but like champions would, not like Ms. Bubbly and Spider Lady). As we came up to center stage, I could see Hana looking elsewhere in the corner of my eye, glancing over myself and nearly tripped on my own two feet. There, in the front row, was our families, but the real surprise was seeing Mr. Song enthusiastically holding a "Go MEKA Go!" sign. Take that in, everybody. The only reveal more surprising is a Half-Life 3 confirmation. Like, the internet would collapse on itself. I turned to Hana, whose face glowed with just as much surprise as me
Decorum proceeded once we made it to center stage. We shook Widowmaker and Tracer's hands, heard the rules (it was a simple match like the others, with a 1-hour time limit. Winner decided by either destruction of both Command Centers or by the most health of the CCs if time reaches the limit) then proceeded to our respective booths. Once there, we selected our affliations (you know who Dva and I picked. Terrans FTW). Then after a few short minutes, the clock was on, the fight had started, the game had begun.
"Alright, let's get these boys gathering resources." Hana and Joshua quickly commanded their SCVs to begin gathering of resources, while also building their militarial structures. The first few minutes of the match was quite dull, as both teams were focused more on building their units than fighting each other. A few "oohs" and "ahhs" echoed in the room during the period in response to certain choices by either side, but for the most part, it was fairly quiet for around a quarter hour before the first team made their attack…
"La Bitché and 'Ello Bitch are going to attack soon." I heard Josh sigh beside me as I ordered a few upgrades to my turrets. We had caught a worker unit from WidowTracer scouting just a minute ago, and the match had gone on long enough that someone should make the first move at this point. Sadly, it was going to be dumb opponents.
"Would it kill you to not trash talk?"
I shrugged. "Why not? They can't hear us, and I bet you a hundred dollars they're talking trash about us." My partner shook his head, focusing on our shared side of the map. A sharp warning came to our ears a few seconds later, just as the enemy zerglings appeared on my screen. It was a miniscule group, sent to test the waters, not a full fledged attack
"No point in using men on them. Let the turrets handle the roaches." The battle between the turrets and WidowTracer's units was short and ineffective to whatever plan they had, a lackluster start to what will be the rest of the match. After a minute or so of peace, I turned to Joshua, smiling. "Shall we demonstrate how we do things in the Grand Finals?"
He nodded just as his group of Hellions joined the infantry of Marines and Marauders we have assembled, coupled with a few of my Vikings for air support. "It's been thirty minutes. I don't want to spend another thirty with them. Give them hell, Hana. I'll back you up soon." I leaned over and kissed Josh's cheek before a demonic grin exploded on my face. My earlier fear was replaced by digital bloodlust, greed for victory, and desire for my fourth gold trophy. I wasn't going to let these mid-tier gamers take what's mine.
"MEKA, activate." Sending an SCV ahead to scout, I summoned our assembled units to attention, then commanded them to march towards the enemy base. I proceeded slowly, not taking them out of my units field of view. No telling whether or not my opponents' set up an ambush or not.
It was close to the middle of the map when I stopped moving. Shocked, I moved my cursor away from my troops to the largely assembled forces of Zerg and Protoss. Zealots, Stalkers, Adepts, Phoenix, Zerglings, Banelings, Roaches, Overlords, Infestors… Fuck. I tapped Joshua's shoulder as the stalemate between both sides continued.
"How long do you think you'll be?"
"Five minutes, maybe. Why?" I directed him to my screen, which him to a very fearful saying of "Damn."
"Do you think you could get here faster?"
He shook his head. "No. But you should be able to hold them off. If not, weaken them considerably. Make them remember who's is number 1."
My faith renewed, I commanded all units to attack first.
"Holy hell." A crewman aboard a large South Korean cruiser dropped his binoculars as he ran across the deck. All the other people on board watched him as the man screamed and pointed towards the ocean. He ran up the stairs to the command center, not even bothering to knock. He spotted the man dressed in the admiral attire, slumped over a panel, and shouted, "Admiral! It's back!"
The admiral looked up from his position and turned to the crewman. "Where?"
"Portside, 60 degrees." The admiral walked to the window, raised his binoculars to the given degree, and immediately dropped them. He didn't even need them now to see what was happening. "Alert command...and make it quick."
Josh, ten minutes later
The battle between us and WidowTracer was not going well for either side. It has been ten minutes, maybe more, ever since the true fight began. Initially in an open area in the map's center (and the most direct route to both bases, it now stemmed to other parts of the map, little skirmishes here and there while the big battle continued in the map's center. WidowTracer were taking advantage of the Protoss and Zerg's strengths against Terran forces, just as Pharmercy did days ago. As for Dva and I, we were using our wits. I had a plan that just might work.
There is a strategy that I hadn't used in three years that...nearly worked against Hana in our first battle. It's quite simple, but can be risky. I commanded my factories to begin mass-producing Hellions, save for two which I order to build up Siege Tanks along with my starport producing Vikings. My plan was simple, and either it will guarantee victory or a short respite. My partner had her sweat sweating bullets, so this could be good for her. But there was the other side of the coin: WidowTracer could do use the same tactic I am, which means I need to be quicker. "Hana, babe."
"Do you remember the good words of our lord and savior Gaben?"
Hana looked at me, her face definitely not showing any signs of humor. "What?"
"Half-Life 3 isn't coming, but I am." I selected my new force by pressing A and projected them down a side path. I kept my eye on Hana's screen as her battle continues, waiting for any signs for me to change my strategy. It hasn't. Smiling to myself, I continued on my warpath to the central battle.
I about to teach these fools what happens on the North American server, and who is its king.
Seoul, South Korea
The called woman stood at attention as her superior office joined her in the MEKA hanger in Seoul. She was watching the crews below building the new manned versions of the machine, ready for their new pilots. She knows who will be called for duty, but reserved doubt for now. Despite her caution about using couch potatoes… They were the best chance she had. Gamers had reflexes in the body and mind a soldier wish they had, adaptable in an ever-changing situation. The most hardcore were masters.
She saluted her S.O. then dropped her hand. "Sir."
The man waved his hand. "At ease. Believe me, you're going to need to be." He stepped to Zhou's side. "You're pretty young for Captain, nevertheless leading a critical mission. But given the nature of our recruits, it is probably for the best that someone as young as they can lead them. By the way, isn't the championships today?"
Zhou nodded, blushing a slight bit. "Yes sir. I...was watching it before I got the call about you coming."
"A fan of the one called Dva?"
"No sir… More of a Hardin25 fan. Actually met him not too long ago, when he arrived in Korea. Got an autograph...and a small chat."
"Will it compromise-"
Zhou shook her head. "No, sir. I'll try not to fangirl in his presence. I know the severity of the situation."
Zhou's superior nodded. "Good...because your task begins now. The Omnic has returned and has made its first attack. An EMP...and it is spreading rapidly."
"Busan was just hit a few minutes ago. It shows no signs of stopping. Seoul will be hit within a half hour, and it should make landfall with Japan any moment now. Hiroshima in fifteen, twenty minutes probably."
Zhou gasped. If Hiroshima would be hit, that meant...the championship… "Hanamura…"
"Probably in ten minutes. Best pray your gamer boy wins."
Hana, five minutes later
"Who would've guessed your mass Hellion strategy would actually work again, and to your success this time?"
Josh slapped my arm, not even turning to see my devilish face. He knew what was left to do. Thanks to his plan, WidowTracer's army was wiped from the front by me and from behind by Joshua. Now there was only one place left to go...their base. We commanded all forces to head towards our opponents' base, quickly under attack by the defenses built up. However, our force made quick work of the first line of defense and began wrecking the place. Oh, I wished I could see the faces of Tracer and Widowmaker. Probably cursing me in their native tongue. We'll, they can go fuck themselves and each other. I'm going home with the gold, again. Suck on this ti-
"Your base is under attack."
Josh quickly scrolled down to our side of the map, grimacing. "What the hell? How did… How did they move an ARMY of that size undetected? And… Oh you got to be shitting me…"
"They have a Brood Lord and a Mothership with them." I looked at Josh as if he said he was pregnant with my child. There's no way in hell I'm letting these...girls win.
I looked to Joshua with bloody determination. "Do you have enough resources for...it?"
My boyfriend, who I consider the more merciful person between us, grinned so hard I think the Joker himself would be jealous. "You couldn't have said anything better. I have more than enough, maybe for a few of it." He pressed a few keys, and while both sides waged a base race, the starports Joshua had using resources released the Terrans' most powerful unit: the Battlecruiser. Three of them took the fight to the Protoss/Zerg army in order to buy us time to destroy the enemy base. WidowTracer was already ahead, but...Maybe the cruisers could do something. Right now, I was focused on getting to their Greater Hive and Nexus. Josh would stay behind to defend his Planetary Defense and my Orbital Command.
I was closing in on the zerg base when Josh cried out, "Hana, they're converging on you first! I'll try to stall them."
Dammit… Oh well. "Time to raise my APM. Hold them, Josh." With a Spawning Pool destroyed, I had an opening on the insects' base. I commanded all units to focus fire, watching as the health of the base deplete quickly. I turned to Josh, who was biting his lips. "How am I?"
"You're taking some damage, and we're down a cruiser and a Brood Lord, but I don't think they'll be held off any longer."
I nodded. "It's okay. Just be ready, alright. You can win this. Just think, you technically beat me in this battle." He smiled at that, then faced his screen. I turned back to mine, witnessing the last few bits of one of two WidowTracer bases' defenses fall. It finally exploded, signaling the end of one of our opponents. With some hope, I directed the troops to the other base, which had already suffered some damage.
"One cruiser left, at half health. They have lost the Mothership. Your base is now rapidly losing health, even with the lack of zerg units."
With that, I began to scroll down to our base. "Switch now. I'll handle defenses, whatever I have left. You press on the attack." Josh complied, moving to the other side of the map as I assumed control of the defense. As I looked at my Orbital Command, I knew I wouldn't last. But I made a final play. "Josh, sending the Battlecruiser to you. It'll finish the job."
"It's been an honor to play at your side, and a bigger honor to know that in the 12 hours, I lasted longer than you twice."
I laughed, trying to hide my tears as well. "Thank you. It's my honor to know that in the last 12 hours, you wouldn't have done shit if it wasn't for me."
"Yeah…" As Josh turned back to the screen, I leaned over, turning his face to kiss him. It was quick but passionate. As we broke, I said, "Now you can win the gold."
Hana's base was terminated a few seconds later, just as she managed to send the Battlecruiser to my location. Now I began to lay waste to the other half of WidowTracer's base while the survivor of that team ravages my home. Unfortunately, there's no need to continue telling you of what happens, because, you see, I'm the hero of this story. I'm the canonical ending. The end of the game. I've beat the final boss, save the world and the girl, and will live happily ever until the next game in the series. What I am trying to convey is that I-
…...The screen went dark.
1 hour later
"It seems there is a blackout in Hanamura, not a power loss in the stadium," Grandpa Song announced to Hana and I. We were in our dressing room, with only the emergency lights on. I sighed as I slunk in my seat, wondering what the hell I did to the RNG Goddess to anger her so much that the one moment I was going to win, I don't.
Like I must have racked up some serious karma.
The judges, after minutes of debating, decided that since we both had one base destroyed each and another unscathed, the match was a draw, So there it was… Compared to the other years, a draw is better than losing, and for Hana… She hasn't complained once. She's still champion of the world…Fuck. Matter of fact, she was very calm about this. "What could've caused it?"
Her grandfather shrugged. "Hell if I know."
"Then prepare yourself." Hana's father entered the room, phone in hand. "The blackout isn't just to Hanamura, but to Korea, both sides, most of Japan, and to the coastal areas of China. An EMP was launched from the Sea of Japan...by the Omnic there."
"The Omnic?" Hana stood up, hands on her hips. "Does that mean MEKA is calling in their recruits?"
Mr. Song nodded. "Yes. I talked to the commander over MEKA. You and the other recruits will be shuttled there from Hanamura sometime next week." No surprise Hana was selected, but worry over her safety came over me. That Omnic took out power in major cities around the Sea of Japan because it could, no telling what it could do when provoked.
I looked to Hana, who had placed her face in her hands, overwhelmed most likely by the results of the match. She was hurt, heartbroken, probably furious at the machine in the sea. I looked to the older men, issuing a silent plea for me and Hana to be alone in our dressing room. They acknowledged me and left the room quietly. I quickly turned to Hana, who hands I took in mine. "Hey, it is alright. If you think about it, you are still a champion. The reigning champ, I might add."
That seemed to do it. Hana lightened up, facing me with her teary face and allowing me to wipe her tears. "Thanks, Josh. I am still champion, which sucks for you, number two."
"Haha, very funny. You know what, last night, I was number one. But right now, I need you to be at your best. You got a world to save, and next year, when we return to this stage... I'm going to fuck you up. Before, during, and after when I celebrate me dethroning you. But that's after you kick Omnic ass."
Hana smiled, then forcefully kissed me. I don't think this was the right time or place to do such a thing, but if I had any resignations, Hana addressed those immediately as she pushed me down on the couch. "You're right on all that. I will kick Omnic ass. I will return. You will fuck with me before, during, and after the matches to celebrate my fourth title. But right now, I suggest you save your game file because what is coming up next is going to be your hardest boss."
...I'm going to have to go.
Level Up, the sequel to New Game, will start adding attribute points later this year. I have the same Zelda project to finish, so when that one is done, the new version of Level Up will start sometimes after. Once more, thanks to all, and... There is one more thing.
There is another story, one I decided to stand as a oneshot, called Press Start. By all means, it is a prequel to New Game, describing the first battle between Hardin25 and Dva. I would like to thank Warmach1ne32 for collaborating with the writing. It is currently uploaded now, go have a read.
Now I shall say goodbye, hopefully you guys come back for Level Up, or maybe take a read at my other stories with a follow/favorite of me. Thanks once again. I'm going offline.
1 year later...
5. The people were ready. All over the world, thousands of basement-dwelling, couch potatoing, school skipping, Mountain Dew and Doritos eating teenagers of all kinds sat with their various streaming devices in hand, eyes on the screen as if their lives depended on it. The comments raged with anticipation of the next five minutes, entertained only by the music blasting out their speakers.
4. I entered my room, toting 4 liters of root beer, 3 bags of various chip brands, and a bottle of lotion...for dry skin. I set my items down, and seat myself in my comfy gaming chair. As I look at the stream chat, I can barely, just barely, keep with the comments, as over 30,000 people who got nothing better to do sit at their computer screens, and instead of busting their balls or stirring up shit on social media, boys and girls rather be here. That's kinda awesome, to be so beloved in this way. You can't get 30,000 people to go green in an hour, but promise a livestream of a video game for a few hours, they'll be there.
3. With little time to spare, I make final preparations. Food? Check. Drinks? Check. Excellent internet connection? Check. Headsets? Check. Lotion… Checkmate. However, I'm missing something...Ah, yes.
2. I hastily open a new tab, linked to the main page of the stream. Searching for one streamer in particular, I was pleased to know that the competition hadn't arrived, and given the time, she shouldn't be up anyway. Due to her joining the military temporarily to stop an Omnic threatening her homeland, she hadn't streamed games or anything at all for a year. It is already bad enough we're both made famous by the same game, in the same competition, in the same tournament, and fighting the same battle over four years ago, and we would continue to compete for the gold for the next two years, her winning all three times, and teamed up last year, nearly winning it. But each year, I came closer...but close is not good enough. If I do anything this year, I will defeat my arch-nemesis, and take home the gold in our fourth meeting.
1. As the countdown began to wind down to the final seconds, I looked over to my large wooden shelf, seeing the trio of silver trophies lined up in the center. Don't get me wrong, I am proud to be #2 in the world, because I never, ever thought I would even reach the top 20, but being beaten by a girl, a super attractive South Korean girl at that, ruffles my male American feathers. Call it hurt pride, because that's exactly what it is. I move my gaze down normal eye-level, where a picture of me and my rival are shaking hands at the end of two years ago's match that lasted almost over an hour. Along the same part of the shelf were other pictures of us, with or without our trophies. We were portrayed as a friendly rivalry, but in truth, it was more than that. Last year proved it better than anything. Despite the troubles we had leading up to our big moment, we stuck together, and I couldn't wait to see her again.
Ok, maybe I have had some...thinking time of her, but it was more of an "I hadn't had sex in a year and my girlfriend is a war hero" fantasy. I like her, and I definitely like her to think of her in the nude.
0. The stream countdown was over, and I officially broadcasted the stream a few seconds later. As the livestream began, I put on a smile, happy to be able to do what I love in front of...65,000 people. Damn...what if I fuck up? Nah… These same 65,000 people definitely watch my rival stream as well, and if I mess up, there's no telling what'll they say on her stream. Ah, whatever, they probably shit on me anyway. "Hello everyone from all around the fucking world, human and Omnic. I should need no introduction, and but out of the 65,000, a good… 30,000 are probably forgetful. Welcome to my livestream, and I'm your host, Hardin25. Now let's get some things settled." I put up my bottle of lotion, and snicker into the camera. "Dva isn't home yet to me to use this, and neither are you nasty ass horny dogs either. Save it for later today, or save it for the championship in two months...if they let me back in again. Now, if your stream is just right, can I get some random emojis in the chat?" My 65,000 and rising minions bombarded the chat with emojis, and I nodded in appreciation, hovering my mouse cursor over the Starcraft II launcher. "Thanks, guys, now let's get started."
Just then, my phone buzzed, and I excused myself to attend to it. It was a message from Hana's grandfather, letting me know that she had just landed in Busan and to...check my mailbox. Oh, I knew what this meant. "Hold on guys, I just got a message from South Korea. Our hero Dva has landed in Busan, so we are happy about that, but also...it's here. The invitation we all been waiting for! I'll be back!" I raced to the front door, opening it and quickly grabbing the mail inside. I threw all unimportant letters aside, taking back into my game room the letter signed by the GWC. "Ok, here it is. We're opening it, and... Let's see… Same old greeting, same old message, yeah I'm invited, register here and there...WHAT?" Omg. This couldn't be happening. Of all the outcomes of this year's tournament, this had to be worse than last year's decision.
"In an effort to truly determine who the best in the world is, this year's tournament will not be separated by games, as such in the past. Instead, participants will play through several games at each stage until one is declared the winner." I set the letter down after looking at the list of games to be played at the upcoming tournament, looking breathlessly at the home menu of Starcraft II. It wasn't on the list. "Oh boy."
But the best part is that now I can claim the gold. And that thought definitely puts a smile on my face. It's time to level up, Hardin25, or else Dva will get ahead.