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Bubble Levels, Secrets and The Quiet Game (RP #1)
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NorthKoreanWarCriminal Online now or has been in the last 30 mins
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(gets varying reactions in the arenas, but will be worshiped like a god and defended until the end by internet fans; literally has thousands of online dorks logging on to complain anytime they lose a match or don't get pushed right)


Post: #1
07-21-2021 07:28 PM

The low hum of the engine is the only sound inside the Tiburon.

Corey would’ve taken a different car from the garage, but apparently NK had done some... research on Corey’s car collection and insisted he experience a drive in “Corey Smith’s famous Hyundai Tiburon”.

NK hadn’t been a bad passenger. He had been completely silent, staring straight ahead in the passenger seat, narrowing and widening his eyes as the Tiburon neared bumps and made slight turns. It’d been like driving with a goldfish in a bowl... or a lobotomized person.

On the other hand, he had been completely silent for the last hour, only narrowing and widening his eyes… That’s off-putting, right?

Corey shook his head. His Team was about to meet at his “neutral location”, he wasn’t sure the next time he’d get a chance to think.

He also had a couple things in the back of his mind… Still fighting the urge to call Dolly. But, he tried to slide that urge back, hoping that could wait.

The purpose of this trip was getting his WarGames team in fighting shape. He’d made a team of puzzle pieces of very different success stories. Just on their stats, you’ve got two Universal champions and a guy who came back from the dead twice.

It was a good squad, arguably the best team going into WarGames... On paper.

The only thing he didn’t know was how nice they’d fit together. Or if they WANTED to f-.

“AHA! I’VE FOUND IT!”

Corey grabbed hold of the wheel, suddenly alert! His arms tense, he glares at the Korean who just screamed full volume, his index finger pointed to the air in a Eureka moment.

“What?!? Found what?!?”

“THE FLAW, COREY SMITH.”

NKWC placed his white-gloved left hand on the steering wheel. Corey held on tightly, prepared in case the War Criminal was trying to swerve, or take control of the car.

“What are you doing? Get off the wheel!”

“A MOMENT, PLEASE!”

Corey looked on, perplexed. NK, very gently, reached into the breast pocket of his uniform and removed… the smallest bubble level, a mere three inches long...

NK placed it gingerly on the top of the steering wheel.

“Drive as straight as an arrow flies, Corey Smith.”

Corey side-eyed NK curiously, but decided to humor him, focusing on a smooth, forward drive. NK brought his face inches away from the level, rotating his neck meticulously so as to not block Corey’s vision of the road.

The level’s bubble quivered to the left… swiveled to the right… Then came to rest gently in the center of the… No… just a half-a-hair to the left of center.

“HAHA! I knew I’d find it, Corey Smith. The Tiburon’s wheel alignment has a…” NK pinches his fingers together to measure the bubble’s distance from the center…

“0.27 degree pull to the left!”

NK looked at Corey in the eyes… Looking like Corey should know how to respond to this discovery.

“Oh… um… Huh. That’s… I hadn’t noticed.”

NK slips the miniature level back into his coat pocket, before tut-tutting at the minor imperfection, wagging a finger at the dashboard, shaming the car.

“I understand your advocacy of your Tiburon, Corey Smith. The vehicle APPEARS to be a near-perfect mode of transport. But, it is FLAWED. And naturally so. The Hyundai Tiburon was designed by SOUTH Korean engineers, doomed to pass on their inherent imperfections.”

NK leans back comfortably in the passenger seat, smugly satisfied at his discovery.

“Naturally, it pales in comparison to the Bbeokgugi from Pyeonghwa Motors, the epitome of perfectly-designed TRUE Korean engineering. You must allow me to secure you a test drive that would drastically improve your motor experience.”

Corey squinted at the bizarre product endorsement, made by a War Criminal.

“I’m… uh… That’s okay... I’ll get Malcolm to look at the alignment… He just got into car repair. He’d appreciate the practice.”

NK blinks robotically, processing this statement, searching for a reasoning that eludes him. Then, after a few seconds, another fake smile.

“Haha, Yes, of course, I understand! Always good to make the help earn their keep, eh, Corey Smith?” NK taps his nose, as if partaking in a shared secret.

Corey paused, before sighing exasperated. The culture divide here was exhausting.

NK, pleased at this interaction, returns to looking out the windshield at the oncoming road.

“Have we arrived at our destination?”

Corey… grins, momentarily in awe of the… alien nature of the question. He decides to break down his response into sections. “...Have I stopped the car?”

NK presses his hands in front of his face, letting the tips of his fingers meet below his eyeline. He ponders this question, treating it as one would the most labyrinthine riddle. He inhales slowly, attempting to open his mind to the truth. He cautiously puts forth an answer.

“...No, Corey Smith?”

“Riiiiiiiight. So, that means we’re not there yet.”

Instead of detecting Corey’s sarcasm, NK only seems pleased that he’d guessed accurately that the car was, in fact, still moving.

Corey turned his attention back to the road… and to important matters. He had two weeks to whip this odd bunch into a team and he needed every moment he had left to plan coordinating these mania-

“The Sun Surely Wields a Sweltering Heat Today, Corey Smith.”

Corey, again, side-eyes NKWC. The War Criminal has opted to stare into the side of Corey’s head, laser-focused and clinging to the edge of his seat for Corey’s response.

Corey glances at his Tiburon’s temperature reading. 97 degrees.

“...Yeeeeeeah. It’s hot, all right.”

NK nods, grinning unnaturally. Like… if you had only ever read about smiling in books.

Corey shakes his head. He goes back to thinking… Strategizing… What would be the optimal order for his team to roll out in? Should Alias lead off the team or should he be batting clean-up, clearing the rubble at the end? Corey could g-

“Some would say it is too hot for this time of year. Others might say, it is, in fact, less hot than previous years.”

NK’s lips pucker. He clicks his tongue thoughtfully. The differences when comparing these narratives weigh heavily on his heart.

“What is your stance, in as great an amount of detail as possible?”

“ALL RIGHT.”

Corey, for the first time, fully turns his focus to his passenger, who seems surprised at this sudden outburst.

“What do you want?”

“Your thoughts on the weather.”

“What’s your game? What are you trying to get right now?“

“...Your trust, Corey Smith.”

“Yeeeeeeah, sorry, that’s gonna be a no from me, man. This… The freaky smiles, the wanting-to-make-my-Commune-efficient, the analyzing-my car-for-weaknesses, the… weather chat? It’s all suspicious as hell! What do you want my trust for?”

NK squints, then looks down, averting eye contact, embarrassed.

“I am merely attempting to make... small talk. I’d been led to believe you Westerners work at more efficient outputs when you’ve built a… friendly rapport with your collaborators.”

Corey shakes his head. Good god, if this was NK trying to be friendly…

“That’s… Well, I’m glad you’re in the mood to collaborate…”

NK still sits, moving his legs to the side door, seething, disappointed that his geniality was found to be poorly executed.

Corey sighs. Then, he tilts his head, playing the part NK seems to want.

“Can I... confide in you?”

NK immediately lights up and leans back to the driver’s side.

“I insist, Corey Smith! Your confidence would be a most beneficial tool toward achieving our shared goals.”

“Okay, here goes....”

Corey glances both ways, as if checking for unwanted listeners. NK, mirroring this behavior, scans the length of the backseat, then nods to Corey, confirming they’re the only two in the car.

“I didn’t draft you for your small talk. I drafted you because you win matches. So, let’s focus on winning.”

NK chews on this knowledge, before smiling widely and nodding.

“Ah yes, victory, that mistress that eludes so many others, but frequently rests herself on my doorstep. That siren call to conquer that cannot be taught and must be imprinted into DNA at birth, as it is mine. The spirit of conquest itself that...”

Good God. In desperation, Corey has an idea...

“Hey, let’s play a game.”

NK’s eyes go wild with excitement. His fists tighten. His mouth actually begins to salivate.

“A game? A trial? A contest, A competition, A clash, A battle, A FIGHT?”

NK’s heart is clearly racing at the sheer idea of a competitive activity.

“Yeeeeeeah... a game. It’s called... The Quiet Game.”

“May I have full documentation on The Quiet Game’s rules, Corey Smith? Perhaps a handbook that I might consult before we begin? I DEMAND to know every contingency by which The Quiet Game operates that I might master its machinations.”

“Dude, I have great news for you. The Quiet Game has only one rule. We both stop talking and the first one to speak loses.”

NK retrieves a small notebook from his pants pocket and a ballpoint pen from a compartment hidden in his sleeve. He writes this rule down.

“Are there any contingency clauses or exceptions to this rule?”

“None.”

NK underlines the rule. Twice.

“To reiterate: We discontinue speaking. And the one that resists the urge to speak the longest wins?”

“...Yeah, the thing I just said.”

NK slips the notebook and pen back into their designated pockets, never taking his eyes or his focus off his Quiet Game opponent.

“I accept these terms. When does play begin?”

“The second you stop asking questions.”

NK pauses. He sticks an index finger in the air, then hesitates. He points it down toward the ground, miming asking, We’re playing now?

Corey nods.

NK grins insidiously, his smile dripping with venom. But it’s a smile completely missing the Stepford-Wives, android quality of the fake friendly act. It’s still not comforting, but it’s… sincere, at least?

NK leans back in his seat again and retrieves from his pocket a 2003 Motorola Razr.

Corey almost can’t help but say, Dude, old phone. But, he stops himself. NK points with his index finger, trying to catch Corey speaking. Corey shakes his head and NK retracts his finger, still beaming with a leering smile, returning his attention to the ancient flip phone.

Finally, some peace. And quiet. And a chance to th-.

The bluetooth in Corey’s car rings… His dashboard display. An incoming call.

From Dolly.

Oh God. Corey’s mind races.

You can’t tell her.

I want to tell her.

You have to pick up. She’d know something was up if you didn’t pick up.

I want to talk to her. I don’t have to say anything about it.


He hits the talk button on the steering wheel.

“...Hey Dolly.”

A fuzzy distant voice seems to reply “*fzzzzzzzt*...ey Dolly.”

“...Dolly?”

“*fzzzzzzzt*...olly?”

Before Corey can check his reception… the car fills with laughter…

Nefarious, cackling laughter.

Corey turns to NK, who is doubled over, pumping his fists in the air.

“VICTORY! GLORY AGAIN RAINS DOWN UPON MY BROW!”

Corey rolls his eyes, There goes the silence... before he sees in NK’s hand… the Motorola.

NK points the screen at Corey… He’s making a call.

“A simple spoofing application and a knowledge of your most intimate contacts was all I needed to secure my triumph.”

NK smirks wickedly, as he slips the Razr back into his pocket.

“A well-played game, Corey Smith. Do not be ashamed of your loss this day, f-”

Corey jerks the wheel to the right, then WHIPS it to the left!

BAM! NK’s head slams against the car door. He crumples in a heap in his seat.

Corey tries to hide a smile. The wheels squeal loudly as he straightens out his steering, steadying the car back to its original lane...

“Sorry, NK... Squirrel on the highway.”

...From the pool of a man balled up in the base of the passenger seat, a low chuckle can still be heard.

“Your apology is accepted but unrequired, Corey Smith. I comprehend your Western compassion to preserve the life of… road vermin…”

NK brings his right hand limply to grip on the side door and slowly works his way back upright in his seat.

The right side of his face is red. That’s gonna be a bad shiner when it fully blooms.

“Kind of a dirty trick you pulled, NK.”

“Yes, I’m known for those.”

Even in pain, he still smiles that insidious, genuine smile.

“To paraphrase, you didn’t draft me to play nice and follow the rules, Corey Smith.”

“You drafted me because I win.”


***

The Tiburon has pulled into a 7/11 Gas Station.

It rests at a pump, supping on premium fuel.

And sitting on the trunk of the sports coupe, holding a 7/11 Peach Perfect Slurpee to his facial bruise...

Who could it be? What diabolical devious devil dives devotedly into deception and depravity with devout dedication?

Who else but that scum-sucking, sinfully sinister scoundrel that schemes spitefully to selfishly secure scores of spoils: The North Korean War Criminal.

NK sucks in a heap of air through his teeth, as the icy beverage reduces the swelling on his cheek.

“I will say, if Corey Smith hits half-as-hard as his car door…”

NK smirks mischievously.

“By that math, he hits ten times as hard as BoB.”

NK cackles hideously and whole-heartedly, before he winces in pain, pressing the drink back against his face.

“An interesting strategy on BoB’s part. But, also, stupid to attack me after that sore loser Tommy Wish had already beaten me unconscious.”

“At that point, I wasn’t even awake to feel your attacks. I just had a pleasant dream about getting a shiatsu massage.”


NKWC tsk-tsks like someone training a young puppy or a slow child.

“A waste of a good ambush. Bad form, BoB.”

“Of course, let’s face facts. I’m wasting perfectly good promo time on a team that has ZERO chance of reaching the finals. Team BoB will get TOASTED like a PANINI against Lycana, Atara Themis and Betsy Granger. How humiliating is it to be the underdog against a team weighed down by Reggie FUCKING Estrada?”


NKWC snickers again. He brings the drink down from his cheek and takes a sip.

“But, I’ll move on to the only other team that matters: Discontinuum.”

“Apologies to Charlie’s Carnies and Acockalypse Now. The good news… both of your teams will be able to beat the traffic out of the arena in Bethel Woods and get a cool 10 hours of sleep.”


NKWC sets down his drink to wring his hands fiendishly.

“Discontinuum. Team Thaddeus Duke.”

“May I say, an interesting choice, Thaddeus, to select BoB member Andre Dixon. As BoB ambushes every other team in the competition, I wonder if you’re questioning your last member’s loyalty. If not… shouldn’t you?”

“Sure, he wants his team to win at WarGames… But is his team yours?”

“He clearly wasn’t your first or second choice. If you were looking to fill your team with a neutral flavor, you may have ended up poisoning the entire concoction.”


Suddenly, NK’s throat tightens… He sweats profusely, coughing, seizing, silently choking… Grasping, clawing at his throat… before letting out a howl…

“BRAIN FREEEEEEEEEEZE.”

He shakes his head, shutting his eyes as tight as a vice, before inhaling deeply and regaining his composure.

He looks at the camera, grinning.

“It’ll sneak up on you, Thaddeus. Just like Andre Dixon might.”

“Then, your second choice… Corporate Chaos. A man who continues to impress… in defeat. He turned heads in the Leap of Faith match… that he lost. That performance earned him a shot at the Universal title… which he lost. He lost a triple-threat where he was the only competitor allowed to use weapons.”

“In fact, The only match he’s won the last three months was his match at Savage last week… a lumberjack match against a hand-picked rookie nobody, where security surrounded the ring and softened his opponent up before, during, and after the match.”

“A match after which BoB went to attack him to soften him up… But, they were stopped. By Theo Pryce. NOT Andre Dixon, who clearly didn’t ask his team to lay off ambushing his WarGames teammates. But Theo Pryce… A business partner of Miss Fury and BoB … And the man keeps showing favoritism and inventing stipulations to support Corporate Chaos.”

“Interesting, would you not agree, Thaddeus? It turns out you might have two BoB-adjacent foxes in your team’s hen house...”

“And DOCK…”


NKWC cackles.

“I mean, with his constant bickering with BoB’s Big Money Oswald? Surely, that won’t cause strife between him and your two other BoB-adjacent members.”

NKWC shakes his head in disbelief.

“I mean, Thaddeus, what were you thinking?!? You won the first pick! How did you fuck up this hard?!?”

“Your team is a powder keg and you handed BoB a match and the fuse to blow it to smithereens.”


NKWC chortles, pressing his head into his hands… Before picking his drink back up and hopping off the trunk.

“I will grant you two points that I’m sure you plan to make, young Thaddeus.”

NKWC walks around to the passenger door.

“First, Faith Unifies Coreytopia and Korea in a Triumphant Holy Alliance of Distinction?”

“What a mouthful, right? And this is from a guy named North Korean War Criminal.”


NK winks.

“Second, we’re not a team that you’d think would mesh. It’s a ragtag bunch.”

“But, we’ve all been ambushed. We’ve all been angered. And we’ve all been united in a common goal.”

“Victory.”

“We’re an asymmetrical unit. And asymmetrical warfare is what we plan on waging in Bethel Woods.”

“As odd a squad as we are… We’re united.”

“Now, look one more time at your team. Then look at ours.”


NKWC opens up the passenger door, sits down, and closes it.

“Don’t you wish you were riding in this car?”

NKWC grins his eerie, sinister grin as the tinted window slowly rises… And the Tiburon drives off.
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