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Impie

Midgard Outlaw - Sequel to Project Einherjar

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The ranch was fifty miles from the nearest governing city, and totally self-sufficient. Fifty acres of snowy forest land. Juno had lived there for the past five years in total peace: no company but the wind singing in the towering ash trees, and the chirps and chutters of the birds she had populated the forest with.

 

Birds were the latest in a countless line of hobbies she had taken up now that her ration pension was secured “in perpetuity”. Before that it was pottery, as evidenced by the piles of warped pots and vases in the work shed. Before that, scavenging local ruins for relics of the world that had died under the atomic bomb. Before that, custom firearms. Now she was raising families of birds, and still wanting.

 

The birds, and her faithful wolf hound Titus napping on the front porch, were her only friends apart from the odd visitor from the nearby cities. Lori came for dinner on Saturdays, usually with some of Juno’s former subordinates and a deck of cards. Sometimes Juno kept a sturdy young man or two from the Valhallas for a few nights, when she got especially bored.

 

She was teaching an injured bird to fly again in the front yard when she saw Titus’s head perk up suddenly. He knew the sound of a car before it ever reached Juno’s ears. Minutes later it came into view on the road to the city: a sleek white government vehicle with Valkyrie Guard flags on the hood. It crawled to a stop twenty feet from the house, and out came four Valkyrie Guard commandos, and a woman Juno’s age in dark blue Valkyrie Guard regalia. Black hair styled into a braided mohawk under her white beret, gold piercings on the ears and eyebrows. General appearance of a sorority captain, right down to the arrogant smile she greeted Juno with as she approached.

 

She paused suddenly when she saw the wolf hound on the porch -- standing now, like a bouncer at a night club, watching.

 

Juno waited for her to speak.

 

The woman laughed. “Funny seeing you like this now, nursing birdies in the woods. Last I saw you, you were cutting a platoon in half with a chaingun. What was it, an MG36?”

 

Juno waited, but didn’t recognize the voice. “I don’t remember.”

 

The Valkyrie officer waved her hand. “Guess there’s not much else for you to do these days after savin’ the world and all.”

 

Juno rolled her eye. The bird fluttered off on its own, as if to escape the conversation. Juno wished for wings, herself. “Coffee?”

 

“Please.”

 

They went inside. Titus and the bodyguards stayed outside. The woman waited for Juno to sit first before she helped herself to a cushy leather chair by the crackling fireplace. “Back then you knew me as Major Dawn.”

 

It finally clicked. “My drill instructor,” said Juno, as a wave of army nostalgia swept over her.

 

Dawn laughed. “We both come a long way since then. I’m Minister of Foreign Affairs now, though they call me Commander ‘cos it sounds more military and makes me feel at home. I talk to the ass-backwards men ruining the world outside of Midgard.” She raised her coffee cup to Juno. “A cockroach compared to the woman warrior who saved planet earth from another nuclear war, but still nothing to sneeze at. Even in Basic I knew you were gonna go far, but goddamn.”

 

Juno didn’t touch her coffee. “What brings the Minister of Foreign Affairs to my doorstep?”

 

Commander Dawn rolled her free hand. “It’s a trivial thing, but necessary. You know a Colonel Drogo?”

 

Juno shook her head. “Never met her.”

 

Dawn chuckled. “Him. Colonel Dietrich Drogo is a warlord from Normandy. He’s got Vike heritage, which explains why he’s such a bastard. The guy’s been running guns, slaughtering villages, and empowering terrorists since he made his first gun sale at sixteen. He supplied the ordnance for the Northland bombings last year. Sonofabitch has killed more people than the nuclear war, and the Normies want his blood. They got a big kangaroo trial waiting for him in the capital with all the fixings: hungry media vultures, outraged politicians, and even a gallows for when it’s all over.” She tapped the armrest with a finger. “And he’s been hiding out right here in Midgard, in some podunk shithole on the coast that doesn’t keep its men in check. We’re extraditing him as a favor to the Normies.” She added with a scowl, “Seems we still owe them a few.”

 

“What does this have to do with me?” said Juno.

 

Dawn’s manner became apologetic. “Drogo is the devil incarnate. The Normies want our absolute assurance that we’ve taken every precaution. They’re paranoid worrywarts, as you know. Sticklers for procedure and pedantic details. They said they’d feel a helluva lot better if Drogo were personally escorted by the best we have to offer.” She eyed Juno over her coffee cup. “They requested you by name.”

 

Juno shifted uncomfortably. “I take it this is an order, not a request.”

 

Dawn sipped her coffee. “Unfortunately the word ‘request’ isn’t in Matron’s vocabulary.”

 

“When do I leave?”

 

“I’m taking you to the airport now. Drogo’s convoy is meeting us there.”

 

*

 

They stood on the airfield in the roar of the jet engines for an hour before the line of armored trucks drove through the gate. They came right up to the jet before they finally stopped: each truck vomited a small army of Midgard soldiers, mostly female with a few exceptionally large male draftees.

 

For a world renowned bastard, Drogo looked like anyone’s dad: he smiled politely through a slate gray goatee, his stomach bulging under his orange thermal jumpsuit. They had bound his arms and ankles with industrial strength chains. His glasses sat thick and heavy on his square face.

 

He stopped as he was being led past Juno, toward the steps to the plane. He was a big man, and even the soldiers had to stop with him. He appraised the eyepatched valkyrie with a smile of approval.

 

“Radcliffe?” he said, with traces of a Norman accent.

 

Juno said nothing. She simply stared.

 

His grin drew broader. “Your reputation precedes you. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.”

 

“Yours precedes you. The feeling isn’t mutual.”

 

He laughed long and loud, and let the soldiers lead him onto the plane.

 

*

 

The Norman Army was waiting when the plane touched down. They were on the airfield before it stopped moving: they handled Colonel Drogo like a sack of garbage, piling him into one of half a dozen armored trucks. Juno was gallantly helped aboard by the squad captain, a boyishly cute man in his twenties.

 

Commander Dawn shook Juno’s hand and wished her luck.

 

“I got a date with the local minister,” said Dawn. “We’ll do coffee again sometime.”

 

Another two hours on the road, a family of army trucks following their leader like quail hatchlings to their mother. Occasionally they passed a traffic control sergeant giving them the go-ahead -- all traffic had been diverted from the main road, which cut across the mountains, over the river, and into Saint Valley where the capital -- and Drogo’s fate -- awaited.

 

Drogo didn’t act like a man about to be hung. The entire time he was making pleasant small talk with the soldiers, who never spoke back to him, nor to each other -- their skin crawled just being in his presence.

 

He kept smiling at Juno, in the seat across from him. Finally the captain said, “Find something else to look at.”

 

Drogo laughed. “Like what? These beauties your government charged with my safe passage to the homeland?” He turned back to Juno. “The women in Midgard surprised me. I expected they would all look like men. They have a certain spunk when you try to dominate them. They seem to love it. Not used to it I suppose, with all their men kept as second-class citizens.”

 

“That’s enough,” said the captain, but Juno waved him off.

 

Drogo laughed again. “She’s tougher than the usual Midgard woman. Doesn’t outrage easily. I would be honored to have a soldier of your caliber as an associate, Miss Radcliffe. The pay and benefits are better than what your Matron can offer. And I can tell--” He raised his bound wrists to point at her knowingly, a conspiratorial grin on his face. “--you miss the action. It is plain in your pretty eyes. What are you doing at that cottage of yours these days? Raising small animals?”

 

Juno didn’t react or respond. It bothered her that he knew about her living situation, but not much. Showing it bothered her would be playing into his hands.

 

It bothered her that he was right, too. After countless years of fighting, confronting danger face-to-face, and wishing for it all to end, she had finally gotten what she wanted. Yet she felt empty. She felt naked without a gun, purposeless without some danger pushing her forward.

 

He raised an eyebrow at her. “You don’t find it amusing at all? The two of us traveling together. You, whom they say saved the world, and I, whom they say wants to destroy it. All because I sell a few guns.”

 

“Men, women, and children are dead or maimed because of you.”

 

He waved a finger at her. “I do not wage wars. Others wage wars. I just supply them with the means. And political ideology means nothing to me. I supply all governments with state-of-the-art equipment. Including yours, my friend. The Midgard Matron loves her dirty little secret wars.” He chuckled. “Do you really think her army, navy, or air force will allow me to be hanged?”

 

Juno looked hard into his eyes. “We’ll find out when we get there, I guess.”

 

As if in reply, the sound barrier split with a resounding boom, and the convoy shuddered and veered to a halt. The second boom came from the back of the line, as a rocket-propelled grenade struck the side of the rear truck and blasted it to slag.

 

Then everything was smoke, screams, and gunfire. The soldiers poured out of the truck and took defensive positions, some of them getting picked off the moment they showed their faces. Juno pounced on Drogo to force him to the floor before he could catch a stray bullet in the head.

 

In the same moment he was moving too, slamming his bony forehead into her face as she came toward him. Then she was tumbling out of the truck and sprawling in the frigid ditch beside the road. She wasn’t sure if it was from the headbutt, or if the truck was toppling on its side. Dazed, she could do little but listen as the chaos continued for the next two minutes.

 

Drogo had been right. Someone didn’t want him to make his appointment in the capital.

 

 

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Less sci-fi, more action movie.

New bad guys.

Dynamic music effects.

 

DOWNLOAD THE FIRST EPISODE

 

Author's Note: I had thought about a sequel to Project Einherjar for some time, but more importantly, a game experience that better encompassed the essence of the book series it was based on. Whenever I edit my fiction, I listen to a music playlist that suits the mood of the piece, to fuel my drive to finish the project. I thought it would be cool to use that music in a game project to help bring Winter Agent Juno alive the way I envisioned it. So I built Midgard Outlaw around the dynamic music mechanic, using music directly from my WAJ inspirational playlist, and toned down the sci-fi elements considerably. I’m really happy with the end result and hope you guys and dolls enjoy it, too.

Edited by Impie

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First episode is up and available for testing. Please tell me what you think so's I know what to tweak.

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It's fantastic that you decided to carry on with this theme, Impie, never really expected the sequel, and yet here it is. Great as always, beaten the episode and never noticed anything wrong this time around (aside from exiting some of the levels with low % of kills, but I was also missing secrets most of the time, so I guess it's related). Thanks a ton, definitely hope to see more, and considering how damn fast you are - I also hope the wait isn't going to be very long, heh. Cheers!

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Hopefully it's because you missed some dudes and not some dumb coding error on my part that has non-monsters tagged as countkill. I'll check just to be sure.

 

Thanks for the kind words though, glad to know people are actually playing the crap I shovel out.

 

I'll start on a second episode if I can come up with more map ideas. I have kind of a vague idea for a plot based on The Guns of Navarone.

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Is 1.9.1 supposed to be supported? The water iterates through a whole bunch of unrelated textures instead of animating properly. I'd use 3.1.0, but 1.9.1 works better on my system.

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11 minutes ago, Da Werecat said:

Is 1.9.1 supposed to be supported? The water iterates through a whole bunch of unrelated textures instead of animating properly.

I guess not then. I've been using the latest gzdoom. Can you give 3.0.1 a shot and see how that works?

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I gave 2.4.0 a shot, and the bug isn't there. Not that I expected it to be there. Guess I'll have to play in 640x480 with no anti-aliasing.

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Episode 2 sneak peek:

 

 

Juno kicks off Episode 2 by escaping from the interrogation ward of a dubious rehabilitation camp to continue her pursuit of Dietrich Drogo. No release date yet.

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On 12/17/2017 at 4:10 AM, DoodGuy said:

Edit: The download link is down

Fixed. Download link goes to the download page now, so you should be able to get it.

Edited by Impie

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2.0 Update: 2 preview maps for the other two episodes. A dynamic escape from a reeducation facility, and a massive shootout in a night club (with a badass dynamic music effect).

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