This is my fourth time in the Bloodshot Stronghold and I’m not sick of the place yet. Two visits have been in prior lives: once as a burly Gunzerker and another as a Siren named Tura. Now, I prowl these subterranean passages as Haji the Mechromancer. This time is different. I am not here to rescue Roland, the leader of the Crimson Raiders and Pandora’s only shot at defeating Handsome Jack. No, I’ve already fought that fight. This time I’m here to deliver a pizza.
This place used to be a hydroelectric plant – the Dahl corporation’s 3rd Memorial Dam. Now, the Bloodshot gang has turned the place into a well-defended squat. The place is laid out like a hair pin. Interlopers must traverse the guts of the dam in one direction, climb up a level and double back the same length before breathing the air topside.
When I arrive I check my HUD to find where I need to go. Patricia Tannis, the hoity-toity scientist camped out in Sanctuary, wants me to lure out and kill a group of mutated Bloodshot bandits. The way to lure them out, apparently, is to coax them from their hiding place with a pizza pie. The blue diamond on my map of the Bloodshot Stronghold appears between the two legs of the hairpin. I assume this means that I must make my delivery atop the dam so I work my way through the familiar cannon fodder.
The turbine rooms are crawling with bandits, psychos and midgets. The far end of one room is guarded by a raider on a turret. I step into the light and he starts to light me up with tracers. With the flourish of my hand I summon my Deathtrap, a hovering robot companion who does nothing but destroy those who would get in my way. He immediately leaps into action, slaughtering an army one slash at a time. His eye beam sweeps the room, vaporizing hapless gunners. I draw my sniper rifle from my back and put a bullet into the forehead of the bandit on the turret. The fight is over quickly. One bandit goes noisily, screaming in agony as his flesh burns from his bones. Then it is quiet.
Since I’ve been here so many times before I don’t bother scouring the area for loot. I pop open a locker or two on the offhand chance that I luck out and score a brick of Eridium. But for the most part I leave the place unmolested – a ripe, untouched crop of green lights. Doors line one wall, but I have learned to ignore them. They won’t open for me. Like all the pitch black caves and tiny huts and tin shacks scattered all around Pandora there’s nothing for me inside. And as such I may not enter, despite there being only a shred of cloth or the cover of darkness between me and those forbidden places. I am sure that Bloodshot Stronghold holds no more secrets for me. But I am wrong.
I pick my way towards the Devil’s Suckhole, a huge pool of violently spiraling water, and work my way upstairs. I double back through the prison where I’d found Roland in so many prior lives. Beyond I find the way to daylight. I look across a panorama – the top of the dam is a shantytown where robots and bandits clash in an important battle. Were I to enter the fray I would kill them all, just as I have done so many times before. But the diamond tells me that my goal is behind me, somewhere in the hairpin.
I retrace my steps, paying close attention to all the walls along the inside of the fortress. In a kind of penance for my inattention I loot every case, open every locker and grab every gun. My pockets are full of ammo and my backpack overflowing with guns by the time I discover my error. In the gutters around the earliest portions of the Bloodshot Stronghold a large sewer grate was now open. I had explored those damp reaches once and since ignored them. But now the way was open and a new place revealed.
The mutants, as promised, show great interest in the pizza I have brought them. I kill them before they taste tomato and cheese and scour their hideout for guns and other goodies. In their inner sanctum I futz with a television until their master crawls from under a small drain – another place I can never explore. Flinter dies as easily as his four young underlings. I take his gun, climb up a ladder at the far end of the room and open a door – it opens onto one of those familiar passageways and I realize that this door is one that I’d passed many times before. I feel like I’ve just been behind the scenes, like an employee walking around in the guts of Disneyland. There was something behind that facade after all. And now I will be doubly driven to peer behind those paper walls and rattle the locks of those closed doors.
About the Author:
Gus Mastrapa is a freelance writer from Apple Valley, CA. He doesn't believe in zombies.
5,090 Responses to “A New Place”
Leave a Reply
- Swan Song
This is a tough one to write. For those of you who know me, in person, by my writing, or…
- The Fool and the Villain, Part II
(Warning: In Second Life, pixelated tits and dicks abound. Abandon all hope, all ye who enter this article at work.)…
- The Edge Of The Ocean
The problem is to plot the map. My sense of geography is spotted with black holes. There’s the Chinatown and…
- Play Everything
Play everything. No, I’m serious, play everything. Play that game of hopscotch those kids drew up on the sidewalk with…
- Genre In Question
Why are there so few video game comedies? At least twice in the past year I’ve bumped into conversations trying…