Armadeaddon: Bitter Cup
You can download homebrewed ROMs for the Fruit Fucker that enhance the efficiency of the feed reamer or allow you to juice via SMS. I’d read on FFHacks.com tweaking boards that the machine had an array of sensors that had no apparent juicing purpose. Of course, "hackzors" up to their spectacles in system-level code are probably the last people to read the manual.
This is the last time I will mention Chromehounds, until the next time I mention it. Of this you may be absolutely certain.
I suggested before that the phase we were in - to build, and build, and not to play - would come to an end once our contraptions reached a certain level of sophistication, and I was right, because shortly after that post it came to an end. Our squad sees itself in a diplomatic context, in each negotiation we are sure to be tactful and truly listen. The listening is done largely by my advanced radar array, which sees and knows the darkest intentions of their hearts. And tact, well, Tact is our colloquial name for the Tarakian M27CN Flanberg precision cannon. We can be sure that our counterparts have understood the subtleties of our position when their cockpit explodes.
I understood my role as Tactics Commander on paper when I started playing, but since I’d never gone into the field without my sensors I didn’t understand what it was actually like to be mounted up for frontline work. My own radar, augmented by the Network Area Maker mobile listening post, shows every moving object in addition to what we call "garbage" or "trash" - artificially intelligent gun emplacements and last-year’s-model walkers that can hurt you but aren’t even on the same threat continuum as a piloted HOUND. It took several rounds for me to understand just how completely the team relies on my equipment, to the degree that it is intimidating: their own radars show no enemies.
As a result, I play the game almost entirely with the headset. I play the other game, too, but at some purely instinctual level. I’m watching for the big dots to hit the network, keeping an eye on their speed to tell the crew what type of enemy might be on the way. Two together? Did one peel off to grab another signal tower? With an order, I can make him live to regret it - which is another way to say he won’t live.
I mentioned that each hound has a user selectable number, like a jersey I assume, and when I give orders I give them to the numbers I see on the radar instead of the handles. It changes the dynamics, somehow. The handles are pretty ossified by this point, and it peels away some of the ritual. Also, I don’t really feel comfortable telling my friends what to do - I can upbraid 42 for not following my Goddamn orders in a way that I couldn’t possibly berate someone I know. I must be honest with you, though, and say that it does bear an unseemly LARP element that I find almost unutterably delicious.