As I leave Shanty Town, I begin to travel along a stretch of road which passes dangerously close to the Melding curtain. Being so close to the wall changes the landscape; wildlife is non-existent, and the skyline twists from the warmth of the morning sky to an ominous, angry purple. As I come closer still, I see flashes of lightning striking the ground only meters in front of the wall.

Rounding an embankment and heading down the small hill in front of me, I notice a strange orange glow from the corner of my eye. Turning my head, I immediately catch sight of a Chosen Drop Pod crashing to the ground a short distance ahead. Forever steered by my own curiosity I make my way down the hill and make the turn.

As I see the drop pod come into clear view, I dismount my Chopper and guide it to a large nearby bush. Once I know that my bike is hidden, I squat down and slowly make my way over to a large tree at the far end of a small lake, giving me a view of the drop pod. A number of Chosen arcport on site and make their way towards a large industrial tank sitting on a metal platform. They take a keen interest in the tank as another, larger figure emerges.

This particular Chosen is unlike anything I have ever seen, towering over the other Chosen as he instructs them on where to move. His armor glows bright red against the light-sucking black of the battleframe. This larger Chosen paces slowly around the others, watching with a great intent. From across the lake I see them begin strapping devices on the large tank and though my instinct screams at me to reach out to the Accord over the SIN, I know that any effort will get me killed. So I press myself closer to the tree, and I watch.

And I wait.

Nftm01It’s only a couple of minutes, but it feels much longer. As I observe the Chosen and how they act, I reach into my pocket and pull out an old slip of paper, along with a chunk of chalk that I keep on me when I want to doodle. Before long I am sketching what I see across the lake, and what I come up with...

…scares the ever-loving hell out of me.

Just as I’m slipping the piece of paper back into my pocket, I see the Chosen break into a full sprint away from the tank. Although I know what’s coming, no amount of preparation can ready you for the sheer deafening roar of the blast. The explosion sends out a small shockwave of dust and air which whips across my face as I turn to cower behind the tree, and the orange glow of the burning tank casts an eerie glow on the environment around me.

I peek around the tree once more to find the Chosen returning to the drop pod. Any hope I had that they were readying to leave is quickly dashed as I see them reach into the pod and produce a number of massive weapons from the transport. It’s at this point that I realize that I’ve found myself in what is soon going to be a warzone.

In fact, I can already hear the heavy ground transports of the Accord infantry approaching…

-Emmanuel Almas