“Son of a ...” Zola scowled at the WASTED notification on her screen while a kid’s high-pitched laughter burst from her laptop’s speakers.
“Girls don’t play video games,” he crowed. “Get back in the kitchen where you belong!”
“Go suck an exhaust pipe,” Zola grumbled as she waited to respawn.
“What kind of accent is that?” He laughed again and several of his buddies snickered.
Zola shook her head. The tribal costume and the hut in her greenscreen background were just parts of the schtick she played up while streaming, but her accent was real. Not that the squeaker who’d just gunned her down for no reason deserved an explanation.
Her character respawned and she whipped out her Unholy Hellbringer and requested her Khanjali tank. She’d appeared near one of the pickup points, so she’d have a decent chance of reaching it before that little bastard mowed her down again.
The sounds of more donation notifications flowed from her speakers and she held in a laugh. She was decent enough at the games she streamed, but appearing topless on camera -- another part of the character she played -- probably had more to do with it than anything else. Which was why she’d taken her “tribal” online persona in that direction in the first place. It brought in a lot of money, so why not?
She tended to just goof around with the rest of her team or talk about whatever was on her mind while admiring the desert scenery in her favorite games -- in this case, Grand Theft Auto Online -- but the rest of her team hadn’t joined in yet. Then this little waste of sperm had gone after her the instant he heard her voice and realized she was female.
“You don’t belong in this game,” one of his buddies said, and Zola arched an eyebrow. The voice was a little older than his and seemed familiar.
Sounds like one of the guys who won’t stop harassing me in Rainbow Six: Siege. Makes me wonder if I’ve picked up a stalker.
“You’re not really a girl,” another shouted – and again, Zola was sure she’d heard the voice before. Maybe in Siege, maybe in Overwatch. The bullies always sounded alike after a while. “You’re, like, a twelve-year-old using a voice changer. You’re not a girl!”
“Oh, yes, I am.” She rolled her eyes and sprinted toward the Khanjali the instant it appeared.
“Prove it! Show us your boobs!”
“I already have them out. It’s on my stream. Search for ‘Team Oreo.’”
“Go make me a sandwich,” one of the others snapped. The rest laughed their asses off as if he’d said something devastatingly clever.
“Never heard that one before. GG, sport.” Zola glanced at her map and found a half-dozen blips racing toward her. She recognized several of the gamertags as the usual suspects she’d met in Siege, Overwatch, CS:GO, and elsewhere. She shook her head and charged her tank’s railgun.
“Whore,” the guy growled. His motorcycle-shaped blip approached at a higher speed than the others, passing through the areas between streets -- or over them. “Kill yourself!”
He’s in an Oppressor. Probably a Mark II. She kept her eyes on the terrain ahead and pressed the W key, sending her Khanjali full speed ahead. He came within visual range and zipped straight toward her. Ah, it’s a Mark I. Good, he’ll need to land sooner or later.
“Wow,” the squeaker blurted. “You’re really black!”
“I have been aware of that for quite some time, but thank you for pointing it out anyway.” Zola nudged her mouse, leading the target, waiting for the right moment, and released the button. Her railgun scored a headshot and pinwheeled him off the flying bike. The Oppressor tumbled to the ground, bounced, and slid to a stop on the floor of the Grand Senora Desert. Zola grinned. At least I won’t have to pay twenty thousand GTA Dollars to replace it.
“You suck,” the bike’s owner bellowed.
“Ah, yes, I suck. That’s why I wasted you before you got off a single shot.”
“Friend me,” one of the others yelled.
“Friend me. Friend me! Friend …”
“Send me nudes!”
“Only if you send me money first.” Zola lined up a shot on the onrushing Weaponized Tampa and blew it off the road. Its driver let out a startled yelp before the secondary explosion propelled it off to the side, and Zola burst into a fit of giggles.
“If you’d stop harassing other players just because they’re girls …”
“We’re not! We respect wahmen!” He snickered. “Make me a sandwich!”
“I’m looking at your site,” another said. “You’re all black except the dude.”
“Yes, Captain Obvious. That’s why we’re called Team Oreo. He’s our cream filling.”
“Disgusting. You need to go back where you belong.”
“Back to Africa!”
“I’m already there.” She pointed a thumb at her greenscreen, brought up the in-game phone, and sent a mercenary team after him. The backdrop was just a generic desert scene, but she did live in Africa. She had no intention of telling these idiots anything specific about her location, though.
“Ugh,” another one grunted. “You’re bald. That’s nasty. Women shouldn’t be bald.”
“What difference does it make? I like the way it looks.”
“No, you need to look good for us men. That’s all you’re good for.”
“Oh, you can just piss right off!”
The same guy suddenly fired off a vile racial slur. Zola’s heart pounded for a moment. She took a few slow breaths and opened fire on the rest of the oncoming vehicles.
So that’s the way it’s going to be, eh? Time to teach them a lesson. Until now, she’d been content to let them show everyone watching what a bunch of scumbags they were, but now …
She’d put up with this crap ever since her first online game. While it made for good content, her tolerance had limits. Now, she swore a silent oath to run this prick and his whole gang out of the game.
A series of messages appeared in her chat window telling her to rip them up, accompanied by more donations. She flashed a predatory grin.
“Absolutely, guys. This is where the gloves come off.”
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