[identity profile] inktrap.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: Sparta
Author: inktrap
Series: Metro 2033
Pairing: Hunter/Artyom
Disclaimer: Metro 2033 belongs to Dmitry Glukhovsky.
Spoilers: Book + Game, except for the endings

Obscure pairing for a very popular book… In Russia, that is.
Turned into a game, which is *way* more famous around the world (although, yes, it's no way well known).




SPARTA: a Hunter/Artyom manifesto


METRO 2033


Info

The book was first published on Dmitry Glukhovsky website in russian before being put on paper. Currently, it's a huge project that involves a sequel, many spin offs, music, art and fanfiction - sadly only in russian. You can find a copy of Metro 2033 in english at your bookstore.

The game was released by STEAM, and you can purchase it at its website. Here is the trailer:










Story
It's 2033 and Earth has been doomed. The Moscow Metro, whose deep stations were planned as shelters during the Cold War, hosts the few remaining survivors after the nuclear bombs wiped off the planet. The surface became a cold, hostile environement, where humans are unable to go without the use of a gas mask and heavy weaponry to fight off the mutated monsters. But something far more dangerous crawls in the dark of the cursed metro stations…

Artyom is a boy of twenty who never left his home station, VDNKh (Exhibition). Yet, the arrival of the mysterious Hunter changes things very quickly. Immediately fascinated by the man, he promises to fulfill a quest for him: if Hunter does not come back from his expedition to the Botanical Garden, where strange creatures known as the Dark Ones lurk, Artyom is to deliver a message to Melnik in Polis Station, the center and heart of the Moscow Metro.

Hunter doesn't come back, and Artyom is prompted in a journey through madness and fear - which is not only fueled by ghosts and monsters, but also by his fellow human beings.



THE CHARACTERS


. Artyom
"Now, I've read a good many different books, and I'm always amazed that they're nothing like real life. "

Artyom is a young man of twenty who'd never left his home station, where he was brought to at a young age, after his mother and prior station were devoured by rats (a common plague and danger in the metro lines). He lives with his over protective stepfather and always dreamed of being a Stalker - the heroes who raid the surface in search for bullets and supplies - while living a rather boring, militaristic life, whose only happiness is the moments with his friends and the books he reads. Of course, everything changes when Hunter appears

A rather taciturn boy, Artyom is very sheltered, although he's his duties guarding VDNKh. In contrast with the other characters who appear, Artyom is young, naive and unexperienced, something that is very emphasized during the book. He rarely talks, usually only speaking when prompted to do so, and through the book he is mostly driven by external events and the powers that move him - although he's forced into action and decisiveness during certain very specific moments that are life changing for him, having a very interesting character growth.

In game, he's also very introverted, but also… sort of a spazz, what you can guess by his iddle animations (the guy plays with his bastard submachine gun by throwing it towards the ceiling!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdhqw8sj-Xg. He also is mugged by a prostitute and gets drunk on vodka…


.Hunter
"Any danger that is sufficiently serious as to threaten the whole organism must be liquidated. That's what I do.‟

Hunter's part of an organization whose motto is complete elimination of any threats to the humans living in the metro (called, in the game, Rangers). As he says to Artyom - if it's hostile, you kill it. He's one of the few humans who hasn't given up on hope, although watching the madness of the metro consume men he thought brave has driven him to become bitter. Hunter sees in Artyom the courage he doesn't see anywhere else (that's why, as we learn later, Artyom simply isn't affected by whatever is consuming people and driving them insane).

Although he's serious about matters that concern the security of the metro, he's shown to be even playful at times, teasing Artyom and sharing a couple smiles. He's optimistic and will battle until the end. As his character appears very little, though, and the book follows Artyom's perspective, we see him only through Artyom's colored lens of admiration and wonder: it's clear Artyom sees him as a mentor. By the end of the book (and game), he's still kept as a mysterious figure.




RELATIONSHIP

.First Encounter

There are a few quotes that picked my interest right away in the beginning of the book, during their meeting. Artyom listens attentively as Hunter speaks with his stepfather, admiringly, and hunters picks an interest in him, calling him to talk alone. What happens next is most… curious *coughs*.


Artyom mumbled uncomfortably. His tongue was twisted and he felt hot suddenly. As soon as someone like Hunter paid him attention and wanted to tell him something, even just asking him to come outside for a minute, to be alone, without his stepfather, he blushed like a virgin and started agonizing, bleating like a lamb . . .

HE BLUSHED LIKE A VIRGIN

I rest my case.

I could solely base my ship manifesto on that single line, but no, wait, there's more to it.

(...)Artyom suddenly regretted that he had succumbed to Hunter's strong charms and hypnotizing gaze, that he had told him his secret, and agreed to such a dangerous mission

~*~STRONG CHARMS~*~ and ~*~HYPNOTIZING GAZE~*~

Pure fangirl tease. I think it's obvious by this point that Artyom is so completely enamored with Hunter that you don't even have to read the rest of the manifesto if you don't want to, although that would be pretty mean - there's a lot of things better analyzed than there are evidence written in capslock and bold letters, just because it's so obvious, and so more text than subtext, than I don't really have what to analyze, just… point at it. Nonetheless, their meeting before Hunter leaves an Artyom is forced into a journey is punctuated by those remarks: Artyom is honestly afraid, but his commitment to Hunter is bigger than any fear. Moreso, his word was given simply because he was charmed into it, promising without thinking, just to also feel admired by the man whom he was so attracted to. Hunter is deeply shamed by the madness of the metro turning his courageous friends into cowards, and Hunter talks directly to Artyom for the first time when Artyom proves himself not to have the same mindset as the cowards.



.Hunter's mind

Artyom meets a character named Khan during his journey, a very curious old man with some strange powers. He came to Artyom's aid because of a vision of Hunter:

"He was thinking about you in desperation and needed a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on. I extended a hand to him and gave him my shoulder. I went to meet you."

I think this is a very important scene - it's the first and only time in the book we get a piece of Hunter's mind and although he's problems of his own to deal with and with his life on the line, he's worrying about Artyom. The nature of Khan's words imply much more a concern for Artyom's personal safety than the safety of the message.


.The Dream

The moscow metro is not only populated by otherworldly dangers, but also by dangerous humans. After some trouble, Artyom ends up captured by nazists and end up learning through the worse way that there are men worst than beasts. After being tortured, he's condemned to execution and, although it's a dark moment for him, it's one of the most defining moments for Artyom's relationship with Hunter, as it shines a light on Artyom's psyche through a dream he has.

Summing up nicely, he dreams that Hunter comes for him after taking care of the Dark Ones. He kills every single man on the station just to save Artyom - and he does that even after Artyom has no more use for him, after Hunter himself had dealt with their troubles with the Dark Ones.



The hunter was looking at Artyom anxiously and attentively.

"But I didn‟t complete the task.‟ Artyom shook his head and it was burningly painful, and he was filled with shame.
"You did everything you could.‟ Hunter patted him soothingly on the shoulder


Artyom looks up to Hunter: it's obvious, from the first time they've met, that Hunter is the strong, courageous kind of man that Artyom wants to be, and all the admiration he feels for this mysterious character forces him into compelting his task. Uncountable times Artyom has thought of giving up, but he can't go back on his promise because, not only he realizes his own sense of purpose, the drive of his mission, is keeping him safe through his journey, but also because he wouldn't be able to face Hunter if he failed.

And Hunter is not the kind of man to offer compliments and kindness easily, and it's very revealing, for me, at least, that in a non prophetic dream with Hunter (therefore a mere reflection of Artyom's subconscious and his wishes), Hunter appears as gentle and caring, when he might not be so in reality. Hunter is the kind of man who outrightly stated that Artyom deserved a death penalty for a mischief he played as a kid - and now not only he forgives him for failing, but acknowledges he did his best and comforts him? That looks like a dream alright (and we aren't first told that Artyom is dreaming), and a summary of Artyom's every wish: being saved, not having to complete his quest anymore, being shown respect and gentleness by a man he admires, but knows to be hard to reach. It also reflects his dream of seeing Hunter again: it's not his stepfather who comes to rescue him, or a friend he'd met in his journey. It's Hunter, who is most probably dead, although it's a possibility he doesn't want to admit.



Hunter had made this exchange with such ease, just as though he had sacrificed some minor chess figures to safeguard one of the most important pieces . . . He was just a player, and the metro was a chessboard, and all the figures were his, because he was playing the game with himself. But here was the question: Was Artyom such an important piece to the game that all these people had to perish for his preservation? Henceforth the blood that was flowing along the cold granite would probably pulse in his veins too. It was like he had drunk it, extracted it from others for his existence. Now he would never be warm again . . .

Artyom, with effort, ran forward a bit in order to catch up with Hunter and to ask if he would ever become warm again or would he, even at the hottest firesides, stay this cold and melancholic, like an icy winter's night on a far-flung semi-station


I think this part is one of m favorites. Not only the writing is melancholic and beautiful, but also so evocative of Artyom's feelings. When his own life runs out of the delicate control he had over it, he places such control in Hunter's hands, as if he were to be the one to have power over everything that happened to him (when in truth, Hunter is just another piece in such game). Artyom sees in Hunter a powerful figure, and imagining all the terrible things he'd been gone through had been actually under hunter's control is a way of Artyom gaining control over them, too, and not just see them as some random, senseless events as life usually is. In fact, in a conversation in Polianka Station, Artyom says to two men that he doesn't believe in fate, whereas those two men convince him his life is being guided. Later, Polianka is said to have been abandoned because of a gas leak: it's implied that Artyom had been talking with himself, and the implications of this speech appear again in this dream.

It's also a way for him to see himself as someone important to Hunter.




.Metro 2033: The Last Refuge

In the game, Artyom is chosen by Hunter because of his fighting, marksmanship and tactical skills, differing from the book, where Artyom is picked because he appear not to have been consumed by the hopelessness and madness brought by the Dark Ones, sharing with Hunter his belief that humanity will prevail. He's also very quiet, and mostly the only words he mutters are curses when something goes wrong.

Meanwhile, Hunter seems to have known him for longer because he brings Artyom a postcard as a gift, and by Hunter's words and the covered walls from Artyom's room, we can deduce it's not the first time Hunter visits. I think that is rather adorable and Artyom's room is definitely one of my favorite thing of the game. Not only it shows a lot of Artyom's personality (introspective but curious and highly intelligent), it also shows a lot of concern from Hunter.There are no postcards vendors in Exhibition, meaning that Hunter brought them all the way from Market Station at least, and it's obvious Artyom treasures them a lot. While tucked up inside his home station with an overprotective stepfather, he's a daydreamer and he also longs to know the world as how it once was. The postcards are from all over the place -- Egypt, Rome, Rio, Paris - and it's something so honestly precious that I squee just by thinking how their relationship came to be like that. Oh, if only there were fanfic…

What connects them the most is not the fighting, but the hope to live in the world as it once was (and when it comes to Hunter, a fighter by nature, that's a huge thing to say). It's a happy memory from Hunter and a mere dream for Artyom, and that they share it that way, through pictures, no words needed, is so damn lovely.



FANDOM

Nonexistant! Well, barely existant. There's a DA group, but only two slash fanarts (which are mature, by the way), and only one of them dedicated to this couple:

http://ink-trap.deviantart.com/art/A-Hunter-in-the-Night-198559138 - HunterxArtyom - by, you guess, me.

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