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Journey of the No-Pats is a promotional story blog released on the official Battlefield 2042 website during the month of August 2021. A new entry was released each day starting on August 3rd and ending on August 12th with the release of the Battlefield 2042 - Exodus Short Film, with the final entry depicting the events of the film from a different perspective.
The blog sets up the events leading to start of the War of 2042, following journalist Kayvan Bechir as he becomes involved with the No-Pat taskforce lead by Oz. Kayvan visits the locations of each of the seven multiplayer levels launched with Battlefield 2042 during his journey, and meets several of the game's Specialists along the way.
Part 1: Escape From Doha
September 12th, 2041
It all began a year ago, surfing a darknet browser in my hometown of Doha - back when it was still inhabited by people. As a journalist I’d become keenly interested in the issue of armed No-Pats, trying to find a contact within the ranks of these stateless soldiers. Finally, at 3:28 AM, an anonymous source DM’d me, claiming to be the most wanted man alive - the commander of the largest contingent of No-Pat forces, known to the world simply as “Oz.”
I’d gotten such messages before, but it was never the real Oz. Some came from government agents waging anti-No-Pat campaigns and one guy had even accused me of being Oz, hiding in plain sight. But this was different, if for no other reason than the chat ended with me needing to flee the country as the Qatari Police broke down my door for aiding a terrorist.
It would be the only time in my life I ever welcomed an approaching sandstorm.
By the ‘40’s, sand had become to Doha what water was to Venice. After years of fighting the encroaching desert, only those who couldn’t afford to leave remained under the massive LED skyline, still relentlessly promoting luxury handbags. Qatar had thrived in the 30’s, thanks to skyrocketing oil prices. The country invested heavily in combating desertification, hoping to copy Egypt’s success. For a time, it seemed we might tame nature. Then the oil ran out.
Famines, failed responses to them, and government protests all accompanied the sand monsoons. Soon there were military police everywhere, ready to arrest anyone that risked Qatar becoming the next non-patriated flash point.
My browser had the wrong search history.
The sand storm’s cover is keeping me alive. Hiding from the armored vehicles hunting me down, I begin to notice anomalies in the LED adverts. Buried within the images is the unmistakable No-Pat emblem - a flag with a slash through it.
The breadcrumbs lead me to the catacombs under the abandoned football stadium. A fiftyish military man in Bermuda shorts whose relaxed demeanor is extremely off putting, points casually with his flashlight to a tunnel entrance - guarded by a mechanical sentry system. He puts out his hand. “Pyotr Guskovsky…” he grunts. Then, in perfect Arabic: “This was a one time thing.”
As I disappear into the dark while the wind howls overhead, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to call Doha home again.
Little do I know that in less than a year later - Qatar would be a failed state, and the city of Doha, lost to sand.
Part 2: The Magic Act
November 1st, 2041
Be careful what you wish for…. Almost 2 months after fleeing Doha, Oz’s breadcrumbs led me to a safehouse made of shipping containers in India, filled with No-Pats armed to the teeth. Amongst them were a former intelligence officer, former doctor, nightclub bouncer, car mechanic... They all tried to hide that side of themselves, the former, but if you looked hard enough, you could find it in every tall tale and wry smile.
As Specialist Navin Rao, a notorious Indian hacker and ex-MARCOS officer explained it to me, armed Task Forces cropped up in the 30s when moving cargo between the Non-Patriated around the globe became a lethal occupation. In response, world governments cracked down on all No-Pats, treating them as smugglers and pirates. To that, Rao can only shrug, “That’s why we always wear eye-patches when delivering food rations to stranded families… Who else is going to help No-Pats, if not other No-Pats?”
Was Rao’s spin the whole truth? There was only one way to find out. Of course, this Task Force seemed to be without one key ingredient -- a boat. The fact that we were in Alang, the largest ship breaking yard in the world, provided a clue...
This was going to be a heist.
Shipping is a simple business. More goods than ships, the price goes up. More ships than goods, the price goes down. In the late ‘30’s, in the wake of the Second Great Depression, the world had nothing to move. To prop up prices, the industry turned to ship breaking facilities like Alang to convert unused and weathered fleets back into high tensile steel. But soon, Alang became famous for something else: magic. How else could you explain whole freighters vanishing into thin air, only to be discovered months later amongst the ever growing No-Pat fleet?
It was the city’s worst kept secret. Corrupt businessmen were selling ships intended for scrap to No-Pats on the black market. But the Indian military would soon put a stop to it.
In the gale-force winds that night, the gunfire sounds like it’s coming from every direction. As the Indian Army pursues us, Rao brushes off a glancing wound and takes the helm, piloting us around the black iron corpses of ships that block our escape route.
It’s a feat that would have been spectacular on a clear day. But with 25 foot swells and the boat rocking like a sailor on shore leave, it’s sheer skill that shakes our pursuers in the graveyard of tankers.
By 1:32 AM GMT, the magic act is complete and we vanish across the 21st Parallel. Our beat up old container ship, unofficially dubbed “The Copperfield”, begins her journey as a No-Pat.
Part 3: Coyote Run
February 19th, 2042
Brani Island, Singapore
Even for those with nothing to lose, this was crazy.
After months of moving everything from processors to pork bellies, the latest cargo, 65 Australian refugees, added “Coyote” to this Task Force’s resumé. I held my breath when our next stop appeared through the mist...
It was pin drop silence as our ship passed through the Sea Wall protecting Brani Island, Singapore’s state of the art automated seaport. Rao’s wizardry may have gotten us convincing credentials for the scanners, but I knew if the famously brutal Singaporean Port Authority (SPA) got a whiff of this boat...
…It would get real loud, real fast.
By the mid 30s, rising sea levels had decimated a third of all commercial ports around the world. In a deft response, Singapore built a revolutionary Sea Wall to defend its AI driven cargo distribution system, making Brani Island the central hub of global trade.
“The No-Pats’ problem is piss PR,” Specialist “Casper” Van Daele grumbles. “Singapore used to tolerate us. But it got messy when every terrorist and his mother started calling themselves No-Pats for some tea and sympathy. America was already afraid of losing control of this place, so they wielded all the bad press to force Singapore into shutting all No-Pats fleets out.”
By some miracle, we dock undetected. Casper deploys an OV-P Recon Drone to make sure we’re clear as Rao ushers the refugees into a beat up shipping container that’s been outfitted with cots, a latrine and supplies to last them 10 days. Makes you wonder what’s in any of these containers.
The last refugee isn’t able to slip into the hiding spot before sirens erupt. Rangers (robotic quadrupeds with guns for brains) seemingly fall out of the sky, rushing towards our boat. Casper quickly snipes our mechanical assailants, as the Copperfield lurches out of the dock. Amazingly, Rao hacks into the automated distribution system on the island, dropping containers wherever he can to block our escape. It’s not enough.
The SPA pursues us into open waters. Gunfire. Screams. More gunfire. Silence. Then I hear an ear splitting cannon shot. My heart stops as I wait for impact, until I realize where the blast originated: a constellation of vessels on the horizon. A No-Pat fleet! Fishing trawlers, container ships, tug boats and more. There’s no telling how many are armed, and the SPA has no interest in finding out. They turn tail. It seems among the 1.2 billion displaced out in the world, this Task Force has at least a few friends.
Part 4: The Third Faction
May 8th, 2042
Somewhere in the Yellow sea
“Oz takes 'need to know’ to a whole new level,” says Mackay with a theatrical eye roll. “We get our destination via telegraph with a fortune cookie’s worth of intel -- then hold onto your butts."
Hence why we’d been floating aimlessly in the Yellow Sea for two days, waiting to hear from on high. Thankfully there had been a steady stream of news on the wire to keep me focused on something other than losing my lunch. One AUN story in particular would soon intersect with this boat in spectacular fashion and shed light on Oz’s machinations.
At approximately 7:30am, an executive assistant at Daesong Electronics made out with 10 petabytes of internal data from their headquarters in Songdo, South Korea on a stolen corporate helicopter. The criminal responsible for the breach, an unassuming Korean woman in her 20s, was suspected of being a foreign intelligence asset, most likely American or Russian.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.
South Korea’s economy is one of the success stories of the last decade, not just surviving, but thriving. However, one company deserves the lion’s share of the credit: Daesong Electronics.
Before the Blackout, almost the entire world had switched to satellite internet. After that disaster in 2040 plunged us into the dark ages, this earth-bound ISP sprang up from obscurity with a next-gen solution they’d developed for underserved markets. It was called K-Net, promising to get the world back online without needing to repopulate the heavens with expensive hardware.
By the spring of 2041, Daesong had 60% of all internet traffic running through its veins, which eventually flowed into the Quantum Data center in the heart of Songdo. For the US and Russian intelligence networks, infiltrating that trove of information would provide an overwhelming tactical advantage.
What I didn't realize was that there was a third faction interested in Daesong, entrenched in these intel wars...
I finish the news and go above deck for some air when I spot something in the distance - a flaming jet black helicopter with the unmistakable Daesong logo emblazoned on its side.
Everyone rushes over to the edge of the ship as the chopper crashes - when that unassuming Korean woman from the headlines floats down across the deck with her parachute. I’ll come to know her as the Specialist Ji-Soo Paik, the No-Pat mole who infiltrated Daesong at Oz’s behest.
As Casper and Rao usher her below deck, my brain is firing at a million miles an hour. After Singapore, I was convinced all No-Pats were sympathetic underdogs, making hard choices to help the destitute survive. But here were some infiltrating tech giants, beating the superpowers at their own game.
Perhaps the conspiracy theories aren’t all fake news.
Part 5: Pineapple Express
July 9th, 2042
Kourou, French Guiana
A 44 gallon double wrapped garbage bag is capable of holding about 22 kilos. The average weight of a 10,000 SGD note is 1.081 Grams, which means the bag the Russians just tossed to the ship from a Sierra class submarine is worth over 200 million SGD.
Immediately an old telegraph machine on the command bridge sprang to life. It was Oz. Paik read the message. “We will receive 5 Containers. Get them to Kourou…”
A day later we conducted another mid-ocean trade but this time with a Russian cargo ship that craned over the 5 containers destined for French Guiana. The manifest claimed they were filled with Synseco GMO pineapples - shelf stable for up to 24 months. Why did the Russians need No-Pats to ferry their fruit? First, French Guiana was easily one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Secondly, when those containers landed on the deck, the pineapples inside made a very distinct CLANG.
Three weeks later, we were moving our cargo by rail to French Guiana. I’d never have thought this place would be of interest to the superpowers, but the Blackout of 2040 had upended a world already on its head.
“Everyone thinks about the Blackout killing their internet, but the military implications were the real kicker,” explains Rao. “Having no spy satellites got both superpowers scrambling to get hardware back in the sky.” The Americans had just lost Canaveral to the sea, so it didn't take long before people started speculating that they were poking around the old EU launch site in Kourou. “The perfect place to launch your illegal space death lasers without anyone the wiser.” Rao laughs.
Russia must have believed the rumors, because they’ve been encouraging uprisings against the American presence in French Guiana. “Sparking unrest is sort of Russia’s specialty,” smirks another Specialist, Maria Falck. “And it doesn’t take much to get this place riled up,” the former combat medic says, sounding a bit worried about what’s to come.
We arrived in Kourou a week later for the hand off to a local militia, armed with Russian weapons. One by one the containers were opened, revealing -- pineapples. I couldn’t help but laugh, until the fruit was removed unveiling a cache of Volcov multi-munition launchers: the Swiss Army Knife of Russian rocket launchers. But before anybody can even speak, American forces swarm the area, guns blazing. A sharp sting pierced my left side. I blacked out.
When I came to, I was in the back of a flatbed with Maria trying to coordinate an exfil, her bandages wrapped around my abdomen. My first gunshot wound... Hopefully my last.
I keep hearing No-Pats say the world has forced them to do things they never imagined just to survive. Maybe it’s what Oz wanted me to see; what he hoped I’d write. But now, doing Russia’s dirty work, I wonder if No-Pats have lost sight of the cost of survival -- or whether I have.
Part 6: The Only Way Home
August 14th, 2042
Queen Maud Land, Antarctica
When you’re fleeing a war zone with a gunshot wound and somebody offers you a ride, you don’t ask where they’re headed. That’s how I ended up stranded at Russia's "Gas Station at The End of the World," an oil rig in Antarctica.
For years, No-Pats across the globe have relied on Russia for their oil but it’s clear, things are changing. Russia and America seem to be at each other’s throats. Just as we arrived, Russia decided to cut off oil to No-Pats. The price to turn the spigot back on is singular allegiance to Russia. A price Oz is unwilling to pay.
“It’s practically a hostage situation,” says Specialist Constantin Anghel, whose own vessel has been stuck here for three weeks. “War is coming, my friend, and everybody knows it.”
His words are prescient. Not a minute later, Klaxons burst to life as an American destroyer appears on the horizon...
By ‘39, with rising sea levels, nations finally understood to leave Antarctica’s ice alone. That is, except Russia, who secretly violated an international treaty protecting the continent from drilling. A remote science facility quietly became a refining operation responsible for 4000 barrels of crude daily. “It’s only a matter of time until America comes for this place,” whistles Anghel, “and not to save the penguins.”
Over time, more No-Pat vessels wind up stranded here, debating the offer of fuel for fealty. The cold and isolation are crippling. Many take the bargain.
“Shortsighted. No-Pats shouldn’t choose sides,” grunts Constantin, “Think of Poland in World War 1. Their country hadn’t been on a map for 150 years - the Polish Legion did whatever - for whomever- to make sure that when the dust settled, they had a country again. Sometimes war is the only way home.”
That last line. I’ve heard those words before, from Oz. It’s a rallying cry. But this isn’t a few thousand fighting for a flag, this is 1.2 billion with little to unite them. No-Pats aren’t the Polish, they’re a powder keg.
After the Klaxons start, the sound of two Starbursts rattle the ice shelves from the shore. I understand enough Russian now to catch two words: “Cowboys” and “War.”
The American ship returns a warning shot from its cannon as a confident voice blaring from the ship’s radio orders the Russians to stand down. That’s when I notice the ship is flying the No-Pat emblem, not Old Glory. I’d later learn Oz had sent in his most trusted captain to extract the stranded No-Pats that Russia was trying to coerce.
I race to be among the refugees boarding the ship, designated MFS-04 Exodus, with Anghel’s words echoing in my ears. There’s a fight coming that I want nothing to do with, and yet, here I am on a warship. Perhaps Oz is right. War is the only way home.
Part 7: Rerouted
October 10th, 2042
Off the Coast of Sierra Leone
The MFS-04 Exodus is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, under the command of a former US Marine. Yes, No-Pats are sailing warships now. It’s a sign of things to come, and one more reason it’s time for this adventure to come to an end.
I’m in my barracks packing up before we dock in Freetown Port. From there I’ll fly to Cairo and start my new life - a position with Synseco Agritech’s corporate communications. The same Synseco that used a private army to squash a riot outside its walled farm last year. The same Synseco whose pineapples went CLANG.
I’m selling out, dear reader. 13 months of fearing for my life has shot my nerves. I wanted to understand the No-Pats, not die as one. If I don’t get off this boat now, I fear I may not have a choice.
While my home country is a dustbowl, Egypt boasts a story of renewal. In ‘38, as the world’s traditional bread baskets failed, Synseco Agritech perfected a two part system to replace them.
The first, was genetically modified crops that thrived in the most arid of climates. The second, was a revolutionary desert irrigation project.
Why did Synseco choose Egypt for their farm of the future? “A motivated workforce,” says MacKay, who’s spent time in the region, “Egypt is the one place where a No-Pat can ditch that label - go legit - as long as they’re willing to work behind The Wall.”
Which is exactly why I’m taking this job. No more No-Pats.
As we sail silently towards the African coast, I can’t get my conversation with Anghel out of my head. The superpowers are on a collision course. If No-Pats get involved, they could make it a costly and chaotic war. Despite Oz’s best efforts, it’s clear No-Pats are still a fractured group, with varying agendas. If those factions end up in a war within a war, it could shatter a world that has already suffered enough.
About 6:30pm, I’m finally able to see Freetown Port in the distance. Only Rao knows my plans. After 13 months, I feel some regret about leaving, but mostly relief. That is, until the ship lurches away from shore and starts sailing north.
This can’t be happening.
I run to the bridge, frantic, looking for answers. Sure enough, the old telegraph machine has sparked to life, encoding new instructions from Oz, making my choices for me. Moments later, the Captain barges past me on his way onto the bridge. The last thing I hear before he slams the door is a garbled voice on the comms as Freetown Port grows smaller in the distance...
“...We have one shot at a new future and we’re going to take it...”
Part 8: Prelude to War
Map: None. Released alongside the Exodus Short Film
October 20th, 2042
London is three feet under water - the failed capitol of a failed state. Why Oz rerouted the Exodus there was a mystery, one that only heightened when Captain Kimble “Irish” Graves went ashore alone and returned with a bleeding Marine, a briefcase, and instructions for an ocean rendezvous.
It should have been a simple hand off but something made Irish change his mind.
Soon tracer fire from three Condors peppered the deck as we ran headlong into a category 5 storm for cover. Explosions ripped my ear drums as I hid. Whatever was in that briefcase was clearly worth more to Oz than the 200 No-Pats on this ship.
As our valiant Task Force fought through a hellscape of bullets and shrapnel, the watertight door shielding us below deck exploded off its hinges. A blood soaked soldier came barreling in and found what he was looking for. Leverage -- Irish’s seven year old son, Omar.
“I originally joined Oz because I agree that No-Pats need to unify if they’re ever going to have a place in the world,” Irish later explained to me. “Difference is, he thinks that will only happen if the old world dies. That’s why he wants a war, so America and Russia will burn each other to the ground. Problem is, the No-Pats will burn with them.” His look hardens, as he plays with a pair of dog tags in his hands. “When I was a Marine, I saw the cost of war on civilians first hand… There’s a reason I quit.
In Oz and Irish, I saw two men fighting for No-Pat survival, but through very different means. One was trying to stay out of America and Russia’s reach, and the other was actively trying to manipulate them. That’s what the intel in that briefcase was all about -- coordinates to an American secret the Russians wanted -- bait to draw the superpowers into an all-out war.
That night during the battle, when Oz’s man took Irish’s son, something changed. A No-Pat - a child - needed me. I knew what Rao, or Anghel, or Falck would do - what I had to do. I’m no soldier, but I ran after him anyway. Then I heard the American soldier Irish shot in London, Clayton Pakowski, handcuffed to a gurney, promising to help. He had that same look I’d seen in the Specialists along this journey. I released him.
The sacrifice he made later saved Irish’s son, but the intel slipped into the open
After a year on this assignment, I’d found the answer I was looking for. The No-Pats are everything people say they are - smugglers, sinners, saints, and so much more. The world created the Non-Patriated, and then blamed them for its problems. But now this Task Force might be the very key to saving it.
When the smoke cleared, we could all see the look in our Captain’s eyes. Oz had to be stopped from setting the world on fire. Irish had gone from Marine to No-Pat, but he was still just a soldier taking orders. Now, he knew he had to lead.
I watched from the bridge as Irish took the comms and put out a call, not knowing who would answer: “The only way to stop this war is to get in the middle of it... Get ready to fight.”