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I, the Author: Midnight run

7:00 PM on 07.20.2009 // wanderingpixel

[It's time for another Monthly Musing -- the monthly community blog theme that provides readers with a chance to get their articles and discussions printed on the frontpage. -- CTZ]  

Midnight. It was just another game of Team Fortress 2. I was playing a eight on eight match on 2 Fort; I joined the blue team, and chose the engineer class. I decided to play the defensive position and camped out in the intelligence room, so as to protect the Intel, occasionally fending off an attacker or two. The game had no time limit, and after about two hours the score was dead even at 2 to 2. Throughout the game my teammates had been shouting over their mics’ how hopeless the situation was, and how we were being completely devastated by the other team. It seemed like I was the only one who had faith that we would come out victorious. So I had turned down my mic and continued my defense. It wasn’t long before the number of enemies I was fighting off had almost quadrupled. I was under constant fire, what the hell were my teammates doing?

The only thing that kept me alive was my tier 3 sentry gun, and a dispenser, which I had conveniently placed right next to our intelligence. I nestled in between them and crouched behind the desk, so that I would be protected from enemy fire. Again and again waves of reds threw themselves onto my defenses in a futile attempt to weaken me, but thanks to my dispenser, as well as the dropped equipment of my victims, I was never short of health and metal.

My plan was to hold out long enough for my comrades to retrieve the enemy intelligence, and win us the game. But as time went on, I became more and more annoyed that it was taking so long for somebody on the team to grab the intelligence so we could end the game. I turned my mic back on and said "is anybody there? What's our status?" No answer. I checked the score board, and a cold shiver ran down my spine. I was the only one left on my team.

Well, not the only one left, there was still one man, a heavy, who still resided, but I had passed him a few times in the safe house after respawning, and he hadn't moved an inch the entire game. He was idle, and therefore useless. The reds, on the other hand, still had all eight of their men, and they were determined to be my end. My options were limited to two different tactics:

1.) Hold out as long as I could, and die with honor.
2.) Try to retrieve the intelligence myself.

Both were suicide.

If I continued to hold my ground, the reds would eventually overwhelm me, and even if it was an honorable death, it would still be a loss, and I'm not one to accept defeat. The only other thing I could do was to try and retrieve the intelligence myself, but how? I couldn't fight my way through; all I had was a shot gun, wrench and pistol. If I left who would protect my sentry gun from the inevitable onslaught of spies? They had already started to try spamming their deadly sappers onto my equipment, and one had even managed to destroy my dispenser. How I managed to keep my sentry gun in good health, and build a new dispenser must have been some kind of divine intervention.

The only way I was going to win this match was with a plan. I took another thirty seconds to think one up, but best one I could think of was pretty unlikely to work. Still, better than nothing.

The first thing I did was build a teleported exit next to my dispenser. Once complete, I waited until the newest wave of attackers ended, and I snuck out of the intelligence room through the long spiral stair case, hoping to god that my sentry could hold out long enough.

Once I made it to the top, I went right, and dropped through the secret trap door. I then made my way into the underground sewer that connected us with the enemy team’s base. Just before I crossed into enemy territory however, I checked my sentry gun's status in the upper-left hand corner of my hud and saw that while it had lost some ammunition, it's health was still intact. I breathed a sigh of relief and continued towards my goal.

The enemy base was completely identical to ours, so I had no trouble navigating. But as I made my way out of the sewer system a red scout came right at me, headed in the opposite direction. Instinctively I switched to my shot gun and fired off three rounds. It was enough to take him down, but not before he was able to whack me with his metal bat. Still, I had a majority of my health left, so I continued on my way.

As I emerged form the underground, I saw a medic-soldier team pass without noticing me. They were going after our intelligence, and there was no way my sentry gun would be able to withstand that kind of strike. I had to move faster. But just as terrible duo passed out of sight, I saw, to my horror, both my sentry gun and dispenser being sapped, and then a loud booming voice came over the loud speakers. "ALERT! Then enemy has taken our intelligence."

For a moment I thought I was doomed, but then I noticed that my teleporter was completely unharmed. In his haste, the spy must have missed my teleporter. That meant my plan may still work, but now I had to work faster then ever.

I was able to make my way into the enemy intelligence room without running into any resistance. But once I entered, I saw a pyro next to the desk, guarding the briefcase. To my luck, he was to busy playing with the books on the desk to notice me enter, so I snuck up behind him, and took him out with a few hits to the head with my wrench. I then built another teleported so that I could transport myself quickly back to my own intelligence room. Once that was complete, I grabbed the enemy intelligence and proceeded to my teleporter for quick transport.

Then, like a cold, hard slap to the face I remembered that I could not use the teleporter while you had the intelligence. I knew then that the only thing left to do was make another run for it back to my own base. So I went out the same way I came in, and once I was in the sewers I saw the enemy red spy, the intelligence on his back, running towards me. We both drew our guns and fired. He hit me, point blank in the chest, but I was still alive. I hit him with a critical shotgun blast to the face, and he fell on the ground, and bounced like a rag-doll; hence the term rag-doll physics. I never realized how beautiful those physics were until then.

I made my way back to the blue team intelligence room without any other resistance. But when I entered the intelligence room itself, I saw a pyro had been waiting for me. It set me on fire by his flame thrower, but I didn't stop. I darted towards the desk in the hope that I would live long enough to score. Had it been a movie, the entire scene would have been in slow motion with me reaching out towards the desk just as I was being burnt alive. I gripped the controller tight, and prayed.

Then, another announcement by the malevolent, booming voice, "VICTORY!"

My entire body collapsed onto my sofa (I’d been on the edge of my seat the entire time). I yelled out a “fuck yeah,” and waited to be returned to the lobby. Once there I was able to take in all the insults and exclamations of grief from the red team players. I had never felt such a sense of accomplishment, and pride then what I was feeling at that moment. It was like winning the Olympics. Just then I saw the mic icon for my idle teammate appear. Then, in a squeaky, almost cartoon like voice he said, “Hey guys, I’m back, so what I miss?”

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