…and the winner is….

Chandy! Here is what Chandy wrote. Last few lines are great.

The lengthening shadows and warming air had alerted me to the rising sun. I thought back to my youth, playing and laughing in the very same air that no longer carried the dry, fragrant air of my youth, but a humid air tainted by the stench of war.

I eased myself up off the ground slowly. From this distance, it was doubtful a sniper could hit me from even their most forward position, but I’ve seen better man die from lesser carelessness.

As I moved my hand down to push me off the cliff side, I heard the faintest snap. It was enough. I fell back against the side of the cliff, grabbing my launcher, and jumping back away from the corner. I eased myself back, keeping myself away from the cliffside corner, and my back to the fence. The optimal defense against sticky traps and spies alike.

The sights of my launcher stayed perfectly in sync, just beyond the edge of the wall of rock, honed by years of instinct. I persuaded myself that it had been nothing, and felt my back pocket to find a disturbing lack of ammunition. Looking down, I saw a small pile of rockets that had carelessly fallen out of my pouch. I couldn’t help but chuckle, the years of training, honing, experiencing, it hadn’t prepared me for the uniform malfunctions that tossing and turning in the night could provide for me.

I bent down at the waist, my finger tips barely grasping the cool metallic edge of a rocket, before giving up, sighing, and bending my sore knees.

The strap of my helmet caught on my launcher, annoying me as I began to pick up my ammunition. It rode high up on my head, before promptly flying off.

They had always promised me training would take over, but instead, it was instinct.

I hit the ground hard, as bursts of shrapnel flew over head. As I turned left, I saw what was left of the men who’d come with me. A large russian who I’d seen punch a man’s blood out of him, and a neurotic german doctor who seemed perfectly content hiding behind the russian’s bulking body.

I had no idea what was happening, but I did know that men never fared well on their own. I crouched down, grabbed 3 rockets clumsily in one hand, and began to sprint. I spared myself one sideways glance, one opportunity to observe the mayhem before me.

On the upper cliff side, a small glint of light alerted me to a sniper. The bloody bastard who’d taken my helmet. As I continued swinging my head right, I saw too much. Too many people, very obviously intent on taking what little life I had left in me. I snapped my head back into position, diving for cover behind a large boulder.

I looked up to see chunks of rock flying off the sides off the boulder, and one crazy russian climbing the boulder. The russian seemed unfazed, the climb, his one man charge against insurmountable odds, seemed almost as routine to him as opening a can of rations was to me. The face of his german medic betrayed his stoicness for the true depth of the what was happening. For the first time in my life I’d seen something in that doctor’s eyes I’d never seen before.

Excitement.

I saw him hurl himself over the rock in one swift move, his hulking body and minigun forming one graceful arc as they snapped over the top of the rock. And that bastard did the one thing no other man would do in this situation. He fucking laughed.

The boulder had become infinitely more solid, the enemy’s attack on it decimated. I allowed myself one small peak over the side to see a mass of people falling back. I saw a young man, in his early 20’s at the latest, he turned back quickly to fire a departing shot, but what I saw in his eyes wasn’t fear. It was planning.

The medics healing beam seemed to absorb what few wounds BLU was able to land on the russian, and I sat there, agape, before the side of his head glowed a faint blue. That glint, the sniper!

I knew nothing of this man, nor his motivations, but my choices were no longer between that of survival and defeat. I had to decide between this man’s survival, and defeat. I aimed my launcher at the ground and propelled myself into the air. Flying over him, I saw his eyes fixed firmly upon the sniper, while his gun was elsewhere. I had seen exactly what I had seen, but the look he shot me, he knew I was the one who had to stop it.

All around me, my skin screamed at me that countless amounts of air was flying bye, but it felt like I hadn’t breathed in years. My legs flailed uselessly behind me, and seeing all the BLU uniforms under me, I realized that victory or defeat, this was a one way trip. Something caught my eye, a red uniform, a spy! I fired a rocket downwards, there was no way he would be spotted amidst the chaos, but he’d seen me. He abruptly stopped movement and started running backwards, his revolver firing at me. I’d been in this situation so many times before, and one more rocket aimed behind me dispatched him quickly.

I snapped my head back, already upon my target. He pulled his head away from his scope, just long enough to look at me, and gasp. Amidst the gunshots, the air flying past me, the screams, all I could make out was a faint click as my finger hit the trigger.

I landed into him, both of us falling clumsily together, rolling until we hit a small boulder laid out amongst the ground. I reached to my side, searching desperately for my trusty side arm, and saw it laying on the ground 10 feet away.

There’s a sense of urgency they never tell you about when it comes to close quarters combat. It takes over any sense of tactics you may have planned before hand, yielding itself to burning, urgent desire to simply move. I rolled to the side, hoping to distance myself from the sniper. Instead, I ran into his shins. I looked up to see his kukri making a swift beeline for my face, before his arm was pierced by the familiar bolt of a crusaders crossbow. I grabbed the bolt and ripped it from his arm, at least now I had something. I jumped back before he came in with another attack, his kukri raised high above his head. I held the bolt behind me as I dived in between his legs. My broad shoulders caused him to fall off balance, and felt his weight shift from his feet, to his shins, to his knees, as he fell over me, on top of the bolt I’d so brashly taken from him.

I pulled myself up, completely weaponless, and turned around slowly. This was surely the end, but I’d at least like to die knowing I accomplished something.

Battlebull stood on the point, his minigun on the ground, leaning against it while his idle hand stood in his pockets. KaiThePhaux was fiddling with her crossbow’s needlessly complicated reload system.

“Well, that was one game,” he said “Want me to get in a few ringers so we can do some more?

 

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