Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Non-Combatant Chronicles Pt.2: Eagle-One Has Landed

The second paintball scenario last Sunday had the same general idea as the first, with me once again being the prize both teams were after. The details were quite different, however. First, this time instead of a general I was supposed to be a downed pilot (codename: Eagle-One), concealed near where my "parachute" was draped over the ever-trusty Filing Cabinet of Sherwood Forest. Second, this time I actually got a radio, and was supposed to use it to coordinate with my retrieval team (codename: Rescue-One), guiding them to my hiding place before being found by the other team (codename: Those Other Guys). Unfortunately, I've never scored highly on sneakiness or stealth, so Those Other Guys located my poorly hidden self before I even had a chance to get off the preliminary message I had composed in my head while waiting for Shack-Fu to get things rolling, which was jam-packed full with role-playing goodness.

A pity, I know.

Unlike the first scenario, this time I knew immediately that I had been taken by the bad guys, composed of Bravo, Cookies, and Tango. We headed down the back way to the home base, where we ran into referee Shack-Fu, who expressed his surprise that I had been found already. I explained my general lack of sneakiness, although I posited that the brightly colored "Please Don't Shoot Me!" vest I was wearing probably didn't help the staying-out-of-sight cause much.

We crept slowly down the back path, holding our position for quite some time as my captors anticipated a frontal assault; I’ve discovered that I don’t mind the sitting around waiting aspect as much when I’m not in fear for my life. It was at this point that I could hear Shack-Fu, in his role as Official Pot Stirrer (codename: Sigma Six) radioing Rescue-One and suggesting that they try to contact me, since (a) I was placed at the back of Those Other Guys; (b) wasn't being closely guarded; and (c) still had possession of my radio. Thus began my favorite part of the whole game -- me trying to surreptitiously pass info on our movements to Rescue-One without being called out on it by Those Other Guys. It was a bit difficult, since as soon as Rescue-One tried to contact me, Bravo decided to double back and make sure we weren't being stalked from the rear, meaning I had to keep quiet until he headed back up to the front with Tango.

I will confess to some curiosity regarding how Those Other Guys would react if they caught me on the radio: Ask me politely to stop? Threaten to shoot me if I tried any more funny stuff?* Confiscate my radio? Try to use me to set a trap? Totally ignore the whole thing? Well, I suppose unless their solution was the last one, it’s a moot point.

Not too long after I was finally able to relay our position to Rescue-One, Tango and Bravo decided to lead us back the way we came – coincidence? They kept me at the back of the pack again as we moved through the brush parallel to the path through Sherwood Forest. They soon encountered Rescue One and engaged them in battle - - or, at least, Bravo and Tango engaged them, while poor Cookies struggled to extricate herself from the vegetation which had tangled itself in her hair, crying out "I'm stuck, I'm stuck!" over and over while the rest of her team fought for their lives.

It was right around this time that Sigma Shack, after declining to assist Cookies under the pretext that he had to stay neutral as a ref, began to stir the pot yet again, coaching Rescue-One to coach me into slowly backing away from my captors (who were too preoccupied with their own troubles to pay me much attention) so that Rescue-One could send one of their number around the back way to snatch me away. Being a good little role player, I waited until Rescue-One relayed Shack-Fu’s suggestion to me before I started backing away from the distracted ranks of Those Other Guys. But before I could be liberated, Tango was eliminated, and Bravo sounded the retreat, racing past while urging Cookies and me to follow quickly. Disappointed that the "sneak me out from under their noses" maneuver wasn't completed, I turned and walked towards where Bravo was refilling his gun's hopper, which is when I noticed an unfamiliar figure crouched in the path behind him.

Now, keep in mind, once again I had not been witness to the division of forces before the scenario started, and I knew that at least one player was going to show up late, so I figured that this was him, and that he had been assigned to Those Other Guys.

Well, I was half-right.

While I was puzzling over the new arrival, Cookies was retreating to our position, and also saw the mystery player. However, since Bravo was instructing her to face the other way and back towards us so she could keep an eye out for the other team, she assumed that the figure was on her side, turned around, and started backing towards us until she finally reached the point where the mystery player decided he had a clear shot at her and opened fire. Bravo and Cookies spun and returned fire; I bolted for cover. Bravo and the mystery man** were both killed, leaving Cookies as the sole member of Those Other Guys; clued into this by Sigma Shack, Rescue-One advanced and took her out of the equation, so that once again the forces of truth, justice, and the American way triumphed over the forces of Those Other Guys.

Although I enjoyed this scenario a lot, by that point I was a bit hostaged out, and Shack-Fu’s trigger finger was getting itchy, so I took over as ref for our final scenario of the day, of which I will say this for now: it had its moments.***

*I know that would have been PigPen's solution; heck, he would have been threatening to shoot me regardless.
**Revealed afterwards to be the infamous Metal Siding Kicker from my very first turn as a hostage
***I expect PigPen to laugh at this last line, and everyone else to scratch their heads; the joys of inside jokes.