They're Random, Baby!

Strangers play halo too......By:LWZ
Posted By: Skavenger_s7 Date: 4/1/03 10:52 p.m.

He said I could tell you, so...I am...L.W.Z.

So I showed up at the mall around 9:30 hoping to get in on who was actually going to play and who was running this event. I ended up standing outside the place while other, more important people, started setting up the room. 4 large televisions, and XBoxes to match, and along the walls almost every style controller you could be used to.

Today was supposed to be an all day event. I was ready. As the time drew near, and the crowd grew larger, I started to size up the competition. Everyone looked pretty normal; nobody seemed like they were cocky or thought they were the best. And nobody really had really set another out as "the man to beat". There was security there of course and one old fat guy with a beard at the end of the room, just sitting there. He had longer hair than most and sunglasses on. I had never seen this stranger here before for a tournament.

They let us all in and we started to play a few warm up rounds, everyone except the big bearded strange looking guy. He just sat there in the corner, on a stool, with glasses in place. The crowd was large, maybe 200 or so, but the noise from the mall was louder than it should have been. I t made us all stop and see what was going on. I made my way to see. There in the middle of the mall was some guy, someone’s Dad, with an Xbox that had been broken into pieces tossed all over the floor so everyone could see it. This guy was mad. I mean really hot! His son sat crying on a bench near him. He was running up to some of the guys here for the tourney and asking, no yelling to tell him their names! Everyone went silent. Although we had no idea what this guy and his kid were doing here, we were all so scared that we were glad when security took him away for questioning. He was yelling, something about looking for someone that had hurt his son or something like that. I don't know the kid looked OK to me. He told his son, "Roger, you stay there till I get back! Don't move an inch". He didn't.

As I walked back into the room I glanced toward the stranger and he seemed to be putting something back in his duffle bag. My first instinct was a gun, but I figured why would someone bring a gun here? So I looked away and watched the competition to see who was good and who sucked. The room was filled TV monitors so everyone could see the games. The first round was FFA, 4 per screen, HH, 100%, with shields to 15. It was over pretty fast as some dumbass set it for unlimited grenades. Nothing turns good players into grenade throwing fools faster than unlimited grenades. We moved through the first round pretty easily. 3 hours had gone by and I noticed that the bearded stranger never moved. I won my round and advanced. It was the last game of the first round and the crowd watched as they set it up to go again. But, one Xbox was missing a controller....? The host came up and plugged some short little half cable into port 4 and walked away. It wasn't even connected to anything!! Everyone looked around in confusion. The game started. There WAS someone playing in spot 4! I looked around but couldn't see who was playing the room was too crowded. I could deduct that whoever it was, was playing under the player name RT/SK. Whatever that meant.

As the game ended, the faceless player had won, and the room began to clear for a 15 minute break. Through the people exiting for more breathable air I spotted the big bearded guy placing something into his bag. I had to know. I walked over to him slowly and stood within a foot or so. Trembling I opened my mouth to speak, but before I could even draw in the air to speak he said "go away". With a cocky look I said "fine' and walked away quickly.

The next round was being set for Battle Creek. As the host set the game and spoke into the mic, he slowly turned to the stranger on the stool. The bearded guy was slowly shaking his head. The host announced that he was changing his mind, and going to mix things up a bit. He said "Derelict" was the next choice. And looking over at the big bearded guy (who was now slowly nodding his head) he continued with the game settings. The next round began. Now this time as it came to the end of the round, you know to the last game, I positioned myself where I could keep an eye on this bearded guy. And sure enough the last Xbox received that odd 5 inch plug in port 4. But this time I watched as he pulled out a controller with a matching cord, and he started to play. Now the point here is that he was near a TV that had his screen on it, but also was looking over the shoulder of the other players and their TV's. Not that anyone could keep track of 15 other players but it was still unfair. I motioned to the host and from across the room I pointed and the guy in sunglasses and raised my hands and mouthed, "What the hell??" The host looked worried and closed his eyes and shook his head as if to say "let it go". I glanced back at the bearded guy on his stool with his funky wireless controller. He was looking right at me, or at least toward me. No, it was right at me. Dark glasses or not I felt the burn of a stare I had only read about. I looked away. The game ended with the mystery guy 15 and 3 deaths. With a sigh of disappointment I walked out. It wasn't just me, everyone was mumbling about this guy for one reason or another.

I went into the mall and down to the bathroom. I splashed some cold water on my face and stared at myself in the mirror. I was trying to pump myself up to not be afraid, to overcome whatever cheating was occurring, and to win that 500 bucks! I was feeling better, I was feeling stronger, I felt mean, and I was READY! I walked with deliberate steps and a new stern look. As I reached for the bathroom door it opened into me and knocked me to the ground. There standing over me was him, the big bearded stranger. The light from the mall made him a big dark object, but I knew it was him. Shadowing my eyes to see I spoke not a word. I expected some form of apology, but all he said was "move". I scrambled to the side and he walked in.

I made my way back to the tourney room and sat down with a coke. I hated this guy. I wish he had never showed up. I mean, what’s an old guy like this doing playing Halo anyways! While consoling myself he walked in. He stood for a second and from behind those dark shades looked right at me. He had a Pepsi in his hand. He glanced at his Pepsi, me at my Coke, and as he walked past me he mumbled "dumbass". I was too scared to be pissed.

The finals started and now the rules changed a little. We were in groups of 2 on a box. We were told to stand in front of our TV and when the game began we were supposed to sit and begin. The stranger stood with glasses in place and controller in hand next to a loud mouth kid who expressing his intentions on kicking this guys ass, and yelling his predictions for the outcome with the old man. The host yelled "GO!" All at once the big guy kicked the chair away from the kid next to him. The kid went to sit down and having no chair fell to the floor. This pulled his controller cord out. The big guy killed him once, and then stuck a piece of chewed gum in the controller port number one. Then scored another kill! The stranger said nothing as the screaming kids bounced up to plug his controller in to a gummy mess. He plugged and unplugged several times but it got him nowhere. Another kill for the big guy, then another!!! And, "The Longest" is too small to hope to stay hidden for long. He lost 15 to zero. The kid stood in a ball of sweat looking at him. The entire room was silent. The man bent down and said, “Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time" and walked to his stool and sat. The finals went on.......... I won my brackets and guess what...?

It came down to the final 2. Yep, the stranger and me. I felt sick to my stomach.

The game was set. Battle Creek, FFA, 100%, shields, human weapons, to 50. The room was cleared so all could see and we could get down to business. He sat next to me and pulled out of his bag for all to see, a bright yellow controller with a shining gold cable. Instead of the green "X" in the center it was a 3-D picture of a yellow banshee. And not under a disc of plastic, it was glass. He stood next to me and for the first time removed his glasses. He stared at me and I knew what a real bad-ass he was. If I thought I was scared before...I had no idea until that moment how small I really was. The game was about to start so I kicked my own chair away from me. He looked over and frowned at me. The host yelled "GO!" and I closed my eyes and clinched my hands tight to my controller. I was waiting for the blast of whatever he had thought up for me. Nothing happened. I opened my eyes and there he was holding his controller by the cord. He let it dangle in front of me. I began to fight as he stood motionless looking at me. I quickly went to 10 kills and stopped. The room was still quiet. As I continued he placed his controller on the ground and reached for his bag. I was hoping to get to 50 before he killed me or something. I just really wanted to go home. As I reached 37 kills he ripped from his bag a bright yellow jacket with patches and names all over it. The yellow banshee was his logo and it had names all crossed out all over it. It looked like a victims list. I stopped at 40 kills and dared to try to read some, as all others were doing. All these names crossed out...Louis Wu, Red Loser, Shishka, Matt, Odd, the names went on and on. He picked his controller back up and looked at my enormous lead and said; "Now we dance boy!"

The game began to rock on and the crowd was screaming with intensity. Someone cranked up the TV volume so loud the building felt like it was on "vibrate mode". I was scared, pumped, and dying like it was my job. This guy lived invisible and was growing rockets in his launcher as he went along. He was out windows, off the map, and leaping like his box was modded. I was a desperate kid with a handful of grenades each time I respawned in. We played 37 minutes and I found myself at 49 to 49. Just a twitch in his direction showed me a smirk on his face. I saw him go for the health. I threw a stunning grenade from in front of the invisibility to the over shield. Sure enough he had grabbed the health and warped, and my grenade hit him before he could get the shield. I started up the arch. Half way I gave a quick scan and saw a grenade coming. It was a blind throw from behind the over shield and it hit the rocket launcher dead on. The explosion went off and the rocket launcher flew right to him behind the base. Shit! Now he had rockets and an over shield, I was screwed! I continued up the arch and off to my left to a sniper point. It got very quiet. I knew he was about to do something..... The crowd was all holding their breath. I hopped back up to the top of the arch from my little ledge. As I crept up to look over, I saw him on the red base. We both started to fire at the same time with pistols. I pulled back at one red bar and no shield. I expected a precision grenade to end my day here, but it didn't come. Instead as the crowd calmed down a bit I could here him laughing under his breath. Softly whistling like one does for a dog. He must have figured I left. I nudged my way around that center wall of rock in the sniper point and could see him..... He was invisible in the water...... slowly turning and looking for me..... I pulled back. My heart was pounding in my throat. I had to finish this now. I had to show him I wasn't afraid. I had no choice but to CHARGE HIM!!! I tossed a grenade from around the corner and started around it myself with pistol drawn!!! I screamed out loud and frightened myself as I started to leap for him! ......................................................................

I can remember as clear as if it was 30 seconds ago his final humiliating move onto me. As I turned the corner, he jumped on my grenade......... as it went off shot a rocket straight down........ It propelled him to eye level with me.... as I gasped in disbelief; he switched to his pistol.................... and I swear his Master Chief smiled as he cracked off 2 rounds to my head, and ended the game... It was over, I had lost.

Right then there was a loud crash outside which stopped all of us. So loud it shook the walls. We all ran out into the mall. When we got there, we stopped short. Here was that guy, no the other guy, who security had taken away. Knocking things down, tearing up the mall. Security was all scared and acting like dumbasses. Each talking about positioning to each other over there radios and they were all no more than 20 feet away from each other. This time it became clear who he was after at least. He was yelling for Skavenger! Spinning a story about how he owed him and his boy. All at the crowd began to part. And from the tournament room was walking the stranger. He walked slowly to the irate man. And it seemed the man knew he was who he was looking for. They stood inches from each other.

Skavenger spoke: "I taught you and your boy a valuable lesson that day mister" ... He handed the now calming man the prize money. "More than enough to buy what you have lost?" "Now I expect you won't have reason to lie to your boy anymore?" The man lowered his head and said "no". They shook hands and he walked over to Roger. He tore a patch off his sleeve of that awesome yellow jacket. The patch said Renegade Theatre/ Skavenger. "AHHHHHHHH", I said softly "RT/SK..... I get it." The stranger picked up his bag and walked right at me. I was a little less afraid then I had been before. He lifted his glasses to his face, and stopped right next to me. The whole crowd was now poised on us. He looked sort of past me, sort of down the mall. And with his back to the masses he spoke where all could here... "Well? Learn anything here today son?" I was confused and searched my head for the right answer. He whispered "just say yes". "Yes sir I did, thank you" I said. As he started away, on his jacket was Lone Wolf Z, my name, crossed out. I smiled a bit and all at once he turned to me again. This time not to speak. Instead he tossed me his golden Yellow Controller. "Won't you be needing this again?" I asked. "Nope", he said. "My work as Skavenger is done here." Out the doors he went and that was it.

Most of us sat around the rest of the day and talked about the events that we saw. Those who arrived late asked us to tell the story over and over. You wouldn't have believed it had you not been there I told them. Skavenger had made me popular that day. It was my 15 minutes with my friends and I enjoyed it. I bought a pair of dark glasses, and am working on my beard. Don't know if I'll ever make an impact on a kid like me, but it sure would be cool.

OK, that's it. That was last Saturdays tourney. Or.... at least how I remember it. :)

(Sorry about the spelling stuff)

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