They told horror stories about Respawn.
It was supposed to be a new technology to save lives, but just months after its installation the men stationed at The Well felt like guinea pigs with a Russian roulette gun pointed at their temples.
Some people got sick from Respawn, the shakes, night terrors, seizures. At the same time, some remained unaffected; fresh as daisies when the machine spit them out. It seemed quite ‘choosy’.
The worst, of course, was that sometimes it did the very opposite of what it was designed to do – it could kill you.
People had been fried by Respawn if they went through too many times in a week, or if the power levels dipped too low, or your Respawn was after hours, any number of factors...
The Respawn machine was indeed a fickle mistress.
That was why the mercenaries actually gave two shits about calling for a medic. The medigun could heal you up in a jiffy, giving you one less pull of the trigger with Respawn Russian roulette.
But it’s hard to call for a medic when you are tossed into the water.
“AGGnnn!” The BLU team’s only Spy was thrown into the canal, tossed by a blast from a soldier’s rocket launcher. He’d have survived if he could have made it to the tunnels, but the same RED solider followed after him to finish the job.
“Bon voyage Crouton!” The American chuckled as the rocket fired.
The Spy didn’t have time to dodge, even if it all seemed to happen in slow motion. He was always so careful, so sneaky. In his 5 months of service the worst he’d ever got was spy check burns, which thankfully Respawn or the mediguns fixed. However, he’d never been blown apart, much less in the water, and it was so close to ceasefire...
His torso was hit clear in the middle, guts and blood spilling into the water. In a foolish reflex, he had put his hands down to try and block the attack. Those were blown off nicely too. Since his head was mostly unharmed, he had a few moments to watch the world go dark as he bled out, and to see his mangled body. His finely tailored suit was like confetti among intestine streamers as the Spy drifted in the waterway.
The ceasefire bell rang just as the BLU Spy sank to the bottom, dead at last.
The Respawn machines automatically lowered their power levels after ceasefire, sensing no more bodies in the pick up system. The Spy was left waterlogged for a good hour, forgotten. His team did not wonder where he was at dinner; the Spy was frequently out of sight, off on his own. That was what Spies did. So it was not thought of again.
The Frenchman’s balaclava was partially blown off, making his short, dark, and slightly curly hair a tangle for young fish to pick through.
There were lots of aquatic creatures in the canals, for the irrigation-like waterways at Well eventually led out to rivers and aquifers, hence the base’s namesake. Any small river fish, crawdad, and frog that could squeeze through the grates made it in, and would feed on the bits of blood and flesh that Respawn did not pick up. The system often left behind ‘extraneous’ appendages that it could just reconstruct - blown off legs, fingers, toes; all good scavenging for the freshwater wildlife. The fish would grow and become too big to make it back through the grates, making the canals like little ecosystems of their own.
The fish scattered like a fluff of disturbed feathers as the Spy’s body zapped out of existence, finally recovered by Respawn.
The BLU team, who was sitting down to dinner, startled as the lights flickered and then went out entirely, along with all the power in the base.
“Wot the bloody ‘ell...?” The marksman snorted to the darkness.
There was a silence before the Scout burst out laughing.
“Shuddap!” The Soldier barked, aggravated and hungry, not liking being unable to see his dinner.
“Did we blow a fuse or somethin’?” The BLU Engineer scrunched up his nose. Soon the rest of the team was poking him to go fix it, because that was his job right? The Engineer grumbled it was BLU industries job to make sure their base equipment was working, the lazy bastards.
He went over to the breaker box, and indeed found the Respawn circuit tripped. It had shorted out the rest of the base. He grunted in annoyance, but was then pleased as he could easily fix the issue and be a ‘hero’ to the rest of the waiting team. A quick flick over of the breaker switches, and the team gave an amused cheer from the kitchen. Anything different was welcomed to the monotony of the work week, they had been stationed at Well a long time with no transfer.
The breaker box was in the locker room just outside Respawn. A wispy cloud of amino acid-laced smoke spewed out of the Respawn room as the missing member of their team finally materialized. The BLU Engineer heard the sound and drew closer; confused as to why someone was re-spawning after ceasefire...
He gawked as the smoke cleared; unsure if what he was seeing was real.