Instead of the normal stuff, let’s take five minutes to pause and think about how TF2 would be like without respawn machines.
The flicker of electricity under my fingertips has worn off, but I can still feel the tingling sensation throughout the rest of my body. My eyes are closed but all I see is this warm, orange glow. Fuzzy figures fade in and out of view, like a rolling mass of black waves. It’s certainly peaceful here, a nice change compared to wherever I was before, fighting, what, robots? That sounds silly, like some sort of dream.
“What happened? Is he going to be okay?”
Behind them, the last few burning scraps of metal, left over from the destruction of a device that could have destroyed the world. In front of them, a motionless body. The body of a well-dressed man, a knife in one hand, a cut wire in the other.
Without hesitation, that body was joined with one filled with much more energy. The tearing of clothes, the cry for help, the tilting of the head, the compressions on the chest.
“Someone call a hospital!”
“What happened to Spy?”
“Is he alive?”
It seems as though the warmth is fading. Maybe that electric tingle is what brought it here. Now I’m being carried on a wave of shadows. Somehow drowning in the dark, if such a thing is possible. But every time I blink, or feel like I’m blinking, I see things. Normality. Real life. I must have been sleeping for a long time.
The relentless counting. The gush of air down his throat. The temporary rising of his chest. Why was this not working? As the counting continues in Medic’s head, he calls to the others, begging them for help. He’s done this before, many times, but not like this, not to someone he calls a friend.
“Ambulance in 10 minutes, Doc.”
“I can’t find a whatyacallit!”
A roll of the eyes. Medic doesn’t have time to correct him. Ten minutes is a long way off, and time is already running like treacle. There’s no need to respond to Scout, as Engineer does it for him.
“A defibrillator, son, a defibrillator…”
The warmth seems to come and go, as if a rotating fan is blowing on me. It’s fleeting, much like the warmth of a cigarette, and with each pass, the sight of reality seems to flicker. Almost as if it’s a bad thing. I want to get up and wander over to the glimmering view ahead of me, but my body refuses. And then just like that, everything goes black. At the snap of one’s fingers.
They’re working together now. Medic’s chest compressions coupled with the rescue breathing from Sniper. The taste of cigarettes and smoke still linger on his cooled lips. He should have waited. They warned him and he went alone. Time is slowing down further, no longer like treacle, cooling, solidifying. Swimming in drying cement.
But it’s not working. His hands are frozen, his lips blue, his chest still. Tears are falling, but not from Spy’s eyes.
So this is it then? That reality just shrank into nothing. I swear I feel like I’m falling. Deeper into the rabbit hole, deeper into this, whatever this is. Why do I feel so cold? I almost wish I could feel that warmth again, but with each gust, it’d take away those visions of beauty. I want to reach out to stop myself falling, but the world screeches away every time I reach out for it. I’m starting to believe that something’s wrong.
The sound of plastic hitting the ground, of a case bursting open. They’d found one. Hidden away where no one would look. In the most unconventional of places. This wasn’t the real deal. Something cobbled together out of scrap.
“Move back! Don’t touch him!”
The irony stings, using electricity to wake someone who’d been put to sleep by the very same thing. The pads are placed on his chest, the charge builds. The air smells of ozone, further tingling their lungs.
The jolt of lightning does nothing. Spy remains motionless. Another jolt and still nothing. It’s no use. Still another 4 minutes until help arrives.
Medic’s arms are starting to strain, as he rips off the pads and resumes the chest compressions.
That hurt. A bolt from the blue, no, wait, black. That tingling sensation. The first time I felt it, it hurt. It hurt this time, but in a different way. There’s a crushing feeling above my ribs. I feel that warm gush of air again.
“Ein, zwei, drei…”
For some, it’s tears, for Medic, it’s sweat, trickling down his face. Ten minutes had passed, and help had failed to materialize. If he didn’t carry on, no one would. But the others were giving up.
“Fünfzehn, sechzehn, siebzehn…”
They were telling him to stop. He was exhausted. Everyone was exhausted. But Medic wasn’t one for giving up, especially when he’d been told not long ago that giving up was for ‘sissies’.
“Achtundzwanzig, neunundzwanzig, dreißig…”
Thirty chest compressions, followed by two breaths. Pinch the nose, make a seal, give him your air. A cough, a splutter, a sudden gasp for air. Someone pushing him aside. Help had arrived.
And so had Spy.
No one speaks. No one answers. Spy asks the question again. And again.
“But I’m still here.”
“You came back.”
A frown finds its way upon Spy’s face as it all comes flooding back. The robot hordes, the bomb, the evil mastermind…
“Did we win?”
The frown is replaced with a smile. Tears fall. But this time, they’re tears of joy.
“Oh well, the moment has passed. Back to work.”