When Helen’s voice rocked the spawn room, there were few happier than Tavish DeGroot. Between the white lines cast by his shutter shades, he saw his comrades, exhausted and begging for placement of a Dispenser. They were tiring of the battle for Badwater Basin. It had been a long, difficult day for the BLU team and much Jarate had been wasted. But there was a cart that needed pushing!
So Tavish took up his trusty Frying Pan and affixed the Chargin’ Targe to his forearm. He re-positioned the Bounty Hat upon his crown and checked the pipe bombs tucked in his belt. With a belch and a highland war cry, he blasted through the door and out onto the battlefield. “And thus begins my dominatening!”
Dell Conagher and his hardhat were already outside, sheltering behind a boulder. That wrench was already smashing away at something, but it didn’t look like a building. Looked more like some kind of over-priced cosmetic item.
“Oi, Engie! Need a Sentry here!”
Dell looked up and raised a finger to his lips. Couldn’t afford to be overheard by a RED Spy.
“Look son, I’m workin’ here,” he whispered. “You better go push that cart.”
“Trust me Demo, I have a plan! Now get goin’.” He continued hammering at the object. To Tavish it looked like some kind of face mask with four eye-holes. Or maybe just two. Hard to tell when you’ve been cross-eyed for twenty years.
With the Chargin’ Targe active and the chatbox filling up with trade requests, Tavish roared into action and left Dell to carry out his strange work. The Engineer smiled as his new creation took shape. It was indeed a mask, but not like any cosmetic released by the Almighty Valve. Three pairs of slits filled the space underneath the scowling eye-holes, punctuating the otherwise smooth form. A large rounded orifice protruded forward from the mouth. Upon the back surface were three circular characters forming a word only Dell could read: Hau.
A few seconds later, Dell had set up a Teleporter just outside the spawn entrance. The door slid open and Tavish approached, having been silenced by a rogue Huntsman arrow.
“Demo! Take this,” said Dell. He gave Tavish the mysterious mask.
“Aye, thanks mate.” He immediately bit into it, then realized it was made of metal and so couldn’t substitute for a ham shank. “What’s this now?”
“It’s a mask, dummy. For yer face.” Dell pointed to the face in question, “Put it on.”
Tavish did so and, as he slapped the mask upon his visage, he detected a tingling sensation in his limbs. That was actually normal for him. What wasn’t normal was the blue glow that spread down his body from head to boots. His Pan and shield crackled with energy. He laughed a most maniacal laugh, slapped Dell across the back, then charged back toward the front line.
So far Misha’s minigun had done a good job of holding back the RED team, but his ammo was running out. Before long, some well-timed stickies and backstabs had forced BLU to retreat. Their bomb cart sat out in the open, between the tunnel exit and a medium ammo pickup. Only one minute left on the timer; it wouldn’t be easy to get it moving again.
Of this Tavish was not aware. His own trade requests had blocked any meaningful messages from his team, so he had no idea what was going on. All he knew was that he had something new to play with. Once again he activated his charge and bashed into the RED Soldier, beating him into the ground like chocolate into carpet. But what horror: a Level 3 Sentry was waiting around the corner!
With no way to control his direction, Tavish could only watch in fear as four rockets spun toward him. Worse, the entire enemy team had surrounded him as he initiated the charge. There was no way his 175 health could have survived. His charge meter ran out just as the rockets struck.
He next opened his eyes one second later. “Och, that was a fast respawn!” Yet he hadn’t respawned. Tavish was still standing in the same spot. What’s more, all the REDs lay dead around him, including three de-cloaked Spies. His jaw dropped open and a brick hopped onto the ground.
Then he recalled the Hau mask he was wearing. It hummed in his ears and small bolts of electricity sparked off it. So that had been Dell’s plan!
“I don’t think they saw that one coming. Ach, maybe it’s time for another test. That Soldier’s comin’ back!”
Sure enough, the Soldier and his Ghastly Gibus were launching themselves in his direction. A sparkly crocket was spat at Tavish, something normally to be dodged. At first, he remained skeptical. Had it really been the mask that had saved him? Any doubts were shattered when a bubble of energy surrounded him and deflected the crocket back at its launcher. Before you could say “Stout Shako for 2 refined,” that Soldier was in gibs.
Tavish spotted Dell behind him and raised his Pan in a toast. With the new Hau, they’d be able to push the cart and win the round, if not the whole war. So he raised the Pan’s greasy handle to his mouth and cried, “Cheers mate!” However the following belch was cut off by a scream and the sound of a knife entering his back. Dell disappeared, to be replaced by a red-suited traitor. Clearly the Hau had no effect against ambush attacks.
All the Demopan could do was watch as his team hid in their spawn room, the timer ran out and the real Dell Conagher was hunted down by crit-charged Pyros. That man had discovered something new and useful, a mask of extraordinary power. But even the greatest shield must have its limitations. This is what Tavish thought of as he waited for the next round.