They’d been at this custom Mann VS Machine mission for an hour now. A Heavy, a Scout, a Medic, a Demoman and an Engineer. A pretty standard team, to be honest. The problem was, they were missing a sixth player, and the lack of that extra damage output was really screwing things over. There just weren’t enough of them to defeat all those giant Soldiers and their Uber Medics, while also staying alive.
The more they tried and failed, the more frustrated the team got. Now they were all an inch away from arguing properly and turning their weapons on each other. They probably wouldn’t, but the Medic was getting worried.
Another failed mission, and they were close to giving up. They had been so close to succeeding though. If it hadn’t been for that one Giant Scout, they would have managed it. They would have won. They had almost tasted victory.
The Scout wanted to give up. He was the most vocal about it. The Demoman kinda wanted to. The Heavy was adamant that they were going to complete this mission, whether they liked it or not. They’d come too far to give up now.
“One more time,” the Medic suggested. “Maybe we’ll make it this time?”
“Don’t worry, maggots, we’ll win this time!” a voice butted in. A Soldier, wearing a rather tall hat and a lovely beard, smoking a pipe, had appeared out of nowhere. His voice was gruff but friendly. On his chest was a shiny gold medal which he clearly wore with pride. “Just follow my lead and we’ll all be fine!”
The Demoman grunted. “Who died and made YOU king, boyo?”
The Soldier simply smiled. “Oh, no one. You have no reason to trust me. Aside from my five hundred official tours, goodness knows how many unofficial tours, and my rocket launcher with over twenty thousand robots killed…” The Soldier continued to smile as he waltzed over to the Upgrades station. “Hm. You don’t have much here, but we’ll make this work!”
The other mercenaries exchanged glances, but only the Demoman continued to be annoyed. They needed a sixth person anyway, so the Demoman decided to hold his tongue.
After a few moments of buying upgrades, the Soldier was ready. He quickly inspected everyone’s loadouts, then sighed, before perking up.
“Alright, men. Move out!”
Everyone did as they were told and moved to the front lines, where the robots were due to flood in. Again, the Soldier inspected the area.
“This is good. Okay. Engy, put your sentry here. Demo, place your stickies here. Don’t detonate them all in one go, just fire one more sticky so they blow up one at a time. Heavy, you take this rock here, use the other rocks for cover. Scout, you get cash and use that Mad Milk and Bonk as much as you can. Medic, you’re with Heavy. I’ll pick off any stragglers. Ready?”
Everyone readied up.
After a moment of silence, the familiar sound of clanking started up. Hordes of robots charged through the narrow doorway. As the Soldier had instructed, the Demo blew up one sticky at a time by firing a new one. He was surprised by how effective this was, his collection of critical stickies had lasted far longer and netted him way more kills.
A tank appeared behind them. The Soldier immediately knew what to do.
“Heavy, Medic, Scout, you deal with the tank. Help out by damaging it with your shield, doc! I’ll cover for you here!”
Everything the Soldier suggested worked.
That was, until the Giant Crit Soldiers and Medics appeared.
“Kill the Giant Medics first! Kritz if you can, doc! Kritz Heavy! Scout, Bonk those Medics!”
The Medic did as he was asked and activated his Uber, keeping it held on the Heavy. Scout used every ball he had and stunned the Medics, making them unable to heal the Soldiers or fight back.
With the Giant Medics dead, the Giant Soldiers were less of a threat.
The last Giant Soldier though, it had way more health than the others, and lumbered along far more slowly. While the rest of the team destroyed the last few robots, this one lumbered forward.
“Alright, focus on that one!” the Soldier barked.
Without warning, the Giant Soldier exploded, spewing out hundreds of crit rockets.
The Soldier fired his entire clip at the robotic corpse, flinging the body backwards, while everyone else ducked for cover. The dead robot disappeared over an edge, but several homing rockets exploded from its remains, aiming straight for the Soldier.
Suddenly, something crackled and sparkled. A familiar red shield had appeared, blocking the homing rockets and causing them to fizzle away harmlessly.
The Soldier turned to the Medic and grinned.
“Good work, team!”
“Danke for the help, Komrade,” the Medic smiled back.
The Soldier climbed to his feet, then shook the hand of each mercenary, still smiling at each one of them. “You all did great. You listened, which makes a change.”
“Thanks…” the Demoman muttered.
“We appreciate the help!” the Heavy beamed.
“Good!” the Soldier smiled one last time. “I have to go now. More battles await! Good luck on your future missions! Oh, and keep an eye on your backpacks…”
Everyone blinked, then watched as the Soldier rocket jumped off into the distance. Something beeped. They’d all got messages.
The mercs checked their inventories. They’d all been sent a nice little gift, a simple pipe, courtesy of the Soldier.