It was really quite a normal Thursday, I recall, when I met Horney Hornet. It was around 11 pm and I had just finished my linear algebra homework when my friend messaged me on AIM, inquiring if I wanted to play some Tribes 2. I readily agreed, of course, but not because I enjoyed Tribes 2 as much as I wanted an excuse to show my other dorm roommates that I had a life too. My friend (who goes by IceFox) and I jumped into the UCLA chatroom in Tribes 2 and agreed on a server. We joined the game and I changed my team to match IceFox's.

And that, as Sublime would say, is when things got out of control.

My first view of Horney Hornet (yes, I DO believe the poor chap meant to say "Horny" and not "Horney") was when he was at an inventory station in the game. I waited for him to gear up and, as he turned back, he stopped for 10 seconds. I nervously tapped my keyboard waiting for him to go on - and then he waved to me! I was amazed at what sort of idiot would spend valuable time in a tied game of CTF WAVING to me. Shrugging, I hurriedly executed the keyboard shortcut for saying "Hi" and went on my way.

A few minutes later, I was boarding a Shrike, one of the huge flying vehicles in the game, for a raid on the enemy camp. As I'm wondering what the delay is, my pilot turns around and waves at me. It's Horney Hornet again. After saying hi to him again, we finally begin to lurch off the ground - 5 seconds later, Horney Hornet crashes right into our own base with skill that would have done incompetents all around the world proud. As I sit there in stunned silence - the man hit OUR base, which was in the WRONG direction, with the Shrike - Horney Hornet appears in view again... and waves!

Snarling in rage, I ignore him and head on down to the enemy base on foot. Working closely with IceFox, I stay behind the cover of a hill near their base and whip out my rocket launcher to take out some of their vehicles in the air. After carefully tracking a Shrike, I manage to obtain a lock on it and just as I'm about to shoot... you guessed it, Horney Hornet walks right up to me, blocking my view. I lose my lock and he stands there placidly, waving. I can't believe this guy and I wonder if he's intentionally doing this... but it can't be, because as he's waving to me, he takes a Spinfusor disk up his ass, courtesy of a group of enemies who have spotted us. Deciding I can't take 5-on-2 odds, I hightail it... and Horney Hornet amiably follows.

Eventually, we manage to lose the enemies and I take out a repair pack to heal Horney Hornet's wounds. When you use a repair pack, it shoots out a thin red beam at the target. So as I start to use the repair pack on him, Horney Hornet decides that the red beam is obviously some kind of highly dangerous weapon and he starts running away. I type at him furiously, telling him it's just a repair pack. He comes back. I start using it again and he runs away again. "Fine," I snarl at the monitor. "Stay that way!"

Now there's a minute left in the game and the scores are tied. I was still relatively close to the enemy base so I decided to go for broke. I rush in mindlessly in their base - there are few defenders, because the enemy has decided to rush our flag too. Miraculously, I manage to obtain the flag and I run out.

45 seconds. I can't get back to base on foot that fast... I catch movement out of the corner of my eye - yes, some person on the enemy team is spawning a Wildcat, a fast motorcycle in the game. With a Spinfusor in hand, I rush over and shoot three successive disks at the guy's back and take him out. The clock reads 38 seconds as I get on his Wildcat and rush back to my base.

Well, holy shit! I run right into 3 enemies who immediately open fire at me. I swerve crazily with the Wildcat. Since I'm going at the highest speed I can manage, I have very little grip and each swerve brings the Wildcat more out of control. And then...

Like a waving angel of death, Horney Hornet emerges on the horizon, using his jetpack to fly high into the air. A brilliant green flash scours across the sky and right into the midst of the enemies... KABOOM! I hurriedly rush toward my base and take a look back... two of the enemies are still following me and Horney Hornet, defying all known laws of skill and game physics, cuts them off, kills one with a direct hit on a grenade while moving (I won't even begin to describe how hard that is in that situation), and then rushes headlong into the enemy's Spinfusor disk meant for me... and not only that, but he does it so he's close enough to that last enemy so that the explosion kills the enemy as well as him.

I must have wasted about 5 seconds staring there, slack-jawed, in front of my computer. Then, I looked back at the timer, see 15 seconds written, and rush back to the base, just in time to cap the flag for the win. After that, I see about 10 messages congratulating me for the performance, but when I insist it was Horney Hornet's effort that won us the game, all my teammates explode in "LOL's".

I stand there as the next game starts and - sure enough - a bouncing, bumbling figure comes into view. Horney Hornet waves to me and I wave back, grateful for his help and finally realizing that those who are inexperienced or unskilled aren't without worth. Grinning to myself, I jumped off the tower onto the vehicle spawning station. Horney Hornet jumps off too - right into the lava.

Ode to Horney Hornet

Gleaming angel weaving green death
Silhouetted in the daylight
Killing as Thanatos with my breath
Sacrificing to aid my flight
O, you are warrior, heed your cry
Thou art devilish angel, watch you fly

I know you'll make mistakes again
Even the moon waxes, then wanes
You play the game with fun and more honor than its worth
Would it be that there were more like you on this Earth!

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