As of late I've noticed a growing trend. It is a trend that makes me suspicious and skeptical at the same time. I'm sitting in front of my TV, weapon selected, timer is counting down, and my waypoints are clearly marked on the map. My squad leader is calmly and effectively communicating our strategy. Focused now, readying for the sprint. Then it happens; a girl's voice reverberates through the mic and into my ear. I am instantly demoralized. Our team prides itself in WINNING. There’s a formula to winning. Strategy, discipline and skill. This is a war game. It may not be real war, but we treat it as such.
But today, we have a girl on our team. How did she get in? Who invited her? I stay tight lipped. I am but a junior member of this outfit and I am in no position to question the higher ups. Still, I am perplexed by her presence and even more so by the apparent normalcy with which the rest of the squad treats this clearly unacceptable situation. There must be a mistake. Maybe they can’t hear her. Maybe they don’t know she is here, running around guns blazing, looking like just one of the guys.
She is a Recon Soldier. She runs to a forward position and then runs back and keeps her distance. Figures.
Fighters, Helos and Tanks are running rampant but I’m no longer listening to commands and warnings. I’m fixated and watching this curious outsider, blending in, as if nobody notices. But I notice and I will expose her. I’m watching her on my HUD map and I’m about to blow the whistle and let the chips fall where they may. Then it happens.
Enemy aircraft start exploding and helicopters wildly tumble out of control. Javelin missiles strike enemy tanks in a choreographed marvel, John Woo would be proud of.
Her voice returns. This time, it’s to call out instructions. They are delivered with authority and simplicity so much so that I can’t help but follow them.
I see the upper right hand corner as it indicates that she, one by one, snipes the enemy soldiers in my path, one shot one kill, style. Fresh enemy tanks arrive but the laser from the SOFLAM she deployed is rapidly targeting them, and the team is dispatching them just as quickly. I’m making a run for the M-Com Station. I’m going to set the charge. To my left and my right are my brothers but they start to fall in the hail of bullets.
I’m on my own. The only protection I have is the M98B held in the purposeful hands of this outsider and I’m running. Soon, I’m too far from her lead filled deliveries that had so efficiently cleared my path. Then I see it. A radio beacon close to the M-Com. My comrades start to fall from parachutes directly above me. They provide cover and one M-Com station is now gone.
It was she that had placed the radio beacon early on, allowing reinforcements to deploy. That is why she had run forward and then retreated. She was no coward, she was a tactician. She had made the Su-35’s, T-90’s, and Mi28’s easy targets for our Javelin wielding Engineers and she had cleared the path for my glorious, untouched RUSH to destiny.
The game went on but I could not. I sat, stared at the TV and marveled at what had happened. How could I question the skills of a fellow gamer based solely on an ignorant assumption. The term Gamer is not associated with age or gender; was what I had learned. I lost my internet connection and dropped out of the game. It was a good thing because I had realized I did not deserve to fight along side her. I haven’t seen her since, but if she would let me, I would follow her into battle any day.