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Video Game High School: The Professional Game

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Out of nowhere, a sniper shot just grazes the top of Brian’s scope, indenting into the wall to his left just millimeters from his face. Retreating back behind the pillar for cover, Brian peaked around to catch a glance of the enemy only to be met by another sniper shot, this time grazing the pillar which sent chunks of concrete brushing across his cheek. With no other option, he bolted down from the third level of the warehouse he was in to regroup with his teammates.

Once reaching the ground floor, Brian spotted two of his teammates shuttling through the entrance with the enemy’s case. Gunfire followed them not far behind. As the two sophomores vaulted over wooden crates, taking cover behind them, Brian took down the two enemies that were coming through the doorway with several bursts of his M16.

“Thanks captain,” Susan said. “I thought we’d be fragged.”

“Save it for after the match!” Brian ordered. “They got a sniper positioned somewhere which means we’re limited to ground and CQC combat.”

“Jumpin’ Jax and Moriarity are drawing most of the enemy’s attention at the town square,” Oscar said. “I can circle around and take out the sniper.”

“No, we need you to guard Susan and capture the flag. I’ll make my way to the square and support the defense. Which reminds me, where’s Magnussen?”

A deafening explosion rippled across the battlefield. Gazing at its point of origin, Brian saw a red smoke rising from the south where the enemy’s HQ was located. He heaved a heavy sigh before a small grin stretched across his face. If he had to guess as to who was responsible, he only had one answer.

“Captain,” a voice said through the team’s radio coms, “The enemy base has been crippled. They should be retreating from the town square. I suggest we rush them now and set up a chokepoint while Susan and Oscar capture the flag.”

“Good work, Magnussen.” Brian said. “Now I need you to watch the flanks for us. Keep them surrounded and we should be able to wrap this up.”

With that, the two sophomores rushed back to the team’s HQ while Brian sprinted to support the only other two seniors on the team. Leaping through explosions whilst climbing over fallen rubble, Brian kept his eyes peeled for anything. More than once has victory been within his grasp only for it to be taken right before his eyes. The team’s defeat to Napalm academy remains fresh in his mind, but so does the semi-final defeat to Delta National Academy the year after that, and the close quarter-final defeat to East Tech High last year still hurts.

This was Brian’s last shot at winning the Highschool Varsity Championship. If they won today, VGHS would progress to the final for the first time since the Law last led them to victory five years ago. If only Jenny had not left to join the Panthers, they might have remained a power house school in the highschool FPS scene. If the team still had high caliber players from before, maybe they would have won at least one championship by now.

“Flag captured!” The game announcer said.

Gazing to the top of his hud, the capture scores were tied one all. Lancer Tactical FPS School took the first round with ease. VGHS barely scraped through the second round to claim victory and tie the match scores. The next capture would determine who would face Apex Academy, who were high school national champions two years running, in the final. While others might be intimidated to face such an opponent, Brian welcomed the challenge.

Rendezvousing with Jumpin’ Jax and Moriarity, the three seniors prepared to make one final push for the win. Being the team’s heavy gunner, Jumpin’ Jax layed down cover fire with his light machine gun, keeping the enemies pinned in their HQ. Moriarity was running low on ammo and had to ask for another mag from Brian. Susan and Oscar were holding down the fort while Ren guarded the flanks for any strays.

In the midst of the firefight, Brian spotted two enemies peeking around a single pillar. Both were too focused on Jumpin’ Jax, trying to draw his fire away from their own teammates. Seeing his chance, Brian fires a few bursts of his rifle at them. After a few tries, he manages to take down one while the other retreats from their position.

It looked to be the perfect game. Lancer Tactical were cornered and VGHS had hardly put a foot wrong all match. That was, before a grenade was tossed above and detonated mid air. The explosion took out the three seniors in a flash. Susan and Oscar would be taken out soon after. This left Ren as the last man standing who was able to take out three enemies before he himself was fragged.

Moments later, Lancer Tactical got the winning capture and won the match. In an instant, the entire auditorium erupted into a roar. However, Brian could only hear the silence of VGHS fans disappointed in the team’s defeat. Anything else was muffled. Even his eyes could only see the word defeat across his screen.

Sighing heavily, he led his team to shake their opponent’s hand before gathering everyone in the locker room. Everyone had their heads down before entering the room. Once they were out of the public eye, tears began to flow. Some of the substitute and reserve players let out a few punches and curses. Even the few junior varsity players that came to support them wept.

The television screen hung on the corner of the locker room showed a replay of the final play of the match which led to the team’s defeat. Brian watched as Lancer Tactical’s captain, Nathan Walker (Kill_Nade) tossed a perfectly timed grenade at their position, taking the three seniors out in one move. A closer look revealed that after the grenade was tossed, it was shot in mid air by their star sniper, Kira Sullivan (Glazz). Replays of the other three teammates getting killed followed after. The ending shot was of Nathan and Kira walking back to their HQ and capturing the last flag.

Turning to his team who were watching the replays too, Brian forced a smile across his face “I think it's clear this wasn’t the perfect scenario we all dreamed about,” he said. “I know we dreamt of lifting that championship trophy. I know we fought hard to win the match and progress to the final. And I know we trained hard to get that last point, just so we could play one more match, one more minute, one more second of highschool FPS. We may not have achieved what we wanted, what any team wanted, but we gave them a fight and we made the semi-finals twice in three years. We ranked as the top four FPS teams in highschool and I couldn’t be more proud of this achievement. On behalf of all the seniors that will be graduating soon, I would just like to say, thank you for the four years, and I’ll see you guys in class on Monday.”

As Brian left the locker room, Ted and Ki were waiting for him outside. He tried to force another smile for his best friends, but could barely raise his head before tears started to run down his face. The fourth best ranked driver in the school quickly embraced his best friend in a warm hug with the long serving student body president joining in not long after.

“That was an awesome match today buddy,” Ted said. “You were awesome today.”

“Ted’s right,” Ki said. “Statistically you guys had a 10.06% chance of winning just one round against Lancer Tactical. The fact that you guys were able to play all three rounds was incredible”

“Thanks guys,” Brian replied whilst sobbing into the drifter’s shoulder. “I… I just wanted a chance. Just one more chance. To reach the final and win it all. Just one more chance… Just one more… one more…”

After spending almost the entire day sobbing over losing his final highschool FPS match, Brian retreated to his room. Thankfully, Calhoun excused him from classes for the rest of the day. Laying sprawled atop his couch with a grilled cheese sandwich in his hand, Brian sat in silence watching FPS highlights on his television. When PwnZwn came on, Scott Slanders and Shot Bot 2.0 were hyping up the news as usual. Tonight, they were talking about the recent on goings within the highschool FPS scene.

“With Lancer Tactical’s victory over VGHS,” Scott began. “This will see them face off against Apex Academy in the final of this year’s Highschool Varsity Championship.”

“That's right, Scotty,” Shot Bot 2.0 said. “A scintillating match between the two showcased each team’s skills and talents. VGHS’s captain and star player BrianD and his team were among the favorites. They blazed through their opponents early in the season with their shock and awe tactics which would disorient anyone who played against them. However, they would meet their match coming up against Lancer Tactical. Led by two of their very own star players, Kill_Nade and Glazz make up one of the deadliest duos in this year’s championship. The former ranks amongst the top five assaults in the highschool FPS scene while the latter has represented the united states in the under-19 world championships.”

“VGHS had put up a great fight. But, all eyes are now on the final where Lancer Tactical’s dazzling duo would meet Apex Academy’s, Maver1ck. As one of the top three highschool sentinels, Maverick Masterson’s magnificent defensive capabilities have reportedly earned him professional contract offers from several professional teams. Will Apex Academy retain their crown for the second year in a row? Or will Lancer Tactical’s star duo be enough to clinch their first ever championship? More to come after the break.”

As the dorm room door creaked open, Brian immediately rose up from his couch. Of all the people that could have entered his dorm, it had to be the dean of VGHS. Calhoun, dressed in his usual black suit, stood at the doorway with a folder in hand.

“I see you’re taking the loss well,” Calhoun said. “Look I’m not gonna offer you words of encouragement or that other nonsense people are spewing out of their mouth. You lost your final competitive match in highschool. You played well and you’ve grown a lot since you came through my office like a lost puppy. But it's the end of the road. Do you have any plans after graduation?”

“N-not really,” Brian began. “I mean I did think of going to a normal college, but I’ve recently started to look at Northwood University. I found their FPS coaching courses as something that interests me. But I haven’t really decided.”

“What about going pro?”

“Pro?”

Calhoun then slapped the folder onto the coffee table. “The Toronto Titans are holding trials for highschool graduates next week.” Calhoun said. “From what I heard they’re looking for a new young assault to strengthen their squad for the upcoming World Championship. It's a great opportunity, but you’ll be up against top players from other schools too.”

“A trial with a pro team…” Brian muttered beneath his breath. “What’s the catch?”

“The catch is that you’ll have to make it as a pro. No matter what, you’ll have to make sure you’ll one day stand in the Champions’ Arena and win. No student or lecturer leaves this school without making something of themselves. And I’m not gonna let a janitor put a stain on the legacy of VGHS. Now don’t get the wrong idea, you’re good but there’ll be others out there who’ll take you out without breaking a sweat. Good luck.”