Diary of a Photon Warrior
We planned the trip weeks in advance. We racked our brains for the best defensive-offensive strategies, keeping in mind that we only had six and a half minutes to play. We got the blood rushing by playing thrilling music and screaming our lungs out on the way to the Union Photon Center in Kenilworth. Their logo was, “The Ultimate Game on Planet Earth,” and that was an understatement.
Walking in, wearing my black shirt and camouflage pants, I recognized the familiar sound of the video games in the background and the smell of refreshments being prepared and sold. Buying my tokens to play, (at $3.50 a game, I already felt the drain on my wallet), we made our final touch ups on the chosen strategy and waited in line to play Photon.
When it was our turn to enter the airlock, we put on the 30 pounds of Photon equipment, including the belt pack, chest plate, and helmet. I gripped my Phaser to get used to it and made sure my equipment was balanced right. I inserted my Phaser in the registration computer, handing the computer operator my Photon passport and the token. I heard him ask me my codename. As always I said, “Greyslayer,” and I entered the airlock to wait for the game to begin. WE sat in the airlock, chatting with the other players, opponents, and teammates. Sometimes I have to sit in a corner before a game to relax my muscles and get rid of the tension.
The referees opened the door, and I took my final breath and final glances at my two friends I arrived with and walked to my side. My teammates were in the green helmets and my enemies were in the red helmets. That wasn’t hard to remember. I entered the playing field of Photon, and I inhaled the familiar smell of the artificial fog. The smell was pretty potent, but after playing Photon as much as I had, you get used to it. The playing field was extremely dimly lit with different colored lights. I stood directly under the green base goal waiting for the computer to start the game. Lights flashed along the walls and I heard the computerized female voice say, “Welcome Photon Warriors . . . ” The blood pumped as the computer counted down to one to start the game. I sprang up the front ramp to the upper level to my position, the home gundeck, gripping my Phaser tightly and preparing to open fire on any unlucky target. The constant mesmerizing music played loudly in order to confuse and disrupt combat.
I heard commands being screamed from one player to another, not even knowing who I heard, suddenly , my helmet telling me I’m hit with a computerized pulsating sound. I quickly hit the rug floor and waited five seconds before I could fire again. Then I sprang to see if I could find my assailant. I found him and three shots from my Phaser told me I got my revenge.
Moments later, Robert (codename: King Cobra), approached me and told me to hit the enemy base goal while he covered my position. I launched toward the enemy lines and did my best to cover myself while I passed my other friend at the sniper position. Not far from that was the base goal I was looking for, the spiral computer sensor flashing on a tall tower. The adrenalin surged through my veins as I found my mark on one more enemy helmet and turned to the enemy base goal behind me as quickly as possible. One . . . two . . . three, and my helmet told me that I had hit it enough and received the two hundred points for it.
Now I knew I had to get back to my home gundeck and relive Rob who was probably having problems. I ran as quick as possible to my position and found Rob having a fine time with several enemy targets on the lower level below him. But he graciously left them for me, and I opened fire on them. Then I heard the computerized female voice return, saying, “Disperse to exit…,” meaning the game was over. And all I had to look forward to was my score from that game and the next game.