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SRK Southpaw

SRK Southpaw

Edited: 7/7/2014 6:45:54 PM
Greetings friends and Bungie fans on this very special Bungie day. First off, I'd like to thank Bungie and everyone else for maintaining Bnet and its friendly community. I don't stop by as often as I used to anymore, but its nice to see an active and supportive group still around. Now, its time to get personal. (Warning; China will want their wall back after this post.) I have been playing Halo since I could first get my hands on an Xbox in middle school. I had the wonderful pleasure of moving a good distance from my friends about halfway through middle school. As most or all of you know, this is a brutal time for some people's social lives. At first I was very nervous about finding new friends, leaving my old ones, and what my new life would entail. Fortunately, I was invited to a sleep over (yes, that was a thing) at my friends house. After some time outside shooting some hoops, my friend and I decided to head indoors to his basement. We went down to the cool refuge of his furnished basement when I saw his Xbox and copy of Halo CE. We were joined by a couple other friends and soon multiplayer mayhem was afoot. I was horrible, but I was having fun so I didn't care. Everyone decided to head to bed except for one of the kids that came over, Austin, and myself. Countless hours were sunk into Combat Evolved that night. We didn't go to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning, which was a big deal back then. We spent hours blowing warthogs across the Silent Cartographer level. We laughed at guns getting stuck in the wall. We stormed the beaches with the Marines and tried to save as many as possible. We snuck down into the room with the locked door and killed the Zealot behind it. A beautiful friendship was born that night on the beaches of the Cartographer's island. Soon Austin was coming over my house to play Halo. He would bring over his Xbox since I did not have one yet. The first time he ever came over was so he could ask me about a girl he thought I liked in homeroom (I didn't, but he did). We were playing on Boarding Action, I remember it like it was yesterday. He'd repeatedly snipe me out with either the pistol or the sniper. I couldn't get close. No matter, it was fun and I was happy to have a close friend. Fast forward a bit. Halo 2. Oh my God, Halo 2. Although we enjoyed Halo, Austin and I weren't big on Halo 2 right when it came out. It took us a few years to really get into it. By this time we were entering high school. Best friends. Inseparable. Every damn day we played Halo like it was our job. Campaign, super jumps, the x building jumps, skulls, the floating gondola button, double shots, BxRs, speed runs, ranks, clans, sword cancelling, zombies on Foundation... you name it. We were unstoppable. I had a lot of other friends at this point and a lot of them played Halo as well. But we were the best. (By our school's standard, which wasn't [i]that[/i] great.) We talked everyday about working for Bungie, getting a pet fish named Soffish, moving across the world to follow our dreams. Almost 3000 games and 19,000 kills later it happened... Halo 3. Halo 3's announcement was huge. It seemed like some days that's all anyone could talk about at school. Maybe that's just because its all we could think about. We'd run after school and talk about what the future of Halo would hold in the glorious release that would be Halo 3. We would walk from our high school to my mom's workplace and use the computers to try to get a glance at some leaked screen shots or footage. We would drive around Coagulation in a custom game called Waiting Game and just talk about our hopes for Halo 3. Then, the Halo 3 beta was announced. This was back when a beta for a game wasn't a common thing for regular joes to be invited to. We [i]HAD[/i] to be part of it. We got in through the rule of 3 selection. I got my email for my code and thought I was going to die. When I loaded up Valhalla and went over the mancannon and saw the fresh new graphics, the sliding receiver of the AR, and the mongoose it was unreal to me. Austin lost his invite to the spam folder and was furious because he couldn't play right away. I was a celebrity at school and everyone needed to know the details. This was back when I could fill a custom game or two with just classmates. Then Halo 3 came out. We went to the midnight launch at a local game store that has since been closed down due to competition from GameStop. We got back to his house, Austin, his brother, and I and got ready to play the first level. This was it! [b]It was happening![/b] And then... nothing. I couldn't load it. I actually had to go out and buy a new hard drive before I could play campaign. At $80 additional dollars, that wasn't cheap. I was so upset, but it all ended up working out. I could at least play multiplayer and we played on Sandtrap all night. A few months later. At this point in my life I was having a lot of trouble emotionally and spent a lot of time at Austin's house. I had my own bed and everything. Things got worse to the point where I didn't go to school for a month because I didn't want to leave my room or his house. The depression was unbearable. I was very close to having to drop out until on Austin's birthday he asked me to come with him to school as his birthday present (I was at his house, naturally). I did. For the first time in 32 school days. And I pulled through. This was 2007, so Halo 3 had finally come out. We still spent a lot of time playing together, all nighters, LAN parties, etc. We made new friends, lost some old ones. Then ODST came out, Halo Wars, and finally Halo 4. At this point we were invested in other things in our life. Partying, cars, girlfriends, but we still played. We heard about Bungie making Destiny and rejoiced at what could be a venture back to the golden age. All through out the years Bungie was there for us, even if they never knew it. We were just a little statistic and a spec of memory on their servers. Fast forward to last summer. I was being driven home after last call at a club that was right on the water. I had no cell service naturally, but when I crossed the threshold of one bar my phone exploded. At one in the morning that was never a good thing. Before I had a chance to check anything my friend's phone rang and he was asked to hand it to me. It was another one of my friends. She spoke to me clearly. I threw the phone, trembling and broken. Austin had lost control of his motorcycle a few hours before. [url=http://www.capecodtoday.com/article/2013/08/28/21418-dennis-police-release-name-brewster-man-killed-motorcycle-crash]And he didn't make it.[/url] Gone. Lost forever. My world came crashing down because little Austin, who I spent almost every day with up until that very night, was dead before I could even say goodbye, or cry, or thank him for everything I owed him. Before Halo 4 came out, Austin and I had grown apart after a disagreement. Much to my surprise I saw one day that he had gotten a tattoo of a club on his shoulder. Years before we had talked about getting our emblems for tattoos, the spade and the club. I never had a chance to go get mine before he left this world, but this past weekend I went out and did it. [url=http://i.imgur.com/FNraMO0.jpg?1]I got it on my left shoulder, same as him.[/url] Now I will always have it to remember the good times and the brotherhood we had built together over the years. But what I also have is the memories, screenshots, and videos from all of the times we had played Halo together. And that's why I am sharing this story. Because I want to thank you Bungie for helping me build a friendship that I will never forget. I can't even begin to describe how important your games, novels, and community involvement were to us in our younger years. Next week I will have been a member of this website for 8 years, but my love for your universe came even before that. And I know that there are countless others who feel the same. I hope that this story puts some perspective into the millions of players you have served and reminds anyone in the community to stop and think that every time you played BTB or Team slayer there was friends like Austin and I out there playing with you. We meet for only a fraction of an hour and may never interact again in this world. But we're there. I know Destiny will be amazing and I am excited for everyone out there who is growing up with a chance to have some great memories and friendships built in Bungie's universe. Happy Bungie Day everyone, I will see you among the stars. TL;DR: [spoiler]Just go read it, you lazy ass.[/spoiler]

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