In Memory of Gulfwulf

In memory of a fallen Peacekeeper…

Funeral for a Friend

A large contingent of Peacekeepers and a good showing of Battleborn stand on the terrace of the Gilded John gazing at the green capsule drifting slowly towards Solus, the corona-dampening shield doing its usual efficient and effective job of preventing them all from going blind in the process.

ALANI:
Well, that certainly was an… interesting… ceremony.

THORN:
It was somber. An appropriate mood for the loss of a warrior of such skill.

Montana lets out a frighteningly high-pitched wail.

MONTANA:
OHHHHHHH!!! I’M GONNA MISS HIM SO MUCH! HE ALWAYS SENT ME THE BEST MEMES!

Montana leans heavily into Thorn’s shoulder, sobbing uncontrollably. Thorn lets out a yelp of pain, then shoves him away. He tumbles, still weeping, to the deck.

BEATRIX:
I still think I could have revived his corpse with at least 62% of his original brain function if Ghalt hadn’t had me thrown out of the ship’s morgue.

She casts a dirty look at Ghalt, who ignores her and continues standing respectfully with his arms behind his back, his eyes fixed on the capsule that is now barely a glimmer against the massive ball of flame. Oscar Mike decloaks suddenly in front of Beatrix with his finger pointed directly in her face.

OSCAR MIKE:
NO! WE ARE NOT TURNING WILSON’S CORPSE INTO A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

Montana grabs Oscar Mike’s leg and curls his massive shoulder around it, using it to steady himself somewhat. Oscar Mike grunts in pain.

MONTANA:
DID YOU SEE THE ONE…
He snorts loudly.
WITH THE TANK TALKING TO THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR?
Sniffles
I DON’T REMEMBER THE PUNCHLINE BUT IT STARTS WITH THE PROTESTOR SAYING, “NO TANKS!”
He blows his nose on Oscar Mike’s pants.
AND I CHUCKLED ABOUT IT FOR HOURS!
He wails deeply into Oscar’s boot. Oscar Mike is in obvious agony at the huge Alpian essentially crushing his tibia.

THORN:
Oscar… shove him off. He needs to stop behaving like sad infant.

OSCAR MIKE:
No! Unnggg… Montana is my best friend… aaagghhhh… and right now… aaaaiiigggghhhh… he needs a leg to lean on! Rrrrrrraaaaa—MY LEG IS HERE FOR YOU, BUDDY!

MELLKA:
Well, at least some of his actual friends showed up.

GHALT:
He got a good showing for his send-off. Exactly what he deserved. Thank you for coming too, Mellka.

MELLKA:
Hey, it’s the least I could do. He helped us out a lot with the Codex Regrowth project after Rendain burned down the Grove of the Arcanum.

They hear a loud snap followed by a muffled shriek.

OSCAR MIKE: (Clearly crying from the strain)
I… still… got ya… buddy! Aaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Ghalt sighs and places his face in his palm.

MELLKA:
Hey, could be worse. Benedict could have given the eulogy.

Ghalt smirks mid-facepalm.

GHALT:
That’s true. That would’ve been a disaster.

MELLKA:
So where’d you kick the bird to that he’s not here today?

GHALT:
I gave him the day off.

MELLKA:
Uh-huh. And that’s it? Then why isn’t he here? I thought this guy was a friend of his?

GHALT:
He was. But Benedict mourns in his own way, and he wouldn’t have shown proper respect at a ceremony like this.

MELLKA:
Well, ■■■■. I could’ve told you that without any deep personal insight into his character. Last I saw him he was stuffing two bottles of booze and a bunch of rocket fuel into a drop ship. Probably planning to blow up a small moon in his honor or something.

Ghalt smiles.

GHALT:
Mellka, you just don’t get Benedict.


Benedict stands on the roof of a remote UPR outpost on Bliss. He has built an improvised wooden platform and a fixed-wing rocket glider elaborately decorated with aluminum waste. He downs a swig of alcoholic nectar as he fiddles with the fixed wing of his improvised rocket glider.

BENEDICT:
One for me… and one for you.

Benedict dumps some of the nectar on the left wing.

BENEDICT:
Now I hope ya appreciate that, Willy, cause this ■■■■ ain’t cheap.

Benedict hears the roof-access elevator hatch hiss open and exhales in exasperation as he sees the telltale pink feathers of his XO.

BENEDICT:
Ernest, I know what yer gonna say, an’ I don’t wanna hear any ■■■■ about drinkin’ an’ not bein’ responsible with my explosives, not today.

Ernest’s chest is now clearly visible as the elevator slowly raises his bulky frame from the depths of the outpost. He gives Benedict a quizzical stare.

ERNEST:
What makes you think I’m here for you, flighty?

Ernest’s talons are now visible, gripping two home-brewed bottles of schnapps. Benedict squints as he attempts to find a label on the bottle and finds none.

BENEDICT:
That ain’t that LLC berry concentrate monstrosity is it? Cuz if ya think I’m gonna let ya pour that crap on ol’ Willy’s final flight, ya got another thing comin’.

ERNEST:
No. This is the good stuff. The Eldrid stuff.

Benedict holds out a talon.

BENEDICT:
I insist on a taste test.

ERNEST:
I insist on a taste test of your swill. I’m not about to put my schnapps on the same glider as some crap you got from Nova’s Ops Points Store.

Benedict hands him the opened bottle of nectar, and Ernest hands Benedict a bottle of schnapps. Benedict removes the cork from the schnapps and he and Ernest make a show of sniffing the contents of their respective bottles before taking small swigs and swilling the liquid around in their beaks.

BENEDICT:
Hmmmm… robust. With a flowery aftertaste, and just a hint of… bacon?

ERNEST:
Smoked squirrel jerky.

BENEDICT:
Hmmm… sir, I would not be ashamed to place your offering upon Willy’s final flight.

He passes the bottle of schnapps back to Ernest, who makes a show of considering Benedict’s beverage.

ERNEST:
Yes… and I suppose your swill is likewise acceptable for a final flight, maggot. But just barely.

Benedict grabs the nectar from him.

BENEDICT:
Just barely my ass! That’s REAL Madan nectar right there. Aged almost 30 years. Confiscated from Rendain’s private stock.

ERNEST:
What the hell was that bastard doing with real Madan nectar?

Benedict shrugs and carefully pours nectar over the central shaft of the glider. After a pause, Ernest takes a swig of and begins pouring a bottle of his schnapps over the right wing.

BENEDICT:
Surprised ya weren’t with Ghalt.

ERNEST:
I was.

BENEDICT:
Oh?

ERNEST:
Got bored in the middle of the speech about “the valiance of honor” and excused myself.
A pause.
Officer’s privilege.

Benedict snorts and they continue to pour out their respective bottles in silence. Benedict empties his bottle, then stops and stares at the sky in silence.

BENEDICT:
Toby, I know yer there. Just come the hell out or walk the hell off already.

Toby emerges from below the roof line.

TOBY:
How did you know I was here?

BENEDICT:
Yer heavy breathin’. Ya really need to lay off those fish snacks.

TOBY:
■■■■ YOU! MY WEIGHT IS APPROPRIATE AND ATTRACTIVE! Oh! Sorry for swearing!

BENEDICT:
Toby, I’ve been swearin’ the entire time I’ve been puttin’ this thing up. The Great Eagle don’t care if ya swear. Hell, when he flies out over the Eternal Feedin’ Grounds with his Silver Eagles, the good book says he swears worse’n any of 'em.

TOBY:
Really?

ERNEST:
No. Benedict’s taking a few liberties with the holy word. Makes me wonder if this thing’ll even burn right. Pat wasn’t an aviant, after all.

BENEDICT:
Liberties my ass, a direct translation of the ancient scrolls clearly states… aw wait… naw. Yer talking about the flightless version of the holy text. Yer version cuts out all the fun stuff. Remind me sometime and I’ll let ya borrow a copy of the flight-capable version.

Ernest raises featherbrow.

ERNEST:
There’s a difference?

BENEDICT:
Are my people enough jerks to modify a holy text and distribute it to the flightless masses to encourage a culture of servitude? Hmmm… let me think…

ERNEST:
I’d be very interested in reading this flighty interpretation of the holy text.

BENEDICT:
Later. Right now we gotta pay our respects the proper way. Ya wanna say the thing, flightless?

ERNEST:
Me?

BENEDICT:
No, Toby. Of course, you! Yer the executive officer on the scene and Toby don’t know ■■■■ about the Great Eagle!

TOBY:
SCREW YOU, BENEDICT!

BENEDICT:
Prove me wrong.

TOBY:
I… Okay, I can’t. I don’t know anything about The Great Eagle. I just wanted to see what you guys were doing. And Whiskey didn’t want to come alone.

Whiskey Foxtrot appears behind Benedict and puts a knife to his throat.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Surprise, BIRD!

BENEDICT: (Unphased)
That a new knife?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Yep. Got it from the Ops Points Store, then modified it to full auto!

Toby and Ernest give each other a look.

BENEDICT:
I have no idea how that’d work, and I’d prefer it if ya didn’t demonstrate, we are payin’ our respects here after all.

ERNEST:
I presume Whiskey wasn’t invited to the formal ceremony?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Hell no! Just chose not to go! I don’t wanna listen to some a**hole talk about his fabulous military career or sit through a long, depressing ceremony! That’s no way to celebrate a badass!

BENEDICT:
Amen to that.

Benedict backs away and examines the glider.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Anyway, I heard you were packing a drop ship with liquor and rocket fuel, and I figured you were going to blow something up in his honor.

BENEDICT:
Not if I put this thing together right. Hopefully It’ll just catch fire.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
I don’t think you’ve got nearly enough booze on there for it to catch fire.

Whiskey pulls out a large jug of homemade liquor that could probably strip the paint off a shuttle, and unceremoniously dumps it on the glider.

BENEDICT:
Alright, if I had painted that thing, I’d be real pissed off right now.
He grabs the booze and stops Whiskey from pouring any more.
And it’s got more’n enough fuel to light it up. I’ve been coating the damn thing in rocket fuel. The liquor’s just ceremonial.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Well now it’s REALLY gonna burn.

BENEDICT:
Toby, ya got anything ya wanna pour on this?

TOBY:
Um… well… I… I didn’t really know what you guys were doing… so…

BENEDICT:
‘Kay. Whiskey, dump just a bit more, an’ I mean just a bit more on the tip.

Whiskey splashes the nose of the glider with his brew.

BENEDICT:
Right. Now let’s do this proper. Ernest, ya gonna say the thing?

ERNEST:
Benedict, I came down here to get away from the long speeches. I ain’t about to give one now. You do it.

BENEDICT:
Alright.

Benedict stands at attention and stares at the sky.

BENEDICT:
When a warrior dies in battle…

He’s interrupted by Whiskey opening a large bag of popcorn.

BENEDICT:
Eagle dammit, Whiskey, I ain’t gonna be talkin’ that long.
A pause.
When a warrior dies in battle, the Great Eagle sees ‘em. The Great Eagle always keeps an eye on the battlefield ‘cuz he knows a bunch of badasses are gonna be comin’ his way. But when a soldier falls off the battlefield, it falls on his friends to call out to the sky an’ shout, "YO EAGLE! YA GOT A BADASS COMIN’ YER WAY, AN’ YA DAMN WELL BETTER OPEN THE DOORS TO THE ETERNAL NESTIN’ GROUND!

TOBY: (Whispering to Ernest)
Is that really what’s in the holy texts?

ERNEST:
That’s the gist of it, yeah. Though not told terribly eloquently.

BENEDICT:
I ASKED ya if ya wanted to say this sh*t a**hole!

Ernest chuckles.

ERNEST:
Go on.

BENEDICT:
So we’re gathered here today, two believers an’ two pagans…

ERNEST:
Ehhhh… I’m more of an agnostic, actually.

BENEDICT:
Ernest, I swear, I’m ‘bout to get court martialed for punchin’ an officer in the beak here in a second.

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Through mouthfuls of popcorn)
Finish the speech already!

BENEDICT:
So we’re gathered here today, one believer, two pagans, an’ an a**hole… to let the Great Eagle know he’s got a badass comin’.

He walks over to the wooden platform.

BENEDICT:
This glider is symbolic of our fallen friend, Wilson. He weren’t an aviant, but he was a damn fine ol’ bird all the same. In the time honored tradition of the Ancient Settlers, we commit this proxy to the sky, in the hopes that the Great Eagle will fly down, an’ accept his flightless ass into The Eternal Nesting Grounds.

TOBY:
Oh, actually, I DO know this ceremony! But we did it with a boat!

BENEDICT:
Then ya weren’t doin’ it proper, Toby. Everyone got somethin’ to light this sucker up with?

Benedict pulls out a UPR-issued emergency fire starter, as do Whiskey and Ernest. Toby puts his flipper to the back of his head, embarrassed.

TOBY:
Uh…

Benedict sighs.

BENEDICT:
Ernest… Whiskey… one of ya throw him a match or somethin’.

Ernest supplies Toby with a small match.

BENEDICT:
Do NOT try to light the actual glider on fire, or yer ass is gonna get cooked. Light the wood at the very bottom, then stand yer asses back.

ERNEST:
Because knowing his workmanship, it’ll probably detonate on the ground.

BENEDICT:
Ernest… this ain’t my first rodeo. I got way more experience with this sh*t than anybody should. So shut-up.

The quartet lights the platform. They stand back in silence and watch as the flames snake up the wooden spokes towards the rocket. As they enter a compartment on the glider at the middle of the central shaft, blue flames burst forth and start to consume the liquor on the outer body. They hear a click and a burst of fire suddenly erupts from the tail-end of the glider. It jets off with a sudden and loud hiss. Ernest and Benedict have no problems seeing the now fully immolated glider as it jets through the evening sky. The rocket fuel inside the wings ignites, torching the decorative aluminum flakes and leaving a gorgeous silver trail behind the glider. Benedict and Ernest begin shrieking. After a moment Whiskey joins in and begins pounding his chest. Another moment sees Toby joining in with a loud shriek of his own. As the glider melts its own outer casing away, finally dissipating with one last glimmer into ash in the breeze, Benedict falls to his knees and begins sobbing. Ernest closes his eyes and places a knowing talon on his arm.

There is a long pause.

BENEDICT: (Through sobs)
Did ya see that ■■■■ Ernest? Did ya see that ■■■■?

ERNEST:
Yeah. I saw. It was glorious.

BENEDICT:
That damn thing burned brighter than some gliders I’ve built for honest to goodness aviants!

Benedict puts his face in his claw and collapses to the ground, sobbing. Whiskey closes his eyes, sits in the snow, and takes a big silent swig of his brew. Toby stays silent. Whiskey eventually offers him a swig of his brew, which he accepts, prompting an uncontrollable fit of coughing. Benedict starts snickering through his sobbing.

BENEDICT:
Aw, Toby… ya should’ve waited till we broke open our bottles. Now ya ain’t gonna be able to taste yer lil’ kippers for a week.

Benedict laughs a little through his sobs.

ERNEST:
You know, Benny, this ceremony isn’t supposed to be performed alone.

BENEDICT:
Ain’t ever stopped me before.

ERNEST:
Well then who do you spend the night sharing stories with afterwards? Now let me tell you how I met Pat Wilson…

The quartet sits together in the snow on the roof of the outpost. They use their emergency lighters and some leftover wood to light a small bonfire. Each shares their stories about their fallen comrade on an unusually calm night over bottles of alcoholic beverages. They laugh, they cry, and no amount of snow makes Toby’s tongue stop tasting like battery acid.


Author’s Note…

I met Pat Wilson through the Gearbox forums specifically through Battleborn role play. I never met him in person, but I spent many enjoyable hours here writing in character with him as various Battleborn. Later, I joined him for a number of enjoyable online gaming sessions in Battleborn, Borderlands, and Monster Hunter: World.

When deciding on the best way to pay tribute to his memory, I felt it would be fitting to return to the place where I met him, and tell one last Battleborn tale in his honor. I didn’t make the story as sad or depressing as I could have, because I don’t think he would have wanted that. I knew he was in the hospital, but the tone I got from our interactions on Discord was that he didn’t want us to worry about his health. I certainly don’t think he’d want us to dwell on the tragedy of his passing, but to instead remember him and his life fondly.

As I met him here, I mostly knew him as @Gulfwulf. This is where I have the most fond memories of my online friend, and though it may be a bit silly, this is where I choose to share my memorial story in his honor.

If you have a fond memory or story you’d like to share, please feel free to post it here. I will be providing his wife, @Elaura, with a link to this post, and I’ll hope she doesn’t find it too off-putting that I loaded my small tribute to her husband with a ton of jokes, including launching a casket off a spaceship whose name is a pun for a shining toilet.

I, like Benedict, have a strange way of showing I care, but I truly believe this is how he’d want me to pay tribute to his memory. Not with sadness, but with a smile, and a reflection of the good times we had together.

@Gulfwulf… you will be missed.

11 Likes

I’ve been sitting here and trying to think of something to say but I’m as usual at a loss for words. Like Benny, I first met Pat/Gulfwulf through the forums in the early days of Battleborn, and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent him as the roleplaying threads grew over the years. I had some damn good times and have some damn fine memories of our antics on here, his sharp wit and sense of humour. The very last few matches of Battleborn I played before the shutdown were spent with Pat, as well as Benny, Laura and a couple others, and remain among my most treasured memories - not just for the game, but for the friends I had the privilege to play it with.

All of us here honour your memory. See you on the other side.

And just to leave this with a particularly treasured moment:

7 Likes

I thought this^ was an excellent idea, and went to search for one of my favorite RP posts of Gulf’s to post in memory of him. I’m not ashamed to admit that my search quickly ended in tears, looking at posts that always used to elicit laughs. Gulf was a good man, a great friend and an exceptional Battleborn. He will be sorely missed, but he will also be remembered with a smile when perusing through our old RP posts is not so painful for me.

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I didn’t know him from battleborn, but he was a large part of my life. He quickly went from friend of friend to the greatest confidant. Though we didn’t play games together much lately, my games were too large for him to keep updated, he remained a true friend. It’s wonderful to see all the lives he touched. :heart:

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Gulf was one of the first people I regularly interacted with on these forums, and I also knew him as a man who genuinely cared and respected those who simply treated him with basic kindness.

I also remember he valued a good time, and I think he always valued making sure everyone had a great time, even when it wasn’t for him. I think this tribute is what he would’ve wanted, though, I hope Elaura believes the same.

If you’re there Elaura, please know that I only ever knew gulf as a fun and kind man who, while occasionally stubborn, was a man of conviction who was honest to the core

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Having recently lost both my father and my uncle, my thoughts go out to all his family and friends. Tough times, but love and kindness soften the blow. He was very much respected by everyone here, a valued forum member and definitely a good guy.

“One way of imagining life is that it’s a competition between love and death. Death always wins, of course, but love is there to make its victory a hollow one. That’s what love is for.” (Robert Webb)

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Just read this awful news. Gulf’s posts here enriched my life a little bit. Sincere condolences to his family.
RIP
Andy

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