Stephen on Paul
On Christmas Eve 2021, after a short battle with cancer, I lost my best friend and possibly one of the biggest supporters of the Laser tag hobby ever; he was certainly one of the old guard.
Now, I knew Dad was fond of Laser Tag (he'd dragged me along to events from the age of about 2) but until we began to unearth all of his kit in the spare bedroom, I hadn't realised just how besotted he was.
For about 32 years he never threw a thing away – whether it was combats that had “shrunk in the wash” or gun circuits he had fried and was “going to come back to” (sometime, honest), or the myriad of half demolished gun bodies kept “just in case”, they were all there, along with photos of all the great people and the silly costumes I've grown up alongside.
That so many of you sent messages of condolence and so many made it to the funeral to pay their respects meant an awful lot to Kirsty, Mum and I. Outside of daily grind of reality, taggers were his second family and, even as his health was declining, he was determined to get back tagging this year.
So let's look to the future. As you might have seen elsewhere, the USCM issue Smart-gun – 4 years in the making – was finally going to make it to a High Frontier game this year! Don't worry, it will - but not with its original owner.
Dad was proud of the 30 plus year friendships he had made in the hobby, and always went along for the social first and the gaming second - 2022 was the year we were going to get out of lockdown and he was especially hoping to catch up with you all.
I know he was looking forward to joining in with renewed world saving adventures this year so I hope people won't be too sad by his absence and may even party just a little harder in his memory – especially on Sunday morning when we discover the secret behind Sgt. Maj. Nash of U.N.I.T.
Thanks for being there as my support group and my friends – now let's stop moping and get ready to kick whatever wicked this way comes.
Thank you all.
— Stephen Nash
"Dad, it's Bertie – I'm coming to get you, pops…"
Paul on Paul
What can you say about a man you've loved and known for three decades? Saved the world with on countless occasions – proudly stood as his best man and sometimes helped drink ludicrous amounts of alcohol and ultimately be VERY silly with? You know most of the silly stories, so this has to be something that's a little more positive and profound.
Paul really was one of the best of us. He loved people and he loved life. I don't think I can recall a single falling out with anyone or the taking of ‘sides' as can happen in all hobbies. If he was running a game (usually because he'd been dropped in it by someone else) or was taking part, he gave it his all in the form of costume, kit and a smile. Honestly, only tagging could have tolerated a deaf sniper scout who not only couldn't hear the enemy but also the whispered communications from his team hoping to avoid detection.
There were many times when the cry of “Nash!” gave perfect echo location to our NPC teams but, given the number of repeats, still had to get through to Nasher.
Paul never wanted the party to end and Kirsty pointed out recently that she was effectively a tagging ‘widow' between May and October every year. However she knew he was with his second family and always welcomed the enthusiastic tales he came home with. She was less sure of the daily delivery of tagging bits and pieces from eBay and Amazon (and fears both companies might collapse without his patronage).
As Stephen said in his foreword, Paul was gutted that he was going to miss this tagging year, so I'd like to dedicate Dropzone to Nash Snr. and push the fun factor up to eleven – no long faces unless you're a horse ... or a Gungan.
After all, it's what Paul most definitely would have wanted. Chin, chin
— Paul Watson
Nash, we love you, but we only have 45 hours to save the universe."