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Two Towers: How two Halo obsessives landed the ultimate jump

"No one believed it could be done..."

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He kept launching. "In April I think I hit the tower, like, ten times within an hour and every time I'd just die on impact," he says. "I hit the 'Hogs too, which we thought would let me survive. I got to the point where I just thought 'this can't be possible. If it were I would have landed it by now.'"

Marnell took May off and returned to the challenge in June. In all, he captured over 200 hours of footage on his laptop, minus the lengthy setups. That's over 25 eight-hour working days - an entire month's work. That's 72,000 ten-second launches.

But it was a race Marnell lost. Laskey attempted his setup only three times. "I actually ended up watching Lonestar's entire setup," he explains. "It really helped me figure out what I needed to do, and then Kevin inspired me to keep doing the trick. The first time I did the setup, it took me about twelve hours, then I left my Xbox on for almost a week."

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Maine resident Laskey spent the spring wrapping up his finals in Engineering and went back to launching in late May. "Kevin was doing the setup in about six hours at the end," he says, "but I just wanted to be more careful and not get anything wrong. I might spend over an hour on just one launch if it wasn't working well."

Laskey has estimated that he launched himself around one thousand times, but that's a conservative estimate. From late May to early June his Xbox had been powered on for five long days, and on the morning of 4 June he was losing his confidence in the accuracy of his setups.

"I was actually considering reviewing the whole thing. I just felt like I had the position of the grenade pile wrong and I couldn't get low launches. Most of them were ending on that cliff behind the tower, or it would be a weak launch and I'd hit the cliff in front of the tower." Then, on the evening of 4 June, after almost seven years, Thomas Laskey was the first Halo player to jump from Tower To Tower.

Landings
"I think I was really close to tripping the fall timer," says Laskey. "I was surprised I lived. I ended up hitting a corner of the tower and it bounced me up. There's a slight incline. It slowed me down enough to make it. It didn't really hit me all at once; I landed on it and I didn't really think about it, then a few seconds later I realised I was on the other tower and I was alive. I was speechless, basically; I just checked my capture card to make sure it was recording.

"I actually took some time before I reported it. I spent all day Sunday editing the video and I uploaded it Monday morning. It was a surprise to everyone except Kevin - I told him over Skype."

For a moment, Marnell didn't believe him. "And then I didn't know whether to be mad or happy. I was excited that it had been landed but then I was disappointed that it wasn't me who got it first. I wasn't gonna give up, so I launched for, like, eight hours a day for the next day and a half."

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Marnell jumped from Tower to Tower on Monday, landing perfectly on the wall he had built from Warthogs on the opposite platform. "I looked over at my laptop to make sure it was recording, then I just stood up and walked away. In the clip, the launch takes like ten seconds and then there's another 30 seconds of my character just standing there. I didn't know what to do so I just walked to my refrigerator and got a drink - orange juice - and walked back to my Xbox to make sure I was still on the tower.

"I wasn't really that disappointed," he says, when asked about coming second. "With the whole community of trickers it's not really about 'hey, I did this first!' We generally just try to accomplish things together, but at the same time I was thinking 'man, that should have been me!'"

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