Gunum Recaps His GW Finale Narrative: Day One

Hello everyone, it is your beloved bloody robot king, Gunum! Freshly returned from the deserts of New Mexico and the Games Workshop Open series finale narrative event. I am going to cover my first day of the event here, as well as talk about some of the fantastic times I had with the amazing people of Battle Group 16.


Before I get started with talking about the actual event, I am just going to break down what my first day felt like in comparison to everyone else’s glorious Thursday. As this day was incredibly important to set up the rest of my weekend, I wanted to be sure I covered it in depth. My day started like any other, prepping for a flight that would take me to the high desert of the United States, and into the depths of the Szabryne system. I woke up feeling like a kid on Christmas; I had all my things laid out as though I was preparing for a summer camp, even though it was just a weekend away with the Goonhammer bois. I headed off to the wonderful town of Fargo – yes, the place where they put people in woodchippers – and prepared for my flight to go out in the morning. Upon arrival, I found out that our plane was so iced over that I was going to be running face-first into an hour-and-a-half delay. What I soon found out however, is that due to this delay I would be missing my connecting flight into Albuquerque from Denver, which would in turn push back my enjoyment of the event quite a bit, as a 2pm arrival became more like a 4 or 5pm arrival. Little did I know that the tundra of my home state would leave such a lasting impact on the rest of my weekend.

A truly, unforgiving wasteland, my beloved home.

As the day wore on in the barren wastelands of Fargo, I was quickly reminded that ice does not just simply go away because we want it to, and my flight was delayed again and again. A 1pm arrival time in Denver became 3pm. Now I was looking at an 8pm flight from Denver to Albuquerque, putting me at the event well after briefings and introductions, and half a day past my original expected arrival time. My heart sunk as I heard this news – I was far too excited about this experience to miss the first day. Eventually my plane did depart, and I was on my way to the wonderful airport in Denver where I was sure I’d find compensation and help from the people at United (Rob: You sweet summer child. No airline compensates for weather delays). After a lengthy discussion with customer service, United’s great and understanding representatives presented me with the only option I had: An 8:30pm flight, the last one of the day and the only option on any airline. I was stuck.

The flight into Denver wasn’t all bad


Dear Reader, I was now stuck in the Denver airport. I do not know if you have all been to the Denver airport before, but it is laid out well. If the more than 40K amongst you would picture the Inquisitorial “I” symbol, you’d have a general idea of the layout. In the shape of the airport, there was an A terminal, AB terminal, and AC terminal, which all went in a protracted line that was easily visible via a tram that was in the basement of the building. As I had to find a way to occupy about 7 hours of my life in this place, I began to explore and wander around an airport like Tom Hanks in the movie Terminal, albeit without any cringeworthy exchanges with Catherine Zeta-Jones.

I tried to find every place I could of any interest, all the while silently praying that my checked luggage would find its way safely to my next flight. What checked luggage, you ask? Why my army, of course – the poor army to which I had attached a “FRAGILE” sign and, thanks to one of our wonderful patrons, I was able to make sure had a priority luggage tag on it. I was informed that no, I could not find it nor have it delivered to me before the next flight, but was told that no matter what, it would be there waiting for me in Albuquerque. As any other war gamer can tell you, traveling with their army is one of the most harrowing experiences that you can feel. Ideally, you never want to check these kinds of things because you never know the type of treatment they will receive. Hopefully, arriving at your destination will also mean you are arriving with a fully intact army. This was one of many anxieties I had to deal with while I was enjoying the wonderful sights of Denver’s waystation.

I began my adventures in this new home very simply, riding the ground escalators around terminals and watching other people, as they rushed to and fro for their planes. I went to the terminal restaurants and coffee shops, lamenting about my situation to them as they nodded, as I was just another passenger looking forward to their flight, and they would feed me their coffees and overpriced sandwiches, and I would smile and nod as though this was all business as usual. But it was not; the Necron Dynasty that I had just come to love has been looking for me, has been wishing for freedom, one that I could not provide as it was lost to the aether. As time went on – and let me tell that I’ve never felt time move so slowly as I did in this place – I found some comfort in a small outdoor balcony layered off from the rest of the airport. Normally no one would be out here – who’d want to sit in the snow? But they had not counted on stranding a North Dakota native here and so I sat outside in the 35- to 45-degree weather, enjoying a small taste of home. Sitting there with my headphones on, music bumping, I sat there with my fist raised defiantly against the world as I tried to salvage some semblance of joy from the situation. I’d eventually find my sanctuary invaded by other people interested in my plight: An angler from Alaska. A schoolteacher from Florida. At least three different people who I was certain were part of a punk rock band. This was by far the most enjoyable part of my Denver airport experience – quiet and slow, with an opportunity to watch aircraft take off, while enjoying a semblance of home thanks to the weather.

I’d eventually be joined by another wayward traveler and one of the most wonderful people who I have met in these past couple of months. One half of the 40k Badcast – Campbell “SRM” McLaughlin, and his amazing wife. You’ll read more about Campbell’s attempted Journey to Albuquerque in his own Epic-length post but this is where our points crossed and we were able to commiserate in our shared predicaments. Campbell and I were on the same flight out of Denver, and so we got to talking, doing the little high fives and secret Goonhammer handshakes we’d been working on all these long years working together from a distance. After doing the appropriate rituals together, we headed to the gate, where we’d surely be delivered at long last from Denver to the Promised Land.

The flight number blacked out so I can black it out from my memory. Remember, this flight was supposed to leave at 8:30.

As our final hour ticked down, we were invited to board the plane that would get us to the grand narrative, and see us reunited with the rest of the Goonhammer people who we were sure were eagerly awaiting our arrival (Rob: We were!). Unfortunately, after boarding our flight, we were delayed again three more times. First, the building itself would not let go of our aircraft (we were frozen to it). This caused about a 30-minute delay as we waited for the Exorcist, or the tech priests in this sense, to come to bless the gate to let Campbell and I leave and remove ourselves from this cursed area. After these rituals were completed and the machine spirit of the jetway finally sated, our pilots let us know that they had run out of time and were unable to fly us to Albuquerque. With this being told to us, we were told to wait patiently, at 10:30 PM, for new pilots to board our aircraft. Shortly after this announcement, as my seatmate began to talk about how odd it is that there would be fresh pilots available for the flight at 10:30 PM, there was a third announcement, this time letting us know that this would be an overnight delay. As the groans and sobbing of this sorry plane began to fade out, the realization that I was not going to make it to the event Thursday night set in. I was going to miss all of the pre-event excitement and at best I’d be arriving early in the morning tired, jaded, out of breath, and exhausted from the struggles of the last day.

(Rob: Yeah this sucks ass. Fun fact: Pilots and flight crews can’t operate forever; a one-pilot crew can only operate for a maximum of 8 hours; 10 for a crew with two pilots. When a crew hits their maximum hours for the day, or will go over their maximum, which can be extended by delays, they are legally required to return to the airport and turn it in. If this happens to you, book a new flight – there’s almost never a new crew waiting. That announcement that they’re finding a new crew is a trap, and holding on to that hope will just waste valuable time you could spend working out a different flight with customer service).

True despair setting in. We were so close.

We were asked if we wanted a cot in the United Club above one of the gates, or a hotel to spend the night. Campbell and I agreed that there was only one real option, and that was to get the f**k out of the Denver airport. We went to a “nearby” hotel, located 25 minutes away from the airport (there’s nothing near the airport), and got an amazing 2-hour nap in before we needed to get back into the line for security back at the Denver airport. It is also worth mentioning that we were not the only ones suffering through the trials of United Airlines, as there was another canceled flight already ahead of us in line waiting to get rooms. Dear reader, let me remind you that during this time my army was somewhere out there, still lost to me, in some aircraft or rough-and-tumble holding area, just waiting to be crushed or stomped on by the wonderful workers that would be having their hands on this suitcase-looking bag that I carry my boys in.

That was it. The end of the first day. Stuck in a horrible, horrible place, instead of having an amazing time with friends. Standing out in the cold with Campbell, talking about the life that we could be living, talking about how endless those 19 minutes felt, was just something I will not ever be able to forget. After our nap in what I have to say, were impressive rooms, Campbell’s wife got us set up with a Lyft and we made our way back to the airport and boarded a flight to our liberation.

You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.

Next Time: Paradiso

Next time with Gunum: Battlegroup 16 Rampages.

Just so I can end this on a note that has some Warhammer 40k in it, I was part of a nice Discord channel in which I was able to communicate with the wonderful people of the Interloper team and ask them about things that were going on in Albuquerque. There was more than one person who reached out to me to provide a ride from the airport to the venue, and I want to make sure I give them a special “thank you.” Wills and Brood Brother Dan of Xenos Con Queso, you folks are excellent and show what the hobby can be when a random Goon is lost to the winds of Chaos. Thank you.

In my next post, I will talk about my actual day and the incredible time that I had at the Games Workshop Grand narrative open. I cannot wait to tell you all about everything that happened there, and how much of an endorsement I can give to this event. My first day was so terrible, but I do think it was therapy to be able to have a chance to write about this. I know some of my Goonhammer friends and especially battle group 16 will find this an enjoyable recap.

See you next time.

Wake up, your plane leaves in 5 minutes. Wake up… wake…