The week was shaping up to be quiet for TU; midterms were on the mind, weather was in flux and the Caf continued to try its best. On Monday evening, everything changed with the arrival of a round structure that seemed to block the entrance to Chapman Hall. The mysterious object towered over everyone, but it was okay since we could all simply walk through it to get to class. For all intents and purposes, everyone assumed it was some weird postmodern art installation we were supposed to “get.” Plus, honestly, college students are entirely unfazed, so who truly cares?
Eventually, people got used to the mysterious structure’s presence. It was like the asbestos in Chapman: students hear and can complain about it, but it’s not like that’s going to change anytime soon. However, Friday afternoon changed everything — and peace now exists as a fickle, idealized memory, something belonging to a better time.
The structure seemed to open, and as if it were a screen, it broadcasted images of what appeared to be a time now forgotten. With Campus Security called to the scene, the faces of confused armor-adorned soldiers stared at the security guards.
The men, roused by fear or excitement, talked over one another in a flurry of foreign words. Then, the bulkiest of the men stood forward, barked something at the gathering troop and pointed to the spectators on our side of the structure. Something was clearly communicated, judging by the stern nods and the positioning of their silver swords.
In a feat no one truly understood, the structure sparkled and shined, allowing the general to break through the realms’ divide and walk onto the steps of Chapman Hall with a furrowed brow. One by one, his men followed until it became a nonsensical stream of armored men — and security had to clear students. No one truly knew who these guys were, but the whispers on campus labeled them as Romans.
A professor who taught Latin was sent in by administration, but the conversation did not go well. “Well, they are Romans,” the professor said.
Huh, we collectively mused. Weird weekend.
By the end of the day, hundreds of Romans gathered in the various corners of TU’s campus. The Old and New U were transformed into makeshift living spaces, tents erected and campfires aglow. The sound of sharpening swords and Latin barking men made it harder to sleep, the clinging and cheering both echoing in the night.
And, in the morning, chaos struck. Collins Hall was engulfed in flames, the building’s structure toppling over to the brutish delight of the Romans. Then, they moved on to other buildings — Oliphant Hall, Helmerich Hall and Keplinger Hall fell in a fiery demise (although watching Keplinger Hall burn was more of a cathartic moment for students). Stephenson Hall, in particular, seemed to act more as a source of ire for these invaders. Many Romans approached the building and gazed about, only to shrug and move on because none could fully understand the concept of engineering, and any engineering majors also did not know enough about the subject to explain to a translator.
Goods were forcefully taken from apartments and dorms. The sky was a smokey black. Fear ran amuck.
And, in the middle of a particularly viscous rampage, students noticed that general from earlier. He was not in charge anymore; instead, he looked to a particularly famous canine, nodding somberly to the barking orders of Goldie, TU’s canine ambassador.
Morale, as this article is written, is at an all-time low. We lost Goldie. She became a dictator of her troops. A symbol of TU was lost to the invaders. She’s a fucking legend on the battlefield, though.
When asked for an opinion on the siege, senior theater major Bethany Clarke said, “It’s better than True Commitment, I guess.”