Fort Hawthorne was a refuge from Greendale's 2011 Paintball Assassin game. It was located in the cafeteria and created by Pierce Hawthorne, who kept a small but loyal group of students to keep the area a safe zone from the competition. Paintball gun's had to be surrendered before entering (excluding Fort Hawthorn Personnel). Its first and only appearance was in the Season Two episode "A Fistful of Paintballs".
In the study group's second year at Greendale, another paintball competition occurred which again wrecked the campus over a $100,000 cash prize. Pierce Hawthorne hid from the battle in the student lounge bathroom locking himself inside. When students needed to use the facilities, Pierce took advantage of them and demanded their paintball ammo which was a valuable commodity at the time. He began stockpiling a large amount of the ammunition and from there he used his "riches" to build himself an oasis from the ongoing paintball conflict inside the cafeteria, which he named Fort Hawthorne. He "hired" a number of students to work for him, providing security and entertainment. This included Britta, Shirley, Troy and Star-Burns whom he had working as his "deputies" and Garrett, Vicki and Leonard who amused the citizens of the fort with their dancing and music.
Jeff, Annie, and Abed were brought to the fort on Pierce's orders by the rest of the study group. Pierce welcomed them and over a dinner of juice and Twinkies, telling them of his plan to secure them victory in the contest. He informed them that he learned of a secret cache of paintball paraphernalia that was hidden somewhere in Dean Pelton's office. He asked that they secure the loot and bring it back to the fort. He added it was a mission he could only trust them with and that he wanted them to do this one last thing together before summer break. They all agreed but shortly after they left disaster struck the fort. A mysterious new participant known only as "The Black Rider" attacked the compound and eliminated most of the citizens from the competition. The only survivors were Vicki and Pierce who again hid in the restroom while his fort was decimated.
The study group later returned to the fort with the stockpile of paintball supplies. Although surprised over what had happened in their absence, they were all still outraged by the revelation that Pierce had betrayed Jeff by giving him blanks for his paintball pistol. When they found Pierce still cowering in the restroom, Annie shot at him with the paintball rifle she acquired. He tried to explain his actions were a result of how the study group spent the last year excluding him from their activities, the last straw being a card game he was not invited to. Annie explained what he witnessed wasn't a card game but a vote to see if Pierce would be allowed to stay with the group the next semester. A unanimous vote was needed to kick him out but Annie was the lone dissenter. Pierce was stunned not only by her admission but also when Annie then challenged him to a one-on-one duel for his membership in the study group.
Having just lost his only advocate, Pierce reluctantly picked up a paintball pistol and accepted her challenge. Before the contest could begin, they were interrupted by the arrival of The Black Rider. Feeling jealous over the admiration the Rider was receiving from everyone, Jeff also challenged him to a duel as well. The remaining study group looked on as the four combatants squared off against each other. The tension continued to mount until Pierce pretended to have a heart attack and collapsed on the floor. The Black Rider rushed to his aid, ignoring the study group's warning that Pierce was faking. Once he was close enough, Pierce shot the Black Rider, eliminating him from the contest. Pierce then grabbed one of the Black Rider's paintball shotguns and began to retreat. As he left the cafeteria, he loudly declared to his friends that he quit the study group for good ("A Fistful of Paintballs").