It's party time... or rather, battle time. Hopefully the girls are ready!
Enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 14 – Suiting up For Battle!
January 31st, 2253. 12.00pm. Kingsguard Facility – Deployment Zone. Women’s Changing Room.
“Wow, this uniform fits perfectly!” Chirch said, stretching. “It’s really comfy, too.”
“They’re tailor made for us, so they fit a lot nicer than the ones we borrowed for the exam.” Rose explained.
“You nervous?” Chirch asked Rose.
“A little.” Rose answered. “But once I’m on the battlefield, I’m sure I’ll calm down. How about you?”
Chirch shook her head. “Not at all. Fighting’s what I’m good at.”
As she watched Chirch finish her stretches, Rose couldn’t help but envy her confidence.
“Ready to go?” Chirch asked as she finished stretching.
Rose nodded, and the girls left the changing room to go meet up with their squads. As they walked out of the changing room door, they saw a familiar face a few metres down the corridor.
“There you are.”
Captain Marko, suited for battle, walked over to Chirch and Rose.
“You two feeling okay?” he asked. Both girls nodded in response.
“Good. You’ll both be fine, as long as you stay focused.” Marko said. “You’ve been assigned to different squads, but you’ll be covering the same sector, so you won’t be too far from each other.”
Knowing that they’d be able to keep an eye on each other if things got tough relieved both girls.
“Anyway. I’d better get going. Do your best.”
With those final words of motivation, Marko walked off. Somehow, knowing that their mentor would be on the same battlefield as them instilled them with confidence. The girls walked towards the squad car area in silence, both mentally preparing for the challenge that lay ahead.
“Parking bay 15. That’s my squad car.” Rose said, finding her vehicle. “I guess I’ll see you on the other side, Chirch.”
“Yeah. See you soon.” Chirch replied, as Rose went to join her squad. Heading forwards alone, she looked out for her squad car. As she reached it, she hopped in the back of the van.
“This is Squad Ren’s car, right?” she asked.
“It is indeed,” replied the squad captain. “You must be Chirch, right?”
Chirch nodded. “That’s me.”
“Welcome to Squad Ren. I’m Ren, squad leader. There’s 5 of us in this squad, but our machina pilot, Burr, has already deployed, so it’ll just be the four of us. The lady with the red hair over there is Dr. Snow, and the young fella over there is Robbins.”
Chirch looked over to the two other people sitting in the van. Snow greeted her with a warm smile and wave, whereas Robbins stared at her somewhat intensely.
“It’s nice to meet you, Chirch.” Snow said, smiling.
“Nice to meet you too.” Chirch replied.
“By the way, Chirch. My little sister says hi.” Ren said suddenly.
Chirch was confused. Did she know someone like that?
“Isabelle Song.” Ren continued, sensing her confusion. “My name is Laurent Song, but everyone calls me Ren.”
“Oh.” Chirch replied. That was odd to her – Bell had never mentioned an older brother to her before.
“She doesn’t like people to know her brother is in the Kingsguard.” Ren continued. “She thinks it’d make people think of her as “Ren’s little sister” rather than being her own fighter. I kind of admire that.”
“Diana Chirch.” KC Robbins suddenly interjected, his expression stone-cold.
Chirch jumped a little. “Yes, sir?”
“I have a bone to pick with you.”
Chirch gulped. What had she done? She’d never met him before.
“I watched your fight at the rookie showcase.” KC explained. “My family live half an hour from Kingston, so they all came to watch too.”
Chirch was confused. Was there some kind of problem?
“My little sister and my two little cousins were there, and after they watched you fight, all they could say is they wanted to be like you.” His expression loosened somewhat as he spoke, the tough guy façade broken. “And all this time, they’d been looking up to me! It was always, “KC, I wanna be just like you!” Now, it’s “KC! I wanna be just like Chirch!” “KC! Chirch would totally beat you up.” “KC! Chirch is stronger than you because she’s a girl, and girls are better than boys.” You’ve taken away my three biggest fans.” By the end of his rant, Chirch could feel a hint of playfulness in KC’s words.
“Oh, uh… sorry.” Chirch replied, laughing nervously.
“Anyway. You’d better be as strong as those girls think you are. I’ll be judging you,” he joked.
“Are you guys ready for the briefing?” Ren asked.
“Aye aye, Cap’n.” Snow replied.
The squad car pulled away as Ren began their briefing.
- Rose’s Squad car.
“Now, that should all make sense. Yuu and I will take the front, and you three rookies support us. Got it?” Rose’s squad captain, Captain Shishio Yamamoto asked.
“Those guys in Squad Ren should be nearby anyway. If we have to, we’ll team up with them,” added Yuu Ookami. His eyes closed, he sat calmly, sword resting on the seat next to him.
“Ugh. If I have to deal with that wannabe hero again, I might just fight him myself.” Yamamoto complained. “Anyway. You got that Niklaus? Von Belgien? Em Rose?”
Rose nodded. “Crystal clear, captain.”
“Good. But then again, an Em Rose should be able to do at least that much.” Yamamoto replied firmly.
“She’s really got it out for you, huh? The whole briefing, she was staring daggers at you.” Zak Niklaus whispered jokingly.
“Yeah. I don’t know why, though.” Rose replied. “It’s not like we’ve ever met before.”
“Maybe your dad was rough on her as a rookie.” Niklaus joked.
“It’s just how they are, apparently.” XO interjected, looking twice to make sure Yamamoto and Ookami weren’t listening to them.
“Insider gossip.” Niklaus commented. “Do tell.”
“I was talking to Dr. Deva and Captain Marko about my squad allocation last night,” XO explained. “Apparently, Yamamoto was only promoted to squad captain this year, and she brought Ookami with her from her old squad. The two of them are known for competing on the battlefield to see who can kill the most bots. And they’re even more competitive with everyone else; they’re dead set on proving they’re stronger than the Elite squad guys, but have no interest in joining the Elite. They want to have the strongest squad in the Kingsguard.”
“No pressure on us then.” Rose added.
“It’s a good thing the three of us are strong enough to keep up with them, then.” Niklaus replied confidently.
“You think?” Rose asked.
“I know.” Niklaus answered. “We’ve worked twice as hard as them to get where we are.”
Ren’s Squad Car.
“So that’s the plan. We convene with Burr once he’s In position, and we advance together. Snow will be on the lookout for civilian casualties, and the three of us will keep a solid formation, backed up by Burr. I’ll cover Snow if she has to give out any medical treatment. Any questions?”
Happy that Ren’s plan was clear, the squad shook their heads.
“Wonderful. Burr’s just sent through his location; we deploy in two minutes. Until then, relax. Get in the zone.”
Ren seated himself next to Chirch. “Are you nervous, rookie?”
Chirch shook her head. “Not at all. I’m excited.”
Ren chuckled quietly. “That’s good to hear. Don’t push yourself too hard, and remember that I’ll be there to cover you if you’re struggling. And if it’s too much for even us, then the Elite Squad will come in to help.”
“That’s Captain Marko’s squad, right?” Chirch asked.
Ren nodded. “There’s five of them. Captain Marko, Commander Kyros, Captain Valentine, Dr. Deva and Commander Grinnington running surveillance. Dr. Deva is in charge of the medical tent and Grinnington is in the facility, so it’s just three of them; Marko, Kyros and Amanda. It’s the smallest Elite squad there’s ever been, but they’re super strong. Especially Captain Marko.”
There was a moment’s silence as Ren mustered the courage to ask his next question.
“Captain Marko’s training you, right?” Ren asked.
“Yeah.” Chirch replied.
“Man… you’re so lucky. I was in his class at the Academy way back. This might sound dumb, but… I always really looked up to him. Even though he left us to train with the fourth years pretty quickly, I still remember the training sessions we had together. He was really cool to me. The way he moved, the fact he never lost his cool… he was like the perfect soldier to me.”
Chirch was somewhat taken aback hearing this from her squad captain.
“Ah, I’m boring you, aren’t I… sorry. It’s just, even though we were in the same class, I never had the guts to talk to him. Maybe after this battle, I’ll ask him if he wants to get a drink with me.”
Before Chirch could reply, the squad car stopped.
“Ah. We’re here. Let’s move.” Ren said, picking up his sword and exiting the squad car.
- Adamine Central – The site of the attack. The Elite Squad are on the outskirts of the town, at the edge of the battlefield.
Marko and Kyros stood on either shoulder of Amanda’s machina, waiting on the outskirts.
“What’s the situation, Grinnington?” Marko asked.
“Squads all deployed at 12. The machina-only squads are handling the centre of the battlefield, supported by Squad Rayleigh and the other sniper squads. Squads Bauer and Moss are leading the vanguard on the Eastern front, and Squads Yamamoto and Song are leading the offensive on the west. The enemy spread is completely uniform.” Grinnington explained.
“That’s strange. Usually the attacks are loaded towards one side.” Amanda pondered.
“And the threat level?” Kyros asked.
“Probably a Level 2.” Grinnington answered. “No abnormals have been spotted, and the numbers aren’t overwhelming.”
“Our best strategy for now is probably to divide and conquer.” Marko decided. “Amanda, support the machina squads in the centre. Kyros, handle the east, and I’ll head west. Does that sound okay?”
Kyros nodded. “Sounds like a plan to me.”
“If the situation changes, let us know, Grinnington.” Amanda said.
“Naturally.” Grinnington replied.
“Good luck, team.” Kyros said, grinning. The trio dispersed in their respective directions, ready to support the vanguard’s efforts.
As Marko headed west, he looked down on the battlefield. As Grinnington had said, it was a surprisingly even distribution of enemies. Spotting a squad in need of support, he placed his hand on the hilt of his blade, and swooped in. As he charged, he wondered how his students were getting on.
- Battlefield – Western Front. Squad Ren are dealing with a fleet of enemy bots.
“Good work, team.” Ren said, as he decapitated an enemy bot. “Looks like I’ve got a couple of super rookies on my side.”
“Two five-meters approaching,” announced Garth Jemson Burr, the squad’s machina pilot. “I’ll handle one of them.”
“I’ll take care of the other.” Ren announced. “Chirch, Robbins. Cover Snow.”
“Roger.” Chirch replied.
As Chirch and Robbins adjusted their formation to accommodate for their medic, Burr charged forward, grappling with one of the five-metre classes. Ren moved swiftly towards the other one. As he glided through the fracas on the battlefield, he kept his hand on his blade. As the enemy bot noticed him, he leapt into mid-air. Floating for a moment, he prepared his attack. In a contrast to his usual, cheery demeanour, he was serene as he looked his enemy in the eye.
“You’ll cause no more trouble.”
“Iai – Falling Petals”
As Ren landed behind the five-metre class, he re-sheathed his sword, breathing deeply. Like a cherry blossom petal falling to the ground in spring, the enemy bot fell to the ground, crumpled in a heap.
“Whoah… Captain Ren is strong.” Chirch said, taken aback.
“Not many footsoldiers can take out a five-metre class by themselves,” Robbins added, “And he did it so easily.”
“Don’t underestimate us veterans.” Snow interjected. “We’ve been at this for a while, you know.”
Before Chirch and Robbins had any time to talk, a group of enemy bots approached. A three-metre class was in the centre of a small squadron of soldier-class bots.
“You ready?” Robbins asked, turning to Chirch.
“You can fight too, right Dr. Snow?” Robbins asked.
Snow nodded. “I’ll be there to support.”
“Okay, let’s go.” Robbins instructed, pulling out two machetes. “Follow my lead.”
With a single leap, powered by the Kingsguard’s combat boots, Robbins lunged in, spinning at dizzying pace.
Robbins tore through one half of the soldier class bots with almost alarming ease, his enemies taking critical damage and falling to the floor. Chirch couldn’t help but be impressed as she charged up her attack. However, before she released hers, Snow charged in, holding her two daggers in a reverse grip.
Although her cuts seemed relatively shallow, the bots that Snow had engaged in combat were immobilised, their motor functions ceasing. As they stood, paralysed, Chirch acted quickly. Charging in, she bisected each of the immobilised bots with a single swing. As she stopped, she was almost surprised in her own strength. Although she’d felt as if she’d just been getting beaten up for the past four weeks, her training was clearly paying off; somehow, slicing through the bots felt easy in comparison to trying to hit Captain Marko. Unfortunately, she hadn’t had the time or energy to come up with an attack name.
“Chirch, let’s take care of this three-metre class.” Robbins instructed.
Leaping into the air, Chirch launched her blade towards the three-metre class at full force. Simultaneously, Robbins sliced through the bot’s legs, lowering it just enough that Chirch’s blade tore cleanly through its neck. The three-metre class now out of commission, Chirch caught her blade as she landed smoothly.
“Impressive.” Snow commented. “You’ve only been fighting together for a few minutes, and you’re already co-ordinating attacks.”
“Thanks.” Chirch replied, a small grin on her face.
Seconds later, they heard Ren’s voice through their earpiece.
“There’s a group of three-metre classes incoming. I count eight. Be on guard.”
“I’ll keep two of them busy,” Burr said, having just defeated the five-metre class he was grappling with.
“I’ve got two as well.” Ren added. “Chirch, Snow, Robbins. The remaining four are up to you.”
Before Robbins could finish his sentence, two of the three-metre classes in the middle of the herd were cut down, and seconds later two more met the same fate.
“What the hell was that?” Robbins said, surprised.
“Hah. Looks like we have a couple of helpers.” Ren smirked.
Shishio Yamamoto and Yuu Ookami landed in front of Chirch, Snow and Robbins. Not paying them any attention, they got to bickering with each other.
“I cut through them quicker.” Yamamoto declared.
“You used more slashes.” Ookami retorted.
As the duo continued to bicker over who was stronger, the remaining two bots that weren’t being dealt with by Ren or Burr were cut down.
“Not bad, Em Rose.” Niklaus said teasingly.
“Those two are ridiculous.” Rose complained. “How do they expect us to cover them when they keep running off like that?”
Seeing her friend across the battlefield, Chirch waved. “Rose! Hey!”
“Oh, Chirch! Fancy seeing you here.”
“If it isn’t Niklaus.” Robbins said, grinning.
“Long time no see.” Niklaus replied.
As the rookies reconvened on the battlefield, Yamamoto and Ookami darted off to the nearest spot they could have a bot-slicing contest.
“How’s it going so far?” Chirch asked Rose.
“Well, actually.” Rose answered. “I was nervous at first, but I haven’t really had time to think about that so far.”
“I’m glad you haven’t injured yourself, KC.” Niklaus joked.
“I’m glad you haven’t had your ass handed to you. Again.” Robbins quipped.
The group’s cheery reunion was interrupted by XO’s voice coming through their earpiece.
“Guys… there’s a big one headed your way. And when I say it’s headed your way, it’s just gone past me.”
“Shit. XO.” Niklaus muttered under his breath. “We were doing our best to keep up with the other two that we forgot about him. I’d better go get him.”
“I’ll come with you.” Robbins said. “If that’s okay with you, Dr. Snow?”
Snow nodded. “Ren and Burr are nearby, and so are the girls here. I’ll be fine.”
As Niklaus and Robbins headed off to find XO, Snow relayed the news of the seven-metre class to Ren and Burr.
“We’re a bit tangled up here.” Ren replied. “We’ll get to you as soon as possible, though.”
“Looks like it’s the three of us, then.” Snow replied. “Are you girls ready?”
Chirch and Rose looked at each other, and nodded. “We’ve got this.”
As the seven-metre class advanced towards them, the girls braced themselves. As its shadow loomed over them, they felt their muscles tense.
“Seven metres is pretty tall…” Chirch commented.
“It looks pretty sturdy, too.” Rose added.
As the girls decided their best course of action, the bot moved closer. Still unsure of exactly how to approach an enemy of this size, they remained glued to the spot.
“Dr. Snow. Would your freeze ability work?” Chirch asked.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to freeze a bot this big.” Snow said. “Sorry.”
“Damn.” Now even more hesitant, the girls had no choice but to lunge in and hope for the best. However, before they could unsheathe their swords, the bot stopped moving and began to tumble towards the ground. They stood, shocked, as the bot was effortlessly dissected, its parts crashing to the ground. What had just happened? Neither girl saw. As the final pieces of the enemy landed on the ground, so did Captain Marko. Knowing he was there, the girls breathed a sigh of relief.
Chirch began to call out to the Captain. “Captain Mar-”
Without a word, Captain Marko turned slightly to face them, shooting a powerful glare their way before taking off. Both girls felt a chill run down their spine, and they turned to each other.
“Yeah. I know.” Rose replied.
- Adamine Central – Battlefield Centre. The Elite Squad are reconvening.
“How’s it all looking?” Kyros asked, landing on the rooftop of a building next to Marko.
“It’s starting to quieten down.” Grinnington answered through the group’s earpieces. “Bot numbers are decreasing steadily and uniformly. The fighting should be done within the next thirty minutes.”
“That’s good news.” Kyros answered. “Any updates from Amanda?”
As Kyros spoke, Amanda’s machina arrived at the rendezvous point. Remaining seated in her machina, she updated the group.
“Everything’s going smoothly,” she replied. “We’ve had minimal technical faults or machina breakdowns, and the battle has been fairly straightforward.”
“Fantastic. So, it looks like we can start going around and helping clear up?” Kyros asked.
“It looks like it.” Amanda replied. “Man, I’m beat. I’m still kinda hungover from last night…”
“Uhh… guys?” Grinnington said, concerned.
“What’s happening, Grinnington?” Kyros asked.
“There’s an unusual heat signature coming from the east side...”
As Grinnington spoke, a large eruption of flame came from the east side of the battlefield. Several buildings were engulfed in flame, and a burst of heat was felt by all the members of the Elite Squad. They could only watch as similar eruptions of flame broke out in all directions, the spread of flame progressing from east to west.
“Looks like this one isn’t over after all.” Kyros commented.
Amanda felt herself tense up. “Marko, do you think it’s…”
“Yeah. It’s FlameBot.”
To Be Continued in Chapter 15: Kingsguard vs. FlameBot
Donald J. Trump as Laurent "Ren" Song - A reliable captain who looks up to his former classmate, Marko.
storm chaser as Dr. Snow - A seasoned veteran of the Kingsguard who has some nifty tricks up her sleeve.
KC Robbins - Another member of Chirch's graduating class with a point to prove (mainly to Chirch)
KapteynG as Garth Jemson Burr - A cool-headed machina pilot who was won over by Ren before joining his squad.
Shishio Yamamoto - To her, strength is what gives a person value. Luckily for her, she has it in abundance.
Yuuzume as Yuu Ookami - To him, strength is survival. Luckily for him, he has it in abundance.