We cannot help but notice the lack of mention of one very particular piece of technology in your reports. When we supplied your project with the Artificial Intelligence, we had assumed it would be used as a proper stimulus for soldiers in the field. We here at the UMNA cannot help but find this lack of use rather questionable, need we remind you that a proper implantation AI is a very costly tool. A tool that can only be created by the Silph Company?
Alone with her thoughts for once, California roamed the halls of the base. For some reason, the smooth metallic hallways and the sounds of her combat boots impacting the floor with a metallic clang soothed her. It made her feel oddly at peace.
Or at least it did when she was alone.
Turning around, California met the gaze of Ohio, who now stood next to her.
“Ohio.” California nodded. Their talks only usually that long, but California could tell that something was bothering the Gallade.
It was the way his eyes seemed to focus on what was in front of him, blindly lost rather than giving direction.
“I heard about your mission.” California sighed, thinking the sooner she addressed it, the quicker this’d be over with.
“News travels fast.” He replied, rather bluntly. He had an odd habit of wanting to talk, but being unable to form the exact words to express himself.
“No, but Rhode is pretty loud.”
“She doesn’t like being called her “official name.” Ohio sighed.
“Of course not. She’s not good at following orders, but you were on that mission, you already know that.” California chuckled. Her laugh only lasted a few moments, the glare from Ohio told her to drop the topic.
“Not everyone can be the star pupil, California.” Ohio muttered, still glaring at the Gothitelle.
“No. But give Rhode time- with any luck she’ll finally get it through her head that what we’re doing here is serious,” California explained, “What I’m more concerned with is Indiana. She managed to charge and fire a solar beam at night within seconds. Her new suit really makes her more powerful.”
“And this bothers you? What, don’t like competition?” Ohio asked, his glare more soft now. Around them, various soldiers rushed through the halls in the same direction, hellbent on reaching their target.
“No. I just… She’s just odd… I’m not sure what goes through that head of hers.” California sighed.
“Nothing good I’d imagine.” Ohio agreed, sighing.
“Got that right-” The Gothitelle began before being interrupted by a soldier running into her shoulder.
“Oh- Sorry sir.” The Soldier announced after regaining his footing, instantly going into a salute.
“What’s going on, Private?” California asked.
“Fight in the training room- New agent’s taking on Michigan, Maine, and Kansas in the training room,” The Soldier explained turning around and continuing his run, “C’mon, wait up!”
California looked at Ohio uncertainly.
“This’ll be good.” Ohio smirked, following the soldier. Sighing, California followed the group.
The training room, was really nothing more than a repurposed pokemon stadium. Two sets of large stadium lights illuminated the room. Sets of stadium seats lined the outer walls of the arena, giving the viewers a view of the entire battlefield, impenetrable glass lined the walls directly in front of the seats. In the center of the stadium was the ever-classic pokeball icon. On the red side stood a Conkeldurr, a Zoroark, and a Sceptile, all dressed with standard issue 115-U armor. Opposite them stood a Lucario in jet black armor. Unlike the opposing pokemon, he had golden gauntlets of some kind lining his forearms. He looked intimidating.
Above the training room, was a rather large viewing box built specifically for the agents to watch. Presently, the rest of the agents stood there to watch.
“Round One Beginning in,” UNOS began, “Three… Two… One…”
A buzzer rang.
Almost instantly after, Maine, the Sceptile, charged at the Lucario. His leaf blades extended from his arms, glowing a faint green. He slashed down at the Lucario.
Without a second of hesitation, the Lucario tilted away from the attack. The Lucario ducked down, bringing his palm back up into the jaw of the Sceptile, sending the pokemon flying into the wall. Kansas, the Zoroark, attempted to flank him, attempting to slash at the Lucario with his staff.
Almost instantly, the Lucario opened his palm and summoned a bone staff, and blocked the slash. This didn’t deter Kansas, however, as he went in for another slash across the stomach, only to be blocked as well. Suddenly, the Lucario twisted the staff, causing Kansas to slam his staff into the ground. In the sudden shock from this move, Kansas didn’t notice the Lucario bring his staff back up to smack him across the face, then the body, before finally bringing it down over his head, breaking the bone in two. Kansas slammed into the ground.
“Damn, he’s got some moves…” A male Gardevoir, West Virginia, muttered, watching the battle unfold from the observation box.
“It’s Kansas and Maine, they aren’t exactly top tier, West.” A female Gardevoir, Virginia, commented, watching just as intently.
“Forget the moves, do you see that armor? It’s like it’s built onto his skin!” Indiana announced, fawning over the armor.
“Any idea who he is?” California asked.
“No clue,” Georgia giggled, obviously not paying attention to the fight itself, “But I wouldn’t mind getting to know him.”
“Gross.” California muttered.
Suddenly, Michigan, the Conkeldurr, charged at him, roaring. The large creature brought his fist back before launching a massive punch at the Lucario. Without a second of hesitation, the Lucario brought his arms together in an “x” pattern, suddenly glowing red.
The fist impacted the Lucario, creating a massive explosion of dust and debris. When the dust finally settled, both pokemon still stood, the Lucario now glowing a fierce red. Michigan quickly realized that the odds had just fallen out of his favor.
“Big mistake…” The Lucario muttered: a barely audible growl. Within the blink of an eye, all of the energy stored in his body transferred back into his arms, which now glowed a bright, pure white. Suddenly, the Lucario pulled his fist back, and slammed it straight into Michigan, launching the large Conkeldurr across the room and into Maine and Kansas.
The three pokemon collided, slamming into the wall. A buzzer rang out across the training room.
“Round One complete. Advantage: Agent New Jersey.” UNOS announced.
“Jersey, eh?” West asked, “Where do they keep finding these odd as hell names?”
“I guess there must have been an Old Jersey...?” Indiana mused, putting a hand leaf on her chin in thought.
“Who knows.” Georgia answered.
“Forget that, did you see that counter? How powerful it was?” California asked.
“He’s probably just wearing a Macho Brace or some other bullshit like that…” Ohio muttered.
“Yeah, like my sun stone~!” Indiana announced, cheerful as always.
“That much power could kill someone…” The Mienshao, Connecticut, muttered, drawing the attention of her fellow agents, “He’s holding back.”
“Holding back or being kept on a tight leash for when they need him?” Rhode asked. The thoughts of the other agents were interrupted by the buzzer once more.
“Debris have been cleared. Moving onto Round Two - Firefight.” UNOS declared.
The training room now looked much more like ruins. Random pillars stuck out from the ground, some were somewhat ruined from months of abuse, others laid out horizontal to provide more difficulty for the combatants. At both ends were two tables, each with small arms. Jersey stood at one end, the trio of agents at the other.
“Hate that damn Darmanitan spray, once it gets on you, your armor’s hard as shit for weeks.” Ohio growled.
“Not to mention it smells like shit and the foam doesn’t come off.” West agreed, sighing.
“Wouldn’t know.” California smirked, grabbing the attention of the other agents, “Helps if you don’t get hit.”
“Why do they even teach us this? I don’t have hands!” Indiana questioned.
“Because we can’t always rely on the fancy suits that the Director forces us to rely on.” Rhode muttered.
“Rhode, can it.” California commanded. Quietly, but obediently, Rhode looked away from the other agents and towards the fight.
“Okay,” Kansas began, loading his own weapon. The other two agents were with him, each loading their own pistol. “Let’s try some strategy.”
“Round Two begins in... Five… Four… Three… Two… One. Round Two has begun.”
The three finished loading their pistols and turned towards the training room floor. Each of the three agents leaned against a nearby pillar.
“Maine, head forward, try to flank left, maybe we can cut him off-” Kansas began, only to be stopped by the sound of a pistol going off three times. Looking at his partner, Kansas found Maine pinned to the wall of a nearby pillar by the blue foam.
“Damn it. Michigan, flank rig-” Once again being interrupted, Kansas looked at his other partner and found him stuck in position on his back a few feet from him.
“Am I the only one that can follow direction?” Kansas muttered, turning around, only to be met by Jersey.
“No, there’s still me. Eliminating hostile.” Jersey began, aiming his pistol.
“Oh boy-” Kansas shouted, pulling up his own pistol, only to be shot in the head, the blue foam covering the front of his face. Jersey smirked.
“Round Two complete. Advantage New Jersey.” UNOS announced.
“Did you even see him get to Kansas?” Virginia asked.
“No, moved fast as a fucking bullet. Probably used Extremespeed…” West commented.
“Probably.” Virginia muttered, “I hate pricks like him who show off.”
“If it were you down there, you’d show off everything.” Georgia teased, smiling.
“Coming from you? The Infernape who seems to forget that you have to clasp the gold plates on you?” Virginia growled.
“Easy, V.” West muttered, putting a hand on Virginia’s shoulder.
“If you’re trying to insult me, it isn’t working.” Georgia muttered, yawning and walking away, “I’m going to rest in my bunk.”
“Fine, walk away! Whore!” Virginia growled.
“Still not working!” Georgia yelled back.
“V. Come on, we should probably rest too.” West said, loosening his grip on his sister’s shoulder.
“Whatever.” Virginia muttered, walking out with her brother.
“I’m going to bed, Levi,” Rhode announced, heading towards the exit before looking back towards the room, “Care to join me?”
“Of course.” Ohio nodded, following the Leavanny.
This left three in the room. Indiana, Connecticut, and California. Connecticut, in spite of the battle being long over, still looked intently at Jersey.
“You noticed it too?” California asked the Mienshao.
“His armbands?” Connecticut questioned, looking at California before nodding.
“His power, I could feel it from here.” California muttered, some curious fear in her voice.
“They fell off before he got to Kansas.” Indiana commented. “Call them what you will, but they aren’t macho braces. More like inhibitors.”
“The question is, how much power are they inhibiting…” California muttered.
“Hopefully we won’t find out.”