005: Part 5

by CM Towns

   “This room is… Kind of creepy. Needs more lighting,” observed Michie of the control room for the Guards recently finished training room nicknamed DEADLY GROUND. The control room had the entrance behind them, two walls to their sides, and one area with actual equipment. Six large screens; monitoring outside the training room where the rest of the team waited in costume, one inside the adjoining manufacturing wing which produces robots and targets for the training room, and the final four monitors were inside the training room itself. There were a trio of seats in front of a control panel. Buttons, knobs, switches, computer monitors and keyboards. Antoine and Sally were manned at the stations while Michie stood back beside Jessie who had the snow white cat of Aprils on her shoulder. The cats name was SUPREME OVERLORD and liked being perched on shoulders.
   “You excited?” Michie asked.
   “Why would I be? Some of us have already tested this thing out,” responded Jessie.
   “But now with new teammates,” Michie emphasized.
   “Each group has at least one semi-experienced member. Hell-one of the teams has three. Plus the robots and weapons are programmed to be nonlethal and with these two in control they’ll keep the combat even,” explained Jessie.
   “First team enter,” said Sally into a microphone.
   The doors of the training room opened and in walked Mr. Monster with Water, Ichi Senshi and Bravado.
   “Team one has entered,” Antoine said.

   “Due to combined lack of experience and Erica’s low scores in in hand to hand combat, coupled with attitude and easy frustration over power control they will be taking it easy on this grouping,” Jessie told Michie.
   “Here we go,” Antoine said to Sally after pushing a button on the control board.
   Inside the training room the wall on the far end opened in two places. From these two entrance ways dropped five robots. Four thin, almost skeletal looking robots from one entrance and from the other a bigger and brawnier machine.
   “Ichi, Bravado-you take two small ones, Water, you should be able to handle the other two and I’ll rush the biggest. Go!” instructed Mr. Monster.
   The men moved forward with Water considering her approach. Ichi put out his left hand and summoned a sword of pure energy. He swung and slashed, easily destroy the two robots making Bravado respond, “Dude! Not cool.”
   “Help!” Water shouted. Instead of fully engaging her enemies she created a pair of whips, made of water, to keep the robot adversaries at bay. One of the robots outstretched their arm and fired from its palm. A tiny ceramic ball caught her in the gut. Bravado bummed rushed one of the robots with Ichi slashing the other. Bravado smashed the robots head into the ground until it broke.
   Just a few yards away Mr. Monster threw the brawnier robot onto the ground, ran forth and punted its head off.
   Monster turned to the others and asked, “You okay?”
   Before anyone answered the robot at his feet popped its back and four smaller drones flew out. Bravado caught one flying his way and proceeded to smash it into the floor repeatedly. Ichi summoned energy into his right hand and threw it forth-it took the shape of a blade and cut through one of the flying drones. Water used her water whips on the other two buzzing over her. She hit one hard enough for it to sputter and crash into the wall. The other she only knocked away but Mr. Monster hopped up, caught it, ripped part of its wiring out.
   “That it?” asked Bravado disappointed. “Damn-and it was just getting fun.”
   “Fun!?” Water responded. She was annoyed at the idea of this training being fun but her annoyance melted away when Bravado’s smile.
   “C’mon-you got these water powers. You should have wailed around like that Eskimo chick form that one cartoon,” he said.
   “Katara from Last Airbender,” Ichi said.
   “No, bro, you’re thinking of that M. Night somethingorother. This is totally different,” Bravado tried to correct him.
   Ichi raised a finger to explain the movie was based on the cartoon but then stopped. Yeah, they are totally different, he thought.
   Back inside the control room. Antoine commenting, “That was lackluster.”
   “Worked out as predicted. Mr. Monster called directions. Ichi Senshi and Bravado followed through and assisted Water. Water was uncomfortable in combat but at least she has enough control to make her water whips work. Using her powers more in defensive capability. Ichi was impressive with the control of his power,” Sally critiqued.
   “We need to get Bravado a weapon. Or a few. His abilities in this scenario did not shine. Basically he just jocked his was through it,” Jessie added.
   “What are Ichi’s powers exactly?” Michie questioned.
   “The creation of energy based weapons through pure fighting spirit,” Jessie answered.
   “It’s like he totally rolled out of an animé,” she remarked.
   “Agreed,” Antoine said watching the monitors as rounded robots, almost ion the shape of R2-D2, came in to retrieve the broken bots for recycling.
   “I’m recommending after this training camp that I spend a few days working with Erica personally,” suggested Sally.
   “Works for me. Lets send the next team in,” Antoine instructed.
   Sally called in the next group and they stepped into the training facility. Kestrel walked in first with SubHuman just behind and followed by Gravity Woman and El Hijo de la Bestia.
   “SubHuman has experience, especially when it comes to operating as a team. Kestrel of course is good and the best hand to hand fighter of the four. El Hijo and Ms. Zero-G are low on the fighting scale but Gravity Woman has pretty good handle on her powers. The cat here-and Wolf outside the doors-is to assist El Hijo whose probably focusing his power to retrieve their traits,” Jessie detailed to Michie.
   “This is co cool,” was her response.
   The openings emerged in the wall and this time only two thin robots appeared but were joined by two of the brawnier sized ones. One of those robots popped its back and the four drones emerged. Kestrel pulled her crossbow, pressed a button to extend the curved limbs. She charged forward and SubHuman wanted to stop her but then turned his attention to the others.
   “Gravity, take care of the drones and El Hijo you’re with me,” he directed.
   Gravity Woman took to the sky and went for the buzzing targets while El Hijo took the lead in front of SubHuman as they charged the bigger robots. El Hijo de la Bestia could replicate the traits of animals and hold it for almost an hour at a time. The animals only had to be in a certain, yet currently unmeasured, proximity.
   El Hijo leaped up and banked off the wall, confusing one of the bigger robots. SubHuman fired on the second of the bigger robots but his blasts only seemed to slow it down. Before he could put more juice into his attack the robot fired a ceramic projectiles his way, forcing him to dodge. SubHuman took a quick glance at his teammates. Gravity Woman had just hurled one drone into another just above and Kestrel was facing off with the two smaller robots.
   Kestrel dodged one robots attempt at a punch all while holding her crossbow in one hand and an arrow in the other. She tripped the mechanical enemy as it tried to press the attack, all while slipping the arrow onto her weapon. She fired the arrow into the neck of the second robot and it dropped down. Kestrel ducked the first robots wild swing, came up with a palm strike to rock it back, a martial arts sweep and then a jumping double stomp on the head. She reloaded her crossbow and fired a red tailed arrow on one of the bigger robots getting dizzied by El Hijo’s quick movements. That arrow exploded on impact, taking out an arm.
   “Okay, I got this,” Gravity Woman said using her power to throw the other brawny robot backward. Gravity Woman’s control over gravity was limited to around an eight to eleven yard diameter.
   The robot who Kestrel hit a moment earlier used a gas grenade. It exploded and everyone covered up except SubHuman whose bandana gave him limited protection. He grabbed one of the busted drones Gravity Woman struck down, charged it and tossed it into the leg of that same robot. The robots leg blew off-falling down forward.
   Gravity Woman was in the air now, used her power to force her targeted enemy robot back into the wall. Kestrel fired another exploding arrow but this time it hit the throat area-blowing off its head.
   “That was interesting,” Jessie said before continuing, “Kestrel is semi-pro. Very comfortable, very good. But she rushed in without consulting her teammates. No problems occurred with that here but against smart bad guys could lead to problems. Something I can relate too. Except I’m invincible and a pro.”
   “El Hijo was lost,” added Antoine.
   “True but he was able to grab Supreme Overlords traits-his speed shot up and the leaping ability. Once we get him schooled in hand to hand combat he should be pretty good. Until then I recommend a weapon here too,” Sally said.
   “Maybe we will do stun gun for him. Gravity Woman was good. Control of powers. Real potential-no wonder the government was pissed she went AWOL,” Antoine commented.
   The group spoke a little more in comparison of the two teams before they called in the final group.
   “Alright-this ones going to be vastly different. Huntsman is a powerhouse so they are amping up the challenges. Araminta’s good too, obviously. Flash-Man has speed and is a good enough fighter, attributed partially to that incredible speed. Brown Widow is probably the weak link but even then she formidable,” Jessie said to Michie.
   This time the robots were more mixed. Five skeletal robots, trio of brawny ones, a slightly taller robot with a cone head and laser guns for forearms, and small circular flying drone.
   No instructions were given, everyone just did their own thing. Flash-Man rushed forward with Brown Widow on the nearest wall. Araminta had her sword out and Huntsman took to the air. Huntsman fired down and killed one of the brawny robots. The conehead menace fired upward, Huntsman dodged but a few tiny missiles from the small flying drone nailed him hard enough to force him down.
   Araminta was shielded up from attacks from the conehead drone and both brawny robots. Flash-Man moved quick to tackle the skeletal lot. Brown Widow stomped one from above, crushed its head.
   “What are you doing!? Help the girl!” Flash-Man barked.
   “Excuse-?” Before Brown Widow could finish he bumped her and caught a pair of the ceramic projectiles which he returned into the robot, knocking off an arm and its head.
   Brown Widow hopped on one of the brawny bots, used webbing to blind it and Araminta swung her sword at its waist-the swing cutting part way into the robot. The sword sensed Araminta’s intent-so it was blunt instrument against living creatures but a sharp tool against robots. Araminta pulled the blade back and cut off the robots leg, it fell and was no longer an obstacle in this session.
   Above them Huntsman finally nailed the UFO drones only to get hit by a magnetic blast. He cursed and retaliated heavily. Brown Widow and Araminta had to take cover as a few blasts came a bit too close. The conehead drone moved fast while the last of the brawny robots was too slow and got its head seared off. Flash-Man took matters into his own hands-caught the conehead drone from the back and rammed him into the wall.
   “Watch where you’re firing!” Flash-Man shouted.
   “Don’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss!” Huntsman shouted back as he landed.
   “He’s right, you are not the boss,” Brown Widow agreed.
   “So he should just fire wildly? Did he not come close to hitting you? Besides neither him nor Araminta took any control of the situation despite seniority. We go out into the field we’re going to need someone who can call orders,” Flash-Man rattled off.
   “That’s going to be you?” Brown Widow replied.
   “Well it’s certainly not going to be you!”
   “You do have a problem with me,” she shot back.
   “Right now my problem with you is that-,” he started before Araminta cutted in.
   “Guys, guys, calm down. We won the scenario. This is about learning to work as a team. Flash-Man is right-we should have had someone as a point person. Flash-Man, you need to work on your communication skills,” she said.
   The four talked as the group inside discussed.
   “Reed is still not use to his transformative state. It amazes me he can snipe you so easily in a video game but when he actually has to it in real life he’s bad,” Antoine said.
   “Flying and shooting is much harder than standing and shooting. He needs to work on his aim on the ground before he’ll be good in the air,” Jessie said.
   “Flash-Man is a natural. He took charge when he saw chaos in the fight-though his harsh tone would be a problem. He works on that, the way he deals with people, he could work in field as a division leader,” Sally started before moving onto the others, “Brown Widow could be good but she’s use to fighting defensively and with normal criminals. I think the robots threw her off a little. The team scenario as well. Not wanting to get in anyone’s way. Araminta did not use a single gate jump. That is impressive. Stood and fought with shield and sword.”
   “So the verdict is people we thought would do good did. Huntsman has the same problems. Some guys need weapons. Water is right now our weakest player,” Jessie finished. They all agreed, and the three went to take these observations to their teammates.