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[This journal entry is part of the Auld Lang Syne - Seraphim storyline. Credits: Chase Deinveaux, Eugene Grovington, Mikal Darsha]

ACME Training Grounds

After eleven months of rearranging for countless raids, the forest of plywood and sheet metal occupying one corner of Alameda field was shuffled around yet again. This time, panels would be moved in an attempt to emulate dank and claustrophobic stone corridors. Holographic emitters attempted to copy what the wood and steel couldn't, but the overall effect was marred by the clear, starry skies and a crescent moon overhead.

An enemy appeared behind one emulated wall and made his way silently along a path between corridors. He carried a theoretical gun, a disarmable MP4 that needed no real aim. Its laser precision would calculate his line of sight, connect with approaching agents, and simulate fire against sensors woven on the surface of training suits. There are at least 10 drones like this enemy, all waiting to spring up in the environment. With a customizable count of respawns each, they created an effective army.

Chase Devineaux felt like he was cheating. Having been through this enough times to predict the erroneous calculation of a few drones, he was stacking kill counts without a single injury for the past three training sessions. His team today included Mikal Darsha, Eugene Grovington, and Tomas Nassau. For this leg, they were going in quiet, and the bots were armed with noise and motion detectors set slightly higher than the norm.

"Let's clear this in less than ten," as soon as Chase indicated, the digital clock on their HUDs began to count down from 10 minutes.

"You three make this impossible," Tomas commented in his Spanish-knotted English at the current predicament. The four were surrounded, with several enemies out of sight and barely detectable, "If we were in my hometown, they would already be making our tombstones."

"Keep quiet," Mikal whispered, "they will hear us."

"Of course," Nassau joked, "on your tombstone, they should write ‘Captain Self-Explanatory'."

"We'll need to split up," Devineaux concluded the plan in his head, "Darsha, Nassau, you take the east. Euge and I will finish up here, and head up. If you can't clear in one go, double back to this area. Last enemy standing is Tweed, whoever takes him down gets the bonus."

Mikal and Tomas acknowledged and made their way to the east as instructed. The two disappeared into the darkness. The only sign of their progress was a far-off beep from a drone indicating that it was ‘downed' and resetting.

"Last man is Tweed," Euge commented in the dark as he checked his weapon for the coming attack. It wasn't unusual, but the way that sentence was spoken combined with what Devineaux knew about his friend sparked a thought. Grovington's style of play had always bordered something extra-military.

"Did he try recruiting only you, or your entire organization?" Chase knew Euge wasn't going to answer that directly, but it was a way to show a level of understanding. Had this been a different time or place, this query could have provoked a full rebuttal.

"Loaded question," Euge replied, snipping an enemy off a higher platform, "I'm surprised you know so little about him, seeing how he hates you enough to implode your apartment with a super weapon."

"Random ACME-based target," Devineaux shot down another scout on the simulated tower.

"Ivy and I talked, we don't entirely subscribe to that."

"Right, what did you conclude?" He wasn't sure he liked the idea that two of his best were consorting.

"That maybe you and I should go fishing."

The remark temporarily made Chase remove his sight from the rifle's scope.

This momentary lapse was enough for a rogue drone to detect its fallen comrade and fire at the men. Devineaux reacted quickly, but not before an enemy bullet registered a hit on his teammate. The body suit used for training simulated the injury by locking up nodes surrounding Euge's leg.

The pilot grunted in frustration, "Great, now I can't move."

"Relax, you'll be in Heavy for the real deal, this won't even count," the term ‘Heavy' meant the Advanced STUN Platform or ASP, a fully armored suit still in testing at ACME labs.

"Watch it," Grovington warned, "Left!"

Chase hurdled, using the butt of his rifle to take down an approaching drone before it could pull the trigger. The small altercation attracted a few more bots. Enemies once in sniping range were now at ground level, confused but alert.

"We are cleared here," Mikal whispered over radio, "last ones are yours."

Unable to speak or his voice might trigger combat, Devineaux replied to his teammates with a tonal beep generated from the radio's signaling button.

Euge signed that he counted three in-comings, and Chase confirmed. There were three here on the ground, but Devineaux could see the glint of one more tauntingly ‘stuck' on an upper floor.

That one became his ‘Tweed'.

Signing out their communication, the Alaskan volunteered to aggravate, otherwise distract, the drones while the Team Lead pulled off clearer shots. One round of loud firing and three head-shots later, Chase didn't wait around, rushing straight for the second story and the last bot. The clock was ticking and ten minutes was dwindling to mere seconds.

"Wait! Respond!" Euge called to him, but the warning went unheard.

Grovington persisted, struggling with his limited mobility, after his partner. When he finally got up to the second level, he found Chase finishing off the one bot caught in his tunnel vision.

"Right," Devineaux refocused, "You said ‘respond'?"

The Alaskan suddenly pulled up his rifle, barrel aimed towards his friend. Chase ducked quickly and Euge took his SCAR-H cyclic, emptying the magazine into the hallway beyond.

When the smoke cleared, three new drones were down. A chime signaled success, all 20 enemies were killed, and the the 10-minute exercise was over.

"I said re-spawn!" Euge put down his gun, he could stand on his own now with the game ended and his leg unlocked, "You forgot to factor the respawn count!"

"I would have seen them," Chase tapped his own suit, no recorded injuries. The apparent consequences took a moment to sink in before his eyes went slightly wide, "...Nice shooting, that was close."

"I was aiming for you," Eugene growled.

Devineaux processed that slowly, and Grovington let him.

"Are you two okay?" The radio sounded with Tomas's voice, "We are regrouping in main area for debriefing, si?"

"We're good," Chase eventually responded, then to Euge he shrugged, "So... fishing trip?"

The Alaskan affirmatively grumbled and led the way down.


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Patt, Patts, Petite, Amber Cecelia Argos, Valkyrie
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Luvs this like, so much, because I laughed so hard when I first read it. <3
Thanks for bringing it back


The VILEiest VILE to ever VILE a VILE
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Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) Ullyss (formerly Kid Kidman), Kitty, Seryy Pripyat
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I'm probably missing something obvious, but why was Euge trying to shoot Chase?


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Euge, Earl Jr.
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I'm probably missing something obvious, but why was Euge trying to shoot Chase?
In short, because Chase was getting tunnel vision something bad, and I was hoping to use the opportunity to knock some sense into him.
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