Blood Stained Roses
Curriculum 2 ~ Battlefield
“Can you believe it?” Clay asked in awe that night. “Five girls as candidates!”
“It is weird,” Yamagi conceded. “I mean, after all, there are no female pilots other then Teela, and Teela is supposedly some kind of cyborg.”
“I think it might be cool working with girls for a change,” Roose commented softly.
“And you’re the only one,” Yamagi shot back. “I be they’ll just slow us down! If women were meant to be pilots, then there would be another one – besides Teela!” he added hurriedly when he saw Roose open his mouth to speak.
“I don’t know,” Zero said. “I mean, did you see the way that one got seriously under Force’s skin? I think they might be more then they look.”
“Okay, so maybe those two are the exception,” Yamagi relented. “But the other three are definitely going to be packing by the end of the week, like Force said.”
“We’ll see,” Zero said and lay down to go to sleep. Everyone followed his example and they were soon snoring as sleep took over.
Kizuna blinked and sighed. She should have known. Force was much like Hiead and Zero combined – he didn’t like anyone getting in his way and he could run his mouth when he felt like it. And so it was this morning in the meeting room. Alhana and Rika where there early, the other three taking the time to eat something before coming and then being called away for a second by another instructor. Alhana and Rika had been spared that since they had not been there, but now they face Force, though he seemed to be more like an annoying buzz in Alhana’s ear then an actual annoyance.
“I don’t see why you don’t pack it in,” Force sneered. “You won’t last one week, I’m sure.”
Rika was speaking the most, Alhana making a point of ignoring the purple-haired boy. Her emerald eyes blinked as she took in this statement, “How can you be so sure? Can you see the future?”
“No, it’s intuition,” Force sneered.
Rika snorted, “And how well has your intuition served you before?”
Force blinked, “Just fine, thank you. Saved my life one time.” Again Rika snorted and held her silence as Azuma came in, followed by the other three. Force and the other tops threw glares their way, save Erts, who had never so much as expressed hostility towards them.
“Right, well, today we’re doing simulations,” Azuma said through a cough. “So, who wants to fail first?”
Force was going to step forward, but Juri was quicker and raised her hand, “I will!” Her eyes gleamed as stepped forward and through the door to the simulator.
Force gawked, “Her?” He swung around to face the other four, “You’re letting the smallest of your group go first without a partner?”
Alhana actually acknowledged him for the first time since she had come in that morning, “Juri can handle herself, trust me. What’s your time?”
Force puffed his chest out, “fifty seconds to take down three.”
Alhana shrugged, “That’s a little over sixteen seconds for each.” A smirk spread across her face. It was small, but it was there. “I be Juri beats that time.”
“You’re on!” Force retorted hotly and turned to watch. That small, nearly invisible smirk never left Alhana’s face as they turned to watch.
Juri was shifting from foot to foot, a smile spread across her face, “So, what am I packing in this baby?”
Azuma blinked, “You have an electro sword and a laser gun.”
Juri frowned, “Take out all the fun why don’t you?” She sighed and shook her head, “Oh well. Guess I’ll have to do this the old fashioned way. Just start this thing up.”
Azuma did as she asked and they watched as the scene came up. Zion was before her and behind her G.O.A. with several asteroids sprinkled across the scene as well. The smile left her face; she stopped shifting and relaxed, looking around with those red eyes. A beeping went off to her left and she swung around, drawing her gun, faced the enemy and fired. There was an explosion and simulated blood poured, blotting out the stars. Force’s mouth dropped open and Alhana’s smirk became more visible.
A louder beep went off to her backside and she sheathed the gun and drew her blade, charging it and propelled herself backwards and then turned to face front and nearly slice through a second VICTIM. She turned her attention away from the decapitated mass as a loud, urgent beeping went off to left again, where a VICTIM was making a beeline for Zion. She was at least over two hundred feet from it and acceleration wasn’t going to be enough as fast as it was moving.
Juri frowned, charged her blade, drew back, and sent it spinning towards the VICTIM like a Frisbee. She drew her gun promptly and raised it so she could aim. Force had a bewildered look on his face that spoke clearly ‘what the hell is she doing’? They watched as the charged blade caught up to the VICTIM and slammed into its back, making it writhe as electricity shot through it. That was all it took. Juri pulled the trigger and the energy beam went flying, smashing into the VICTIM where the sword had and thus slicing it all the way through, a dark mass impaled on the sword as he erupted from the other side of the VICTIM.
“Time,” Juri called and the simulation ended. She came back into the room, the serious person gone, and the bouncing girl back in her place. “Well? How did I do?” she asked, the question aimed at what seemed to be Azuma and Elaine both.
“Forty-nine seconds,” Azuma said. “That beats out force my one second.” Force was pale when he heard this. Juri just smiled and turned to face Elaine.
“You used your sword resourcefully, and your aim is better, but you hesitated on the pull of the trigger,” Elaine said softly.
Juri frowned, “I thought I did, but I wasn’t sure exactly when to pull.” Elaine nodded and Juri bounced over to where Saki was, staring up a whispered conversation as Rika moved to go.
Rika was better then Juri, though she scored only two second higher. She was slower to react, but her attack strategies made up for that. No VICTIM got closer then twenty-six miles of Zion and she finished them all off efficiently. Elaine said nothing and Rika asked for no comments, so received none. Kaori was much the same. Her attacks were more hands on, so she took about five seconds slow then Force, but she still kept all the VICTIM a good distance from Zion and finished them off neatly. These three shows of power proved these girls could handle themselves just fine, and then came Elaine.
There was stiff silence as Elaine waited for the simulation to begin. As soon as it began a beep went off behind her. She propelled herself that way, drew her sword, swerved to the right and sliced neatly through the VICTIM. She rolled instantly, drew her gun and shot to the left, nailing another. She accelerated to the side and went into a spinning roll, drawing her blade again and drilled straight through another VICTIM. She came out of the roll, kicked off the one she had just killed and shot up at an angle, shooting another VICTIM and then flipping and shooting down, killing the last of the six that had been set before her, and none had gotten more then one hundred fifty feet from her or anywhere near Zion.
Zero’s mouth was open (as was everyone else save Hiead and Force – who had more dignity, and the other four girls, who didn’t seem at all surprised). Azuma gulped, “Thirty-nine point nine seconds.” There was a collective gasp when this was announced. That was just five seconds short of the record, set by Teela nearly twenty years prior.
Elaine came out and face Alhana, “I pray you can do better then forty-five seconds.”
Alhana nodded and entered. Force ground his teeth as he waited for her simulation to begin. As soon as the screen came on a beep went off. She drew her gun and shot the accelerated up and flipped, slicing into a VICTIM and then shot down as she came out, taking down a third. She kicked off the dead VICTIM attached to her sword and the boosters ignited. She was sent into a rolling flip and sent out shots in all directions like a sparking metal wheel. Two more VICTIM exploded and she came out.
“Time,” she said evenly, and sheathed her weapons.
“Forty-four seconds!” Azuma called. Elaine let the faintest smirk creep onto her face and she turned her face away, satisfied it seemed.
“So, what do you say Force?” Alhana asked calmly once she came back in, facing the top pilot. “Can you do better?”
“You bet,” Force growled and walked in.
The simulation started and Force shot forward before the beep even finished sounding. He sliced through his first VICTIM and pushed off it to flip and accelerate the other way. He shot twice and took out another one. He sped past it and sliced to the left, destroying his third, flipped over that and shot down, taking down a fourth. He pushed off the third and flipped backwards, neatly slicing through a fifth and then righted himself, turned right and shot the sixth.
“Time!” he called.
“Forty-three point nine,” Azuma called. There was a gasp and Kizuna shivered a she watched Alhana’s gaze not narrow, but harden into icy indifference.
Force came out and smirked, “I did beat you.”
“By a millisecond and only after watching Elaine and I take out our six,” Alhana said in a detached voice. “If you had gone first you would have done much worse.”
“What?” Force howled. “You’re rather cocky for someone who just got beat!”
Alhana lifted her head up slightly so she had an air of looking down on him, eyes dilated and a small smirk gracing her icy features, “You’re howling like a wolf that doesn’t understand why they don’t get a share of the kill, yet the omega does.” With that she turned on her heel and left the room, lifting a hand in a dismissive gesture when Force howled again. Kizuna saw Elaine nod to Juri who then bounded away after Alhana.
They were all leaving the room two hours later when Kizuna heard something that made her shiver. It was coming from Elaine’s mouth and was tinged with such cold-heartedness that Kizuna couldn’t help but shudder.
“Who do you think will die first? Force or Alhana?” she asked, the question aimed at Rika.
Rika shrugged, “Depends. But, going by what we just saw, my money would be on Alhana. She’s already under his skin, and it won’t be long before she can fill her belly with his blood.”
“Yes, she’s always had that tick like quality, hasn’t she?” Kaori asked and then they fell silent when Elaine noticed Kizuna’s ears twitching.
Kizuna gulped and hurried on, suddenly very afraid.
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