From a Rock to a Hard Place: Part Five
‘It’s me, Vivily.’ It was only Redd.
I batted my wings even harder, lifting us into the air. I was truly flying! In midair, I continued my attacks, dipping my mop in a bucket of water every now and then to make the water colder so they’d flinch. The mutants were all on the ground now, unconscious.
“You never saw anything,” Redd said to the janitor from above, the spell having lost its effect. But the janitor instead ignored the statement, longingly gazed up at us and put his left hand on his chest. “Farewell,” he mumbled. That was strange. What was he doing?
Then the cafeteria bell rang. The loudspeaker pipes rumbled:
“Mutants less than a month since transmogrification to battle training. Mutants one to six months since transmogrification, gases work. Six months to one year...”
“I think we’d better go.” I giggled.
“Excuse me, where do you think YOU’RE going?” A rather burly mutant Lupe (who was wearing a uniform full of badges from various mutant campaigns, probably for capturing more soon-to-be mutants) stopped us in our tracks, a huge saber in his hands. We were just walking through any open doors, hoping for the best.
“We’re on our way to the fight training because we just finished eating and are ready to start the day,” I casually quipped.
“Oh, did you do something after you ate? Have a chat with the janitor, perchance! The loudspeaker said to be on a lookout for mutants #3410 and #3411. From what I heard, they look a lot like you two!”
“And where exactly did you hear this? And how do you know that we are them?” I snapped.
“Oh, how could you not see the posters? Oops, I forgot to check for your numbers! I’m sorry!” he sarcastically answered. The beast squatted over me and picked me up by the ear. I tried to hold in a shriek of pain.
“Uh-huh, you have number 3410 printed on your ear, which surely means that the Hissi’s 3411. She looks like she could put up a fight, though, so I’m not checking her.” He appeared a proud soul. I hatched a plan and quickly told Vivily what to do mentally.
“Are you saying you’re weak because you aren’t going to check her?”
“No, I’m not! I just don’t want to bother checking her!”
“Are you saying you’re lazy?”
“NO, I AM-”
“That is not proper sense. You just tacked on another word for no reason. I asked you if you WERE lazy, not if you WEREN’T lazy. Saying ‘NO, I AM!’ would be as if I had asked if you WEREN’T lazy. What would be correct would be simply ‘I AM!’ Due to the fact you were shouting, I had to shout while quoting you. Or at least what you would have said (or shouted, my mistake) had you not have had incorrect sense. I shouted for the realistic effect, very simply put. I like keeping things real.”
“I’ll have you know that I am a trained soldier, simply waiting for another siege, armed with a fully-charged energy saber!”
“What’s your point? And is the weapon invisible?”
“What do you mean, is it invisible?!? OH NO, YOU DIDN’T!” His eyes switched focus to his empty weapon holder.
“You are partially correct now. You did not mention what it is that I didn’t do, which is incorrect. You really need to be taught common sense. However, I understand what you meant when you made that statement of ‘OH NO, YOU DIDN’T!’ Indeed, I did not steal your weapon. She did.” I pointed at Vivily. She pulled a trigger on the saber, which immediately lit up along the edges with a pulsing energy.
That Lupe never knew what hit him.
We arrived at the harvest area after quite some time of wandering. Then the loudspeaker pipes rumbled, “Mutants up to six months of age to battle training grounds C-31. I repeat...”
‘That was worthless,’ I told Redd.
‘At least now we have others to follow. For the work with the food, we just went to the cafeteria from the transmogrification cells and when we went to the harvest grounds, we were a little late. Now, there are other mutants here going to the same place,’ he responded.
‘You have a point.’
‘So I do.’
We followed a long stream of mutants. How could anybody memorize these paths so well within their first half year, if not less, in the colony? The corridors were all the same, with the same pipes, same doors that could slide up, same stony walls, same foggy light-up floor panels. There was no professional guiding us through the tiny corridors (which were instantly cramped as soon as the pack traveled inside), just a mutant Ixi that appeared to be the eldest of the newbies. Just how exactly did they wander through here with no expert?
“Hey, Hissi girl, what did you say?” He trotted up to me. The group stopped abruptly and focused all eyes on him. It was quiet, all except for some murmurings I barely caught, like “Did somebody just call Axle a name?”
“Um, I didn’t say anything.”
“No, really, you said something-or-other. Just tell me what it is, girl!”
“I swear, I never said anything. You must have thought something up.”
“You said something and I didn’t hear it! Did anyone in the crowd hear what she said?” The crowd was quiet. “Well, we’re gonna be late if we just sit about here, so let’s move it. Vivily, I’m feeling like giving you a whooping in fight training if you don’t tell me before evening what you said. MOVE IT! By the way, it’s an offense to say that I just thought something up.” But I never told him my name... Axle then pushed a large button on a wall device. The screen changed from ‘PUBLIC ACCESS’ to ‘OPEN’ as the door slid upwards, leaving a gap of air where it was before (just making sure you were paying attention).
After some very boring minutes of walking and Axle pushing buttons, we reached a giant double door. Axle jammed one last button. Instead of sliding upward, they swung inside a large gymnasium-like room.
All the mutants poured in, no longer needing to be in a cramped room. A magma Lutari (mutant ones haven’t been discovered yet, so I estimated that they had just transmogrified him into the closest match) stood atop a round platform. Padded mats were arranged around it. The walls were covered with weapon racks. Some particularly large laser guns and sabers were on very high racks that were in glass cases, most of the other weapons were wimpy little guns and swords. The Lutari picked up a microphone that I hadn’t noticed before.
“HELLO, YOUNG MUTANTS! IT’S ME, MAC BLACK, AND IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW (YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T), TODAY WE ARE LEARNING TO FIGHT IN TEAMS OF TWO INSTEAD OF OUR REGULAR DUELS!”
‘That guy is SUCH an idiot,’ Vivily mind-spoke.
‘You don’t know the half of it,’ somebody else completely said telepathically.
‘Hey, who is this?!?’
‘Why should I tell YOU?’
‘Because this telepathic link is only supposed to be for-’
“WE HAVE A TOTALLY RAD NEW SHIPMENT OF WEAPONS IN TODAY! BEHOLD, THE MINI MORTAR SHOT! JUST LIKE THE POPULAR WEAPON CHOSEN FOR OUR TROOPERS, ONLY A QUARTER OF THE SIZE AND NONLETHAL! IT’S THE PERFECT WEAPON FOR BATTLE TRAINING! NOW, PICK A WEAPON, FIND A PARTNER, AND CHOOSE YOUR OPPONENT! RAD, DUDE!” He followed this lunatic speech with a scream. I think it might’ve supposed to sound like “Yeah-hah-hah!” But it sounded more like a shriek. I slapped my paws to my ears. Once he finished screaming, I quickly located Vivily to be a fight partner and dashed towards her, but a Pteri got to her before me. I walked up to him.
“Excuse me, but-”
“WE HAVE A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE RULE! JADO IS HER PARTNER FOR TODAY, TRY AGAIN TOMORROW!”
“NO BUTS! FIND SOMEONE ELSE, AND TRY AGAIN TOMORROW!” I mumbled and requested a mutant Uni to fight with me. He grunted. I saw Vivily and her partner be confronted by Axle and Grub. She might not make it out completely unscathed...
My partner grunted again and pointed at a weapons rack. He selected a laser mortar. I carefully lifted a laser pistol off the rack.
“Hey, let’s pick on the wimpy Uni and his friend!” A mutant Shoyru and a Kau challenged us, each with a mini energy saber.
“BEFORE YOU FIGHT, MAKE SURE THAT YOU, YOUR PARTNER AND YOUR OPPONENTS ARE COMPLETELY ON THE MAT!” We all stepped onto the mat and rolled our eyes at Mac Black. He shouted out half a dozen safety precautions, but we ignored them all and I started firing at the Kau. The Shoyru pulled a trigger on his energy saber. It lit up with pulsing magma, and he swung it at me.
I endured the blow, only making it look like I was terribly stunned. Meanwhile, my sidekick grunted and charged at the Kau. He appeared to be rather experienced at this, as he had no trouble rolling to the side to dodge. He then targeted me, as I was still ‘stunned’.
The Shoyru suddenly dove (I had not noticed him take flight) at my sidekick. The Uni ignored his weapon, simply bucking him. They then raged into an outrageous dog fight, which I didn’t see much of as I focused on grabbing one of the Kau’s tentacles (I had generated a plan). When he charged, I would duck, and suddenly spring at a tentacle. I was almost stampeded once, but it worked. He instinctively bucked, but that was a good thing, as it gave me a chance to land on his back.
I quickly averted my eyes to the dog fight, my partner was downing the Shoyru, and so I yanked the Kau’s tentacle. The Kau bucked again, hitting the Shoyru with his front hooves. This stunned both of them. We took the opportunity and, as we didn’t know how exactly our weapons worked, we randomly pulled triggers as fast as we could. Both of our opponents gave up.
I looked around. Most mutants were also wrapping up. Mac Black screamed, “ONCE YOU FINISH YOUR TOTALLY RAAAAAAAAAAAADICAL EPIC BATTLES, BE SURE TO PUT YOUR WEAPONS BACK ON THE RACK! I REPEAT, PUT YOUR WEAPONS BACK ON THE RACK!” I rolled my eyes.
“This guy is ticking me off,” I whispered to the Uni.
I jerked the trigger on my weapon and purposely grazed Mac Black’s ear with it. Some mutants grinned then a war started. A one-way war, that is. Triggers were pulled and lasers zoomed across the room, all aimed at Mac Black. Nobody was certain how exactly he got on the platform, for no staircase was present, and it was too smooth-sided to climb, so the mutants that had energy sabers lit them up and threw them like darts.
Even though Mac Black’s platform was next to the wall and was a semi-circle (ignore my previous description of it, we’ll just say that some Faerie got bored and made it change) so he had access to mounted weapons that were far more complicated than the miniature versions of mutant war weaponry, there was no way he’d get to one of them through this crossfire. (Reader, please ignore the fact that all the Faeries except dark ones were drained of their magic at the start of the mutant revolution.)
The energy-laser throwers ran to the racks for more ammo, until they ran out. Then they used mini mortars and laser pistols. Soon the mutants got bored of at just firing at Mac Black, so they ceased fire and decided to listen to him shout his head off about how they were ‘betraying their role model’ and ‘ruining his style’. His rants were so incredibly stupid I won’t write down his words here. You would hate me if I did.
Thankfully, just then the loudspeaker pipes called the mutants to the indoor harvest grounds, so nobody got punished. At least, not right then. I didn’t catch a glimpse of Vivily in fight training or as Axle took us through the seemingly endless corridors to the harvest area.
To be continued...