This was going to be the death of her. Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun was not someone to sit around and just do nothing. But she had been doing little more than that the last few months. She had never been a good cook, more likely to burn the kitchen down then to make anything editable from it, so she couldn’t even do that.
It had been six months since her game had been unplugged. The event left her and her men without a game due to a malfunction that could have not only destroyed her game, but the entire arcade. One of the last games of the evening, just after last game was called, a rookie player was making their way towards the tower when the FPS bot was taken down by a Cybug. Not an uncommon occurrence, her game was challenging especially to those who have never played before.
Taking down the Cybug responsible she lowered her weapon and looked towards the beacon, the game over should automatically turn it on as soon as the FPS was defeated or failed. But as the seconds ticked by… nothing changed. Cybugs still swarmed the bridge, filled the air with their mechanical buzzing and clicking.
“Look out!” Kohut shouted as a bug swooped at her, she raised her riffle again and with his help took down a bug that came flying it her. It landed mere inches from her feet in a crumpled mass. She didn’t turn to thank him but instead turned back towards the tower. Why hadn’t it turned on yet? It always turned on without fail after the FPS was taken out.
Finally turning to face Kohut she shot down two more bugs. “Something’s wrong! The beacon’s not turning on! Kohut, Markowski! With me! The rest of you keep these things at bay!” She took off back down the bridge towards the hanger; the control room that kept the games code was located in the ship. Bugs rarely ever got into the ship; her men were usually on top of it, so it had always been a pretty safe place for it.
It took a few moments for them to wind through the ships corridors to make it to the room, but as they neared it they heard a screeching, followed by crashes and bangs. Throwing the door open revealed a juvenile Cybug, tearing apart the very coding for the game. “NO!”
Rising her weapon she blasted the bug that was devouring the very life blood of the game. The bug fell to the ground, but the damage was done. The coding for the tower, the beacon was completely gone. Their only hope in the game to eradicate the bugs that swarmed during game play.
The coding and wiring was gone, could they even fix this? Her mind went to her husband; could his hammer fix something that wasn’t there anymore? Turning to the soldiers behind her she shook off the questions. “I’m going back to the bridge, Kohut, you and Markowski find Felix, bring him here. Make sure nothing happens to him.”
They saluted her briefly before quickly filing out of the room and towards the station to the games bullet train. Wasting no time she ran down the corridors to the bridge to find a real mess. Cybugs were everywhere, without the beacon going off after game, there was nothing to stop them. The soldiers weapons couldn’t take out a full swarm like this, and without the Beacon triggering the games reset, there was no regenerating for them. The soldiers stood in a circle, covering each other as they tried to take out as many bugs as they could, but already one soldier lay wounded between them and another unmoving. They had made a good effort, but there was no chance with this many Cybugs and a non working beacon.
“Fall back! Into the ship!” She barked out the order, by the door to the hanger as she opened fire. The men didn’t argue as one put the injured soldiers arm around his shoulder and helped to guide him to the ship, another picking up the fallen soldier as the made a break for the ship.
The movement attracted the swarm of Cybugs, hundreds if not thousands dove down for the opening to the ship that the soldiers were steaming through. Calhoun remained at the entrance, firing as she took out what she could while she covered her men’s retreat.
“Close the door!” She shouted over her shoulder as she kept firing, slowly backing towards it. Smith, who was closest to the lever that operated the door, pulled the lever as the door started to rise from the ground. Reaching it, Calhoun leapt onto the door, which didn’t falter with the added weight as she continued to fire, sliding back onto solid ground in the hanger as she fired through the space left as the door closed. They were getting too close, there were too many.
Just before the door closed, a Cybug landed on the frame, it strained slightly under its massive build but kept going. That is until two more landed, the doors mechanics began to creak and struggle but it took another to land before the pulley system snapped and the door came crashing to the ground.
“Shit!” She cursed under her breath. “To the station!” She didn’t stop to hesitate as she began firing in earnest at the bug now filtering into the ship, backing away from the entrance. This wasn’t good at all, without a beacon, the bugs could push them back and invade deeper parts of the ships, and if they made it to the station… they could invade Game Central and the whole arcade. She would never allow that, they would stop this threat at all costs. Even if it took her game down in the process.
It had almost happened once, when Cybugs were released into Sugar Rush. She had been prepared to take that game out to keep the virus from spreading, and even if this was the game they originated from, her game was not immune to their threat.
A few soldiers and Calhoun alternated in turning and opening fire as he unit moved through the corridors towards the station. They made it without further injury, but just as they came to the platform, the train was just pulling into the station. She never thought it would be this bad, and as Felix stepped out of the train she regretted her earlier decision to bring him here.
The buzzing grew louder until he Cybugs started to spill out into the train terminal. “Get him out of here! Everyone on the train! Move it, move it!”
“What? What’s going on?” The handyman’s eyes grew as wide as dinner plates upon seeing the steady stream of bugs. “Tammy!” Seeing the eminent danger, he rushed forward for her.
“Fix-it get on the damn train! Kohut get him out of here!” He wasn’t able to argue as the larger soldier actually picked him up and took him with the rest of the solders on the train. Calhoun stayed behind, firing into the swarm in an attempt to hold them back. Backing towards the train, she hit a remote button on one of the columns that sent the train speeding out of the station. As it disappeared down the tunnel she knew that they were safe for the moment, but it would not keep them that way.
Detaching the huvorboard from her back, she threw it into the track wells where it floated a foot off the ground before she hopped onto it. Removing one of the time bombs from her belt she flew towards the tunnels entrance. Programming it for 10 seconds she stuck two of them to either side of the tunnel before leaning forward and flying quickly after the train down the passageway.
10…9…8… She counted off in her head as she sped forward, in a tunnel like this she would have to get as far away from the blast as possible, it would travel quickly down and even with some distance she could still get killed or injured from the blast.
7…6…5…4… She could hear them, Cybugs entering the tunnel after her, their screeching and buzzing deafening.
3…2…1… The explosion rocked the tunnel, her craft faltering slightly before she leaned forward even more; gaining speed but it wasn’t enough. She could see the light at the end, where the main station was before she was thrown from her craft and hit the tracks below. Though it was enough to throw her, it wasn’t enough to kill her. As the blast started to die down she could hear voices, her body being lifted to her feet as the games power began to fail, her body pixilating. Soon she was being dragged forward and out into the station.
A familiar 8-bit noise had her fully back to reality, Felix crouched over her body, now laid out on the floor to the station as his hammer healed her injuries. “Tammy! Tammy! Are you alright?”
She grunted slightly, moving to stand. “..Yeah, I’m fine…” Turning to look back at the tunnel, now completely dark, the sign above it that read Hero’s Duty flickering before going out fully. “…But its game over for Hero’s Duty…”
That had been 6 months ago, and going from running a game…to doing nothing was not sitting well at all. So as the arcade opened for the day, Tamora went out into the station in attempts to find something, anything that may help her pass the time, give her something to do. There had been some commotion earlier about a new game, so she headed towards the once open slot to find the sign above the tunnel entrance illuminated, the place that used to read the name of her old game. Instead it read “Pokémon X/Y”
She had never heard of it, but it may be interesting. With her pistol at her hip, yet no armor on her person she headed off into the game.
((AN: Story by me, lineart by Era of animation, coloring by me))