Garrus told Levi he did a good job not crashing the Merriweather as the ship landed. He unbuckled his seat belt and got up. He grabbed the container of food and a picnic blanket that were in the cargo area and stepped down the boarding ramp as he found a good spot closer to the edge of the forest that circled the empty field. He spread out the picnic blanket and put everything down before looking back at the Merriweather and realizing....they had forgotten the test.
"Fuck! Levi you forgot the....you know what! Ah shit...uh...okay I have a plan we'll be fine," Garrus yelled as he ran back to the ship and everyone that were just exiting it. "Just give me a few minutes and we'll be fine," he said as solutions ran through his head, picking the best option and getting out his phone to make a call.
Slowly walking out of the bathroom, Steven gratefully walked onto solid land. "Uhhh Levi next time could we keep the speed somewhere in the realm of sanity? I left my lunch back at the promenade," he said, swaying slightly on the spot.
Looking at Garrus for a moment, Levi struggled to remember what he had forgotten. Wait, did I forget the...
"Oh, damn!" he exclaimed, remembering exactly what he had forgotten to bring. He nodded when Garrus said he had a plan and let him run back into the Merriweather. Shortly after Garrus ran back in, he saw Steven slowly stepping down the ramp. "If you thought that was fast, Steven, that wasn't even the maximum speed I can squeeze out of the Merriweather's engines!" he said with a short chuckle. "Don't worry, you'll get over it pretty quickly," he added.
Tommy followed Steven out of the Merriweather. As he stepped out he forgot to duck, and banged his head on the threshold, leaving a fairly large dent in it. Oh shit, Tommy thought, before quickly forced the dent back out with his hands, he took a second to see if it was ok; he had certainly made the dent a smaller but it was still noticeable, eh that'll buff right out. He dismissed the issue, before joining Garrus.
"Ah yes the training grounds, I have found memories of this place because I never had to actually run it, the joys of late entry." Tommy mused to no one in particular.
Another impressed whistle escaped Rowan as he stepped down from the boarding ramp after Tommy, whose name he had yet to catch. It was kinda hard to believe that the trip had taken fifteen minutes; from the speed people were talking about, it seemed like it had taken less time. He looked around the field that was evidently to be the training grounds. Grasslands for the most part; he filed the note away for future reference. You never knew what little details could be put to effective use, in combat or otherwise.
"So..." he began, cracking a couple of his knuckles before shuddering and shaking the hand in question. "How's this gonna play out, I wonder."
Katie walked down the Merriweather's ramp with a light, almost jump-like step from the ramp to the grass, and quickly joined Garrus at the picnic blanket. She poked at the ground with one finger, and a small piece of hedge grew from the grass. She began to mentally shape it for a minute or so, until she had grown the equivalent of a long couch, which she promptly flopped down on to watch the show that would unfold soon enough.
Jason couldn't help but chuckle as stepped down from the boarding ramp, hearing Steven's comment.
"Phfft, he thinks the flight was bad..." He snorted to himself as he joined the other seniors at the picnic blanket, quickly placing himself onto the blanket. He eventually laid down on the blanket, staring up towards the clouds.
"Hey Garrus, what'd you pack (other than sandwiches) for our picnic?" He asked.
Garrus could be heard talking on the phone, the voice on the other side almost being heard. Garrus quickly ended the call with a 'YES!' and hung up before heading back over to the picnic area.
"I brought chips, sodas, and some water along with this bag of skittles that was in the cupboard," Garrus replied to Jason before addressing the recruits, "You guys can just wait here for now I guess. At least until the test finally gets here..."
Not even ten minutes later as everyone was sitting down relaxing a large figure could be seen in the sky from the distance. As it drew closer it seemed to be a dark grey blob until it landed right next to the picnic area and slid across the ground: the MechaSnake had landed.
Patriot Punch! landed gracefully next to the shocked Society members, giving them a slight wave. "Ah that was a glorious throw! Half thought I was going to accidentally hit you guys! Ha-ha, thankfully I still have those throwing skills from my years in baseball at college," the man said in his booming voice, taking off his coconut hat for a moment to wipe his brow. He was still wearing his red, white, and blue PP! uniform; though there were a number of rips and tears on the edges from his time on Americaland. He dropped a bag of coconuts onto the picnic blanket, stating that they were the cocktails and that there should be enough for everyone.
"None for me of course. Not after that incident with Camille and her coworker. One moment I had taken a sip of a PP! and the next I was in a Florida hospital with absolutely no recollection of what happened," he exclaimed with a smile on his face as he recalled the story.
"That's great Patriot. I'm just happy you managed to bring it," Garrus replied, getting up and shaking Patriot's hand.
"But of course! Though I did initially think you were talking about the doctor, but there was no way I was going to bring him here. That man creeps me out. But then I realized what you were talking about and everything else went smoothly," Patriot said, patting Garrus on the back as Garrus grabbed a PP! out of the bag.
"And here I thought today might just be rather boring." Richard said as he got up to shake Patriot's hand. He let go before grabbing a drink and going to sit down again.
"So Patriot, how's the banana republic coming? All your despotic dreams coming true?" He asked with a chuckle before taking a drink of a Patriot Punch.
"So Garrus, now that everything and one is in place, when will we be getting started?" Lillian asked as she grabbed a sandwich while Renton hid behind her, only occasionally peaking out.
Levi yelped and jumped back when the MechaSnake made its rather surprising entrance. He reflexively swore and raised his hands to shield his eyes from the flying dirt. When he recovered, he saw that none other than Patriot Punch! standing before them. Levi relaxed and grinned. "You sure know how to make an entrance, Patriot," he said. "Like what we did to the MechaSnake from last time?"
"Hey Patriot good to see you again." Alex said waving as the former president landed next to them then blinked seeing him drop a bag. "Did you bring some Patriot Punches?" she asked looking at the bag like it was filling with gold.
Eric sighed. "Oh shit not a bag of PPs shit. Please tell me PP! that you won't drink one of them. Remember what happen last time." Eric said.
Brian had kinda of zoned out during the trip. He wasn't really much of a flier anyway. He preferred staying on the ground. He knew the other guy, Tyson, he asked him something, but he was so focused on trying to drown out the turbulence it went right over his head. When they finally arrived he walked out with him.
"Right, you were asking about my power, huh? Well, you see, it's-" he got out before the latest arrival interrupted him. The giant snake thing came to a rest in front of the living embodiment of America. "Holy shit, man! You killed that snake! You, well, man, I guess that's how you do up the superhero thing, huh? Man, I don't even come close to that!"
"Hello there everyone. Hello, hello~! It's fan-tastic to see all of you again. First thing is that I won't be drinking any of those Eric, I already said that I wouldn't have any and we don't want a repeat of last time. Second is that my country of Americaland is a democratic country Richard, it's the American way to vote you see. Though as of now there are no citizens other than myself to vote. Once I finish up the main city of Americaland I'll start getting people to live there instead of just vacationing!" Patriot explained with bravado.
"As for the MechaSnake, I love it! I remember back in my day when the second generation members would have to fight fifty of them! And they shot out laser beams and spat out radiation! Those were good times...god Camille looked just as good back then...those white pants and that tight vest..." he trailed off for a moment before Renton caught his eye. "Why hello there little buddy!" Patriot exclaimed as he walked over, the little baby hiding behind his mother and wriggling as Patriot picked him up...only to drop him before either of Renton's parents could grab the baby out of Patriot's hands.
"Dammit Patriot! Leave him alone and dammit I'll need brain bleach after that comment," Garrus said as he knelt down beside his crying son, shooing Patriot away who then focused his attention to the new recruits. "Ah look at these Americans! They seem to be a good lot. And oh silly one, I did not kill the snake I simply brought it here! I'm sure they'll turn it on eventually and then the training will begin! And then you will be an American Super Hero!" he said as he patted Brian on the back with a few mighty hits.
"Damnit Patriot, either you be more careful or I am damn well introducing a rule that you are not to hold my child." Lillian said as she picked up and held her child.
"Sure Patriot, completely democratic. Ignoring the fact you are the country's founder and obviously power mad, completely democratic." Richard replied with a chuckle before finishing his first Patriot Punch and grabbing another.
"So when can we expect this to start?"
"Um, OK. I don't think I'm qualified for that job though," Brian admitted as the man slapped his back. "I mean, would love to, but I'm Canadian, so I don't think it would work nearly as well as you man, but still that's....wait. That snake thing is the training? What the heck? I can't fight that thing with a hockey stick! Ah, what the hell man! Man, I'm gonna suck at this."
"Sorry Mrs. Arreos. I'll be sure to be more careful next time," Patriot said, a slight hint of malice when he said the word 'Arreos'. He turned his attention to Richard and replied, "It will be completely democratic. If my Americaland citizens do not want me to be their president then so be it! It's the American way to accept defeat and to play by the rules!"
"Canadian, eh? Ah America's hat, it's close enough to being American young man. Not quite the same as being a smart, strong, reliable American but it's good enough," Patriot explained, giving Brian a few more pats on the back, "As for that MechaSnake, why yes it is the test! Boy I remember back in my day where we had to fight fifty of those things! They shot atomic grenades out of their tails and could fly~!"
This was worrying Brian even more. Sure, his powers would make sure that he would more than likely survive, but having to heal from a grenade blast? That sounded a lot more painful than what he's done before.
"Atomic grenades? Like holy shit man! So those things shoot out Nagasaki specials? Man, this is going to be intense! I don't know, man."
"Sweet Zombie Jesus H. Christ, Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum," Rowan muttered to himself as he stared open-mouthed at the 'MechaSnake' and Patriot Punch's dramatic entrance. Almost worthy of being called a Magnificent Bastard entrance, a la TVTropes... Almost, but not quite, he thought as his gaze travelled up and down the monstrosity.
"I suppose we have to fight this thing," he eventually said a little louder. He shot a look at the guy armed with a hockey stick; evidently he would not be much help against their metallic adversary, as he had said. Rowan resolved to try and protect him if the MechaSnake had some form of intelligence, and chose to attack the recruits at their weakest point.
The best strategy would probably be to assume his image, hopefully confusing the robot's targeting systems, and thus leaving it open for the combat-oriented aspirants to hit it hard. Rowan himself would be able to do some damage through use of his psychic bolt, although how powerful the blasts should be, and their impact radius, would have to be determined through experimentation.
Jason rose to feet once Patriot made his entrance, welcoming the former present along with the others.
"Ah Patriot. You always know how to make an entrance." He said to the super man, shaking his hand.
"So P, you gonna stay for the show, or did you just come to drop off the snake?" Jason asked, pun fully intentional.
"I hope it's the former rather than the latter. I want to see how properly the recruits shit themselves if PP! decides to get in on the action." Erebus said.
While the other Society members talk to Patriot, Taryn grabbed a can of soda from the supplies Garrus had brought. She didn't trust the PP!s. After tapping the top of the can Taryn opened it to take a sip. She peered over the can at the MechaSnake where it lay dormant on the ground.
'This ought be interesting.' she thought. Three solid days of work and upgrades had all lead up to this one exercise.
Taryn moved until she had a clear view of the snake. After switching hands for her soda she pulled a matte black phone out of her pocket. Holding the small device up Taryn took a picture of the MechaSnake as well as a few quick candid shots of the group. Taryn slid the phone back into her pocket then wrapped her hands around the cold can of soda.
Time to get this show on the road...
Levi looked around for a moment, trying to find Taryn. Catching her as she put away her phone, he headed her way, making sure to be out of earshot of the new members. "Taking prosperity pictures?" he said with a grin. Levi nodded towards the MechaSnake, his excitement obvious. "How do you think they'll do?" he asked, turning to look at the newbies again and sizing them up against their mechanical monstrosity.
Tyson was rocked around a little by the ride and lost attention to the question he had asked. Tyson sat in the ship for a few minutes in order to gain his bearings as it had been a while sine he left solid ground let alone be transported in a high speed aircraft. As he was getting off the aircraft he grabbed his bag. Up on joining the group outside he was greeted to the sound of the anwser to his previous being interrupted by the sound of gigantic mechanical snake landing beside the group and the arrival of the previous Head of State.
I better stay away from him before I get the urge to punch his face in. Tyson then went over to the snake that wasn't functioning and kicked it. The snakes solid body didn't rattle and if it wasn't for the steel toes in his boot Tyson's foot would have killed. Tyson then saw the two pilots of the ship talking to each other trying not to be heard. I should compliment them on the flight.
Tyson then walked over to them and said, "I commend you on the flight. That's an interesting ship and this is an interesting machine." Tyson pointed to the snake and continued, "I have to ask. Who made them and what I am going to be dealing with in regards to that thing?"
"Taking prosperity pictures?"
Taryn turned to look at Levi and smiled. "Yes." she replied. She took a step to be closer to him.
"I have a feeling the snake won't look like this", Taryn waved her hand in the direction of the prone mechanical figure, "ever again." Unzipping her jacket, Taryn pulled out her subnotebook and flicked the power switch. Taryn hummed quietly and glanced over at the recruits before answering Levi's second question. "It depends on how...efficiently they fight." she said. Taryn looked down at the small machine in her hand as she waited for the boot screen to load.
One of the recruits approached and complimented the ship. As well as the mechanical snake.
"I have to ask. Who made them and what I am going to be dealing with in regards to that thing?"
Taryn grinned briefly and closed her computer one-handed. "The ship was restored by Levi and myself." She couldn't actually recall who had built the metal serpent originally, so Taryn gave the most recent names. "The MechaSnake was most recently modified by myself, Levi, and Richard.", she pointed to the indicated people as she named them. "As for what you're going to be dealing with..." Taryn shook her head slowly. "Sorry, but you're just going to have to find out for yourself."
"Sure Patriot, you'll respect democracy up until you are elected leader for life and then take absolute power." Richard said with a chuckle before Taryn pointed him out and Tyson asked his question.
"I'll say this for you newbies, the original snake gave both the original members and second batch a world of problems. This one has gotten more than a few upgrades, I wouldn't be surprised if we have to carry you off of that field when this is over." Richard said as he continued to drink his second Patriot Punch.
"You always drop him Patriot, I think I will just have to ban you from holding my child." Lillian said before Richard made his joke.
"Yes Richard, and we'll be carrying you off the field as well as you drink yourself into a coma on those things."
Alex sigh grabbing a PP! and took a drink. "Yea still like acid but tastes too good to put down." Alex said to her self making some of the drink dance out side of the coconut and into her mouth. "still don't like the bleach though but I can live with it." she said to PP!.
Eric sighed. "I'm not giving you my liver when yours dies Alex. Not a chance in hell." Eric said.
"Oh that's fine Eric, I already made sure all of my major organs can't be harmed by booze or anything else for that matter. Hell it's hard for me to get sick but nothings keeping a sword from going through my heart or gut." Alex said in a cheery way almost smiling too much.
"I won't drop him again, I promise," Patriot said as he flashed Renton one of his trademark smiles, the baby starting to cry once more and burying his head against his mom's neck, "See he likes me! He doesn't mind those drops..."
"Now I know why my mother said to never let you around children," Garrus muttered, working on his third PP! as he waited for the training to begin.
Levi nodded in agreement with Taryn and grinned. "She pretty much summed it up. Now, you should probably get back with the others," he said, cackling a mix of glee and excitement. Reaching over towards Taryn, he took her subnotebook and opened the small computer. Booting the machine up, Levi typed in a series of numbers and letters. When he was finished, the MechaSnake suddenly came to life.
The construct picked itself up off the ground and coiled itself into an attack position, facing the new recruits. Its cobra-like hood fanned out along both sides of its neck, casting shadows over the trainees. The machine's piercing red eyes lit up and looked down on the comparatively small humans below it. All along its hood, laser turrets deployed and powered up, filling the air with the sound of mechanical whirring and electronic crackling. Individual turrets took aim at different members of the group of newbies and opened fire.
Watching their several day's worth of work come to fruition, Levi couldn't help but beam with pride. He couldn't help but feel like a mad scientist in a 1950's sci-fi movie watching the product of his efforts in motion. "It's a beauty, isn't it?" he asked Taryn as he watched the MechaSnake begin to attack. Nonchalantly, Levi stepped aside and pulled out a soda, popping the tab and taking a sip.
"Oh shit," was all that Rowan had time to say before one turret from the MechaSnake shot at him. The laser turrets evidently tracked moving targets, as he soon found out when a bolt smashed into his leg as he tried to dive out of the way. He let out a low hiss of pain, noting the second-degree burn that the turret had given his leg. The shot had gone straight through his pants leg. Fricking laser beams.
Rolling over onto his back, Rowan clapped his right hand to the side of his head, and pointed two fingers from his left hand up at the barrels of the turret, which was still shooting at him. Attempting to ignore the flaring pain that shot through him when another laser connected with his chest, he tried to concentrate. A purple glow surrounded his left hand a second later, coalescing into twin beams of light surrounding his fingers. Finally letting a quiet snarl of pain escape him, Rowan released the psychic bolts and they lanced towards the turret that was targeting him.
Taryn laughed at Levi's enthusiasm. "That is is." she replied.
Reaching past Levi's soda Taryn took her computer out of his hand and brought it closer to herself. She peered at the screen. After a few seconds Taryn keyed a five digit sequence. Immediately several windows appeared on the screen. Two contained video feeds. The rest of the windows were filled with a series of labels and numbers that continuously altered. Sensors built into and onto the snake were designed to relay information as the metal construct moved, fired, and took damage. Taryn alternated watching the recruits fight and glancing at data that was scrolling. On the side of her computer green and amber lights blinked.
"Ah! Holy shit!" Brian exclaimed as he dived out of the way. That giant snake thing meant business. He looked over to see where everyone was at and noticed Rowan in front of him, smoke coming from his leg.
"Hey man, are you all right?" he asked as he came over. "Oohh, oh shit, you're not all right. OK, don't worry man. That's not too bad. I've seen worse. Here, hold on. One second. Stay still now."
He put his hand on the burned part of Rowan's leg and concentrated for a moment as the skin began to heal itself. It slowly grafted back until it looked completely normal again.
"All right, there we go man. Gotta look out, k?" He dashed for cover behind one of the few trees in the area.
Rowan's blast slammed into the turret that had fired upon him, causing the metal to crumple and dent. The damaged turret sent sparks and bits of shredded metal flying from the point of impact. The now useless hunk of sparking metal retracted back into the mechanical serpent's body and a metal plate slid over the gap, sealing it. At the same time, two of the MechaSnake's cannons targeted the tree that Brian had taken cover behind and fired.
Looking over Taryn's shoulder, Levi watched the video feed from the MechaSnake with interest. He couldn't make much sense of the data that was scrolling rapidly on some of the other windows on-screen. "I'm glad you suggested we integrate a live feed and video recording feature. It'll make for some amusing home videos around Christmastime, that's for sure," he said humorously.
Steven narrowly dodged a swipe of the beasts tail before constructing his full suit of armor. He was now covered head to toe in what looked like glowing grey steel. His eyes were covered by the solid faceplate, and massive curved sword appeared at his side. 'Gotta get close, Gotta get close,' he thought to himself. 'I need to stop those lasers, or I wont be any use.' Looking over at Brian tending to an injured Rowan, 'And I need to give them some cover, too.'
"Hey Ugly! Over here! Over here stupid! Look for the glowing-bloody-Irishmen! I bet you cant hit me from this distance!" Several of the snakes turrets fired on him at once. Steven stood perfectly still until the last possible moment, then stopped the lasers dead in their tracks. With a smack of his sword, he knocked the lasers back towards the turrets they came from, destroying them. "Home-mutha-fuckin-RUN baby!"
It happened so quickly, one second Tyrell was standing about, wandering when the training was going to begin and what it might be, the next second he was somersaulting backwards, his finely tuned reactions proving faster than his cognitive ability. By the time he touched down on the ground and rolled to the side however, the Shadow was fully aware of the situation and trying to come up with his next move.
Dodging another swipe of the beasts tail with a skillful sideways roll, three ninja stars had appeared in the heroes right hand, The Shadow having drawn them from some concealed place on his character.
'There' thought Tyrell as he caught sight of the creatures 'eyes' and threw his stars in quick succession, knowing that atleast one would strike its intended target.
Eric blinked and sighed. "You think the planet would have been enough of a training mission." he said putting his hands on the ground sending dirt spikes with the starts. "There Tyrell this should help." he said.
Alex finished her first PP! and grabbed another before sitting down on the stands.
"Look at that mechanical snake go! Marvelous!" Patriot yelled out as he took a seat on the picnic blanket and grabbed a sandwich, cheering the snake on as he ate.
"It is pretty cool, though I think you should be rooting for the recruits not the snake," Garrus said as he polished off his fourth PP! and got another one, happy that he finally remembered what being buzzed felt like.
Man. I can't really do anything against this snake except try and stay out of this thing's way and see if the other guys need help...Unless...
After being shielded by Steven, Brian turned around and tried focusing the dark energy on the area around the snake. He focused hard. It looked like the tail was slightly lifting...but then it fell back to the earth.
Shit. Still can't do much. Great.