It was just a typical September day in Toronto. The air was cool and the leaves were starting to change in color. It was Aeris birthday and a certain feline had forgotten all about it till now. We now find him in Downtown Toronto frantically looking for a gift.
“Shit, how could I have forgotten about Aeris birthday? If I don’t get her something soon, she’s not going let this down.” I was frantically running around downtown Toronto, oblivious to my surroundings. I almost got hit by a car being driven by a guy’s ass. “Of all things I had to forget, why did it have to be her birthday? What should I get her, some jewelry? No. How about a video game? Well, all of the new games don’t come out till later in the month, so that won’t work. What do I…”
“Hey kid, you look troubled. Can we be of service?”
That’s when I noticed them. They were two of the most unique felines I have ever seen. One had cream colored fur with black accents while the other one had black fur with cream accents. Both where wearing form-fitting military uniforms with a patch of the Earth with the letters INP SFC written above it. But what made them standout is their red eyes and twin tails. Wait, they have two tails? Holy Crap, that’s awesome! Wait, did they ask me if I needed any service? Do they mean it as helping me find something or did they mean as in..um..sexual services? Oh god, what do I say? Um…
“Hey man, my sister asked you a question. Aren’t you gonna’ answer her at least,” asked the black one.
“I forgot it was my friend’s birthday today and didn’t get her a present. She is a gamer, so I am trying to figure out what to get her.” Why am I telling them this? I don’t even know them, but they seem familiar.
“Well then, you’re in luck. We are with the International Poli…gon Company. We are an indie game studio that is looking for qualified applicants to participate in our beta testing for our new console, the INP SFC RA-5. With it, you will play as yourself in an action packed fighting game!” exclaimed the cream colored cat. Then the black cat spoke up, “and if you sign up today, we’ll give you not one, but two consoles, so you can give one to a certain pink friend of yours.”
“Sweet, I’ve always wanted to try out a new gaming system before it comes to market. I wonder what Aeris will… Wait, how did you guys know Aeris was pink? I didn’t tell you guys she was pink.”
The black cat was the first to respond, “We heard about you through the grapevine.” I must of had a puzzled look on my face since the cream cat explained, “What my sister means is that we heard that there was a grey cat in blue clothes that always hung out with a pink cat in purple clothes, so we just put two and two together. I’m guessing you’re Leo, right?”
“That’s me,” I responded while putting on a goofy smile. This made both of them chuckle. “So what are your names anyway?”
The cream cat was the first to respond this time. “My name is Kirara Walker.” “And my name is Kariri Walker,” followed the black cat.
So they are sisters. Makes sense, since their markings both looked to be the same. “So Kirara, Kariri, what do I have to do to get the consoles?”
“All you have to do is sign this form and follow all of the instruction on installing the system. Then just let the system do the rest and you’ll be good to go,” responded Kariri as she pulled out a clipboard from a case at her feet and presented it to me. As I took it, Kirara asked, “also, can you write down some information about you friend?”
“Sure, I guess I can, as long as we don’t get any junk mail in return.” I joked. The sisters both laughed at that. A few minutes passed as I wrote down our information, both of them just waited patiently for me to finish. As soon as I was done filling out the form, I gave it a quick skim through to make sure it was all correct. When I was done with that, i handed the clipboard to Kariri. Kirara then preceded to hand me two large cases. They were about the size of a large duffel bag and where pretty heavy.
“Alright Mr. Leo, here are the two game system. Be sure to follow all of the instructions on how to use them,” reminded Kirara. As I was about to leave, Kariri spoke up. “Also, when you go to use the systems, make sure they are within 25 feet of each other. They will only turn on when the other one is within range. Other than that, happy hunting and wish Ms. Aeris a happy birthday for us!”
“I will, and thanks for the games. Hopefully I will see you guys sometime soon.” And with that I took my leave.
Just as Leo was leaving, I heard Kariri utter, “I have a feeling we will see each other real soon, Mr. Leonardo.” I started laughing at her. “What’s so funny Kirara,” she asked, staring at me with an irritated look on her face. “Nothing, just you sounded so dramatic right then,” I said smiling. “Whatever. Isn’t there something you need to do know? You know, it has to do with your boyfriend,” she asked.
“How many times do I have to tell you, he is not my boyfriend. He is my superior and I can’t even date him if I wanted to,” I responded all flustered. “Haha, I know, I just wanted to mess with you,” Kariri laughed. “You’re mean Kariri.” “I know, but isn’t that how sisters are suppose to act to each other?” “I guess, but still…” I paused as I remembered what I was to do. “Anyway, I’ll go call the Commander to let him know that the packages have been delivered. Can you go get the car?”
“Ya whatever, I’m just glad I don’t have to wear this silly outfit for much longer,” she responded.
“I bet that idiot forgot about my birthday. He’s probably scrambling around trying to find me a present. As long as he doesn’t get me something from Johnny Evilguy’s shop (who would want a bag of nuts anyway) or that damn hobo, I’ll be fine.” I said aloud. This was the typical Leo, always forgetting something until the last moment. He is the Sultan of Stupidity after all. But he is my best friend, so what can I do, beat him to a pulp? Oh wait; I do that on a regular occasion don’t I.
I wasn’t really paying attention to my surroundings when Leo walked in the front door. He must have sneaked up behind me because I finally became aware of his presence when I receive a hug from behind, accompanied by “happy birthday Aeris.”
Aeris nearly jumped through the roof when I hugged her. I had been all ‘secret agent’ when I entered the apartment so she wouldn’t hear me come in. She turned around and yells, “What the fuck Leo, are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
“Sorry Aeris, I didn’t mean to scare you. Please don’t hit me,” I responded as I prepared for the impending hit. It never came.
“I’ll let it slide, but only if you got me a present,” she responded with a smile.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I did get you a birthday present,” I exclaimed as I proceeded in handing her one of the cases I had received. “And what makes it even better is that it was free!”
“Leo, whenever you give something to a girl, never tell them that it was for free,” she said as she took the case from me. She nearly dropped it due to misjudging its weight. “What the hell is in here, rocks?”
“Well, I was told that is was a new gaming console that needed beta testers, so I signed us both up. I got one as well.” I proceeded in holding mine up to show her. The stare I received was menacing.
“Tell me you didn’t get these from that damn Hobo again.”
“Ball’s no! I learned my lesson from the last time. I still have a couple of scars from that.” My response was met with a chuckle. “No, I got these from to representatives from the International Polygon company,” I explained as I pointed at the logo on the side of the case.
The logo on the side of the case looked very familiar. In fact, I remember seeing in on the front of an old car sitting outside of the local GameStop yesterday.
“Hey Leo, isn’t that the symbol from that old American muscle car that we saw yesterday,” I inquired.
“You mean that grey Dodge Charger R/T? Now that you mention it, I think it is,” Leo responded. “Damn, whoever is in charge of that company has a good taste in cars.”
“I guess, but i think they should have gone with something more modern,” I said as I began opening up my case. But something was wrong, the latches wouldn’t open.
“What the hell Leo, the case won’t open.”
“Neither will mine,” he replied quite angrily. “Wait, there’s something painted above the latch. It says ‘THIS CASE CAN ONLY BE OPENED BE AERIS B. COLE.’ Um Aeris, I think I handed you the wrong case.”
“Hmm, this one is yours than,” I said as I handed it over to him. “Wait a second Leo, why do these cases have our names on them?”
“Who cares, it’s a free gaming system.” And with that he flipped both the latches open and proceeded in removing the lid from the case. He then froze, just starring into the case. He was like that for a couple of moments until he finally spoke out. “Aeris, open up your case, you got to see what’s inside.”
“Um, alright, if you say so,” I responded quite awkwardly as I flipped the lid off of mine. What it revealed was amazing. Inside, there was a purple “SWAT Team” style vest, a pink t-shirt, a pair of purple gloves, a pair of pink and purple camo pants, a pair of boots and a pink and black Master Chief helmet. I then took a look over at Leo’s case, which had the same things as mine did, but in blue. “Oh my god Leo, what is all this? Are we going to war or something?”
“I guess,” was all I got in response. After a few more minutes of staring at the contents in the case, Leo was the first to break the silence, “well, should we read the instructions?”
“Ah, ok. Now where did I see that manual? Ah, here we go,” I exclaimed as I pulled a small booklet out of the case. “Lets see, first it says to change into the supplied uniforms. That’s kind of weird, but I guess we must.” And with that, we went to our rooms and began to change.
Back at INP Headquarters, a man of medium build was sitting at his desk typing away at some unpublished mission reports when the phone rang.
“Hello Kirara, how is the mission?”
“All is going as planned, we just received confirmation that both of the cases have been opened and the subjects are now getting ready.”
“Excellent. Now all we need is for them to login and then the fun will really begin. Now, I need you guys to be ready outside their place when all of this is finished, ok?”
“Yes sir, Kirara out. (Click)”
“Damn it, she knows I hate being called sir,” the man said angrily as he hung up the phone. He then proceeded in opening up a program on the computer named RA-5. “Discovery, can you bring up Ms. Aeris B. Coles and Mr. Leo Leonardo the Third’s assessment program?”
“Certainly Commander,” replied the computer as the information appeared onscreen. “Anything else?”
“I want you to change their mission. Let’s make it the Battle of Uedasen.”
“Isn’t that a bit harsh, that’s one of the hardest missions of all.”
“I know but these two will be able to handle it if their information proves to be true.”
“Mission has been changed. Anything else?”
“Nope, I believe that will be it, unless we want to join them in the fight? It will be like old times.”
“I am already ahead of you sir, our information has been pulled up as well.”
“Discovery, you know I don’t like to be called sir. Now let’s go get ready.”
And with that, the man known as the Commander got up from the desk and walked into the adjacent room, followed by a woman dressed in black and white.
“Aeris, you ready yet,” I asked. She had been in her room about ten minutes now. “I’ll be out in just a moment. I’m having a problem with the fit, its way too loose.” “Don’t worry, mine is to. The manual says that the size will correct itself once we turn on the consoles.”
“Ok,” and with that I heard the door to Aeris’ room open. As soon as she came into view though, I was rolling around on the floor dying from laughter. She looked like a kitten who had decided to try on their mother’s clothes. I mean, my uniform was loose, but damn she looks hilarious! I couldn’t stop laughing, that is until I received a kick to the stomach.
“Stop laughing Leo, this is embarrassing,” I pleaded as I kicked him in the stomach. My white fur was now the same shade of pink as the rest of my fur. “Hahaha, sorry Aeris. You just look so damn funny.” “Do you want me to go get the rusty knife of mine” “Eep! I’m sorry Aeris!” “Whatever.” “Anyway, could you help me up? All that laughing made me short of breathe,” Leo wheezed.
“Sure, as long as you stop laughing about my clothes,” I responded as I reach down to pick him up. As I reached to him, I felt something fall down my legs. Leo’s face suddenly turned red as blood trickled out of his nose. He was just staring at me. And then I realized what fell.
Time had seemed to stop as I looked down to see my pants laying around my ankles. I was now a deep shade of red, and all I could think was ‘no’. After what seemed to have been an eternity Leo broke the silence, “Ah Aeris, you might want to pull your pants back up. It’s kind of embarrassing.”
I immediately reached down and yanked my pants back up and just stood there debating whether to cry or kill him. Before I could decide, Leo spoke up. “Um Aeris, this didn’t just happen, right?” I just shook my head. “All righty then, should we continue setting up the game then,” he asked as he wiped the blood from his face. “Thank you,” was all I was able to say. He just smiled at me with that goofy grin of his.
“Ok, so next it says we need to put on the supplied helmets and then lay down in an open area in the room,” he said as he placed his helmet on his head. “Um ok,” I said as I followed suit. Once we were both on the floor, Leo gave the final instruction. “The last thing we need to do is turn on the helmets and then just do as the console tells us to do.” And with that I turned my helmet on.
All of a sudden, the clothes I had on constricted around me as if trying to crush me. I let out a small mew from the pain and then they relaxed to a comfortable fit. Just as this happened, the helmet’s visor blacked out and a voice resounded within my head.
“Welcome to the InterNational Police Star Fleet Command’s Recruit Assessment 5. We thank you for participating in this training exercise. You will be playing as yourself in the Battle of Uedasen. You will receive a training course before the actual battle simulation begins. Any questions?”
I was confused at what was going on but knew something was wrong. I had questions, but before I could ask, the voice continued.
“All of the questions you are thinking of will be answered during the training session. And do not worry; you will not be hurt during this session, at least not seriously.” Wait, what did that voice just say? “Now you will feel a sharp tingling sensation as the simulation begins, but that is normal for first time users. Now, without further delay, let the simulation begin!”
As soon as it had finished, I felt the worst pain that I have ever had in my life. My body arched in response to the sensation of every fiber of my body being torn apart. My vision was white with pain until I couldn’t take it anymore and blacked out.