Today we continue with part nine of book 4. Hope you enjoy!
News of the armored car heist had reached Plum Island and the Champions, understandably, were concerned and had assembled in the west hangar early to discuss the situation before Mr. Smith arrived with today’s schedule.
“Taking out a thug or two is one thing” Jonni started, “but going up against a small group of heavily armed nut jobs that can take out 100 armed men is something entirely different. Travour, you’re a huge dude, but I don’t think you can catch a rocket grenade and throw it back at the bad guys. Briiana, we already know that you can’t dodge bullets. We seriously need to talk to Mr. Smith about this. It’s time that we leveled the playing field a little don’t you think?”
“I couldn’t agree more Jonni” Mr. Smith’s voice reverberated around the room as he walked in.
Jonni and the other Campions snapped to attention.
“I’m…sorry, sir. We were just….I didn’t mean” Jonni said sheepishly.
“It is perfectly fine Jonni, you and the rest of team are quite right. I would think quite a bit less of all of you if you didn’t question why you hadn’t had firearms training yet. The simple answer is in two parts; we didn’t have the time seeing as New York decided to go to hell early and Warren and I were waiting for ARMAKZ to arrive. Without ARMAKZ your training would be wholly inadequate.” Mr. Smith paused waiting for someone to ask the obvious question.
“Okay, I will bite, ” said Reisha, “what is ARMAKZ? Another version of RAIF? Sort of like a robotic bigger brother with guns or something?”
Mr. Smith shook his head, “Not even close. Come on I will show you.”
The Champions followed Mr. Smith to another hangar on the island and stopped outside the front door.
“This is ARMAKZ” Mr. Smith began as he gestured towards the entire building with a wave of his hand, “ARMAKZ stands for Augmented Reality Motion Activated Kill Zone. This allows us to throw you into real life scenarios as generated within the confines of these walls. Once you enter your perception of where you are and what is going on around you will change. It is completely immersive. ARMAKZ was designed to teach you what you need to know to survive a hostile environment beyond the simple ability to point a gun and pull a trigger. Any idiot can do that. As Champions your job is harder in many ways, the bad guys shoot at anyone, which is easy, you have to choose your targets carefully and be more aware of your surroundings on a constant basis or innocent people may get hurt.”
Mr. Smith then pulled out his phone and typed in a command. The small door on the left of the building opened, “Put these on and come inside with me” he said as he handed each of the Champions a pair of what looked like designer sunglasses.
As the Champions entered the hanger, the walls seemed to disappear, and the concrete floor beneath their feet turned to sand. They stood in the middle of the room and looked around in awe. As far as their eyes could see there was nothing but blue sky and sand dunes.
“This is messed up dude” Brajjit muttered under his breath, “How the…” his thought trailed off.
The group stood mesmerized soaking it all in as a Land Rover crested one of the dunes and barreled towards them. Dumbfounded the Champions watched a man lean out of the passenger window and point an AK-47 at them as the vehicle approached.
When it was within range, the man opened fire. Each of the Champions felt a burning pain race through the skulls, and they fell to the ground.
“You are all dead” Mr. Smith proclaimed as he once again took out his phone and issued a command. The sand and sky faded into the gray walls of the hangar once again, and the Champions struggled to pull themselves off the concrete floor. “Except for Iurasia who was smart enough to use Travour as a human shield, ” Mr. Smith continued, “Congratulations Iurasia you are the sole survivor.”
Iurasia looked at Travour, “Sorry there was nothing to hide behind, and you were the biggest person here” she said half smiling.
Travour let out a loud laugh, “I would have done the same thing if I had the opportunity so don’t worry about it.”
Reisha looked at the group with a face that reminded them all of a time in their life when they had disappointed their mother, “What is wrong with you guys? Does anyone care that we were just shot and killed…well, sort of? That was insane! We should all be traumatized not joking around. And what the hell was that electrical shock all about? Do you not care about that?” she shook her head and turned to Mr. Smith.
“Mr. Smith, what on earth are we supposed to learn from this little piece of craziness? Go, on tell us!” she said raising her motherly tone.
“Number one, never go into hostile territory unarmed ever again. Number two, always expect the unexpected. Third, there is no getting up from a real AK-47 fired at your head. Number four…” Mr. Smith paused as Reisha put her hand up in front of him.
“Okay, okay I get it. Sorry I was just a little freaked out as I am sure we all are and I was just …well, you know, scared for myself and the team” Reisha said quietly.
Mr. Smith put his hand on her shoulder and said in a reassuring voice, “I’m sorry, perhaps I should have given you all a little warning of what to expect before going in, you are right. And as for being scared, that’s normal, healthy even.”
Mr. Smith faced the group, “I would rather you learn to overcome those obstacles in here as opposed to out there. You are going to need every ounce of training I can give you, and some of it will not be pleasant but remember the end game here there is a lot at stake, and we don’t have any time left. Now if you will all follow me let’s go see a General about some guns.”
“How many settings does this thing have? Can we do like a pirate thing… or, I know, how about the old west that would be….”
Travour gave Brajjit a playful nudge that almost knocked him off his feet, “Zip it Braj, or next time I use you as a human shield.”
(To be continued…)
That’s it for now! The next story will be published soon. We will keep posting stories every week leading up to the anticipated Project-X announcement.
If you’re interested in reading the individual background life summaries or viewing updated artwork of our Champions and Villains, then please follow the links here: Champions and Villains. The main story that ties all the characters together in Project-X will be updated at the following link as stories are published: Story-line.
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DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. NAMES, CHARACTERS, BUSINESSES, PLACES, EVENTS, AND INCIDENTS ARE EITHER THE PRODUCTS OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION OR USED IN A FICTITIOUS MANNER. ANY RESEMBLANCE TO ACTUAL PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, OR ACTUAL EVENTS IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL.