This is a short story.
Across several parts. (Probably)
Don’t expect this to be regular content here.
We’re doing this because we’re bored AF.
Also we don’t have visuals, so…use your imagination. ╰(*°▽°*)╯
Also x2, the most important.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TELL US EVERYTHING WRONG WITH THIS. Σ(っ °Д °;)っ
Multi Purpose Hall, <City where the Plot Happens> Academy
1100 HRS Local Time
“Oi, watch that ladder! You want to fall down like in snakes & ladders?” a concerned student shouted upwards, holding the platform where their peers were standing on.
“That table goes here, keep them moving people,” ordered another voice, directing pairs of quarter masters carrying tables into the event hall.
“So…can I ask you to be my date for the prom?” an ambitious youth asked their nearby classmates.
“I’ll have to think about it.” the individual answered, leaving folks hanging to witness an uncertain conclusion.
Under the sheltered morning sky, the ongoing chatter within <City where the Plot Happens> Academy’s Multi Purpose Hall rings nostalgia for the figure observing from her post near the entrance. Her head leaned on her arms, above the mop stick that kept her balance, looking out towards stage area where fellow students were working on setting up the venue for that weekend’s main event.
A familiar memory entered her mind, like a fragrant scent that brings out happiness from one’s own brain juice. Nostalgic images from a time when she dressed up for the occasion, accompanied by friends to attend the yearly event of taking turns to dance slowly in fancy suits. Or twist again, like everyone does every summer. Especially this dear figure in her mind, stretching out its hand to have a dance with her.
“Oi Cap, you there?”
The daydreaming girl snapped back into reality, turning to notice her teammate’s presence, laying off a load of boxes to the tables nearby.
A youth who’s flat black hair that could be mistaken for a midnight flat bread snack, suited in his usual silver student uniform, of short upper sleeves for the shirt with upper pockets. The common colors for new students enrolled at the Academy, regardless of what grade they’re studying in.
Cap nodded in response, “I’m awake Max, just thinking about stuff.”
Draped in her signature crimson red uniform, with a long dress that stretches to just below the knees, coupled with a buttoned jacket covering a white inner shirt, the long light brown haired youth was often called Cap for short.
A figure of two mysteries. The first being her real name, only known to a select few; and the unusual red beret she wears to signify her leadership as squad Captain, on the surface.
Rather than continuing her interrupted daydream, Cap decided to try something on her teammate, “Say Max, you doing something this weekend?”
“If it’s about going to the prom Cap, gonna have to say no,” Max replied, looking over to meet Cap’s teasing gaze in annoyance.
“Oh? Sounds like my squad’s rookie has a date already? I’m so proud.” Cap shot a smug grin across her lips.
“What?! Hell no Cap! Who in their right minds think it’s fun to spend hours in this sweating s*** hole wearing a suit and dancing to music?”
A vicious exclamation meets an annoying tease, the common banter found between this newly assigned rookie and his veteran squad Captain.
“Although,” remarked Max, looking towards the same direction where Cap was gazing at earlier, “When you clean out all those play area separators, the hall does look pretty nice actually.”
The pair’s eyes looked towards the distance, where a stage area was being setup with various orchestral seats for the Academy band’s live performance that weekend. Beneath the dazzling chandelier hanging above, a mantelpiece assembled only for this occasion, with students on top of towering ladders held by ground control student quarter masters keeping their fellow students working up there stable. To the corners of the hall, cleanup teams of students work to reach that reflective polish across the venue’s floor tiles, to ensure that blinding shine reaches every guest coming in for the event.
“Still, this is not my kind of thing Cap.” Max added, “Besides, isn’t a famous idol like yourself the kind to get swarmed by people asking you to the dance anyways?”
Max’s statement held some weight, as Cap was a renowned performer in <City where the Plot Happens>’s entertainment scene as an idol of sorts, on occasion. As such, her squad serve as an indirect personal guard during her performances in the field, as such an identity draws attention from malicious eyes.
“Ah please, she probably has someone in mind already.” echoed a familiar voice, as a holographic humanoid figure emerged from Max’s device on his arm.
“Oh so now you wake up CoL, where were you the last half hour!” exclaimed Max to his holographic assistant.
“Oi, did someone forgot, I’m a pipe sized hologram here!” CoL countered back.
The holographic figure from Max’s device was an Operator, self conscious assistants that aid users in various ways, or in the case of Cap’s squad, they were known as Operatives. As such, Operators serve Operatives by helping them control their various devices, codenamed C.O.R.Es, from transforming into their Combat suits to calling in a food delivery.
“Big deal! Suiting up would made this go a lot faster!” Max remarked.
“Piss off slacker boy! This suit ain’t going to fix itself, so you either manual this or not at all!” CoL shot back.
Knowing that these two would go on for eternity, Cap decided to step in, “Anyways, to answer Max, I…”
The two arguing partners turned to face Cap, noticing a finger on her lips.
“…’m not telling.”
“Ugh…your jebait aside Cap, can we at least get a hint?” CoL requested, hoping for a lead to track down. Winking her left eye, Cap teasingly let out a 3 syllable response.
“It’s a Se-cr-et.”
A weeb-like breeze briefly passed through the trio.
“….Cap, can you not be an anime character for that one line?”, a dumbfounded Max replied.
Having teased the pair enough, Cap smilingly replied, “Well if the all curious Operator CoL wants to know more, maybe a certain someone should consider getting themselves a date first, so he can find out for himself.”
Cap’s eyes darted towards Max, prompting CoL to do the same, whilst posing a finger gun under his chin.
“Besides,” Cap added, “don’t you have someone you wanna ask out Max?”
“I…huh…now that I think about it.” answered Max, gazing around the event hall where other students were working on their assigned tasks.
Max’s eyes continued darting around, like a lost child seeking a familiar figure, until he settled on something that brought out a slight smile on his lips, “Although, that…would be nice.”
Cap looked towards where Max was gazing it, drawing a conclusion from her observation. “Oh, isn’t she from your class? If I recall, she’s your childhood friend or something?”
A startled Max swiftly shot back, “Hey! Don’t get any ideas Cap. Besides, how you’d…?”
“Mark and Jack.”
“Of course it’s those two. Can’t these people keep a secret?!”
“We’re all squad mates here, we all share what we know.”
“Yeah, except who you’re bringing to the prom unfortunately.”
Cap twitched slightly from Max’s remark, determined to put push her teammate into the asking someone out hell hole further, as she continued, “Anyways, why don’t you go ask her out?”
The boy stood still, like a petrified statue contemplating a decision.
One that Cap easily predicted, as Max stated, “Fine. CoL, get out.”
“What?!” exclaimed CoL, “I can’t come along?!”
“You’re just gonna record this crap and blackmail me later! Now shoo,” Max explained, turning to Cap for a request, “Cap, can you babysit him for a bit?”
“I don’t know Max,” Cap replied, her palm covering a smug grin across her lips, “I could use a recording to save for later.”
“Come on, you heard the lady, let’s go!” CoL excitedly remarked, only to be met with Max’s stern gaze.
Despite his goofy and somewhat low confidence demeanor, CoL knew better than anyone that there are certain aspects of life Max chooses to take seriously. And like a fire alarm, his holographic conscious was screaming for him to retreat instead of tag along for some cringe worthy comedy.
Shaking his head, the holographic figure darted his gaze towards Cap, stating in frustration, “Ah change of plans then, Mr Serious Black here wants to solo this.”
CoL warped his blurry energy form into Cap’s CORE, forming a standing posture upon lading, glancing at a less tense Max gazing back at him.
“Well aright then, anyways..” Cap trailed off as Max interrupted her.
“You have an idea on how to ask a girl out?”
Some time later.
After some time of nagging, ragging, and teaching Max the basics of how to ask a girl out, Cap found herself gleefully watching her temporary apprentice march towards his objective. Or doom. Like a motherly figure looking forward to her son’s high achievements.
Until CoL decided to interrupt her 5 second fantasy, “I call your bluff Cap.”
“Excuse me?” Cap responded.
“You had no date planned, you just had Max tag along for your work shift to stop any guys from approaching. The close proximity of another dude sells the idea that its likely you’re going with him to the prom.”
Cap smirked at CoL’s remarks, impressed at the Operator’s somewhat accurate deduction. It’s true that Max was a tag-along shield from unwanted attention, especially during a season when guys are looking to stick a landing on long time memories.
Yet, despite CoL’s near truthful deduction, Cap knew she needed to maintain her guard against the Operator, especially with the lack of Max’s presence. For he was more of a danger to her conversation wise than any threat from the outside.
“And with the other two doing babysitting duty for Estelle’s little date, dragging him along for this horrible ride makes sense.”
“I don’t know CoL, the truth could still be as I put it. A secret.” Cap countered.
“Perhaps.” CoL remarked.
The two silently observed Max from the distance, who’d finally reached his objective, as a conversation began.
“Nostalgic isn’t it?” CoL muttered, catching Cap’s attention from the events unfolding before her.
“About seeing people ask each other out?” Cap inquired.
“Kind of, but more of…back when you were doing it.”
A cold silence entered the fray.
“CoL..shut the hell up.”
Cap’s stern remark silenced the Operator’s sudden prodding, as CoL wisely chose to obey that order. Despite their differences in physical form, the pair shared knowledge of events from a time best left behind.
A time before tragedy shattered a previous paradise into this new reality.
Just then, a beeping noise began emerging under Cap’s CORE, as CoL picked up the transmission.
“This is not Cap here, she’s not on the line now because she’s watching some live action Eastern drama unfold, can I take your order?”
“CoL, this is Mark. We might have some trouble out here.” the voice on the other end replied, catching Cap’s attention.
“Mark? What’s happening out there?” Cap replied, looking into her CORE to meet Mark’s transmission face to face.
“We’ve got trouble coming in. I still have eyes on them, and Jack’s headed over now. TL:DR, we’ve got EDENs in pursuit of them, and could use some hands on deck.”
“Gotcha. We’re on our way.”
The transmission cuts off, as CoL question the Captain in command, “So, what the plan?”
Cap began a slow stroll across the hall, tightening her beret for the slow buildup to a sprint. “I need to report that we’re heading out. You get Max out of there. We’ll meet up outside then head off.”
“Understood, Captain.” The Operator acknowledged, as the pair sprung into action.
Moments earlier before Mark’s transmission, within the confident looking posture of the youthful Max, comes an internal conversation of panic within his head, whilst walking towards his objective.
Okay…just calm the F down. It’s just like we rehearsed, just walk up to her and ask her to the dance.
Good god why the F did I even agree to this crap.
It is what it is! Just an overly fancy event of dressing up in overpriced costumes to dance with people in equally overpriced dresses.
…but probably more expensive, because makeup I guess.
And the costumes, good god man why do people actually pay money for this stuff?!
Though, hmm…this could a fun event to hang out with someone.
Huh, how many years has it been anyways?
A memory from earlier that year began replaying in Max’s head. From a surprise name on the class name list, to an encounter with a childhood friend and classmate. Someone who, could’ve been somewhere else, but was here instead.
The odds were in his favor that day. And now, time to put those odds to good use.
Max’s slow but steady approach soon brought him close to the figure, who’s black haired ponytail slightly waved around like a pendulum, whilst featuring a similar uniform to that of Cap’s, only yellow instead of red.
“Hey uh…” Max called out from behind the figure, drawing her attention as she bought her glasses wearing gaze towards him.
“Oh hey, Max, didn’t think you would come up to find me. What’s up?” the girl replied back, to what she presumed to be a casual looking Max on the surface.
Hiding an internal screaming youth constantly questioning, OH WHAT NOW?!
Ah right, should ask if she’s free first.
“Uh, you’re free to chat? Not too sure if you’re busy and stuff.” Max remarked.
“Well,” answered the girl, looking around the area near the billboard she was tweaking with before turning around, “I’ve got some time now,”
“Aye, so…you wouldn’t happen to be going with someone to the prom yet would you?” Max inquired, bracing himself for the boss fight equivalent of a conversation.
“Oh that, not yet actually. Although…” the girl responded, darting her gaze towards where Cap was observing from in the distance, “I, kind of thought you were going with Cap over there.”
A screeching disc scratch shook Max like sudden bumps under a car, “Wait what? What gave you that idea?!”
The girl let out a brief chuckle, and inquired, “You’re not going with her?”
“Hell no! She said something about already having someone in her, uh…”
Max trailed off as he was left stunned on how to explain Cap’s 3-syllable “It’s a se-cr-et,” weeb-like stunt.
“Ah, I think I get it,” The girl deduced, and continued, “Cap doesn’t usually pair up with anyone that isn’t Estelle for her work shifts, which speaking of, I’m guessing she’s busy with something today?”
“Yeah, Mark and Jack are off babysitting her on her…uh…”
“Oh! You know?”
“Max, Wally’s in my squad remember? He brings it up on occasion. And honestly, I think they make a cute couple.”
“Not…too sure what Cap would think of that since well…” a concerned Max trailed off.
“I’m aware.” The girl sternly replied.
“Nothing escapes your grasp does it?”
“That’s what watching CSI Specials teach you.” The girl replied with a wink, to a dumbfounded Max trying to piece together how does that make sense, as she continued, “But anyways, I wouldn’t worry too much since it sounds like Estelle’s enjoying Wally’s company. Considering his circumstances, it’s…probably for the best.”
“Right…his, condition.” Max remarked, on the topic of the girl’s teammate.
She nodded in agreement, and let out a light punch at Max’s shoulder.
“Still, getting the chance to work with Cap during her shift, that’s a gift every guy in the grade wants a chance at.”
“Well…that’s just weird.”
“I can see why though, she’s a magnet for guys asking her out, so having someone working alongside sells the idea that she’s likely taken for the event.”
“Eh? What’s wrong with that?”
Max trailed off, sweating nervously about the prospect of certain interest groups in the Academy looking to have his head following a Tribunal of Guilt.
“It’s…nothing,” Max nervously added.
“Though, you should know that Cap never says yes to anything with a guy right?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty normal in the squad, Jack gets rejected for a living every time.”
“I think he’s in Cap’s secret fan-club actually, they run a monthly record poll for who manages to get the most rejections.”
“Ah right, that reminds me. What was it you wanted to talk about?”
Max froze like water in a freezer, realizing that the conversation had dragged on for so long his main objective had gone sideways.
And now, panic was the default state of mind.
Just then, a holographic figure emerged once again from his CORE, the familiar figure of CoL had returned to his home turf, calling out to his dazed companion.
“Oi nervous wreck, time to go. We’ve got work!”
Max shook back into reality, realizing that CoL’s voice had saved him from having to continue further in this attempt at…
“Oh hey Max’s childhood friend, he wants to ask if you cou-”
“NO YOU FA-”
The panic induced youth sealed the hologram shut under his palm, leaving muffled voices underneath the seal as Max took back the conversation.
“Sorry but, we gotta go, but I’ll find you later?”
The girl waved back in response, “Sure, I’ll be around here. Just stay safe out there!”
“You got it!” Max exclaimed back, whilst heading for the exit.
As Max’s figure disappeared out of sight, a nearby student approached the girl, whilst inquiring, “Say Lindsey, wasn’t that your old friend? What did he want anyways?”
“Ah, I wonder about that actually. Maybe he wanted to ask me to the prom or something.” Lindsey remarked, wondering if her hunch was correct.
Next Time?: <Prolly Not> D: