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Chronicles of the Die Force

Chronicles of the Die Force – Issue 5: 1d8

                Paragon City, the city of heroes, there is an old saying “Super Heroes breed Super Villains.” That is the statement that could define Paragon City, for no matter how many heroes flooded the streets there was always enough crime for them to fight. Heroes young and old, amateur and veteran came to Paragon to fight the evils and prove that they were indeed entitled to bear the name ‘Hero’. One such amateur hero was a young half Japanese half American, new to Paragon City. His name was James Lanson.

 

                James, acting on a tip from a contact, entered a warehouse said to contain a number of the Clockwork King’s robotic minions. Never one of subtlety James charged in attacking the first group of Clockwork he could see. He kicked several back before one got a shot off, firing a stream of lightning in his direction. James stepped to dodge, unfortunately for him he stepped on a metal tube dropped by one of the Cog’s. Losing his balance as the pipe rolled he fell to the floor. On the plus side he had dodge the lightning streams. Unfortunately it left him prone to further attack.

                Before the Clockwork could they froze, then they, and the entire warehouse melted away revealing that the entire thing had been nothing more than a holographic simulation. A seasoned Longbow Officer entered the room, he did not look happy.

 “Damn it James, that’s the third time you’ve made that mistake, you have to watch your surrounding.”

 “I know!” Remarked a frustrated James as she stood up. “I try… but I’m normally light footed enough to get through.”

 “You final test is in a week. You’re going to be sent, alone, into a real battle situation against Clockwork, if your not ready and do something like that… you’ll fail and most likely end up in hospital.”

 “I’ll train and try harder sir.”

 “You better, you’re a promising recruit, I’ve seen few people with your level of fighting skill.” The Officer remarked.

 “Thank you sir.”

 “Now, why don’t you go and get some lunch.”

 “Sir!” James quickly left the room.

                Although he was a recruit for the Longbow, James was no ordinary citizen. As a child he was forced to learn a variety of different martial art style. He was trained both mentally and physically, gifted with feet so light he could run at almost inhuman speed. His body trained so well he could mentally adjust his own metabolism through meditation to naturally heal wounds faster. Despite his training however he have never be able to make it as a fledgling hero, which was why he was training to become a member of Longbow.

 

                Steel Canyon, in a crowded diner near the edge of the area known as Bronze Way, James was sitting waiting for his order, his head was down and he was staring blankly at a menu. As the crowd moved around him a young woman pushed her way through the crowd and quickly ducked into the table sitting opposite him.

 “Holy… the crowds worse that usual here today.”

 “Yeah, you’re telling me.” He remarked not looking at the woman, just staring at the table.

 “You don’t mind me sitting here do you? There’s no other seats, and I’m not waiting for take out.”

 “No it’s fine. I’m not using it someone else might.” James replied. He sounded a little sad but uncaring about sharing a table.

 “I’m Asuka by the way.”

                James finally looked up, just in time to see her remove a pair of sleek sunglasses revealing her eyes. She held out her hand in greeting.

 “Umm… James.” He replied, shaking her hand.

 “So James, how long have you been waiting.”

 “Only about… ten minutes.” He remarked.

 Ahh that good, I hate waiting a long time for lunch.”

 “Me too.” James replied, finding the conversation relaxing. Finally a waitress managed to negotiate her way to the table.

 “Finally through, sorry for the wait guys, so what’ll it be?”

 “I’ll have the lunchtime special.” Said James.

 “Lunch special, okay, and I take it you want the usual Asuka?”

 “Yes please Marie, thanks.”

 “Okay, I’ll be back once your meals are ready.”

                Asuka smiled as the waitress walked away fighting through the crowd. James looked at Asuka as she watched the waitress struggle through the crowd.

 “So you come here often I take it.” He remarked. Asuka looked at him, her smile remaining on her face.

 “Yeah, these guys have a fish pie to DIE for.” She replied with wide eyes. James chuckled, briefly looking down.

 “I don’t eat here that often, I’m just grabbing a bite to eat before I go back to training.”

 “Training?”

 “Yeah, I’m a Longbow recruit.” James replied.

 “I see, so that explains the sadness and dejection.” Said Asuka folding her arms and sitting back.

 “Huh? What’s that mean?” Asked James with a confused frown.

 “Oh nothing, forget I said anything.” Said Asuka trying to look innocent.

 “Hmm…”

                The two failed to talk further even after their food arrived at the table. Once the two had eaten they said their goodbye and parted ways. James returned to the Longbow facility and started to train, with only week to his finally test, he had to be ready. Being sent into a warehouse with real Clockwork, there would be no room for mistakes.

                For seven days James trained hard, honing his skills further and trying to learn to mind his surrounding. He ran simulation after simulation, sometimes winning, sometimes failing, each time learning a little more. He was making progress, but the week passed all too quickly for him. The time had come for his final test, but if he was honest, he had to admit that he wasn’t ready.

 

                Kings Row, at a warehouse not far from the exit leading to Independence Port, James stood with a Longbow Officer who would be the moderator of the test.

 “We’ve given you one of the new auto teleport beacons.” Remarked the moderator. “If you get badly hurt it’ll automatically send you to the academy infirmary. We’ve just start distributing these to all the Longbow soldiers and the heroes around Paragon.”

 “So the guys at D.A.T.A finally got them working?” Asked James.

 “Yes, before it always teleported them at the wrong time, now though they’ve finally got them working right.”

 “Good.”

 “Now, I can’t help you at all in there, if you get in trouble, you’ll have to get out of it.”

 “Understood.”

                James took a deep breath before entering the building. It was a dark place, the lights dim from over use. The front entrance had been striped completely of metal leaving a messy area. As James looked around, echoing in the air was the unmistakable and unforgettable ticking, which was so synonyms with the scrap built creations of the Clockwork King. This was it, James final test, if he completed this he was a Longbow soldier, taking another deep breath he tensed his body

 “Let’s go.” James moved forward and headed around the corner out of the entrance in into the main warehouse. He turned the corner but was quickly stopped in his tracks by a mass of flaming embers. They fell to the ground in front of him and died as both he and the Longbow Officer looked at their point of origin. A Cog lay on the ground cleaved in two. In front of it, holding a flaming falchion was Dee Four, with Dee Six standing beside her.

 “These things are like cockroaches!” She remarked looking at Dee Six. “No matter how many you destroy there’s always more!”

 “What are you two doing here?” Asked the Longbow Officer drawing the attention of the females.

 “Clearing out the Clockwork.” Remarked Dee Four. “I’d be more interested to know why there’s Longbow here.”

 “This was meant to be a test for a new recruit.” The Longbow Officer remarked.

                Dee Four looked at James and smiled. She removed her sleek sunglasses revealing her eyes and her identity to James.

 “James, so this is YOUR test?”

 “Asuka? You’re a hero?”

 “You two know each other?” Asked Dee Six.

 “Yeah, we met last week at the place I normally go for lunch, there was no where to sit properly so we shared a table.” Dee Four explained.

 “Well it’s seems this test is void since heroes have become involved, we will reschedule it for another date. I have to go and report the change, James I’ll see you back at the Academy.” The Longbow Officer left the warehouse leaving James with the two females.

 “I didn’t know the Longbow tested their recruits by sending them into battle situations.” Said Dee Six folding her arms.

 “I’m not applying for standard Longbow duties; I’m going for special ops, infiltration and such.”

 “That’s a pretty select group, are you a meta-human?” Asked Dee Four.

 “No… well, not in the sense you’re thinking off. I don’t have abilities like a fire sword, but my bodies been trained to move and heal fighter than normal, plus I’ve had extensive martial arts training.” James replied.

 “You never tried to be a hero, sounds like you could cut it.” Said Dee Six.

 “Yeah, I’m actually still registered within the Paragon City hero registration. But when I tried I just couldn’t get anything right, in the end I just gave up and decided to join Longbow.” James explained.

                Dee Four folded her arm and closed her eyes thinking as Dee Six spotted a Cog walking around the far corner of the corridor and blasted it with a pulse of energy. Dee Four then opened her eyes and looked and James.

 “Come on, why don’t you tag along with us while we clear out this place. You can show us what you can do and maybe we could give you a few pointers.” She remarked.

 “You in the business on blindly teaming up with a person you’ve only met once before?” Asked james with intrigue.

 “Not normally, but put it this way, what have you got to lose?” Replied Dee Four.

 “Well I have to admit I didn’t think I was ready for the test… okay, why not, as you said, what have I got to lose.” Dee Four smiled and replaced her glasses.

                Dee Four and Dee Six now joined by James, attacked the Clockwork within the warehouse with speed. Allowing James to cut loose and show what he could do the two women kept back, only helping when needed. As he attacked the many Cog’s and Oscillators in the warehouse Dee Four and Dee Six gave him advised him on many things. James absorbed the information given to him by the heroes, incorporating their advice into his fighting style. Although he would need to refine a lot of what he had been told so it was useable with his own fighting style, the help the two heroes gave him had been more useful than a year of extreme training.