GeneX - Entering Despair
Chapter 3 - Basic Training
Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.
The story thus far:
Violet the echidna, haunted by the memories of her parents' murder, fully realized her hatred of humanity after attempting to warn the police of a break-in and getting beaten up by the police as a result! The break-in at the museum resulted in a shootout between gargoyle mobsters and police who were called in by Razor the porcupine. Mitch the Weasel managed to find the object of the robbery, a hidden shipment of weapons! With help from the Covenant of Despair, Mitch escaped with the weapons. Meanwhile, Violet used the beacon Fera left her to summon Fera, and now she is preparing to join the Covenant of Despair...
Now, on to the next chapter!
Sergeant Gunner, upon hearing that a mafia run by gargoyles had robbed a secret shipment of GUN's weapons, was the first to volunteer to lead the investigation. However, it was decided that he would not be in charge. Gunner's superior officer, Colonel Thade, would head up the investigation, taking Gunner along to assist. They found Chief Paynson at the scene of the crime, flustered and frustrated. Thade looked over the report on the incident he'd received and glared at Paynson. "Chief... According to this, there were supposed to be guards here, but you had them removed. Why?" he asked suspiciously. Paynson was sweating heavily, obviously nervous. "Well... Colonel, sir... I felt that the guards' presence here was unnecessary. This is a dangerous city, and we need all the help we can get in more... troubled areas..." he said, as though making it up as he went. Gunner looked outraged at that explanation. "OBVIOUSLY, the guards WERE necessary! More important, how could you let a mob led by furry freaks get such power that they could pull off such a..." Gunner was interrupted by Thade. "That's quite enough, Sergeant. I think we've learned just about all we can here. We best see if any of the captured gargoyles have anything to say. Good day, chief." the colonel said. As they began walking away from Paynson, Gunner looked concerned. "Colonel... The... mobsters... They didn't get away with the... special shipment, did they?" he asked. Thade shook his head. "That shipment is quite safe. I assure you. More important is to find out where our stolen weapons are now. Hopefully they're still in this city. Otherwise, I'd hate to find out where they turn up..." he said. As they exited the museum through the hole left by the explosives, Gunner growled softly. "Those freaks are going to pay for this..." he muttered. Thade sighed in annoyance. "They're not freaks, Sergeant. They're intelligent beings, no different from us. Not all suspicious characters in this city are furry." he said. "But I'm sure MOST of them are." Gunner grumbled. "Well, let's concentrate on the ones we KNOW are dangerous first." Thade replied, heading for his car.
Violet awoke that morning in a tent. Fera had used a strange sort of magic the night before, sending them both to a forest. Their camp had already been prepared, and Violet wasn't the only new recruit for the covenant in the area, but she was so exhausted the night before that she'd gone straight to sleep. She woke up moments before someone arrived to wake her up. A pink female skunk with a green shirt and tan pants opened the tent and shouted to Violet. "Rise and shine! Quick, before everyone leaves without ya!" she said. Violet climbed out of the tent and looked around. A small crowd was forming near Fera, who was apparently going to lead them somewhere soon. "You sure looked roughed up last night. Did you come unwillingly?" the skunk asked, still standing beside Violet. "I... um... no." Violet said sleepily. "I'm Daisy by the way." said the skunk. Violet rubbed her eyes and glanced at Daisy. "Violet..." she said for introduction. Daisy shook her hand. "Pleasure! C'mon, sleepy, let's see what Fera's up to!" she said, leading Violet to the group. Fera pointed to a path through the forest. "All right, everyone. Let's get moving. Breakfast will be served at the end of the trail. If you stay on the trail, you won't get lost, so... get going already!" The group began moving without delay as Fera watched. Daisy and Violet moved at the back of the line, and were joined by Fera. "Where are we going?" Daisy asked. Fera grinned at her. "Wait and see." she said. Violet was moving slower than the others, apparently still not fully recovered from the night before. "Are you all right?" Fera asked, a bit concerned. Violet nodded. "Just a little tired..." she said. Fera frowned. "The humans were rather cruel, weren't they..." she said tensely. "I'm OK..." Violet insisted. Daisy took her hand. "Don't worry! I'll take care of you! Just stick with me!" she said. Fera frowned, as though Daisy was doing something wrong, but she said nothing. In fact, Fera remained fairly silent throughout the journey, while Violet and Daisy made friendly conversation until they reached the edge of the forest. Exiting the forest, the group found that the trail ended at the front door of a massive black castle, towering high above the trees. Fera addressed the group. "Welcome to Despair Castle! After breakfast, your training will begin!"
Razor had interrogated some of the gargoyles from the robbery the night before, but couldn't learn much from them. In fact, all he learned was that the weasel present at the robbery was known as "Infin." It wasn't much to go on, but Razor knew of someone who might be able to help him. After leaving Soleanna, Bill and Bob had reopened the Neon Tavern in Troblusk City, so Razor paid the knowledgeable hedgehogs a visit. "Hiya, Razor. You on duty?" Bill asked as Razor sat down on a stool. "'Fraid so, Bill. I'm looking for a guy called 'Infin.' Ever heard of him?" he asked. "Info Finder." Bob said, taking a glass a customer was finished with. Bill nodded. "Infin is said to be very good at learning things." he said. "Kinda like you." Razor added. Bill shook his head. "Not like me. He works for some real shady characters. I don't really know anything but rumors, though... But I guess he was working with the goyles recently." he said. Razor leaned against the counter. "Any idea where I can find this guy?" he asked. Bill glanced over to Bob. "Write it down." he instructed. As Bob was writing, Bill explained. "If anyone asks, you didn't get this from us. We got an address where he might be found. MIGHT. Be careful around there though, Razor." he said. Razor took the paper from Bob and stood up to leave. "Tell our pals in Station Square we said hi!" Bill said. "Sure. See ya, guys." As Razor stepped out of the bar, his attention was immediately drawn to someone across the street. It was a man in a black suit, wearing sunglasses, who apparently was trying not to be spotted and doing a poor job, hiding behind things like telephone poles as he dashed from spot to spot. Razor recognized him from the news report on the experiments that called for their arrest. "Hey, you! You work for Sergeant Gunner, right?" he asked. The man hid behind a car, muttering to himself. "Did that guy see me? Naw, he must've seen Agent 77... What's Agent 77 doing here?" he stood up, looking for someone, and saw Razor. "Yikes! Um... Wait, a police officer? Oh. Yeah, I guess you WERE talking to me. My code name's Spy! Yeah, I work for Gunner..." he said, a bit jumpy. "Spy? THAT's your code name?" Razor asked. Spy nodded. "I'm off duty, though. Gunner let me visit my granny. She lives in this city! But she's mean, so I'm just hiding from her AND the sarge..." he admitted. Razor raised an eyebrow. "OK.... Well, I'm busy. I'm investigating that robbery that brought Gunner here." he said. Spy ran across the street to Razor. "Let me come! If I help solve this thing, maybe the sarge will overlook some of the stupid things I've done recently!" Razor was hesitant to say yes, but realized that it was Spy's mission, too. "All right... But don't 'sneak around' like you were doing before. It actually calls attention to you!" he said. Spy gave Razor a salute. "Yes, sir! I won't let you down, sir! I mean, maybe..." Razor groaned with irritation. Clearly it was going to be a long day.
At breakfast, Violet's group met up with other groups of trainees, and once breakfast was over, they were split up into teams for basic training. Violet and Daisy remained in a group led by Fera, who led them to the first part of their training. Daisy had befriended a dark-green gecko during breakfast, and he joined them at the first training area, too. They had arrived at a shooting range within the castle. As everyone waited for Fera to give them instructions, Daisy introduced Violet to her friend. "This is Simon. He's from Central City!" she said. Fera called everyone's attention. "All right, new recruits, you're all here for one reason. To fight back against the tyranny and hatred of mankind! To do that, you'll need to be prepared. Humans take great pride in their weapons of death, and in order to fight them, you must be able to use that power against them! So, our first training exercise will be in the use of firearms." While Fera was talking, Violet noticed a fox with a uniform standing in the corner, tossing a knife and catching it in his hand. His fur had many different colors. His head was mostly yellow, but he had blue ears. His tail was green, except for a tuft of cyan fur at the tip. He was looking at the people in the crowd, and soon his eyes met Violet's. He grinned at her unpleasantly, waving. Violet looked away and found hand guns being passed out. Daisy handed her one. "You should pay more attention, Violet! C'mon, let's see what these things can do! Just, like Fera says, don't shoot anything but the targets." she said. "Watch this, ladies..." Simon said, standing a good distance away from where the others were practicing shooting. He aimed his gun with just one eye and fired a few shots, hitting the human-shaped target in the heart with each shot. Fera was watching and walked over to Simon, clapping. "Impressive. I think we've found your specialty already!" she said. Violet and Daisy found some targets side by side and began practicing, but it took much longer for them to aim, and from the normal distance. The colorful fox had walked over to them and was watching with interest. "Take as long as you want, gals, the targets aren't gonna shoot back at least! Hee hee! Or are they?" Violet glanced back at him. "Cut me a break! I've never fired a gun before. And... Is this really necessary...?" she wondered. The fox laughed at her. "No, it's not necessary! Hee hee! You could throw marshmallows at the baaaad people!" he said. This fox's demeanor was rather crazed, and Violet decided it was probably best to ignore him. Daisy fired the gun until it was out of ammo, and found that her shots were all over the place. The fox was giggling uncontrollably. "Wow, I wish I could shoot like that! It looks like fun!" he said. Daisy turned around and grinned at the fox. "You're nuts, aren't you? And what's your name?" she asked. The fox was hopping on one foot, tossing his knife from hand to hand. "Name? MY name? It's Patch! Hee hee! I like knives and sporks! But mostly I like games! Wanna play with me?" Violet fired her ammo at the target and found that she was a worse shot than Daisy. Patch looked at her target and fell over laughing. "Oh, no, stop! Ha ha ha ha ha!! You're so lame you're cool!" he giggled. Simon tapped his foot in annoyance over Patch. "Leave 'em alone, you bugger. They're new at this. You're not... probably..." he said. Patch ignored him and continued laughing until Fera approached him. "Pull yourself together, Patch! It's time for more direct weapons training!" she said. Patch pulled himself up. "Can I watch?" he asked. Fera groaned with annoyance. "You're the instructor!!" she said.
Patch tested the new recruits with various non-projectile weapons. He used nunchucks, while the trainees each chose from a number of training weapons to fight him with. It turned out that Patch was a skilled combatant, though, and most of the trainees looked rather pathetic fighting against him. Simon put up more of a fight than most, but Patch was fast and unpredictable, and Patch soon knocked him over like the rest. Next was Violet's turn. She chose a small training sword, and approached Patch. "OK! Time to play! Come and get me!" he challenged. "All right, you asked for it!" Violet shouted, running at Patch with the sword. She swung it three times, and each time, Patch jumped over it. "Strike one! Strike two! Strike three! Strike you!" he said, smacking Violet in the head with his nunchucks! Violet fell over, defeated, like everyone else. Daisy was next, but she and Simon helped Violet stand up first. "He's tough..." Violet said. "No kidding..." Simon added. Daisy picked up a training katana. "I think this one looks cool..." she said. Patch was jumping around impatiently, so Daisy ran into the arena and began swinging the weapon at Patch, while he jumped around, playfully dodging. "Hee hee! You're lotsa fun! Now try this!" he said, attacking with his nunchucks. Daisy blocked with the sword, and counterattacked. She missed again, but also managed to block Patch again. "C'mon! Let me hit you! It's fun!" he said, trying to hit her again. She dodged it, then successfully smacked Patch with the sword, knocking him over! "Bwaaaa!!! Help! I fall down go boom!!" Patch shouted, struggling to get up. Fera stepped into the arena and shook hands with Daisy. "Well done. Not many trainees can hit Patch. Too bad it wasn't a real katana, though. It might've shut him up for once." she said, noting that Patch was shouting even more than usual. "All right everyone! On to the next training exercise!"
Razor and Spy soon arrived at the address Bill and Bob had given them, and seeing gargoyles standing guard outside, Razor knew it was a mob hideout. "We gotta get in there and see if Infin is there, and if not, see if we can find out where he is. But how..." Razor said to himself. Spy looked thoughtful. "I think... We're doomed! Let's go back and ask the sarge for backup!" he suggested. Razor looked at him quizzically. "I thought you were a spy. Can't you sneak in there? Go on, I got your back. If you get in trouble, I'll help you!" he said. Spy looked nervous. "I don't have a gun. I'm off duty!" he whined. "Go on!" Razor ordered, frustrated. "OK, OK... But I better get a medal for this..." Spy muttered, sneaking carefully towards the back entrance to the building, which was unguarded. Razor watched him enter, then looked through the nearby window, finding gargoyles standing around in there. It wasn't long before the gargoyles were pointing weapons at Spy. "Aw, shoot!" Razor shouted, running for the door. He burst into the room gun-first! "Freeze! Drop the weapons!" Razor shouted as Spy ran behind him. "How did you get to be a spy!?" Razor growled. "That's a long story..." Spy said. The gargoyles were pointing their guns at Razor now. "So, officer, any last requests?" one of the gargoyles asked. "I request you not shoot us!" Spy whimpered. Suddenly, an energy blast crashed through the window and passed through each of the gargoyles' guns, smashing them in their hands! Looking out the window, Razor spotted Guard, who flew in and held his scythe readily. "Grrrr... I may be a gargoyle, but those are friends of mine! Grrr... You will not harm them!" he growled. Razor looked both shocked and relieved. "How did you know we were here?" he asked. "Grrrr.... Boss told me to watch Spy. Grrrr... He thought something like this might happen to him." The gargoyle mobsters all had spare weapons, and were already pointing them at Razor. "What do you guys want!? Speak, or we'll shoot the lot of ya!" a gargoyle yelled. Razor nodded. "Fair enough. We're lookin' for someone called Infin. He left your fellow goyles high and dry last night, but they don't seem to know where he is. Any of you know?" he asked. Spy backed towards the door. "If you don't wanna answer, we could just leave..." he said. The gargoyles glanced at Guard. "You're a gargoyle. If you want, we'll tell you what we know about Infin. You wanna tell the cop? Not our business. But the cop's gotta leave, and take that screwball with him, right now!" a gargoyle said. Guard nodded, so Razor and Spy stepped outside. "So, Gunner had Guard babysit you..." Razor said, glancing at Spy and trying to contain laughter. "I hate my job..." Spy muttered.
The next training exercise was about stealth. The group had been split into teams of two and placed in a dark, mazelike area. The goal was to find the way out without getting spotted or setting off any alarms. Violet was teamed up with Daisy, and together, they were utterly lost. "It would've helped if Fera would've drawn us a map!" Daisy said. Violet looked around. "You just gotta remember where you've already been... I think we've been that way already, so let's go the other way!" Violet suggested. Daisy looked surprised. "How can you tell the hallways apart!? They all look the same!" she said. Violet shrugged. "I'm just paying attention..." Daisy grinned at her. "Well, it's about time you started doing that!" she joked. As they continued down the path Violet suggested, they found a long hall with guards patrolling at several points where the hallways intersected. Daisy looked a bit worried. "How do we get past this?" she wondered. There were large boxes scattered along the hall, and they gave Violet an idea. "Wait 'till the guards pass, then run by and hide behind the boxes!" she suggested. While Violet and Daisy started to test this strategy, Patch, who was one of the guards, spotted them making their way towards them. He grinned to himself excitedly as he continued patrolling, waiting for their approach. Violet and Daisy's strategy was working, and they slowly darted past the guards one by one. Soon, they were near Patch. The fox skipped across the hall, stopping abruptly just out of Violet and Daisy's sight. As the two of them attempted to pass, Patch jumped after them and grabbed Daisy by the arm! "I got an intruder! I got an intruder!" he chanted in a singsong voice! "Daisy!" Violet shouted, turning and running for Patch, hoping to free her friend. Before she reached him, Fera warped into her path! "What do you think you're doing!?" Fera growled. Violet looked confused. "I was... trying to help." she said. Fera motioned to the guards patrolling nearby. "See them? If they were humans, you'd both be dead by now! Never stop! No matter what! The mission always comes first!" she said. "But..." Violet started to say. "No buts! The mission ALWAYS comes first! It is best that some die and the mission succeed, than for all to die as a result of sentiment! Understand!?" Fera asked. Violet nodded. "I... guess so..."
Guard led Razor and Spy to a building said to be Infin's hideout. They let themselves in, finding Infin was away. The building was apparently his home. "I bet this guy has a lot of hideouts like this." Razor said, "After all, in his line of work, it's probably best to keep on the move." Spy found some stairs and began climbing them. "I think I'll look around alone." he said. Guard was examining the building using the scanners in his eyes. "Grrrr... Pretty big place for a crook..." he observed. Meanwhile, Spy found a bedroom, and began searching it. As he opened the closet, he found, among the fancy suits, a Covenant of Despair uniform! Spy recognized the thirteen pointed star symbol. "Oh boy... This isn't good... I better tell those guys!" he said. Back downstairs, Guard and Razor were looking around the rooms and found an elevator. "This place must not have been originally intended as a single residence..." Razor said. Suddenly, they heard the front door open! Guard headed back towards the entrance and found Mitch the Weasel, otherwise known as Infin! "Grrrr... You must be the owner of this... establishment." Guard growled. Mitch was smiling as Spy ran down the stairs. "Agent Guard! This Infin character is... wait, is that him!?" he said with alarm. Mitch held up a remote device as Razor walked into the area. "I knew the goyles would sell me out, so I rigged up this dump with some explosives. I got 'em rigged with a timer, see. I got two buttons here. One starts the timer, and one blows the dump up right away. Follow me, and this place'll go up before you can get your police chief out... 'Cuz he's... y'know... tied up at the moment, and he won't be leavin' any time soon!" he explained, pressing the button to start the timer! "Youse got five minutes. Better get movin'!" As Mitch ran out of the building, Spy panicked. "What do we do?! I guess the chief's dead!" he said. Razor ran for the elevator while Guard headed up the stairs. "Get out once Infin is gone, Spy!" Razor shouted as he left. A note in the elevator gave Razor the floor he needed. "That was thoughtful of the maniac." he thought. As the elevator reached the floor, Razor heard a phone ringing, and ran towards it to find Chief Paynson tied up with duct tape covering his mouth! Razor answered the phone before doing anything else. "Hello, officer?" It was Mitch! "I gotta confess something. I lied. Actually, you only got three minutes, and that time's just about up..." Razor dropped the phone and turned to the chief. Luckily, Guard had arrived already! "Man, you're fast..." Razor remarked. "Grrrr... It helps to have wings!" Guard replied, handing Razor his scythe and picking up Chief Paynson. Razor jumped onto Guard's back. "You'll have to fly us both out! This dump's about to blow!" he explained. "Grrrr... Great..." Guard grumbled. Outside, Spy had already escaped the building, and watched as the timer ran out and the building was destroyed in a fiery explosion! "Oh, well. I never much liked Guard anyway..." Spy muttered, believing Guard had died in the explosion. "Grrrr... I'm not too fond of you, either!" came Guard's voice overhead! He quickly dropped down next to Spy, exhausted from carrying Razor and Paynson. "Hey! You even saved the chief!" Spy said, pulling the tape off of the chief's mouth. "OWWW!!! You almost pulled my moustache off!!" Paynson yelled. Spy frowned. "Sorry..." he said, putting the tape back on while Paynson shouted in protest.
The training group had come to Fera's specialty: dark magic. Fera was spending time with each recruit, teaching those that could be taught. Not everyone could use dark magic, it seemed, and Simon and Daisy were both dismissed shortly after Fera called them. "Looks like I couldn't do it..." Daisy said upon exiting the training room. "Well, we can't all be magicians." Simon noted. Soon, Fera called in Violet. "Good luck, Vy!" Daisy said. "Don't let Fera scare you!" Simon added. As Violet walked into the training room, the first thing she noticed was that it was the darkest room she'd seen yet. Lanterns similar to the one inside the beacon Violet had used the night before glowed faintly as Violet entered the room, and Fera was waiting in the center of the room. "The lanterns in here respond to dark energy." Fera said as the lanterns became brighter. "It seems you can use dark magic..." she realized. Violet looked around at the lanterns. "I can? Really?" Violet said with wonder. Fera extended her hand to Violet. "You possess a certain... Understanding. I sensed it when we first met." she said as Violet took her hand. Fera shot sparks of dark energy through Violet's body, causing her to scream in pain! "Darkness is a great power... Feel it course through you! This power is yours to use!" she said, releasing Violet's hand. Violet backed away from her, shocked. "Yes, it hurts. Like the pain those humans cause. If you use this power, you can turn this pain against them! Just focus your inner darkness... This will help." Fera handed her a bracelet shaped like the covenant's thirteen-pointed star, "The Despair Seal will help you channel your dark power. Now show me what you can do." Violet attempted to give it a try. As she attempted to focus, small black sparks came from her fingers, but they soon dissipated. "I can't focus..." she said quietly. Fera was circling Violet, staring at her with her good eye. "Do you know about Daisy? Neither does she. Her parents died when she was young. She was raised by humans briefly. Do you know what they did to her? Can you imagine? They treated her like property. She was so abused, she ran away, and was forced to grow up on the streets! Where every day, humans continue to look at her with contempt!" Fera's words angered Violet. It wasn't fair. Humans could be so cruel, and furries were just supposed to accept it? Fera used darkness to warp across the room. "Try that..." she instructed. Violet concentrated on the spot in front of Fera, channeling her inner darkness. The darkness covered her briefly, but soon subsided. Still, it was more than she'd managed moments before. "Let me tell you about Patch. He came from a long line of... lab rats. The humans performed all kinds of terrible experiments on him and his family. His mother died from an experiment. It was... An experimental toothpaste. Turned out to be poisonous. Was that worth it? And those experiments... Well, you see what they did to Patch's poor mind." Violet was growing angrier. How could they? The humans were so selfish. Fera held a ball of dark energy in her hand. "Try this." she suggested. Violet held out her hand, and quickly created a small orb of dark energy. However, like the other spells, she couldn't quite maintain it. Fera looked thoughtful. "Simon once worked side by side with the humans. He was a police officer. He saw a human crime boss arrested. His own human comrades accepted bribes from his henchmen, and kept Simon busy while the crooks murdered his family. He was to be targeted next, but he escaped, then came to us himself. And while I'm at it... You have a story, too. Don't you? Similar to Simon's, isn't it? The humans killed your family, too! They're murderous, vile wretches, all of them!" she declared. "Shut up!!" Violet shouted, unable to take any more. "They kill. They take. They hate. They betray." As Fera kept speaking, Violet kept begging her to stop, until the rage filled her completely. Her hands were sparking with dark energy. "I... said... STOOOOOOP!!!" she screamed, sending black sparks all throughout the room! Fera warped away until the sparks subsided, then warped back into the room, finding Violet on her knees. Fera leaned down and helped her up. "You... are a natural..." she said, "I don't expect you will require the Despair Seal for very long..."
Razor, Guard, Spy, and Chief Paynson found Colonel Thade and Sergeant Gunner at the police station. "Where have you all been!?" Gunner shouted, looking at Spy in particular. Paynson patted Razor on the shoulder. "My own officer here, with assistance from your men there, just saved my life! Moreover, they discovered that the true masterminds behind the recent museum robbery were agents of the anti-human organization, the Covenant of Despair!" he reported. Gunner's face seemed to turn red with rage at the mention of the covenant. "I found that out!" Spy pointed out before Gunner could start shouting. Thade nodded. "Well done, men. That's some important information. If the covenant is involved, we'll have to be ready for anything." he said. "I say we should consider the robbery an act of war in this case!" Gunner snarled. Paynson looked concerned. "Do you really think it will come to that?" he asked. Thade looked uncertain. "We'll let the Commander be the judge of that. Come, I'd like to have a word with you." he said, motioning to Gunner and Paynson. "Come on, Spy!" Gunner said as he followed the colonel to the back of the station. After they were gone, Guard glanced at Razor. "Grrrr... I think the chief is hiding something." he said. Razor looked thoughtful. "Yeah... Maybe that's why Infin had him tied up in there... But, Guard... Who are these covenant crooks I've been hearing about?" he wondered. Guard frowned. "Grrrr... We don't know much yet. Grrrr... But they're clearly not friendly..."
With basic training completed, Fera and other covenant members were now passing out uniforms to the new recruits. Patch was carrying a bundle of uniforms as Fera passed them out. Once they came to Violet, Daisy, and Simon, Patch had only three uniforms left. As Fera passed them out, Patch shook hands with each of them. "Welcome to the covenant, newbies! Congrats! Just don't get killed on your first missions! Hee hee!" he giggled. "Gee, thanks..." Simon said. Violet looked at her new uniform as Fera handed it to her. This was it. Now, she would have a chance for revenge. Daisy received her uniform last. "Here, as requested..." Fera said, handing a uniform with a green star instead of a red star. "Thanks very much! Red's just not my color!" Daisy said, grinning. With the uniforms all passed out, Fera spoke to the entire group. "Congratulations to all of you. Though you may not all be quite skilled with everything, you have all shown enough prowess in some field to pass basic training. Your first missions will be prepared soon enough!" As Fera finished speaking, the group clapped for their success. Patch stepped up to speak as well. "Hey! Congratulate Fera, too! Since she's so great, she was promoted to Commander today! Yay, Commander Fera!" he declared, leading the group in applauding Fera's promotion. Fera, however, seemed unmoved by this. "Yeah, whatever... Thank you, Patch. Yes, I'm Commander Fera now. Some of you will be in my unit for your first missions..." she announced, glancing toward Violet as if to say that she would be one of them. "Dismissed..." As everyone started leaving the room to take a well earned break, Violet saw Mitch the Weasel enter the room. "Infin reporting, Commander... Hey, that feels weird to say..." he said, approaching Fera. Daisy and Simon walked over to Violet and pointed to the door. "C'mon, Vy! I want to explore the castle a bit before we get a mission!" Daisy said. Violet realized she'd seen Mitch before. "I know him... Somehow..." she said, not recalling where exactly she'd seen him. Simon glanced at Mitch a moment. "Hmmm... He seems sorta familiar to me, too... Maybe he was one of the guards in the maze." he said thoughtfully. Since none of them thought it was very important, they headed out the door a moment later. Meanwhile, Mitch was reporting to Fera while smoking a cigarette. "That chief guy... I'm afraid he ain't so trustworthy any more." he informed Fera, who didn't seem to care. "We're through with him anyway. More important, did you find out where the items missing from the shipment are?" she asked, grabbing Mitch's cigarette out of his mouth. "You know, I just start smoking again after you leave... Oh, the shipment... GUN's got that secure. We ain't gonna be getting that now..." he reported. Fera dropped Mitch's cigarette and stepped on it. "Mitch... Have you ever known me to give up? Just tell me, where is it..."
To be continued...