Molly managed to get through her speech without any problem, although a number of the team went to Satsuki to sign up instead. Not surprising that she was the more approachable of the two of them, but it did not help Molly any as it made her more aware that Satsuki probably had the right idea with improving her image issues. Luckily a comment from Leon grabbed her attention and caused her train of thought to change rails.
[b “I don't know how people can go through life without a fire inside,”] Molly said with a somewhat quizzical look. [b “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”]
It was a quote that rang true in Molly's opinion as she was always at her best when she had a fiery motivation. She knew it could be different for others as she had seen met plenty of snipers that had a more cold disposition. The fact that she was undefeated in sniper duels though meant she was confident that her hotblooded nature was superior. Although it was just as possible that she was just a particularly skilled sniper with a Gear that bordered on the bleeding edge.
Lilly's answer was far more reasonable in Molly's opinion as she was excited about an exciting event. Not like Molly whose stance was that you go through everything with a brilliant blaze burning inside. Of course she had tempered it some in recent days to keep from burning out her team, but there was never a time where it ran out in her experience.
[b “It helps that the festival is an exciting time,”] Molly said agreeing with Lilly.
Leon was happy to volunteer to help them out so Lilly would be able to show off for Mr. Vanham. Still being busy around noon meant he would be tied up during the peak hours of the festival. There was nothing that could be done about it at this point, but it meant she would almost certainly have to get the others to fill in for his absence.
[b “We've got enough of a team that I think we'll be able to manage,”] Molly said without technically lying.
Even with her statement Molly noticed Lilly's hesitation before speaking up about being unable to help out during the festival. It sounded a bit unusual as she should have been able to keep up with everything for her classes, but Molly knew that she had her own circumstances. Still she made a mental note of it to ask her about it later. Whether it was the truth or not she should be able to help out in one way or another. Especially if it was the truth as she had a good relationship with most of the teachers thanks to her routinely setting the curve in her classes despite her routine absences.
[b “Don't worry about it Lilly; like I've said classes are more important. No reason to derail your future for this tournament,”] Molly said with as comforting a tone as she could manage. [b “If you'll be there in the afternoon that would be a great help though.”]
While this tournament was important to her own career path it was mostly in getting to show off her design skill via the Red Death. Although she was also interested in showing off her own piloting skills as whether as a pilot or an engineer she was set on being involved in them later in life. Cenorobotics was her core motivation and so showing off all of her talents in the tournament would be helpful for her own future career. If Lilly's goal was to be a teacher the tournament would mostly just be a fun pastime for her.
Lilly made her exit after getting the reassurance from Molly that there would be no problem with her being unavailable in the morning. Still Molly made sure to message her about it to offer her help with whatever was going on, and especially if she needed help with one of the teachers. Although she might have a very different teacher given their different courses Molly was confident enough in her connections that she would offer them for Lilly's use. Being on friendly terms with her own teachers would almost certainly be a help in that regard, and she could vouch that Lilly was putting in good work.
[b “We all have our own circumstances to deal with whether good or bad. She's probably been dealt one of the harder hands of all of us if I'm being honest, but she seems to be handling things well enough,”] Molly replied honestly. [b “Still we'll keep an eye on her to make sure that she can continue to handle things. I'm not about to let one of my team go through hell alone as long as they're willing to have the help of someone who has been there before.”]
She might not have been through the same difficulties as Lilly, but she had her own hardships in life. Not as many as most thanks to the many privileges she was provided by her inheritance. Her grandfather had done a lot of work to make sure that she saw as little hardship as possible, but when you inherit a boisterous personality and a petite frame you tend to make your own hardships.
[b “Sounds good to me,”] Molly said with a smile. [b “I think getting to practice that some will do us both some good for tomorrow.”]
Getting to hit something for a while would do her some good at least in preparing her for the hell that Satsuki had set out for her. Satsuki's plan for her image issues aside it would be good for her to get to see Leon in action as a fighter. It would be good to get show off her own skills as a fighter to Leon, but more importantly to show them off to the cocky Roland. He might be more hesitant to speak out after seeing his partner get beat up by her.
Leon had to laughed at her comment about making Lilly. “Then you are a mad scientist.” He said smiling. “We’re all mad here.” Roland said quoting the old 1895 Alice in wonderland. “Ain't that the truth.” Someone said in passing causing a laugh from the crowed. Leon had mingled well in the team know for a bit of a hard ass but her was never not willing to help other. Whether it be simply as a helping hand to one on one training with people. If asked to help he would and most people enjoyed the change of pace.
Everyone turned to listened to Molly as she talked about the festival and what she expended out of them. “And here I though voluntold told was only in the army.” Roland said laughing as Leon couldn’t stop a form smiling at the memory. Once she was done everyone other headed out to finish up with some work or meet up with Satsuki to find a job. Leaving Lilly Leon and Molly. “I see fire in your eyes.” Leon said to the both the girls as he smiled. It been a while since he such fire from young people.
“Well of course how can you not be this week is all about us and it leads into our first real match as a team. Plus, uncle will be coming to watch and I can show him Jack work is paying off.” Leon tilted his head as he didn’t know she had an uncle. “Uncle?” He asked. “O sorry that what I call Mr. Vanham as he been be like second father to me since mine died.” Her face dropped a bit as Leon nodded.
“I see well then we better make sure everything set and ready so you can show off.” He smiled rubbing her head much to her protest. He then turned to Molly. “Anyway, sigh me up for anything you need me too as long as it doesn't fill around noon as I got a show for my class I was asked to do. I hope it will bring more people into it so I hope you don’t mind.” Lilly went to say something but then stopped and looked away. “Um Molly I can't help sorry but one my teacher is having me help him most of the day. It to help make up for some credits I'm missing.” She didn’t look happy about it and Leon swore he saw something in her eye but because she was looking away he couldn’t tell.
“That okay I’ll pick up her slack so don’t worry about it Lilly you worked hard so I don’t mind coving down.” He then looked at Molly. “That is if you are okay with that.” He asked her. Lilly turned back to Molly. “I be back in time for anything that would deal with the gear. He just needs me in the morning til the afternoon.”
Once she got her answer he nodded and left saying she had some stuff to get done. Leaving Leon and Molly. “Well everything seems to be in order. She seems to be doing well but something seems off is it just me or do you see it too?” He asked rubbing his chin. “I don’t know what it is but I feel like she hiding something behind her smile.” Letting out a heavy sigh he shrugged as turned to leave. “Anyways I should get going I got a class tonight but if you like around 8 I'm free if you want to come in and train.” He said smiling.
[h3 [center Past]]Molly noticed the peculiarities in the burn wound, but she kept any comment she might have to herself. She knew what Lilly was dealing with and she already had it in her plans to help her as much as she could. Plus given what she had seen Lilly do already it could easily be explained as just a particularly klutzy moment. Still she wanted to do something concrete to help her anyway, and it looked like she might be able to do something before the first preseason match.
She was happy with the change of subject even if it meant she was the center of attention, as it looked like Lilly was happy to indulge in her curiosity. Her self censoring a bad word also made Molly laugh given her own penchant for foul language. She was sure she would get a talking to from Darjeeling before their match if she ended up having an influence on Lilly's use of language.
Her continued tangent of a fully developed plot only drew more laughter from Molly at the absurdity of it all. The idea of her actually wanting to steal Wataru, or Wataru being capable of breaking her heart without losing his kneecaps left her unable to control her laughter. She may be a bit of an odd duck, but Lilly was an entertaining storyteller that was for certain.
[b “Good luck Leon, if you need any help just message me,”] Molly said as she struggled to catch her breath after he started to wheel Lilly out.
It was true they had plenty of time before the festival, but they also had a huge amount to get done in that time. Every member of the team needed training and that meant she had a lot of work to do as a coach. The first leg of programming for Sora was basically done already, but getting her the data required to make use of the programming would take a lot more time since it had to be done specifically for the Seraphim. Then there was the preparations for the festival itself that would almost certainly require her to call in some favors to help ease the burden on the mechanics and Satsuki. All of it on her plate made her thankful that Leon was making use of his rapport with Lilly to help coach her on a more one on one level. Especially since it showed that he was willing to do what was best for the team even at his own expense.
Molly's first priority was getting Lilly as much experience as she could in the time they had left before the first match. Even with the walls that they had encountered she was showing the tremendous promise that Molly had seen in her application run. The way she tackled problems showed a creativity that most seasoned pilots had lost and it was something that she hoped to foster given the uniqueness of her Gear. If she could combine the strange design of the Seraphim with an even stranger style she would be almost impossible to predict. Still getting her the experience to fight in an orthodox style was necessary so that she would be better equipped to make use of her preferred unorthodox style.
Part of that priority also included getting Sora the data needed to help handle the cumbersome Seraphim. It was a far more difficult to manage Gear than her own Red Death and so most of Yumi's data from helping pilot the Red Death would be useless. The only way to get her adjusted to the new set of programming was to have her run simulation after simulation and even with the processing power available to her in the hangar it was still a time consuming effort. One that was made more difficult by the fact that a lot of the processing power was still in use by Yumi to help the other members of the team, although Molly wanted to do her best to help prepare Lilly she was not going to do it at the expense of the rest of the team. Minus Leon at least who had actively volunteered what would be his own training time to help prepare Lilly for the competition.
Her second priority was getting Tatsuya as prepared for the team trials as possible. It would be unfair to ask the rest of the team to match her given her experience and the fact that she had a custom Gear designed to make optimal use of her talents. Tatsuya however was a far better goal for most of the recruits as he made use of a more standardized Gear design despite his skill. She also wanted to do her best to prepare him to push Leon and Roland as a loss against him would be more motivation than a loss against her.
Third was the team itself as she wanted to give the four projected backups the best opportunity to surprise her in the team trials. That meant giving them an optimized training schedule to put them through similar to what she was putting Lilly through. Along with getting their Gear setups customized to their respective styles optimized by her and Ryosuke. Just as she was doing that for them she also wanted to make sure that Leon and Lilly's Gears were in top condition not just in time for the first match, but in time for possible exhibition at the festival. They would have the choice of keeping their Gear under wraps, but she knew they might want the attention that showing them off could get.
Fourth was the festival as she knew even with her interview that the view of the team was not as positive as she wanted it to be. They were almost certainly going to be the highest seeded representative of the school so she wanted her classmates to be able to share some pride in that. Luckily Satsuki claimed to have a plan that would go a long way towards softening their image, but she planned to keep it a secret until the festival.
Even with all of that on her plate though she still made time to sleep as she just called out of most of her classes to free up her time. An advantage provided to her by her position as a well regarded thesis candidate. It gave her the energy she needed to be the team's drill instructor, lead designer, and programmer. There were plenty of jobs for her to handle, but it worked well for her as she was at her happiest when she was kept busy.
[h3 [center Present]][b “This is your plan?”] Molly asked as she finally looked over Satsuki's secret plan for image rehabilitation.
Satsuki just smiled as her boss looked over what she had bought in preparation for the festival. She knew that Molly would have some opposition to the plan and it was why she waited until today to reveal it. If it was last minute she was sure Molly would be more considerate of the plan giving the lack of alternatives, and she knew that it could work after she ran it by a few of her friends.
[b “You've got me over a fucking barrel and this is what you're giving me?”]
[b “I even sent it in for focus group testing, and it did well there,”] Satsuki said as she closed the box so it would be ready for the festival. [b “You may be opposed to it, but is it really worse than what you had to wear for the interview?”]
[b “That was different! I wasn't going to be surrounded by classmates at the interview.”]
[b “You can leave it behind if you want to, but Ryosuke and I think it's the best option.”]
Molly just glared as Satsuki walkde out of her apartment. She wasn't sure how she felt about her assistant developing such a strong spine since the team changed. Whether it was just the fact that Kenta and Yohei's abrasive personalities were gone, or one of the new personalities helping her feel more secure she was definitely more at ease talking back now. It was good at times as you never want a yes man who won't point out flaws, but at moments like this Molly regretted the development.
She didn't have much time to think about the idea though as just after Satsuki left she heard the team arriving. A lot of them had been taking off what classes they could to get extra training time in for the trial, and although she appreciated it she was careful to make sure that the training would not have a negative impact on their studies. There was no point in them becoming ace pilots if they no longer qualified to compete, and especially not if Gear piloting was not their long term goal in life.
As everyone arrived she made sure that they were all able to settle into their tasks before getting back to work on the last minute preparation for the festival. Including giving the Red Death a bit of a clean up to make sure that it was freshly polished for demonstration. Function was more important than form, but it would help with optics to have their marquee Gear look good.
Only after she was done with the festival prep did she turn her attention back to the group. Just in time to have Leon start praising Lilly's progress as a pilot. She figured it might be a bit hyperbolic, but it was true that the baby steps that she started with were quickly turning into giant leaps as the progress piled on top of itself. It was at least above the floor of Molly's expectations for her and that would be plenty for the tournament.
[b “I made her in a lab.”]
Just like John Randle it was a matter of no one else seeing the potential that was there since she tried out for other teams first. Like Kurt Warner it was a bit of luck that Molly was in need of teammates and so she was more willing to take a look at her. She would like to say that she would have tried out Lilly either way, but until the incident with Kenta and Yohei she had not really seen any applicants to the team. Other than Wataru who was turned away on principle.
Molly gave a small golf clap at the sight of Lilly just barely winning the challenge that Leon had set out for her. It may have been by the skin of her teeth, but a win is a win the margin be damned. Well at least as far as Molly was concerned it was the victory itself that was most important; since people were far more likely to remember who won than the margin of victory.
The fact that she used her wish to get Leon to sing for the crowd though made her realize that Lilly was either far less devious than herself, or that she was entirely less creative when outside of the cockpit. She loved to collect open ended favors like that from people, and it was the fact that she had several dozen owed to her at any given time that allowed her to pull off some of her plans. If not for Kuroda owing her the equivalent of a life debt she almost certainly would have had to hire temps to get their booth work done in time for the festival.
Still getting the military man to sing for them all was an entertaining option that fit with what she knew of Lilly and her love of teasing. Despite the effort to embarrass him though he did a good job with a song that Molly recognized from one of her playlists. After that and the Sabaton reference she was starting to think that she might just get along with Leon better than she initially expected. Not that she would tell him that as she gave a small golf clap as he finished his song.
[b “It's above my minimum expectations, but not as outside the realm of belief. She's got just about everything she could going for her here, and a training program designed to optimize according to her progress. Still she is knocking it out of the park as well as anyone right now. Overall I'm pleased.”]
Since everyone's attention was already centered near her thanks to Leon's impromptu performance Molly loudly clapped once to focus attention on her. [b “Now that I have your attention; I want you all to know that you can feel free to take the festival off when it comes to training. We are going to need some help running our booth, and with the exhibition if it gets approved. So sign up with Satsuki or be volunteered by me. I promise you'll all have plenty of time to enjoy the festivities of the festival, but we've got to make sure to put on a good show as the team that will be representing our school.”]
It technically was not a sure thing that they would be the representatives, but there was no way Molly would say that given they were the highest seeded last year. Her expectations were nothing less than the championship title itself. She managed a podium finish last year with a worse supporting cast and no reliable backups. This year was going to be the year she showed the superiority of her Gear designs and the piloting skills that she could assemble.
Roland had rolled his eyes at Yumi comment and would have made a combat at her if he knew it would start a whole new argument between the two. He needed to forces on the task at hand and not point out she was barely even half a person to begin with and wasn’t even a fourth that cute. ‘Curses so many ways to make fun of her yet so little time.’ He thought to himself as he kept working.
“That fine with as I hate fish.” Leon said a bit later. “Well if you ever need help I know a thing or two in the kitchen.” Lilly her rose as she said. “That good most lady love a cook in the kitchen. As for myself I burned water but I can bake. I make great browns.” Pulled up one of her sleeves showing off a nasty burn. “Got this one the other day for being a Klutz hehe.” her giggled sounded a bit forced to Leon. Plus, the burn scare looked a bit worse than just a quick cooking burns. However, he had no idea what was the real cause. He just need to keep an eye on her. “I see I would love to try some time.” Giving off a sweat smile she nodded. “Sure, I’ll make it for both of you as thank for help me and Sora.”
After that Lilly mostly focused on Molly and probed her for a much information as she possible could. “So, you kicked her ass... I mean butt then she swore her revenge on you o it like a manga.” Lilly eyes lit up as she imaged everything in her own wired way. “O then you steal her love out from under her you sly cat.” At this part Leon and to look up and raise his eyebrow. “Lilly that not what.”
“SSSSH.” She said to him. “Mine better and has a lot more pot twist. Then he betrayed you crushing your hearth making you the cold warrior you are today. Sworn never to lose to anyone unless they steal your heart.” At this point Lilly antics had made even Roland stopped from what he was doing in pure amusement. “Now you set out to reclaim your thrown from the cheater who broke your heart and the evil witch.” She was so lost in her own world that she didn’t noticed Leon walk up behind her and slowly roll her away. “Okay Lilly I think it time we get you home.” Again, Lilly said nothing as she was rolled out and taken to Leon car. Helping her in Leon came back up to grab Roland and plugged him back into his link. Saying his goodbye and promising to bring Roland back again later to help finish with the work.
“So, try to get some sleep you got plenty of time before next week Festival. Should only take another few day or so to finish up coding so until then I focus on Lily training. Have a good night and see you later.” With that and a later sweet checks from Roland to Yumi they left.
By the time they got back to Leon mustang Lilly had somehow fall asleep showing how tired she truly was. After a quick look in her phone he found her address and started driving. He felt bad about looking though her phone but he could wake her no matter how many times he shook her. He didn’t even notice how late it was ether until he looked at the clock. No wonder she was so tired it was almost midnight. He was use to long night and not getting much sleep so he didn’t feel any different but for the over hyper girl it must have been exhausting.
After finding her home he carried her top her door as he feared awaking her if he placed her back in her chair. Knocking lightly, he waited until Jake open the door a bit surprised. “O no I was afraid of this.” He said taking Lilly form Leon. “Thank for bringing her home I hope she wasn’t much trouble.” Leon waved his hand. “She was fine we just pushed her to hard thought it may be like this for the next few months as we get her into shape.” Jack laughed as he nodded. “Okay then I leave a key under the mat for night when I'm not home.” Nodding Leon said night before heading home and reading himself for a long week.
And a long week it was for Lilly as she struggled to learn everything shown to her. She found to so irritating that for hour of day Leon would force her on nothing racing or training curse that didn’t do much then time her. Each time all he would say was again until she worked her times down to a point he would say. “Good but you can do better.” At least training with some of the other had been better but not by much. Not to say she was ungrateful for the help but still could they at least teach her more than movement it was boring. At any point she wasn’t in the trainer she was being shown better way to improve her understanding of tactics.
She hated this part as she would complain why can't I make it as I go. Mostly to some reply as that could only get her so far. At least she was the only one that had to suffer under the rule of Leon training event as he forced some of the other to the same training only a two people score was he happy with. Molly and his own time seem to be good enough for him. He had also asked to take some of Molly video home to study her movement. Speaking of Molly if lean was a Nazi about training then Molly was Hitler. She would dill Lilly endlessly it seemed with her training. Sola had taken a bit longer then she thought with add on. Something about having to rework her ability with Seraphim himself. Lucky she was told that she would be ready for the Festival event.
“Okay Lilly brakes over.” Leon said. Letting out a heavy sigh she looked up at him. “Can't we call it quits today? Tomorow start the Festival and haven't I work hard enough for the day off?” Leon laughed as he shook his head. “You do and that tomorrow but if you want we could make a little bet.” A challenge now this she like sitting up she smiled. “O really? Continue.” Smiling back, he continues. “Do day we are going to bring your training full circle I'm going to give you a course that you haven't seen before if you can complete it in under three minutes I will grant you one with that is with in my power.” So many ideas came into Lilly mind as she tried to narrow it done. “You’re on.” She smiled evilly.
Nodding to Lilly he pressed a few key on his data pad. “Task is simple touch the tower under heavy fire. This will test everything you learned.” Lilly just smiled wide as she locked herself in. “Easy.” Stepping back he made sure he was out of earshot as he turned to Molly. “It amazing I never seen anyone pick on as quickly as she has. It took me almost two year to get to this kind of training and she did in in less than a month. He pulled up to screen as he showed it to Molly. “Where did you find this girl she a monster.”
Lilly switched her power to full thruster and boosted toward the tower. She looked as if she was going to rush straight in but once the gun opened up she boosted to the side dodge the wall of led. Each time she was shot at she mange to move out of the way just in time. Seraphim speed finally being used to full ability. Despite that she couldn’t quite to seem to get closer to the tower. The large amount of fire keeping her back. She didn’t give up thought as she pushed back and came up with a plan. Firing off her smoke she covered a league area. Boosting hard she shot out on one end. The gun that didn’t have time to react as a group could stop her from touching the base of the tower at 2:59.
“Ha I win.” she yelled to a small applause from the people watching “That you do and Im a man of my word.” Coming up with her idea she said. “I want you to sing for everyone in the room.” This took Leon by surprise but he sighed. “Fine a deal a deal.” Taking a second to think about a song he finally picked “End of Me” somehow Roland found the music as he started as he sang the song to the room. It was embarrassing but he didn’t let it show as he sang in perfectly. Once he was done he got his applause. “So Molly what do you think of Lilly progress.”
Their positive impression took a nosedive as Roland could not help but brag about his abilities. It was not a behavior that could not fit in with their group, but it was definitely one that drew a knowing look between the two women. They were happy that he was at least helping with the work ahead of them though as it would be a bit more time consuming without him.
He was right about there needing to be both the talent and the willingness to put in the effort to make a Gear pilot. There were people who get by on sheer work ethic alone, but the number of them that got famous for it were just a handful of some of the hardest working individuals in the world. The flip side there people who had tremendous talent who could never amount to anything because they were not willing to put in the work. One part genius may overcome one part of hard work, but you can't stack genius up over time like you can hard work. Molly knew that as well as anyone given some of the disadvantages she faced based on her own innate limitations.
She would have let him know that she was happy to make use of his skills there, and more importantly his rapport with Lilly before they were interrupted. Dealing with that problem took priority, although she made a mental note to appreciate that offer later. Given his experience in the military she was sure he was used to things like that being pushed off momentarily.
Being left on their own felt a bit unusual for Yumi but she dealt with it quite well thanks to Roland maintaining at least a semblance of professionalism. It took a bit of a turn though when Lilly spoke up about them looking cute together, as Roland was quick to turn to threats at the statement. She had a different idea in mind though as she spoke up over Lilly's laughter.
[b “That's just because I'm cute enough for two.”] She accentuated her statement with a fluttering of her eyelashes. Since Molly was dealing with her own problems it would be best for her to take some of the attention off of whatever it was that her partner was dealing with at the moment. Especially since she could not spy on Molly as easily when she was in her apartment above the hangar given Molly's obvious security concerns given what people do in the privacy of their own home.
After Molly dealt with getting rid of Kenta and Yohei and they all sat down to eat together she was willing to answer questions. [b “They were willing to bring useful information to the table, and they seem to have learned their lesson. No reason to keep them from the hangar if they're going to behave themselves as outsiders.”]
Molly raised her own eyebrow at the revelation that Leon did not watch the news as it was not something she expected from him. Sure there were plenty of people who ignore the news for one reason or another, but in her experience most military members will at least pay it more than a cursory glance. It made her wonder what he filled his off hours with if he avoided the news, but she had more pressing matters to deal with like the meal in front of her.
[b “Both actually,”] Satsuki spoke up as she saw her opportunity to interrupt Lilly's pressing and give her boss an out. [b “We have a decent kitchen, but for some of the trickier stuff I tend to order out. I'm not that good with fish yet.”]
Molly just laughed at the innocence of Leon and Lilly regarding Ryuugasaki's potential actions. It was clear from there that they had grown up in rather different environments, as she was well aware of what a well connected person could do to ruin your life thanks to her grandfather having done it to his own enemies. She doubted Ryuugasaki had the same level of connections that would be willing to pick a fight with the Hiruma Zaibatsu, but she wanted them to be aware of the risk just in case. Given their innocence of that side of the world though she made sure to note that she would have to do more of the protecting of them herself.
[b “When we were about fourteen there was a solo Gear tournament in Osaka that she was the favorite to win. I was just coming back from France at the time and was only using a modified off the shelf Gear to compete since I hadn't made the Red Death yet. She thought she had an easy road to victory when we met in the finals since she was piloting a Gear that cost an order of magnitude more than mine. You can probably guess but I won, and it wasn't exactly close cause she got cocky.”]
Molly interrupted her story to take a few more bites of her meal before it got cold. That would probably be enough of an explanation for them, but there was a bit more to the story that she was comfortable sharing with them. They were a team after all, and although they were technically her employees she wanted them to have a more comfortable relationship than usual for a boss and employee.
[b “After that she declared me her rival and made it her mission in life to beat me at anything I attempted. So when the guy she liked started pursuing me instead it made her more upset. If you remember last years tournament her team was the one we beat to make it onto the podium which also did not go over well with her. Jealousy I guess would be the best explanation here, but I'm confident I can handle her well enough at this point.”]
[b “Still I wanted you all to be aware of it just in case. Since at least one of you doesn't watch the news you should all be aware her team was banned for things like sabotaging her opponents and prostitution. I am still not entirely sure why she felt the need to go that far since she is rich, but for all I know losing to me back then broke her. I think I've got it handled, but it never hurts to be aware.”]
Roland could see the forced expression on Yumi face and could help but cracking his first joke in over an hour. “O no you’re right. Couldn’t have you praising me yet I haven't show you just half of how amazing I am.” He winked at her before returning to work. Leon could help but crack a smile at Roland and Yumi comment at each other. Roland had never gotten along with other AI as he been mostly away from his own kind and had become antisocial unless it was to brag about his ability. Most just fingered it was hot air but if people knew half of what the two had done together they would understand why he acted that way.
Roland opened a second window as word started appearing as he inputted number and equations and talked fast mathematical equation with Yumi as to help take the work load off Molly. It would still take a while but three working on it would take a lot less time than just one. Leaving Leon, the odd one out as he couldn’t code and had to watch and talk think out with the three. “Coaching only half the battle them having the ability and willingness to learn is the other.” He looked out the window down at the people outside. “But I have a good feeling that most will be more than happy to learn under Tatsuya and you. I can offer my skill in anyway posable but I haven't really ever coached someone before and the way I learned and you are very different. Still I will do all in my power to help them.”
He laughed a bit at Lilly. “It been a while since I seen someone so excited to behind the controls of a gear. She like a kid in a candy store but still I feel like...” He stopped as if thinking about something. “Sorry never mind I’m probably reading too much into it.” Just then is when Lilly showed up and asked for the help. Nodding and standing up when Satsuki also stepped in. “Wait how much food.” He was cut off as Molly stormed passed him. He wanted to laugh as Satsuki almost dove out of the way as Molly matched passed her.
Lilly leaned around the door listening to Molly and the other talk. Her eyes followed them intel they were just out of site as she turned to Satsuki. “What was that all about?” She asked leaning on the edge of her seat. She loved gossip and would stick her nose into place it didn’t belong. Curiosity heading killed this cat. “It fine.” she smiled eagerly. “Here let me help with that.” Leon said following her. “I was raised to help even when not asked.” He replied at her protect. Lilly would move to the desk and accept the as she looked at Roland and Yumi “You two look so cute together.” She finally said once she had her tea. The comment earned her that could kill from Roland who wasn’t amused at all. “Say something like that again and I will recode all your control so you're driving backwards.” He deadpanned. It earned him a huge laugh but she said nothing more as she was afraid he would do it.
Ten minutes later everyone returned as food was passed out and Molly had returned to her chair. Leon took back his normal seat with Lilly next to him make a tringle out of the three. “How did they get unbanned so quickly?” Lilly was the first to ask. Leon just raised an eye brow before Lilly remembered what he didn’t watch the news. Taking a few second to catch him up about the news and saying. “You should really watch the news.” Leon just shrugged. “I refuse, if it imported enough someone will tell me.” Sighing Lilly turned back to Molly. “Why would she be after you?” Lilly asked while digging into her food. Like the other day she somehow made a mess on her face with her food much to the amassment of other in the room.
“I see thank but you got nothing to worry about me any of my deep dark secrets and untouchable. That and I don’t really care what other say about me.” Leon shrugged enjoying his own food. “This is quite good is this ordered of do we have a kitchen around the bay?” Lilly gave a thumbs up as she said. “And no one would be able to find my secret they are hidden in a safe place.” Leon almost did a spit take from the face Molly made as she must have known something Lilly didn’t. Lilly missed it as she dug more into her food. “But any ways tell me why would she hate you so much.” Lilly pushed.
Molly and Yumi were both impressed by the suddenly serious support by Roland, although not wholly surprised given that he was originally a military AI. Which they were reminded of by him not being allowed to hand out the latest of his own programming, or at least they both assumed that it was for security clearance reasons. It raised a slight question in Molly's mind, but she would just have to ask Leon about it later. The fact that he even went so far as to offer to help Yumi was an appreciated one, but caused the two women to just share a knowing look.
[b “Thanks for the offer, but I think we'll be fine,”] Molly said with a polite smile.
[b “It is appreciated albeit unnecessary,”] Yumi added as she did her best to keep a professional smile on her own face. There was no way that she was going to allow Roland to show up her when it came to serious work after what he had put her through earlier.
The talk with Leon was going well, but there were a few moments she had to reiterate what she was saying. Not surprising given they were using his second or later language, and the talk was getting into more technical details now. She considered offering a switch to English if it would benefit him, but kept her mouth shut as she did not want to offend him. He was living in Japan so he almost certainly wanted to get a firmer grasp on the language and he was clearly willing to put in the work so she let him carry on in his own way.
After her explanation of everything Roland was the next one to speak up mentioning a song that sounded vaguely familiar. Still even if it was the song she recognized she still did not see the connection that Leon apparently did immediately given the way the two talked back and forth. It made her wonder if she did the same with Yumi, or if this was another difference between the two given their unique symbiosis.
[b “Sabaton,”] Molly said as she snapped her fingers at the memory. [b “It should work to reduce the load some, although I think your calculations might be a little on the optimistic side. Still any improvement to the efficiency is welcomed.”]
The suggestion came with another epiphany for her though as the idea to make use of another machine's development could very well benefit the Seraphim. Her idea would require a lot more work though, but she still set to work typing it up just to see if the concept held any water in a simulation environment. If it would work they might break the thirty minute mark for up time and even reduce the time needed to cool the Gear.
[b “You can think that, but it's my coaching that will get them ready for the competition. I trust myself as a coach well enough to get them to a competitive level,”] Molly said with a smile as Yumi ran tests on her quickly thrown together work. [b “You are right about Seraphim being a bit of an unusual beast though. That and Lilly's mentality give her some of the best odds out of the group if I'm being honest.”]
Molly was about to start explaining the idea that she had, but she was interrupted by Lilly's sudden appearance. It made her aware of the fact that they had been working on this for over an hour something a bit surprising given Satsuki would normally have interrupted her earlier. What was more surprising though was that Lilly was there to grab Leon to help her collect food which was not something that Satsuki should need help with given her experience. However it was quickly explained as Satsuki came in behind Lilly and closed the door. The entire thing was a misdirect and she was one of the ones she was trying to keep from the floor.
[b “Move,”] Molly said in a firm tone as she stood up from her desk.
Satsuki stood in front of the door for a solid two seconds before scrambling to the side to let her boss out of the room. Just in time to see Kenta and Yohei walk past Ryosuke onto the main floor of the hangar. It at least looked like the remaining mechanics were doing the right thing by standing between them and the Gears to prevent any potential tampering.
[b “Molly we need to talk,”] Kenta said as he and Yohei both put their hands up. [b “We come in peace, but we've got something you'll want to see in private.”]
Molly paused for a moment as she glanced back at her office. Since Sora and Roland were both hooked up to her computer there it would not exactly provide them the privacy that they had requested. They had both been banned from the premises, and she was confident that they knew her well enough to not do something like this lightly. Still she fumed about it for a moment both to give her time to think of where to go, and to see if their resolve would break.
[b “Upstairs,”] Molly said as she led them that way.
[b “Sorry for lying to you about needing help Lilly. I hoped none of you would have to see that,”] Satsuki said after her boss was out of sight. [b “I'll be back with dinner real quick so you both can just relax.”]
Ryosuke offered them both a calming cup of tea if they wanted it as that was certainly not something that he had expected. Still he had no answers for what was going on beyond what was already apparent. It did not take long for the answers to come though as Molly followed the two down the ramp from her room just about ten minutes after they went up. Just in time to see Satsuki bringing in everyone's dinner for the evening.
[b “They're not banned anymore, but if they come by again just send them to me,”] Molly instructed as the two left quickly. [b “They were letting me know that Ryuugasaki still has it out for me even after her team was torn apart.”]
[b “None of the news groups will touch a rumor related to this team without some solid evidence thanks to the investigative talents of Kanoko Naedoko so there's no need to worry about that. So instead Ryuugasaki tried to bribe them into saying some shit about me in an interview,”] Molly explained. [b “They wanted to tell me in private in case one of the members of the team was in on it, but I trust that none of you are that malicious or that stupid. Still if she is going this far against me I want the rest of you to be aware of it in case any of it might blow back on you.”]
Roland when it came time for real work focused more on the job at hand then his fun teasing other. He was a tease and joker but he was still very smart when it came to gear and their program handing all of Leon. He been made by the best programmer in the army and his knowledge and incite would be useful to some as well off as Molly. He seemed opposed of his normal self but that just how he worked. He knew what time he could play and what times he had to work and now was time to work. “This data should help with tactical movement and give her some more advance warning system for missiles. Would update her to mine but can't do that sadly but this is an older outdated vision that I can give out. I took a look at Yumi to and could help her warn you on movement happening behind you.” He sent the coding to her before moving back making sure the coding was written correctly and the correct values added.
“It seems so. I take something with noodles please.” He said passing Satsuki as he returned with Sora in hand. “Lilly in her trainer again so double check with her.” Leaning back in his chair he looked over her office again. Nothing really seemed that surprising to him she acted just as she seemed. Straight as an arrow as the old saying would go. Though he knew there was more about her he didn’t know and she would have in her office. “I see so it a double edge sword.” He said taking some time to think about it. His Japanese wasn’t the best and he had to stop her a few times and ask her to repeat as she when to face for his basic understanding.
Leon was quite for most of her speech thing on way that could help with that small little problem. It seemed hard to work around but he knew there must be a way around it. As without finding a way around it would be hard for Lilly to do much without burning her gear out ten minutes in a fight. That when Roland spoke up. “Hey do you remember that song Night Witch?” He asked Leon making him raise an eye brow. “Yea I do but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.” He replies until the thought hit him. “Wait you don’t mean what I think you mean.” Roland nodded “Yep if redo some of the thruster coding and teach her to reply on her gear heavy hydraulic presses and booster instead of just one she could get better efficiency then just one. I getting 45.33 repeating.”
Looking up at the questioning faces of Yumi and Molly. “The Night witches were Russian female piloted in the second world war that used old Polikarpov Po-2. They were known for doing night attack by flying high and other shutting off engine before hitting a target. In short, the enemy never knew that they were under attack until boom. The thing is they glided into their target and the idea Roland came up is what if we make it so instead of a single boost we use Seraphim powerful presses to launch him from the ground and use the booster in short burst. That way we don’t over use them and instead then use them longer. Note this won’t stop her from having to use them to go left or right midflight.” The idea was simple and would help her keep mobile for longer,
“With everything else I think we could get her heat buildup to around 25 minutes before over heat. Install some fans around the vent to help push air out we would drop her down time to a buck thirty.” Roland added. “Not the best but as you said yourself Tatsuya or Leon could cover her while she down.” Leon cut in at that point. “She not complies defenseless she just can't move anywhere quickly she still has the firepower and armor and unless you want to charge a gear that carry a minigun she not complies unable to do anything.”
“Not to but the other to bad taste but it would hard for any of them to beat me you or Tatsuya. Plus, once we get Lilly up to speed she going to be very hard to handle for even the best pilot. Seraphim is just a new kinda of gear that no will know how to handle.” Once he finished up he looked up and noticed Lilly rolled into the room. “Hey finished?” He looked at his watch and noticed they had been working for an hour all ready.
“Yea plus I was told grab you to help grab food as well. Do you want me to bring you something Molly?” She asked.
Molly heard all of his comments on their plan of action, but noticed a distinct flaw that he was most likely unaware of regarding the design of the Seraphim. The suggestions were still of value, but they had to tempered by the greatest weakness of the Seraphim. He was right that the computer system would almost certainly need to be rewired though, as it was something that she had to put quite a lot of work into with her own Red Death. Given the weight class of the Seraphim there was almost certainly enough there for her to work with making a more secure computer system for it.
While the fact that he did not know how to ride a bike was a surprise it did nothing to slow down her train of thought as she basically glossed over it. She was sure there was a good reason for it to be a skill that he never bothered to pick up, and she was not about to judge him for something like that. Plenty of people go through life without being able to ride a bike and since he could drive there was not much reason for him to learn at this point. It especially was not a problem as he understood the point as it was meant to explain that learning the hardest part by itself would be easier than learning everything all at once.
Once they were in her office she did notice him taking a look around but paid it little mind as there was nothing embarrassing left out in the room. There was a couple of monitors on the wall, including one that was hooked up to one of the newer emulator systems. A few pictures hung on the walls of her and her teams throughout the years although none with Kenta or Yohei. What probably stood out the most though was the bookshelves filled with a variety of technical manuals, nonfiction sports books predominantly related to gridiron football, over a hundred volumes of manga, and various others like The Art of War in a few different languages.
Molly noticed him soften his statement in regards to the possibility if something goes wrong, as the safety net for a competitive Gear pilot was far better than a military pilot. She had to hope that he did not let something like that slip in front of the others though given they might not take to it as well as herself. They were almost certainly less interested in risking their lives for the glory of a college competition than her given their own goals.
Being presented Roland's chip was a bit of a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. If she could get direct access to the data on his chip it would be much easier for Yumi to download any pertinent information for what they were working on at the moment. This of course assuming that Roland did not actively prevent them from doing so for some reason; Molly knew well enough by now to be aware around him given his attitude. The fact that he was being placed in such a vulnerable position by his partner she hoped would signal to him to go along with her efforts.
When she noticed Leon step out Satsuki was quick to take his place momentarily just to make sure that she was serving her boss as efficiently as possible. She had gotten used to noticing the signs of when Molly was riding a wave of inspiration and knew that it was best to get to her early to confirm when she should next get food and drink. When left to her own devices she had been known to skip meals while working and that was part of the reason that Satsuki was hired in the first place.
[b “Will you be joining us for dinner this time?”] She asked Leon as she left the office. It was an invitation that she was sure Molly would have made herself had she thought about it. Once he answered she made sure to stop by the rest of the team to see who all would be interested in staying longer so that there would be enough food for everyone.
Molly's smile widened at the sight of Sora's container and she was quick to plug her in as Leon explained the terms of the agreement. No changes were allowed to be made to her core programming, but given Molly's skill that still left her a wide range of available options. Especially as she had no interest in changing the woman's personality in the first place. Adding means for which she could develop her own skills to a better degree was more important, although given it would provide her a means of growing as a person meant that it technically rubbed up against the rules she was not about to stop herself. It would not be her changing Sora's core personality after all as it would only be by Sora's own decision making that anything would change in that regard.
[b “There is a flaw in having her focus all of her efforts on mobility due to the design of the Seraphim. It has a problem with overheating that will only be made worse by overuse of the boosters, and that limits her ability to make use of the mobility of the Gear,”] Molly explained. [b “Don't get me wrong you'd have the right idea under most circumstances, but the Seraphim being a sprinter instead of a marathoner limits its effectiveness in that regard. She needs to be comfortable on the move of course, but at least as much as that she also has to be aware of when to move.”]
[b “You are right about her needing to understand the battlefield though. She is going to need to develop her overall skills though so that she can have the situational awareness to make use of that understanding of the battlefield and the mobility of her Gear,”] Molly said. [b “Still for now focusing on mobility will not hurt to get her a bit more comfortable behind the controls of the Seraphim which will be important to help her development. It may slow things down compared to my ideal scenario, but we play with the cards we're dealt not with the cards we want.”]
Molly continued to type away although she did not wait long to speak again as she was enjoying the company at the moment. She was not sure if her rambling was well received or not, but the fact that he was still there was enough for her to infer that it was not poorly received. So she happily carried on with her ideas for the task at hand to hear any further input he might have for her.
[b “Her Gear is ideally suited for destructive output given the load it can carry, and that is something that we should make use of if she can adapt to make use of it. She'll have to find her own style, but as long she makes use of that impressive attack power she should fit into the team well,”] Molly said as her fingers continued to move at a fast pace. [b “Thanks to Tatsuya's all-around skill he should be able to help integrate her by filling in wherever we need after that. You and I should be able to work together pretty well of course given our alternate attack styles, and so with her and the Seraphim's uniqueness being fleshed out by Tatsuya we should be able to setup a good lineup.”]
[b “This is all assuming that we four are the ones to make the starting lineup. One of the reasons why I selected the other members of the team that I did is because they all have some similarities to that intended team layout if I'm being honest. Onihei's tank of a Gear is not dissimilar to the Seraphim, Suzuna's ability to maneuver behind the controls of a Gear reminds me of your style, Nana is a superb shooter like myself, and Tetsuo's a generalist just as capable of using a Gear inspired by Sabrina's as Tatsuya is if I'm honest. Of course none of the rest of the people competing for a spot were as highly sought after as you for one reason or another, but with the effort everyone has put in so far I'm not about to count anyone out.”]
Leon had waved off Yumi attempts at a doctor or specialist saying. “No no I fine I'm use to it, nothing to worry about. Just a back lash for being plugged in too long. It can't harm me just give me head ack and thing like that.” From there he moved around checking on Lilly to talking to Molly. He had noticed Yumi action behind Lilly when she asked about Roland. Her faked incent made him smile. The second part had been a poke at the two AI as both were listening to him. Yumi face and the disgust that he felt from Roland did make him laugh. He could see them being good friend if left along for long enough but not today.
Once he talked to Molly and waited for her replay and wasn’t surprised at Molly body reaction. He learned long ago to read someone form their body and facial expressions. It was a hard diction to make and it was fully up to Molly to make. All he could do was offer idea and support on what he could do. “I know it tough what make a good polit isn't shooting it the ability to think and react on the move. I have a ton of program based around movement drill from basic to advance. I can have Roland send them for review. You might find some of the harder one interesting as it take a lot of focus.”
At that point Yumi stepped in to help with Leon case. He listened to her fully but he also noted that she didn’t noticed something that he had in her final run. “Yes, her AI could be updated but it can’t be relied on everything. The biggest problem with it is what if the AI connection to the main hub is disrupted. A good hit could cause her AI to lose connection if unlucky. What I offer is twofold that should be enough to get her ready for our first match.” He stopped mid idea as he could almost see the light bulb above Molly head. He wanted to laugh at the idea but he didn’t as she may take it the wrong way.
Following her he recalled Roland as well as trying to keep connection that far would drive him nuts. Shrugging at her comment about bike. “Actually, I have no idea how to ride a bike but was tossed into a lake and was told to swim. Picked up on it quick so I think it the same. I would say the balance as without being able to do that peddling is useless.” Leon was a firm believer in form over anything. Without understand the basic of anything you couldn’t anything fully. How does it stand why does it stand and what will make it fall?
He took a seat in across form her and took a look around her office. ‘To understand someone, you first understand what makes them, them.’ His old teacher uses to say to him. “She doses but I have a feeling she being held back too. I saw it in her movement. She second guessing herself and taking to long to make up her mind slit second like that could be the difference form life and. Correction winning and losing.” He almost let his old military talk slip up. He was still getting uses to being a civilian again and sometime her said thing that would sound odd to normal people.
“As I said before I have an idea to add onto what you already said.” He pointed out in between her burst of typing. “Again you’re the boss so ignore me if you see fit. We should force her on balance first. Get her use to her own two feet so to speak. State simple have her AI focus fully on shooting and giving tactical data on the battle at hand. I could also run in with me in a few of my harder mission I got set up. Show her how sometime brute force isn't as good as dancing around the battle field. If I understanding her gear right she should learn how to be an aggressive flanker.”
“I don’t think so much with her gear stop to think about it. Her defenses are her mobility. If she moving her a harder target plus her speed adds to fighter like you not being able to with draw keeping them moving and not attacking. I can't even do that. Weapon can change the match up but not for her. Think about this she gets like what six weapons four that change missiles and smoke. That counter most enemy mech no the biggest she should work on is movement and understanding the battlefield. Sora should focus on giving her that data telling her where to shoot and where we are at all time to prevent friend fire. The rest on her as a pilot.”
Standing up he nodded and said. “Yea give me a minute. I try to put it in a way she more understands it when what we just talked about.” He could see her looking at him like he was talking a second langue. “Na I help you out a bit longer before talking off Roland has all my train and movement data that could be useful plus got a head ack from earlier.” Pulling Roland chip out of his neck he placed it on the desk. “Try to play nice this time.” He winked at Yumi as he when to find Lilly.
After finding Lilly at a table with Sora AI box he sat down with her and explained what he and Molly had just talked about. Once he was done he gave her a second to think about it. “So, Molly want to update Sora to help me with training and to take the work load off?” She asked just making sure she understood. “Yes we all agreed that we started you off to fast. Molly got a lot on her plate with trying to get everyone ready that she wanted you ready for something you aren't.” Lilly nodded she could understand that. There first match was in two week and even though it didn’t could to their final score it help get them sponsors.
“I see no trouble with it but in the end it not really my choice as Sora and Jack are. I just work with her Jack build her after his perfect women.” That last part made her roll her eyes. “Don't understand why he want a short kuudere but that his taste.” This made him laugh out loud as he could help see himself in that same spot. “Any ways let me call him and ask.” After a short call Lilly hung up turned back to Leon. “He said it fine as long as they don’t change any of her basic program or personally. So, I guess you can add on to her if she fine with it.” She handed Sora box to Leon with a smile. “I want to try that corse a few more time so come find me when you two are done.”
Returning to Molly he placed Sora box on the table and waited for Molly to plug it in. Once she did he explained what he was told by Lilly. “So no changing just updating or add on.” Sora looked around no understand at first until Roland filled her in not saying anything cocky at funny to her. “I see then I will except upgrade to help my master in any way I can so if you would be so kind Miss Molly.” She said Leon took a seat across from Molly again and watched only adding in when her could help. He had no idea how to program but her knew a few things a tactical information she could add that would help everyone. Even Roland help giving help input to any small mistake in Molly quick typing style.
[b “Nothing like that. Just stuff that basically confirms that if you get injured doing something you shouldn't be doing that we're not liable for it,”] Molly explained. [b “I'm willing to cover a lot of things, but as a trained mechanic if you do something stupid it's gonna be on you that's all.”]
After the paperwork was filed away they started work on the installation of the scaffolding. Given the bulk of Seraphim it took a while to install it just because of the amount of maneuvering around it that had to be done to do it properly. Still to make the hangar a more comfortable home for Lilly and her Gear it was worth the effort.
Once they were done Bill and Jack said their goodbyes as they still had some stuff to do at their proper work location. The fact that they weren't asking for pay was a welcome thing, but it made Molly feel a bit bad that they were so helpful for free. She'd have to go over their contract requirements and see if she'd be able to pay them back somehow. Maybe helping to come up with a solution to the Seraphim's overheating issue would be a good start.
She also made sure to put the note they left her with somewhere safe. Letting Lilly know what was going on was going to be important, although she was aware that she might be able to help with one part of the note as she usually got dinner delivered to the hangar. It would give them more time even if it was just spent socializing instead of training it could be good for the two of them.
[h3 [center Yumi & Leon]]Leon's training started off unusually as he used them mostly to observe how the previous starters handled themselves. It was a decent decision in Yumi's mind and showed a tactical thought process that she had not expected given the way he had been described. While it was within the range of possibilities she had been informed that he was not as keen to do observation work as the other members of the team. So the change was a pleasant surprise as she remembered how hard it was to get Kenta and Yohei to do film study.
By the third match he was fulfilling a useful role to the team while sticking close to his preferred style. Seeing it made her thankful that Molly had prepared for such an eventuality, as she knew that things would get more difficult as they progressed. He could get by on a combination of his talent and his hastily held together teamwork thus far, but as the difficulty increased he would be required to adapt more to how the team worked as a unit. Still it would be a couple of matches before they faced the first real unit of opposing teamwork, and given his display Leon might be able to put that together himself before then.
What might make that difficult for him though was Roland continuing to bicker with her, and even trying to win the battle of disturbing imagery. They had both been upping the ante to the point that the weak hearted might very well faint at the sight of some of it. The weak stomached would probably throw up given the last image he sent her, but it just drew a roll of her eyes thanks to Molly's developments. She was quite a bit tougher than the brash Roland could have predicted.
While she was careful to keep her actions on the digital side it became apparent that something that had flipped a switch with Roland as Leon shouted at his latest action. It was the first time that Roland seemed to show any real remorse for his actions, and given what he had just said Yumi was quick to catch on to the subject matter. The fact that Roland was willing to reference it left her even more disgusted by him than she had been from the indecent imagery he had sent her.
[b “If you are in need of medical attention we do have a team doctor that will check you out,”] Yumi said as she brought up a map of the hangar detailing where to go to meet with them. [b “They are not the most experienced with the neural link that you use, but they are aware enough of it that they should be able to help if that needs repair work. Do feel better.”]
[h3 [center Yumi & Lilly]]Yumi observed Lilly's first few scenarios happily, although she started to notice the flaws in Lilly's work before she did. There was not much she could say to help though, as although the girl switched styles at the drop of a hat; there was not enough material there to show one style being superior to another. Additionally she lacked the ability to make use of the modular systems of the Seraphim to adapt her style to the enemy. Still this frustration was an important learning experience for the girl as far as Yumi was concerned.
When that frustration boiled over Sora was the first to respond though, and she did not pull any punches with her explanation. Yumi understood that the AI was not developed to be kind, but it still stung to hear Lilly's own AI speaking to her in such a way. She only hoped that Lilly's will was enough to survive such a tearing down of her talent.
[b “You are getting a good hang of the controls though which is most important for this first day. It is true that you lack experience, but this is how we find what you want to do with your Gear,”] Yumi spoke up in an attempt to ease the blow. [b “ Do you want to be able to switch styles, would you rather dedicate yourself, do you want a specific load out, or do you like the versatility? Right now figuring out who you want to be as a pilot is as important as anything else, and getting some experience even tough experience in the process will help.”]
Lilly still seemed down, but Leon was the next one to speak up; a fact that was unsurprising to Yumi as she was aware of what was going on with Roland. He had his own way of saying things, but he was right to mention that she was doing well for it being her first real day as a pilot. Even Molly was not a good pilot her first time out, and she had even wrecked her simulated Gear on a few occasions due to a few mistakes. Not that she was allowed to tell Lilly that, but the thought still crossed her mind.
She was not sure she approved of using one of Roland's courses, but given Leon's experience and the mental help he was providing she allowed the system to load it up. Although she did put in the effort to analyze the course before doing so to confirm there was nothing that would be inappropriate to put Lilly through. Thanks to the processing power of the central computer it did not create any noticeable lag for the humans though as she was able to analyze it rapidly.
Despite that taking some of her attention she still caught Lilly wordlessly asking after Roland. An act which drew a bit of not so innocent whistling from her as Leon explained that he was caught up in a pseudo prank war with her at the moment. The fact that he explained it as the way the AI would handle a crush though caused her to scrunch up her face in disgust. Both because of what he had sent her, and because of that still being his response after what she had sent him.
Processing that idea did not stop her from her observation of Lilly's development though, although she did pay careful attention to how Leon was observing her. She was doing well given the amount of training she had been through, but there were a few distinct things Yumi noticed that could be fixed. The clearest of all being that Sora's ability to help her in her maneuvering was not nearly as well developed as Yumi's own talents. Of course it could be that Lilly's talent would lie in mobility and so it would be best to have Sora help with other areas, but at least for the time being it would almost certainly help to give the Sora the capability to help with all of the finer skills of operating the Seraphim. It was a tough Gear to operative given its unique design and Lilly's lack of experience as it was, and so doing things a bit inefficiently long term might be worth it given the benefit for the season. Still she would have to bring it up with Molly and Lilly before making any modifications to her AI.
Thankfully Leon seemed to have a similar idea as he paused the training to see Molly. Since Yumi was aware of what was going on in Molly's pod she made sure to alert Molly as to what was coming so that she could wrap things up appropriately. Her current training was to be kept secret from the group after all as they would probably not understand the purpose behind it just yet.
[h3 [center Molly]]Molly cocked an eyebrow as Yumi switched scenarios on her, but a quick text explanation later and she understood the reason behind it. Thanks to Yumi's quick thinking Leon interrupted her just towards the end of what would be a routine practice run for her, and so he could see that she was doing proper training. All while keeping her actual plans a secret from the team for the time being.
His recommendation was one that had been considered earlier, but it was not an ideal circumstance given the amount of training time they had available to them. It was not a matter of having her crawl before she runs as much as it was that she was being forced to sink or swim. She would have just two weeks of experience under her belt when being forced to compete with the others for the starting lineup and so slowing things down could hamper her heavily.
Still if she was struggling against a wall and it was hurting her morale there was no value in leaving her to the sharks. Molly had hoped that Lilly could thrive there as she had back in the day, but if that was not the optimal course for her then the course would need to change. Still leaving her with just one week worth of practicals would almost certainly have her miss her chance at the starting lineup, and that was something that Molly wanted to avoid if she could.
That was when Yumi spoke up with her own thoughts on the matter. [b “Leon makes a good point that we may be rushing her in the hopes of having her be ready in time for the competition. We may be holding her to too high a standard too early and it is apparent that she is up against a wall,”] Yumi said as she focused the screen on herself. [b “I was thinking that it may be worthwhile to make use of the fact that she has an artificial intelligence to help her operate the Seraphim, however before I did anything to modify it I knew I would need approvals from you and Lilly. That said it may be worth our time to optimize Sora to help her handle the things that Lilly cannot, and if we do that training Lilly from the ground up should not slow her down either short term or long term.”]
That statement was enough to trigger an epiphany in the way that Molly looked at the situation in front of her. Programming was her specialty beyond shadow of doubt, and if she gave Sora a heuristic component from one of her other artificial intelligence programs she could bring Sora up to speed quickly. It would be necessary to get them practice with the Seraphim shooting systems so that the Longinus program could be ready in time for competition so that Lilly wouldn't have to try to do so much as a rookie. If she could do all of that then she could have Lilly focus on the building blocks at her own pace, and not have her worry about whether she would be ready in time.
It would also mean that by having Lilly focus on one thing at a time that she would have more opportunity to look at the components of the Seraphim and attempt to modify things to make her development even easier. While it would give her less time to prepare herself it would not matter as much to her if it meant the fourth member of the team was better prepared. Still it would require Lilly's approval before she had Yumi do anything to Sora.
[b “Yumi drop this simulation and move over to my computer. Leon follow me,”] Molly said as she sprung up rapidly. [b “You're talking about have to crawl before you can run, but I think bikes work better as a metaphor here. When you learned to ride a bike did you use training wheels?”]
Molly looked him over once as she continued leading him to her office. [b “Nah, I bet you were like me and were just thrown out on a bike. Lots of Americans learn with training wheels and there is no shame in that,”] Molly said loudly as her energy picked up. [b “Europeans though tend to learn on a thing called a balance bike. They both teach one half of bike riding, but which is harder the pedaling or the balance?”]
Molly let the question hang in the air for a moment before sitting down in her chair and quickly typing away at the keyboard. [b “I was thrown to the wolves in that regard and told to learn how to do it all at once, but I'm both tough and a genius. Lilly has potential, but to be fair operating a Gear is worlds more difficult than riding a bike,”] Molly explained as Yumi struggled to keep up with her actions. [b “If we can make use of Sora to reduce the load on Lilly to that of the balance or the pedaling on a bike we can develop the components separately. Now this will be completely on her shoulders, but if she can do each component in a couple of days then by the end of this fortnight she'll have a few days to try to put it all together with Sora's help before the competition.”]
[b “Of course there are more than two components to Gear piloting, as even stripping it down to basics you have offense, defense, and mobility to worry about. Breaking it down further you have to take into account awareness of your own Gear, allied Gears, the enemy Gear, your weapons, allied weapons, enemy weapons, the terrain, and then putting it all together,”] Molly continued. [b “That said my firing computer can help accommodate her weapons, and if Sora can be upgraded to help analyze the situation then the workload on Lilly's shoulders should be heavily reduced. We can get her started on the feel of her own Gear and mobility around different terrain. Letting her learn how to run before asking her to learn the entire run and gun.”]
Molly took in a breath as she realized that she may have just rambled a bit and hoped that Leon was able to follow along. [b “Do me a favor and ask Lilly and Sora if they would be alright with Yumi and I giving Sora an upgrade,”] Molly said pointing at him with one hand as she continued to type with the other. [b “I'm riding a wave of inspiration and I want to ride it out as long as possible whether they approve of idea or not. If they don't then I'll find some other use for the development; maybe Tetsuo would like to have an AI to help him out. This could also probably help the others too, but they might not be as open to the idea.”]
[b “Oh, and if you were able to follow all of that you can feel free to explain it to her as well. Up to you if you'd rather get back to training faster or not,”] Molly said with a smile. [b “I know Yumi thinks you might not need as much of it; so take that under advisement in your decision. She thinks you're doing a good job despite your AI being an arrogant asshole.”]
Jack smiled at Molly laughter as she seemed to understand Bill and Jack friend ship. Not many people did but it was nice to see that she understood a bit it made him feel better about leaving Lilly in her care. “Only if nothing interferes with my contract to my company. The biggest is being asked about privacy of customers or anything under construction in of our labs. Thing like that I can't talk about or give up to anyone.” He explained.
“Yea normal boring stuff that business can't let out shit like that.” Bill added “Also as we are being paid under my father buisness we are not allowed to take any money from you or your team. Mean any and all winning you make this year go to everyone but us as we are only here to oversee Seraphim.” He pulled out a small contract and handed it to her. “This outline what we can and can't do while working with you.” Sarah looked over Molly shoulder which wasn’t hard as she was almost six feet.
“But anyway, after we sigh your paper we will get to work installing the scaffolding with the other.” Jack said doing a quick look over the paper work and then sighing it. “Alright let get to work” He Bill and Sarah moved to started to install the heavy Gear scaffolding. It would take most of the day as it would have to layered around Seraphim. Once it was done it had a lift and stairs to help people get up and around it. A small bridge could be laid in front to help Lilly get in and out with little trouble.
Once everyone was done Jack and Bill said their goodbye saying that they had to return the trucks to their work. Saying good bye and leaving a note for Molly with plan on coming back tomorrow to start their work on Seraphim. With ta second message for Lilly about to eat out tonight as he would be back late.
Lilly worked hard on her first few tests getting use to the feeling of the trainer and to the set up that Yumi. It was easy at first but slowly got harder over time until the point she hit a wall. Despite Seraphim speed and armor she kept finding herself being knocked out when put against anyone slightly better than her. She could seem to pick a fight style and kept using different one she seen good to her but most of the time that seemed to work against her. She other didn’t have the right weapon for the task or she got to close. Until finally she got fed up with it and screamed.
“I don’t get it.” she said laying down across the control. “Anytime I try to doge I still get hit. If I try to get close I get hit. Anytime I do anything I do anything I get hit.” She rubbed her face with her palms. “What I'm I doing wrong. Sora was the first to answer and it was brutally. Her personally was design to beat around the bush.
“You lack any real train. You jump around in style too much and don’t use your strengths the way you should. You are fast but you only use it to get in and out of close combat and not to move around to cover. You let the fact that you have good armor you think you can run head long into combat. It works on weaker opponent or those with less training as they don’t under what you can do.”
Lilly lowered her head. “That bad?”
“Sadly yes.” Another voice said. Looking up Lilly saw Leon leaning into her trainer. This caused to sink a bit lower. “O I see.” She finally said. Suddenly she felt a flick on her forehead. “Ow what was that for?” she asked looking at Leon. “Stop over reacting it’s you first day in any real type of training right.” Lilly just nodded. “Then you doing fine Rome wasn’t built in a day and no one was a pro on their first try. Don’t be yourself up on small thing.” He looked at her screen. “Hear try this. Roland load course 1.”
Roland didn’t show up but Lilly screen changed to an open field map with several obstacles. Lilly felt it odd that he didn’t show up and say something but she gave Leon a look. “Well you see.” He said screaking his face.
Leon found his training interesting as for the first two he didn’t do much and instead he watched Molly and Tatsuya fight. He watched how they fought against other and he determent what would be his best of action. To say he never fought in a team before would be a lie as in the army he survived with three other gears that had to support ground troops. They could work in groups but they mostly end up working by them selfs.
By the third match he moved into a grove of slipping in and out of combat with other medium ranged gear. He flew into a defensive roll that mostly end up coving the flanks of Molly and Tatsuya. Even about to hold off two gear if the four members fell and they tried to over powered the front liner Tatsuya. He had little issues adjusting to as he didn’t have to change his style much and could help attack and move around easily.
There was only one problem. Well two really. Roland and Yumi had be fighitng and auguing so long that in had started drifting into his head. He didn’t know how turned that switch on but he didn’t care. The mixture of lewd and graphic pictures that showed up in front of him made him sigh and wounded how this was going to end.
“Said the AI that has full control of the system.” He laughed at her. “I don’t even need half of what you need to fuck with you.” He said pulling up more picture and spamming her with them this time of few of Lewd drawing of her in counter of her. “Seem deviantART a bitch to ghostly lady.” He laughed at her. “You think your picture creep me out hell I seen what a 20mm dose to a.
“ROLAND ENOGHT.” Leon yelled his voice sounding different. Deeper angrier then his normal calm quite voice. Looking up at him Roland noticed his master face and took a step back. Leon face was scowling at him and looked totally different. “Sorry I forgot.” He said sound genially sorry about what he said.” And in the blink of an eye Leon was back to normal. “It fine but if you two are going to fight please do in in the computer and not my Nerl link please. Any way I think I done for today I got a head ack.” Standing up he moved out of his pod.
“He arguing still with Yumi I believe” Leon said. This made Lilly give him another queationing look. “They not getting along?” Leon shook his head. “No I think he links her or else he would be trying so hard to annoy her.” Lilly just mouth an ‘O’ “Anyway give this track a run let me see how you handle your gear.” Nodding Lilly she ran it in what she thought was a fast time but from Leon look she didn’t feel that much anymore. “Bad?” she asked.
“Well no as that is faster than most would do but your movement aren’t the best. You’re slow on the upkeep and turns but that because you just don’t have time in the seat. Let me talk to Molly real fast.” Moving over to Molly pod he looked at what she was doing before saying. “When you got a minute.” He said before waiting for her to finish. He watched her as she did her own training before she said she was ready. “So this is just me but I thing you should run Lilly on some course meant for mobility for a week or so.” he explained. “Her movement are slow for something so fast. This is just my opinion and feel free to ignore as its you team but I think you got her run when she should be walking. She trying to find her style and at the moment I see she try to hard at that. We should let her craw before she runs.”
[b “Appreciate it. They weren't complicated at all to me, but I'm used to complexity,”] Molly said with a smile as she watched her team go off to their training. She would join them soon enough, but she was not about to leave the group installing something in her hangar unsupervised. Even with Ryosuke there she would feel far more comfortable overseeing things herself for the time being.
Seeing two grown men start pushing and shoving each other as they bickered about the complexity of mathematics was enough to send Molly into a fit of raucous laughter. It reminded her a bit of her grandfather's relationship with his best friend Ryokan, and getting to see it brought back some good memories. The laughter left her doubled over as Ryosuke put a hand on her back to help steady his boss.
Sarah stated surprise at the fact the two were able to accomplish anything while having such an apparently antagonistic relationship. Molly knew better though thanks to her experience with similar men in the past. Still Sarah's surprise only made Molly laugh more as she had to crouch just to keep from falling over laughing at the scene in front of her.
[b “You two are better than anything on TV these days,”] Molly said as she struggled to catch her breath.
Sarah's surprise only increased at hearing the last name Vonham, but Molly just gave her a shrug when she looked to her to confirm. Molly didn't consider it that big of a deal considering her own background, and she wasn't about to dig into things now. There were bigger things to worry about at the moment, and installing the scaffolding was at the top of the list.
That was interrupted though by her being handed the coveted data pad with a bunch of maths on it showing that they miscalculated the Seraphim's power output. It could make the Gear a bit faster and more maneuverable, but at the cost of making its already annoying overheating problems worse. Still it was Lilly's Gear and Jack was her mechanic she was not going to tell them not to make the changes. Well at least as long as it did not cost them an actual match, as she would not hesitate to voice her concerns if it ended up hurting them.
[b “That all sounds alright to me, but I'm going to need you to sign a few waivers if you're going to be spending a lot of time around here,”] Molly said as she motioned for Satsuki. [b “Satsuki prepare the standard mechanic forms. You won't have a problem with that will you?”]
Molly gave a nod of agreement to Sarah's request before catching what Bill said and giving a wolfish grin. [b “We've got the best programmer in the country, what are we working on?”]
[h3 [center Yumi & Lilly]]Yumi gave a polite bow in greeting to the new AI, although she was aware at a glance that she was not as developed as she could be. Helping with that was something that she had an itch to do, but she would have to ask Molly for approval before making the offer. She knew not to do things that might upset her partner without at least asking first.
[b “Interesting,”] Yumi commented as she scanned the control setup in an attempt to get a better understanding of Lilly's preferences.
[h3 [center Yumi & Leon]]Yumi gave a roll of the eyes at Roland's first remark, as she was forewarned about his bad behavior by Molly. If that was the best that he could bring to the table it would be easy enough to tune him out and help the more polite Leon with his training. Leon at least gave a slight reprimand to his annoying AI, but Roland did not take it to heart as he continued to poke at her buttons.
[b “I will try, and I don't mind at all if you have your own warm-up routine,”] Yumi said as she drifted away from Roland's reach.
Yumi paid close attention to the scene that they presented her with Leon's warm-up routine as she did her best to collect useful data for Molly. Both in regards to how they set-up the scene to determine how he felt it best to get ready for a situation, and in how he handled the situation once he was there. She was quick to notice some of the traits that Molly had mentioned to her in their preparation of his training program, and she could not hide the happiness at that fact as she watched him shoot.
Unlike Molly and her who made heavy use of an advanced targeting system; Leon relied solely on himself and his AI to shoot his targets down. She was confident the installation of a modified form of the Gungnir could shave some time off of his warm-up and help him eliminate targets faster, but given how comfortable he was relying on himself she was not about to recommend it. If Molly had a complaint about his targeting time she could recommend the modification herself.
What was most impressive to her though was how well the duo was doing even as Roland did his best to continue to pester her. Eventually crossing the line that she had decided on before their meeting and so with a bit of effort she sent a system shock to temporarily disable the annoying AI. Still it did not take that long for him to come back online once they were back in the forest and waiting to move into the training program proper.
Yumi just smiled as Leon asked Roland about what had happened to him. Happy with the end results of her labor in stunning the other AI. The idea of him seeing her action as a challenge rather than the entirely justified punishment that it was left her a bit annoyed, but Molly had told her to prepare for such a response already. It did make her more sure of the strategy that Molly had in mind for determining the starting lineup though, as she knew it would be important to show them the importance of teamwork if they were going to make it to the finals.
[b “Is that the best that you can do?”] Yumi asked as she tilted her head in surprise at his effort.
A few lewd pictures that barely registered compared to some of the things she had seen in her efforts around the internet. Still if that was the best that he could muster she would hardly need to system shock him again as punishment, and so she set out to send him a few of the more disturbing pictures that she had come across. Indecent imagery that included a variety of disgusting things that would make the average Aristocrats joke look tame by comparison. Including an inappropriate image edited to include Roland and a ventriloquist dummy.
[b “If you expect to disturb me that would be a good starting point. Are you ready Leon?”]
Everyone nodded and head out to their job or training. All but Bill and Jack who pulled out a data pad and when to work reading something on it. “Thank I take a look at it in a second.” Bill said giving a thumbs up. “I trust my plan were simple enough to follow Jack says I have a tendency to make thing over complicate instructions.”
“Tendency if I would have stop you most of the instruction would have been just math and nothing else.” Jack retorted. “And don’t even get me started on the engines plan I still can't understand most of it and fuck I made the dam thing.”
“Well I'm not a simpleton like you.” Bill retorted cause Jack to hit him. “Ow” He called back as he punched back. Both gown men stated pushing each other now as each tried to gain control of the data pad. Despite what it looked like both men had been friend for year so no real injury happen. It finally ended when Jack got ahold of the Pad and held it out of reach of Bill. “aaa fine I go look at the scaffolding NNNNNE.”
“NNNNNEEEE” Jack called back as Bill walked away only for it to go back and forth several more time across the bay. “It hard to believe you two could ever build anything without killing each other.” A female mechanic said standing next to Jack. “Aaa you should see one of are real fight I still have few of the bruses from it.” He said smiling at her and rising his hand in greeting. “Jack Miller Co builder of Seraphim and the crazy person behind his engines.”
She laughed a bit taking his hand. “Sarah Woodly. Molly gave he his paper the other day and I have to say it the first time I seen anything like it.” Jack just shrugged as he led her to Seraphim waving Molly over to join them. “I had to work with a premade frame from a time long past. Bill father made him just before he got fames and rich so no one knew he existed until I found years later.” Sarah tilted her head. “And how Bill father?”
“Tom Vanham.” He said opening a panel on Seraphim leg. “Vanham as in Tom Vanham the president of the Greyhound the leading Producer of Cores and part in the world. That Tom Vanham?” She asked shocked turning to Molly to see if she knew. “Yep that his old man and my boss. To be honest if it wasn’t for his faire he would be fames and I would be standing right here.” She finally recovered and looked over at Bill who was talking with a few other making last minute adjusting on the from. “He doesn't seem like a million.” That caused Jack to laugh “Funny his father said the same thing when he first found him help me with Seraphim but anyway I didn’t call Molly over in here for small talk.” He handed her his data pad. “So me and bill been running some number after Lilly first test run a few month back turns out the engine put out more power then we first set up for.”
He turned back the controller and hit a button and Seraphim chest open to his first engine. “So, with that we can put more power to his thruster and his speed however the draw back to this is his overheating problem. The more power the quicker she will have to vent heat. At the moment I can't find a way around it but I keep looking into it. For now, I going to boost his power and give him that extra kick. It going to take a few days but once I'm done I'm going to need you to let Lilly take it out for a spin. After that I can give you a better reading on how things are looking with him. O also I be working here from now on if you done mind. Boss said my full attention should be on keeping Seraphim fulling working.”
Sarah turned to her boss. “ooo boss let me help I may not know much about this kinda stuff but you know I’m quick on learning let me help.” Jack just shrugged. “Could use an extra hand or two.” Bill returned with a few pushing the scaffolding in place. “And a programmer if you got one there a few scrips that I could use help with.” Bill said.
Lilly got into her training pod that had been set up for her. Most of the controls seemed to be there but it didn’t quite feel the same to her. Maybe it was the lack of steel around her but she could place her finger on it. Inserting Sora into the computer she noticed the other AI what was already in the system. Sora showed in left side as Lilly listened to Yumi. “Thank you very much say hello Sora.” Sora had her normal black look as she nodded to Yumi. Unlike Roland and Yumi was every well programed as her creator didn’t know what to add that was her basic personally. “I just finished uploading your control setup master and am ready to learn from Yumi.” Lilly smiled sweetly “Okay then let take it slow.”
Leon sat down in his training center and leaned back. “Begin neural up link.” He said as Roland worked his magic. “Roger starting system six seven and ten we be in in t mins 3 2 1 and we are live. O look we got a babysitter.” Roland said as he appeared next to Yumi. “And look we in her spooky forest. Scare.” Leon wasn’t paying much attention to him but said. “Be nice Roland we are guest in this system so don’t be rude.” Roland just laughed as he poked the other AI. “But just look at her she so cute acting like she so scary I’m shacking in my jacket.” Sighing Leon leaned forward and rubbed his face. “I'm sorry Yumi don’t mind him. Roland load the warm up program. We will be doing a quick warm up before we start with Molly training if you don’t mind.” Roland making a door show up next to the Circle. “Buckle up thing are about to get crazy.” said disappearing out of view as Leon walked into the door.
Once the light cleared a ruined city surrounded them. “Ten targets on the board five minutes and ten shot to destroy them.” Roland voice said as Leon took control. Suddenly the city exploded into live as drones' tanks and other thing started attacking Leon. Moving quickly into cover Leon moved like a dancer in and out of cover. He did this for several seconds moving around his attacker until a bull eye came into view. Drawing his rifle, he shot it in one shot. Doing this nine more time as more and more thing started to attack him was quite impressive. What made it more shocking was that Leon had no target systems he fired off his own aim.
Once everything was over Leon felt himself return to the forest. “Okay I'm warmed up. Roland you are awfully quiet. What up.” Roland didn’t say anything for a few second and just came back in an anger voice. “nothing I'm fine.” Leon tilted his head as he stepped into the circle. “You sure you sound off.”
“I said I'm fine gasper thing she funny messing with me and my systems and ram. Well two can play at this game girly.” Censured about what was going on but not wanting to ask he just shrugged. He knew Roland was in a spot to do much as this was a not his system and he was running only off the power in his back. “Well okay just don’t forget this is training.” Roland didn’t say anything but he could feel him laughing. Roland and sent a few lewd pictures back at the Yumi after she flooded his system with forkbombs causing him to reset his system mutable time. Nothing damaging but annoying all the same. “So funny attacking me like this I get you back just you wait. AAAAA dam you.” He cursed at her.
Molly slept peacefully after the rest of her team left, although not before issuing some overnight orders to her artificial intelligence Yumi. There was a lot of programming work to do and having Yumi make use of the hangar's processing power to do all of the base work overnight would make things easier for her in the morning. It was her first major assignment of the new season and she was happy to put the work into helping the team of her creator.
After getting up Molly was quick to get to work after doing her morning clean up and having a nice breakfast. She assigned Ryosuke to finish the modifications to one of the simulators for Lilly's use, although with the agreement that she would help out on the hard to reach parts. Along with assigning the mechanics to work on fabricating the unique connectors required of the Seraphim. While the mechanics were handling that she set to work with Yumi preparing the training programs for the team.
Leon's would focus on getting him more experience working with a team by putting him in simulated versions of all the team battles they went through last year. He would be put in the place of Kenta or Yohei depending on the match to get him used to working with a group, and even more specifically getting him used to working with Molly and Tatsuya. Given he was like a rookie Woodson she wanted to get him used to the requirements of a team, as despite his obvious talent they needed him to be able to work as part of a unit.
Lilly's would focus on getting her more experience period. She was the least experienced member of the team and so Molly made sure to let Yumi know that she might have to provide some extra guidance for her during the training. Just like Gates there was an abundance of talent there, but there was a glaring lack of experience that had to be addressed to make use of that talent. Still Molly believed that Lilly would develop fast enough to join her in the starting lineup, and from there she would only get better throughout the season.
Nana's would focus on improving her mobility so that she would be able to make optimal use of her shooting skills. Like Pennington she had the accuracy part down pat, but getting the rest of her skills up to par was going to be important. Filling the sniper role was a difficult one, and given Molly's own talent for maneuvering she wanted to improve Nana's skill to forge her into at least a reliable backup for herself. Of course if she developed more than expected Molly might just decide it worthwhile to use her talents in a double sniper alignment like she did back in the day with Naomi.
Onihei's would focus on ranged combat almost exclusively to shore up his weakest area. Just like Bettis he was reliable in close quarters situations and a useful shield for others, but he was borderline useless when it came to ranged combat. If she could get him to an even serviceable level as a shooter he would be a reliable option for the team, and given his ability to work as a teammate he could potentially crack the lineup.
Suzuna's would focus on general combat skills. Her mobility could almost compare to Sanders, but given her lack of combat skills she would sooner compare her to Goodwin. A talent for dancing around the battlefield like a ballerina, but with a lacking accuracy and physicality that prevented her from being much more than a distraction at the moment. Still her mentality was good and if she put in the work she could make a run at the lineup all the same.
Tatsuya's would focus on individual combat to get him the best chance at the lineup. He was a generalist extraordinaire and like Darren or Harrison he was happy to be put where his skills would be put to the best use. Molly already knew how valuable a card he was as a part of her team and so she was preparing him most of all to be valuable in the preparation of the starting lineup. If she could use him to teach the others an important lesson she would be happy to make use of his talents that way.
Tetsuo's would be the second most complex of the programs given his average style. While he was a generalist like Tatsuya his natural talent was worse, but like Bill Bates his work ethic was admirable. His training would be designed to either find a talent he could develop into an ace instead of relying on his skills as a generalist, or failing that to try to develop his overall skill as a pilot.
Thanks to the help of her mechanics, Ryosuke, and Yumi she was able to get all of it done just before the group arrived. She was even able to fit in a small lunch to help give her the energy she would need for their training session. So she was in good spirits when she greeted the majority of the group as they arrived, along with Lilly in her massive Gear Seraphim. The sight of it seemed to be awe inspiring to the rest of her team and it put a smile on her face to see the way they looked at Lilly and her Gear.
[b “Next is to get in as much training time as we can before you all have to head home for the day. Each of the simulators in the back have been linked to the central computer and my AI Yumi will guide you each through your personalized program,”] Molly replied with a friendly smile. [b “If you any questions or concerns about it; Yumi or I will be happy to answer them. I'm hoping we can get at least a few hours in the simulators for everyone. I will forewarn you all that Yumi is a bit unusual, but don't be alarmed.”]
[b “This is just practice though; so while I want us all to get as much of it in as possible I don't want any of you getting burnt out. If you need to take a break to have a drink, get something to eat, stretch, or just to keep from getting claustrophobic; do it,”] Molly said with a commanding tone. [b “No amount of training is worth not making it to game day alright?”]
Once she was done addressing them all at once she made sure to motion to Jack and Leon to get their attention for a moment. [b “This isn't directed at you Leon, but I want Roland to be aware that Yumi has been given my approval to handle your training as she sees fit,”] Molly explained. [b “So if he doesn't behave he can expect to be punished, and I promise you that Yumi is very experienced in that regard.”]
She was modeled after a character who would routinely punish people for their crimes after all, and although she was mostly scripted by Molly there was still plenty of her original inspiration inside her programming. Since Roland had shown he had an attitude she wanted to be certain he was aware that Yumi would have the right to punish him for his behavior. Which with the added processing power of the central computer that she was connected to would give her an astronomical advantage against the other AI.
After she was sure he was aware of the situation he was in she addressed Jack and Bill. [b “We managed to get the scaffolding and everything fabricated today thanks to fast delivery, and I would appreciate you looking over it,”] Molly said with as friendly a tone as she could manage. [b “If you can stick around long enough to help install it the extra hands would be appreciated, but just giving it your seal of approval would make me feel better before we mount it.”]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/z3LdUeX.jpg]][h3 [center Yumi to Lilly]]Yumi could be seen floating at the bottom right corner of the screen wearing a pair of glasses and a lab coat on top of her usual outfit. The center of the screen showed a wide open flat earthen terrain with a glowing circle less than a hundred yards ahead. Outside of the glowing circle though there was not much distinct detail in the area.
[b “Greetings Lilly, I will be your teacher this afternoon and so if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask,”] Yumi said with a friendly face for someone missing the lower half of their body. [b “I've been working with Molly for over ten years now so I have plenty of experience working with Gear pilots.”]
[b “Molly has instructed that we should start off with a simple one on one simulation to build up your overall experience and skill level. We have also put in the work this morning to prepare just for you the Longinus 0.01 system,”] Yumi explained as she floated along the bottom of the screen. [b “Part of the reason why I'll be helping you out especially is so that we'll be able to update that targeting system to help you better make use of your unique Gear. So when you are ready just walk forward into the glowing circle.”]
[h3 [center Yumi to Leon]]Yumi could seen floating in the bottom right corner of the screen wearing a stern expression. The center of the screen displayed a dark forest that was densely filled with trees and a glowing circle that was surrounded by candles. Even with all the sensory input from his simulated Gear it was clear that there was not much outside of the circle in the eerie forest.
[b “Hello Leon, I will be your guide this afternoon and so if you have any questions I am the one to ask,”] Yumi said with a neutral tone. [b “I've been working with Molly for over a decade now so I have plenty of experience with Gear pilots so don't think you'll be able to pull any fast ones. Now when you're ready just walk forward into the glowing circle.”]
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