With Molly help she was able to pick herself up back into her chair. Well Molly did most of the work as she picked up the chair and lifted her back into it. Seeing her that her hair pin was lost she did her best to brush it to one side. She then noticed her purse was every were with her bear also exposed. “Great just great.” She said softly and lowing her face. “Why don’t all my secret show today.”
Taking a few minutes of think about the pros and cons of telling Molly she had a lot more to lose if she didn’t tell her. “No, there can be no compromise sadly. One you find out why you will force me to go like everyone else.” She didn’t look up but grab her bear and held it to her chest. “The place is called ISIDORO TALK. Wired name I know but he is my therapist and Doctor for rehabilitation. I see him twice a month to talk about the accented and get checked for injuries.”
She still couldn’t look up in Molly face as her body shifted as if trying to making herself smaller. “I know that sound studied why don’t you want to go talk to someone. People say that all the time but you don’t get it. He’s so mean, he force me to think about things I don’t wanna talk about. Ask me to try to remember... remember....” She paused for a second as tears started filling her eyes. “Make me remember the night of the crash. He asks me if I remember where we were going and how was I feeling. Why was I going out with my parents? Then he moves on to meaner questions like.”
She stopped as she hugged her bear tighter. Tears started falling freely. “He never hurt me he never did any of that.” She screamed mostly to herself. “He lies, he lies about my Daddy and Mommy.” She cried harder. She had lost herself in her anger and fear. Her head hurt as she tried not to forces on the memories. It took several minutes for her to recover herself.
“I'm sorry I just hate him. I hate talking to him and I hate the medications. She pulled out one of the few things that didn’t fall out of her purse and handed her the bottle. The bottle was for anxiety and depression stating to take twice a day. They were for heavy duty use and fail to take could lead to panic attack of taker. Some side effect stated was mood swing, outburst, tired and dizziness. “I wanted to keep this out of my joining as I feared you wouldn’t let me join because of it. I hate it I hate that I have to take some dam meds just to feel happy or have people think I'm not crazy.”
She was anger now as she finally looked up at Molly. “You have no idea how it feels to be the only person in the world that can't walk or have surgery to learn to walk again. To have people look down on you just because of a dam chair. My whole life has been nothing buy a joke to everyone around me. I have one friend and no one else.” Her tears stopped falling as she yelled at Molly her eyes filled with anger and sadness. “And to top it all off I have to go talk to someone about my problem. Normal people don’t do that. IM NOT FUCKING NORMALY TO ANYONE.” She finished
As the word left her mouth she finally snapped back to herself. As she noticed she was almost out of her chair again. Shrinking back down she looked down her face filled with shame for exploding like that. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have yelled like that.” She said her voice almost a whisper. She knew she had gone too far and it may have cost her spot-on Molly team. She couldn’t lose this it was her last shot and she may just have thrown it away. Her body started shacking in fear as she realized what she done as fresh tears started falling.
Even though she felt bad about yelling at Molly it felt nice to finally just scream her problem at some one. She been hold that in for so long it hurt but now her shoulder felt a little lighter. That when she heard thunder outside the building as droplet of rain started to fall shorty after. “We should go. My appointment starts soon and I could understand if you wanted to get rid of me after that.”
[b “Everything should be fine, thank you for understanding,”] Molly said with a smile as she shook Leon's hand. [b “I'm looking forward to it too.”]
Molly watched as Leon put his earbuds back in on his way out of the hangar. A love of music was a good trait in her book and so she was happy to see that it was a trait that he shared with her. However her joy was short lived as she heard Lilly seemingly call her phone a traitor.
Before she could say anything about the situation though Lilly was quick to say that she was not going to go easily. Along with an attempt at bribery by doubling whatever it was that Jack offered her in a dangerous tone of voice. Molly's eyebrows raised as she saw this side of Lilly for the first time, and it was apparently enough for Lilly to switch into flight mode.
What followed was some surprisingly swift spinning by Lilly as she swung her chair around and went to make a break for it. Unfortunately for her what followed the initially impressive display of dexterity was a catastrophically clumsy connection with a rug that sent her tumbling out of her chair. Seeing her sprawled out with the contents of her purse spread out on the floor was not what Molly had expected from this experience. Especially not the teddy bear that was now laying on the ground out of the reach of its owner.
Lilly's moans and complaints about her clumsiness showed that she was at least still conscious which was good. Noticing Molly staring at her the girl managed to prop herself up with her hands to get a better look at her before conceding the victory. The entire scene played out again in Molly's head as she just let out a sigh before going over and offering Lilly a hand up.
[b “That was a lot of struggling to just give up in the end. Is this place really so horrible that you never want to go back?”] Molly asked. [b “Maybe we can figure out some alternative, but you'll have to talk to me about what makes you so opposed to this place. Can you do that?”]
Molly may be comfortable with some degree of this kidnapping adjacent activity, but given how hard Lilly fought to avoid it Molly had to know more. If this was genuinely torture for the girl forcing her through it would do no one any good. Of course if this was just a matter of leftover teenage rebellion it was less of a problem for them.
Leon gave nod and small smile. He seemed quite happy with every that had transpired. He was glad we made a good impression even with Roland energy. He didn’t notice Lilly attempts at trying to keep calm as she hoped Molly would drop it. “Hope everything okay.” He said standing extending his hand to Molly. “I look forward to working with such a great pilot.” He gave off a strong and shake of a man who had worked for a living. “Have a love day everyone.” With that he turned and left putting back in his headphone before he was even full out of the door.
Lilly on the other hand stayed put looking at her phone. “Traitor.” Was all she could say as she read the message again. Making sure that Leon was gone her face turned to Molly. “I don’t care what he said I’m not going.” She couldn’t stand it. “That place is horrible and I'm not going back. What did offer you I can double it.” Her voice was low and almost venomous. She didn’t care if it got her in trouble she hated everything about that place and she would do anything not to go.
Seeing as her bribe wouldn’t work on Molly she did the only thing she could. Run. Spinning her chair around she tried to aim for the door but like most her plans it didn’t work. Spin her chair to hard she managed to hit something on the ground causing her chair to get caught and tip. Lightly tossing Lilly form her chair on to the ground. With a small yip from her as she landed on the ground with a light thud. Her hair fell out of it pony tail and exploited all over her face. Her purse also fell out with her bear falling out of it as well. All in all, she wasn’t hurt but she was a complete mess will little hope of removing and attempting another run.
She let out a low moan as she laid there not moving. “Why does this always happen.” Her clumsiness causing her to fail again. Slowly looking up she looked up at Molly in front of her. She could try to craw away but it would be pointless as her legs would just drag and it would dirty her nice dress. Using her hands, she pushed her hair out of her face and huffed. “Fine whatever you win.” She pouted. She would have crossed her arms but she was using them to lift her upper body to look at molly.
Molly gave an approving nod to Leon's comment as she would be happy to make use of her experience to help a teammate. That and she knew just how difficult it could be to switch design philosophies when it came to Gears, as blending them all was one of the difficult parts of her thesis. Not to mention the switch to metric probably hobbling him a bit as well.
Lilly being in school for teaching was a bit surprising to her given the girl's demonstrated interest in Gears, but as a fallback plan there were much worse that she had seen. That and the aura the girl had was one befitting a teacher. It was easy to picture her getting a group of children to go along with her thanks to her somewhat infectious energy.
Leon's was not surprising as Molly had done at least a bit of due diligence when it came to his background. Still the fact that he had started with cars was news to her and would make things easier should he call on her for help as she knew that would give her an easy bridge for the material. The offer of self-defense lessons brought an amused smile to her face as she wondered if there was anything army boy would be able to teach her in that regard.
While Leon was finishing up his introduction Molly received two texts almost back to back from the Miller siblings. A nonchalant message from Lilly turning down her offer for a ride, and a very serious message from Jack asking her to kidnap his sister. This morning she thought the excitement would be dealing with the fallout from yesterday, but it was looking like everything was going to be a battle today. Although happy to help she wanted to make sure to treat Leon fairly and respect Lilly's privacy. So after a moment of thought she set her plan into motion.
[b “I might just take you up on that Leon. Not sure how much you could teach me, but I'd love to find out,”] Molly said with a smile before her phone loudly went off. [b “Apologies it seems a friend of mine had a bit of an incident happen at work and is desperate for my help. I'll message you about our next meeting tonight, alright?”]
Just as she was saying that Lilly would get a text from her saying that she should go through this the easy way. Along with a forward of what Jack had sent to her about dragging her punching and screaming if needed. It was the easiest way she could think to keep the whole situation private for Lilly's sake as she did not want to embarrass the poor girl.
[b “I know your brother dropped you off Lilly so I'll give you a ride on the way since it's my fault things have been cut short,”] Molly said as she got up to approach her. [b “I hope that you don't mind.”]
Lilly and Leon both listened to Molly with different expressions. Lilly was exited again after the battle and she listened with great intent and shock at who her great grandfather was. She had no one as famous like that in her family. Leon on the hand just nodded as if confirming something. He had plugged back in Roland and both whispered to each other. Lilly wasn’t shocked about Molly carrier path as she always seemed to love mechs. She did hope more than Lilly however and it was quite surprising.
“I may have to take you up on that sometime.” Leon said about the homework. “I still struggle a bit with some of the work that Japan uses in Gears. Gears are built quite defiantly in America so I would enjoy someone who has firsthand knowledge.” Lilly could almost see Roland laughing behind Leon just out of Molly site.
‘What so funny’ She wondered to herself. She didn’t feel her phone go off with the text from molly at first as she was to distracted listing to Tatsuya. His seemed short but sweet. His able to put up with Molly so long meant that they must have had a good friendship maybe more. That idea caused her to giggle. She had a habit of shipping people together. Her brother told her that it was bad to do but she didn’t care.
Once he was done Lilly went first. “Hello my name Lilly Miller. I turn 20 just last month and have a two-year in teaching and am working for my bachelor's. I hope to teach children once I’m done. I’m still next to piloting so I look forward to learning form everyone.” She gave a sweet smile to everyone as she finished. She knew it was short but she didn’t know what else to say.
Roland looked up to Leon questioningly but the only response he had was a shrugged before he said. “My name Leon S. Kennedy I turn 22 in a few months. I grew up in the United States if you can’t tell. I spent most of my time in high school fixing car until I upgraded to gears at 14. Since then I been piloting. Hold a few trophies in state and national event. Mostly single battle none team. I hope no college degrees as after high school I join the army and received Roland I severed 3 year before leaving and choosing to come to Japan to learn more about other country Gears. I started on classes this year however I also teach my own on self-defense if anyone is interested.”
Lilly however didn’t hear most of this as she finally felt her phone go off and read. Molly message and felt all her energy leave her again. ‘Why did have to happen like this?’ She asked herself. She didn’t want Molly finding out about her meds. So, in return she text back. “No No I’m fine I got it handled.” Little did she know her brother had guessed this and had also texted Molly.
“Hello Molly this is Jack I got your message from Lilly phone. I need a favor to aske of you. Lilly has an appointment today. She hates going and will do anything to get out of it. I would take her but an incident happen at work and my hands are tied. Would you please take her to her appointment. As it very important she goes. I have her friend picking her up so you don’t have to stay but if you could at least stay until she shows up it would be a bit help. Sorry to ask so much of you but I would owe you big time if you could. Thanks Jack Miller.”
The sight of half of the remaining applicants walking out caused Molly to pinch the bridge of her nose between her left index finger and thumb. After his awful performance in a real match Molly did not regret having him walk, but it meant her current circumstances were not much better than they had been yesterday. It also was probably not the most inspiring thing for the remaining two applicants to see.
Satsuki joined her by the simulators and they whispered a few things in the partial privacy provided by the distance between them and the others. Molly handed her a hastily written note and sent her off before rejoining the group with as friendly a smile as she could muster after dealing with Michelangelo. She hoped they would welcome her back after she forced him out over not apologizing, but considering everything else going on with the team she would understand them following him out the door.
Any doubt she had about the situation was quickly erased though as she came out to applause from Roland the artificial intelligence, and a visibly excited Lilly almost bouncing in her chair. A grin spread across her face at the sight of them all as she recognized these two were going to be her teammates for the upcoming tournament. They may be a bit of an odd group all things considered, but they were her group now.
[b “Thank you both for the compliments. I'm happy to impress,”] Molly said with a small laugh. [b “You don't need to apologize for excitement Leon a high energy is a good thing.”]
Molly paused for a moment at the question as the original plan might not do so well in the limited group situation, but seeing the looks on Lilly and Leon's faces was enough to have her stick to her guns. So she motioned for Tatsuya to join them before giving Leon an answer.
[b “Since there were going to be six of us I was going to have us do more formal introductions, but that went a bit out the window thanks to the two jackasses. So while Satsuki is calling the other applicants to see about possible backups, I can say expect the four of us to be the starting lineup for the Devil Bats,”] Molly said. [b “I'd try to keep things formal here, but you two know me well enough to know that I'm not your average Gear pilot. Still I'll start us off and then we can go around the rest of the room.”]
[b “You probably already know my name is Molly Mushanokoji, but you might not know my great grandfather is the famous three time gold medalist sharpshooter Hajime Mushanokoji. Even as good a marksman as he was both my grandpas were probably even better, and they are where I got my shooting skills from,”] Molly said. [b “While I'm only a second year as a local attendee I already hold a bachelor's in Cenorobotics from their distance education program, along with a few complementary degrees from my time traveling the world. So if you ever need any help with homework I'm the one to go to since my thesis is my only real workload at the moment.”]
[b “I've been involved in Gear research since I was a kid, but been tinkering with everything I could get my hands on since I was a toddler. The only thing I like as much as tinkering with stuff is listening to music. I'll listen to just about anything, but mostly metal or things with a strong energy. You can expect to hear that playing over the speakers whenever I'm working on something in the hangar.”]
Molly was careful not to mention that her grandfather on her mother's side was the head of the Hiruma Zaibatsu and her secret sponsor. While she was confident that they would not treat her differently for it; it was still something that she tended to keep private. Her introduction done she motioned for Tatsuya to keep the ball rolling.
While Tatsuya was giving his introduction and the team had their focus on him Molly made sure to secretly text a message to Lilly. Satsuki had told her that she seemed a bit down that her brother would be unable to take her somewhere after their meeting, and so Molly wanted to make sure to offer her a ride. It would have to be in their parts van to properly accommodate her wheelchair, but it was still better than not being able to get a ride. Plus she wanted to make sure to come off as reliable to her new recruit after all that happened so far.
[b “My name is Tatsuya Himuro. I've known Molly since middle school; we met when she kicked my ass at one of the simulators at an arcade,”] Tatsuya said as he did his best to keep a friendly face. [b “I'm not really good at introductions, and I'm a second year working towards my bachelor's degree still. Not a genius like our leader. Oh, and I like basketball.”]
Tatsuya's introduction drew a look from Molly, but he just gave shrug in response. She knew he was not the best at public speaking, nor was he as high energy as her. Still it gave them room to get to know him if they wanted to, and should show that he was a trusted member of her team thanks to their history together. With their introductions out of the way Molly looked forward to what the new recruits would have to say for themselves, as there was still a lot about them both that she did not know.
Lilly had zoned out mostly as idea and thought raced in her mind. Maybe she could just walk? No, it was way too far almost an hour by car. Maybe she could take a bus? No still not fast enough. She was trying to think of any way to prevent Molly finding out. If she did she may prevent her from joining the team. I mean talking medication often like Lilly did wasn’t something most polit did. Infact most teams wouldn’t take you if you did. Plus, her being for anti-depression and anxiety attacks made it worst.
She was then suddenly jolted from her dilemma by Satsuki. “O what sorry.” She said trying her best to smile. After she repeated her question. “O yes I’m fine sorry. No, it fine it nice to have someone stick up for me once. It just I got a text from my brother about him not being able to take me somewhere after this.” She looked away to try to hide her frown. She didn’t want to talk about it with people but she had no right to hide it. Not if she wanted people to trust her.
She then turned her attraction back to screen once Molly and Michelangelo battle had started. She had to say that Michelangelo’s gear was pretty cool. His duel blades and light armor made it easier for him to jump around field. However, Molly light frame made it just as easy to keep away. “Poor bugger has no idea what he in for.” Roland said laughing a bit. Lilly was a bit surprised she had mostly found it odd that his AI was with him. Sora normally stayed in her gear and couldn’t leave unless she was moved by her Jack.
“How is he hear and able to show himself?” Lilly asked as the first battle started. Roland just laughed. “First time meeting a pair I guess?” Lilly looked questioningly at Leon who just turned his back and showed off small device attached to his neck as Roland contained. “I’m plugged directly into Leon nerves system. His movement are picked up by me I then input into the gear derectly.”
“It makes us faster than any other pilot as we don’t often us our on-board controls.” Leon said not taking his eyes off the screen as Molly knocked out Michelangelo’s shields. This raised a question for Lilly. “Wait you don’t use controller?”
“Nope” Roland smiled. “All of our commands are directly in putted into our gear. We still have an active one on board but we only use it our connection to the system is broken. Dam she good.” He said as the first round ended. “I him he didn’t stand a chance. If she full control he wouldn’t even see her.”
“Agreed her skill it quite good,” Leon said. “I think we would have trouble against her as well but not as much as this poor guy.” Lilly was amazed Molly hadn’t even taken a hit and she had so many handicaps. “Is it common for Americans to have such implants?” She asked Roland.
“Well yes and no.” He said. “It common for those that can pair with an AI and past the huge list of medic check list. Out of the like two hundred that sighed up with us only ten passed and got the implant. However, it seems like every year the requirements go down.” He turned his head as the second match started. “Really a forest I would be impressed but he doesn't have the skill to take full advantage of the area. Should have gone with a large city as it forces her into an area she can't fight in or react in.”
Lilly took a few minutes to think about how her gear would do. Her min guns would make quick work of this area as hit high right of fire would level anything in the area and her armor would protect her. He however had neither of this and wasn't even as fast as her gear. So like before he didn’t stand a chance. “That quite impress about you too I guess that why you are so ready for interview.”
Leon shrugged. “Well when everyone and their brother wants you because of your ability you often are ready. I can't tell you how many invites I got before I sighed up for the Devil bats.”
“57” Roland said “But who’s counting” Lilly eyes when up. ‘So many but what made him choose such a small team.’ “And Bang he dead. Poor fucker could even think before he was hit.”
The last match was the most interesting in Lilly option as she could she how she would have fared against Molly attack. “Amateur,” this coming from surprising Leon. “That the worst kind of thing to put a long rage mech in.” Lilly looked at him confused not understand.
Lucky Roland said. “What happens when you conor someone with nothing to lose?” Taking a second to think her face light up. “That right they will give you everything they got now add the part that miss Molly been doing this for far longer than him and you have the perfect shot to humiliate someone at their own game.”
And with that the last match was over. Leon and Roland talked in low voice as Michelangelo and his friend left. As Molly walked back into the room Roland clapped. “Glad to see the rumors about you are true.” He smiled. “I must say It quite impressive.” Leon looked away and pulled Roland chip frim it housing causing him to disappear. “Sorry about that he gets quite excited about battle but yes I must say that was quite amazing.” Leon said looking away.
Lilly was so excited about watching that match she didnt seem to care much. “That was so cool.” She almost screamed bonshing a bit in her chair. “You were like voom and then he was like boom and a.” She sounded almost like a kid again watching matches. Her eyes sparkled with stars. Leon looked over questioningly but laughed a bit in the end.
“So now what?” Leon asked
After the news was over Lilly pulled out her laptop and started looking information about tactics and other important information she could use to get a head of the other competition. Most pilot had several years of experience and she had none. Nothing to show but her willingness to learn and adapt to things she was taught. After a few hours or so she got a text from Molly with information and an explanation about why the time was being pushed back an hour. Sending a smiling face and "I understand will be there."
After closing her phone, she decided to take a bath. Crawling back into chair she moved to the bathroom that had been totally redone to help Lilly be able take shower and bath by herself. However, to say it was easy for her to do it would be a lie. It took her almost a half hour just to get in the tub and then another twenty to get back out. She hated how she need help to almost do even the basic of thing.
Entering the bath, she started the hot water for the tub and started removing her clothes. Her shirt was easy but when it came to her pant she had always had trouble. She had to lay on the ground just to get them off. Once there were off she could use bars to help life herself up into the tub. It took a bit but once she was in she was nice and comfy.
Turning on the radio she listens to some music as she bathed and enjoyed the warmth on her skin. After an hour she let out a long sigh as she pulled the plug on the drain. Taking her time, she pulled herself out of the tub she careful placed herself back in her chair. Grabbing only a towel before she rolled back to her room as she knew her, brother wouldn't be back for another hour or so. Drying off she tossed herself back into bed and turned her tv to some cartoons. Grabbing a stuffed cat from her large collection stuffed animals.
She was a sucker for anything cute and cuddle. Often buying dress and thing to fill her obsession. Some even her brother didn’t know about like her favored. A kitty outfit that came with collar with bell ears and tail all matching her hair color. She had photo album that contained picture of her in all her defend outfit she would take to the grave hidden under her bed. She had a plan to try to get Darjeeling in a set but hadn't been able to do it yet. That got her thinking about Molly and what she would like with cat ear. The very idea made her giggle loudly. "That would be so cute." She then made a note in her diary that if she made the team she would try to get Molly to wear cat ears.
After settling down she heard the front door open. "I'm home." Jack called. "Hey I'm in my room." She called back. "Can you get my night gown from the laundry and give it to me." A few second later her dress was passed in. Dressing her got back in her chair and moved to the living room. "So how did it go?" Jack asked as he put groceries away that he had picked up that evening. "Very well I think you helped seal the deal." She said happy. "Really from what I was I felt like I almost broke her with my answers." Jake had a very good read of people. "I don’t think she liked the fact I solved a problem that most have been searching for a long time, without understanding the first thing about Gears."
Lilly shrugged as she watched him put the last of the groceries away. "Well still I'm not in just yet I have to go back tomorrow for paperwork." Jack raised his eyebrow. "You do remember you have an appointment at two, right?" Lilly face immediately fell as she looked away. "I'm not a little girl anymore why do I still have to keep going?" Letting out a sad sigh Jack lend down in front of his sister. "You know why we need to make sure the medication is still working correctly. Plus, you need to have your legs looked at. I'll be right there with you so don’t be scared."
"No, I hate that medication and I hate him." She yelled at him. "Normal people don’t have to take medication so why should I. Plus I hate talk to him he always asking me thought question. I down want to go." Lilly started tearing up as she yelled. "It not far." Jack eye looked down as he hugged his sister pulling her to his chest. "I know I know but you have to you promised me you would." He ran his hand down her back. "I drive you tomorrow to you meeting then go to work when your done call me and I take you to your appointment. Lilly nodded but didn’t say anything. "You can take Micky with you if it helps." Micky was Lilly favorite teddy bear that Jack had gotten her shortly after the accident. She just nodded again
Finally letting go he wiped away her tears. "Come on now let enjoy our night." He then picked her up and cared her to couch before setting her down. "Want some ice cream with our movie?" Her voice was a bit shake but she said. "Chocolate." Smiling her got two bowls and turned on a movie. For the rest of the night the laid on the couch and watched movies until Lilly feel asleep. Cleaning up Jack cared her back to her room before tucking her in. He then went back down to the living room and open his mail. Another overdue bill and noticed for money. Jack was buried in debt from medical the apartment and schooling for Lilly. He was barely making enough money to feed himself but no one knew not even Lilly. He had so hard worked to give her a normal life after the accident but now he didn’t know how much longer he could keep going. Spreading the paper so Lilly wouldn’t find them he laid down on the couch and tried to fall asleep.
The next morning Lilly awoke in her bed with a heavy yawn. Pushing her hair out of her eyes she took a minute to gain her bearings. Crawling out of bed she went over to her closet. Taking a few minutes, she picked out a nice blue sundress for her meeting. She also grabbed a purse to put Micky in then placed it in her lap next to her. Next, she brushed her hair into a pony tail and tied it just behind her head. Once she was all done she came out to the smell of bacon and eggs. "Morning." She said.
Jack was standing behind a griddle cooking as he smiled placing a plate on the counter for her. "Morning foods ready." He said smiling. "Around ten we will leave to drop you off then I go to work for a bit until about one then picks you up and take your appointment." Lilly didn’t say anything and just nodded as she started digging into her eggs. After she was done she grabbed one of her books to read as she waited to leave. Around ten they left for Molly shop in Jack car. Half an hour later they arrived as Jack help Lilly out of the car into her chair. Saying their goodbyes Jack left for work leaving Lilly by herself.
Turning around she looked up at Molly garage she was half an hour early but it didn’t seem to matter as a few other people waited just outside as well. Some in small groups other by themselves like her. Each looked around nervously around sizing up the other. However, she could hear one voice over all the rest. A big man with his chest out talking above everyone else. It was the same man from yesterday that had almost knocked her out of her chair when she had shown up. He must have been good if he got called back. As she looked around she didn’t see anyone out of note but a man with head phone in.
He was by himself away from everyone else. He seemed like the only one no sizing anyone up or even paying attention. He just seemed very into his music as his head bobbed up and down with it. His mouth moved but he didn’t seem to be saying anything but she guessed he was singing with his music. He was tall around six feet with short brown hair. He was wearing a plain t-shirt and blue jeans. A pair of boats coved his feet. He seemed the most casual dressed. Everyone was else dressed up nicely but not him. Curious she went over to him to see if she could hear his music.
"I'm fighting, I bleeding, I know what's Coming but Im still breathing." Was some of the words she could hear from his head phone. However, she was shocked that the works weren't in Japanese, they were in English. She could only know that as Darjeeling was from England and had taught her in her off time. She then took a second look at him and noticed he was an American. It wasn’t common for American to be attaining a japans collage as American Gear where build every Japanese gear.
Suddenly the doors open to Molly garage and a person called out causing Lilly to jump a bit. Her purse to then fell out of her chair causing her bear to fall out as well. The noticed the movement and looked over to she Lilly frantically reach for her bear and purse before anyone noticed. She could quite reach it from her chair. The man laughed a little as he picked up both and handed them to her. Lilly face was bright read as she stuffed her bear back into it hiding spot. "Tell anyone and I kill you." She said as the man pulled out his head phone.
Rising his hand defensively he said in a light voice. "I didn’t see anything." Lilly turned away her face still red. "Good and thank you." The man smiled a bit. "Your welcome. My name Leon what your?" He extended his hand. "Lilly, are you here for the interview as well?" Leon nodded. "Yes, I got a text last night saying to return today at eleven." He started walking to the door once everyone else piled in. "Same I this is my first time getting a call back so I'm nerves. How about you?" Leon just shrugged "No I done so many I use to it by now." Lilly was a little shocked. "Wait you done this a lot before?" She was nervous that he failed so many times before what was her chance. "Yea a lot of teams wanted me when I first came to Japan but I turned most down."
They were greeted by someone at the door as they entered the building and where lead to the hangers where Molly herself greeted everyone. A table had been set up with some chair for everyone. "I would offer you a seat be seems like you brought your own." The joke caused Lilly to break out in giggles. She never met someone who had made jokes about her chair so casually. He then took a seat on the fair end of the table a bit from everyone. She found it odd but didn’t say anything as Molly started talking.
She was right she had been upset about the news last night. Her guess that it was something that the people did and not something the group did was correct. She hated when someone did something and the whole group got yelled at. The last part got her a little chuckle as she looked down at her legs. What more harm could she do to herself and street racing what kind of power does she think her wheelchair. She couldn’t stop a smile coming across her face.
She looked around and was surprised that she was right only six the other must have been called for the maintenance meeting. She remembered that the flyer was calling for mechanics and Pilots alike. However, she listened more intently at the apart that she would need to fight for a spot. Her face turned more serious at the idea of battling for the top spot. She was only least experienced in the group however to her surprise two left thanking molly for her time. Leaving only four. Lilly, Leon the jerk from before and what seemed to be one of his friends who she found out names were Michelangelo and Williford. Each stayed looking at Molly with confidence eagerness or just a plain stare. Lilly was surprised how board Leon looked. Unlike the other two and her he had a black face as he listened.
Lilly got passed some paperwork that she needed to fill out and she worked with a person to get it done. She could tell that the Michelangelo and Williford also had some trouble with it however Leon just and a small packet of paperwork over and only sighed one paper that she recognized as terms and agreement. Seeing Lilly surprised he just shrugged. "Told you I done this before so I have copy of my insurance. "I hope a United states company won't be a problem." He asked.
After a bit everyone finished and turned in their paperwork. Lilly was happy so far with the way everything was going. Next was something she couldn’t stop she raised her hand and asked. "So, you said nothing to hurt ourselves does that mean I have to quit my extreme skateboarding boarding? The X games are next week and I'm in top pick this year with my triple flip." What happen next shock her. At first it was a few faces of confusion and shock but then a massive laugh came from behind her as Leon fell out of his chair laughing. He was holding his side as the idea hurt him. "I I I can't breathe." He finally said gasping for air. Soon lilly started laughing at him.
After the fit was done Michelangelo asked. "So how long until I get to show off my skills. I mean I don’t mean to brag but I pretty sure I can hold any spot." This made Lilly frown a bit as she knew he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. "No offense to wheels but is this some kinda joke but how is she going to piolt anything she can't control the legs. Plus, an Amarican he can't even fight without an AI."
The United states had gone down a path the led to most pilot being paired with AI to fight. The AI being able to take control in situation when the pilot couldn’t. This got better results in fight but made most people think that it was easier on them the normal pilot. However, it was quite the opposite pilot and AI could often fight for control and it would lead to them losing. If both could work together however they would be a very deadly combo.
"So clearly I'm the best choose." He bragged standing up and pointing to his chest. "You wish kid." A new voice said. "Hey who said that show yourself." Suddenly a holgrame of what looked like a ww2 bomber pilot was standing on the table. "I looked up most people while you all been chatting and as you a good you don’t even stand close to my Pilot and I. In fact, only one-person dose and that her." The Hologram pointed at Molly. "Roland quit it." Leon said shrinking down in his chair looking sheepish under everyone gaze.
Roland didn’t seem to back down. "I looked at everyone history and battle to see there fighting style and you only ever done one on one. You drive a close quarter mech with mostly melee while we are a mid to close range combat Gear. You wouldn’t stand chance against us." Lilly watched wide eyed at the conversation. "O really then mini man you're on. Just tell me when and where." Suddenly Lilly phone bussed. It was her bother telling her that he couldn’t pick her up as something had happed at work and she would need to find a ride with someone else and then have them take her home. Her face instant fell again and just thinking about asking someone.
That series of questions was to be expected, but it caused Molly to pause a moment to think about it. Too early and she would hardly be in the mood to deal with it, but too late and it could leave a bad impression. While those thoughts went through her mind though she did her best to keep up a good poker face to keep Lilly from realizing it.
[b “Ten should work that way everyone has eaten and will have the energy needed for the day. We don't need to worry about moving your Gear over just yet,”] Molly said with a smile. [b “When we get that far I'll send over the mechanics to help handle it as they'll need to learn how to move that gargantuan Gear around if we're going to work together.”]
[b “As far as what's next first thing's first will be paperwork to make sure insurance will cover us. We may have some decent sponsors, but you can never have too many bases covered. So if that's all have a good night, and I'll see you tomorrow.”]
After that the two went their separate ways. Which was good as Molly would not have wanted her to see what she was about to do after checking her messages. Her response to which led to some minor speeding on her way back to her team's hangar.
[b “What the fuck!”] She yelled as she stormed in drawing the attention of her team and what few applicants had stuck around.
Ryosuke was the fastest to react and managed to gently guide her up to her apartment and away from the prying eyes of the public. While Satsuki and Tatsuya did their best to assuage any concerns that Molly's outburst brought on. After all that time she spent keeping her business face on she was in no mood to hold back, but kept quiet until they were safely in the soundproofed apartment.
[b “Explain! Now!”]
[b “The news team came by while you were out with the girl, and someone claiming to be a part of our team sent them away before Satsuki or I could intervene,”] Ryosuke explained as he made sure the door was locked.
[b “He'd be my guess, but we have bigger things to deal with than him,”] he said. [b “We still have quite a few applicants to go through, and quite a few applications that you need to look over. You're the boss so you have to be here to make the final decision.”]
Molly let out a sigh as she rest a fist against the wall. She would consider just slamming her fist into the wall, but she knew with what her walls were made of it would just serve to cause her more problems. Still the need for her to do something to let out the anger was there, and she wasn't about to take it out on Ryosuke.
[b “I owe them a proper appearance I know.”] Molly said. [b “We'll deal with the bastard tomorrow.”]
Molly fumed for a few more seconds before following Ryosuke back downstairs. Even with all of the help that she had it would take a while to work through all of the remaining applicants, and then she had a number of other tasks to deal with. Still she was furious enough to let a portion of her mind drift to what she would do for revenge against the man who had tried to sabotage her team.
It was half past six by the time they got the last applicants out the door. While they still had plenty of applications for the pilot job the overall quality dropped immediately following the news crew's intervention. A lot of their best applications had to be thrown out the window in the process, as a number of people did not want to be involved in a team with a criminal background. All that did though was serve to make Molly more angry at Wataru.
Despite that she turned to collating all the data including the simulator runs that would gauge just how useful the pilots could be to her team. Their base score was determined based on combined pilot skill and Gear quality, however their adjusted score was what interested Molly as it attempted to remove interference from Gear quality. The closest she could get to a score that would properly estimate a pilot's skill in a Gear. It was not perfect but it would do her well enough to narrow down her list of candidates.
After all of that work she ended up with ten people she deemed worth calling back including Lilly. While there were a couple of outliers the average score was worse than Kenta & Yohei by a few hundred points. Not exactly an inspiring result, but since they managed to place with Kenta & Yohei, Molly remained confident that they would at least be able to assemble something competitive out of the scraps that were on the table. Especially if Lilly managed to work out as well as she hoped her to as a pilot.
[b “That girl from earlier isn't even in the top ten. Why are you calling her back boss?”] Tatsuya asked as he looked over the collated data.
[b “Everyone in the top ten has at least two years of piloting experience, and most of them have at least three years,”] Molly explained as she continued filing. [b “Lilly has less than a month of experience as a pilot. I think she might just be my diamond in the rough.”]
Tatsuya considered it for a moment before giving an approving nod. He may have held a dissenting opinion, but he was not about to claim to know more about the situation than Molly. He especially was not going to claim to have a better idea of gauging a pilot's potential than Molly given the fact that she was the one that recruited him and Naomi so long ago.
After that Molly made sure to send out messages to all the applicants most especially Lilly detailing the time she wanted them to come to the hangar. Given the recent turn of events she had to push back their get together to eleven to make sure she would have time to tackle the latest problem facing the Devil Bats. She made sure to explain that in her message to Lilly as her having a small problem that needed her to address it personally.
Once all the confirmations came back and her team had gone home Molly sent off her message to her backup for tomorrow. Then headed off to bed several hours earlier than she usually would. Given everything she had to do tomorrow she wanted to get an early start on things, and a good night's sleep was important when going to threaten a rich guy who tried to sabotage you. Especially when the most likely reason for the sabotage was that they had gotten into their heads that you were supposed to marry them.
Molly was up before six in the morning and after a quick breakfast was on her way to Wataru's house. Along with the most intimidating looking members of her own team and their intimidating looking friends. Plus Kuroda and his motorcycle gang as she called in yet another favor that he owed her thanks to the information she had on him. While she considered calling her grandfather to add yet more intimidation factor she ultimately decided that it was for the best that she handle things using what strength she could rightfully call her own.
It was barely seven when she arrived to Wataru's mansion with a hundred man army following close behind on motorcycles. Despite the large numbers only a handful followed her as she opened the gate using a code and walked up the driveway. She partially got into this mess by her teammates doing something illegal, and so she was smart enough to know to keep them from doing anything that could be seen as illegal on this occasion.
The security stationed throughout the building did not so much as question her as she made her way through the mansion. Even with the trio of tough types that followed close behind her. At most a few of them gave her a polite greeting as they recognized the woman that their boss had fallen in love with after she kicked his ass.
[b “Wataru!”] Molly yelled as she stepped outside to see him sunbathing by his pool.
[b “Molly! My love, what brings you here this morning?”] Wataru said as he leapt up to hug her only to stop when he noticed Kuroda standing behind her.
[b “You know damn well why I'm here Wataru,”] Molly said as she folded her arms and leveled a look that could kill at him. [b “I've told you more than enough times Wataru that I will never let you be a part of my team. So I don't appreciate you trying to sabotage my efforts at finding replacements for the idiots that were on my team before.”]
[b “But,”] Wataru whimpered before being cut off.
[b “No! You are going to fix this, or I am going to fix you,”] Molly said as a wild grin spread across her face. [b “Do you understand me?”]
Wataru shivered a bit as he thought about what that could mean given the grin on Molly's face. He had known her since her days as a banchou in high school, and was well aware that she could carry out her threats without fear of punishment. The thought sent a few more shivers down his spine before he gave a slight nod.
[b “How am I supposed to fix it though?”] Wataru asked.
That was not the right thing to say as Molly's grin was replaced by another glare. [b “Are you asking me how to clean up the mess you made?”] Molly questioned as she balled her hands into fists.
[b “Nope! I'll have it solved by the end of the week!”] Wataru yelled for fear of upsetting her further.
[b “Good,”] Molly said. [b “I don't want to have to come back here.”]
With that Molly and her minions made their way back out of the mansion. This time with a bit more attention from the security staff, but all of it even more respectful than it was before. That fact put confused faces on Molly's minions, but she was quite sure she knew why the security was behaving so well. Since she knew what they had to feel like working for a spoiled brat like Wataru.
She did not even make it back to her car before getting a text from Satsuki asking how she should respond to Wataru asking about how to clean up his mess. It was something that she expected after he asked her how to fix things, but at least this way it did not seem as though she was the one treating him nicely. A quick message back detailed that getting Molly a spot on the news would give her the ability to clear this whole thing up easily, but that it would only be a start to him paying back his debt to her. Having a rich brat owe you a debt was always a beneficial thing, especially with such an expensive job as Gear piloting.
[b “Thanks for your help Kuroda,”] Molly said with a nod even though she knew he did not need it.
Kuroda gave a slight bow along with the rest of his gang before they drove off in the opposite direction of Molly. They were heading back to their home base while she had to get back to her hangar to better prepare it for guests. Even though Satsuki probably already had it covered as the team leader she needed to show that she put in the work.
Part of that meant that when everyone started arriving while Satsuki was the one to greet them outside that Molly made sure to greet them once they were in the hangar. Given the offer that was going to be on the table for everyone she wanted them all to be aware of where she was coming from. So once they were all settled she prepared to make her speech explaining things.
[b “First off you might have seen the news last night that we are looking for new team members because our last two were arrested. It is true that they were arrested, but it was for doing something that I had explicitly told them not to do,”] Molly said doing her best to keep a smile on her face despite the subject matter. [b “So I will say the expectation is that you not do anything to harm yourself or others while employed here. Especially no street racing, alright?”]
[b “Second you might be wondering why there are six of you here for two positions. Given the fact that I have unexpectedly have had to replace two positions this close to the tournament I thought it best to have backups at the ready,”] Molly said. [b “Before any of you get upset I will say you all will have a chance to compete for the open roster spots. Honestly you will have the right to compete for the closed spots, but don't expect Tatsuya or I to lose so easily.”]
[b “With how close the tournament is I am offering you an honest chance to compete for a roster spot at the least, and beyond that access to the benefits of my hangar. Simulators to practice in, pilots to practice with, and plenty of mechanics to talk to if you want to learn more about the Gears themselves,”] Molly said. [b “My team motto is to always compete and so I can promise that even as a backup you will have every opportunity to start should you prove yourself as a pilot. That said if any of you want to walk away now I would understand.”]
Not everyone stuck around, but there was at least enough to fill the team and put together a bench. Which was better than the position they were in before. Once those that wanted to leave were out Molly brought out the paperwork that the remaining pilots would have to sign, and had Satsuki and Tatsuya help the pilots go over all of what they were signing. She was not about to lie to anyone about the dangers inherent in the sport, and although they were most likely already aware it was always good to have someone explain your forms to you.
[b “Now that that is out of the way, does anyone have any questions before we get started with introductions?”]
At some point Lilly had gotten her tea and had started drinking it in there talk. Waving bye to her bother she turned back to Molly. Shaking her head, she smiled “Nothing but what time should I come by tomorrow and should I bring my gear? O and I guess I should asked what next?” She was trying very hard not to scream with excitement, she was being called back tomorrow. She wanted nothing more than a chance and this was it her foot was in the door. Now all she need to prove she could do it and that depend on what next came next. After nodded and agreeing to meet Molly the next day she waited for her to leave and get a good distance from the shop before she let out a long low girly scream.
Lucky the store was mostly empty because the few that did turned to look at her as she bounce happily in her chair almost falling out of it. A few of the employs laughed at her but payed her no mind. She was like a ten-year-old girl against as she could almost see herself finally on the field of battle. Pulling out her phone she texted Darjeeling that she had her first in the door and thanked her for the info. She got a text back with a smiley face and “So proud of you keep up the hard work. You can buy me cake later.” Giggling she text back. “It a date.” With a kissy face.
After she finished her tea she started heading home. Once home she went into her room and crawled into bed, a smile on her face. She was so happy with the event of her last few hours. Turning on her tv she opened up a news station about the upcoming Gear tournament in a month. The one she would be taking part in if she could get into this team.
“That right Leon.” A woman said on the screen. “This year is already shaping up to be a good year. St. Gloriana Girls College, the third-place champions of last year are looking to take the top spot this year however Sky College has some upcoming stars that look like they have the ability to take them to the top. But the top team dosnt seem ready to let go of top place just yet. Word is Kuromorimine Collage has a new kind of gear that is said to rip apart the competition.” Lilly watched wide eyed they would have to fight most of these team to take top spot but she knew the world wouldn’t be ready for her and her gear. Togather they would take the competition by storm.
“However, it seems some teams are having issues. One Oo Ace Academy team seemed to have a scandal. Devil Bats has had two members arrested for unknown reason. We tried sending a member over this morning but they had been turned way with no comment. Some wounder what kinda people the Devil Bats leader had be hiring. The most asked question is can they find two knew pilots before the end of the month and even if the do they stand a chance.” Lilly huffed out as she watched the broadcast. “Molly not going to like that.” She sighted. She knew Molly to be shot tempered in class with guys and someone had just called her bad for what two team member did on their off time.
[b “I don't mind taking a bit of a journey,”] Molly said with a smile. Since she was willing to travel around the world to meet with interesting designers in the past a trip downtown was especially easy to justify.
She also had no problem getting Lilly her chair for her before they could get ready to leave. While it was embarrassing for the girl Molly just assumed it was just excitement that caused it. After everything she still seemed to be highly spirited which was good.
Molly was quick to follow Lilly down to the tea shop, but made sure to stop long enough to send a message to Satsuki and Tatsuya that she would be a little while longer before making it back to the hangar. While she was comfortable leaving everything in their hands she did not want them to worry about her. Plus it never hurt to let people you trust know where you are going to be.
Once they were inside it quickly became apparent just how commonly Lilly visited given the worker called out to her. Only after confirming that Lilly wanted her regular order did he turn to ask Molly if she wanted anything. After a small order she followed Lilly deeper into the restaurant where the presumed designer of Seraphim was waiting for them.
The fact that he just turned twenty-five years old and been working for a Gear manufacturer for over a decade made some of Seraphim's strangeness far more understandable. Her own designs were a bit out there thanks to how many people she had studied under and how long she had been developing Gears as well. Of course the fact that he had no schooling and helped raise Lilly as a fourteen year old was the most impressive thing in his introduction.
[b “Molly Mushanokoji, boss of the Devil Bats. Nice to meet you Jack,”] Molly said as she shook his hand in greeting. [b “After seeing it in action I have to know where you got your inspiration?”]
While keeping herself from geeking out about Gear design was a bit difficult it became much easier once Jack gave his first response. Video games. It caused a bit of a short circuit in Molly's system, but not so much that she was not able to keep paying attention. Enough attention to make a mental note that she would need to talk to his boss later
[b “Video games,”] Molly whispered before readying her next question. [b “How did you manage to get that much speed while maintaining endurance for the boosters with such a heavy Gear?”]
A triple booster scheme seemed simple enough, but as he said it was almost certainly a lot harder to deal with than it might seem on paper. Even with the overly large design the proper placement of them all impressed her. Given his inspiration it also made sense that its design was built on a triple design scheme.
[b “Tripled boosters interesting. I know it uses more antiquated systems than most, but have you considered updating the targeting computer?”]
A lack of software experience and a system designed mostly by a suboptimal AI explained the inaccuracy of the system. The fact that they were so capable a designer while ignoring the software side was particularly impressive though. Especially as her understanding of the software side of things was so integral to her understanding of the hardware side of things.
[b “That makes sense. Given how unique all of that is where in the world did you learn about Gears?”]
Molly had traveled to a number of remote locations in her studies and had learned from a variety of eccentric designers to develop the Red Death. Jack had built the Seraphim from designs in old books, inspiration from video games, and an antique power system. Just the idea of putting all of that together into a functional Gear practically short circuited her again. Though the surprise did allow her to catch sight of Lilly paying more attention to her phone than the outrageous things her mechanic was saying.
[b “Thanks for your time,”] Molly said as she made sure to stand up to shake Jack's hand before he left.
[b “I should be getting back to the hangar myself. My crew may be able to handle themselves pretty well, but with how many applicants are left they could use the help,”] Molly said. [b “So unless there's anything more you want to know from my side of things I'll have you come in tomorrow to handle the paperwork. Sound good?”]
Lilly wanted to scream in excitement but kept her self under control. She spent the last week nonstop training herself hoping she could get someone to take her on. She was so glad but this was still the first step she knew. She took a second to think about what her brother would be up to. "Yes, he is he always loved building things. You can if you don’t mind traveling a bit. He normal at a tea shop this time of day." She reopened the hatched and took a minute to climbing back out. After Molly joined her she lowered them to the ground and reached for her chair. except to her dismay she had kicked it too far away. She tried to move to the edge of Seraphim hand to try to reach it but she could quite get it.
Blushing a bit, she turned to Molly and smiled lightly. "Would you mind helping me?" She asked. She felt embarrassed she had just showed off cool she was and now she was show how weak she was without her chair. After getting her chair she then locked up and head back outside to her bike. "It not that far so just follow me." She then got on and led the way a bit downtown until she came up to a small tea shop just off the main road. Once she found a parking spot she waited for Molly then lead her inside.
A man waved to her as she entered. "Aaa Lilly good to see you again." He said. "Looking for Jack?" Molly nodded as she rolled up. "I am. Is he in the normal spot?" The man nodded back. "Same table as every day can I get you the normal and would you like anything miss?" He turned to Molly. "Please." After writing down the order he left as Lilly led the way inside. The shop was a traditional Japanese tea shop. In the middle was a small garden enclosed off from the rest of the shop. Next to one of the window was Jack cup in hand and eyes closed.
"Hey Jack." Lilly said softly. Jack eyes opened slowly as he smiled and turned to them. "Hey Kiddo. How did the team search go?" Lilly got right to business. "Well that why I hear Jack this is Molly. She a classmate and one of the team I'm interviewing with. She wanted to talk with about Seraphim. She was very impressed with him." Jack smiled as offered the other end of the table. "I'm glad you liked him he took a lot of work to get like that. 10 years in fact my friend and I took working on him."
"I know you must some question but before we get to that let me tell you a bit about myself. I just turned 25 last week. I work for Tech and Part a major Gear industry that buy and sells all part Gear. I'm sure you other own one or several of products. I worked for them 11 years and counting. I have no collage schooling as I was too busy working to raise Lilly. As I build Seraphim inside I didn’t build the frame. My boss did about 40 years ago. Now what our some of your questions?"
He listened quietly and too a few second to thing each one over. "Well for mobility was from some old games I used to play as a kid. I always imaged watching one fly around with no limit to it ability to the power in holds. As for some of the weapon and armor I added I build like a way to jump around the battlefield like solider used to. You would have to ask my boss about the chase itself. As for the second question that easy. Well I say easy now but during it design it was a pain but anyways. That because his booster isn't just one. You can't tell unless you look real close but all booster are really three. Giving that extra boost to jump fly and hover. I think in total 36 boosters were used to a normal 12. Again, thanks to his heavy frame that it allows to work like that. Most other would crush under its own weight alone."
The next question got him smiling. "Well funny thing about that is nether my friend or I can really program how to shoot a gun. We both did our best but Sola, Seraphim AI did most of it and she not really build to do that ether." He laughed scratching his head. "I'm better with hardware and not software." The last question made him laugh the hardest. "Well you propbly wont belive me but I don’t understand the first thing about gear. At least not normal one. I build Seraphim completely off old books about engines and how they worked. Powercore never really interested me so I looked back and found them. I build him so I'm the only one how can fix him. I could teach someone but that would take time. He top of the line but with part that everyone said was out dated." Seraphim was his child and he was prod of it.
Lilly had lost herself in her phone half way in the talk as it board her. She didn’t care how it work just that it did work and it let her fly around the battlefield. "But that the basic of it all." Jack said shrugging. "But I think I taken enough of your time. I should be off as I got some work I need to finsh at the office. Don’t stay out too late Kido." He said standing up and shacking Molly hand he took off.
Molly was surprised there was so much room in the Seraphim's cockpit. Still she was happy to go along with it and climb inside being careful to not hit Lilly on her way inside. Seeing everything up close made her well aware of just how antiquated some of the systems were. It made her appreciate how impressive the specs were given their use of outdated technology.
Once the hatch closed on them the only light source was from the monitors in front of Lilly. It made the fact that the Seraphim had an AI even more apparent, and it made her wonder how the designer went through the effort of blending technology. She gave a wave to the AI before the simulation started up and her attention was drawn to focus on how Lilly handled herself.
She observed while keeping a hand on her cellphone to type up her notes as she focused most of her attention on Lilly. Not the easiest thing for her to do given their positioning, but she had keen enough senses to judge some by her breathing. Figuring out how the girl responded to stress was an important part of the testing process given Lilly's status as a rookie.
She seemed to handle the first few tests just fine and showed off that her Gear was quite a bit more mobile than such a large Gear should be. Even in all of her travels she could count the Gears that big with anywhere near that maneuverability on one hand. Not many people went for the Andre The Giant style Gear given the complexities that were involved. Despite that its targeting system was not as well developed as she would expect from such a heavily armed Gear.
How Lilly responded to the final test was the most important for Molly to see, and Lilly showed that above all else she had the spirit of a competitor. Her creativity when put under pressure was solid and more than anything else she showed off a strong survival instinct. Although it was against an opponent matched to her skill level which meant she would have to take a closer look at the data to be certain of her judgments.
[b “Judging just off what I saw I would say that you did better than expected,”] Molly said with a smile as she did a quick scan of the simulation data on her laptop.
Overall it showed that Lilly's skill level was better than you would expect from someone who had only had a Gear for less than a month. Especially impressive considering just how unique some of Seraphim's systems were even ignoring its accessible design requirements. The only Gears that she had seen that used such flight oriented booster designs that she had seen were prototypes. Although she had considered including such a thing on her Red Death it was still in the design phase to maintain energy efficiency and structural integrity.
[b “I've got to be honest here that you are better than I expected given how little time you've had to adjust to your Gear. Especially considering there have been so many new things for you to pick up given Seraphim's different design. So I have to say whoever put your Gear together is quite the creative individual. Is there any chance I could meet with them?”]
Lilly took the laptop and placed it on the floor next to her. Taking the cable, she spends some time setting everything up. Once she done she use Sola to help make sure everything is set up and working correctly. One everything was ready and Sola gave the okay she looked back out at Molly. "Okay all set up took a minute for my system to update to you missions. You can watch if you like there room just behind me." She leaned out a bit showing that the back was open enough to easy fit another person. "If not, I'll have to put you down as I need to close the hatch.
Seeing that she wanted to watch she moved over so she didn’t have to climb over her. Once she was settled in she closed the hatch and sealed them in. The only light was from the three monitors that made up Seraphim display. Once everything was set she started her first missions. The first was simple run between the different points to show the pilots ability to move around the battlefield.
It was easy at first simple moving from point to point. Seraphim was a bit faster than a medium class gear. Once his boost started his feet left the ground and he floated in the air. To change directions quickly she would have Seraphim use his legs to jump off of different things. It gave him quicker pace and mobile that no gear his size should have. Once she was finished her time was pretty good and would beat most Medium class times but the most experience pilot.
Lilly didn’t say anything as she moved onto the next mission. It was a basic range and would help show off most of the gear and pilot ability to shoot. Another feat of Seraphim was he could hold a weapon in each hand and fire it like he was two handing it. Plus, he could hold four of them with two being in weapon rack on Seraphim shoulders. Lilly had already found her set up and programed Sola to recognize it in any simulation. As she loaded in she Seraphim had a Gatling gun in his right a battle rifle in his left. The two backups would be a shotgun and energy sword what she called the moon light blade for it curved blade. Lilly found out she like a medium range fighting style but with elements that let her deal with close range combat.
Her scores in shooting was about average but with her AI doing most of the targeting. After that they moved on to a mock battle with a low-level AI and common gear. The battle would be easy for even the most beginning of pilots. However, she blows it away like it was noting with in the first few second of the fight. Her heavy Gatling gun and battle rifle ripped passed the armor of the smaller gear and knocked it out. Seraphim heavy armor also made it impossible for it to even scratch his. The next two fights when about the same as the computer judged her skill level and set up the real fight. After a few minutes it set up an AI with a high-tech model like the one she would be fighting in real matches.
This one would be different Lilly could feel it. This one would test all her skills. She knew she had to beat it or else she could show just how bad she wanted it. Setting the target lock she opened fired letting loose with a long stream of bullets and missiles as she jumped right to keep her opponent aim off. It did the same jumping to the side and opening fire with a heavy rifle. Lilly could tell that at close range that gun would be deadly even if her armor. So, she would just have to keep her distance from it. Sunddly an alarm went off as she watched missiles launch off the back of her opponent. Smashing a key, flares started shooting off her own mech in hopes of fooling the missile into tracking them. Her own had missed as it had done the same. Lucky the flares did their jobs and the missiles crashed behind her as she watched her battle rifle knock of one of its upper shoulder plates.
Seeing as it couldn’t win in a range fight it tossed it weapon away and grabbed two long blades from holster by it belt and boosted at Seraphim. Lilly was a bit shocked that it changed tatices so quick and was a bit slow to change out her own weapon giving it a clean attack at her. Lucky her armor held and all it did was cause her to stubble back a bit. No wanting to waste time Lilly jumped back pulling her own blade and shotgun. Gunning her booster forward she reclosed the gap and clashed blades. She was quick the block most of it blows and used her shoulder to block the second blade. She would boost in and out trying to find an opening and for several minutes nether could. Then an idea came to mind as she boosted back she set herself up for another attack but this time as she charged she didn’t stop and used his leg to ram the other gear in the face causing it to lose balance. Taking the opening he used her sword to cut off one of its hand. Using the opening as well she shoved her triple barrel shotgun into it chest peace and pulled the trigger. The blasé ripped into the armor and made it unusable. She had had one and let a triumphant yes as she watched it fall to the ground.
Laying down on her seat she let out l long sigh but she was smiling. She had done it she had beaten the last mission. She closed out the system and handed back the laptop she hoped did okay. Most of her abily seem like a rookie pilot but with her gear she did better than most would however she know she was no were up to Molly level. "So how did I do."
Molly's car was an unassuming black sedan, but one that was visibly well maintained. Of course those that got an eye under the hood, or had an eye for components could tell there was more to it than that. While she rarely had need to take it racing it was set up in case she ever needed to hit triple digits. Her love of engineering was strong enough that she could not settle for any ordinary vehicle, and her taste for speed meant its motor was well designed.
Even without speeding it was a short journey from Molly's own hangar to the ones located at the academy. It was also one that she drove on a regular basis as she liked the scheduling having her own car had afforded her. Although this time she made sure just to keep pace with so that she was aware of which hangar to go to, and just in case something happened to Lilly in her excited state.
Thankfully they made it to the hangar with the only real issue being a longer than usual stop at the gate. Nothing worth complaining about though as they entered Lilly's Hangar Number 23. Molly was expecting something unique from the specs sheet she was given, but to see the real thing carried a different gravitas. She imagined it was the same feelings the first general to see a tank had, just a flurry of ideas on how to take on the world with this monstrous machine.
The smile on Molly's face stuck around even as Lilly had to go about preparing an unusual method of getting into her Gear. It was definitely a design quirk, but it would be easy enough for Molly to accommodate should she end up signing the girl. Engineering things like that was her strong suit after all. The lack of an external port was the more surprising thing, as it made her wonder just what the designers were thinking when they put the beast together.
[b “I have a simulation that I want you to run prepared on this already. It will record it all so that I'll have a clear set of tape to pore over,”] Molly said as she typed away a bit on the laptop she brought along. [b “If you're up to it I'd like to have you to run it thrice, but only if you feel up to it. That way I can see more of where we would go from here.”]
Molly made sure to only pass Lilly the laptop once she was ready for it, but after that there really was not much for her to do until after Lilly made her way through the simulation. If she ran it once it would give a decent show of where she was at for a beginner and possibly any bad habits that would need to be broken. Twice would show some of her ability to learn by doing and give a much clearer picture of her weaknesses. Thrice was best though as it would give plenty of data on where Lilly was at right now, demonstrate how well she could learn from experience, and give both of them a good idea of what Lilly's style was going to be.
It took Molly months of simulator battles before settling on the offense oriented sniper role that she had taken for the team. Tatsuya on the other hand just copied the style of his favorite Gear pilot, and happened to have enough talent to make it work for him. Kenta and Yohei's styles changed more than Tatsuya or her own over time, but they both had a pretty solid framework within a matter of days. Of course they had Molly's help looking all over their simulator data.
It also helped that Molly had taken the time to design such a well rounded simulator program based off of one she saw while touring Europe with her grandfather. Several rounds long that put the user through over a dozen different scenarios. Designed to put a pilot through various conditions, and an equalizer of sorts as different rounds would be advantageous to different Gear designs. Which in this case would be helpful to reveal the strongest talents of Seraphim, and what weaknesses she would either need to protect or fix.
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