The sun shone brightly on Nimbasa that special day, when the city buzzed with more excitement than usual. Crowds were roaming down the streets, making their way to the latest hotspot in town. Some waited with eager anticipation, while others voiced their objection with near-religious fervor. This clash of wills could only be brought about by most controversial topic of the decade—the return of GLADIATOR.
Barriers had been placed around the perimeter of the infamous SUMMIT Game Center, where officials kept spectators at bay. The faculty within the ring waited patiently for the arrival of the contestants, few sporting fake Battle Armor from the game. TV crews were moving in, equipment was being tested, and the game system itself was prepped for the big show. Amongst the hustle and bustle, with people scurrying about like ants, a young man of 19 fidgeted within an empty hall.
Freddie had felt confident these past few weeks with his role in the broadcast. Only a few hours ago did his nerves finally catch up with him. As he paced circles into the marble floors, trying to dispel the jitters, a lion-like creature watched him with sharp yellow eyes. It purred contently, as if trying to calm him down.
He stopped and took a deep breath. “Today’s the big day, Leo. Everything that we’ve worked on has led up to this.”
The Luxray blinked in response. Shifting from its resting position, the Pokémon gave a great yawn as it stretched out its front paws.
“Do you got my back today, buddy?” Freddie turned to him, unaffected by the creature’s sharp fangs.
“Rrrrrrrrrrrr!” the Luxray flicked his tail, beaming at his Trainer with determination.
Freddie grinned, his excitement finally reaching its peak. “Let’s do this, Leo!”
The lion Pokémon let out an eager roar. Feeling energized, the two of them continued down the hall. They soon entered a cavernous room that was—for now—mostly empty. A large screen occupied the far wall, though currently it only showed SUMMIT’s peaked logo. Waiting for Freddie was a tall blonde woman dressed in a business suite.
“There you are, Freddie,” she greeted the moment she saw him. Without waiting for him to speak she handed him a clipboard. Leaping right into instructions, she informed him, “You will wait here for the contestants. They will arrive through the arcade room. Mark each of them off as they come in and have them fill out these release forms. Have them wait here until we’re ready in the VR room. You are not to give them any instructions until you go there—nothing about the game until we’re ready to start, got it? Have you gone over the rules we asked you to tell them? As well as the disclaimers and such?”
Freddie felt a bit overwhelmed, but he nodded, “Yes, ma’am.”
“Good,” she returned the nod approvingly. “Don’t forget to smile.”
Giving him one of her own, the woman turned and quickly strode from the room. Soon, it was just Freddie and his lion.
He took in another deep breath and muttered, “Here goes nothing.”
*****“Heeeeellloooo, ladies and gentlemen!” a dazzling MC swiveled on his chair, facing the audience with a bright smile. “You’re tuned in to the live broadcast of GLADIATOR’s grand reveal! Brought to you by none other then the geniuses themselves, SUMMIT Software! I’ll be your host--Michael Kolton! We have yet to connect to the games, but as you can see…”
The screen switched to an overhead view of a crowded Nimbasa.
“The thrills and chills are already beginning as Nimbasa awaits the arrival of the lucky contest winners! Our on-site reporter, Danielle Leeson, is currently roaming the streets of Nimbasa, getting the feel of crowds. Danielle, how’s it going down there?”
A slender young woman with short brown hair flashed onto the screen, gripping her mic with obvious breathlessness. “It’s crazy out here, Michael, that’s for sure. We’ve met a wide array of fans and protestors alike. But the general feel out here is excitement. No one has received word yet of who the contestants may be, but folks are anxiously waiting to see them.”
The announcer’s image popped up next to her in a tiny square. “That’s right, SUMMIT hasn’t revealed the identity of the contest winners. It will certainly be a surprise to see who they are. Why, they could just be wandering the streets nearby.”
“That’s right,” Danielle nodded. “But we’ll keep an eye out for anyone who passed the guards at the Game Center. They’ve been told to let in only those with specific invitations. Hopefully, SUMMIT will release more information as the game commences.”
“We’ll certainly keep you updated on this end,” the announcer concluded. “For now, it’s a waiting game…”
Enter the SUMMIT Game Center
~Avoid protestors and news reporters alike
~Present your invitation to the guards
~Check-in with Frederick Spencer in the lobby (NOTE: The first room you will enter into will be the arcade. You will follow a set signs which will in turn lead you past the games and into lobby area)
~News Reporters (x4)
~Ecstatic Fans (Unlimited)