Re: GLADIATOR [rp]
Freddie stared at the contestants in amazement. He had had no idea that things had been so rough outside the Game Center; nor could he believe that the contestants had resorted to such drastic measures to enter. He wasn’t sure how this could affect SUMMIT—hopefully, they wouldn’t take too much rap over the actions of the contestants. And, hopefully, it wouldn’t interfere with the game today.
Frowning to himself, he checked over the list one last time. He didn’t have to wait much longer before the last of the contestants filed in. The intern attended to his duties—albeit a little more soberly—and waited patiently for the forms to be filled out. He had nearly forgotten about the earpiece in his ear, until it suddenly buzzed out his name.
“Frederick, we are ready now. Send in the contestants.”
His heart began racing (both from excitement and from being surprised by the voice), despite his best efforts to remain calm. Clearing his throat, he called for everyone’s attention. “All right, everybody! We are now ready to begin the games! If I can get the rest of the release forms… Right! Thank you! Now, if you will follow me, I will take you to the VR room!”
Freddie waited for the contestants to gather, then practically skipped his way across the room. A soft growl from his Luxray reminded him to slow down for his charges. Deeper they went into the SUMMIT Game Center, through wide walls plastered with colorful game posters and displays showcasing GLADIATOR propaganda. Finally, Freddie stopped before a gateway obscured by a thick black curtain. Waiting yet again for all to show up, Freddie pulled back the curtain and motioned for the contestants to enter.
It was dark inside, but once someone triggered a motion sensor, two thick lines of white light flickered into existence on the floor, showing the contestants a clear path to the center of the room. As they continued walking, other lines of light came on, revealing a vast room filled with machinery. At the center was a vast pillar with the GLADIATOR logo glowing at its crown. A circle of television screens encompassed the pillar, each displaying information on one of the contestants—pictures, ages, birthplace, and so on.
Yet what were more impressive were the machines surrounding the pillar. They resembled pods of sorts, with beams rising up into an unseen ceiling. Egg-shaped and as smooth as black ice, a yellow light shone within each that displayed their inviting emptiness. People in white clothing stood by each pod, watching the contestants silently as they entered.
At the foot of the column in the center of the room was a raised dais, upon which waited a handful of important-looking people. Freddie came up from behind the contestants, urging them to come towards these individuals.
A man that stood at the forefront of this group smiled at them welcomingly. His black hair was slicked back into a ponytail without a hair out of place—as perfect as the white teeth he flashed at them. Dressed in a black suite and deep blue tie, he seemed to be in the prime of his life. “Welcome, welcome!” he beckoned the contestants. “Allow me to introduce myself! I am the President of SUMMIT Software, and the Executive Producer of GLADIATOR—Malcolm Kalsow! And may I say, we are most excited to have you here today! With the skills and intellect you each are bringing to the table today, this is promising to be the most exciting game of the century. I am certainly looking forward to seeing you play today.”
Mr. Kalsow motioned the space around them, as if presenting the room to them. “This is the crown jewel of the SUMMIT Game Center—the Virtual Reality room. Surrounding us are what we call Gateways—they are the devices that will immerse you into the world of GLADIATOR. I hope each of you have thought carefully about the specific Pokémon you wish to Link with today, as your choice may be the determining factor of your victory… or defeat. Their strengths will become your strengths—and their weaknesses, your weaknesses. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself! The rules and specifics will be explained to you shortly by our outstanding intern, Frederick Spencer. I want to thank you all again for your participation! Show us what you’re made of! Fight to the finish! But most importantly, have fun!”
The man stepped down from the dais and quietly exited the room, followed by two employees. The woman who had addressed Freddie earlier that day took Kalsow’s place, addressing the contestants in a business-like tone: “Before you enter the Battleground, you will each be outfitted in BattleArmor designed specifically for you. This armor will transform once you enter the game and download your Pokémon, so the final product may not be the same as what you see now. If you could find the Gateway that corresponds with the screen on the column behind me that shows your profile, our personal will help you get suited up. We ask at this time that you remove any extra items from your person—this includes keys, electronic devices such as phones or PokeDexes, jewelry, and Trainer gear. We must also ask you to hand over all Pokémon other than the one you have chosen to link up with. They will be returned to you after the games. Your shoes must also be removed, as your armor comes outfitted with footwear designed for the Battleground.”
The woman turned and indicated the column, pointing at a thick cord that ran from the television screen to one of the Gateways. “Once you have been outfitted, our intern Frederick Spencer will inform you on the rules, mechanics, and regulations of GLADIATOR.” She nodded and stepped down.
Smiling excitedly at the contestants, Freddie moved forward to locate his screen. Once he spotted his smiling picture, he turned and walked to his designated Gateway. A familiar face beamed at him ecstatically—Molly, one of his fellow interns.
“This is so exciting!” she mouthed at him, hardly able to retain her energy.
“I know, right?” Freddie mouthed back before stepping up before the Gateway. He waited in place as Molly pulled out a rack from behind the pod—upon which rested Freddie’s BattleArmor. The armor slid right over his normal clothes, piece by piece starting with the chest plate. It felt a little bulky now, but Freddie knew that once he entered the Battleground, it would become much lighter and more flexible.
Once Molly was finished, Freddie gave her a quick thumbs up before heading back to the dais, waiting for the other interns to get suited up.
NEW OBJECTIVE: SUIT UP, GEAR UP, PREPARE FOR GAMES