That night a few of the cadets received a notification on their screens, they were being dismissed from the program. ” So early into training? Wow it really is starting isn’t it?” Alexander commented with a haughty tone. Ru Hui, who surprisingly did not receive the notification, went up to Wilson who was sobbing on his bed. She hugged him and while doing so noticed his screen behind him. It read:
CADET 20 WILSON CRAIG, DISMISSED.
LEAVE ALL BELONGINGS BEHIND AND HEAD TO INTERGALACTIC PLATFORM.
SHIP LEAVES FOR EARTH IN 10 MINUTES.
Ru Hui stared at it in dismay. Wilson was a good guy, especially polite. It was a disappointment for such a friend to leave so soon. She broke the embrace and patted Wilson’s shoulder. ” Everything will be fine.” Wilson stood up and trudged out of the dorm.
After the 5 cadets left, a chart with all the 56th Gen cadets appeared on the dorm wall. The 5 cadets profiles became dark , and the area that read “Recruit” before turned into a bold red word, “Dismissed”.
“What is this? Scorning them for us to see?” Xue Hui blurted out, obviously hurt by the loss of her two friends. At that moment, the door opened revealing the two toon leaders. The cadets reluctantly pulled themselves off their bunks and stood at attention.
“You launchers are weaker than I thought, 5 gone already! Moreover, this is only your trial battle, you better buck up if you want to impress the people up there!” Megan walked around hollering, hands behind her back. ” Tomorrow morning I want all of you in the messhall early, have I made myself clear?!”
“Yes ma’am!” With that, the toon leaders left the dorm.
As the two women walked down the slope to their personal dormitories, Megan said softly ” What is the COC ( Chain-Of- Command) doing, rushing us for so many battles and dismissing so many cadets? These children aren’t even ready yet…”
“We are scheduled for a battle with the Federation Elite in 2 months, that rarely happens for a normal toon. Actually, that doesn’t happen at all! Well… I hope the commanders will not dismiss anymore of our cadets.” Shiva sighed. The two unlocked their doors, “Good night Megs.”
The siren blasted and the door to the messhall opened. The atmosphere was gloomy, everyone sat together on one table and ate quietly. Shiva and Megan were unusually late that day, walking through the door with dejected looks on their faces. ” Go and change into your flashsuits, meet at The Drop in 10.” Shiva said. The toon stood up and jogged out to their dorms. The toon leaders were left alone in the messhall.
” WHY WON’T THE COMMANDER CHANGE THE DAMNED SCHEDULE?! THREE BATTLES IN A DAY IS CRAZY!” Megan exclaimed and hit her fists on the metal table. The sound echoed through the empty hall. It was silent for a moment before she mumbled, ” Okay, I’m sorry… Let’s go Shiva…” They grabbed a sandwich each from the food counter and jogged out of the messhall towards The Drop where the toon was waiting.
” This time load into capsule 7, it hasn’t been too long so the terrain should still remain the same, though you might experience some tremors nearing the change of terrain-” ” Sorry to interrupt, Shiva, but we have not been informed of our teams.” A boy named Jerome said, raising his hand. ” Oh there won’t be teams this time. You guys are going against the 54th Generation. Even Megan and myself will not be there, so 4 of you will have to take command as we did for you the last time.”
Soon after, the toon boarded The Drop and travelled towards their battle arena. Megan and Shiva met up with the other toon leaders in a spectator room. They had a brief greeting before sitting down to watch the battle via hologram on a table.
As expected, Alexander was appointed commander of team and Charmaine the outward bound leader. Jerome watched the enemies and their gates while Ru Hui was appointed with navigations. Alexander put on his helmet and sat in the command chair, which started up the room. Ru Hui immediately started to plot possible routes through the forest for a strategic advantage over the opponents, red dots appeared on Jerome’s screen seconds after. He looked at it in shock, there were about 25 dots on his screen, profile appearing one by one. ” Alexander… we are severely outnumbered…”
Alexander, now flustered, looked at Ru Hui for salvation. ” Yup I’m working on it.” she said and typed into her screen busily. The siren blasted and the gates opened, the toon was unprepared. Everyone stood frozen in the dome, even Alexander didn’t know what to do.
” Guys go out first, I will inform you on what to do soon.” Ru Hui said, not looking up from her station. Charmaine nodded, ” Okay listen up! We have 11 people split in three groups, one stay near the base, others move through the trees. MOVE! LET’S GO! GO! GO!” She wave the cadets out of the gate one by one. The three in command looked up at her, ” All yours now bud'” she said, looking up at Alexander. After that, she looked down at Ru Hui and nodded once more before running out of the gate, scaling the nearest tree.
No doubt were the 54th Generation skillful. Though unable to climb the trees, lacking in the in hand climbing systems, they were still able to shoot and freeze those on the canopy from below, their aim could be described as almost…perfect. It was a tough battle, but not one the toon couldn’t handle. Ru Hui had devised a route that led them to the flag quickly and at the same time, let an unharmed cadet through the gate. They had many casualties, but the battle had been won. They celebrated in the capsule, the sense of achievement was overwhelming. Alexander basked in his self administered glory, while the others praised Ru Hui for her ingenious plan.
However, for the two following battles with 53rd and 52nd Generation that the toon had not seen coming, their results got a turn for the worse. The senior cadets were extremely good at sneaking and ran as fast as lightning, every one of the launchers were frozen head to toe. It was terrible, the toon was tired from previous battles and could not keep up at all.
” YOU IDIOTS! YOU GOT COMPLACENT! OF COURSE YOU WOULD LOSE!” Shiva boomed once she stepped into the dorm. She walked around the room, looking at everyone in the eye. She stopped in front of Alexander, the worst at controlling his expressions.
“ANGRY?!” she shouted, her face centimeters from his.
“Yes ma’am!” He answered, seething with discontentment.
” Why should you be!?” Shiva pressed on.
” For one, you put us in three battles in a day, we’d be too tired to do our best for every battle… Ma’am! ” He obviously forced the salutation.
“HOW DARE YOU TALK BACK TO YOUR TOON LEADER! DROP 30 NOW!”
Alexander dropped to the floor reluctantly and started counting as he did the push-ups.
“How are you ever going to be able to battle properly like this?! I have no idea why the commander is pushing us for battles and dismissing so many cadets. Keep up with this bullshit attitude and all of you will be gone by the end of this week am I clear? There will be battles everyday from now on with all the toons, the Elites-in-Training and even us, the toon leaders. Buck up!” Megan said, ” Lights out, now.” They strode of the door.
The door shut but the cadets stood rooted to the ground, their minds still processing the situation. At that moment, the wall showed the same chart of profiles from yesterday. The 15 silvers look at it for a minute, then suddenly, Jerome’s profile darkened. Jerome’s eyes widened. ” No!” He ran to his cupboard and fished out his screen which flashed with the notification, ” No no no no no! This… this can’t be true! I…I got chosen to take command today didn’t I?” The boy, now teary eyed looked around at his fellow cadets, who looked at him coldly. Ru Hui and Xue Hui turned away,
” You’d better go quickly, 5 minutes! Tick Tick!” Alexander said, as if chasing Jerome away. The boy frowned, ” Fine!” he said and stomped out of the dorm, sobbing.
” Hah! What a crybaby!”
Charmaine punched him in the shoulder.
” OUUUCH! What was that for?!”
Charmaine ignored him and walked towards her bunk, Alexander followed, demanding an explanation.
Time flew by quickly and the dorm grew gradually quieter after every battle. One by one, the cadets were dismissed as the battles became tougher. The toon had faced all the toons at least 50 times, the toon leaders twice and the Elites-in-Training ( EIT) once. The 4 cadets remaining, Xue Hui, Ru Hui, Charmaine and Alexander were promoted to Elites-in-Training and joined the rest of the EIT in a dorm. The dorm hall was quiet every night, as if it were empty, it felt as if there was no more movement other than them and the people in command. They were now informed that they had one month without battle to train, which will lead up to the battle with the Federation Elites.