There’s a blast of ink. A swift shot. No where to go. Silence.
“#3!? #3, wake up!”
“Love! Love you’re ok. Open your eyes now. Come on.”
I moan. A moment later I open my eyes. Spyke and Captain Cuttlefish let out relieved sighs. “What…? Where… am… I?”
“Don’t worry, Love. You were connected to a spawn pad and are back at HQ,” Spyke tells me, then adds under his breath, “Thank goodness…”
“You are a real trooper,” compliments Captain Cuttlefish.
I shudder. “I… I didn’t like that at all…” My eyes focus on Spyke. “Wh- what are you doing here Spyke?”
“I was in the valley when you went down,” The urchin explains to me, “I came here right away to make sure that you were ok.”
I smile weakly. “Thank you.” Things go black and I lose consciousness.
A few hours later, I wake again. I’m in my own bed and Spyke is sitting next to me. “Finally.” He seems to relax more. “When you go unconscious you go into a mini coma.”
“Ung.” My hand goes to my head. “I hurt… how long have I been out?”
“Thirty-six hours or so.”
“Is it normal to black out after being splatted like that?” I ask.
“The first time, yes. You’ll hold up better now that you’ve been through it once.”
I nod quietly. Spyke helps me sit up and he gives me something to eat. “I’m having this odd sense of de-ja-vu.” I joke.
“Seems like somefin’ similar took place a few years ago,” he admits. I laugh and he smiles a little.
I am reluctant to become serious again, but something plagues my mind. “I need to get back into the field.” Spyke stiffens.
“You don’t ‘ave to. Them two girls ‘ll be common’ back soon. They can take your-”
I shake my head. “No. I have a mission to complete. I need to return to the agency as soon as possible.”
“But you ain’t in a fit state to fight yet, Love.”
“I’m fine, Spyke,” I assure him, “I need to get going.”
“If you go back now, somefin’ might ‘appen to you and you won’t be able to fight. You’ll be too weak.”
“You are really worried about me.” I grin.
“Well…” he hesitates, “Yeah, maybe I am. You’re the first kid who’s really proved themselves to me. I care ’bout you, kid.” He won’t look at me. I’m smiling.
“Thanks, Spyke. That means a lot… but you know I have to go. I signed up and I gotta keep my word. Inkopolis has lost power, I can see.” Nothing is working in my room. “It’s time for me to return to the agency.”
Two hours later, Spyke gives me one last hug before I go down the kettle, into the valley. “Be extra careful.”
“You know I will be.” I slip down and land. I was here yesterday, so it’s clear for quite a while. Then I reach the spot where I was splatted.
My heart skips a beat. The sniper octos are still there, watching. I hide behind a wall and try to calm down. When my heart rate is slightly calmed, I move on.
Octo Snipers are hard to handle. They seem to always have a bead on me. It doesn’t matter what I do!
I’ve got to be very careful… nope. A blast of ink covers my path. I skid to a stop, turn, and find that my path is, again, blocked.
Panic is setting in. My ink flies and I escape the next blast. Run. Run. Run. That is all I can think.
My body goes into auto pilot. I don’t even realize that I am taking out any Octarians as I move. “#3 are you doing ok?!” My voice fails me and I am unable to respond to Cuttlefish.
“Love!” Spyke’s voice comes through.
“Spyke, I can’t keep this up,” I gasp, “What do I do.”
“What do you see?”
“There are three snipers and lots of thin gaps. If I fall, I fall into water and I’m a goner.”
“Do you see any crates?” I reply negative. “K. There is a key ahead, Love. I’m gettin’ it on the detector. It’ll be held by one of the snipers. You need to take ’em out.”
“How?! Woah!” I jump to dodge the ink of the enemy, “There’s no way over.”
“No way over…”
A girl voice warns, “Don’t be so sure, #3.”
“#2! Where’s #1?”
“She’s still in Inkopolis,” is the answer. “I need to rejoin her, but not until after I help you. Listen closely. Just because you can’t see the ground, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”
“You have to be squiding!”
“She’s right.” Affirms Spyke, “There’s invisible ground all through the valley-”
I fall over and terror strikes. Once I hit the water, I will be gone. I scream.
Only thing is… I don’t hit the water. Something I can’t see is supporting me. “Oh- oh my gosh.”
“Splat, are you ok?!” Spyke exclaims.
“Y- yes. I’m fine… somehow. #2 is right. This place has invisible platforms. I’m going to find them and get that key!”
“Burst bombs are a good way to find them. Throw them rapidly, if you can!”
“Roger that, Agent #2. Thank for the advice and support.”
“I got to go. Cal and I should be able to join you on the field soon.” Reports #2, “Good luck, Agent. Over and out.”
My headset goes quiet once more. I draw out a burst bomb. “Here goes nothing…” Jumping to the side, so I can avoid a blast, I throw the bomb with all my might. It explodes, revealing part of a path.
I go. Bomb after bomb. I’m constantly throwing, dodging, running out of ink, refilling my ink. It doesn’t stop and neither do I.
The snipers have their guns aimed at me. Their beads poised at my body. The closer I get, the harder they are to avoid. One last dash and I’ll be within shooting range…
“Woah!” I dive away from a shot. “Take this!!!” I unleash my fury on the nearest sniper. He pops, but doesn’t drop a key. “You’re next Octo!” This one put up a good fight, but went down in the end. He held the key and I grabbed it up.
Barely escaping death by ink and water, I throw a couple bombs at the last sniper, then get the heck out of that place. I hear the bombs behind me. Ahead of me, I see the cage.
I reach it and insert the key. It opens easily, revealing the little Zapfish and a launch pad. I’m hesitant, but make a choice. Clutching the fish, I use the pad. The horrible feeling of being vulnerable washes over me. It’s gone when my feet hit the metal ground.
I’m standing on an iron baloney. It overlooks a large, round place. I have seen one of the only once before. It was a month ago. I had just about cleared out the first section of Octo valley that I’d been assigned. A giant Octo in a machine was sent, to kill me and stop me from clearing the valley of their outposts.
I defeated it and moved on to the next area. “Captain… I have the Zapfish in hand, but am going to get one more… They have sent another thing to kill me. Nature of the enemy is unknown.”
“#3! Do not engage! Return to HQ and do not engage!”
“Sorry, Captain. There’s no way back. Besides, they went to all the effort, I should at least give them a show.”
“Love, do not engage. You aren’t prepared properly.”
“Agent #3 over and out.”
“Splat!” I shut off my headset. Time to fight. I set down the Zapfish and go into the pad.
The sound of the launch is all that can be heard. It echoes through the eerie place, sending shivers down my spine. I land. That too echoes.
I look around. No turning back now. I cautiously take a few steps forward, wondering what is in store for me this time.
There is a rumbling in the ground. All of a sudden the middle of the circular area opens up and a huge, robotic, dog-like thing comes up. It lets out an ear splitting sound.
I stare at the thing. Then I grip my gun, run forward, and mutter, “Let’s do this.”