#14: Cirrina’s Fear: Part 1: Octostomp

Cirrina and I follow Mud, who has stopped by the large, metal door to the factory. “I hear movement…” he says. “Eight Octos, I think, and it sounds like they are expecting us.”

Cirrina stands with her arms crossed. “Well, what do we do?” she asks coolly. Mud and I are both surprised that she is planing instead of just attacking.

She’s in a bad mood now. I can tell.

Mud examines the map and realizes that the next room is very large. Probably a work floor. “Um… If we can get across this next room we should be able to reach a big machine. We can use that as our distraction.”

“Let’s go then,” Cirrina says impatiently.

Mud hands us two splat bombs each. “Ok, when I open the door, throw them in. Then we shut the door.” He gives Cirrina a stern look. “Got it?” We both nod. “Ok. 3… 2… 1… Now!”

He swings the door open and throws in his bombs. We girls do the same. He shuts the door just before the bombs go off. The sound of inky explosions and the panicked screams of Octos erupt from the room.

“GO! GO! GO!!!” Mud shouts as he kicks the door open.

“Finally!” Cirrina cries as she runs in. I follow her at top speed, knowing she will need back up… as she always does.

Only three Octos are still standing from the bombs, but at least twelve are coming to their aid. Mud shoots one and ducks for cover.

“Look out for those guys!” he calls.

Cirrina spots the oncoming enemy and I see a fire burn in her eyes. I yell at her. “Cirrina, don’t you dare!”

She doesn’t listen to me. “I’m going for them!”

“I swear!” I scream and follow her.

Mud sees a window of opportunity and takes it. He moves around the brawl, towards the back as we girls continue the fight. Something big, catches his eye. “Hold on girls! I have an idea!”

“What?” I ask as I take down another. He doesn’t answer. He just runs to a different part of the work floor as more Octarians come to join the fight. They are starting to over run me. “Cirrina! Little help?”

“Kinda busy here!” the girl gasps as she bangs the but of her gun into an enemy head.

The situation becomes more desperate as the enemy draws closer. Mud is nowhere to be found, until his voice comes through my headset.

“#3!” he says, “You and Cirrina need to super jump to my position. I’m on the other side of the room!”

“Cirrina! Fall back!” I shout.

“K!”

We fight the ones immediately around us, then dash behind a piece of equipment. Then, the two of us super jump to our comrade. We land right in front of him.

“Get out of the way!” he orders. He stands atop a massive Octostomp, but the ink is green… Inkling green.

“Woah!” The two of us turn and run. Mud jumps off as the machine takes to it’s job. It makes one big hop and all the Octos scatter.

“Come on! This way!” Mud calls to us. I follow, but look back.

“Wait!” I exclaim, “Cirrina!”

The girl is stuck between us and five Octarians and the giant thing is heading towards her!

“Help!” she cries out. “I can’t get away!”

“Oh, you have got to be squiding me!” Mud runs for the Octostomp, which can’t tell that Cirrina is an friendly. As it prepares for the next hop, Mud climbs back on top to take manual control. “Cirrina! You need to get a safe distance away! I’ll cover you!”

I kneel down and start to snipe the enemies around her. “Cirrina, over here!” She heads for me, but is soon blocked by Octarians.

The Octostomp makes a jump and lands right on top of some of the Octarians blocking Cirrina. Mud starts splatting the rest, distracting them and screaming. “YYAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!”

Cirrina moves quickly, trying to dodge the giant thing that’s near stepping on her. As soon as she is clear of the machine jumps again, landing on a few more Octarians. Finally, she makes it to me, out of breath and frazzled.

“Are you ok, Cirrina?” Mud asks, but, before she could answer her, the Octostomp reared up, kicked off, and shot Mud across the room to where we girls are. He landed directly on his front and slid to a stop.

“Mud?!” I exclaim as I bend down to help him. “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine,” the boy groans, “My face broke my fall. Let’s not stick around that machine will keep them busy.”

“Yeah. Ok.” I help him up.

Once he’s on his feet, we run for the door. The doors are massive, made of solid metal. The big doors are too heavy to open, but a smaller door opens easily. It opens into a big yard full of large parts and machines. We run into the yard to hide.

The sound of the fight in the warehouse is still heard for some time after that. We stay low, hiding when we can.

“That’s the power plant ahead. Stay low,” orders Mud.

Cirrina and I nod. As our team move towards the building, Mud keeps looking at the things in the yard. Slowly, a look of concern forms on his face.

“What’s the matter?” I ask.

“I’m not sure, but I think…” the boy’s voice trails off, “forget it. We have too much on our plate already.” He keeps moving forward, ignoring me. Cirrina and I glance at each other.

Then, the distant sound of a super jump is heard. Mud dashes for cover as more jumps are heard. I grab Cirrina’s wrist and pull her with me as I follow Mud. In a moment,we are hidden.

An Octoling lands ahead of us, fifty feet away. Then another and another. Octolings are landing all around us. They say something to each other in Octarian, then begin looking for us.

Mud looks grim as he says, “They don’t know we’re here. I vote we keep it that way.” We don’t move as more and more Octolings land all around us. In the end , fifteen Octolings are looking for us in the yard. Some are kelp Octolings. “Ok, this is officially very bad.

“Ya, think?” Cirrina asks as she glances around, “What do we do?”

Mud looks around and sees that many of the stacks form overhead cover, like a small tunnel. “There!” he says, pointing to it. “We need to use piles like that and this place is filled with them.” He runs and dives under the cover of the stacks of parts. Then he signals for us to do the same. I let Cirrina go first, then I follow. As we join him in the hiding spot, Mud starts telling us to be quiet. “Shhh… There’s on right above us,” he whispers. We nod.

The Octoling moves on and passes out of sight. Hesitantly, Mud looks for the next spot to run to.

Cirrina glances behind us and I see her freeze. She just… goes still for a moment, like everything around her had just vanished. Her eyes widen… then she snaps. The girl lets out a small gasp and she shrinks back, looking frightened.

At the sound of the gasp, Mud whips around. “What is it?!” he exclaims softly.

Cirrina is breathing rapidly and her face is pale. She forces herself to calm down. “It- it’s nothing. C-can we just get out of here?”

I have never heard her sound so nervous before. Mud studies her, concerned.

“You need to tell us what’s wrong,” the boy urges. “If it’s a major problem, we need to deal with it.” His grip tightens around his weapon and he looks for anything that could be a threat. I keep my eyes trained on my friend.

She swallows. “No… it-it… I just… please! Let’s go before we are found!” She looks desperately into Mud’s eyes.

The boy waits for a moment, thinking. “……… fine. Follow me. Play it slow. If we get through this without getting caught, I’ll make us pancakes when we get back.” This makes me smile, but not Cirri. She still looks terrified.

Run to cover. Look for danger. Go to the next spot. Repeat. This is our pattern for the next fifteen minutes. Cirrina keeps looking around, as if she fears someone will find her, which I understand. I don’t want to be caught, but she’s never been worried about this sort of thing. Finally, we only have a few more meters until we are safe.

“Doing good guys,” Mud encourages us, “we’re so close.” Mud notices Cirrina’s nervousness. “Cirrina,” he says harshly, “you need to focus on the task at hand. Whatever is bothering you can be dealt with later.”

He turns the next corner, not watching where he is going. An unsuspecting Octoling bumps into him and they both fall over in surprise. They stare at each other.

Mud, trying to stall for time, says, in Octarian, “Uh… Hello, have you ever thought about your landslide insurance plan? Because I have a deal for you!”

The Octoling just sits there, confused by his sudden comment, but quickly realizes her weapon got knocked from her hand. It lays just out of reach. Mud jumps on her, knife in hand, before she can retrieve it. The fist fight begins.

I hurry to help him. Cirrina looks momentarily terrified, but relaxes slightly after getting a look at the enemy. She just stands there, useless in her fear.

I manage to get the Octoling’s attention away from Mud for a second, but that is all he needs. He sneaks his knife under her defense and sinks it into her chest. She lets out a horrible death scream, then pops, leaving the area in covered in green ink.

I wipe my forehead and look up at Cirrina. She seems, if it’s even possible, more terrified than earlier. I can’t imagine what is scaring her so much. I don’t have time.

Ink starts flying around us as other Octolings come into view, called by the sound of one of their fallen.

“Run for the door! GO GO!” yells the boy in our group. We girls do not hesitate to follow his orders. Every Octoling is onto us now. It has become a race for the power plant. Mud is the first to reach the door, but he doesn’t stop to open it. I throws his shoulder into it and the door swings open. As luck would have it, the first room is empty.

The moment we are all three inside, he slams the door shut behind us, but he has broken the latch so it will not close. “Quick!” he cries. “I need something to block the door!” Cirrina and I push a large crate in front of it. “More! We need more!” The Octolings are pushing against the door. Mud won’t be able to hold it much longer.

Cirrina and I grab anything we can. Soon, the pile is so heavy the Octo’s can’t move the door at all. Mud flops onto the ground, drenched in sweat and out of energy from the ordeal. “That should hold,” he moans.

I sit on and old box, exhausted. Looking at her, I can tell Cirrina is tired too, but she is too on edge to sit.

“Don’t get comfortable. It won’t be long till they find a way around,” Mud warns us.

I sigh. “Where do we go from here?”

He pulls out the map and gives it a quick look. “The Zaplfish should be behind the next doors.” He gets up and walks over to the large metal doors. They open. He lets out an, “Oh no. You have got to be squiding me!”

“What now?” I groan and Cirrina and I join him.

The great Zapfish is locked in a massive cage and the power coming off the fish is electrocuting the bars. Also, it isn’t alone. Three dozen guards are watching it. Octos of every kind.

“That’s what,” he responds.

“Yabai…” I mutter after seeing this. “What now?”

Mud closes the door so that we won’t be spotted, then turns to us. “Well, we can’t stay here. It’s only a matter of time before they figure out where we are.” He looks around and his eyes land on an air vent. He turns into a squid, wiggles through it, then says, “This way ladies. I think we found our wild card.”

The vent is very small, so small that we have to stay squids, and Octopus, just to fit. We squirm through the vents for a full twenty minutes before we find a vent that opens into the power room again. The shaft has brought us to a much higher vent, almost six stories high. We have a great view of the upper body of the Zapfish.

“Ok, I do think we made a wrong turn,” Mud announces in dismay.

“Where are we?” Cirrina asks? She’s in the back and can’t see real good.

“Um, I think, somehow, we have made our way to the top of the room,” he tells her, “Like, very top.”

She rolls her eyes. “Great. What do we do? Ambush from above?”

Mud strikes down this idea instantly. “No. Way too many Octos. We won’t stand a chance. This will require a more delicate approach.” He looks out through the vent and sees a catwalk below. “There’s a ledge. Let’s jump to it and get a better look.”

“Good idea.”

Since Mud is the first in line he squeezes out first and leaps for the platform. He lands, checks his surroundings, then signals for us to join him. I shut my eyes and jump. Then Cirrina does.

“Hey guys, check it out.” I look to see Mud pointing to the Zapfish and it’s cage. “It looks like it’s powering the entire room. Maybe we can disconnect the fish and create a black out. They’ll be blind!”

I grin. “Perfect.”

Cirrina, however, frowns. “So will we.”

Mud’s face falls. “Oh yeah, good point… Do we have any other ideas?”

“I could snipe them.” I hold up my charger.

The boy shakes his head. “That would be like shouting, ‘Hey, look at me! Here we are!’. Personally, I don’t want to let our location be known so soon. If, ya know… you don’t mind.”

That makes sense. I smile again. “Good point, but what else can we do?”

“I’m not sure…. wait.” He suddenly gets excited. “Burst bombs! When the lights go out we can throw burst bombs on the Octos bellow. Then you can just snipe the remaining ones”

I think about this a moment. “That’ll work. Only I have splat bombs.”

“Well, duh. You’re Splat.” Cirrina grins and pats my head.

“Splat bombs are better,” Mud assures me before turning to Cirrina. “Alright! Cirrina, this is your time to shine. The plug that connects to the Zaplfish is just bellow us. Just follow the walkway and you can’t miss it.”

“Wait! Why do I have to?” she asks crossly.

“Because you are the only one who doesn’t have a bomb rush.”

She studies Mud for a moment, before saying, “Fine.” and turning to head for the plug.

“Just wave at us before you unplug it! Ok?” he calls after her.

The girl doesn’t look back. “Yeah yeah.”

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