Chapter 18:

Vol. 1, Ch. 18: Prodigious Jailbreaker

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

Through the augmented reality cameras, spheres of virtual light flashed where each in-game enemy spawned, giving only a one-second warning before their arrival. The appearances seemed random in both timing and location, although they adhered to the real-world environment and only spawned on the ground.Bookmark here

The random appearances made it difficult for the scouting parties on both teams to spot the oncoming danger, and the AR monsters emerged from any side street, alleyway, and tunnel to swarm the two competitors.Bookmark here

Lumpy rounded a street corner, watching through his phone, when some enemies spawned in front of him.Bookmark here

“Four more Goblins and one Gull Hornet are coming from the northwest down Retcho Avenue,” Lumpy broadcasted through the communication earpieces.Bookmark here

“They’re pretty much flocking from the southwest, too” Adele said, spotting the enemies through her phone. She was near the top of a utility pole, scanning the area around her. “Goblins, Zombies, and Bugbears.”Bookmark here

“Got it!” Rover replied. He watched the approaching horde come from all directions. Overhead, the Thugforce Militia helicopter kept a slow, low orbit around the area.Bookmark here

I don’t want to rely on the Beelzebub Glove Aliens just yet, he thought. My Infantry Glove Aliens should do just fine for now, and I have the Knitted Glove Aliens if I need some extra variety in my attacks.Bookmark here

His character stuck both arms straight ahead, firing simple energy bullets from its fists, a standard Infantry Glove Aliens attack. The spray of fully-automatic projectiles could damage the monsters beyond the transparent barrier enclosing his and Captain Pretentious’ avatars. As such, Rover began getting kills before the enemies had reached them.Bookmark here

“Well-played, prick!” Captain Pretentious called out with blatantly patronizing intent. “Thanks for the idea!”Bookmark here

She equipped her avatar with the Flaming Glove Aliens and commanded it to launch fireballs at the charging swarm in the opposite direction. Virtual flames spread around the cliff-side parking lot’s AR environment, igniting the enemies and dealing continual damage. Onlookers cheered at the digital, burning carnage.Bookmark here

Her Flaming Glove Aliens don’t reach as far as my Infantry Glove Aliens, Rover thought while taking out enemies in rapid succession. Her fireballs are the only long-range attack that weapon has, and the rest are close-quarters. Still, she can inflict widespread burning damage to compensate for—Bookmark here

His thoughts were interrupted when Captain Pretentious whirled around and redirected her flames. Some Gull Hornets and Beagle Eagles had flown up from the cliff’s ledge, and after she caught them on fire, her avatar rushed in and took them out with some blazing punch combinations.Bookmark here

She knew they were coming up over the cliff?Bookmark here

“Hey, guys!” Rover called to his team through his earpiece. “There are enemies coming up over the cliff. I think one of Captain Pretentious’ boys are down there keeping an eye on things for her, so check it out!”Bookmark here

“I’m on it!” Adele pocketed her phone and hurried down the utility pole, hopping two ladder rungs at a time, then dashed toward the cliff side. She kicked off her sandals to more easily climb the tall chain link fence barefoot, and she peered over with the magnifying holoshades. There was a small footpath heading along the rock face, and sure enough, one of the ruffled tuxedo-shirt boys was down there with a tablet.Bookmark here

She wedged her feet into the chain link fence, getting a good grip with her toes, and leaned over the top to examine the area through her phone’s AR camera.Bookmark here

“Yup, there’s a guy down there. Some monsters are spawning on the footpath below. The flyers are flying up, and the others are climbing. You’ve got a lot of them coming, so keep watching the ledge, R!”Bookmark here

“Right!”Bookmark here

Rover’s character held both fists together, gathering energy for a flickering ball of light, then launched it at the monsters across the parking lot. It exploded on impact with a Goblin, taking it and eight surrounding enemies out at once.Bookmark here

Those Beam Grenade attacks are limited, so I gotta save them…Bookmark here

With the nearest threats eliminated, he turned to the Beagle Eagles soaring over the ledge. They passed through the barrier before Rover shot them down with the full-auto energy bullets.Bookmark here

Captain Pretentious laughed like a child who had stolen a hundred cookies while she roasted enemies that ran through the barrier, their virtual screams of agony coming through her tablet’s speakers. However, the burning enemies continued to attack, swinging their rusty sawblades and shooting their crooked nails from rickety nail guns. Eventually, their HP dwindled either from burning damage or Captain Pretentious’ character’s fist strikes.Bookmark here

Still, the monsters had infiltrated the playing field.Bookmark here

“Theeey’re heeere!” the tiny woman sang maniacally.Bookmark here

She pummeled flaming Goblins and Zombies alike, both of which were highly susceptible to Fire Elemental damage. This gave Captain Pretentious an advantage as enemies fell to digital ash around her character.Bookmark here

Rover resorted to the best close-quarters attacks for the Infantry Glove Aliens: a cavalry sabre.Bookmark here

“About ten more Trolls and Zombies coming from the northwest,” Lumpy warned. “Plenty more behind that.”Bookmark here

The single-handed sword’s strikes were stronger than the Flaming Glove Aliens’ punches. Rover chopped down the surrounding foes and lobbed another Beam Grenade into a group of monsters. With no more enemies on his side within the barrier, he directed more full-auto energy bullets into the horde around Captain Pretentious’ character, taking some out.Bookmark here

With a jagged sneer, she derided Rover’s quickness at stealing her kills. “Ooh, that’s how it is! Can’t get your own enemies, eh?!”Bookmark here

“Beggars can’t be choosers!” Rover retorted, flashing an arrogant smirk.Bookmark here

“Two Gull Hornets behind you, R!” Adele called.Bookmark here

“And a swarm of all kinds of enemies from the northwest!” Lumpy added.Bookmark here

Rover shot down the Gull Hornets coming over the ledge, and then directed his energy bullets to the approaching horde across the parking lot, thinning the flood of oncoming attackers. Some of the enemies’ nail gun attacks hit his character from afar, but the equipped Jinnin Tunic armor happened to have piercing resistance, which greatly lessened the damage.Bookmark here

“Listen up,” Rover said into the communicator as his energy bullets continued flying, “I need you guys to keep an eye out for the Goblins, Zombies, and any other enemies weak to the Fire Elemental. I’ll try to take them out at long-range before they get close. Captain Pretentious is favoring her flame attacks, and I’m pretty sure she might have more kills than me by now because of it.”Bookmark here

“Right!” Lumpy and Adele replied in unison over the communicators.Bookmark here

Rover clicked his tongue. “Q? What’s the word? I haven’t heard from you in a while.”Bookmark here

“I hear you loud and clear!” Quintegrity’s zesty voice came from Rover’s earpiece.Bookmark here

“What have you been doing?” Rover grunted, suppressing the monsters’ advancement. “L and A have their hands full watching my back!”Bookmark here

“They certainly do!” she replied. “In fact, they’re doing such a good job that there’s nothing more I can do right now. Don’t worry, I’ve been waiting for a moment when I need to step in. Until then, I have my hands full as well.”Bookmark here

“Huh? Doing what?”Bookmark here

“I’m going to capture one of Captain Pretentious’ boys! Hee-hee-hee!”Bookmark here

“Wh-What??? Capture?!” Rover heard a warning from Adele, and he spun around, readied his character’s sabre, then slashed at a Bugbear that had climbed over the fence by the cliff ledge. “J-Just don’t hurt him, Q!”Bookmark here

“Gwa-ha-ha-haaa!”Bookmark here

Then she went silent.Bookmark here

“Q? Q???”Bookmark here

No reply.Bookmark here

“Hrrrm…” Rover mumbled to himself. “I’m kinda looking forward to what she’s about to do.”Bookmark here

18!18@18#18$18%18^18&18*18(18)18_18+18Bookmark here

One of the ruffled tuxedo-shirt boys hung from a second-story window outside a throw rug tailor store, his right hand gripping the window molding while his left hand held up his tablet to scout for virtual monsters.Bookmark here

“Three Trolls and two Bugbears approach from the southwest, Captain,” he said into his communication earpiece.Bookmark here

With great agility, he pushed off the building, grabbed a tree branch with his free hand, and descended to the lower branches and to the ground…Bookmark here

…And right into Quintegrity’s arms.Bookmark here

“Caught you!” she chortled.Bookmark here

“WAAHHH!!!” The frightened boy leapt from Quintegrity’s arms like a scared cat jumping straight up, landing on his feet. “Where the heck did you come from?!”Bookmark here

“Not from nowhere!” she replied, practically cheering about it. “I’ve been stalking you!”Bookmark here

“Ehhh…” The boy demurred, shrinking away from the mustachioed, glowing face.Bookmark here

Quintegrity looked around, seeing the high fences, surrounding buildings, and building overhang that blocked the sky.Bookmark here

“Mm-hmm!” She gave a single, resolute nod, appearing satisfied. “This is a good spot to talk.”Bookmark here

“Talk about what?” the boy asked, keeping his distrustful eyes on her.Bookmark here

“It’s about the helicopters around here.” Holding her hand up to her ear, she said, “Hear that?”Bookmark here

“Huh?” The boy listened for a few seconds. “Oh, the Thugforce Militia helicopter? They’ve been monitoring the AR matches lately. We see them at all of the matches Captain has attended or participated in the last few days.”Bookmark here

“Why are they monitoring the matches?”Bookmark here

Shrugging, the boy said, “I dunno. Probably making sure no trouble happens. They always monitor big group events, anyway. Concerts, sports, and all that stuff. Keeps the peace.”Bookmark here

“Oh?” Quintegrity was intrigued, tilting her head and grinning. “That makes sense! But…what about the other helicopter?”Bookmark here

The boy glanced around—he had to get back to the game.Bookmark here

“Well…Captain likes to make flashy entrances, ya know? That’s her own personal chopper. I think it’s really cool! I can’t believe I get paid to do the stuff I do!” He smiled a happy, handsome smile.Bookmark here

“No, no, no, no.” Quintegrity shook her head and waved her hand. “I’m talking about the other helicopter flying around with the Thugforce Militia one.”Bookmark here

Confused, the boy asked, “What other one?”Bookmark here

Quintegrity smiled softly, pointing at the boy’s tablet. “Look around the sky with your augmented reality camera.”Bookmark here

With half-lidded eyes, the boy told Quintegrity, “Come on. I have a game to get back to. If I don’t—”Bookmark here

He didn’t even see the girl move…but she was suddenly by his side. Giggling, she gave him a playful shove hard enough to push him against the throw rug tailor building.Bookmark here

“Hey!” The boy puffed out his chest. He seemed quite muscular under his shirt, despite his average build. “What the hell’s the matter with you? I don’t care who—”Bookmark here

Again, he failed to see Quintegrity move. Before he knew it, she had rushed over, stopped directly in front of him, and pounded both of her fists into the cement wall on each side of the boy’s body, trapping him in place.Bookmark here

Already startled, his blood ran cold when he noticed Quintegrity’s fists had literally gone into the cement wall, halfway up her forearms.Bookmark here

Her cute smile moved closer to his panicked face.Bookmark here

“It’s just a small request.” Her voice was still soft, but loaded with danger, like a pincushion full of dynamite needles. “Can you do that for me?”Bookmark here

“…I th-think I just p-p-peed myself, ma’am…”Bookmark here

“Use your AR camera to find the phantom helicopter. I just wanna know how many lights are on its underside.” Her smile broadened and cheeks blushed, putting a sparkle in her eyes. “Tell me, and I’ll get you a fresh pair of undies!”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes!”Bookmark here

The boy stumbled on wobbly legs out from under the building’s overhang and stood in the open. Quintegrity twirled her fake mustache and watched him aim his tablet around, searching the skies. Nearly half a minute passed when he noticed something.Bookmark here

“Oh!” He followed it with his tablet—the speed at which he moved indicated how fast what he’d seen was traveling. “I saw something!”Bookmark here

“You did?” Quintegrity clasped her hands together and grinned. “What’d it look like?”Bookmark here

“I took a video of it…”Bookmark here

The boy walked back (his legs still shaking) and showed Quintegrity the recording. In the two seconds it was onscreen, she could clearly make out its distinct futuristic shape and dark color.Bookmark here

“It really is a helicopter,” the boy said, replaying the video on repeat multiple times, “and…it only appears on the augmented reality?”Bookmark here

“That’s correct,” Quintegrity told him, patting him on the back, laughing as the boy tensed up from the touch. If she could punch through a building, she could turn him into pudding, after all.Bookmark here

“It has one light on the bottom,” the boy added. “Weird…I’ve never heard of this in Glove Alien Fight. Are there even helicopters in the regular non-AR game…?”Bookmark here

“Thank you so much!” The girl reached down her shirt, far into her unmentionable region, and removed a clean pair of briefs. “I gotta go help Rover now!”Bookmark here

“R-Rover?!”Bookmark here

Stupefied by confusion and fear, the boy hardly had the will to take the gift. The underwear smelled like peanut brittle mousse pie when he hooked the garment on his finger.Bookmark here

Then the girl skipped away, sticking to the alley while she glanced at the sky.Bookmark here

Holding the underwear at arm’s length between his finger and thumb, the boy’s face twitched.Bookmark here

“I…don’t know if I should put these on…” He rubbed his thighs together. “But…I should…”Bookmark here

Having made it across the street, Quintegrity hid between two vending machines, one selling fried fish and the other selling anti-motion sickness kits. She switched on her communication earpiece.Bookmark here

“Captain Pretentious uses jailbroken tablets,” she broadcasted through the communicators. “She or someone she knows is a prodigious jailbreaker who’s risking to get trodden by the law.”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Rover asked. “How do you know?”Bookmark here

“Because I’m awesome!”Bookmark here

“…Right…” He sounded flustered, being in the heat of a match.Bookmark here

Lumpy chimed in, “There are rumors on the internet about her using jailbroken tablets.”Bookmark here

“And I confirmed it!” Quintegrity boasted.Bookmark here

“Really?” Rover wondered aloud. “I wonder if I’ll be able to use that information in this match, though.”Bookmark here

“You can do it, R!”Bookmark here

Peeking out of her hiding spot, Quintegrity didn’t see anything else worth acknowledging, so she took a moment to evaluate her discovery.Bookmark here

Normal tablets used for games wouldn’t be able to detect the AR cloaking on government vehicles. Their tablets clearly were store-bought models available to the public, but illegally jailbreaking them would upgrade their specifications to near-Militia-grade ability. Doing so is dangerous, because they could get caught, but it’s also quite…pretentious!Bookmark here

She glanced at the cloudless sky again. No danger.Bookmark here

More importantly, it’s only a one-light Cohort Squadron chopper… They aren’t that serious yet.Bookmark here

She giggled.Bookmark here

Well, at least as unserious as the Cohort Squadron can be. I’d better change my wig, though.Bookmark here

18!18@18#18$18%18^18&18*18(18)18_18+18Bookmark here

“Forgive me for correcting you, Captain, but I know what I saw. It was, without a doubt, an in-game helicopter! A girl with a mustache told me! I have it on video.”Bookmark here

“Now isn’t the time for this discussion!” Captain Pretentious’ voice blared through the groomed boy’s earpiece. “After this match, I demand to see your video!”Bookmark here

“Yes, ma’am.”Bookmark here

He staggered out of the restroom stall where he’d changed into the underwear Quintegrity had been carrying in her bra…considering if she’d even been wearing one at all. He tucked his ruffled tuxedo shirt into his cotton dress pants.Bookmark here

How’d that girl know what size I wore? he wondered as he lifted his legs high a few times, testing the fit of the undergarment.Bookmark here

“And what the hell have you been doing?” Captain Pretentious hollered. “You haven’t updated me in a while, and when you do, it’s about some dumb helicopter!”Bookmark here

“I-I apologize!” Shoving the door with his shoulder, he remembered it swung the other way, so he flung it open and barged into the noodle restaurant he’d ducked into after meeting Quintegrity. “I had to use the restroom! You know I have a weak bladder!”Bookmark here

“You’d best quit confusing your bladder for your brain. Next thing, you’ll be pissing your mind straight out! Your worth rests in your loyalty, and even the most loyal dogs won’t stop the sled for a piss break! Understand?!”Bookmark here

“Yes, ma’am!”Bookmark here

The restaurant patrons, all elderly, gave him disapproving glowers as he made for the exit, a distraught look on his face while he bumped into several occupied chairs and tables, apologizing more to the person over his communication earpiece than to the people whose noodle meals had been interrupted.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 853Bookmark here

All Money… {T}35,700Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}34,700Bookmark here

Fundraiser… {T}0Bookmark here

Food Slip… {T}1,000Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

Benedict’s Payment… {T}100,000Bookmark here

Anti-Grav Skateboard… {T}499,999Bookmark here

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Gloves… InfantryBookmark here

Armor… Jinnin TunicBookmark here

Acc. 1… Farm EquipmentBookmark here

Acc. 2… Yakuza ToolsBookmark here

<<<SPECIAL NUMBERS>>>Bookmark here

<None>Bookmark here

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